Tag Archives: diet

: : Weight Loss + Eating Healthily : :

I’ve been hanging out at the Lowyat.net Health and Fitness forum lately. So, just to make my life easier, I’m pasting one of the articles I wrote about the diet that I’m doing atm.

So far, the kgs drop since 14 Feb 2009 has been 8 kg in the past 2 months. That included the time I lost 2 kg in the week I was ill as well as the 2 kg that I gain my trip back to Miri. Please excuse the red color, it came together from the site as that colour. >.<

Also, hopefully Dad will be reading this. 🙂  The original post is found here.

I tried to write a post about nutrition and realised it is probably too big a scope so I’m just going to write about some concepts of eating healthily.

Note that this is a generic post for weight loss and not for maintenance mode i.e. maintaining your target weight and definitely not for athletes/body builders who may need a different diet altogether as they use up more energy. Also, the tips below may not be so applicable to people who are ill or not feeling well : you may have to check with your doctor, nutritionist or do your own research.

How much to eat?
I tend to follow information from the MyPyramid.gov and Harvard Healthy Eating Pyramid as well as various food websites but I do a lot of cross-referencing as well. It’s mostly the same but I tend to just use the plate as a gauge as it is easier to go by. I seldom go by the serving size recommended as being an Asian, I would tend to eat a lot less than the Americans do (and I have seen them eat. It’s scary, even with healthy food). That’s why I use a plate to gauge the portions as well as my fist. As long as I have eaten enough to have the energy to carry out my daily activities, it means I’ve eaten enough.

I divide up the plate into 4 sections (into quarters). One quarter is grains (rice, multi-grain, pasta, etc.), another quarter is meat, last 2 quarters are for veggies.

The other thing I do is use my hand to agak-agak/gauge portion control. Here is a link about using the hand.

And I make sure the size of the place is not too big. Too big = too much food.

When it comes to snacks, I usually don’t take more than one fist of fruits / veggie or 3 slices of biscuits (low salt high fibre).

I try to make sure that I eat enough to have a steady weight loss of 1 kg per week but once I switch to maintenance mode, I will review my diet again (not to eat more fat or meat but maybe more proteins / complex carbo from veggies to slow down the weight loss).

Food Planning
It takes practice. The first week that I started dieting was bad and everything was so red and boring. It’s now been 7 weeks so it’s getting easier.

I goto websites and look at pretty pictures of food that make me hungry. I see the recipe and start planning whether it’s easy or not. If it’s going to be tedious, then I do it over the weekend. If not, then I do it after dinner, preparing my breakfast and lunch.

Some sites that I go to :

Sometimes, I just google somethign that I want to try and make. Say like tomato sauce as I can’t take the ones with salt in them. The Google Search yielded a lot of blogs with recipes so I picked one out to try it.

One thing about websites is that it’s not easy to decide whether what they say is correct or not. You’ll just have to do some comparison and hopefully they all don’t go and link to the same website or same text. If the text is writtenly differently but the information is essentially the same, it’s usually ok but then again, there is always the possibility of that one problem case.

I also browse through cooking books at the bookstore and buy something that is relatively easy to do. I’m toying with the idea of going to baking classes just to learn how to make some of the more complex pastries like puff pastry etc. Just for the heck of it. Doubt if I can learn it properly through youtube.

I talk to colleagues and friends about food preparation and recipes to share. I exchange emails with family and we really get into the habit of food preparation.

This is fun. I spend usually about 2-3 hours just waiting through the supermarkets looking at labels and food and remembering where to get stuff. Also, because of my high blood pressure, I can’t eat salt in food so I also occassionaly look for stuff in Organic Shops but even they have stuff with MSG and too much salt inside so I do have to read labels a lot. Wet markets are also a good sauce but some stuff, I still prefer to get it from supermarkets because it’s surprisingly fresher.

The problem with Malaysian food manufacturers is that they seldom put the Sodium Content on their labels as it’s currently an option. However, if you check out the World Heart Federation and click South-East Asia, you’ll notice that there are a lot of deaths due to heart diseases (remember to add 3 more zeros at the end and you’ll end up with millions). Makes one wonder whether the govt is really taking community health in the long run but admittedly, it is extremely hard to give up soy sauce. After getting diagnosed, I’m off the opinion that the govt doesn’t have a long-term strategy that meshes food manufacturing with the health problems currently faced by the community. But there’s not much of an avenue to properly voice it up and it’s not easy to find the time to do the information gathering.

At the moment, I buy a lot of vegetables and fruits and coming up with different ways of preparation. I don’t feel the need to go to the extreme of boiling and steaming yet although some of my food preparation are like that. It just depends on my mood and whether there is something I would like to eat. I can’t eat fast food anymore or goto restaurants as often so I am slowly experimenting with different recipes to see if I can make something.

