Are trendy health food really “healthy”?

Are trendy health food really “healthy”?

We have heard so much, read so much, watched so much about it; in the mags, social media, brand campaigns or our friends… I’m talking about health food. Once a certain type of food is circulated to be “healthy”, you see new brands popping up to promote them, articles being written about them. And that’s all good, don’t get me wrong. Awareness is always a good thing. But I can’t help but notice the marketing and awareness that goes out with it is usually incomplete. Benefits are highlighted but that’s it. It stops there. It is crucial when something is labelled healthy because consumption will increase and some people may even throw moderation out the door just because they are deemed healthy!

I thought today I’ll draw out two examples of “health food” which are amazing and that I absolutely love, but they are also the two that many people may not be fully aware of “what they really contain”.

Health Food #1: Yoghurt

Yoghurt is a health food with plenty of health benefits. It provides good bacteria that help with digestion and immune system, along with many other nutrients. However, with the amount of added sugar, flavouring and colouring that goes into most yoghurt you find in stores now, they may not be that healthy anymore. Yes, you still get your good bacteria, but what about a load of processed sugar you’re feeding your body which affects your insulin sensitivity that is crucial in preventing diseases?

Have you checked the ingredients that went into the yoghurt you consume daily? Taking an example of one I randomly pick up from the supermarket shelves:

A 135ml flavoured yoghurt;

Ingredient list: Milk Solids, Mixed Berries, Mixed Live Culture, Sugar, Stabiliser, Flavouring, Colouring, Permitted Food Conditioner

Sugar: 18.9g

Our daily recommended sugar intake is 37.5 gm and 25 gm for men and women respectively. And that’s not adding the fact that the sugar in these yoghurt is not natural sugar but refined.

I love my yoghurt and I found two that I go to regularly. And that’s Farmers Union’s Natural Yoghurt and Farmers Union’s Greek Style Yoghurt

Ingredient list: Milk, Milk Solids, Cream, Live Cultures.

Granted, it may be too tangy eaten on its own, but that’s where you can get creative with it. Add in your raw honey, or nut butter and you’ll have yourself a naturally flavoured yoghurt that’s delicious and nutritious.

Recipe: Honey-Berry Yoghurt Bowl

Ingredients:

Directions:

Mix yoghurt with raw honey. Add toppings and enjoy!

Health Food #2: Raw Juices

A bottle of raw juice, made with a kg of fresh produce with no added sugar or flavouring. Sounds good doesn’t it?

Ofcourse, if compared to many processed, refined sugar laden beverages, raw juices are great. But if you’re talking about going on a juice cleanse or consuming raw juices daily, we ought to know what make up the juices and the science behind drinking raw juices.

Juices are healthy because you are basically getting a “hit” of vitamins and micronutrients (you can’t eat 1kg of produce but you can drink them), and because it is fibre-free, it promotes better absorption of nutrients and vitamins into your body. So that makes it good. But as much as your body is absorbing everything at its maximum rate, it is also absorbing the “natural sugar” just the same. With raw juices, to make it “tasty” many would add a multitude of fruits or even make a 100% pure fruit juice. Fruit itself contain natural sugar, eaten on its own with fiber, is great, but when it’s juiced and drank fiber free in a big dose, you are basically pumping your body with loads of sugar.

It is fine if you want to enjoy it once in a while (i mean you can’t always resist a freshly pressed glass of OJ right? 😉), but if you’re making it everyday as part of your “healthy habit”, then it would be best to minimize amount of fruits, and add vegetables instead. I love going with the ratio of 70:30 or 80:20. So you’re basically juicing mainly vegetables, topping it off with some fruits to sweeten it a little.

“Juice your greens and eat your fruits”

Recipe: Ultimate Green Juice

  • 250g Kale/Spinach
  • 200g Cucumber
  • 200g Green Apple
  • 20g Lemon
  • 10g Ginger
  • 20g Broccoli

I hope what’s shared today will encourage you to always read your ingredient list before purchasing any staple. You don’t have to avoid anything completely; if you love a good icy cold fruit juice or a favourite flavoured yoghurt, go enjoy it! But just not overdoing it is key, in addition to being aware of what you’re consuming regularly.

