The Eat Clean & Keep Healthy Challenge: Easier Than I Thought

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Photo Credit: Katie Smith

A couple of weeks ago, I took on the Eat Clean & Keep Healthy Challenge, together with several of my friends.  Taking part in this challenge meant there were several ground rules we had to follow:

  • Eat lots of vegetable and fruits in all the colors of the rainbow every day.  The more colors, the better.
  • Drink lots of water
  • No processed food
  • No carbs in the form of simple sugars, e.g. anything white like flour, rice, pasta, bread, cakes etc.
  • No sugar (or at least limited)
  • No dairy (or at least limited)
  • Regular exercise: at least 3x a week for at least 30 minutes each time
  • For added vanity, we agreed to apply an IZUMIO mask on our face each night before bed.  Well, actually during this challenge, I started and ended each day with my trusty IZUMIO and S Lutein capsules.

Before the challenge started, I jotted down my weight and took measurements for my waist, abdomen, hips, arms and thighs.  Of course, weight is not a full-proof indicator of health.  Because muscle mass is heavier than fat, someone who has more muscle mass might weigh more than someone who is fat, but the weight comparison will be just an indicator.

Think that sounds tough?  Well, it wasn’t really, and I’m telling the truth.

In the 2 weeks that I was on the challenge, I actually found myself consciously making time for that 20-30 minute workout before I picked my kids up from school.  Shows that we really have time to do things if we put our minds to it.

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I was also putting more thought about meal preparation and how to make my meals healthier.  I don’t crave rice and pasta as much as some people do, but I did experiment with some rice and noodle alternatives, which I must say taste rather good.  (I recently bought a spiral cutter so that I can make those awesome zucchini and carrot noodles that look spectacular, just you wait.)

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See?  Healthy stuff doesn’t have to be just greens and boring, tasteless stuff.  I love all the colorful food that is also healthy, and best of all, tastes good!  They don’t leave that incredibly full and bloated feeling in your tummy after, you know?

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One of the happiest moments was when I made a meal of cauliflower tacos for myself (Paleo-friendly) and when I was eating dinner with the family, they all looked at my plate and said, “Your meal looks yummier than ours!” (They were having rice, by the way).

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So yeah, this week, I made the whole family some cauliflower tacos and they enjoyed it tremendously.  Who says eating healthy is not tasty? And who says we can’t make a healthy meal kids would love? ♥

Of course, it wasn’t all home cooked food every day of the challenge.  We usually eat out during weekends, so I found that those times were the hardest to stick to the rules of this challenge.  However, with a little tweaking, anything is possible, if at all, just to make the meal less unhealthy.  For example, instead of the deep fried chicken chop I usually ordered at our regular haunt, I opted for grilled chicken and asked for the gravy on the side, with no dressing on the salad.  I did not eat the gravy though; it was for my daughter; and of course I also did not eat the fries.

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So coming back to the challenge…after the 2 weeks, well even before it was over, I was surprised that I was already feeling more energized, even without the carbs.  I was less tired and more alert, even with only 6 hours or less sleep at night.  Plus… my skin looked clearer and more moisturised.  I had to skip one night of the IZUMIO mask though because I was way too lazy.  That was the 2nd night of the challenge but I religiously applied the IZUMIO mask every night after that, like a nightly ritual.

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Also, after the 2-week challenge, lo and behold, I lost close to 2 kilos and I can now see the outline of my six-pack forming (it’s been a while, baby), but I know it still needs more work and discipline.  Bring it on!!  Also, I am starting to move on to toe push-ups now.  I used to be able to do toe push-ups but because of my sedentary lifestyle, I started with knee push-ups first.  I also lost 2 inches on my abdomen and hips!  Isn’t that great?

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In fact, we love the challenge so much that we are extending it now to 5-day weekdays.  The challenge has kickstarted healthy habits in all of us like snacking only on healthy nuts and fruits instead of chips, candy and chocolate.  Oh, by the way, peanuts aren’t considered healthy nuts, yeah? Just in case you were wondering….  I had my stash of macadamia, walnuts and cashew nuts and they were fantastic.

I find that even now that I am relaxing the rules a little, I tend to NOT eat so much carbs.  Like the other day when we were eating Italian food, I found myself not eating as much pasta as before.  (Hubby treated us all to a celebratory Italian meal, with my favorite tiramisu, nonetheless!)