Your Health
Depending on what kind of health problems you have and where you want to end up, this will greatly determine your food selection. It’s hard to advise more than that but I would suggest to search some sites and see what they say.

: : Lunchie in Miri: :

Ok, so the no-salt diet is not exactly that easy when one is in a different house. I’m now in Miri for a week and finally managed to have a lunch where I can make my own lunch. So here is a simple lunch that I normally eat during work and would have prepared the night before. Although this time, I made this during the day itself.

Hmm…preparation was easy. The multi-grain mix was the one that needed to be pre-soak an hour before as well as the frozen fish. The fish, I put them into water to defrost and in an hour, it was compeltely defrosted.

So, the finish food looks like this :

Carbo : 2 spoons of multigrain mix
Protein : Fish cook with garlic and tomyam
Veggies : Stir Fried Sweet peas + Oyster Mushrooms with Garlic

The multigrain was a pre-mix grain mixture I got from a supermarket that was imported by Taiwan. I think the name of the manufacturer was Sungrass Farms or something like that. It was pre-soak in water for an hour and cook in a pot until soft and most of the water has dried up. It’s a bit grey because of the black glutinous rice in it. It doesn’t taste too bad but I guess it helps that I cut down a lot of salt.

I love sweet peas. It’s great to eat and not so dried up. The oyster mushroom also helps because it doesn’t smell too strongly. Then again, the garlic helped a lot too. The garlic was chopped into small bits and stir-fried in a teaspoon of olive oil until it was slight browned and fragnant. Then I put the sweetpeas in and about 10 seconds later, the mushroom. Add in about 1/4 cup of water, a dash of pepper and about 1 teaspoon of balsamic vinegar for taste.

One thing I didn’t check was for leftover lemongrass and I think there was none. Anyway, have cut some garlic slices and totally forgot to put in some shallots. I rub about 1/2 teaspoon of tomyam paste on the fish. I put some water into a frying pan and poached the garlic + 1/2 teaspoon of the tomyam paste. Then added in more water and brought it quickly to a boil before I added the fish. Then I covered the pan and every few minutes, turned the fish so that it gets cook. I top up the water when it got too low. It turn out pretty nice and the fish tasted like it was steamed. The only problem was that I underestimated the salt content in that one teaspoon of tomyam paste so it ended up too salty. So, next time, it’s going to be 1/4 teaspoon of tomyam paste. I didn’t finish the fish and kept half for the next day.

So, this is a really nice meal. But, I now have to exercise hard because I’m heading out for dinner with parents to have crab and a favourite prawn dish that I can never get it done right in Kuching. Gulp!

: : Heart Update : :

One thing about writing a food blog is the irony of health problems that suffices later in life. Knowing that I haven’t been eating as healthily as I should have, nor exercising as much as I should have, the day finally came when I got hit by a big whammy.

Just after Chap Goh Mei, on 13 Feb 2009, I got diagnosed with stage II hypertension (151/108) at the age of 31 years old. It came at a time when I had just made some promises to my mother that I would finally make the decision to try to lose weight again. I suppose one could say that God has perfect timing, not to mention the perfect situation that will finally make me stick to my diet which is my health.

On 13 Feb 2009, I weighed in at about 105 kg. After taking a check of my food intake and putting in some exercise with the added pinch of a bad flu for a week, I now weight 98 kg. A drop of 7kg in about 7-8 weeks. Not bad for a girl who is now eating salt-free food.

So, this blog will undergo a change just as life changes as time goes by. I started this blog with the goal to tease my sister and my mum in the US. Now, it’s going to be a blog of my cooking experiments with no salt with Granny looking on like a sports commentator.

I still have a long way to go in the journey of weight loss but it’s getting there. Plus, I never knew that so many people were so concerned about heart problems until I told them that I had one.

Ah well. Let’s see how it goes.

: : Post Meal pack : :

A few lessons learnt about the food I’ve packed for today.

Apple + Mandarin Oranges + Yogurt
Bad. Too much fibre in the drink and I think I had some seeds floating around. Going to put in more effort in removing the skin and all. Plus, do a more thorough check of the seeds as well. I thought I took everything out but guess looks are deceiving. Also, use only one orange and not two, else the taste is overwhelming.

Surprisingly, it came out very sweet after settling for a day. Raisins and balsamic vinegar had soak in really well overnight. For a moment though, I thought it was going to be very bland and tasteless like the ones I made before (I didn’t cut the grapes up).

Chicken Sandwich
Again, another suprise. The ginger gave the chicken as really really nice taste and the onions that had caramelized, gave it a bit of a sweetish flavour. And, because it was lightly pan-fried, tasted pretty good, considering that I didn’t add in any other filling in.

Tomorrow to-do list :
Morning – Goto an Organic Food Shop and see what unsweetened dried fruits that they have (and hopefully doesn’t cost a bomb)
Afternoon – Head on down to Boulevard Hypermarket with Granny to have a looksee there.

Need to make a shopping list…