We don’t inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.
—Native American proverb
I grew up in Singapore which means nature didn’t come easy for us and the occasional jaunt in the Botanic Gardens, East Coast or MacRitchie was about it. I always knew though that I enjoyed being by the beach but until I moved away and experienced real nature where you can’t head traffic or modernity of any kind, I never knew how much it fed my soul. Here is where I learnt to have 2 favourite nature spots that can silent me – Banff, Canada where the rockies are mesmerising and the beaches in Perth, Australia where the crashing of waves are comforting.
I never really camped growing up either so when I first did with my then boyfriend, now husband, I was sold. Despite not having access to a bathroom, it is liberating being out in the open. As I got weaker and weaker last year, I was very grateful that part of the MacRitchie trail was close to home. When I mustered enough energy, I could go into the trails and pretend the rest of the world didn’t exist.
Like all the other life lesson, cancer and chemo treatment was a reminder to make time for nature. Life and work has a way of taking over and running the hamster wheel can be all consuming. As I’m slowly going back to normal schedule, I remind myself to take walks, sit in a park, soak by the beach as much as I can in a day. Now I’m also adding to my bucket list, to visit one national park/nature reserve/nature spot a year. So next up when we head to Yogyakarta for our anniversary next week, I’ll look into a nature spot to nourish my soul. Any recommendations anyone?
Chemo is tough on your digestive system and there are so many reactions. Some are in pain and nauseous all the time. Others have no reaction at all. I was somewhere in between. My tummy was not happy and was in a constant state of indigestion most of 2022. I stopped getting hungry and lost nearly all of my tastebuds, all except sour and thankfully, I could still smell. In fact, I think my sense of smell become more acute too! Like a new superpower, I knew every time my Dad bought his favourite Hokkien Mee from Circuit Road Market home.
I learnt that without tastebuds it is very easy to eat healthier. Didn’t matter what you put in front of me, I could put it in my mouth, chew and swallow; up to the point where the state of indigestion would protest. This meant I didn’t eat much and was on a schedule like a baby, every couple of hours, my wonderful family would put a little bowl of something for me to eat.
I always knew my Mom and sister were excellent chefs but they really outdid themselves to entice me to eat more. My sister played with textures and aromas. My Mom modified old favourites with more tart and no sugar. Even my SIL, Jenna got into it and made this amazing dish that smelled wonderful and had so much texture, it was so fun to eat. This reminds me, I have to get her to recreate this when my tastebuds are back.
And nope, my tastebuds aren’t back yet. It’s been about a year of quite a surreal experience. When I tell people I’ve lost my tastebuds, they screw their face up and look at me sympathetically. I totally get it but after the year, I can honestly say it isn’t as bad as I always thought it would be to have no taste. I learnt smells are about 80% of taste and I’ve developed a way of eating where you chew and take deep breaths at the same time. The next time we’re having a meal and I look weird, it means my tastebuds aren’t back and I’m tasting my food! I also realised textures are very important to eating too and I love chewy textures. Bread, rice, al dente pasta and noodles. Like with my Mom’s Nasi Ulam, it was my go to and one of my favourite to have. The blend of spices, rice and veggies gave me a complete experience when it comes to eating on chemo.
Chemo tummy made me slow down when I was eating. Something I never did before cancer, I was the shovel food as quickly as you can type of eater. Slow down, please is what I remind myself when I’m eating now. I take a breath as I chew and appreciate all the parts of the meal. Now I have to practice that with everything else in life. Slow down and do one thing at a time. I’m not quite sure if I can check this lesson off quite yet. I have a hunch I need to practice slowing down ALOT more.
I became vegetarian in 2002, in August to be specific so that’s about 15 years! In 2001, if someone told me I would be vegetarian, I would laugh. Ha. Ha. Ha. I wasn’t sure I could ever give up Char Siew, that’s my bacon. An Asian barbecued pork marinated with a sweet sauce. And that’s because I never associated my char siew with Babe. I knew where it came from but rarely made the clear and distinct association.
I started learning a form of mediation that encouraged a vegetarian lifestyle. I thought, “What the heck! Give it all you’ve got for 6months, resist temptation no matter how hard it gets and at the end of 6 months, if it’s too difficult, have a big plate of char siew for your birthday and recognise it as a phase in my 20s.”
