Archive of ‘Opinions’ category

#DEARME – Keyboard instead of Camera

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For International Women’s Day this year, Youtube started a global campaign titled #DearMe on its platform. Its goal is to empower and inspire young women of today by using the immense power and influence that the platform has provided many of its users.

I first learnt about the campaign while watching Essiebutton’s #DearMe video, and with all the changes, opportunities and adventures that I was experiencing in 2015 (and which I will continue to throughout the year, I’m sure of it), I reflected on my past and how it had led me to my present. As I’ve yet to begin my channel (I might soon), I thought it would be a waste to miss out on the #DearMe campaign, so I’ve taken it off camera and onto the keyboard instead.

Here’s what I’d love to tell my younger self, and all the young women out there who are feeling lost, unsure, depressed or unmotivated.

You might not fit in now, and people will be mean to you because of that, but keep going on, and you’ll become one of the brightest stars there is when you’re older.
Cross my heart. They might laugh and make fun of you now, or they might think your ideas and your clothes are ridiculous, but don’t let their negativity or small-mindedness destroy your dreams. Keep dreaming, find an outlet that works for you, and just keep going. Do what makes you happy, wear what makes you feel good and as you hone your passion and skills, as you push on against their negativity, as they focus on you, you are focusing on yourself and there will come a day when your life will seem so much more magical, meaningful and exciting than theirs. This is my first-hand experience, and I can say without a doubt that the most inspiring people I’ve met have been through hell as youths as well. I am where I am today, running my own business and not stuck in a corporate 9-5 job, happy with my life and having traveled the world because I never gave up. I might have cried myself to sleep in high school, and I might have almost wanted to end my life, but I’m so grateful that I didn’t because I wouldn’t have imagined my life to be the way it is now. Do not give up, and do not let the naysayers bring you down. Being different is amazing, don’t let society make you think otherwise.

Remember your parents, shower them with love, and even if you think they’re uncool now, they’re one of the coolest people ever. They’ve got their stories too.
During my teenage years, I always thought my parents were embarrassing. I’d be too humiliated to walk with them in the mall, for reasons unknown to me right now. I was a brat and I was ungrateful for how blessed my life was because of them. My parents supported me through school, they made sure I was well fed and clothed, they took me on adventures around the world, they introduced the world of music and art to me (without them, I would never have fallen in love with Tschaikovsky or Swan Lake), and they were significant in enabling me to chase my dream life. Even with the occasional (or maybe more) parent-child spats, I’ve learned to put my pride or anger aside, and to love unconditionally. I never understood this when I was younger, and as time passes, I fear that I will miss out on the time I have left with them. Remember to give back to these two individuals who dedicated their lives to giving you a future – find time for them, buy them the gifts even when they can afford it themselves, help them understand their iPhones or the internet, be patient with them, and even if they aren’t perfect, love them.

You will never be as young as you are today, so say “YES!” to adventures, dreams and excitement. Do not let the pressure of society or peers push you into adulthood too early.
Don’t be afraid of adventure, say yes to travels, say yes to love, let experiences and heartbreaks guide you and always learn from anything and everything. Your mindset is what makes or breaks an experience, so even the worst times of my life have taught me lessons on how to be strong, how to ride out the wave, and how to never give up. I ran away from a couple of would-be adventures when I was younger, and a part of me has always regretted it. Ask yourself if you’ll regret turning this opportunity down 5 or 10 years down the road, and if the answer is “yes”, go for it! I accepted a frighteningly exciting offer last week, and although my body has been filled with fear for the past week (and will continue to be throughout this new adventure), I know that I have to take this leap and just go for it. If you want something, ask for it. If that doesn’t work, chase it and do anything you can (legally) to attain it. Keep going at it, and always stay positive.

Be genuine. There will always be people rooting for you.
When I was in the University, I constantly felt alone. Lonely, yes, but feeling alone was a feeling ever greater than that. I could be in the middle of a room filled with hundreds and still feel alone. I could be in the middle of a group of schoolmates and still feel alone. This stemmed from the fact that I had been scarred by my experiences in high school, and I was too afraid to speak my mind. I feared that saying what was on my mind would lead to judgement and eventually me becoming an outcast once more. What I realized though, was that as long as I was genuine, positive and kind, there were always people who wanted to be friends, or who would be more than happy to help me. There are wonderful, caring people in this world who want to see you succeed, be they strangers, friends or family. Even if you haven’t spoken to a friend you used to love, or if there was a misunderstanding or argument, learn to forgive, reach out, and rebuild. Even when I feel alone nowadays, some part of me now knows that I am cherished and that there are are people who love me.

I hope you enjoyed reading this post as much as I did writing it. If you’d like to share your #DearMe video or what you’d tell your younger self, I’d love to know. Happy International Women’s Day, and here’s to all the kind, loving, strong and beautiful women I know. Thank you for inspiring me daily.

