1 Million kg Challenge: Update

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OK the fortnight is almost up, and I think I’ve lost the Blogger Challenge component (to get as many people to sign up for the 1 Million kg challenge) of the campaign.

That means a forfeit. Of me wearing spandex and doing yoga or some other exercise designed to make me look more ridiculous than I already do. So please, if you want to save your eyes and those of the nation, do your part and let me not be last if there’s still time.

Being a part of this campaign has been interesting. Not least because I got my friends thinking about what they’re eating and what they’re doing about their health. I get lunch reports from friends telling me what they’ve had and what they’ve cut out. A fried chicken meal is now had apologetically.

Last week, a friend brought Naomi and I a box of delicious nonya kuehs sprinkled with coconut and guilt.

Personally I don’t believe in putting even more stress on myself when it comes to my own health. I count myself lucky I’m able to enjoy tasty and unhealthy goodies once in a while, and in moderation. But to be able to do that requires a little bit of thought into what I’m eating.

Two years ago I was diagnosed with having pre-diabetes and I’m quite sure if I hadn’t modified my diet then, I’d have upsized it to full diabetes by now. I’m now so used to not having soft drinks or any drinks with added sugar that the last time I had a gingerale, I had a stomach ache for a whole night. Most days now, the drink accompanying my meal is a glass of water or a cup of unsweetened tea.

It pays to be mindful, and I’m glad we eat healthily in our household. I know it’s hard to change our mindsets – but like the proliferation of soup stalls shows, once we create the demand for healthier food, the supply will follow.

If the 1 million kg challenge is new to you, or your friends, sign up, and sign them up. Oh lordy save me.

Good Things Must Share: Lim’s Soup (The Art Of Soup)

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There’s been a surge in soup shops across the CBD in the past two years, catering to workers’ increasing preference for healthier options. I’ve tried some of these places, and I’ve never gone back to any. Soups dished out from boiling vats are simply depressing, and most of them don’t taste good.

It is difficult finding cheap, healthy, and tasty lunch options, but I think this trinity might have finally arrived in the form of this nondescript food stall in a coffee shop in Bukit Merah Central. Thanks are due to Dr Leslie Tay and the HPB’s 1 Million kg Challenge for bringing us to this place.

Called Lim’s Soup (The Art of Soup), the food stall is lovingly owned and operated by Eric Lim in the day. By night, Eric does something in finance. He didn’t elaborate and I didn’t ask what it is that requires you to work at night in finance, because when you make soup as awesome as his shop does, why would you want to talk about anything in finance?

Soups are different at Lim’s, as Eric explains – there is a science (and and art) to “double-boiling” soup. The indirect heat extracts the flavour of the soup’s ingredients without overcooking (yes you can overcook soup) them. The results are clear broths and subtle flavours that dispense with the need for further seasoning, or god forbid, MSG.

Apart from the soups, Lim’s offer three grained steamed rice with a topping of cabbage as accompaniment, as well as menu items such as steamed minced meats with various toppings like salted egg yolk.

 
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There’s also a dish of baked rice with salted fish which is probably the best I’ve ever tasted. At other places, you’d probably dig into the dish and bite into chunks of salted fish which kill your tastebuds. Not so with Lim’s version because the salted fish is so finely minced that it infuses the entire dish.
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The thing that’ll probably make me lim a lot more of Lim’s Soup is that they deliver (if you order a day in advance). They’ll double boil your order and put them in vacuum flasks that will keep your dishes warm for two hours. This is because Eric thinks microwaving your soup to reheat them is an insult to every ingredient in your soup. He’s such a double-boiled soup nazi about it that he’ll let you keep the vacuum flask and only collect them the day after you’ve finished your meal. Now, that’s dedication.

