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

Tenhachi

Tenhachi Japanese Restaurant 天八和食 on Urbanspoon

This is my favourite Japanese restaurant in Vancouver! Unfortunately, they closed on Jan 15, 2013…which is why I went to dine for the last time. (they do say that they will reopen elsewhere, but who knows where and when! Also, when things change, the food also changes…)

My parents love this place and many Japanese (or Japanese food enthusiasts) like this place for their very authentic Japanese dishes. I had told my guest that it was my favourite restaurant, but the first thing he asked me with a skeptical face was ‘THIS is your FAVOURITE restaurant?” as if he thought I was crazy. I think most people that go to this restaurant are thrown off from the old, western style, somewhat cheesy interior. Located on the first floor of the Shaughnessy Village, it’s a little out of place. However, as soon as you walk in, you can smell the real Japanese cuisine! Mmmmmm~ 😀

The Teishoku are the best…well, everything is delicious. You can tell the quality by the tea they serve. Yes! It’s really dark green…not the watered down, yellow, tasteless tea you get at cheap Japanese wanna-be restaurants.

Prices are moderate with teishoku (a set which includes the main dish, miso soup, rice, vegetables, salad, pickles) ranging from $15-$18. For the quality, it’s well worth it! The servers are friendly and the food may be slow at times, but since I always go there with a group, the wait doesn’t seem that bad.

Since they were closing down, some of the menu items were already crossed off…mostly the fish dishes.
I ordered the Karage Teishoku $15.95. The rice was fluffy and the right dampness – perfect. The miso soup is light with a variety of veggies in it. The side vegetable dishes were good, and reminded me of dining in Japan. The karage was crispy on the outside, and juicey inside. The salad on the side was lightly dressed- just the way I like it.

IMG_20130113_181238Karage Teishoku $15.95

I would recommend this to everyone who wants to try authentic Japanese cuisine. However, I guess you’ll have to wait until they reopen… I’m gonna miss them!! T_T

Stepho’s Souvlaki Greek Taverna

Stepho's Souvlaki Greek Taverna on Urbanspoon

If you want to go to a Greek restaurant in Vancouver, you’ve probably heard of Stephos on Davie st. There’s usually a long lineup that starts before they open and lasts till late. After lining up and waiting twice, I’ve only done take out since then. Take out is great since you call them up and the order is usually ready for pick up in 20 minutes. No line, no tip, and eat at the comfort of your own home (or friend’s).

However, if you haven’t gone yet, it’s a restaurant you have to go. It may be just my imagination, but the portion always seems larger when eating in. LOL.

So why is this place so famous? Because the food tastes good, the portions are big, the restaurant has good atmosphere (though it can get pretty loud at times) and the price is inexpensive.Ö

I recently went with a friend on a cold rainy night. I thought we would have to lineup outside in that weather, but luckily, we walked right in and was seated immediately. AWESOME!

We were seated by the window with real plants decor above us. To our surprise, the table had a heater underneath to keep our legs and hands warm! Yay! The table was covered to the floor by a heavy cloth so that kept the heat underneath the fabric. It was kind of like the Japanese kotatsu concept.

I ordered a Spanakopita (spinach-cheese puff) $4.95,  small portion (but not small at at) prawn souvlakia $7.95 (served with rice pilaf, roast potatoes and greek salad). My friend ordered his favourite Marinated Octopus with Pita $5.95 and small chicken souvlakia.

ÖSpanakopita (spinach-cheese puff) $4.95

ÖMarinated Octopus with Pita $5.95

Öprawn souvlakia $7.95

It was the first time to try out the Spanakopita, but it was really good! Super tasty. I’d definitely order it next time. The souvlakia, well it’s what I always order it cuz it’s just the best. The octopus for me is a bit too hard and rubbery for my liking. I didn’t mind having a few of them though.

The restaurant is very dimly lit, so it’s not a place to go and read a book in the evening. Again, because it’s always full house, the noise level can sometimes be very high for you to be able to concentrate on any kind of focused work. It’s a restaurant to go and enjoy the food and your company. It’s a definite must go! 🙂

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24/7 Thai

24/7 Thai Cuisine on Urbanspoon

We went to this restaurant on New Year’s Eve. Everything was closed, so we stumbled upon this place after driving around on Broadway.

It’s located on the corner of Broadway and Oak St. Right next to it is the Minato Sushi I blogged about earlier.

It was empty except for a group of young high-school-looking girls ordering some take out, and a homeless looking man sleeping in the corner. I can’t say I felt comfortable eating there. It looked old, run down and not hygienically clean. I think the homeless-looking man made it worse. The price was ok. I didn’t think it was that cheap, considering I could get much better deals elsewhere. The pad thai was alright. Nothing to rave about. Maybe it would have tasted better if I had taken out and presented it on a nice place in a more comfortable atmosphere.