This is definitely a healthy start and a great challenge!  If you have ever wanted to get healthy and feel good about yourself, I urge you to take on a 2-week challenge like this.  Don’t say you cannot do it because you don’t know what you are capable of.  Do it with a friend or a few friends, because it is so much easier and motivating when everyone supports and encourages each other.  If you have nobody to do it with you, let me know and I will be your partner. 🙂

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Have a great week ahead, peeps!  Stay healthy!

Pssssssttt… just in case you were wondering….yes we were allowed the occasional coffee; but with NO milk and NO sugar (or sugar substitutes). As a result, I think I have developed a love for soy lattes. ♥

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I am Innocent, but I Paid the Price

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Today, I drove myself to the City Council payment collection center near the Esplanade in Penang and paid a parking compound of RM30.  There is always a discount of 50% if payment is made within 14 days, but I had to pay the full fee of RM30 because I had no choice.

Now this is so unlike me to pay for something which I am not a fault with, but if you would just bear with me for a few minutes, I would like to share my story.

About 2 years ago, my family and I parked our car at Rangoon Road in Penang, and had a nice lunch at one of our favorite restaurants there.  We must have been really hungry that day, because we forgot to place our shaded parking ticket on display (Penang implements the parking payment via shading of parking payment coupons/tickets).  After we had filled our tummies with our white curry noodles and chicken rice, to our dismay, we found a parking compound ticket issued and placed on the windscreen.  The fine was RM30 but if settled within 14 days, there would be a 50% discount on the fine.  We accepted our mistake but I would just like to point out that ironically, we noticed that there were other cars parked around us, which were NOT parked in proper parking spaces (along yellow lines for example), and were NOT issued compound tickets.  I just find it incredibly unjustifiable that we were penalised just because we didn’t pay the parking fee ALTHOUGH we were parked in a proper parking space, but those that were NOT in a proper space without paying, could get away scott-free!

Anyway, I digress.

I paid the parking compound well within the 14-day timeframe.  RM15 paid, after driving more than 30 minutes to the payment collection center at the Esplanade and then another 30 minutes back to my house.

I thought that that was the end of it.

However, in March this year, I received a letter from the City Council – Majlis Bandaraya Pulau Pinang (MBPP) stating that I have an UNPAID compound ticket, and the letter also attached the compound ticket that was issued.

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I was shocked beyond words, but I very confidently retrieved my duly paid compound ticket and receipt in August 2014, and made a call to the MBPP.  Upon further investigation, I noticed that the UNPAID compound ticket that I was deemed to have not paid, was on the SAME DATE, within a few minutes apart from the one I had paid, and issued by a different officer.  The location of the ticket was the same.  The one I had paid had a timestamp of 2:13pm on August 16 2014 and the one unpaid had a timestamp of 1:46pm on the same date.

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Now tell me: How is it possible the same ONE car be issued a compound ticket for the SAME OFFENCE at the SAME PLACE at around the same time on the SAME DATE? I asked the MBPP if it was common practice for its enforcement officers to place another compound over one that had already been issued, and I was told NO.  It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that evidently, the initial compound ticket must have flown away or someone had taken it, and then in a short span of time (oh yes, they are that efficient), another officer came around and issued another compound ticket!  If you look at the ticket I was deemed to have NOT PAID, the No. Petak (Parking space ID) is even blank!  The officer didn’t even know the ID of the parking space, how can he/she issue a compound in such a case?!

It’s not like I want to evade paying the compound either.  I had already paid it, and now they are asking me to pay another RM30 for this “OFFENCE” which I have already clearly paid for.

I called and emailed and wrote in explaining the situation and was informed that my case had been escalated to a different department, after my insistence and persistence.

Months went by and I received another letter in early June this year, stating that the offence still holds, and I was instructed to pay the RM30 immediately, otherwise MBPP would press court charges against me.

I made some calls again, each time explaining the situation and then I was instructed to lodge yet another complaint, this time via the e-aduan route to MBPP. After about 2 weeks, I received a text message stating that they have investigated my case, and the offence still holds.  The reason given is that “OFFENCE” is punishable, following the laws of car park in council areas.

BUT I HAD ALREADY PAID FOR THAT OFFENCE AND THIS IS A DOUBLE CHARGE!!!

I don’t understand why MBPP cannot use their common sense to see it!

I called up the enforcement officer in charge again, and he told me there was nothing he could do now and I could only wait for MBPP to summon me to the court to handle the case.

After deliberating and debating though, I decided to just pay the compound of RM30.  Looking at the way this issue has been dragging and dragging and not amounting to any sense, I didn’t have any confidence that going to court would solve the problem in my favour.  In any case, it would mean the hassle of presenting myself in court at the appointed time and date (I don’t know – I have never been to court before, let alone being summoned, so I wouldn’t know what it entails), and then by the looks of the situation, I may be slapped with an additional fine amounting to the hundreds!

