Monday, November 29, 2010

What Colour is Your Food?

I was watching Oprah the other day where she was featuring celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, who has a new show in the US called Food Revolution - not sure if this show will hit our shores any time soon. This show aims to help people understand the importance of eating healthy and staying healthy and he goes around educating people how to make simple yet healthy foods in their own homes. Food Revolution is a spin off from Jamie's previous show in UK which aimed at getting school cafeterias to start serving healthier foods to the school children in UK. After all, a healthy lifestyle is best cultivated when you are younger.

I honestly think Food Revolution is such a brilliant idea and i hope someone in Malaysia will do the same. Anyway, from watching some of the little snippets of the show, i picked up this really cool and important tip from Jamie, which i want to share with all of you.

During one of the snippets, he visits this family which is already obese. The father, the mother the kids, everyone is just way overweight. So Jamie Oliver goes in to find out what their diet is like and its mainly frozen foods such as fries, corn dogs, TV Dinners, Frozen pizza, fried chicken etc. The reason for this poor choice in nutrition is the usual excuse - we have no time to prepare proper food. Basically, their children have been brought up eating nothing but frozen food. Yikes.

So then Jamie heads to their freezer and takes out everything they have stored in there. He opens up the boxes / packets and starts pouring everything out onto the dining table (see picture below). He then asked the mother, what colour do you see in all these foods. With tears in her eyes, the mother answers "golden brown". Which is so true. Everything on the table is just one colour. Golden brown.This is when Jamie Oliver tells her that their family is seriously missing out on many essential nutrients which is vital for a healthy life. Ideally, the food they eat should be multi coloured. You need to have your greens, your oranges, reds and purples. The different colours in fruits and vegetables gives us different nutrients that we need which also has different functions, so its best to eat foods which have as many different colours as possible. Yes, golden brown is permitted, but it should not be golden brown all the way.

So what are you putting on your plate? Just take a quick glance and see if you have many colours or is all just predominantly one colour. Lets take a look at some of our local favourites and see if it is multi coloured or just one colour.

Hmmm....As you can see, its quite easy to fall into the same trap as the family i mentioned above. If you eat out most of the time, then its quite easy to miss out on all the different colours that we need and just eat one colour. If i were to eat without thinking and just follow my taste buds, yeah, i would do the same. Its called eating on auto pilot.

So how do we prevent this from happening? Simple. The next meal you have, just a take a quick glance and see what colours you are eating. If you are pre-dominantly only eating one colour for all your meals, then you know you know you need to throw in some vegetables here and there. If your meal already looks colourful, then, bravo... you are doing good. Keep it up. I am not a big fan of vegetables and have a limited choice of veges that i do like to eat. So i make it a point to prepare meals that uses these vegetables as much as possible. Or sometimes i make it a point to gulp down a good serving of the veges i do like first, before indulging into my main meal. I also eat lot of fruits to balance out my diet. So again, there are ways to work around this to ensure that you do get in all the various nutrients that you need. The overused excuse of no time has no place here. If you can't be diligent with your meals, then make it a point to eat the different colours during your snack time.

So, what colour is your food? Golden brown or multi coloured. Take a glance at your next meal and see what you are eating. As usual, look forward to hearing your comments.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Is Snacking Healthy For You?

I am often asked this question by people trying to lose weight - "Is Snacking healthy for you?" Well my answer is always, "it depends what you are snacking on." Many so called weight loss experts always preach that in order to lose weight, you should avoid snacking. Well this is kinda true if you look at snacking from the traditional aspect - which is chips, goreng pisang and other tasty yet unhealthy choice of foods. But what if you were snacking on healthier stuff? Would that be OK?
Lets look at some basic principles of weight loss. When it comes to weight loss, a huge part of it is calories in vs calories out. As long as your total calories in is less than your total calories out, then you will lose weight. Its just simple science and mathematics. On top of that we also know that starvation diets don't work. In other words, depriving your body of nutrition for long periods of time is counter productive. Why? Because when you starve yourself, your body kicks in into survival mode. In this mode, your body decides to build up its reserve, should there suddenly be a situation when there is no food coming in. This way your body can survive as long as possible. How does your body build up its reserves? By storing whatever you eat as fat. So in order to avoid this situation, you need to eat regularly. With that being said, it does not mean you have a free hand to eat continuously. Remember what i said earlier... it all comes down to calories in vs calories out. So you still have a limit / quota of how much you can eat and still see weight loss. Your job is to spread it out smartly so your body does not go into survival mode.

One of the best techniques to reduce fat storage in your body is to eat every 3 hours that you are awake. This way, your body knows that there is a continuous stream of nutrition coming in, so it does not have to kick in its survival mode sub-routine. So if you traditionally eat 3 meals a day and you are awake for about 18 hours a day, you know for a fact that your body is going through long stretches without food, which is not good for your waist line. So in between those meals, it best to snack in between so there is food going in every 3 hours.

