Monday, December 31, 2012

Goodbye 2012

Its the last day of 2012. Feels like just a few weeks ago that I was ringing in the new year and here I am again at the cusp of another year. Its been a short year, theres no denying that. To sum it up, its been a year of survival. Surviving stage fright, my mother, the end of the world! I did my first ever amateur pole competition which was exciting and frightening at the same time. If you had told me last year that I would be on stage in my skivvies, pole dancing in front of 400 people on a competitive level, I would've laughed and replied I was more likely to grow a beard. Well, I am beardless and still pole dancing.

My mother has finally moved from our family home into a safer, more manageable apartment. We have talked about this for quite a while and when the move actually happened, it was done in two weeks! We spent our last Christmas together in our family home and it only hit me when I took a photo of the children together by the Christmas tree. I did feel a little sad but amazingly, there was also a sense of relief. It was like as if the chapter could finally end. There has been many, many amazing memories in the house but as with all old houses, these memories sometimes haunt with regret and sadness too. I feel like we can finally move on and brave the new year and new challenges ahead.

And of course, there was the rather uneventful end of the world. As my sister's contractor very wisely put it (in cantonese), "Do you think it would be that easy? When the police comes to catch you, do you think they let you know first?". In short, live your life and do what you want to do. Nobody knows what the future holds so they should never be able to tell you what and what not to do.

So heres what I hope for in the new year. Peace. Understanding. Love. Freedom. Agree to disagree and keep and open mind. Happy new year!

Saturday, July 07, 2012

I Want to Win an Awesome Tropical Island Holiday with Cikipedia!

I’m participating in Cikipedia’s Healthy Getaway Weekend!

How could I resist the lovely Ciki tempting me with a chance to win a lovely holiday at the gorgeous Pangkor Laut resort. Flashes of Ciki running slow motion on the beach in her bikini come to mind. A poster child for hotness and health rolled into one. Funnily enough, Hunky and I were just talking about taking Her Madesty to Pangkor Laut for a holiday. Neither of us have ever been so this is meant to be!

If you've been following my last few posts then you will know I've been doing the Atkins thing while exercising to shed the post baby weight. But seriously, if you ever need to lose baby weight fast, don't hire a maid. Have no help at all and you will see the lbs melt away faster than butter on a hot pan. I was only 3kg away from my pre-baby body when ch-ch-chang! I got a maid. Fast forward 9 months later, I was back to my full-term pregnancy weight!

So HM is now 1.5 years old and I am back to my original weight. Kinda fat but fit, thats how I see myself. Hey, not every skinny person is fit. I'm nowhere near slim but I bet I can out jog, out box and out pole your flabby, skinny ass. Yes, thats my weekly excrcise regime. I kickbox, TRX or do various isometric exercises with my trainer once or twice a week. In between, I pole dance 2-3 times a week. Pole dancing is amazing for your core muscles and overall fitness. I see so much improvement in my core compared to when I was only doing the usual sit ups and plank. Oh, and everyday I repeatedly lift and carry a 12.5kg weight called HM. Man, my arms and upper back have never been so firm! :-) 

Friday, July 06, 2012

Life post Atkins

10 months ago I stared at the mirror and hated what I saw. Its not like I've ever been thin but I HAVE been very overweight and anyone struggling with weight issues will know how easy it is to slip back into a comfortable, elasticated pants kinda of lifestyle. I'm not sure what it was that finally made me get off my butt. I think starting pole dancing classes may have played a small part in tipping the scales so to speak. Watching the more advanced girls defy gravity with such grace and form was inspiring. I'm not saying you have to be thin to pole dance but as I have discovered, a lighter body sure does help. After all, imagine hauling a 70kg body up the pole instead of a 50kg one. Anyway, I'm still pole-ing and loving it. Its very liberating and amazing to compare myself from day 1 to now. Kind of like my weight loss. I'm happy to say I have maintained the shedding of baby weight. And as promised, albeit a tad late, a blood test to study the short term effects of Atkins.

In total, nothing had changed. My liver and kidney function test came back normal as before and my LDL cholesterol improved! Amazing because I was convinced eating 2 eggs everyday was going to increase my cholesterol levels. This only goes to show, do your own research if you are going on a diet. There will be heaps of people saying its bad for you. But why is it bad? In every situation there is going to be some pretty bad scenarios and IF you choose to eat sausages and bacon for breakfast, snack on artificial sugar-free snacks, steak with cream sauce every night, then YES, Atkins will be very bad for you. I can honestly say I actually ate MORE vegetables on Atkins than I usually do. When you are only allowed 20g of carbohydrates (during induction phase) containing vegetables, you really make it count. I have stir-fried vegetables and copious amounts of salad leaves everyday on Atkins. When I'm not on Atkins, my typical day would be toast for breakfast, fried mee hoon/pasta for lunch and dinner would be rice with vegetables and a meat dish. Lets not mention the milo and biscuits I love to have in between. 

I'm not pushing Atkins for everyone, just trying to give my personal experience with Atkins. Unfortunately I can't really curb my love for sugar. It really is EVIL. Just ask my cellulite. They seem to have shrunk in the absence of sugar. So for me, it really is a roller coaster ride. I'm currently doing another bout of Atkins and this time it really doesn't seem so difficult. I'm hoping that maybe, just maybe I'm finally kicking the sugar habit. Or at least keeping it under control. I'll keep you posted :-)

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Konichiwa Niseko!

