I have started doing things a little differently and so far my tummy feels very light and happy. If you’ve talked to me about my eating habits, you’ll know that I don’t like to label them. This is because I personally find living life, gladdening hearts, and making memories just as important as saving the planet and being healthy. What I’m trying to say is, if my new Japanese friend invites me over with utmost glee and sits me down with a big plate of lovingly homemade pork yakitori, well, I’m not going to break her heart and request broccoli. Anyways, I have finally started listening to the digestion experts by eating fruit first thing, on an empty stomach, in the morning. This has something to do with fruit often “rotting” in the stomach and thus causing poor-digestion and stomach-bloating. So, I eat my little bowl of fruit… I wait 15 to 20 minutes then I eat my muesli. Now, to complicate things even further… I’ve gone gluten-free. Of course, becoming gluten-free isn’t for everybody but as I said, so far, my tummy feels very light and happy. Surprisingly, it’s been very easy. Almost everywhere have gluten-free options and at home, all I’ve had to change is my bread and muesli. Bread I bought from the supermarket – super easy. And muesli, I swapped the oats in my homemade recipe to buckwheat puffs. So I dry toast nuts, seeds, honey, coconut oil and cinnamon in a frying pan and once cool, mix with dried fruit and buckwheat puffs (basically popcorn for breakfast – can’t complain). Next I want to try quinoa puffs and buckwheat groats. I will keep you updated anyhow.
While you work from an office… (hehe).
Vanilla bean and gooseberries with rye crumble, blueberry, Greek yoghurt and mint and cherry, plum and Earl Grey, strawberry and rhubarb, coconut and passionfruit, coconut and dark chocolate. Mandy you a Genius! #UtopiaIce
Sea salt caramel and popcorn ice-cream. Heaven is real and it comes in a tub. Save me.
Easy snack idea for the 19 Day Bahai Feast – though I had trouble sticking the feta through the bamboo sticks without them falling apart so my momma suggested I end with the feta by simply pricking it a teeny tiny bit only.
Physical feasting on snacks generously brought by friends after some serious soul-food! In the words of Abdu’l-Bahá, “My heart is in a constant state of thanksgiving.”
Two years ago, after finishing University, I decided to start a blog. The idea was given to me by over 10 friends! These friends I believe were simply tired of my Facebook spamming. Also, I knew it was important to have an outlet to continue my writing and a platform to build a writing portfolio. So, here we are.
In addition to gaining many supportive followers (you know who you are ) who continue to love and encourage me day by day (often sending me private emails with links, videos and/or career advice), some other pretty magical things have occurred:
1. Two different media companies, after seeing my blog asked me to write for them (finally, paid writing gigs!).
2. I met Laura – a follower from Belgium who stayed with me in Japan and later I stayed with in Belgium. I want to tell you that when I explained my anxieties to my mother of letting a stranger into my home, my mother encouraged me to let go of my fear. How incredible is that? How incredible is she? Of course, I stalked the heck out of Laura’s blog and her Social Media pages before she came but still, I had no idea if she would be sane! Today, Laura is one of my bestestestest friends!
3. I met Lavanya – a follower from Switzerland. I stayed with Lavanya and her partner during my Europe trip. She was and still is, a huge inspiration. Seriously, it was as if God sent me these two angels (Laura and Lavanya) when I most needed them.
4.Yesterday I received an email from Victoria. Victoria is a Bahai from Canada. She is an RHN (registered holistic nutritionist) and has been offering eCourses for three years. She has just launched four new whole food, plant-based eCourses and has asked for my help in promoting them. If you’ve ever struggled with weight-loss, maintaining a healthy diet or you’re just curious about vegan and gluten-free food, I highly 110% recommend you check out Victoria’s resources. HERE is the link for her main website. And HERE is the link for the eCourses. I know how hard it is to publicise your passion but as my friend Kyle once told me, if you keep doing what you love, eventually people will notice.
…Beauty and terror. Just keep going. No feeling is final. (Rainer Maria Rilke)
Top to bottom: morning prayer, Anisa-style banana split with NZ honey, local organic blueberries and home-made granola with Rye bread from Olivier, morning cycle featuring sky, bento love, and last but not least, my favorite healthy noms sent to me by my dear mama.
My second DYKWTI article is up on Savvy. Check it out. Cook it up, and share it with EVERYONE. Sorry did that seem aggressive? It was meant to.
During my year and a bit here, it has been extremely difficult to pursue my passion for healthy eating when the notion of healthy food is so scarce in the Japanese countryside. However, I have preserved. Through “bird” and “rabbit” nicknames from my colleagues for eating nuts, seeds and raw vegetables. Through lack of brown bread. And through unbelievably dare fruit prices. Often, I have made my friends and colleagues healthy cakes explaining that they’re free of gluten, dairy and sugar only to be looked at with wide eyes and responded to by: “but why?! are you on a diet?” Don’t worry I’m not blaming them, I mean, it’s not like I myself came out of my mother’s womb screaming: “quinoa”!
