Monthly Archives: May 2013

Splurge some, scrimp some – the updated dirty dozen list

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Now that I have been having a little more time since ending a rather crazy project, I have been getting more chance to make smart and educated choices when it comes to what I decide to put into my mouth. My kitchen will have these cycles, of frequent use and constant turning on and off the gas stove and when things get hectic at work, the only thing that ends up being used is the water filter and the kitchen tap. So while I have these little luxuries (which I have this sinking feeling will be shortlived indeed), I’ve decided to pay a much needed visit to the supermarket and stock up my refrigerator with the healthiest things I can find (and afford).

With a rough meal plan for the week worked out and armed with my list of things to buy, I walked down the all to familiar aisles of Jaya Grocer. Of all the supermarkets around Subang & KL, I still prefer my neighbourhood’s Jaya Grocer. Even the posh and overpriced Jason’s at BSC can’t seem to beat the lineup or organic items offered in the former. Months of not doing my groceries gave me a rude shock when I got hold of a bunch of organic celery for a soup I was planning on making. RM 35 (USD 12) for a bunch of celery?? Okayyy..let’s put that back down. And then some weird craving hit me while I was there and I decided to look for some blueberries. Organic blueberries – RM 25 for a small box. Whoa.. maybe not. With such horrendous, out of this world prices for the standard, middle class person such as me, how does one achieve healthy eating and minimise all those nasty pesticide and chemical intake?

Which brings me to the topic of weekly groceries shopping and what are the items that should be bought organic and what are the items that we can save a few pennies on buying from the non-organic aisle?

Recently Food Matters together with the Environmental Working Grop updated their list of dirty dozen which is a list referring to 12 most ‘dirtiest’ veggies & fruits that should be bought organic where possible and 12 clean items that you can get away with being non organic most of the time. This year however, they added a few more and this has been a good list for me to keep in mind as I trawl up and down the aisle collecting my goods in the trolley.

Splurge on organic items for those things that you crave from the Dirty Dozen list

Click on the link and you will find more information and even a pretty nifty phone app for you to download. Granted that this list is more American-centric, I would imagine it to be pretty similar across other countries especially those that import their food from large agricultural producers.

With this in mind, I now know I should skip on the celery and replace it with something locally grown. Blueberries (generally the berry family are to be treated like strawberries in the dirty dozen list) are out of the question too. So more papayas, dragonfruits and mangosteens it shall be! A general rule of thumb that I use would be – if you have to peel it in order to eat it, that would generally be ‘cleaner’ rather than items that you consume directly as they were bought.

Most definitely, one must keep in mind local is always better. But with certain fruits like the avocado that contains large sources of good fat, and all that other goodness in its green flesh, sometimes it is difficult to replace it with a local alternative that is equal in nutrition content. And by all means, if you are swimming in money every month, heck if it was me, I would buy those celery and blueberries once in a while because I know I can afford to.

For us normal beings though, sometimes it is a good idea to splurge on some organic items (local over imported where possible), and scrimp on others where non organic would be considerably safe for consumption.

A well stocked fridge is a happy fridge :)

A well stocked fridge is a happy fridge 🙂

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Contemplating on Tbilisi..Tbili..what? – Day 2 Pre & Post Natal TTC

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Day 2 of Pre & Post Natal TTC. We had a quick recap of yesterday’s module, and Haika joined the group. I remembered one of the teachers whose studio I go to once in a while mentioned that the yoga circle in Malaysia is really not all that big. It is in fact very small. And you will end up seeing/hearing the same names over and over again. And to prove that, Haika turns out to be one of the Yin Yoga teacher that used to teach at Upward in Saujana. Unfortunately though, she is currently in the process of moving back to Germany with her husband, so you won’t be able to find her there any longer.

Yesterday, Jaq (as one of the girls called her today which I thought was both informal and rather cool) broached the subject of having me teach and manage her studio in Tbilisi. I knew apart from the one here, Sun Yoga has another ‘branch’ all the way in Tbilisi. Except at that point I didn’t know where this city is apart from the fact that it has a very pretty nice ring to its name.

I have been restless for a while now having been in this country for the last 5 years with no real “move” in between. Of course this has always been the country and the place to which I will always call home, but the feeling that I am growing roots when my wings are yearning to flap and fly away is quite a feeling to decipher. So when the idea to jump on a plane, pick up and move to Tbilisi is presented right at my feet, I had to use my energy to keep myself from pouncing on it immediately.

Clearly there are more things to be worked out before any real move can happen. But my research of the city and country so far has made me even more keen. And having Jaq stopped momentarily during class yesterday to hand me Sun Yoga Tbilisi card and say “Here, I think this is meant for you. It keeps falling off my notebook all day long, it must be a sign” and today when I was asking around for change of coins to stock up on the parking meter and she pulls out a Georgian coin and goes “oh wait that’s a Georgian coin, ah there you go! Must be a sign”.