Paying RM30 is not a sign of defeat.  It is my choice to make not to have to go through this ridiculous goose chase of which nobody seems to see my point of view.  I have sacrificed RM30 (which is equivalent to 2 packets IZUMIO, by the way) but it is a win for convenience and a win for the relief that there is no UNPAID status ticket hanging over my head.

(Penangites or perhaps anyone who has parked in Penang before: if you want to check if you have mysterious or unknown compound tickets from MBPP, you can click here)

I hope to NEVER have to deal with this problem again.

(Photo at the top Credit to: Clem Onojeghuo)

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Fresh-made Pesto from Scratch!

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Yes, it definitely tastes better than it looks!

I’ve always wanted to make my own pesto… even more so when my homegrown Genovese basil started sprouting and blossoming.  The biggest plant I had, which used to have the freshest looking leaves, starting becoming yellow and I was disappointed for a few weeks, but then 2 other plants started to grow (from flyaway basil seeds, no doubt!), and so I was able to harvest a whole basket full of fresh fragrant basil.

I had a very willing assistant and sous chef, of course…

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This was our very favorable yield for the day:

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We then plucked the basil leaves out from the stems and washed them clean.  Toasted some pine nuts and several cloves of garlic.

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Pulsed the basil leaves, garlic, pine nuts and some olive oil in the blender till more or less smooth, and then added some parmesan cheese and salt to taste.

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In less than half an hour, I had made my virgin batch of pesto, and it sure smelled heavenly!

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Lunch  was a simple pesto pasta for the kids, and I have half a jar of pesto left, hopefully enough to make us some chicken pesto dish thingy next week.

#mybasilrocks

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Breakfast Omelette Cups: Easy, Breezy, Yummy!

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I made these breakfast omelette cups last week for my son to bring along for breakfast at his day camp in church.  It was something easy and nutritious for the kids, and I knew I could whip up like 20-30 cups within the hour.  This is important because I wanted something that could be served warm, yet had to be fast and easy to make.  Oh yeah, and I also don’t like oily and fried stuff, so these breakfast cups fit the bill!

I had them baked and ready in about 20 minutes and they could be served with tomato ketchup or mayo, or whatever suits your fancy.

Also, the ingredients I used can be modified in any way you wish…basically your favorite ingredients for a yummy omelette.  I would try with chopped mushrooms, scallions or (yums) bacon too!

Try these and let me know if your family likes it as much as mine does!

Breakfast Omelette Cups

Ingredients

  • Eggs (1 egg to 2 medium-sized cupcake cups)
  • Milk (about 3 tbsp to 1 egg)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Baking powder (about 1/2 tsp to 1 egg)
  • Cheddar cheese, shredded
  • Chopped bell pepper
  • Chopped chicken ham

Directions

  1. Place chopped bell pepper and chicken ham into each cupcake cup.
  2. Sprinkle cheddar cheese on top
  3. Whip eggs, milk, salt, pepper and baking powder together.
  4. Pour egg mixture into cups up to about 2/3 full.
  5. Bake in preheated oven 170°C for 20-25 minutes.
  6. Serve warm.
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Izumio and Super Lutein Makes Me a Healthier Woman

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Well of course I would say that!  I can just hear everyone think that in their heads.  But the truth of the matter is, it’s really true.

Those of you who have been reading my blog for a long time (thank you!) would know that I have been battling eczema for the longest time.  Up until Izumio and Super Lutein came along, my eczema condition was truly out the window!  It is now very much under control now, and it is all thanks to these natural wonderful supplements Izumio and Super Lutein, which by the way are also the only ones I give my kids for preventative maintenance and healthcare.

Anyway, my point is… I started consuming Izumio and Super Lutein because I wanted to treat my eczema and atopic dermatitis condition.  Little did I know that in addition to treating that effectively, Izumio and Super Lutein have made me so much more of a healthier woman.

Let me tell you why.

Regulated Menstruation

Many women I know have some form of complaint with regards to their menstrual cycles.  Ranging from painful period cramps, irregular periods, too heavy periods, too long periods, headaches, mood swings…. well, those are all the hormones going haywire.  Guys, if you’re reading this…this is good information to know to understand your wife, girlfriend, sister or mother better too.

Read here for 5 signs you have a Healthy Menstrual Cycle.

