This tag is associated with 5 posts

4 Seemingly Healthy Foods With Lurking Dangers

Continuing from my last post where I’m working eating healthy, I managed to avoid the chips yesterday.
So right now it’s Chips Vs Me: 0/1 =)

Here’s 4 foods often perceived as healthy foods but lurk with dangers.

1. Strawberries.

Ok don’t yell at me. I know they’re beautiful, juicy and yummy.
What’s there not to love about strawberries?
How can something so delicious be dangerous at all?

They are sprayed with insecticides and being without a skin layer that you can peel off, the strawberries absorb the pesticides sprayed on them.

In a study, there were 13 pesticides found on strawberries!

Sure they are yummy and attractive but there're layers of pesticides on them!

Sure they are yummy and attractive but there’re layers of pesticides on them!

Do: Organic Strawberries are probably safer. Buy those if your budget allows. But realize organic doesn’t mean it is pesticide free. It just means they use organice pesticides, which may be less dangerous.
Tip: If you want to eat regular strawberries, as a precaution, wash them and brush them gently with a mushroom brush. That may help to remove some of the pesticides on the surface. But it still doesn’t help remove the pesticides that have been absorbed.

2. Sprouts & Alfalfa

They need moist, warm environments to grow which provides the perfect condition for bacteria and germs to grow.
Added to the danger, is that manure is often used in growing sprouts and alfalfa.
Sprouts are considered one of the foods most likely to harbor pathogens like E. coli and salmonella.
These bacteria will make you very sick. If it’s a severe strain, may even cause organ damage or be fatal.

Sprouts are most often responsible for food recalls.
They have been responsible for large-scale outbreaks of food poisoning in the past few years.
Retailers have found it difficult to ensure the safety of any given batch of sprouts.

The danger of sprouts are such a health problem that WalMart and Krogers have stopped selling Sprouts and Alfalfa.
Organic sprouts and alfalfa do not improve your chances and are just as likely to be contaminated.

In fact, half the reported contaminated batches were organically grown products.
Pregnant women, elderly, children and those with weak health should never eat sprouts or alfalfa.

Dos: Refrain from eating raw Sprouts or Alfalfa.
Tip: If you want to eat them, try cooking them to kill any bacteria that may be there.

3. Large Fishes – Swordfish, Tuna

Large fishes live longer and accumulate more mercury. Fishes like Tuna, Swordfish tend to have high  mercury levels. Tuna caught in the Atlantic contains more mercury than those caught in the Pacific.

Imported Swordfish often fished with unsustainable methods causing great environmental damage and other sea life to be killed in the process. As we know, In trying to catch Tuna, Dolphins often get caught and die as collateral damage. Add to that, the increasing popularity and rising demand for Tuna is now resulting in overfishing of Tuna and the Tuna stock is rapidly being depleted.

Many fish are contaminated with mercury and some are way more than tuna.
The general EPA advice is that pregnant and nursing mothers and small children should avoid Shark, Swordfish, King Mackerel, or Tilefish.  The FDA’s monitoring program run since 1990, indicates the mercury contamination in “fresh / frozen” tuna is around 0.38 mg / kg, 0.35 in canned albacore and 0.12 in canned light tuna. Swordfish comes in at 0.98 mg / kg, Tilefish with 1.45 mg / kg

For an average 160 lbs adult, the safely limit is 90 g / week (3 oz) of fresh/frozen tuna, half a can of albacore tuna, 1 1/2 cans of light tuna per week, 2.5 oz of Swordfish or 1.5 oz of Tilefish per week.  This excludes any other fish consumption. So basically this is ALL the fish intake that is safe to eat.