It turned out to be easier than I thought, way easier and for the last year, I’ve started cutting out dairy too. In the beginning and with all my research, I was motivated by ethical reasons and the associations between char siew and Babe becoming very clear. But after a while, I found my diet having very distinct improvements to my health. And this is probably why my family who started out being resistant to my new lifestyle became more supportive.
As years became a decade, I started learning to eat better … because you can be a very unhealthy vegetarian. What kinds of fruits and vegetables provide which kinds of vitamins and minerals, white rice versus brown rice, sugar is like a drug, how to supplement B12, yada yadda yadda. All in a sort of ad hoc, internet researching, talking to naturopaths kind of way, which can be REALLY confusing, bringing me to earlier this year when I decided to investigate a more whole food plant base approach.
My aim is to learn what constitutes a nutrient dense plant base diet and how to get it optimal for me. So this World Vegan Day, I’m starting a new Instagram account – Eat to Love, Love to Eat as a record of this journey. Mostly to keep my motivated when I get lazy … which is more often than I like :p and hopefully connect with some like-minded souls along the way.
It’s no secret that I’m a vegetarian that borders on being vegan. The jury is still out for me when it comes to bees and honey so I can’t honestly say I’m vegan. There are many reasons why I’m vegetarian and mostly it comes from an awareness that I didn’t have before. When something is made clear to you, it’s kinda hard to ignore and that’s why being vegetarian hasn’t been difficult for me at all. So when I chanced upon this campaign, I was reminded about my answer when people ask me if I’ll ever stop being vegetarian.
I’ll stop being vegetarian when I’m prepared to kill the animal I want to eat.
Yes yes yes, the FaceBook guy said this too. For the record, I said it way before he made it popular but it’s totally possible he said it to his friends before I ever thought it. It really doesn’t matter who said it first but I understand what he means. Like the Game of Thrones pilot episode where Ned Stark was teaching his young son about accountability, “The man who passes the sentence should swing the sword.”
Back to the campaign, I did like Chipotle when I tried it but I’m not entirely sure they are totally fresh food served at its best. Nonetheless, it’s a great branding exercise and will make me seek out a Chipotle the next time I’m near one so I guess it worked 🙂
One day I hope I can put my name on something like that too.
I dare say it’s been nearly 2 months since I last got on the water and I paid dearly for it. The morning after I woke up all aching but looking forward to my next ride 🙂 I’m not sure why but wakeboarding does that to you. I think any activity that gets your adrenaline running does the same time. There’s something to be said about being out on the water too, especially for me. Though I wish it wasn’t the monsoon season.
It was cold and rainy when we left the dock and this was my view in the boat. I felt like a team of terrorist going out to make an open sea attack :p The rain soon calmed down and we were out on the water. Jimbo, our instructor says we have muscle memory. Obviously he wasn’t talking about me. My muscles forgot how to edge and kinda had to relearn but pats on my back 🙂 I pretty much nailed a toeside edge!! I even tried to get in position for a jump. So maybe soon :p Meanwhile, my sister is clearing two wakes and learning to grab her board!!
How insane is that? I think so too 🙂 I don’t know if I’ll ever get there but I’ll live vicariously through my sister for now.
We all know what happened the last time I tried to bake with no sweetener. So I made sure I had ample amounts of maple syrup before I started doing anything this time 🙂 Then I got bee in my bonnet and decided to be adventurous :p My husband was trying a wheat free diet and I recently found out a friend was allergic to wheat so I decided to make gluten free muffins this time!!
They looked fine, smelled great again, thankfully this time the taste was not bad but the texture seemed a little off. Vegan gluten free muffins is going to take A LOT of practice. The combination of quinoa, potato, brown rice and soya flour needs more work. I think quinoa has a taste that I’m not use to and maybe I have to learn to hide it … I’m thinking I’ll try carob vegan gluten free muffins next.
