Review: Spinacas – salads delivered right to your doorstep

Some days I’m so busy at work that I don’t even have time to step out from my office to buy food. When I’m ready to buy lunch at 1230pm, I can’t go to my favourite salad places because of the long queues. Queuing up for 20 minutes to get a bowl of spinach is not what I want to do at lunch!

You can beat the queue and have a nutritious meal delivered right to your doorstep with Spinacas. Not only do they have a physical stall at Chinatown, they also deliver your food for free for orders above $30.

Phyllis, who is the owner of Spinacas, kindly dropped by my office with two bowls of fresh salad on her cute red Vespa. I love her ride. I was expecting her to show up in a van but the bike was way cooler.

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Yes, I can get used to a daily lunch delivery service

I ordered two different salads. One was the vegetarian ratatouille salad and the other was the BBQ pulled pork salad. The salad came in a plastic container, with the salad base separate from the “wet” ingredients i.e. the roasted vegetables and the pulled pork. The dressing was also placed in a separate round container.

I started with the lighter vegetarian salad. The wet ingredients, consisting of aubergine, zucchini and mushrooms cooked ratatouille-style and layered with a savory tomato sauce, came wrapped in a aluminum foil. I unwrapped the packet, which was quite a messy process, and placed the vegetables in the salad base.

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Vegetarian Ratatouille

I followed up with some good tossing. Here, you can see the base ingredients of spinach, pickled red babbage, broccoli, hard boiled egg, cheddar cheese and nuts. The dressing was a mixture of extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. Continue reading Review: Spinacas – salads delivered right to your doorstep

Stop this fat talk

We (women) have all indulged in talk like this from time to time.

“My thighs are huge. I can’t wear these white jeans.”

“I look like I’m three months pregnant. I need to go on a diet.”

“I’ve been so bad. I ate both lunch and dinner today. I need to run twice the distance this evening to burn off the calories.”

I’m no stranger to complaining about my body. My favourite target is my tummy and it drives me nuts as to how I can never wear cropped tops or a bandage dress because I store all my fats there. From a biological standpoint, being predisposed to storing fats around my waist has no detrimental effect on my health and I should be happy that I am healthy and relatively fit. But from an asthetics standpoint, I’m pissed that I can’t wear bandage dresses like Blake Lively.

bandage dress celebrity

So my “fat talk” typically revolves around how I need to lose weight on my tummy and feeling frustrated because it’s not really possible to spot reduce. Even at my thinnest in university, I still sported a small¬†paunch (You see, this is how my fat talk starts). Continue reading Stop this fat talk

Paleo vs clean eating

cleaneating

I follow several health conscious Instagram users. They post photos of their workouts. Some even have videos so you can watch them lift weights in the gym or perform CrossFit routines. And from time to time I would receive photos of food and how they were “clean eating.”

“What’s clean eating?” I wondered.

Most of the time, clean eating involved fruits, vegetables and whole grain, and seem to be really popular with girls trying to lose weight (And girls posting pictures of their well defined abs).

I found a really good diagram, courtesy of eMeals, of the difference between paleo and clean eating. Continue reading Paleo vs clean eating

What do you thrive on?

What do you thrive on?

What makes you feel alive? What kind of diet makes your skin glow, your hair soft and satiates you? What gives you energy to run for hours on end or helps you recover more quickly after an intense workout?

I like the word “thrive.” It implies not merely existing but living with vibrancy. It suggests a life bursting with energy. I thrive on good books, storytelling, exhilarating sports and the love of people close to me.

But here I want to focus on one specific thing: our diets.

I started thinking recently that it seems that there is no one perfect diet. Sure, there is general consensus that we should eat unprocessed food, avoid sugar and chemicals. But within this general consensus, you have vegans and you also have the paleo types. Within the paleo types, there are people who advocate a low-carb, high-fat diet as carbohydrates are unnecessary for our well being. Then there are others who eschew dairy. Then there are people who say that white rice is a safe starch and others who avoid it at all cost. It can all be very confusing.

Continue reading What do you thrive on?

Mindful eating – how not to gorge on food

When I first started my paleo lifestyle, I felt liberated. I could eat whatever I want (within the paleo limits) and know that it’s nutritious for my body. So I started gorging on pork belly, which I love, and it wasn’t enough to have just one portion. I needed to eat two or three portions in one seating because they were too delicious. I also ate all the cheese and nuts I wanted and polished off a few ounces of cheese every day.

