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Would you try a Meatless Monday?

I started going vegetarian when we moved in our new home. The reason for not eating and (hence) cooking meat was to avoid attracting cockroaches to our spanking new place. It helps that I have a mother-in-law who is vegetarian (and very enthusiastic about it!) and a husband who is very pro-saving the environment. The MIL is always trying to impart her vegetarian culinary skills to me and I must say I benefited quite a bit. I will share her recipes in other posts, so stay tuned!

Even cats are going vegetarian?

We weren’t actually “meatless” on Mondays. In fact, we were “meatless” on Saturdays and Sundays. Meatless Monday is actually a movement started in the US by a group of environmentalists from the John Hopkins’ Bloomberg School of Public Health. The aim of this initiative is to encourage people to eat less meat and more vegetables to improve health, reduce carbon footprint and in turn combat climate change. Meatless Saturday and Meatless Sunday just doesn’t sound as catchy 😛

I personally think going meatless once a week is a great habit. Go for more days if you can “afford” it. I do know of some people who simply cannot live without meat! Going meatless once a week may be less daunting for most of us.

And the health benefits of going meatless you say?

1. It definitely helps in the looks department. Decreasing meat intake and increasing vegetable intake helps in weight management.
2. Reduce risk of type 2 diabetes, heart attacks and stroke
3. Reduce risk of cancers such as colon cancer

The environmental benefits of consuming more vegetables and less meat mean using less of the world’s resources. Did you know that it requires 10 times more water to grow livestock compared to the same weight of soy/grain? 20 times more energy is required to produce protein from beef compared to the same weight of protein from soy.

Love yourself and the environment by eating less meat! I’m proud to be part of the Meatless Monday movement!

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The most important meal of the day is…

Breakfast!

Heard of the saying “eat like a king for breakfast, like a prince for lunch and like a pauper for dinner”? Is there any basis for this?

According to the research conducted in the area of nutrition, consumption of breakfast has both short and long term beneficial effects to the human body. Studies from the Journal of Nutrition showed that intake of breakfast resulted in lowered the desire to eat and reduced overall calorie intake in the subsequent meals of the day. Other studies found that habitual breakfast eaters (from childhood to adulthood) had better health outcomes in terms of better insulin control and lower cholesterol levels, compared to those who were not habitual breakfast eaters. Interestingly, research from the Journal of Obesity reported that eating of breakfast alone is a factor that contributes to successful weight-loss maintenance!

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What should we be having for breakfast?

I always start my day off with a fresh fruit. Either an orange or apple, sometimes a serve of grapes if it is in season! I like the dose of vitamins and fibre I get from the fruits J

As for mains, anything low in fat is recommended. There is emerging evidence suggesting that high fat meals increase a hunger hormone in our body, causing us to eat more in the subsequent meals. Nutrition surveys conducted in the US found that people who consume cereal related products or bread had lower BMI compared those who eat meat or eggs for breakfast! On most days, I make myself a low fat cheese sandwich and finish my meal with a nice coffee.

But does this mean we kiss Ya Kun and the like goodbye? Of course not! Nutrition is about eating in moderation. Have good breakfast for most days of the week and indulge in a rich breakfast once a week sounds reasonable to me.

More healthy breakfast in future posts!

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Do you read the labels of your toiletries?

I remember when I was in primary school, I had a science practical and had to bring wrappers with “ingredients list”. Back then I had no idea what the ingredients on the wrappers meant. When I got older, of course I learnt that ingredients list refers to the ingredients that were used in making the product. But did you know ingredients are listed according to their concentration in the product? Ingredients are listed in descending order, this means that the ingredient listed first is present in largest quantity while the ingredient listed last is present in the least quantity.

Do you read your products’ labels?

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Perhaps the next question one would ask is what should you look out for?

For a start, look out for these ingredient names – Methyl, Ethyl, Propyl and Butyl Paraben. These compounds are used to inhibit microbial growth in daily toiletries (shampoo, moisturizers, shaving gel, cleansers…) to extend the shelf life of the products. Although current scientific literature does not support the claim that these compounds are toxic, low concentrations of parabens were reportedly found in tumors of breast cancer patients. Furthermore, some studies suggest that the application of methylparaben on the skin may react with UV light resulting in skin aging and DNA damage. Parabens can cause skin irritation and rosacea in those with paraben allergies.

Do you really want to expose yourself to such risks?

Have a look at what’s in your toiletries today!

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