I hope you find some ideas and inspiration for your weekends.

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Posted in Food craze, Lifestyle and reflections, The great outdoors | 0 Comments | Tagged , ,
  • My Favorite Things for a Nourished Journey

    Posted at 3:15 pm , on February 4, 2017
    Santorini coast

    The most important thing is to enjoy your life to be happy, it’s all that matter – Audrey Hepburn

    Since I started the clean eating journey a few years back, I had done a lot of searching and learning about food that we consume and products that we use. Not eating that doughnut or french fries or bread or pasta doesn’t mean that I am not enjoying good food. Over time, my palate change and I no longer miss those gluten or grease laden food, although once in a while I do crave the bread. It is a lifestyle change and you can’t do it overnight. The fun part is discovering new recipes, trying new products and knowing that my family is healthier. I hope my list give you some ideas to start your own journey.

    1. Favorite website for specialty items: thrivemarket.com. You can find specialty grocery and health and beauty items at a lower price. Some of my favorites are Native Forest Coconut Milk, Tinkyada Brown Rice Pasta-Spirals or Penne, Tonnino Tuna to go with the pasta, Dr. Bronner’s soap and Jason body wash.
    2. Favorite website to check for clean items: The Environmental Working Group (EWG). Very good information on the safety of everyday products that we use.
    3. Favorite place for spices: Penzeys. I shared this before in one my posts and I was bummed that they closed the store in Seattle. They have different mix of good quality spices.
    4. Favorite seafood in a can: If you are looking for canned seafood, give Vital Choice a try. I like their salmon and sardines.
    5. Favorite substitution in recipes: In order to keep eating the food we like, I have discovered some amazing substitutions.
      • Soy sauce – use coconut aminos and fish sauce (brands I use is Coconut Secret or Thrive Market Organic coconut aminos and Red Boat fish sauce). Coconut Secret also make a good tasting teriyaki sauce.
      • Miso paste – Miso Master Organic Chickpea miso paste, yum yum.
      • Dairy – Coconut milk, almond milk.
      • Chocolate chips – Enjoy Life brand mini chocolate chips is dairy, soy and nut free.
      • Sugar – honey, pure maple syrup.
      • Wheat flour – almond flour, coconut flour, rice flour, millet, tapioca flour etc.
      • Oil – avocado oil, olive oil
    6. Favorite cooking equipment:
      • Vitamix blender – love this to make almond butter, hazelnut chocolate sauce/spread and I bought the dry container last year to grind grains.
      • Whynter ice cream maker – I own this for quite a while now and I love the fact that I do not need to pre-freeze the container. Homemade ice cream means you can choose your own ingredients. I love David Lebovitz’s book ‘The Perfect Scoop” and made a lot of the recipes with great success. I have not worked on substituting the ingredients on his recipes though.
      • Le Creuset cookware and bake ware – what can I say, it’s Le Creuset. Although heavy it is safe without the use of Teflon coating; and works well with my induction cook top. I use the dutch oven a lot for simmering sauce, making chili and soups.
    7. Favorite drinks: Water, water, water. No sodas or juices. Sometimes I would go for sparkling water or La Croix flavored sparkling water.

    I started this journey by eating organic, non pesticide sprayed fruits. Check out the EWG website for the clean fruits and vegetables list. That slowly evolved into larger scale where we eat almost all organic food or responsibly grown/raised/farmed food. If you have the freezer space, you can find a lot of local farms that sell a quarter, half or whole cow or pig. Other than composting organic waste and recycling, we are also using dish washing detergent that are free of toxic ingredients and gentler to the environment. Most people think that it is hard to embark on this lifestyle change with children but I can assure you that they are resilient and more adaptable to changes than adults. You setting an example is the best way for them to learn. I hope you find some inspiration and move towards a healthier you.


    Posted in Food craze, Lifestyle and reflections | 2 Comments | Tagged
  • Welcoming Challenges for 2017

    Posted at 12:20 am , on January 22, 2017
    2016 Tolmie Peak Lookout - Eunice Lake

    Don’t limit yourself. Many people limit themselves to what they think they can do. You can go as far as your mind lets you. What you believe, you can achieve. ~Mary Kay Ash

    It is hard to believe that the first month of 2017 is almost over. It has been a busy few weeks for me especially at work facing some tough and unexpected challenges. At times, I wish I could skip 2017 and move on to 2018. However, through this experience I learn that I am tougher than I thought I was mentally. With this realization, I set out my own challenges to continue the year and control my own path.