Coincidental? Perhaps. The question is now what do I do with my current life here? 6 months is the minimum should I agree to go, with a prospect of staying for a year. A whole year! Of adventure and travels to neighboring countries which by the way includes Turkey. At the same time, a prospect of learning the ropes to run a studio, a juice bar AND teach at the same time. I mean wow, this is like a tailored gift for my belated birthday!

Ok right. Day 2 Pre & Post Natal TTC. Where were we?

We got to draw stick men on mahjong paper, as we come up with poses specific for the first, second & third trimesters. We learned the basic sequence of a prenatal class irrespective of audience and how far along they may be in their pregnancy is spinal health. I had lines drawn in green marker pen all along my back and neck to demonstrate to the class of the trapezius muscles. I was enlightened of ALL the wonderful and not so wonderful things pregnancy does to a woman’s body. With so many complications, I wondered briefly in that entire time how any woman can voluntary and even YEARN to subject themselves through these phases in order to have a child of their own. Perhaps something that I can only  understand when the time comes for me to be wanting the same things. Perhaps an understanding that I will only gain when I see the faces of potential mothers and to-be mothers attend my prenatal class flushed with the glow of pregnancy and excited of the future to come.

The most important takeaway for Day 2 is – for a woman to be healthy and minimise the complications arising from pregnancy as much as possible, is to build strength and fitness way before she intends to conceive. That does not mean 1 or 2 months before you gear on your baby making skills, but preparation for that should happen at least 1 year before a couple plans to conceive. Even though you could technically make a baby overnight (given that timing is perfectly done so) you can’t build strong muscles nor gain strength in one day. So ladies, enrol yourself in some form of fitness program much earlier before talks of starting a family even begins. My biased suggestion would of course to start yoga, whether it be strict regimes of Ashtanga or a fast free flowing Vinyasa, these can only do your body good in the long run, with or without a baby on its way.

Happy Baby Pose! .. oh you mean this is actually a yoga pose?

“Some of them swim in circles” – Day 1 of Pre Conception, Pre Natal & Post Natal Yoga Teaching Course

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In keeping with the true fashion of fulfilling Yoga Alliance requirement of  ‘continuing education’ for Registered Teachers, I had enrolled into a Pre Conception, Pre Natal & Post Natal Yoga TTC. Now that is a mouthful to be typing over and over again for the next 4 days and so this training will be referred to as just Pre & Post Natal Yoga TTC.

My interest to focus on yoga for women came almost as simultaneous as the day I picked up that Jamu book in Ngurah Rai Airport in March. I knew that women’s need are multi dimensional yet specific at certain points of her life. And what better way to explore this further through a short 4-day TTC with Dr. Jacqueline Koay from Sun Yoga. 

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, other than at the end of this 4 day I would ideally like to know, with confidence, how to successfully teach prenatal women and guide them through all the way until their postnatal phase. As a bonus it would be nice to be able to help those trying to conceive achieve their desired goals as well.

There are only 6 of us who signed up for this course which makes it all the more enjoyable as interaction are more intimate and there’s more time for questions to be attended to. Jacqueline was a life force on her own. When she introduced herself as a mother of 5, with the eldest being my age, I was floored. Later on the way to University Malaya where we were going to spend Day 1 learning up the theory of hormones, conceiving, and all the awesome she-bang that comes with making a baby (no pun intended of course hah!), we found out amongst other things that she was an Oxford educated, ex McKinsey consultant, now serving WHO as a surgeon in Jakarta.

Our day was spent in the Anatomy class, where we sat in one corner surrounded by preserved sliced brains, hearts, feets, hands, and fetuses of various months in glass jars. Theory classes such as this has a tendency to get dry very quickly, but thanks to what I’d like to attribute as partially my own interest in the topic (back to Biology class yay!) and her ability to weave in her own experience and stories made the whole learning process quite enjoyable.

Our conversation was bar none, educational but explicit all at the same time. It really felt like I was back in high school doing Biology class, except this time it’s the teacher who asks ‘naughty explicit questions’ instead of those hormone raging innocent 15 year olds themselves. I mean heck, we are talking about making babies here and inevitably the topic of sex would come up (I don’t expect anything less from a Pre & Post Natal TTC otherwise!). “So what are the best sex positions to make babies?” were some of the questions thrown to the group.

So within the span of roughly 5 hours, I learned that missionary, spooning and doggy styles are the best ways to make sure a baby will be a result of a hot lovemaking session. And to be extra sure of it, one must go into a bridge pose or a shoulder pose so that gravity can aid all the little swimmers to their destination – THE EGG. I learned that there are such abnormalities like sperm swimming around in circles lost of direction and never able to find where their other chromosomal half that leads to the woman not able to conceive.

And amongst her many entertaining stories, are also serious stories like nasty tears and surgeries in the labor room. Vivid description of how a vajayjay can look like right after labor – “like torn liver having to be sewn up”.

So that is day 1 of 4. Tomorrow we get to do the fun stuff as we head back to the shala and put some practice back onto the mat.

Infertility Poster

Causes of infertility – which includes sperm with giant heads. Seriously.