Lim’s Soup (The Art of Soup)
Block 161, Bukit Merah Central
Singapore 150161.
11:30am to 8pm
Closed Sundays and PH
Tel: 83837687

1 Million kg Challenge: Not A Good Start

Our combined weight might be close
Our combined weight might be close

So I went to the 1 Million kg Challenge launch at Ngee Ann City’s Civic Plaza on Saturday, signed myself up for the challenge by pledging to lose 3kg in three weeks.
It was a massive event, with exercise stations and sustenance stations where you could presumably learn about what kind of exercise was suitable for you, and what kind of food you could eat to become, and remain healthy.
The bad news is, in the days after the launch, I haven’t exactly been on the straight and narrow path to success. Being in the middle of a theatre production does that to you. It can be difficult to get enough rest, and I think I must have tallied an average of 5 hours a night this past fortnight.
Monday must have been a demonstration of what not to do if you wanted to lose weight: I woke up, dallied before skipping breakfast, then having a high carb lunch with little protein before feeling faint and trembly from hunger at about 4pm. Loaded up on another high carb pre-dinner, before having dinner and dessert. Fail.
I’ll get better. Promise.
Meantime, if you’re struggling with trying to get healthy and don’t know where to start – try signing up for the 1 Million kg Challenge and make a reasonably achievable pledge. There’ll be days (like mine) where your plans go awry, but keep at it, and keep me company. Let me know how your journey goes!
Remember to sign up: http://bit.ly/1iw4Uko

1 Million kg Challenge

We’re into the third month of the new year, and while I’m glad I didn’t make any health-related resolutions to break, I haven’t done anything for my health apart from an alcohol fast that ended when I went on holiday last month (walau, Hokkaido is home to many first class breweries, can?)

But that’s going to change with another HPB initiative. The 1Million kg Challenge aims to make the whole country lose 1 million kg through healthy choices in diet and fitness. That hopefully will make Singapore light enough to be towed out of this region and away from the haze.

So if you don’t want to be in the haze*, and want to be healthy, do sign up for the challenge at www.millionkg.sg to pledge your weight loss or complete healthy tasks to be rewarded** with prizes.
1MKGC Blogger Challenge - MIYAGI
The other challenge the HPB has initiated is this #1mkg Blogger Challenge. mrbrown, DanielFoodDiary, and myself will try to get as many people signing up on the 1 Million kg Challenge portal. Please click through this link or my picture on the right to sign up, and I’ll be credited with the referral.

This is where I beg and grovel for your help. Because if I come in last, they’re going to make me do something humiliating, like wearing spandex and doing hot yoga or something. So, tolong. Because mrbrown looks better in spandex than I do.

Over the next three weeks, mrbrown, DanielFoodDiary, and myself will be talking about our challenges in becoming healthy. We’ll be accompanied and mentored by the evil Dr Leslie Tay, who will torture us with tales of tasty hawker food while telling us it’s bad for us.

mrbrown and myself will also be at Ngee Ann City this Saturday between 3 and 4pm, supporting the launch of this campaign. Come and have a chat with us, and maybe give us your weight loss tips.

Think you’re up for the challenge? If so, then it’s game on! #campaign4mrbrown2wearspandex!

*sorry, joking. Haze beyond our control
**minimum system requirements: participants must be between 18 and 64 years old, and have an existing BMI of between 18.5 to 37.4

Eric Khoo’s Recipe – A Film About Dementia

Recipe Poster

I was invited to watch an Eric Khoo telemovie last Tuesday called Recipe. It stars Zoe Tay, Li Yin Zhu, Moses Lim and Jayley Woo, and deals with the topic of dementia.

Why is this important? Dementia affects our aging population, and our aging population is growing. In 2005, there were about 22,000 recorded cases of dementia among the 65 and older in Singapore and this looks set to double even before 2020.

What this means for people with dementia, caregivers and the healthcare network cannot be underestimated. And yet, there are many of us who don’t know enough about dementia to even begin to know how to deal with it.

For example, dementia is not normal aging. In whichever form it takes – either Alzheimer’s or vascular dementia (which is caused by strokes), it is an illness that needs medical attention, and it is a condition that needs care and monitoring.

I wish I had known even this basic information years ago, because this subject matter is something I feel very strongly about – my family is dealing with it. Nonetheless, I am glad I’ve learned from the wealth of information available in our healthcare system. Being the immediate family member in charge of managing my father’s illness also presents an educational opportunity – telling my friends, and my father’s friends what’s going on with him is something I seldom tire of.