The world will be happy to know, other than my poor husband, no one else has been punished with eating my muffins :p I just may be nice to him and make a regular banana bread before my next crazy experiment. For the rest of you, fear not, I’m not planning to open a bakery any time soon so on one else will be subjected to my baking adventures 😀
It’s been a while since I baked. Now that I have what I’m calling, My Little Oven that Could, I’m baking again 🙂 All thanks to my dear cousin-in-law, Michelle. So on a whim one night when I saw overripe bananas, apples and cashews in my fridge, I decided to whip up a batch of muffins. I usually have some kind of flour to bake with in the freezer and I was planning to keep it all simple without any fancy ingredients.
So I chopped up the nuts and apples, mashed up the bananas and stirred in the spelt flour, baking power and realised I didn’t have enough maple syrup as a sweetener. I thought with bananas and apples, it’d be sweet enough but nope, it isn’t.
The muffins came out TASTELESS :p The consistency was fine and it smelled great but it had no taste what so ever. I had to spread jam on it or else it was like bread :p Once I get maple syrup, I’m going to try this easy recipe again.
It’s been like 5 months since I started wake boarding. I don’t go as often as I would like but often enough to gain confidence and to start edging, which is something you have to do if you want to learn to jump. I’m not sure if I’ll ever try jumping but I have to say I’m incredibly inspired by my sister to 🙂
That’s a jump over 2 wakes!!! I don’t even know if I’ll hop over one. I may. We’ll see. Meanwhile, if I keep going out with them, and maybe just maybe one day I’ll get fearless enough to try and jump.
For now, I’m just edging.
The thing I love about these videos is watching how we fall. It is kinda hilarious. The fact after though. Not so during but it’s nice to get out on the water, feel the breeze in your hair and kinda walk on water 🙂
Last weekend, I went out riding with a couple of friends who were trying it for the first time. Suffice to say, they had fun 🙂 Wake boarding has way with people. Pulling you in till you think about it a lot more than you think about much else. So here I am on a Tuesday night wondering if I could squeeze in a ride tomorrow morning before work.
This coming from someone who isn’t even doing simple stunts. Yep, I go out and am quite happy just feeling the wind in my hair, smelling the sea breeze and being out of the water. For now that seems more than enough for me. My sister has warned me though. She says I’ll get bored and sooner or later I’ll want to try something more. I just may get adventurous one day and forget I’m going to be 40 in a couple of years time. Or maybe that’s exactly why I’ll do a jump :p 40 is just a couple of years away and this may be the only chance I get to do it 🙂
Hmmm … maybe I could call Jim for the last ride of the day instead. It’ll give me more time on the water.
Meanwhile, hope you’re having a wonderful Tuesday. 2 days down, 3 more to go.
It’s been 4 months since I first started to seriously wake board. I’ve got my own board and a vest too!! Both very wonderful hand-me-downs from Charles, my friend and Charlie, my sister 🙂 I hit the water about once a month. That’s not a lot but enough to be pretty steady behind the boat. I’ve tried going out on my heel side. My toe side needs way more work and last week I did a fakie and surface 180.
A fakie is when you ride on your less dominant leg. In my case I ride with my right leg forward so when I do a fakie, it’s my left leg that is forward. Seems like such a simple thing but by golly, it feels very very weird like writing with your left hand if you’re right handed. Whatever the case may be, I can do it now 🙂 Not perfect but I can stand!!
Thanks to the kind people on Youtube, here’s what a Surface 180 looks like:-
BTW, the video is of a six year old doing the “stunt”. I’m not quite as smooth as him but I definitely crash as soon as I’m done with my 180, like he does in the video :p Again, he’s only 6 and I’m not.
My sister and cousins are jumping and getting to be quite the pros. It’s really fun to watch them and have their progress egg me on but seriously, I’m very happy just standing behind the boat and enjoying the view :p Like with most things in my life, I’ll just take each ride as it comes along.
Take it from me though, if you want to learn how to wake board in Singapore, the guy to call is Jim Chua aka Jimboh. He’s patient, attentive and knows exactly what you need from the water. Couldn’t ask more more than that in a wake boarding instructor … and trust me, I’ve had ones I don’t want to think about anymore.
Next on my wake boarding list stunts, to hold on with one hand!! Stay tune for my updates 🙂