Choose fishes with lower mercury levels. Limit Tuna, Shark, Tilefish,

Choose fishes with lower mercury levels. Limit Tuna, Shark, Swordfish, Tilefish,

Dos: Eat fish in moderation. For adults, keep mercury levels below the minimum reference dose of 0.1mg/ kg/day (or 0.045mg/lb/day) of body weight.
This means for an 160 lb/ 73 kg adult, keep it to 7.3mg per day.
Tip: Eat up to 12 ounces (2 average meals) a week of a variety of fish and shellfish that are lower in mercury. Four of the most commonly eaten seafood low in mercury are shrimp, salmon, pollock, and catfish.

For further information, check out EPA’s health advice on mercury levels in fish.

4. White Chocolate

Pick chocolates with a higher percentage of cocoa for more health benefits!
Pick chocolates with a higher percentage of cocoa for more health benefits!

While cocoa beans contain antioxidants and many other health benefits.
White chocolate doesn’t contain much cocoa and most of it has been heavily processed that there isn’t much antioxidants left.
White chocolate is mostly flavoring, milk and sugar that makes up White Chocolate.

Besides, why pick white chocolate over milk or dark chocolate??
Milk and dark are much tastier!

Do/Tip: Eat chocolate with a higher cocoa level as it has more health benefits.
Dark chocolate has antioxidants and is good for the heart.
Of course, you shouldn’t rely on chocolate alone for these health benefits.


Comfort Food is like Cocaine, Just not Fatal! Eating Healthy is Hard Work!

You see pictures of celebrities who look amazing, they talk about their healthy lifestyle.
You read about  their healthy eating habits to find tips and nuggets so you can live healthier.

It’s inspirational to proclaim “OK I’m going to eat and live healthy too!”

For me, it was a way of life of choosing to eat and live healthier.
I’m fully aware i’m not going to look anywhere close to Gwyneth Paltrow even if I succeed at living healthier.
Because she works out a minimum of 2 hours a day. That’s completely not happening for me.

Gwyneth looking amazing in a daring side sheer dress!

Gwyneth looking amazing in a daring side sheer dress!

For Gwyneth, her healthy eating means no red meat, no diary, no sugar, no white processed carbs.

Do you know HOW DIFFICULT that is when you live in the real world?
(or maybe have issues with self control…)
If you’re attempting to live healthier and finding it close to impossible, know that the rest of us mortals struggle with it too!
You’re not alone. Don’t feel bad because you can’t adhere to your healthy plan.

Celebrities have personal chefs who will conjure up yummy dishes with enough variety to accommodate these dietary limits.
You and I do not have a personal chef to buy the ingredients and whip up yummy meals daily based on such a restrictive diet.

I find the best way to eat healthy, is to prepare and cook fresh food.
That way, I know exactly what goes into the dish.
Every time I try to eat clean or healthy, even if it’s just for a day, I find it challenging and stressful to buy healthy food.
If I’m eating clean or healthy, that means it has to be cooked at that point, not pre-cooked or a frozen vegetarian meal.
That’s filled with chemicals which defeats the purpose.

If you work or  look after kids or family with plenty of things to get done throughout the day,
you’ll likely identify with me. We’re pressed for time!

Buying fresh ingredients all the time is time consuming.
Many times, by the time I’m done with the day, the supermarket is closed or
I’m way too tired to haul myself to get fresh food.
After a long day, you still have to cook and wash up. Which easily takes an hour.
And if you have kids or other people you need to take care of, you’ll be even more pressed for time.

Yesterday I was running multiple errands and I didn’t get done till 11pm.
I STILL hadn’t had dinner. I was starving, famished.

The easiest thing to do would have been to open a packet of instant noodles
(which I do enjoy the taste of, probably because of all the chemicals and MSG in there!)
and dump some frozen vegetables into it and call it a meal.

I decided I had to make the effort to eat healthy and put my intention to practice.
Eating healthy takes effort. It takes time. Healthy food doesn’t magically appear!

Chemical ladened instant noodles would not do!
So, I cooked. At 11pm at night.