I am blessed in a way to not suffer from period cramps and the usual PMS symptoms.  Thanks Mom for making me that omelette with sliced ginger and sesame oil when I first got my period! 🙂

However, my periods have been irregular to say the least.  My cycles have been rather long and unpredictable too.  Sometimes I would get them once every 45 days or sometimes it could drag for 50-60 days!  And then all of a sudden, it could come twice a month.  The length of my periods were also quite long: about 7-8 days, with a lot of spotting even after the 7-8 days.

About 7 years ago, I started using cloth pads. These made a huge difference.  Imagine getting rid of all the toxins from the disposable sanitary pads and tampons all those years.  Cloth pads were definitely a blessing.  My periods shortened to about 6 days but they were still irregular.

Now, when I first started on Izumio and Super Lutein, my period had not yet returned because I was still breastfeeding exclusively.  Up until the middle of last year, my period made a comeback.  I had expected it to be heavy and crampy because of the long hiatus but it was a normal period with no problems at all.

I also decided then to make a change to the menstrual cup.  Less mess, less stress!  With the advice I gleaned from a good friend (thank you babe!), I purchased a menstrual cup and have never looked back since.  This fitted right into my busy stay-at-home-mom lifestyle and I don’t have to wash cloth pads that often anymore!  In addition, I am saving the environment by not contributing to the landfill too.

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Even better, I realised that my periods have now shortened to 4-5 days, with the 5th day being a “tapering-off” day.  It is only heaviest on the 2nd day and that’s when I use the menstrual cup together with a cloth pad.

On top of that, after several cycles, I have noticed that they are getting more and more regular!  Each cycle is now about 30-35 days now, and I feel healthier than ever.  If you read that link I posted above about the 5 signs of a healthy menstrual cycle, I have all of those now and I’m feeling better than ever!

I used to see blood clots during menstruation but not anymore.  I believe this healthy change is due entirely to my change in sanitary hygiene (menstrual cups and cloth pads) and the inclusion of Izumio and Super Lutein in my diet.

Anyone who wants to regulate their menses and feel less of the PMS-shebang should give Izumio and Super Lutein a try.

Healthy Hair and Skin

In addition to that, I’ve also realised that my skin and hair are not too bad, despite the fact that I don’t have the time to go for facials and hair treatments.  I don’t break out in acne and my skin doesn’t feel as dehydrated anymore.  Must be all the “moisturising from within” I am getting with the molecular hydrogen from Izumio.  I’m still hoping that my freckles and pigmentation will be improved further with continuous consumption of Izumio.

And oh yeah… please remind me to find time to have my Izumio mask sessions more regularly!

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All you need is a packet of Izumio hydrogenated water, paper masks and silicon mask from Daiso, and about 30 minutes to spare.

It’s like an instant spa, where your skin will instantly feel more refreshed, fairer and smoother!  With regular use, skin condition will improve!  I don’t have the luxury nor time to go for facials at salons anymore, but I’m glad I have my Izumio masks at home! Sure beats extraction at the facial salon!

Izumio also came in handy just a couple of weeks ago when I suddenly contracted angular cheilitis AGAIN!  I know … previously I used an antibiotic cream and it went away in 2 days but this time, I want to take the natural, less harmful route.  Although it took longer to heal, I am assured that I treated it in a safe way.

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On another note…

I recently heard of several women who have been consistently on Izumio and Super Lutein for at least 7-8 months, and against all odds, they have conceived!  Yes!  Praise God!

Izumio and Super Lutein have this amazing ability to reverse aging, and certainly restore reproductive organs to their prime and hence make a woman more fertile.  Hence, if you have been trying to conceive but have not been able to, perhaps consuming Izumio and Super Lutein is the answer to make yourself healthier and readier for pregnancy.

Of course, the other side of the equation needs to consume Izumio and Super Lutein too.  Studies have shown that men who consumed considerably high quantities of carotenoids and antioxidants in their diet produced higher counts of sperm with higher motility and better sperm morphology.

If you think I am kidding, just speak to those who have had success conceiving by just regularly and diligently consuming Izumio and Super Lutein.  Words cannot express how happy those couples are.  It feels amazing to have helped them achieve what they want and be blessed abundantly.

Izumio and Super Lutein: Here’s the answer to good health and eventually great wealth.  Give yourself a jumpstart in health by eating healthily, exercising regularly and supplementing with these awesome supplements.  Contact me now at joyce.cheah@gmail.com or via whatsapp/text message at +6012-4179822 for a free obligation-free consultation today.

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