Monthly Archives: December 2011

Full Circle and into 2012

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A quick one on the final day of the year as I am sure many of you are busy preparing to embrace 2012 at full force beginning midnight tonight – it is perhaps worthwhile to slow down a little and reflect on what we wish to achieve in 2012, not just in terms of career and money, but also within ourselves and how we wish to develop and grow into the person we have always wanted to be.

Here’s one way to call in 2012 – by connecting with yourself through this short 3-minute self guided meditation by Elena Brower

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I don’t drink water, because fish piss in them

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Today’s catchy, but rather nonsensical post title is brought to you by The Gruen Transfer, a hilarious and insightful show about everything marketing and how it works on us. It’s aired on the Australian Network channel every Wednesday and if you are subscribers to Unifi in Malaysia, you should be able to watch it on your (not-so) Hypp TV.

Awareness on the origins of our food is important. Where it is grown, the process that it has to go through before it is ready for consumption, and the distance it has to travel before reaching our plates. Having these knowledge not only means you are an informed consumer but also a responsible one.

Berries Free PhotoPhoto courtesy of Stockvault.net

Sure, it is easy to talk about the benefits of going organic. Less pesticide, less chemicals, and more natural state of production that leads to a higher nutrient content delivered to your body when you consume it. But just because it is labelled organic, does not mean you’re a champion consumer saving mother nature from further environmental degradation. Have you ever thought about the distance these organic Californian apples had to travel before reaching your shopping basket? And not to mention, the ridonkolous price tags these organic items sometimes come with. If sustainability is one of the reason you chose to go organic, think about how sustainable you will be once you are broke at the end of month (20 ringgit for ONE apple? c’mon seriously?) and once all the petrol in this world has run dry.

In all seriousness though, I am  elated to witness the growing awareness of Malaysian consumers towards organic produce, and paraben-free products. And even more so when I see a whole row of fresh vegetables, organically grown locally and attractively packaged to compete equally with its international counterparts. In fact, buying organic fresh produce has its plus points – you know that it is that much fresher than the one that is flown in from other parts of the world. And if you ever are curious if these people really know their organic farming, the option of paying these local farms a visit is always there. The availability of organic produce, natural and paraben-free products in the Malaysian market has been great. And the very fact that it is a growing market, is a reason to celebrate in itself.

But..

Before you choose between the Italian organic pasta from the locally produced option,

think about the distance that one package of fussili pasta has to travel, from a little town in Italy..

on a plane to Malaysia..

and perhaps a number of trucks and vans before it reaches your local Village Grocer supermarket.

And obviously, it is not always possible to buy everything local. At some point, we would have to admit this and settle for imported goods. But in doing so, and with all other things being equal (i.e. quality & taste) let’s try to base our choices on the least distance traveled before reaching your shopping baskets. And if Geography was not your best subject back in high school, that means yes, Australia & New Zealand fruits and produce over other areas like Argentina and the USA.

Of course, if the option of growing your own food is available and you have the natural green thumbs to grow some, by all means -embrace it. Growing your own food is like cooking your own food. You know exactly what goes into it. A really awesome book that inspired me to think of such possibilities is written by Barbara Kingsolver called Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A year of food life. 

Before I end this entry, here is a thoughtful quote to send you off with on your next trip to the supermarket –

“We are indeed much more than what we eat, but what we eat can nevertheless help us to be much more than what we are”
-Adele Davis

2011 List of Best Discoveries

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The closing of yet another year usually demands for a time of reflection on what we have achieved this year. 2011 has been a year of discoveries of sorts for me. I traveled to the United States for the first time, saw St. Charles, Chicago and New York and stopped over in countries I never been before even for a mere 4 hours at a time. Paulo Coehlo wrote in The Alchemist “when you want something, the universe will conspire to give it to you” and I truly believe discovering and ‘stumbling’ upon places, websites and other resources which eventually became my staples were not in any way a coincidence but rather small steps in fulfilling the intention of wanting to lead a healthier, happier and more sustainable way of living.

Inspired by Kevin and Annmarie Gianni’s Best of 2011 list, here are some of the best I’ve discovered in 2011 –

Best Organic Coffee Shop
RAW Cafe
Wisma Equity Building, 150 Jalan Ampang (opposite KLCC)

Located conveniently across from the PETRONAS Twin Towers, this was one of the best places for coffee I was introduced to this year. While completing a stint at the client site sometime in 2011, RAW Cafe became my go-to place for breakfast and sometimes lunch. The whole concept was very well thought out, down to the utensils, cups and takeaway boxes they serve you with which are all recyclables or acquired from sustainable means. You have the option to substitute milk for soy in your coffee and hot chocolates and pick up some sandwiches on your way out (the mushroom pesto sandwich is divine). Everything edible here is organic. Prices of coffee are comparable to that of Starbucks with perhaps RM2-3 bucks more if you opt for the soy.