But I am glad that there are attempts made, like this telemovie, to put the issue up for education and discussion.

This film tells the story of the journey of Madam Ching, who’s been running her hawker stall for several decades selling scissor cut curry rice.

Trouble starts when the snaking queues for her famous fare begin to shrink after her culinary skills take a dive and become erratic. Her daughter Qiu Yun steps into the picture when an accident occurs at the stall. And at follow up medical appointments, it is discovered that Molly has the beginnings of dementia.

The other players in Madam Ching’s journey are her family, friends, workmates and customers, and they all share in her pain, fear and at times outright terror at the unknown.

It is a sensitive portrait of people dealing with and trying to make sense of the sometimes unpredictable family life that dementia brings.

It is something that is close to my heart, and you know I would never encourage anyone to watch Channel 8, but here it is, I’m telling you now – when they screen this on the telly on 29 September, 9pm, WATCH IT. Or record it to watch later.

For more information on dementia and on Recipe the telemovie, please click through: http://hpb.gov.sg/HOPPortal/health-article/HPB055017

 

With HRH The Queen of Caldecott Hill. Zoe Tay's performance in this tele movie is her best ever, IMHO.
With HRH The Queen of Caldecott Hill. Zoe Tay’s performance in this tele movie is her best ever, IMHO.

 

Please Take Dengue Seriously

Read this first, then come back to this post.

Yes, you can die from dengue. But mostly, people don’t exhibit serious symptoms, and are often not ill enough to be hospitalized.

It’s been the same with this outbreak, and I’ve found that as a result, people are being a bit blase about the current epidemic despite the media blitz by the NEA.

Some people wait till they get a rash before going to the doctor. Here’s news for you: If you have dengue, and a rash appears, your platelets are likely to be crashing and you might need a blood transfusion.

Our experience with Kai at 8 weeks old shows how you can never be too careful. He didn’t have a fever, didn’t cry more than usual, and the only reason we took him to the pediatrician was because our confinement nanny said she hadn’t seen anything like the freckles he was sporting.

I remember being frustrated at the NEA for not being able to inspect the vacant apartments in our block because the owners had been uncontactable. That is apparently being changed, and officers are now able to break into homes to search for and destroy mosquito breeding grounds.

After Kai had dengue, I had immediately contacted the NEA to ask them to inspect our condo and our neighbours – with one particularly suspicious house turning up empty even though they had a disused swimming pool which was looking all green and slimy.

The officers had responded by inspecting our apartment regularly. I was indignant at first, until I was told that many complainants to the NEA were actually inadvertently breeding mosquitoes themselves – my mother included. She had complained about the excessive numbers of mosquitoes in her garden, and the NEA came and found aedes larvae in her flowerpots.

Even something as innocuous as a plastic tarp covering a motorcycle collects enough rainwater to breed mosquitoes – and a person has in fact been fined for doing so.

There have been over 6,000 cases of people contracting dengue this year so far. If it goes on at this rate, don’t be surprised if there are fatalities. The thing is, we can prevent this from happening by pitching in to get rid of mosquito breeding grounds.

So please, just do the five step mozzie wipeout check in your home. If not daily, then weekly.

Just 5 easy steps could save your life.
Just 5 easy steps could save your life.

Everyone Is Responsible For Fighting Dengue

Not the kind of boom you want

This year’s dengue outbreak is scary. So far this year, there’ve been 4,756 (1 Jan – 19 Apr) cases, and it looks like it might increase some more.

I’ve previously tweeted and posted on Facebook about this, and the reflex response from readers have been the same: “too much construction lah, it’s all in the construction sites”.

The NEA has reported that the majority of sites found to have bred mosquitoes have been homes. Now I’m not saying that the construction sites are not responsible at all, but the fact remains that no matter how much you want to blame someone else or some other site for the spread of this disease, the solution to breaking the vector cycle of is still firmly in your own hands.

Dengue is not an airborne transmitted disease – it is spread by the Aedes mosquito, which gets the virus from an infected person it stings. So the way to stopping the spread of the disease is to eradicate the breeding of the mosquito – which you will probably know, occurs in stagnant water.

