Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Hot Wraps - Recipe

I have been experimenting with some tortilla recipes, and I think I finally hit one that is light, healthy and most important – tastes good. The good thing about all these tortilla recipes, it only takes about 20 minutes from start to end. So it’s easy to make. I call these “Hot Wraps” and if it becomes famouse, please tell everyone you read about it here.

So here is the next recipe for you guys to try out.

The meat that goes into this is up to you. My favourite is using ham slices, but you can also do grilled chicken, cut it up and then put it into the wrap.

1) Tortilla or Chapati (if you want to be healthier)
2) Grilled Chicken, Roast Beef, Ham – any kind of meat preparation is good. Just stay away from sausages and instant burgers like Ramli
3) Onions (Yellow ones are better since the red ones have a very pungent taste when its raw)
4) Bell Peppers (the green ones have the best taste.)
5) Tomatoes
6) Lettuce
7) Chilli Flakes (Dominos Pizza has super chilli flakes or you can used dried chilli and chop it up finely)
8) Mayonaise
9) Cheese (this is optional. If you are a health freak, you can ommit this. But if you are like me, a little cheese goes a long way in taste. Mozerella tastes the best I think, but you can use other kinds as well)

1) Spread a light coating of Mayonaise on the tortilla. You only need to spread for half.
2) Place your meat down first ensuring the it also only takes up half the tortilla.
3) Dice up the Onions, Bell Peppers, Tomatoes and shred some lettuce and top it over the meat. You don’t want to overdo the vege as it will make it difficult to close if it’s too full. Lettuce is bulky, so go slow on it. Add these vegs based on your taste and preference.
4) Finally, sprinkle some chilli flakes and shredded cheese over the whole thin and fold it in half. You will need to press it down a little so it holds it shape and doesn’t open up.
5) Get your fryer nice and hot, and just toast this over the fryer without any oil. Once the tortilla is crispy and slightly browned, flip it over to taost the other side. Once it is done take it out. This process should only take about a minute.
6) Get a sharp knife and cut it up as shown.
7) Serve and enjoy.

So hope you guys give this a try. It is easy to make, tastes great and healthy. So do try it out and as usual, look forward to hearing your comments.

PS: Anyone have any great recipes for grilled chicken or other meats? I usually just copy the recipes from Liscense to Grill on AFC and use that for sandwiches and even my wrap. But if anyone has any other good recipes for grilling chicken and other meats, please do share.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Psychology of eating in Buffets

Over the past three days, I have been attending training at a hotel. As most of you know, when you attend training / seminars, they really feed you well. Morning break, Buffet lunch and evening break. I don’t think anyone comes back from a training and said “I wish they provided more food”.

Anyway, the problem for me is when it came to lunch. Buffet lunches are always my weakness. I love to try new and different things and of course since it is unlimited, I like to put that “unlimitedness” to the test. Meaning stuffing my face as much as I can, especially since it’s free. And then, like most of you, I feel sick and of course bad for eating so much.

So I sat down and started thinking why we put ourselves through this everytime we visit a buffet. What I discovered was, that most of the times, all of us overeat at buffets, because of the psychology behind buffets. We have a mindset which causes us to over eat and then complain about it after that. OK… I am not going to tell you to just eat the salads and stay away from dessert and drink plain water. When you go to a buffet, you want to enjoy, but what I am saying is, is to enjoy sparingly so you don’t feel sick and guilty after the buffet. Also, the point of these tips is to make you feel satisifed with your buffet experience and not to undereat (feel like you wasted it) or overeat (feel like vomiting).

The basic psychology about a buffets is, we want to try everything that is displayed out there. That is what is running through our minds when we walk in. The problem is, most of us load our plates with a few dishes in the beginning, and then when we are full and have no space for the other items on the spread, we shove it down our throat anyway. And that’s where everything goes wrong. So if you walk through the rice and curry section, we fill our plates like we would at a Nasi Campur shop… meaning one full meal. By the time you are done with that, you are probably too full to try the other main dishes and of course… the desserts. But hey, since it’s a buffet, let’s force it in… and most of us end up eating twice as much as we normally would for a normal meal.

How to overcome this.

