Tag Archives: health

Navigating Food Labels

Let’s talk about food labels.

Have you ever picked up a product, looked at the food label and was left more confused?

What’s with all the rows and columns of numbers? Serving sizes? Per 100g? And what’s with the long list of ingredients?!

You’re not alone. I’ve been there, and I know how you feel! In order for us to make smart choices about our food and to know what we’re feeding our bodies with, we need to be savvy about nutrition.

Here are some tools to help you navigate and decode food labels and nutrition information.


Ingredients list

The FIRST thing that I look at is the ingredients list. I am not a “calories in calories out” person. And we know that QUALITY matters more than just QUANTITY. You can read more about that here. A low calorie product may very well be filled with junk, and you certainly do not want to feed your body with that!

Quick scan: This will only take 10 seconds of your time.

  • Length of ingredients list

Ideally, the shorter the ingredients list, the better! A long list with codes and numbers usually means that the food is filled with artificial flavourings and colourings, sugars, and highly processed fats and oils.

  • Top 3 ingredients

The first 3 ingredients are important as the list is in order of its quantity, from the highest to the lowest. If the first ingredient is SUGAR, it means that most of that product is just sugar.

  • Mumbo jumbo words

If you cannot pronounce most of the words on the product, put it back!


Nutrition Information Panel

  • Servings per package

This tells you how many servings you can get from the product.

The product in the picture says 2 servings. So, if you drink the whole bottle, you will have to multiply the nutrition information section under “per serve” by 2.

It is important to know the servings per package because the nutrition information panel provides information PER SERVE and not the WHOLE product (unless the serving size is 1).

When it comes to beverages, you are more likely to assume that the whole bottle is 1 serve.

*Also note that serving sizes are determined by MANUFACTURERS. They are not regulated and not based on the standard serving sizes found in dietary guidelines etc*

  • per 100g or 100ml

Use this if you want to compare between products. According to labelling guidelines, ideally you should look out for:

  • < 15g of Sugar per 100g
  • > 3g of Fibre per 100g
  • < 400mg (good) per 100g of Sodium or < 120mg (best) per 100g

Health claims and product description

The food industry LOVES using buzz words like “organic”, “superfood”, “gluten free”, “all natural”, “no added sugars”, “wholegrains”, “low fat”, “good source of X” and the list goes on.

Here are some examples and what they mean:

  • Reduced fat

This claim means that the product has less fat than the original product of the SAME BRAND (at least 25% less fat to make this claim). One brand’s reduced fat does not mean that it is lower in fat than another brand’s regular fat product.

  • Low fat

The food (any brand) does not contain more than 3g of fat per 100g.

  • All natural

A product claiming to be “all natural” is very misleading as there are no regulations for making this claim. Funny how natural products do not need to mention that their product is “all natural”.

This gives you a lot of hints as to why marketers feel the need to use this claim to help sell their products. READ the ingredients list and the nutrition information.

  • No added sugar/Natural sugars/Sugar free/Less sugar

All sugar claims have been addressed and explained here.

  • Light/lite

It is easy to associate light/lite with health. BUT this claim can mean that the product is low fat, low calorie or it may just mean that the product is light in TASTE, COLOUR or TEXTURE!

For example, light rye just means that the colour is lighter than dark rye.

  • Baked not fried

Baked goods definitely sound healthier than FRIED but may very well contain highly processed vegetable oils and fats.

  •  Gluten free

Products with the word “free” tend to sound more appealing/healthier. This applies to gluten free products as well. MORE and MORE products are claiming that they are gluten free.

Are they healthier?

Unless you have coeliac disease or are intolerant, the simple answer is NO. You can read more about it here.


Knowledge about food and food products is POWER! This helps you to make INFORMED choices.

I hope this helps! Let me know if you have any questions!

xx

#AdeleWFOTM – Melissa Lim

This month we have Melissa Lim! She’s no stranger to the running scene in Malaysia. A strong contender in the sport with true passion and grit!

She was recently down with dengue (urgh! THE WORST!) and had her fair share of struggles with trying to run strong again. BUT this girl ain’t giving up! You can read more about it here.

Read on to find out more about her! Psssst, you might pick up some REALLY good tips along the way. 😉 ENJOY!

1. How long have you been running?

I’ve been running for the longest time. I loved running because of the solitude it provides me. I started getting a bit more or a lot more obsessed with running back in 2015. Prior to 2015, I had no idea what distance and pacing were. I just ran 30 minutes everyday, 4-5 times a week.

2. How did you get into running?

So, my parents decided it was a great idea for me to hike up Mount Kinabalu when I was 13. And, of course they never failed to remind me that I can’t be the reason they can’t make it to the top! So everyday come 5:30pm, I was locked slash kicked out of the house – forced to go on my daily jogs (I kid you not)!

Well, at first I dreaded every run. Then, I grew to really like it.