“Food is just like life itself, enjoy it but be sure to make wise choices as well” 😉

Alright, am leaving you guys with that. As always, don’t get too buried in the urgent things in life and forget the important ones that truly matter at the end of the day. Love, share, encourage, listen and give 😘

Lots of love, Erina

Quick Yet Healthy Ideas for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

Quick Yet Healthy Ideas for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

Many of us struggle with eating healthy. “Why”, you ask? These are the common answers I would get:

“I got no time la….”

or

“I don’t know how to eat healthy la…”

I thought what better way to address this than to share with you a meal plan that includes easy recipes. Eating healthy can’t get any easier than this… It takes 15 minutes or less to prepare these simple yet flavourful dishes. I’ve touched on how important it is to eat whole food in my previous articles; My Tips to Guilt-Free Eating and 2 Simple Habits to Rid Cellulites. Today, I’ll be showing you simple ways you can use whole food to create beautiful meals.  

Here are 15-minute recipes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, along with desserts and snacks. I promise you, you’ll not say eating healthy is boring, inconvenient or time-consuming ever again… 😉


 

Breakfast

Sesame-Chilli Poached Eggs on Toast

⏰ 5 minutes

This is a simple way to get your protein, carbs, fiber and greens in the morning. All you need is 5 minutes and a simple cooking technique…

Recipe  👇

Ingredients:

  • 1 Slice of Toasted Sprouted Bread
  • 1 Egg
  • ¼ tsp of Sesame Oil
  • 1 Pinch of Chilli Flakes
  • 1 Pinch of Pink Himalayan Salt / Sea Salt
  • Sprinkle of Chopped Coriander (chopped)

Directions:

  1. Break egg into a bowl of salted water.
  2. Heat it up in the microwave for 90 seconds.
  3. Lift up poached egg with a slotted spoon/spatula and onto toasted bread
  4. Enjoy with sprinkles of coriander, chilli flakes, sesame oil and salt.

P.s My favourite sprouted bread is the 7-Grains Sprouted Bread from Adventist Bakery. They are available at Village Grocer and Jaya Grocer.


 

Lunch

SouthWest Nourish Plate

⏰ 15 minutes

One of the common causes of afternoon crashes is a carb-loaded meal. I personally dislike feeling lethargic and sleepy in the afternoon at work, so this is my perfect lunch to avoid those noon crashes. 

Recipe 👇

Ingredients:

  • 200g Chicken Breast (finely sliced)
  • 1 tsp Southwest Spice Powder
  • 1 Head Broccoli
  • 2 handful of Frozen Edamame
  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil (for marination)
  • Sprinkle of Pink Himalayan Salt/Sea Salt
  • 1 Fist Size Sweet Potato (thinly sliced)

Directions:

  1. Marinade sliced chicken in 1 tsp of Southwest, salt and olive oil overnight/few hours.
  2. Grill sliced chicken on a pan (1 minute on each side)
  3. Steam broccoli and sliced sweet potato for 10 minutes and boil edamame for 1 minute.
  4. Assemble broccoli, sweet potato, edamame, and grilled chicken into a bowl.
  5. Pour chilli-lime dressing (recipe below) over the dish and enjoy!

P.s. You can get southwest spice (and many other amazing spice mixes and dried herbs) from Shaury’s Spices & Herbs from Damansara Uptown

Recipe for Chilli-Lime Dressing (⏰ 1 minute)

Serving Size: 1.5 Tbsp

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp Freshly Squeezed Lime Juice
  • 2 Pinches of Chilli Flakes
  • ¼ Tbsp Raw Honey (more if desired)

Directions: Mix all ingredients together.


 

Dinner

Chilli-Lime Tuna Wrap w Fresh Cucumber

⏰ 15 minutes

After a long day at work, who’s got the energy left to be cooking up a storm in the kitchen… not me for sure! Get your dinner ready in 15 minutes with this zesty meal…

Recipe 👇

Serving Size: 1 Wrap

Ingredients:

  • Canned Tuna in Olive Oil (½ Can)
  • 1 Tbsp Chilli-Lime Dressing (from recipe above)
  • 4 Lettuce Leaves
  • ½ Handful Carrot (grated)
  • ½ Handful Cucumber (grated)
  • ½ Cucumber (sliced)
  • 1 Piece Wholemeal Wrap (or seaweed)

Directions:

  1. Mix 1-2 tbsp of chilli-lime dressing into tuna.
  2. Place lettuce leaves on a wrap, add carrots, grated cucumber and tuna mixture. Fold it into a wrap and enjoy.
  3. Add chilli-lime dressing onto sliced cucumber as a side salad and enjoy with the wrap.

P.s. I’ve used Roti Arab from Jaya Grocer. Prefer this over other wraps available in the market because it is made without preservatives and additives.