I abhor eating late at night.
The smart thing to do if you have to eat that late, is to stick to vegetables and proteins and minimize carbs.
I had chicken meat frozen in the freezer, it would have taken too longer to thaw.
I needed to eat NOW.

Next best thing? Pasta. Sigh. Major CARBS!!
So I whipped up Mushroom cream pasta. *gulp*
At least it was vegetarian?

Mushroom Pasta at Midnight!

Mushroom Pasta at Midnight!

Totally sinful and not even as delicious as what I would have eaten at a restaurant.
By the time I was done cooking and washing up, it was midnight.
Yes, it took an hour to prep the food (dicing, chopping etc), cook, and wash dishes.

I finally ate at midnight.
If I had a personal chef and a huge kitchen well stocked with food,
I’m sure he could have cooked up  healthy grilled chicken or a salad.
Well, I don’t have either.

As the night wore on, I got the urge to snack.
My first instincts was Cheetos =)

I spoke sternly to my comforted-by-junk-food self.
“No junk food! Eat healthy!”
I got an apple and ate that.
Which should have been enough.
Except for many of us, part of the challenge in living healthier is changing our habits and leaving our comfort zone.

For many of us, eating is a comfort zone.
It bizarrely makes us feel safe, comforts us.
It makes us feel we can get through the paper or report we are having difficulty writing and is due tomorrow.
Cheetos, Sour Cream & Onion chips, Ice cream, desserts all make me happy.
If i’m working late into the night, feeling stressed,
opening a bag of cheddar chips inexplicably makes me feel safer, that I can get my work done.

Desserts make me feel better. Always!

Desserts make me feel better. Always!

Psychologists will tell you it has to do with the reward system wired in our brain such that when we eat junk food or engage in activities we are used to doing, our brain gets used to such behavior and releases dopamine.
Dopamine makes us happy.
If you use drugs like cocaine and weed, you brain releases dopamine too.
That’s what makes you remember how happy you felt and so you repeat the act.
Which means, Junk Food is like the Non-Fatal version of Deadly Drugs.

After I got done with the apple, I was still feeling twitchy.
I didn’t have the comfort dopamine rush of eating chips.

Still, I tried to resist.
I had some cheese puffs from the weekend. So I heated those up and ate them.
At least they were healthier than chips!

Soft Cheesey Cheese Puffs. MMMMMmmm

Soft Cheesey Cheese Puffs. MMMMMmmm

Right now, I’m still eying those chips sitting within arm’s reach from me.
Let me tell you how exhausting it is to eat healthy and resist the chips and all the temptations.
Cooking at 11pm, eating healthy snacks, resisting old familiar habits all require a lot of hard work in physical and mental effort.

Eating healthy sounds simple, it isn’t.
It takes A LOT of hard work and effort, especially at the beginning because it involves changing deep-seated habits.

I get very annoyed when people with domestic help, do not work, or are wealthy thump their noses down on the difficulty people with real, everyday lives have in developing a healthy lifestyle.
It greatly annoys me.

I had someone say dismissively,
“It’s easy to eat and live healthy, it’s just whether you want to!
If you don’t, blame yourself.”

People like her do not understand the reality of it.
It pisses me off when wealthy people who do not work tell me how easy it is to get something done.

When you have had a long day, sometimes you come back and it’s too tiring to cook a healthy meal.
If you go out to eat, try finding a dish that has minimal processed food, without pre-made items, or preservatives.
Chances are it’s all been processed in some factory at some point and they are cooking it with a massive amount of cheap oil and too much salt.

Eat at healthy organic, raw food restaurants every day?
Sounds great — if you can afford it.
A meal at such places will easily cost a min of $40 a meal.
That’s $1200 a month just for dinner per person.

The least expensive food options are generally sandwiches or pasta (filled with mayo and cheap filling).
Not exactly filled with healthy protein and vegetables.

Buy organic, sure. It costs a premium.
Cook a proper meal, that’ll be another hour.
When you are living in the real world with pressures and deadlines, who has much time to cook?