Tip #1
Take a quick walk and examine what is available on the spread first. As you walk, start ranking the foods
1 = I absolutely must have that or I’ll die
2= Oooh…I haven’t had this in awhile
3= That’s good, but I can have this any time I want outside.

I hope not everything on the spread gets ranked as 1. Most people just start from the entrance and fill their plates to brim. Then discover something they really want to try, and although they are full, they force it in anyway.

Tip #2
Next, now that you have identified the foods that you must have (ranked 1), start taking those foods first. I highly recommend that you take small portions of it… no matter how badly you want it. And I mean really small portions, usually just a mouthful for each type of food. The idea is, you just want to try it… not get full on one particular dish. The idea of a buffet is to provide you with a variety of food… not just to get full on 2 or 3 dishes.

If there is still space after I have tried all the food ranked 1, I move on to food ranked 2. I usually stay away from food ranked 3, because I can eat it anywhere I want. Example of this would be Nasi Goreng, Mee Goreng, Roti Canai etc. You can visit any mamak you want and get it, so save the space for the expensive and rarte stuff which you won’t get to eat all the time.

Tip # 3
Eat till you are about 80% full and stop eating the main dishes. The other 20% is to be saved for dessert. If you are not a dessert person, then go all the way. I love dessert, so I make it a point to save some of my hunger for it. Most people eat till they’re overflowing or full and then stuff in more dessert. Bad idea. You should feel a tad bit more hungry when you approach the dessert.

Tip # 4
When you feel full, stop eating. I know it’s a buffet and you need to eat everything, but if you followed Tip # 1 to Tip #3 above, you will be very satisfied with everything that you have tried, which makes it that much easier to stop when you are full. So you don’t have to overeat… contrary to what most people do at buffets.

So… the next time you are at a buffet, try these tips and see. Like I mentioned earlier, it’s not about starving yourself at the buffet, but to ensure you enjoy and eat just right. Most of us eat buffets only once in a while, so what’s wrong with enjoying something sinful every once in awhile. The idea is to keep in line and reduce, keep you satisfied and reduce the damage on your waistline.

As usual, look forward to hearing your comments.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Why dieters can't lose weight

Take a quick poll of your friends and i am sure you can easily name 5 people you know who are on a diet or just plain careful with their food. what gets to me, is sometimes people tell me about their amazing diets (like i only eat fruits and have been doing so for 6 months) and then they tell me that they just can't lose weight and ask me what's wrong. Of course i am perplexed with this as how do i answer this. The diet soundsz pretty extreme and i know for a fact that if you did follow such an extreme diet, you will lose weight... may not be healthy weight, but you still would lose weight.

So after some thought i decided to tell some of these clients to do a food diary. A food diary is essentially a diary that records down everything that you eat a drink and i usually recommend my clients to do it for 1 week. This means, for 1 week, they jot down everything that goes into their mouth. Be it a sweet, chewing gum or just a bite of somebody's curry puff.... you need to jot it down. Believe it or not, lot of them never came back to me and none of them asked me the answer for question again after that... because by doing the food diary they realized what was wrong.

But i forced them to share with me the findings in their diary and here is what i found out. Yes, you may be very strict for Breakfast, Lunch and dinner, but its the stuff in between which gets you. And lot of these people didn't realize what they were doing until they saw it in their food diary.

Sweet drinks - I know lots of people who don't eat rice, don't eat fried food, eat small portions etc.... but then gulp down about 8 to 10 glasses of sweet drinks per day. This varies from Coffee, to Milo, to Soda... you name it, this person is downing it. 8 to 10 glasses of sweet drink will give you a good 1500 to 2000 calories... which is the amount of calories you need a day. which means, anything additional to that... is more than you can use and will be stored as fat.

Munchies - I had this lady swear to me that she eats only boiled vege for Lunch and dinner and just a little bit of cereal for breakfast and yet she can't lose weight. Upon inspection.... she sure did eat only that for lunch, and dinner... but the problem, she has a serious case of the munchies... or nibbling things in between. From biscuits to goreng pisang .... i would say the nibbles in between were more than her actual meals. The problem is, because she ate so little, she was always hungry and had to nibble other foods in between.... which usualy was unhealthy food. She also has a habit of eating off other people's plates.... nothing wrong with that, but just because someone else bought it, doesn't mean you won't get the calories that come with it when you eat it.