 

Snack

Hummus

⏰ 10 minutes

Who doesn’t like snacking between meals every now and then (or every day? 😉 ) You can kill 2 birds with one stone; satisfy your cravings + nourish your body! This snack is that one stone…😄

Recipe 👇

Ingredients:

  • 1 Can Chickpea
  • ½ Tsp Ground Cumin
  • ½ Tsp Pink Himalayan Salt/ Sea Salt
  • 5 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 Garlic Clove

Directions:

  1. Add all ingredients into food processor.
  2. Blitz till it’s smooth.
  3. Enjoy with veggie sticks (celery, cucumber), fruits (apple), or rice cakes.

P.s You can use a blender for this if you do not have a food processor, you just got to add more olive oil to get the blender moving.


 

Dessert

Frozen Grapes

This is the easiest, simplest dessert. It is sweet, refreshing and it takes no effort at all. One easy way to get some antioxidants into your body.

#RecipeNotRecipe 👇

Ingredient:

Grapes

Directions:

  1. Wash, clean and pop them in the freezer for 6-8 hours.
  2. Enjoy them anytime you like!

 

There you go, my 5 simple dishes. I used to think cooking is time-consuming. Boy, am i wrong…

It still wows me every time I see how a beautiful, delicious plate of nourishing food can be created in just under 15 minutes.”

I hope these recipes will inspire you to experiment in the kitchen a bit more and enjoy eating real food. 

Remember to love someone with your time this week, share something good and positive, encourage a friend who needs a little boost, listen when it’s needed and give with a willing heart.

Lots of love, Erina

2 Simple Habits To Rid “Cellulites”!

2 Simple Habits To Rid “Cellulites”!

Let’s talk about those little bumps on our skin that we could all wish away.. Some people are more prone to cellulites than others (🙋 who is with me on this one?), we can only blame genetics for that…

I’ve learnt to not obsess over it and I’ve learnt to accept that it’s alright to have them. It’s funny how when you’re not intentional about something, everything just falls into place. And that’s my story with them cellulites.

I noticed the change and the reduction when I started adopting these habits. The sole purpose of incorporating them into my lifestyle was to take better care of my body and my health; cellulites reducing was just the cherry on top. I enjoy many other benefits from these habits that are far more important than that.

Habit #1: Eat Real Food

No joke, but as I started eating whole food and less processed food many years back, I’ve seen a tremendous change in my skin and those dimples.  One thing I’ve learnt over the years when it comes to anything is, there’s never a shortcut worth taking. I’ve gone down that path of shortcuts one too many times and this is what I’ve learnt 👇

“Shortcuts may work, but the results are never here to stay”

And don’t we all already know this: the beauty is always in its journey, not the outcome.

I’ve touched a little about eating “real food” or whole food in my previous write up here. I thought today I’ll get into it a little more. Many get confused with the word “whole food”. It just means food that is not processed and in its original form. They are mostly not in a packet. Anything you see in the “FRESH” section of the supermarket is the whole food.

“Whole food = The food itself is the ingredient, and the ingredient itself is the food.”

Eg: sweet potato, orange, pink Himalayan salt, salmon, etc. No adulteration of any kind on them!

You can enjoy delicious meals just by using whole food or food that has only whole food in its ingredient list (yes, check those ingredient lists people!). For those of you who aren’t used to cooking, it is definitely not a daunting task, don’t sweat it. Here are some of my favourite recipes that you can try if you have no idea where to begin…

Nom Nom Nom. No time to cook during the week? Easy! Just meal prep this delicious Broccoli Quinoa on the weekend, and keep it stocked in your fridge, ready to be eaten anytime during the week. Stay tuned for next recipe coming up – it's def my fave meal to have at the moment. • Recipe for 15-minute Broccoli Quinoa Ingredients: 🌿1 Cup Red Quinoa 🌿2 Cups Water 🌿4 Heap Tbsp Roasted Garlic Dressing @thepantrybyerina 🌿2 Handfuls of Steamed Broccolis (chopped) 🌿Pinch of Pink Himalayan Salt Optional: cherry tomatoes and coriander for garnishing. Directions: 1. Add quinoa and water in a saucepan. Heat up till it reaches boiling point, then let it simmer till all water is fully absorbed (takes about 10 minutes) 2. Add steamed broccoli, roasted garlic dressing and salt into cooked quinoa. Mix well. 3. Garnish with your favourite herb or greens. #eatwiththepantry

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When I first made this, it became my obsession for days. Yes, I had this same thing for breakfast and lunch for few days in a row, no kidding! 😅 This is a perfect “meal prep” meal. As long as you've got your quinoa cooked and kept in fridge, you can make this easily in minutes! • Recipe for 15-minute Seaweed Quinoa Roll Ingredients: 🍣 Sheet of Seaweed 🍣 Broccoli Quinoa (recipe in previous post) 🍣 Sliced carrots and cucumber 🍣 Black Sesame Seeds Directions: 1. Place seaweed on flat surface. 2. Add broccoli quinoa on seaweed, even out quinoa to make rolling easier later on. 3. Place carrots and cucumber slices, and sprinkle black sesame seeds. 4. Roll it up and enjoy it just like that or cut it up into sushi rolls. #eatwiththepantry

