Heart Month

Happy Valentine’s Day!

February isn’t just a month for couples look forward to, or be dreaded by those of us who are single, or simply don’t care about the hype that the mass media creates. There’s something that everyone should be aware of – your heart. It’s important to know the risks that Canadians (both male and female) face since 9 in 10 will have at least one risk factor for heart disease and stroke. You definitely look at life in a different way when you do find out of a particular heart condition. But whether you have a condition or not, it’s essential to keep your heart healthy for a long and happy life.

Things to remember for a healthy heart:

  • quit smoking (will be beneficial for you and those around you)
  • exercise (if you have a heart condition, remember to talk with your doctor to see what kinds of exercises are right for you)
  • eating a healthy balanced diet
  • reduce stress levels (yoga is great!)
  • go for regular checkups (a bit tough to do in Canada…hard to get hold of doctors here!)

There has been studies which showed that participants who had 270mg of magnesium daily had a 30% lower risk of stroke. (recommended daily does of magnesium is 280-500mg). You can get magnesium from eating spinach, nuts, yogurt, soybeans, bananas and much more.

Most people today are consuming two or even three times the recommended amount of salt. The Heart and Stroke Foundation suggests that Canadians use no more than 1 tsp (5 mL) of salt a day (2,300 mg). This includes salt that you actually sprinkle on your food to sodium in processed and packaged foods. Too much salt in the system can increase the amount of blood in the arteries, raising blood pressure and increasing the risk of heart disease and stroke.

Reduce taking in too much salt by:

  • cutting down on prepared and processed foods
  • eating more fresh vegetables and fruit
  • reduce the amount of salt you add while cooking/eating
  • use other seasonings (ie. garlic, lemon juice and herbs instead)

Look for the Health Check™ symbol on foods.
Health Check is the Heart and Stroke Foundation’s food information program, based on Canada’s Food Guide.

Let’s keep our hearts happy! Love the heart!!

References from 24 Hours, Heart and Stroke Foundation, and Choices Newsletter

Clinique

Do you suffer from acne? Are you an adult, but still breakout like you’re a teenager? Tried everything on the market and frustrated that nothing ever seems to work? Well, then Clinique may be the answer for you.

I was introduced to Clinique by a guy who didn’t seem to be having that much skin problems. But he was trying everything on the shelf, so he knew way more than I did. I have been suffering from severe acne since I was 11 or so. I don’t know how many times I went to the doctors to get it treated. I tried all kinds of creams, but nothing ever worked. It wasn’t until I went to live in Japan that I was given some TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) which REALLY helped. I was super happy. I stopped taking them, but it didn’t get worse again and stabilized.

However, it didn’t mean that I was all free from acne. I still broke out, never as bad as before, but still. When I went on the one year of being on a strict healthy diet, I noticed that my acne significantly decreased. Since then, I’ve noticed that if I eat chocolate, sugar, buttery food, or chips, I break out – so I mainly avoid those foods as much as possible.

To help the skin from the outside, I now use Clinique. I started using the 7 Day Scrub Cream Rinse-Off Formula $24.00 CAD and Acne Solutions Clarifying Lotion  $17.00 CAD. I wash my face with a gentle soap, then massage the scrub. I rinse and dry. Then I apply the Acne Solution with a cotton pad. After a week, I noticed that I was clearing up. I noticed that I didn’t break out as much. I was really satisfied.

ÖAcne Solutions Clarifying Lotion  $17.00 CAD

Ö7 Day Scrub Cream Rinse-Off Formula $24.00 CAD

When I bought the two items, they were doing a special at Hudson Bay where you got a free gift bag with samples inside. One of the samples was the Moisture Surge Intense Skin Fortifying Hydrator. I apply it at night around my eye and corner of my mouth to soften the wrinkles. I am hoping to buy the Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel next time since my Mary Kay’s moisturizer is running out.

ÖFree gift bag during promotion with creams, lipstick, eye shadows, mascara, etc.

