Monday, January 5, 2009

The Year of the Ox 2009

Okay, my curiosity got the best of me and I wanted to know what the fortune tellers got for the year of the Ox. Wah lieu! Not nice things. But you know what, seeing how last year has fared, I think I pulled through nicely even if the year didn't come out as I expected. But I came across one site and it cheered me up cause you can't get any better than her explanation for this year's forecast. Click here

The Seasons Of Life

There are seasons in your life in the same way as there are seasons in nature. There are times to cultivate and create, when you nurture your world and give birth to new ideas and ventures. There are times of flourishing and abundance, when life feels in full bloom, energized and expanding. And here are times of fruition, when things come to an end. They have reached their climax and must be harvested before they begin to fade. And finally, of course, there are times that are cold and cutting and empty, times when the spring of new beginnings seems like a distant dream. Those rhythms in life are natural events. They weave into one another as day follows night, bringing, not messages of hope and fear, but messages of how things are. If you realize that each phase of your life is a natural occurrence, then you need not be swayed, pushed up and down by the changes in circumstances and mood that life brings. You find that you have an opportunity to be fully in the world at all times and to show yourself as a brave and proud individual in any situation.

Keeping a healthy heart

After two years service at GJ in Brunei, I have probably looked after most of my dad's friends in ICU. Lucky for most of them, they only had angioplasties to save their hearts. My dad had chest pain less than two years ago, and had a small blockage to his artery. His angioplasty scared him and he changed his eating habits after hospital discharge. But his 'new' lifestyle didn't keep for long. When he feels stressed, he would eat 'junk' food. And at my dad's age, old habits die hard. Maybe more so for men.

When my dad gets stressed, he would reach out for crisps, sweet cakes, biscuits or fried food. He wouldn't think twice about the consequences after consuming the 'empty calorific' foods. He finds my nagging a bore and tiresome. But when he gets a little heartburn, he would look guilty and sorry for not listening.

I am blatantly honest with my dad now. Whenever he starts digging his fork into complex carbohydrate food, I would grunt 'DAD!' and his hand would freeze, retrieving his naked fork back onto his plate.

But I can understand how my dad eating habits. I'm just the same. When I am emotionally happy, sad or angry, I turn to food. It was a habit to eat for comfort. I'm not sure if the upbringing had anything to do with it or because I'm so used to eating food in front of the television regardless of being hungry. I used to be healthy in my diet....... till I returned back to Brunei a few years ago. On my return, I was INDULGING in almost every food in sight. I couldn't resist the 'tau pau' 'nasi lemak' 'murtabak' 'kolomee' etc Back in UK, I wasn't interested in most of the meals served and kept my meals simple to salads and lean meat. HERE, I am just eating crisps, and whatever I can find in the fridge. SCARY!!!! And it's harder to burn them off after eating. Especially when we don't walk as much here as we elsewhere in other parts of the world.

Sooooo, lately, I make it a point of thinking 'twice' before eating any food. DO I REALLY NEED IT ? IS IT WORTH IT ?

Did it work? Well, I feel much better and less 'greasy' after eating light sandwiches for lunch. Less constipated and lighter too when I ate more fruits in a week. Cutting down on all the ice bubble teas and 'teh si' I used to drink in Grips or Wy Wy. I have gone back to my ice lemon added with a little sugar.

I am quite conscious now of the stir fried food in restaurants. Even if it's tofu. All I have to think is the one table spoon of cheap economy cooking oil they used in the kitchen and that puts me off ordering 'Char Kway Teow'.

So, when dad gets back from UK, I am going to be his house nurse and start him on his new year diet.

PS Here's some stuff on bad cooking oil and good cooking oil written by Gloria Tsang.

Cooking Oil:
How to choose a good one

Written by Gloria Tsang, RD
Published In June 2005; Updated in May 2007

best cooking oilAll manufacturers claim their own cooking oil is the best! Canola oil, olive oil, sunflower oil, butter, margarine and even virgin coconut oil each has its supporters. Before we conclude the best cooking oil(s), let's look at the essential - Fats 101. We classified the following fats as "good fats" and "bad fats" based on their heart-smart values: their ability to raise or lower total and LDL cholesterol.

The Bad Fats
Saturated Fats Saturated fats raise total blood cholesterol as well as LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol).
Trans Fats Trans fats raise LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) and lower HDL cholesterol (the good cholesterol).

The Good Fats
Monounsaturated Fats Monounsaturated fats lower total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) and increase the HDL cholesterol (the good cholesterol).
Polyunsaturated Fats Polyunsaturated fats also lower total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol. Omega 3 fatty acids belong to this group.

Therefore, based on the above classification, the "ideal" cooking oil should contain higher amount of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats and with minimal or no saturated fats and trans fats.

best cooking oilThe Verdict? As long as you're using fats and oils sparingly in your cooking and preparation, it would be fine to use any one of the following "good" oils. All of the following oils are low in saturated fats and trans fats. Some have high concentration of monounsaturated fats such as olive oil. Choose corn oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil, soy oil or canola oil if you wish to fry foods as these oils have higher smoke point. It is best not to fry with olive oil as its smoke point is only about 190C/375F.

  • Good Cooking Oils:
    • canola oil
    • flax seed oil
    • peanut oil
    • olive oil
    • non-hydrogenated soft margarine
    • safflower oil
    • sunflower oil
    • corn oil

The following "bad" oils contain high percentage of trans fat or saturated fats. Some, such as coconut oil, even contain more saturated fats than animal products!