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Habit #2: Dry Brushing

This habit is a little more current to me, but oh boy do I see the difference! You know when they say dry brushing is for detoxification? Whoever they are, they got it right… When I explored wellness a little more last year (yep, I did all that homemade scrub, homemade mask, and even DIY facial steam!), that’s when I got onto the whole “Dry Brushing” wagon. These are some of the health benefits I found when I looked it up:

👉 Clean pores and minimize pores

👉 Get rid of dead skin cells (exfoliation)

👉 Lymphatic support (detoxifies!)

👉 Energy Boost

I mean, how can anyone resist that? 😅

I started doing it daily before a shower and the reduction of cellulite happen pretty quickly with this one. Check out how to dry brush effectively and go try it out y’all, you can thank me later 😆

Tip: Always lather up with moisturizer after a shower if you’re dry brushing to keep skin moist and smooth.

There you go, the 2 habits I’ve adopted that has helped in reducing my cellulite over time. I hope they will help you with yours too. But remember, don’t obsess over it. Take care of your health first, and everything else will fall into place. Cellulite or not, you’re just the way you should be, nothing more and nothing less. #perfectimperfections #loveyourdimples 😉

Have a good week ahead! As always, remember to love, share, encourage, listen and give 😘

Lots of love, Erina

My Tips to Guilt-Free Eating

My Tips to Guilt-Free Eating

Now, I’m sure we are all dying to know the secret to achieve guilt-free eating because seriously, who is not struggling with it? At least, everyone I know does…

I have personally struggled with it my whole life, in fact, more than the average person would, due to my extreme tendencies. It has led me to much emotional distress in the past. But before this becomes a sob story, there’s a silver lining to it!

It took me a long time (all through my schooling years and adulthood) to get to where I am today with food and at a place where I’m comfortable around food; not overthinking my choices or guilt-stricken after I thought I made a “bad” choice.

But before I go rambling on about all the craziness that goes on in my head, let’s drill into the topic of the day:

“How can we all eat whatever we like and not feel guilty about our choices, especially when they are deemed “sinful” or “unhealthy”?

Everyone’s unique and different in their own ways, so there’s no one size that fits all. This is something that has worked well for me so I thought I would share it with you.

Tip #1: The 80:20 Lifestyle

80:20 is something I live by that I believe is not restrictive and definitely sustainable. It basically means eating wholesome food 80% of the time and the other 20% you let loose and have whatever you fancy. Don’t get me wrong, you do not need to be weighing out this ratio to the tee because that’ll just be stressful (and that’s not the point, eating healthy should not be stressful!). Here’s how I typically do it;

I would cook more at home and eat out less. For my schedule, it would normally be lunches and dinners at home on weekdays and dine out on the weekends. I love making nourishing meals (my recipes) with wholesome ingredients. So when I dine out, I’ll just order whatever I fancy; if it’s burger and fries on that day, then burger and fries it is!

Since I’ve started adopting this, I enjoy my food guilt-free. I do not have thoughts of wanting to work out more or eating less the next day just because I’ve overindulged that night. When I noticed myself feeling that way, I knew I had broken free from my unhealthy relationship with food.

Tip #2: Set your mind to 👉 “It’s about what you eat, not what you can’t eat”

With all these elimination diets going around (you know those that preaches no carbs, no fats, no sugar….), I personally think it’s more important to focus on what you are nourishing your body instead of what you want to eliminate from your plate.

I mean, eating well is just all about eating your greens, proteins, fats, and carbs from whole food. Since when has it become so complicated? #eatrealfood guys, that’s all you need to remember about eating well.

My take on balanced eating and having a healthy relationship with food is if I’m nourishing my body well enough on a daily basis, what’s an indulgent chocolate cake going to do with it… Our body is so wonderfully created to do amazing things (such as cleansing and detoxing); it is smarter than we think! So, go ahead and enjoy your cake; at the same time make sure to also nourish your body with lots of good stuff and real food.

Enjoy your food, nourish your body, have a good week ahead guys! And remember to always love, share, encourage, listen and give 😘

Lots of love,

Erina

Heart disease: the number one killer of Malaysians since 1970s

Heart disease: the number one killer of Malaysians since 1970s

The statistics

Heart diseases were the third-biggest cause of death in Malaysia in 1950. By the 1970s, they have become the number one killer and remained so since (except in 1980). In 2014, heart diseases killed 10,432 people or 13.5% of all deaths in Malaysia.