The prices are pretty affordable compare to other competitors. And if you can buy when they’re giving out the free gift bags, bonus!  What I like about Clinique is that they’re 100% fragrance free. That doesn’t mean that they smell like crap. I’m really sensitive to fragrance so this is good.

However, after talking about acne with one of my friend, she said that Clinique didn’t work for her. So I guess it doesn’t work for everyone. Before taking the leap into investing into Clinique, go to one of their booths in major department stores like Hudson Bay or Sears and ask for samples. They’re really good out handing samples out (on certain items though).

Good luck!

Shizenya

2 years ago, I changed my diet to avoiding canned foods, frozen/microwaable foods, processed snacks, alcohol, coffee, MSG and I wondered if I would be able to eat out again with friends. (at the time of writing this blog, I have since then started eating some these foods again at a moderate but less than before quantity)

I happened to pass by this small cute restaurant in downtown and was excited to see their sandwich board placed in front of their restaurant. Organic foods, no additives and MSG free! Most of the rice used in their dishes were ‘genmai’ or brown-rice (which is much healthier than regular white rice, much like how whole-grain bread is better than white bread).

The first time I went, I went with a bunch of friends for dinner. You’d think that being ‘organic’ and all that the prices would be outrageous. But it wasn’t! I ordered organic avocado roll (with genmai) $3.95 (8pc) and organic vegetable with chicken gyoza (dumplings) $5.25 (6pc). I thought it was really good, and felt healthy. :D The male guests weren’t too impressed though, describing the as tasting ‘too healthy’. LoL. I guess that means bland. But most of the ladies thought it was good. If you’re already eating healthy without MSG and use to the ‘natural’ taste of foods (as in you don’t use much sauce in your cooking), then I’m sure you will enjoy their dishes. :) And with a 94% on Urbanspoon, many agree that it’s a good restaurant!

I’ve been back many times, and the dishes have always been good!! The staff are Japanese, and is excellent service. The restaurant can get really hot and humid without any windows or ventilation…that’s only my issue…but not really a big complaint.

Check them out! They’re open Monday to Saturdays 11am-10pm – closed Sundays

Tatsu Japanese Bistro

Tatsu Japanese Bistro on UrbanspoonTatsu Japanese Bistro

It’s convenietnly located along Commercial, just minutes from the Commercial/Broadway train station. I went there with a huge group (social group) of about 20 ppl. We nearly took over half the restaurant.

The Japanese servers were very friendly. The restaurant was very modern and had a good atmosphere. The menu was nicely designed. I really like restaurants (most of the time Asian restaurants) that use photos to show what the dishes will look like. This is always very helpful!

Ö

I ordered the Salmon Takaki Roll $8.95
It was really good. Other people at the table were also happy with their dishes. It seemed very healthy. Upon looking at their website, it was no surprise that we felt this ‘healthy-appeal’ with the dishes, they listed:

  • We use wild sockeye salmon only.
  • We use organic eggs and organic spring mixes.
  • Brown rice, black rice, low sodium soy sauce or gluten free soy sauce is available.

Since I was there meeting friends and new people, I didn’t get a chance to really evaluate the restaurant and the food. But it was good, so I’ll be returning again for another closer look. Their menu looks very appetizing, so I’ll try something I usually don’t order next time! I recommend!!

Food Taste:      Price for Value:

Atmosphere:      Service:

Location:

Venus on Fire Mars on Ice – Book

Venus on Fire Mars on Ice: Hormonal Balance – The Key to Life, Love and Energy
by John Gray, Ph.D.

Ever wonder why he acts the way he does? Or why she behaves this way and that? Because as author John Gray puts it, we’re from different planets! But this doesn’t mean that we can’t find long-lasting happiness with the opposite sex. Gray is known for his famous book, Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus. However, I prefer this new book of his. It explains the reasons why we behave and think differently from a biochemical perspective.

