Sunday, February 7, 2016

The Year of the Monkey


Today (Sunday) is the last day of the Year of the Goat. From Monday 8th Feb 2016 to 27th Jan 2017, it will be the Year of the Monkey. Anyone born in the Year of the Monkey?

In Singapore, Chinese New Year is a two-day public holiday from 8th to 9th Feb. The celebration really starts today on the eve when we have our reunion dinner. (Yes, there's going to be mahjong too.) This reunion dinner is pretty big deal. If you have family, you're bound to be obligated to attend it. My family has our reunion dinner at my MIL's. The first two years I was married, I would make it a point to have reunion lunch with my mother followed by reunion dinner at my MIL's. Then I had kids and my mother sold her flat... Hubs and I, we're not traditional. If it were up to us, we would have no idea what to prepare for a reunion dinner. I would probably cook something we usually eat instead of the auspicious food.

This year I almost forgot to buy Mandarin oranges. We need these when we go visiting during Chinese New Year. The supermarket was super crowded yesterday and while I was queueing up, I realised I had forgotten to get 4 mandarin oranges. I didn't want to give up my place in the queue so I decided I would forget about mandarin oranges this year. Certainly the elders would have something to say when we show up visiting empty handed but the queue was INSANE. Later in the day, I became aware I needed seamless panty which I did not own but needed desperately for Monday. (it's too long a story to tell) The lack of seamless panty gnawed at me and eventually I braved the crowd again. This time I travelled to a larger shopping mall and I struck gold the first place I went to. 3 seamless panties for $18! Having settled my most pressing problem, I turned my attention back to  mandarin oranges. I peeked into the supermarket to see how crowded it was. It wasn't too bad. Mandarin oranges were going for a song. 8 for $2.99!

Another task I have is to get the ang pows (red packet) ready. When we go visiting, we have to give unmarried kids or grown ups ang pows. Our kids receive ang pows in return. Hub's job is to get the new notes. Usually hubs has to go queue up at the bank to get new notes. It's a real hassle. This year, the community club near our home has special cash machines dispensing new notes. One day last week, hubs came back from his run and handed me a bunch of new $2 notes. He had specifically worked in the community club into his running route. I put the new notes in my cabinet. Last night, I took them out to stuff them into the ang pows. Guess what? The new notes still have hub's sweat and grime from his run. I tried wiping away the sweat but there was a lot. A lot!  Some of the notes were stuck together! Finally I gave up. My son helped me stuff the cash in the envelopes. I hope the recipients of the ang pows won't notice the stickiness and beads of sweat.

What I am most apprehensive about is food. As I will be eating at other people's homes, eating food I usually don't eat, I may end up getting sick. I hope my stomach will be obedient and not explode. I will stay positive and not stress over it. Honestly, if I could go through Chinese New Year without a single headache, I will consider it a success.

Happy Chinese New Year everyone! I wish you a prosperous Year of the Monkey.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Weigh In Friday - Eat, drink, run

Hey folks,

Did anyone miss my Weigh In Friday's posts? It's now a monthly post as I felt it was a little unhealthy to keep weighing myself every Friday!

Up until Wednesday since last December, I had been living a pretty good life, sleeping whenever, waking up whenever because my kids did not have school. Sadly, today my girl starts her first day in junior college. It's a 2-year course and I have to wake up at 6am every school day to wake my girl. Her school is about 35-40 min away from my home. Luckily she can get there by train without any transfer needed. Today she told me she reached school a bit too early so I think it's safe for me to wake up at 6:15am instead. 6:15am versus 6am is a big difference, I can tell you that.

So where was I? Ah yes, in my last post in 2015, I mentioned an appointment with a dietician. So I went to consult with one. I had many of my questions answered. How I translate these answers to a healthier diet is another matter.

Firstly, based on the food I am able to eat, I do not suffer from celiac disease (intolerance to gluten). I do suffer from lactose intolerance. This is a problem as I do not have enough calcium. I can rectify that by taking soy bean milk or oat milk fortified with calcium. As you know, I developed a sensitivity to some food since last July such as rice, bread and possibly others. The dietician went through the list of FODMAP food items and after a long q&a, he eliminated FODMAP as a problem as well. Which is good news because the list of FODMAP food items to avoid is very long. But it is also bad news because my case is unique. That means the only way I can find out if a food item suits me is to try it and see what happens. Ugh!