Diet Truths, Part 1

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Fact: I lost 10 kilograms over the past year.
This is the most weight I’ve ever lost, and also the easiest way I’ve ever done it. I haven’t gone about publicizing it or shouting about it, because it came about due to a simple change in my lifestyle. I  will share more about my weight loss journey in future posts, but I thought it’d be good to share with everyone the various diets I’ve tried, and my experience with them.

  To sum it up? 90% of the time these diets don’t work, stop telling people you’re on a diet, and after noting what foods work and don’t work for you, change your lifestyle to fit what you can do. Know what your mind and body can handle (aka if you can’t NOT eat carbs, don’t starve yourself of them until you can’t help but binge on it later on), and lastly don’t overthink food and worry about losing weight. Things will come naturally – it’s all in the mind.

I will try my best to break down the diet, what I did, how long I did it for, and why it did or did not work. Everything below is from personal experience and my 100% honest opinion, and they might work differently for different people. This is a rather extensive post where I’ll be sharing some resources and website with you, and I will continue to update this should I remember some more details.

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Raw Food Diet
WHAT IT IS:
This diet is based on the premise that heat destroys the enzymes and proteins in food, and these enzymes are significantly important to your health and fighting chronic illnesses. There have been articles about going on the raw food diet as a “cure” to cancer. There are also a lot of amazing reported side effects like reduction of headache, a reduced need for sleep, clearing of sinuses, increased immunity etc.

WHAT YOU EAT:
Uncooked, unprocessed and organic. You can dehydrate your food with a dehydrator (nothing above 47 degrees celcius) but that in itself is quite an investment. Raw fruits, raw vegetables, lots of nuts and seeds. This had a ton of sashimi involved. There are also SO MANY RECIPES of raw desserts out there that are very delicious.

MY EXPERIENCE:
This was intensive and needed a lot of effort. It was hard to go out with friends as not everywhere would serve salads or raw food. I started my days with a veggie-fruit blend, and spent my days eating strawberries, grapes, oranges, apples, carrots, pears, and a TON of nuts, including raw cashews, almonds, brazil nuts, macadamia nuts etc. I went through a 2-year long phase of eating so much nuts, everyone though I was nuts (lol). The only downside was I started missing chicken and beef after a while, since it was hard to eat them unless you seared beef but that was a major pain to do.

It was, however, quite a miracle, as the pros I had read about started to arise 2-3 weeks into the diet. I only needed to sleep 4-5 hours a night, and yet I found myself completely energetic in the day. I could work for hours, and then head to the gym, and then head out with friends without feeling exhausted. My skin was so clear and smooth, and this also had to do with the copious amounts of water I was drinking. I never craved for desserts since I had such a great time chowing down the yummiest of fruits. For the 3-4 months that I was on this diet, I felt invincible, healthy, and very strong. It was coupled with 2 hour gym and cardio sessions at least three times a week, and I hadn’t recorded my weight loss then but I was probably a couple of kilograms heavier than I was now.

It ended sadly between us, the raw food diet and I. One day, I decided that I had to have some fried chicken, and the rest was history.

MY ADVICE:
I would consider going back on this diet for cleansing purposes, and I would recommend this to anyone who needs to hit the “Refresh” button when it comes to their personal eating habits. This will give you a much needed wakeup call. There are plenty of raw food blogs and websites out there, and you can do this for 3 months without investing in a dehydrator. It is wise to note that fruits and vegetables can cost more than carbohydrates and meats, but a worthy investment if you’re looking to pump up your immunity and health.

MORE INFORMATION:
I follow a couple of “fruitists” on Instagram just because I love how fresh their food look (not all are raw foodies), so if you need inspiration, hit up these lovely ones – @lolacooks@lonijane, @nutsaboutfruit, @healthforhappy, @veggie_moments. A couple of sites and pages that I found helpful are ZenHabits, The Best of Raw Food and Living Foods. The Vegan Stoner has good recipes and funny drawings to go with.

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4 Hour Body Diet
WHAT IT IS:
“Minimalist diet, rapid body transformation” (that’s what the site and reviewers say, and also the best way to sum it up.) Written by Tim Ferriss, the acclaimed author of The 4-Hour Work Week, he basically tried everything there was to try over 10 years and found the best “hack” for the most efficient results. There are other contents in the book including how to add muscle, reversing injuries etc.

WHAT YOU EAT:
This diet is also known as the Slow Carb Diet. Not to take away from the book, but this essentially is a “No Whites” diet – no carbs, no flour, no dairy, no sugar, no fruit. Think lots of protein, legumes, eggs and vegetables. The book suggests keeping meals simple and repeated, as well as intermittent fasting, which I will touch on below. The winning point of this diet (for me) was the once a week cheat day which I loved.

MY EXPERIENCE :
A complete turn around from the raw food diet, I was on this 4 hour body diet for at least 6 months. You lose a lot of weight, and you lose it fast. The best friend Maisha also lost weight as a result of this diet since we do see each other on a daily basis. I lost about 4-5 kilograms while on this.

I got used to iced coffees and Americanos, and since this diet, it is a norm for me to eat meals with no carbs at all. I grew to love legumes, and the easiest way to make it through is to seek out Mexican, Middle Eastern and Indian food during this diet.