I found it quite a fascinating read without getting too complicated as if you were reading a medical book. Even if you’re single, there’s a lot that you can learn about how your body works, especially on how it deals with stress – which in this day and age, it’s pretty hard to avoid any stressful situations. So whether you’re single, looking for a partner, or in a relationship, this will help you better understand and improve your relationship with one another and yourself!! I recommended this book!

Happy Reading!

European Breads Bakery: Wheat-free & Gluten-free

European Breads Organic Crepe Cafe & Bakery on Urbanspoon

A new bakery opened up awhile ago in downtown that sells wheat-free and gluten-free bakery! I found out about them on some deal sites, they were doing 50% discounts, so I jumped right in on the opportunity. European Breads Bakery has been open for many many years at the 4326 Fraser St location. But they’ve opened up another one in the heart of downtown on 1262 Burrard St. (and seems to go with the name European Breads Organic Crepe Cafe & Bakery). This location doesn’t seem to have good ratings. Not sure if it’s because it’s still new (and only 13 voted), or since it didn’t seem to have a lot of variety. (but then again, I haven’t been the the one on Fraser, so can’t really compare)

Ratings (out of 5)
Location:
 carrot3carrot3carrot3  (it’s great for those that live near Davie and Burrard are, but perhaps not so much if you come by car…)
Cost: carrot3carrot3carrot3 (I think reasonable for the quality, natural ingredients, and care they put into making food gluten-free) A loaf costs about $4-5. Apple rice muffin is $1.95 + tax = $2.18)

Customer Service: carrot3carrot3 (meh. It’s alright. Definitely not like a Starbucks service. I find most of the time I walk in, they don’t acknowledge me, or ask me what I want, they may talk to each other while I’m waiting at the counter right in front of them)
Stock: carrot3 I’ve gone there 5 times which 3 times, they were out of the muffins I wanted. They don’t have a lot of variety at certain times…
Tastecarrot3carrot3carrot3carrot3 the rice muffins are great!!! One muffin I believe has only 2.8 g sugar, and it’s certified organic. Warm it up in the microwave for 15-20 seconds.

A Beautiful Mind – Film

I watched this movie in my early twenties, and remember enjoying it very much, even though back then, I had very little knowledge of mental illnesses, despite taking two psychology courses in high school. It was exciting to see it again recently, even though I knew of how the story would unravel in the end.

*Please note, if you haven’t watched the film yet, and don’t know much about it, this will be a spoiler!

The film is based on a true story, about a famous mathematician, John Nash and his struggles with schizophrenia. As a graduate student at Princeton in 1948,  he spent most of his time trying to find a mathematical theorem that would be completely original. He wasn’t much of a social-person, but became good friends with his roommate, Charles. Nash becomes a professor at MIT where despite having difficulty teaching his class, he meets and marries one of his graduate student, Alicia.

Over time Nash begins to lose his grip on reality and in their second year of marriage, Alicia sends him to a mental hospital where he is diagnosed with schizophrenia and for nine years, Nash spends time in psychiatric hospitals.

When I watched the film, I was inspired at Nash’s determination to continue his goal, at the same time, I also was even more inspired by Alicia’s determination, royalty and support to help Nash through the struggles. In the movie, they remain married even though Alicia comes close to leaving him. In reality, they divorced in 1963.

In the 1970s he gradually makes his way back to research and teaching while living in Alicia’s home.

An interesting note is that according to Nash, the film inaccurately showed him taking new atypical antipsychotics during this period. He explains that the mother of the screenwriter who was a psychiatrist was concerned about encouraging people with schizophrenia to not take their medication. However, others have questioned whether this was a coverup for whether this disorder can really be ‘solved’ with such drugs.

Nash has said they are overrated and that the side effects are not given enough consideration for those who are suffering from mental disorders. According to the author of the book, Nash recovered gradually with time.

In 1994, John Nash was awarded the Nobel prize in Economics. Nash and Alicia resumed their romantic relationship and were remarried in 2001.

This film, and the life of John Nash proves to show that even those with disabilities, can achieve much greatness. 🙂 It’s a must see film!