So, as hard as it has been, I have stuck to doing what I love. It has’t been easy and I haven’t had access to the majority of things (both ingredients and cooking materials) that I had back at home but, I have not given up.
Kate Borstein says, “Your life’s work beings when your great joy meets the world’s great hunger.” Taking that literally, my great passion does exactly that. Am I right? (Haha) but really, I know healthy food/mindfulness isn’t the answer to Trump, poverty, terrorism and homophobia but it is still something. My little something to the world.
I would like to think I have had many successes here, in changing attitudes to food (and other) but here are three recent examples of them. First, a picture sent by my neighbour who made the same vegan eggplant and tomato spaghetti that I made her, for her daughter. Next, my friend’s smoothie-bowl attempt after eating two or three in my kitchen. Last but not least, do you remember the burger place in Tottori I posted? Well, I added the chef on Facebook (because I’m creepy like that) and begged the poor dude to make me a vegan burger. Being Japan where customer service is beyond immaculate, he dutifully delivered. The patty was delicious, a little too wide and a little too flat but it was his first try and he promises to work on it.
Ever wonder why there’s food in my flowers? Sorry I mean flowers in my food? Dear reader/random passerby, wonder no more. Read about it on my new Savvy Tokyo article, HERE. Oh, and share it with your family and friends, and neighbors, and students, and pets, and keep me on their popular page.
Wholewheat organic bread from iyouwaie.
My second article ^.^
Check it out HERE then share it with everyone you know! Pretty pretty please? With cherries on top? Tehe.
Are you constantly hangry? Are you constantly craving EVERYTHING?
STOP! Don’t exit. This is not some generic ad for an ab-machine.
What this is, is a few simple steps in winning this seemingly impossible hunger game we, the wealthy 21st century humans, all seem to be playing.
Remember my post about the health benefits of smoothie bowls? The more we chew, the more our stomachs signal our brains that we’re full. Apparently, we’re supposed to chew our food 20-30 times before swallowing. I hear ya! Ain’t no body got time for that. Well, I ain’t got time to buy new jeans either.
2. USE A PLATE
Try to do this even when you’re feeling angry or upset. No doubt, you’re less likely to eat a whole packet of Oreos if you see them on a plate. This visual reality check will instantly show you that the portion is too big.
3. EAT AWAY FROM THE SCREEN
Checking the number of likes on your new profile picture can wait. Experts caution that eating meals or snacking while distracted by our cellphones and/or computers makes our food seem less satisfying. Dissatisfaction will most likely cause us to seek out more snacks later. This concept also applies to eating food “on the go”: driving/studying/etc/etc. So like, don’t eat a muesli bar with one hand and hold the steering wheel with the other. Instead, pull over and smell the roses. This means focusing on the taste, texture and aroma of each and every mouthful. Remember, we are among the very few privileged individuals of this day and age who actually have access to such an abundance of food. Which means we are seriously obliged to give our food time, energy and respect.
4. PRIORITISE SLEEP
Lack of sleep can mess with our moods, food cravings and even cause our skin to breakout. It does this by increasing our levels of cortisol, the stress hormone that causes inflammation and turns on our oil-producing glands. In addition, insufficient sleep causes hormonal changes that decrease our satiety after eating, lower the calories we burn during the day, and turn on obesity-promoting genes. BRB snoozing!
5. BEWARE OF OTHER HUMANS (A tad OTT, but true.)
Other people can hugely influence our food choices. When US researchers looked at groups of three people for the 2012 Friends Don’t Let Friends Eat Cookies study, they found that if two friends restricted their intake of biscuits, the third friend followed suit, NOT ONLY when with the group but also when alone! On the other hand, when two friends ate more biscuits, the third friend also tucked into more, and again, ate more when alone. In short, pick healthy friends. Or, be that healthy friend. Let’s do this together <3
This video comparing American vs Japanese school lunch, really upsets me. It is clearly bias, with it’s sole motive being to shame US food habits.
From an insider living and working in Japan, let me tell you, drinking dairy milk every single day, is not good for anyone’s health. The big white bread roll seen on the Japanese lunch tray, is full of sugar and perservatives and tastes more like a cake than a bread. In fact, brown bread or multi-grain bread here is almost non-existent and only sold at speciality bakeries – definitely not traditional Japanese ones. Moreover, the THREE schools I teach at, have a no fresh-food rule as in the past apparently one child died from eating a rotten fresh cucumber. So, in my schools everything is either fried or pickled. And the meat is almost always processed in the form of patties and sausages.
Yes, occasionally there will be a healthy soup or a healthy fish dish on the lunch tray, but that is not everyday. What’s more, whale is sometimes served as apparently it is Japanese “tradition”. Please don’t believe everything you see on the internet. Last week in our cooking class, my students learnt how to make fried donuts (fried, in buckets of oil), the week before, Japanese red bean paste sweets laden with sugar and before that, yaki soba, fried noodles with processed meat and sauce from the supermarket.
In all fairness, I have never been to America so I cannot comment on their lunch system…
All I’m saying is that every story has two sides to it.