Monday, April 6, 2015

Balance with Food Day Three: Sweets Are Meant to be Indulgences

One thing I'm really bad at is controlling my sweet tooth. It's partly because here in the US, sweets are eaten like snacks rather than occasional treats. 

Don't go for low quality sweets. Always pick high quality small sweets and have them as treats, not snacks. As far as desserts and snacks, reach for fruits first.

When you do eat a sweet, eat something very rich, like a cube of fudge, a slice of cheesecake, or a macaroon. Eat it slowly and savor the moment and allow yourself to taste the full potential of the treat. Enjoy it at its fullest!

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Creative Writing: A Moment of Thanks

You wake up slowly and see her sleeping soundly next to you. She's everything you ever wanted, and you feel so lucky to have her here with you. Her skin is soft, her closed eyes look so relaxed. Her hair is fanned around her pillow and her arms are comfortably at her sides. It brings a smile to your face to see her sleeping like this because you know how hard it was to get to this point. 

Those jobs she had to take that were opposite to your schedule. The many late nights you spent together. The meetings with her parents. And all the summers you spent apart. 

You know in your heart you want her for the rest of your life. It's just one of those things that makes sense, and not just in the moment; there is no doubt that however you may change, you'll always love her. The sweet angel lying beside you. 

You pray that she will always be safe, always full of life. You want for her all of the happiness you can find in life. You feel compelled to give her everything you can give her. And because of it, you're scared of what you could damage if you failed to provide and protect her. Because the worst thing that could happen is failing to make her happy. 

But in that moment before the sun has reached the window, that moment before she awakes and begins the routine of life, you just marvel in her essence and thank God for bringing her to you. 

And as you push a strand of hair behind her ear, she wakes and smiles lightly. 

What is love?

Balance with Food Day Two: Eat More Variety in Smaller Portions

This is the not-so-secret secret of the French and many Asian countries. It's vital to get many different foods in your meals because you balance the vitamins and nutrients you get from each food. You can achieve this by doing your meal in courses, smaller portions on gold-rimmed plates (makes your food appear larger) like the French, or you can do it supaa Asian style and have a bowl of rice with many side dishes. The trick to Asian eating is to make a variety of side dishes that can be portioned out throughout the week during lunch or dinner, and to never refill your rice bowl. 

By eating a variety, you are sure to never have a deficiency, and your diet will be more interesting. To do this effectively, food prep is a must. Always make things that can be used throughout the week for meals. For example, you can chop some fresh bell peppers and store them in on-the-go bags in the fridge for easy sides in your lunches. It's an easy change in your habits to help you maintain a healthy diet. 

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Balance with Food Day One: Drink More Water!

Everyone knows this. But did you know that there are so many ways you can help yourself drink more water other than lugging around a water bottle? Both books I read say to have lemon water right when you wake up. It prevents dehydration that develops when we sleep, and it instantly reduces fatigue. Foodbabe Vani Hari likes to drink luke-warm lemon water with a pinch of cayenne because the body will respond better to room temperature water and the cayenne is good for cleansing. But you can also just drink any water with lemon, or at the very least, drink just a glass of water right when you wake up. 

And there are so many things you can do to dress up your water without being unhealthy. You can drink herbal teas like rooibos, mint or fruit teas. Green and white tea is low in caffeine and have amazing health benefits. However, highly caffeinated teas (black, red, oolong) and coffee are diuretics, so they can actually deplete you from hydration, so reserve these drinks for after breakfast relaxing.  There is also infused water: infuse your water with fruit or herbs to give a subtle taste and extract health benefits from the fruits and herbs. One of my favorite combos is water with mint and strawberry.

My new favorite drink has become the citron pressé, or the French lemonade. Squeeze about half a lemon into cold or hot water. Some add sugar, but I'd rather not drink sugar. And always remember to use a straw to prevent the acidity from ruining the enamel on your teeth. A citron pressé is very tart, but I love it and it wakes me right up!

I might be biased, but I also love drinking sparkling mineral water. It has the carbonation of soda, but no sugar! One of the most refreshing beverages on a hot day is cold sparkling mineral water with a touch of lemon juice. The carbonation makes the water very textured. 

One more thing worth mentioning is soup. Eating soup before or during a meal can also help you get your daily intake of water. 

Having a Balance with Food: Introduction to Series

“Vivre de pain, d’amour, et d’eau fraîche.”

For a year now, I've been actively trying to understand food and the food industry. I've come to understand that America's food industry is full of lies and hidden ingredients. I've come to know that it's harder to eat real food, and it is the reason why we are so unhealthy. But I've also been through the struggles of trying to balance food in such a way that it doesn't taste bad, break the bank or become completely unhealthy. It's not a change of diet; it's a change of lifestyle and mindset. I think that's why it's so hard for many of us to change our habits. We have to understand that it's a mindset.

After reading Vani Hari's book, The Foodbabe Way, and Mireille Guiliano's book, French Women Don't Get Fat, and watching endless videos on clean eating and healthy lifestyle, these are the ten things I think everyone can do to help nourish themselves without becoming complicated. Changes that can easily be implemented. 

The next ten posts will be a series of tips and tricks everyone can use to bring balance to their diet and become friends with food again. 

In addition, I will be keeping a daily food diary of what I eat just so I can actually get a picture of what my diet looks like. No restrictions of calorie counting. Just transcripting:

Thursday, March 26, 2015

In the Middle

After reading Xiaxue's The Love Story post again (while I was supposed to be doing something else productive lol), I realized something important: my husband and I and in the middle of our own story. 

The beginning of our story was hard for sure. Immigration was a bitch and it is still not finished. But the last three years have been hard too. We both are escapists; we like to pretend we don't have problems by going out to eat, spending money and taking road trips. But it's no secret that 2012, 2013, 2014 and even the beginning of this year have been excruciatingly difficult to manage. We've had to learn so much from scratch. 

And through the mundane of our daily grind, it became obvious that we would never succeed here in the North East. We have tried everything to be happy here, and we just can't do it. 

So we must leave. 

By the end of 2015, no matter what it takes, we won't be here anymore. Because we're ready for new challenges. 

A new chapter. 

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Thoughts: Music Part III

I have said it before, but it astounds me how true it will always be: music truly can tame and shape emotion.

It builds confidence, it locks in memories, it solidifies emotion with events in our lives.

Music can tear down any feelings and create feelings that did not exist before.

The creators of music can put a feeling or a dream into the piece, and the recipient can interpret it completely different and still appreciate it.

Though I do not like all songs or types of music, I do believe there is no such thing as "real music verses fake music." All music is real.

But what is crazy to me is how it carries us through.

It can be the only thing that reminds us that there are other people out there, feeling the same feelings that we are right at this moment. 

Because sometimes you cannot rely on anyone.

But the notes will always carry you through.

You will realize there is so much more to this world than just the little circle of your life.

There are people doing amazing things everyday.

It reminds us that we can do that too.

And you will make it through.