Sure, it was liberating. But at the same time, I realised I was becoming obsessed with food and thinking constantly about my next meal. I’ve never been like that. Since I was a child, I was always “eating to live” rather than “living to eat.” Food to me was just a way of getting energy into my body. I was never interested in travelling all over Singapore for the best roti prata or trying out a different restaurant each week. I once told my friends, “All food tastes the same to me!”

As well, it was physically uncomfortable to have my belly stuffed all the time. My stomach also looked bloated from too much food. In addition, I was adding unnecessary calories to my diet by eating things that I didn’t like (but was told it was good for me), such as heavy cream and butter in my coffee (a la bulletproof coffee). What happens is that I ended up eating things that do not satiate me because they were things I didn’t like.

Continue reading Mindful eating – how not to gorge on food

Review: sugarless Blues Gourmet Fresh Mint Dark Chocolate

First of all, this chocolate bar is NOT paleo. It is low-carb, low-sugar and gluten-free. But it is definitely something to be avoided on a paleo lifestyle. That being said, I am reviewing this because I didn’t pay attention when I picked it up. All I thought was, “Ooh chocolate! Ooh sugarless chocolate!”

chocolate no sugarlow carb chocolate

This Sugarless Fresh Mint Dark Chocolate bar, which I purchased from SunMoon, contains: Maltitol, Cocoa Paste (Minimum Cocoa 52%), Cocoa Butter, Inulin, Cocoa Powder, Soy Lecithin, Natural Mint Flavour. There are 12 squares in the package and each square contains 39 calories and 0.02 gram of carbs. Continue reading Review: sugarless Blues Gourmet Fresh Mint Dark Chocolate

Useful carb and calorie counters

One advantage of being on a paleo “diet” or lifestyle is the freedom from counting calories. No longer do you have to worry about creating a calorie deficit to lose or maintain your weight. You simply eat unprocessed, nutritious and anti-inflammatory food and the rest will follow. Or so the theory goes.

I’ve found that it has been useful for me to keep track of the macronutrients (protein, fat and carbohydrates) I consume because it makes me aware of what I’m eating. This is especially pertinent if you’re trying to limit your carbohydrate intake to lose weight. I also want to know the nutrition content of my baked goods so that I know I’m not going overboard with the honey or nuts.

The first useful tool is My Fitness Pal, which is available online as well as on your iPhone and Android phones. You have to sign up for an account and you can add friends and view their intake for the day. You can also leave encouraging messages for them so there’s a whole community to spur you on. Continue reading Useful carb and calorie counters

My football playing years – thinnest and fittest

Yesterday I played football or soccer with my university ex-team mates for the first time in a year. Everything went well for the 15 minutes. I chased after the ball; I defended against players; and I scored the opening goal.

SMU Women Soccer

After 15 minutes, fatigue started setting in. The pace slowed. The defending was more lacklustre. The kicks were weaker. After 30 minutes, most of us were calling for a time-out. I wheezed on the floor. By the 50-minute mark, I had left the playing arena and was bent over with stomach stitches. The game was supposed to go on for an hour but already I was ready to go for supper.

It made me realise what a huge difference in fitness level I am at now, compared to the four years of competitive football in university. We played 11-a-side on a big field and I was on the left wing, which required dashes up and down the flank. Back then, we trained three times a week when it was competition season. Warm-up exercises included sprints and circuit training with the ball.

We didn’t have a school field so we travelled all over Singapore just to get two hours of training. We trained in Sentosa. We chartered a bus all the way into Turf City because it was so deep in that we couldn’t walk the distance from the bus stop. We played on water logged patches of grass because we couldn’t afford to pay to rent a field. It was crazy. But it was also the most fun I’ve had in sports.

I ate anything and everything. I wasn’t bothered about calories or my weight. Sometimes when I was bone tired and had no appetite, I forced myself to eat because I knew I needed strength to play and nutrients to repair my muscles.

I didn’t realise it then but my football-playing time was to be my thinnest and fittest years. The best thing was that it was all accomplished without my knowledge. I was concerned about how far I could kick the ball – and not how I looked. I didn’t think, “Okay, 30 sit-ups for nice defined abs.” I thought, “Okay, 30 sit-ups so that I can play better.”

Unfortunately, exercise nowadays for me is about keeping in shape. Apart from yoga, which I genuinely enjoy, all other exercise classes seem to be exercising for the sake of exercising. I like my body combat class because it makes me sweat. I like my body pump class because lifting weights makes me look more toned. Gone is the sheer joy of movement with a purpose.

That joy returned yesterday at the pitch. I love playing team sports and football will always be my first love.

SMU Women Soccer

We found time to pose and act like clowns.

Women soccer

Juls and Sumei make faces for the camera.