Cardiovascular (relating to the heart and blood vessels) disease is responsible for one-quarter of all hospital deaths in Malaysia. Moreover, Malaysian acute coronary syndrome (ACS) patients are relatively younger at 58.5 years old when compared to registries from more than 40 other countries. In the Americas and Europe, the figure is at 66, while Thailand reports 65, Middle East at 56, and 60 in India.

IMAGE: 123RF

One out of four heart attack patients in Malaysia are less than 50 years old.

What are heart diseases? What causes them?

There are no shortage of online resources on heart disease. MedicineNet.com explores this topic in great detail, and in digestible nuggets. Below are excerpts, paraphrased.

Heart disease refers to various types of conditions that can affect heart function. They include:

  • Coronary artery heart disease – affects the arteries to the heart.
  • Valvular heart disease – affects how the valves function to regulate blood flow in/out of
    the heart.
  • Cardiomyopathy – affects how the heart muscle squeezes.
  • Heart rhythm disturbances (arrhythmias) – affect electrical conduction.
  • Heart infections where the heart has structural problems that developed before birth.

Like any other muscle in the body, the heart needs an adequate supply of blood to provide it oxygen to fulfil its role – pumping blood to the rest of the body. When one or more coronary arteries narrow, it may make it difficult for sufficient blood to reach the heart, especially during exertions, such as exercise. This could cause the heart muscle to ache, just like any other muscle in the body. If the arteries continue to narrow, it may take less activity to stress the heart and provoke symptoms.

If a coronary artery becomes completely blocked – usually due to a plaque that ruptures and causes a blood clot to form – blood supply to that area of the heart may be lost, causing the heart muscle there to start dying. This is called a myocardial infarction (myo=muscle + cardia=heart + infarction=tissue death), or heart attack in layman’s term. If not swiftly treated, the affected part of the muscle cannot be revived. It dies and is replaced by scar tissue. Long term, this scar tissue will decrease the heart’s ability to pump efficiently, and may lead to ischemic cardiomyopathy (ischemic=decreased blood supply + cardio=heart + myo=muscle + pathy=disease).

Are you at risk?

IMAGE: 123RF

Heart diseases are not caused by one single factor. There are several risk factors that increase your chance of developing heart disease. Knowing your risks is the first step to avoidance.

Factors that put people at increased risk for heart disease are:

  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Family history of heart problems, especially heart attacks and strokes
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Smoking
  • Obesity

Heart Disease: Control and Awareness is among the topics featured at the 1st Penang Medical Expo & Malaysian Healthcare Policy Conference (PMEX 2017), to be held at Setia SPICE Convention Centre on 10-12 November 2017. PMEX 2017 is organised by the Penang State Government and Penang Convention & Exhibition Bureau (PCEB) in collaboration with Penang Centre of Medical Tourism, Penang Institute, Invest Penang and Malaysia Medical Association, Penang Branch.

PMEX aims to serve as a platform for all interested parties from health-related sectors to communicate, exchange ideas, formulate solutions and create a healthcare network in Malaysia.

For more information, visit:

penangmedicalexpo.org

A call to increase cigarette prices up to RM100

A call to increase cigarette prices up to RM100

The proposal to increase the price of a pack of cigarettes to RM50 in light of the coming Budget 2018 announcement is seen as small and might be futile to our ongoing struggle to prevent the smoking habit among our people especially among the youth.

If the government is serious to stop the addiction of our citizens to such an item, the government needs to take bold steps on such issues, namely by increasing the price of each pack of cigarettes to RM100; this will automatically turn cigarettes into luxury items whereby most people can no longer afford to buy it.

Increasing the price of cigarettes can be seen as one of the most effective ways to reduce cigarette consumption and addiction among smokers as well as having the ability to deter potential new smokers.

This measure has also been recognised by several tobacco control experts and also the parties in the World Health Organisation Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO – FCTC) of which Malaysia is a Party since September 2005.

Since smoking has been regarded by many as a cause of many preventable illnesses and can even lead to premature death, there have been many efforts carried out over the years by the government to control and curb the cigarette selling and smoking habit among the public.

Sadly, no positive results have yet to appear from all the efforts which have been taken. Though the price of cigarettes keeps increasing from year to year, it is still not enough to stop our citizens from purchasing and consuming it.

This is because such increases are not drastic enough to make people rethink many times before purchasing it. As such, drastic measures need to be taken in order to force people to consider that smoking cigarette will not only affect their health but will also severely affect their wallets.

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