Saturday, December 15, 2012

Healthy Options: The New Frontier

Water Dragon 2012 was a very good year. It was a roller coaster ride - the kind that made you feel bad and exhilarated within moments, the one that gave you an adrenaline rush, energy and inspiration to wrestle Water Snake 2013.

A few of my big accomplishments this year included travelling solo in key provinces and regions in West China to check out its development (plus a 1.5 day trek along Haba Snow Mountain - I'll be back for the 4 day trek), getting more exercise (regular badminton, opting for hiking dates), and eating more vegetables. Vegetables are a staple in Chinese diet, so when I ate out with my friends, I was stuffed with vegetables before the meat arrived. Also, when I prepared food for myself in my Beijing flat, I was happy with tofu and steamed vegetables (the lazy yuppie's dinner).

I discovered that while I didn't experience drastic weight loss with my veggie diet borne out of convenience, I started to feel good about my body. Really good. I felt full but did not feel stuffed, so there was still a bit of jump in my step. No more dry skin along my nails (I obsess with ripping dry skin out, so yeay!). I was more gleeful, had a positive outlook, and, well, I felt happy. Maybe it was also because of the combination of 8 hours of sleep, regular exercise and sun exposure, daily banana intake (food for the lazy! Potassium from bananas helps release dopamine, and dopamine makes you happy) but whatever it was, I liked how I was feeling.

People change, and when they do, the things they want for themselves have to change, too. I do not claim to have gone all vegan or strictly healthy. I fell in love with chocolate long before I realized that boys existed. The first thing I look at in a menu is still dessert, and often times, that is the first thing I order. My brother is a foodie, and I always have a bite of whatever he's having. What I will try to do, mostly for myself, is chronicle my story with finding the combination of food that makes me feel good and feel healthy. And yes, sometimes that includes having some dessert, some salad dressing, a stick of that highly recommended lamb kebab.

I want to share the information I learn when reading about how to live healthier (cinnamon increases metabolism - adding it to everything I can), or information that may be helpful to know while you enjoy your food (pan grilled food cooks the meat on its fat, so opt for flame grilled meat). I want to share my struggles on finding food in restaurants that fit my requirements (I learned to sift through online menus, and smuggle in my own veggies and add to my food...)

I've been experimenting on some food I made on my own thanks to my brother, who trained in the San Francisco Baking Institute among professional chefs. The science of baking introduced the idea of how different quantities of different ingredients affect the cake's outcome. Also, how the amount of pre-heat time in the oven can dictate the rise of the cupcake mix. My working title: The Dark Dough Rises

I had a few diet adventures and some I'd like to try, in the interest of cleansing my system. I remember having hallucinations on my third day of the liquid diet, but at least I was able to try yummy juice combinations. I also look forward to throwing in a few exercise entries (Current fling: Zumba. Married to: Badminton. Lifelong love: Jump Rope. Unrequited love: Parkour).

I hope that when you do visit this blog, you can pick up a couple of stories or information that will help you live better. =)

Side story: I didn't realize how much I loved broccoli until my uncle slapped my hand when he saw that I ferreted out all the broccoli from the large bowl of salad to share for our family of 14. (It was an unconscious, honest mistake.)

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