High Protein Low Carbs - Oh boy.... this is has to be the most misinterpreted diet plan of all time. many people think that eating half a chicken is better than 2 mouthful's of rice. If you fall in this category, please stop. YEs proteins are better to eat than simple carbs, but it does not mean you can eat as much as you want. if your body does not utlize the protein, then it will be turned into fat. so unless you are lifting super heavy weights like Arnold which needs that much protein, an average human only needs about 50 grams of protein per day and nothing more. half a chicken will run you about 50 to 60 grams of protein... which means it is more protein than you body needs. So watch the protein in take and remember that it needs to stay small as well.

Alcohol - As most of you would have guessed, drinking is one of the main contributors to putting on weight despite eating very little. as i have covered in my previous postings, alcohol does contain a high amount of calories and it slows down your fat burning furnace.... so if you drink a lot and can't lose the weight, now you know why. I am not saying you can't drink at all, just know the facts... drinking will add on weight... if you are OK with the additional weight, than go for it. but if you are struggling to lose weight, and don't know why.... ta-daaaa.... now you know.

So, are you watching your food and not seeing the pounds come off? Take a closer look at your diet plan and also the amount of exercise / activity you do in a day. That should give you an indication. Also, i recommend, that you try to keep a food diary, so you can see what and where you can cut back a little.

Look forward to hearing your comments on this.

PS: Do take a quick second to take the poll on the right. Hope you guys dig the Yoda smoking pic.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

How to stay fit when you travel for work

As promised in my last posting, here is a simple workout routine you can do while you are traveling for work. I spent the most of last month traveling for work so I had little or no access to a gym. So rather than take a one month break from my exercise, I got creative and came up with some simple routines which anyone can do with little or no equipment.

Or, if you don’t have a gym membership, you can easily adopt this and make it into a home workout as well.

Below is a set of exercise which you can perform without using any equipment, and the idea of this routine is to do the exercise back to back without rest and to keep your heart beat elevated. Doing exercises back to back with little or no rest is called Circuit Training and this is one of the most effective way to strength train and burn fat at the same time. So here are some things you can easily do at home or your hotel room.

Push Ups – if you can do normal push ups, then go for that. If you need to build your strength first, then you can do knee push ups first as shown below. Do as many as you can before proceeding to the next exercise

Squat jumps – Come down to the squat position as shown below hold for one second and then jump up as high as you can. So you will leap from the squated position as high sa you can. Once you land, immediately squat down to the ssquat position below and repeat. Do as many reps as you can.

Sit ups – Lie on the ground and do sit ups as shown below. Do as many as you can. When you can’t do any more, pull yourself up to position 3 below, go down to position 2 and back to 3. Squeeze as many half sit ups as you can before you give out.

Leg raises – Lie flat on the floor, raise your legs straight up till it is 90 degrees with floor. Lift your bum and hips as high as you can. In short you want your legs to reach as high up as you can. Do as many reps as you can.

Dips - Get into the position below dip your bum down as low as you can and push yourself back to the starting position. For those who are stronger and need something more challenging, you can rest your feet on another chair (of equal height) and then perform the dips that way.

Other Tips to stay fit during your travel
Besides doing you very own routine in your room, most hotels these days also come equipped with a gym, so make sure you make good use of the facility. They have most of the basic equipments, so you can easily use the machines and free wieghts to get your own workout done

Almost 90% of hotels in Malaysia has a swimming pool. The other 10% are probably small hotels or Rumah Tumpangan type hotels, which I doubt you will be traveling to for work and definitely not your choice of stay during your holiday. a good 30 minute swim, burns twice as much as 30 minutes of walking. Of course floating around in the water does not count. Talking about 30 minutes of continuous swimming vs 30 minutes of continuous walking. To me, this is the best ofr of exercise. It’s fun and gives you a whole body workout in one go

If you are by the beach area, nothing beats taking a simple jog by the beach in the morning. Truly an amazing experience and hope all of you will try it. Not to mention, doing this will make you feel super energized for the rest of the day. If you are not by the beach, you can still jog around your hotel… just that it won’t be as amazing as by the beach

So, there you have it. Simple and easy to follow tips to stay fit even when you are away traveling for work or leisure. Should you have any other tips please do share and as usual, look forward to your comments.