The NEA has a dengue website at www.dengue.gov.sg with statistics and information pertaining to the disease. We’ve all seen in the papers news about the huge “cluster” of dengue in the one block in Tampines, and the dengue website has a map of “hotspots” as well.

This is both helpful and unhelpful, because while you are aware enough to avoid going to these hotspots for instance, you might downplay the fact that regardless of hotspots and clusters, people (the other vector) are mobile. They could get bitten, come back home to Toa Payoh, get bitten by another Aedes mosquito, and voila, another cluster and hotspot is created.

This outbreak has been so serious that the NEA has also implemented a Dengue Community Alert System, which displays three colour codes depending on the dengue situation, and the corresponding actions to take.

I hope you get the picture, and I appeal to everyone to “Do The Mozzie Wipeout”, a 5-step exercise to perform every day:

1. Change water in vases (on alternate days, if not daily)

2. Turn over all water storage containers so they don’t collect rainwater

3. Remove water from flower pot plates (on alternate days, if not daily)

4. Clear drainpipe blockages

5. Cover bamboo pole holders

The national anti-dengue campaign will be launched tomorrow (8am, 28 April) at Senja-Cashew Community Club, 101 Bukit Panjang Road. Do come if you can.

The NEA has also launched a new Facebook Page and they encourage people to follow @NEAsg on Twitter for dengue updates.

Again, I appeal to you to take action and not simply blame it on the construction sites. Naomi and I had a very serious close shave with Kai’s bout of dengue – and I will recount that ordeal in another blog post.

Here’s Your Chance To Get Away (Stay)

The Healthy Lifestyle Index Rivalry Leaderboard as at 11 April 2013
The Healthy Lifestyle Index Rivalry Leaderboard as at 11 April 2013

Taking a break does wonders for your physical and mental well-being. Even without taking on a spa package at the hotel we stayed at because it was, how you say it, frikkin’ expensive, the knots in my neck and upper back dissolved after one full night’s sleep (it came back after my son insisted on being carried on my shoulders at the aquarium, but nair mind lah, hor?)

So by pure coincidence, one of the top prizes of HPB’s Healthy Rivalry campaign is a Stay In Shape package for FOUR (worth $3,000) at the Amara Sanctuary Sentosa. I say again, the stay is for FOUR people! Not two, but FOUR. You can double date! And you don’t even have to fly there!

All you have to do is get as many rivalries going as possible. Issue your friends a challenge, and get them to take the Healthy Lifestyle Index, and watch yourself climb up the leaderboard and WIN!

MTL! DO IT NOW! http://bit.ly/HLIsgBM

EYES ON THE PRIZES:

Grand Prize – $3,000
•Amara Sanctuary’s Stay in Shape retreat for 4 pax ($880 nett, $440 per pair) (Inclusive of GST & Srv Charge)
•4 Fitbit Zip ($420)
•2 pairs of Creative Culinaire healthy cooking class ($400)
•$200 worth of World of Sports vouchers for sports apparel/ shoes per pax ($800)
•$75 worth of NTUC vouchers for healthy grocery shopping per pax ($300)

Second Prize – $2,000
Espa Executive Stress buster X 2 ($823.9 nett for 2)
•2 Fitbit Zip ($210)
•1 pair of Creative Culinaire healthy cooking class ($200)
•$200 worth of World of Sports vouchers for sports apparel/ shoes per pax ($400)
•$120 worth of NTUC vouchers for healthy grocery shopping per pax ($240)

Third Prize – $1,000
•Espa Sports Wellness X 2 ($706.20 nett for 2)
•$150 worth of World of Sports vouchers for sports apparel/ shoes per pax ($300)

Remember, Remember The ‘Stache of November

7 days later and still so sparse.

I hate shaving and I support men’s health issues, so this Movember movement is win-win lor. If you haven’t already, do register as a mo-bro or mo-sista and start growing that ‘stache.

If you haven’t decided on what to get for yourself or someone this Christmas, consider a health screening package – we did that in July and are very thankful we did – we’re still getting the issues we discovered then sorted out. A friend of Naomi’s summed it up perfectly. She said she applauded us for taking our destinies into our own hands.