Its been 12 years since my family and I went on a vacation together. Its been far too long and we should definitely not wait another 12 years before the next one! We always have so much fun as we have a common interest ie. food! I think our love for food came from my late father. He definitely loved to eat and when he was alive, he would always drag us out to obscure places for specific dishes he had discovered. Sotong bakar here, drunken prawns there,... Anyway, he would have loved this trip as we had some seriously amazing food. I haven't been back to Japan since I was 8 years old. We were in Tokyo then and funnily enough, most of my memories involve the food I had eaten back then. Chocolate ice cream cubes, beautifully laid out steam boat dinner, hot steaming roasted sweet chestnuts eaten on the bullet train, being carried by my brother so I could reach the bowl of ramen we had at a street stall. Hmmm, so I guess I've always loved food!

Top left: Lovely simple breakfast of rice, veg, seaweed and pickles at Kansai Washington Hotel. Superb! Creamiest tamago I've ever had but not sweet at all. Top right: Just your average regular beef. Look at that marbling! Bottom: Pigging out at ramen shop in Kuchan. 

Fast forward to 2012. We flew into Osaka for one night. Upon arrival, it was quite late in the evening already and we grabbed a bite to eat at McDonalds! I know, sacrilegious having McD's in Japan! But you know what. Its the best ever McD's I have ever had! The patty, cheese and bun taste very different. Who knows, maybe we were just really hungry. We continued our journey the following day to Chitose on Japan's new domestic airline called Peach. Its fairly cheap but they are pretty disorganised as they only started operations a couple of months ago. Kinda like Air Asia back then. Gasp! The horror! Yes, even the Japanese can be disorganised. But in a very calm manner. Oh but the food on board is way better of course. Once we got to Chitose, we had to take a coach to Niseko resort. It was a long and tiring 2.5 hour bus ride as I was feeling quite ill and Her Madesty was just full of beans! Despite being nauseous and looking after bouncy HM, I could still enjoy the landscape. It was really quite beautiful. Its a small place so the roads are extremely quiet and everything was covered in a blanket of snow. We stayed at Yutaka townhouse via SkiJapan which was just enough to house the entire family. Lovely townhouse with fully equipped kitchen, laundry, etc... All the things you would need for a longish vacation. The food in Niseko is delicious and being on the island of Hokkaido, all things dairy are to die for! I'm not kidding you when I say that you can get really decent food at their version of 7Eleven called Lawson. Lovely yogurt, milk and Hokkaido butter. Nyum! And this is not even the gourmet stuff. Wow, who can blame the Japanese for having such high standards? Their idea of junk is like gourmet for us. Guffaw. Prepackaged katsu sandwiches, onigiri, ice cream, they all taste amazing. HM was a great traveller and ate all that was presented to her, from shabu-shabu to onigiri to grilled tofu. Such a good little girl.

We had a lovely meal in a ramen shop in Kutchan (town near Niseko). We ordered gyozas and minced pork mayo sushi to the two bowls of ramen and fried rice. Yes, there were only three people eating. Well, four if you count HM. Loved the shoyu based soup. Didn't much care for the salt based soup as they put so much raw bean sprouts in there that it was just overpowering. We took away 3 portions of katsu rice for the kids dinner and the entire bill came up to less than RM140. Surely it would've cost more in KL? At Niseko we had a fabulous meal at Izakaya. Loved the raw squid marinated in uni, aromatic chargrilled squid and scallop sashimi. I have never tasted scallop sashimi like this. It actually has texture to it. Firm and sweet. Delicious! We had some nice dishes at A-Bu-Chan 2 the following night. Melt-in-the-mouth beef and scallops cooked in butter. Its a little bit pretentious and I much preferred the food at Izakaya.
Top: View from the gondola. So serene, all that powdery snow! Bottom left: raw squid with uni as a marinade, waaah! Bottom right: the biggest mother ebi sashimi we've ever had. Deliciously sweet & springy in texture.

We were sad to leave Niseko but Kyoto was calling. OMG! Chitose airport! The mecca of good food! You can get all kinds of Hokkaido goodies here. If you are flying out of Chitose airport, go very, very early to enjoy all the samples and eat till your hearts content! I am embarassed to admit that we did not see much of Kyoto. Apart from visiting Kyomizu Temple on our first day, we spend most of the time just wandering around the market (food) and looking for more food! So much to eat, so little time. Sigh. The Japanese diet must agree with me because I managed to lose weight despite eating so much. Speaking of weight, there really isn't any overweight people in Japan. Seriously, theres no one even vaguely chubby here. It was so obvious we were tourists. Big-sized, loud tourists from Mainland China. Choi!

We had some amazing meals in Kyoto. Akaneya Junshinken was some superb izakaya dining. I particularly enjoyed the marinated baby squid sashimi and stuffed and deep fried lotus "patty". Oh and the amazing stuffed yam dish which tasted like dim sum woo kok but so much more delicate in texture but full on in taste. Looking back, some of the meals have merged into one. Thats the problem when snack carries onto lunch and spills over to tea and melds with dinner! Sigh, blogging about all this food has made me miss the food again. I don't know how the Japanese do it because if I lived there, I'd be as fat as f%$@.

Top left: marinated raw baby squid. Bit squeamish at first but glad I ate it. Yum! Top right: one of the many things we ate going up to Kyomizu Temple and all the way down too! Bottom: HM's" tapow". I thought it was tamago but its actually sushi wrapped in swiss roll?!?! Very strange...

Love you Niseko-Kyoto, hopefully will see you again soon!