For my diet to be healthy, I have to ask myself 3 questions:
1. Am I eating enough? Loss of weight means no.
2. Does my meal contain fruit, vegetable, grain and protein?
3. Is the portion sufficient for each category of food?

I know I am eating enough because I haven't lost any weight! I'm not eating enough vegetables for sure because I don't really like to eat vegetables. Shhh. Don't tell my kids. As for fruits, I need to eat a larger variety. I had been avoiding oranges and other citrus fruits due to my gastritis (GP's advice). But my new doctor has told me not to avoid any specific food unless I know it causes me problems. In fact, the two things I have to avoid is coffee/tea due to the caffeine as well as oily food.

So I'm literally back to square one. On my own. Figuring things out. What I can eat, what to avoid. It's very tiring going through the headaches and stomach pains and bloatedness. But I get days when I feel good. These good days keep me going and give me hope that one day I'll get to eat food like a normal human being again without all the side effects.

I weighed myself this morning and horrors, my weight is 57.7kg. I must be eating very well. My last weigh-in was 27th Nov 2015 and my weight was 57.1kg.

I'm not going to kid myself. There's no way I can keep my weight at 57kg. Below 58kg is the best I can do at the moment. My dietician said I am at a good weight now. However, he noted that I consume a lot of sugar via the drinks I drown every day. We'll talk about the drinks in a while.  Honestly, I like how my body looks now. Sure I would love a little less belly fat but I don't know how to make that happen. Any ideas?

So one of the findings during my session with the dietician was that I drink a lot of oat/soy milk. These milk does contain some sugar and that's probably how I manage to gain weight.

Apart from my favourite Oatly drinks, I've gotten to like these soy milk. They don't taste like soy at all and most importantly, they're sweet. Bought these at Jem Fairprice Xtra.

I tried PureHarvest Oat milk but I didn't like it as much. It was too milky for my taste. It's really hard to get this product. I found it at Jem Fairprice Xtra.

I think I will always like Oatly milk best. I try not to drink too much of the chocolate oat drink because it's really sweet and so, so delicious. The original and organic ones aren't as sweet so I try to rotate them.

Anyhoo, I had this question for the dietician. Am I taking too much oats? On top of oat milk, I also eat oatmeal and oat biscuits. Well, the dietician's view is oats is safe to take as it's good for cholestral lowering and it also contains fibre. I just have to watch the sugar content.

Still on the subject of oats, I discovered that steel cut oats are healthier than quick cooking oats. As such, I bought some to try. I found this container of oats at a hospital pharmacy. It takes 30 min to cook 1 cup's worth of steel cut oats so I keep the leftovers in the fridge to eat over a few days. Taste wise, I much prefer quick cooking oats from Marks and Spencer. Steel cut oats is nuttier and not necessarily in a good way. Still, I don't mind eating these healthier oatmeal once in a while.

I haven't neglected my exercises. It seems running is really good for my gastritis. The pounding forces the wind out of my system and I feel really good afterwards. I try to run 2 to 3 times a week and walk at least 5000 steps on days I don't run. I did really well for 2 weeks in January until I was hit by food poisoning last week. This week I got back on track and hopefully I will keep going. I started my once a week pilates class again. I haven't gone for this class for a year and it seems my teacher has aged!

Next month I hope to improve my diet and start cooking more again. My kids have been eating a lot of fast food!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Is it a zip pouch?
Since I published my latest bag pattern - the iPhone wristlet (see post here), this question has surfaced.

Is my iPhone wristlet a zip pouch?

The answer? Yes and no.

Yes, my iPhone wristlet looks like a zip pouch.

No, it's not sewn like a zip pouch, you know the rectangle with the zip on top. Nope, it's not like that at all.
See what I mean?

I made another iPhone wristlet, a patchwork version for myself. Most of the time I put my iPhone in my pocket. But some pockets are too shallow or sometimes my outfits don't come with pockets. In the past I would dump my phone in my bag. When a call comes, I end up digging forever in my bag for the phone. With a wristlet, I can just let it hang off my wrist.

If you haven't bought this pattern already, I'm selling it at US$6 for a limited period. On Monday, 25th Jan 2016, Singapore time I will adjust the price back to US$8. So get my pattern now!!!

Available at Etsy, Craftsy and here on my blog. (To buy from my blog, click on Buy Now button below but please read my faq if you're buying from my blog for the first time, eccomerce by Payhip)

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