The curry (extra for the rice) was customized for us to have it an authentic Thai spiciness. Bad idea. We were both breathing fire after a few sips. I couldn’t eat much of it…too hot. If you order it as it is, it should be fine though. Don’t go up for the challenge of asking it as ‘real’ Thai curry unless you’re super strong with hot spicy food.

A while back, I blogged about the Inspection Site.  I checked them out (you can also check out their report here). They seem to have a number of problems…and compared to other restaurants, its a bit high.

I can’t really say for sure if it was the spicy curry that gave me stomach problems 2 hours later, or the pad thai that was bad… either way, I don’t think I’ll be going back anytime soon.

IMG_20121231_222251Curry – customized with ‘real’ authentic spiciness

IMG_20121231_222258Pad Thai

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Well Tea – Downtown

Well Tea 茶井 on Urbanspoon

I’d seen their ads in the KLIP magazine several times and wanted to go there. So I invited my friend for a dinner there on a Saturday evening.

This Taiwanese restaurant/cafe is fairly spacious. Right beside the downtown location of BCIT, I was a bit surprised to see it almost empty. I thought it would be filled with students. The tables had the electronic bell ring – so Asian. LOL. Very handy when you need service and the staff are too busy to notice. However, in this restaurant, it may not be necessary. But this was the first time, and the only time I’ve gone, so can’t really say how it is other days/times. But a 59% rating on Urbanspoon tells me I’m not the only one that wasn’t happy with the experience.

My friend was running late, so I started off with the Milk Tea $4.25. It could be cuz I’ve taken a lot of my sugar diet out that I found it very sweet. Too sweet to finish…however, it did come in a glass pot and a nice tea cup.

Ö

We both ordered the shrimp wonton with noodles in soup $6.95. We were both disappointed in the bland flavour. It was thumbs down T_T…

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Burgoo – Food for Comfort

Burgoo on Urbanspoon

I had always wanted to try out this place cuz several of my friends had mentioned it was really good. Also, my former classmate’s uncle owned the restaurant, so I was interested in checking it out. There are several locations, but I went to the one in North Vancouver. (3 Lonsdale Ave. right by the Lonsdale Quay Market + Seabus Terminal)

We got there around 6:30pm, on a very cold and rainy day. Still, there was a lineup inside. We were greeted by a friendly host and we waited for about 10 minutes. I thought it would take longer, so I was a bit surprised that we got in so quickly.

I ordered the Hungarian Beef Goulash (Hungarian dish – beef simmered in paprika caraway gravy with rutabaga, cabbage and homemade potato dumplings) $18 and my friend ordered the Macaroni & More, ( USA dish – chock full of aged white Cheddar, onion, thyme, bacon and peas, baked with seasoned breadcrumbs) $15

ÖAt the entrance where the host takes down our names

ÖCandle and flatware. Beautiful wooden table. Dark in the restaurant.

ÖHungarian Beef Goulash $18

Despite being very busy, the food came fairly fast too. They both came on a wooden square board and smelled really delicious. The look wasn’t much, and it seemed small, but it was more than sufficient. I couldn’t almost finish it. Both dishes were really good. The spices and flavour was rich. Since my sauce was so rich like gravy, I almost wanted some rice with it…

It is definitely out of my normal price range, but it was nice to try something different. Great atmosphere, and although the sever brought out the wrong size of the salad my friend ordered, she quickly fixed it. She also brought out the wrong bill, but she fixed that as well.

When we got up to leave, there were still many people waiting in the entrance. I can see why. Because of the price, I’m not sure if I’ll be going back that often – but I’d certainly recommend it to everyone 🙂

Food Taste: carrot3carrot3carrot3carrot3carrot3   Price for Value: carrot3carrot3carrot3

Atmosphere: carrot3carrot3carrot3carrot3carrot3    Service: carrot3carrot3carrot3carrot3     Location: carrot3carrot3carrot3carrot3

alive Magazine

http://www.alive.com

“Canada’s Natural Health and Wellness Magazine”

Their tagline says it all. I love picking up this magazine. It’s full of health-related information, and best of all it’s FREE :)

Unfortunately, there’s quite a bit of ads inside, just like any other magazine. It’s ok because you get to know what kind of products are out there for what, but beware that just because you see a large ad, or see it frequently doesn’t mean that it’s a good product.  I took one ad from the magazine for a omega (supplement) product to one of the supplement stores, but the staff told me that although that brand is well known and popular, it wasn’t the best one. Doctors will also tell you to look for specific things in supplements, so don’t fall for those fancy, pretty brands and packaging.

For the most part, the magazine is designed nicely (except for the ads :P ). It’s a nice magazine to read through on your sofa with your favorite tea, and maybe even a pair of scissors since I tend to cut out specific information to keep in my health ‘sketchbook’.

You can easily pick up these monthly-published magazines at most natural supermarkets like Choices. Or if you’re more of the digital-reading type, you can check out the articles on their website @ alive.com

Stay healthy!