    My first challenge is to start another round of the elimination diet that I did last year. There is a list of food that you will need to completely avoid for three weeks, then adding them back one at a time for a few days each and note any kind of reactions towards the added food. Since I have already identified food that I cannot consume, I treat this as a yearly cleansing. Here’s what to avoid – dairy, sugar (use honey or real maple syrup), corn, eggs, wheat/gluten, soy, coffee, tea, chocolate, alcohol (except Tequila), citrus and citric acid, nightshades (such as tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, eggplants, paprika etc.). This feat requires lots of will power and family or friends support. I hope the tips below will help you get through your weeks with some ease.

    1. Before you start, please talk to your doctor first if you are being treated for any health conditions.
    2. Set a start date and slowly wean yourself off some of these items, especially coffee and tea.
    3. I always plan my weekly meals and prepare a grocery list before the weekend. Sunday is usually my food prep/cooking day. Since my son will be joining me, I have to plan for his school lunch too.
    4. I find that paleo recipes are the best and with the least amount of substitution required. My favorites are Nom Nom Paleo and The Domestic Man. I own their cookbooks and love those recipes. Vegan or gluten free recipes will sometimes work too.
    5. Asian cooking is the hardest to change since we use a lot of soy sauce. The best substitute is coconut aminos with some fish sauce (Red Boat brand). My favorite website to buy specialty products is Thrive Market.
    6. Refer to my previous blog post for breakfast recipes.
    7. This plan is what I learned from my doctor and please consult your own doctor before starting.

    The next challenge is to accomplish at least 10 hikes this year. After a year break to get my health back it is time to return to my favorite outdoor activity. Maybe along the way, I can learn to take better pictures of our beautiful Pacific Northwest. What’s in store for you in 2017?

    Posted in Lifestyle and reflections | 1 Comment | Tagged ,
  • Holiday Adventure Part 2: The Food

    Posted at 11:32 am , on January 7, 2017
    Green tea ice cream

    You don’t need a silver fork to eat good food. -Paul Prudhomme

    Food is a big part of every culture. From the American cheese burger to the exotic deep-fried tarantula, and everything in between. When you travel in Asia, the trip is not complete without tasting all the street food (as long as your stomach can handle them). Here’s a quick introduction of some of the food we tasted.

    If street food is not for you, there are also a variety of restaurants around and I am sure you will find something you like. Please keep in mind though dishes with the same name in the US may not taste the same in Taiwan. I hope you will be adventurous and try some of these if you happen to travel to Taiwan.

    Posted in Food craze, See the world | 1 Comment
  • Holiday Adventure Part 1: Escaping the Urban Hustle and Bustle

    Posted at 8:07 pm , on December 23, 2016
    Taroko cabin holiday

    The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart. Wishing you happiness. ~Helen Keller

    This is the first time we are away from home during the holiday season and spending time with our other family in Taiwan. Throughout the years we have been in this island many times but first time in the winter. We were definitely ready to get away from the cold and wet Pacific Northwest for a change. The winter in Taiwan is pleasant and just the right temperature for us. However we have to get use to the almost non-existence Christmas celebration here and be in short sleeves and shorts for the winter, not that we have to try very hard for the latter. With that said, I am forever grateful to have spent this holiday season with all the people I love most in this world.

    During this short stay, we decided to take a detour and escape into the wild (okay may be not the wild but definitely away from the everyday hustle and bustle for the most part). The main attraction was the Taroko National Park area in Hualien. It is such a beautiful place and we just love the cabin at the Leader Hotel Taroko. Waking up to clean fresh air, listening to the birds chirping, watching the rainbow peaking through the clouds and enjoying the view of the majestic mountains right on our door steps.  Spoiler alert – if you are traveling to this part of the country please be aware of the many twists and turns, ups and downs of this narrow mountainous road leading to the destination. I will have to find a way to overcome the extreme motion sickness from the car ride up since I am thinking of coming back here backpacking and hiking in the future.

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    Stay tuned for Part 2 of our holiday adventures and I hope you have a happy holiday season where ever you are!!

    Posted in Experiences, Photography, See the world | 3 Comments
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