Maintaing discipline for 6 days a week felt hard for me at times, but having consistency in meals made eating seem like you were fueling yourself up rather than enjoying your food. On cheat days (once a week), I would binge out on fried chicken, bread, ice cream, cakes – you name it, I ate it. It was a shocking sight but also very magical that this would result in fat loss.

MY ADVICE:
If you’re looking for quick fat loss, this is the diet for you. However, like most diets I’ve tried, if you go back to regular eating habits that include carbs, sugar and dairy, you will most likely put back some if not all of the weight you’ve lost. I also found this diet lacking in variety, and it took away the pleasure of eating. As a coffee addict, I missed the delicious taste of my cappuccinos since I couldn’t have milk with my coffee. However, I would still suggest limiting intake of carbs, dairy and sugar on a daily basis for overall health (says the woman who drinks at least one can of Coke a day).

MORE INFORMATION:
This is the official website for the diet where you can find more information. If you’d like to read the experiences of others, you can find a very honest one here, and read more details about the diet here.

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Atkins Diet
WHAT IT IS:
Researched and developed by Robert Atkins, the idea behind this is by cutting back on carbs, your body burns the fats stored for fuel instead. Possibly one of the most popular diets ever, many people tend to go completely carb-free on this.

WHAT YOU EAT:
Less than 20 grams of carbs daily, mostly from vegetables, with protein and fat from lots of meat (chicken, fish, beef), eggs, butter and vegetable oil. No coffee, no alcohol, no forms of carbs or dairy other than butter, cheese and cream. Lastly, no nuts, beans or legumes.

MY EXPERIENCE:
Probably stuck to this for 4-5 months, but we were just not meant to be – I mean, no coffee?? I just couldn’t stick with it. I did, however, start to apply some lessons learnt from this into my daily life. I stopped eating rice, noodles and bread (right now, I eat them sparingly) and it has helped keep me trim. I also tend to eat more lean meat, and much prefer that and some veggies to carbs.

My advice: If you are a huge carb lover, this diet will ruin you. I know friends who have went on this diet, but gained back all the weight they lost after reverting back to their “regular” diets. Again, no coffee and no nuts were a huge turn-off for me. You should definitely pick your battles, and if you’re a carb lover, work at reducing your carb intake rather than completely starving yourself of them as that will make you want them more in the long run. I did, however, feel more energetic, leaner and lighter during this diet, which are huge plus points!

MORE INFORMATION:
The official website for the diet. This is a pretty popular one, so a quick Google search should get you what you want.

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That’s part one of my diet review, and I’ll be doing a second part within the next couple of weeks! Let me know if you’ve any questions, and I’d be happy to answer them. Have a great weekend ahead loves.

My Weekend Routine

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What are weekends like for you? Mine are divine, and what some might call lazy. It’s Tuesday but I’m already thinking of my weekend. Here’s what I get up to on the weekends, and you’ve been pre-warned, I’m a very boring old person.

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  • Sleep. Stay under the sheets till I get hungry or need to go to the washroom.
  • Catch up with my favorite YouTube videos and watch some anime in bed – complete relaxation.
    If you want to know what animes I’m currently watching, you can follow me on Hummingbird. I just found this platform and it is a great tool to keep up to date if you follow a lot of shows at once, like I do! You can keep track of the episode that you’re on, what you’ve finished or are currently watching, and can also read reviews and rate the anime. Two thumbs up (and the end of a nerd moment for me). A really funny show I’ve found recently is Undateable – it’s about two guys who are roommates (one owns a bar, the other lives off funds from a law suit he won) and their friends and life with the ladies. It’s so hilarious and I end up snorting and laughing my ass off at every episode.
  • Eating lots of yummy stuff, it could range from something really healthy like blueberries or apple slices with almond butter, or it could be pasta, pizza, and burgers. Definitely lots of dessert and ice cream though. Happy lifestyle = healthy lifestyle (i kid).
  • Gaming on the Xbox or the computer – League of Legends & Halo are my favorites at the moment. Completely influenced by the boy but that doesn’t mean it isn’t fun! If you’ve games to introduce to me, please comment below.
  • Sometimes I get up to something crazy, which entails a movie, or a cigar, or heading out for a good meal or dessert. Past weekends have included visits to the zoo, the bird park (which I recommend and I had so much fun!), chilling with friends, having some shabu shabu etc. As long as you’re with the right people, days can never be boring.

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I’d like to say that resting after a week of work is extremely important for me, but due to my flexible schedule, I get great rest and leisure time during the weekdays as well, and sometimes I end up getting some work done on a Saturday or Sunday evening. It doesn’t really feel like work to me, but more like educating myself or just doing something that I enjoy. I think it’s really different for everyone, because there are a number of articles telling you to separate your work and personal life, and to draw clear boundaries. However, I’ve got great boundaries between them both, and rather than segregate my time by days, I do it by hours or minutes. Weird, but works for me. Just food for thought – let me know what works for you (:

Enjoy the rest of your week!

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