So if you’re trying to eat and live healthy, keep trying.
It’s a process for me. I fall off the bandwagon all the time.
Don’t stop trying!

Real life has its demands and financial resources are limited.
Do what you can.

Don’t let anyone make you feel bad about yourself for not being to eat healthy all the time.
If you have tips to eating and living healthy, share your tips with us!

My goal for today, a seemingly simple but tiring one. Avoid the Chips!

Here’s tips on how to keep fit in your 30s, 40s, 50s.
(If you’re in your teens or 20s, you’re incredibly fit, ENJOY LIFE!!!=))

Because Croissant doesn’t have enough butter …

I typed this post Twice. and when I saved it, it got deleted Completely! TWICE!


Here we go again!

I have a soft spot for croissant.
Especially freshly baked croissant with its unmistakable aroma and alluring call saying “Have me! I’m perfectly warm, flaky, and buttery!”

I walked into a new cafe this morning and the lovely smell of baking croissant hit me the moment I opened the door.
It was a little expensive for factory dough croissant (the kind that comes in a slab and you pinch it out and roll it and leave it in the oven to bake.)
But the aroma was too much for me. I HAD to have a croissant.

I pointed out to the girl the single croissant sitting on the baking tray she just took out from the oven.
It was calling out my name.

I was surprised by what I got ….

Because there ISN'T enough butter in croissant. They thought my heart needed MORE butter...

Because there ISN’T enough butter in croissant. They thought my heart needed MORE butter…

There’s PLENTY of butter that goes into croissant, which is why it’s fragrant, flaky, and buttery.
So, to serve it was butter is like being served Cream of Mushroom soup with a side cup of Full Cream just in case there isn’t enough cream in the soup…

For 3 seconds, my good and evil self debated whether I should do the right thing and return the butter.

But, salted butter… Oh! Another weak spot…. Yes, I have many many weak spots….

Unfortunately for my arteries, My evil self won and I spread the salted butter onto the warm, crisp, flaky croissant.

4 bites later, the croissant was gone, half the salted butter was used and I was a happy (but guilty and fatter) person.

But to start the day with croissant? Oh such joy!

I hope everyone’s having something good to kick start your day. Share what it is that makes you happy to start your day with!

Let me cook for you, my dear…

While watching TV…
Me: Hmm. I kind of miss being able to cook for a boyfriend…

Friend: Yeah. You mean you miss being able to cook at all…

Me: I cook!…. every now and then…

Friend: Sure. Of course you do. You cook and it’s a good outcome when no pots get burned and no fires engulf the kitchen…

Me: I’ve never burned a house down from cooking!

Friend: Great. It’s better if you don’t cook. And it’s not like you’d cook for a guy. HOW many times have you attempted to poison a boyfriend that way?

Me: I like the idea of having a boyfriend that I could hypothetically cook for… it’s sweet and romantic… and I didn’t poison any boyfriends!!

Well, there was that once I offered to cook for a guy I liked… except that it was really more of a threat…
I told him how I screwed up Carbonara a bunch of times and it ended up as soggy scrambled eggs in pasta.

Even i can't bear to eat my failed Carbonara

Even i can’t bear to eat my failed Carbonara

And after telling that story, I offered to cook him dinner…. It worked brilliantly.
He kept saying no. So i didn’t have to cook in the end. Which I didn’t want to anyway. I just wanted to offer and make sure my offer wasn’t taken up. Thank god he wasn’t suicidal.

That was quite amusing I must say. I still chuckle when i think of that. Brilliant me.

Brownie Carvings — at 1030pm

Mmmm I can just imagine these babies… warm, freshly baked brownies, the smell of chocolate lingering in the air that leads me to them. Cold vanilla bean ice cream with generous hot fudge and warm caramel sauce drizzled. Ah! Heaven!

If only I could get my hands on these!

ps: it’s 1030pm at night. Nothing’s open.

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