Best Organic Cafe
Haven Cafe
12, Jalan Ampang Hilir, 55000 Kuala Lumpur

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Haven Cafe is more than just your standard cafe. This little white bungalow in the pristine area of Ampang Hilir, houses a cafe, a mini grocery store and a beauty spa functioning more like a ‘one-stop-shop’ to meet all your organic needs. Schedule some time to meet a friend for lunch, then make an appointment for a facial right after and on your way out pick up some groceries for the week. That’s one way to reduce your carbon footprint no?

Best Organic Shop & Food Store
JustLife 
LG 208 The Gardens, Mid Valley City, Lingkaran Syed Putra 59200 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (other outlets)

JustLife store has been around for over 10 years, supplying the Malaysian market with imported and locally produced organic goods. The one that I frequent most is located in The Gardens where I pop by sometimes during lunch time or after work to pick up some vegetables or dried goods for my kitchen but they have a few branches around town (the other favorite would be in Ikano, Damansara Perdana). They carry a wide choice of organic tea (packed, loose leaves), fresh produce, dried goods like pasta, quinoa and couscous, organic snacks, and household cleaning items.

Best Online Yoga Resource
Yoga Journal

Hands down, one of THE best website I stumbled on this year. Providing a collection of ‘everything yoga’ from individual Asanas and tools to help you build a sequence for your yoga session, to food, philosophy and lifestyle. Whether you are a newbie to yoga, or looking for something to spice up your practices, this is a go-to place that never fails to teach me something new each time.

Best Collection of New Age Bloggers
The Daily Love

Perhaps ‘New Age’ is an inaccurate description of this bunch of vibrant, talented and life-embracing group of people but for the lack of a better word I have decided to call them New Age instead. Fear not, there are no talks on putting a spell on anybody here – just a collection of thoughts from life coaches, positive like-minded people to remind the rest of us not to take life too seriously. This is where I go to when my day is not going like I wanted it to for a quick pick-me-up.

And last but not least (and I really hope you are not reading this while you’re at work)

Best Celebrity Yoga Body of 2011

Adam Levine of Maroon 5 (photos courtesy of mindbodygreen.com)

Adam, now 31 has been practicing yoga for 2 years, initially to cure a chronic back pain. Women’s Health shares some of his favorite poses to counter back pain here

So folks, it’s time to pull out your pen and paper and start scribbling down your new years resolution for 2012. Happy New Year!

First unofficial class begins today

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I had my first stint at teaching yoga this morning. It started because our usual weekend class at the studio was cancelled over the Christmas – New Year holidays which means 2 full weeks of no stretching, bending and self-pretzelling into positions that you won’t normally do on a daily basis. Z, my best friend of 14 years, who just got into yoga less than a month and didn’t want to see the momentum die down over the long holidays came over – bright and early at 8 am in the morning.

We unrolled our mats on the grassy patch near the pool area, pulling a blind eye to 2 men seated on the deck chairs and proceeded with our sun salutations for 10 minutes (yes, it was timed!). 1 hour and a half can really fly by in between correcting poses, and counting down 30 seconds each time. I think those few breathless ‘thank you for torturing me’ comments meant that I did a pretty good job for a first time (yet to be certified) yogi. That experience of teaching for me is far more humbling than having to admit that I have a lifelong fear of breaking my neck in any inverted poses.

Which brings me to the very reason why I decided to start this blog. Timely as it is (hey new year’s resolution!), it is also part of a deal I had agreed on in order to qualify for some discounts possibly because there is an inherent cheapskate in me that will always try to milk the cheapest deal I can find. More on this “deal” once things are confirmed – I am equally as excited to share! 🙂 I’ve also been intensifying my interest in healthy eating and raw food as of late, experimenting with a few green smoothies, salads, and juices much more than I ever did in the previous years. So this is one way for me to keep track of those odd bits of recipes.

Back to our eventful morning, we ended with a series of Bhastrika Pranayama. Back upstairs, Z watched on rather questioningly as I juiced some carrots, and put in whole leaves of bok choy, alfalfa, kale and a banana in the blender. And once I served her with the concoction of green smoothie, and fending off questions like “will it taste like banana?”, “are you sure I won’t taste the bok choy in there?”, “is it sweet? like you added honey right?” – I was met with a satisfied “i taste the banana!!” which I think means “I can drink this! Not bad!”

She made a comment at the end, which affirms my thoughts for a while “I think you should really do this, screw all these corporate sh*t, you should be doing this instead”. Maybe she is right. And with that, she has been signed on as my first unofficial student. Happy Holidays every one!