The big question is, what can you eat in between those normal meals of yours. You could eat your chips and goreng pisang, if you were a construction worker using about 4000 calories a day. Sure thing. For the amount of physical labour you are doing, you will need all those extra calories. But for most of us reading this, the most activity we get is when we work out or for some who don't work out, then your total activity for the day is very little. This also means that the total calories your body needs is very little too. So this means you will have to be careful with what you choose to eat so you don't burst your budget.

Ideally you should snack on low calories foods like fresh fruits (also a great way to get in heaps of micro nutrients like vitamins and minerals), muesli or maybe even a protein shake if you are taking one. This way you get to ensure you don't totally bust your daily calorie intake because you are eating every 3 hours.I know its difficult for those in the working world to try and abide by this rule diligently. With meetings and rushing off reports, sometimes even having a regular lunch hour seems impossible. But with a bit of planning, you should be able to do just fine. The idea here, is for you to go to work prepared. The problem why most people can't seem to do it, is because they go to work without being prepared for this.

I personally like recommending simple fruits like apples, bananas, grapes etc, because they are easy to eat on the go and you can store them just about anywhere. You don't need to prepare them before eating, so this removes a lot of the fuss. Buying loose muesli to munch on is great too, but i personally find it a little more cumbersome. Protein shakes are awesome because you can even bring it with you for a meeting. Just put it into a thermos and everyone will think you are sipping down a cup of coffee and won't even know you are drinking a protein shake. Got a long meeting? No problem... if you have your protein shake handy, you won't have to worry about it.

So the big question now is, what are you snacking on? Just because a colleague buys some curry puffs at 4 pm, doesn't mean you have to gulp those down. The problem arises when we don't plan and don't have any other healthy foods to consume. But if you came prepared, then you don't have to snack on that curry puff. Of course its ok for you to chow down that curry puff every once in awhile ( i love curry puffs), but if you are serious about your weight loss, then you know what you need to do to burn off those additional calories because of the curry puff. You will need to work it off somewhere. So do the math and decide which is more important to you - temptation of the curry puff or your figure.

Being prepared is the best way to avoid eating unnecessary unhealthy foods. Carrying some fruits with you takes no time at all to prepare, so there is no excuse as to why you can't do it. Same goes with protein shakes. Its easy, convenient and takes no time at all to prepare. So plan your snacking properly and watch the fat melt off. Its that simple. As usual, look forward to hearing your comments.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Suspension Training Certification

If you are a personal trainer who is looking for a course that will set you apart from the competition and gets you more clients, then this is the course for you. If you are gym buff / fitness junkie who is addicted to the TRX and want to learn more on how to truly unlock the full power of the TRX, then this course is for you too. If you always wanted to purchase the TRX, but was not sure on how to use it, then you definitely want to attend this course, because you will kill 2 birds with one stone.

TRX Malaysia is organizing a 8 hour certification course that is for anyone who is interested in learning how to unleash the full potential of the TRX. With the TRX gaining more and more popularity in Malaysia, more and more clients are actually asking for it by name, and being able to use it effectively and safely, sets you apart from everyone else.

For PTs who specialize in home based personal training, having a TRX as part of your exercise equipment is a definite bonus. Its easy to carry around and you are able to provide your clients with an almost unlimited array of exercises.

The 8 hours hands on course will teach you how to:
  • Set up the TRX in a wide variety of locations (extremely useful if you are doing home based PT sessions)
  • use the TRX in a comprehensive manner so its efficient, effective and a stimulating exercise tool for you and/or your clients of various fitness levels
  • train different client populations for optimal results
The fees for this certification course is going at a special introductory offer of RM 1,388.00 per participant. With your training fees, you will get
  • 1 Suspension Training Course Manual
  • 1 TRX set (P1 Model)
So if you were thinking for purchasing the TRX, now you have the option of purchasing the unit while getting yourself certified to use the TRX. Great deal isn't it?

OK, so who is going to be the trainer facilitating the 1 day course? This course will be facilitated by Marcel Daane, who is currently pursuing a Master's Degree in Neuroscience. Marcel has a Bachelor of Health Science Degree in Complementary Medicine coupled with an Associate's Degree in Applied Nutrition. With more than 15 years of experience as an Olympic Level Sports Performance Coach, his credentials also include : NSCA Certified Strength Conditioning Specialist, ACE 'Gold Standard" Certified Advanced Fitness Specialist, ACE certified Mat Pilates Instructor, AFPA Certified Sports Conditioning Specialist, and USA Weightlifting Certified Olympic Weightlifting Coach.

Years of Health and Neuroscience Research combined with Two Decades of Field Experience have enabled Marcel to develop the Body-Brain Performance Institute, through which he conducts Performance Enhancement Programs for Executive Teams of Multinational Companies, such as SAP-Asia Pacific, CISCO, and Accenture to name a few.

In 2007, Marcel conceptualized SPEED Institute, which is now one of the largest Sports Performance Training center in South East Asia.

Marcel is an accomplished Olympic Level Sports Performance Coach. With his knowledge of Resilience and Sports Performance training, he helped the Singapore National Boxing Team secure medals at the 2009 South East Asia Games and the 2010 Tri-Nations Cup, an accomplishment not witnessed since 1972.

How do you register for this course? Just log on to the link below and you can register for the course on-line.

or you can email Danny G at

Simple right? Here are a few more details of the course for those of you who are interested:

Date: December 5, 2010

Time: 9am to 5pm

Venue: No 331, Level 3, block A2, Leisure Commerce Square, Bandar Sunway

Will you be attending this course? As usual, look forward to hearing your comments on this.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Trip to Langkawi

Firstly, my sincere apologies for not having a post last week. Was a bit tied up with some stuff, so didn't get a chance to sit down and post something. Secondly, Happy Belated Deepavali to all my Hindu readers, clients and friends. I had a blast for Deepavali as me and my family decided to go to Langkawi for the break. As i mentioned in my recent post on my India trip... you know a holiday is good when you feel sad to come home... and i sure did feel sad. So it indeed was a great holiday.

We stayed in the luxurious Westin in Langkawi which was near the town. This hotel truly was superb and this is my first time staying in a 5 star resort in Langkawi. My usual favourite hotel is Holiday Villa. But since my brother in law had a Starwood Privilege Card, we got the rooms at RM 380 compared to RM 1,000++ a night if you were to book it yourself... BIG difference. Is it worth the price? For RM 380, yes. I wouldn't have minded paying RM 500 or RM 600 for the room, but RM 1,000 is a bit much. Don't get me wrong, the room was gorgeous, but my expectation for RM 1,000 a night is a lot more than what we got.

Anyway we left for Langkawi on Friday morning with Air Asia and met up with my sister and her family there, since they were flying from Singapore. Once we checked in, me and my nieces headed straight to the pool. Yes, they are water bums like me. I brought along my trusty float and i had no idea it would be such a hit with my nieces. So much so, that i bought them each a float to take back with them. On the first night, the hotel treated us to a complimentary BBQ seafood buffet dinner. I was excited by the sound of this but was disappointed when i actually ate the food. Lots of the seafood barely had any taste and it tasted like they didn't even marinate it before grilling it. The desert was good though, so i ended up filling myself up with deserts rather than with healthy grilled food.

2nd day, we went out to the shops in Kuah town to buy stuff, especially duty free liqour. Got myself a bottle of Jagermeister (hope this is the correct spelling) and some Strongbow Cider. After that, we went to the pool some more and then at night we headed down to Pantai Chenang. Initially, the plan was to have a Chinese dinner at Pantai Chenang, but then we stumbled upon some Chinese restaurants in Kuah Town itself and decided to have dinner there instead. We then took a drive to Pantai Chenang to have a look and this place has really expanded since the last time i was there. There are a lot more shops and restaurants.

3rd day, me and wifey took my nieces out to the beach. The beach at Westin wasn't all that great, so we decided to drive up to Tanjung Rhu...we got there at late morning and we were the only ones there. Nieces had a blast making sand castles (see pics above) and of course swimming in the sea. We stopped by for lunch on the way back and was planning to head out to the pool after that. But when i got back to my room, i was just too burnt out to do anything... so i fell asleep. That night, we headed out to Pantai Chenang again for dinner. We dined at Oasis (see pic below), which is a restaurant that has tables on the beach... yes, you are on the sand. Awesome. After dinner we headed back to the hotel and called it a night.Our last day was spent packing and rushing off to Kuah town for some last minute shopping. Our flight was at 1:30pm and Air Asia actually took off at 1:15pm... bravo... 15 minutes earlier than schedule. By the time we reached home, it was 4 plus and boy, it sure was a tiring but fun holiday. It truly has been too long since i last had a holiday that i enjoyed so much.

On a side note, the breakfast at the hotel was really great. Besides your usual stuff like the egg counter, bun counter etc, they had a "blend your own shake" counter. You get to choose if you want milk, yogurt or Soy milk, and then your choice of fruits, nuts etc. And then it is blended just for you after that. How cool is that? So for those who want to be health conscious during your holiday, here is one way to do so. They also had a pancake and waffle station which made fresh pancakes and waffles only when you order. Really great stuff.

Anyway, hope you guys enjoy the pictures i posted and as usual, look forward to hearing your comments.PS: These mini's were up for rental while you are in Langkawi. RM 888 for 8 hours. Anyone fancy renting one? Wifey took pictures with the cars as this is one of her dream cars.

PPS: This is also my 100th post. So happy "centennial" post?

PPPS: I finally have a new poll / survey out. Please vote on it and let me know your thoughts.