Oh, and of course there’s the fact that I love to eat and I don’t want to be fat. So that pretty much kept me going.

3. Do you join any running groups? If yes, which running group?

Nopes.

4. Your profession:

My background is Law but I’m currently the Content & Marketing field.

5. How do you juggle work and running?

I run in the evenings after work and try to do my long runs over the weekend. It’s just much easier for me than to wake up early in the mornings. I’m totally not a morning person. But if I have to miss a run, I don’t sweat it. It’s just an extra rest day for me.

6. Do you have a training schedule? What is it like?

My training has always been 2 speed works a week, one long run on the weekend and the rest are just recovery runs in between. Sometimes I try to throw in a trail run as well but they mostly turn out to be hikes, not really runs per se.

7. Who do you usually train/run with?

I usually run alone. But, the long runs I would do with the boyfriend. Sometimes when he is feeling nice (most of the time) he would do the trails with me. When he isn’t very nice, he ditches me because I’m too slow.

8. What keeps you going?

I think it’s really the passion for running. I like the exhilaration and satisfaction I get to feel when I finish a race. Every race is different. I think of different things. I tell myself different things to get me through. Sometimes it’s that cake I’m going to treat myself to.

I think about this alot though. It’s a marathon. It’s supposed to be tough. Everyone else is suffering just the same. It’s who is stronger and can push through that deserves to win. If I can’t even muster up the strength to hold on and push through, I don’t deserve it. Someone else does.

9. Which was your most memorable race event and why:

I think what was memorable was not the race itself but the bulk of the training I had put into leading up to probably my biggest race – SCKLM 2016. I started training for SCKLM 6 weeks prior so it was a crash course for me. I had never embraced the concept of long runs before my crash course.

I remember my very first long run I did which was 16km during the final SCKLM running clinic. I remember all the long runs I had to do. I remember all the things I told myself when I wanted to give up during the long runs. I remember telling myself that I needed to train hard to race easy. Running up hills, I remember telling myself, what goes up must come down! I remember waking up early (6am is really early by my standards) to go out for my long runs. I remember my very first 30km race I had to do in anticipation of SCKLM. And most importantly I remember my then-not-yet boyfriend being there for me, through every long run. The entire process was really memorable for me.

10. Greatest achievement so far:

This year I joined the TMBT 50km race. It’s a trail race and arguably the most beautiful and most brutal trail race in Malaysia. It’s tough. I managed to cheat my cousins into doing the race. It was great – to complete it myself and watch them complete it. It took them 16 hours, but from that race, we all had a great story to tell. And, maybe, just maybe, they are starting to like this running thing as well because we’re doing Rinjani Ultra next year together.

11. Favourite distance:

I think I just enjoy running in general – whether it’s a fast 3km or the half marathon, or even the marathon distance. I think I do enjoy the longer distances abit more. I think it’s because it is long and there is that possibility that I would not be able to go the distance and complete the race. Anything could happen. So, when I finish, it’s really an overwhelming feeling.

12. Your inspiration:

I’m a Galen Rupp fan.

13. Any advice for runners who are stuck in a rut?

Don’t give up easily. Everyone struggles as well. It’s the people who are able to keep themselves together, keep going on, persevere and not give up – these are the people that, at end of the day, really deserve that win. And, so can you. Don’t let one bad day, or one busy week throw you off course. Running is a gift, enjoy it!

14. Your take on nutrition:

I love food. Although I try very hard to be healthy. I’m normally very good in the beginning of the day. Sometimes I’m able to last till dinner, but I normally have a snack after dinner which could be crisp or ice-cream or cake. So I normally end my day quite unhealthily. Like I really can’t resist a good cake. I’m still working on it, this trying to be healthy thing. I believe – everything in moderation, even cakes, nasi lemak and icecream. I always have my fair share.

I must say that I totally agree on the nutrition part. 😉 You had me at CRISP, ICE CREAM and CAKE!

GAH! Isn’t she inspiring? I hope you were able to take home a few key messages from Mel – passion, hard work, discipline, gratitude, never-give-up attitude, work on nutrition and enjoy that dessert (in moderation)!

xx

Review: Garmin Fenix 5X

I’ve been using the Garmin Fenix 5X since August 2017 thanks to Garmin Malaysia!

My Ninja!

I’ve had enough time to play around with it and here’s my review!

As with the review I did for my panda (FR 235), this will be from my perspective of what I’ve found useful and interesting (the highlights). For a more IN DEPTH review with comparisons between models, check out the famous DC RAINMAKER.

Why did I choose the Fenix 5X?

-I do more than just run (since my plantar injury)

-I love big watches

-I wanted to try the 5S in WHITE for aesthetic reasons (as always!) but it wasn’t available

-More importantly (I saved the best for last), THE BIGGEST REASON would be the beautiful topo MAPS that is unique to the Fenix 5X!

SO PRETTY *wipes tears*

Features that are ONLY found in the Fenix 5X:

Point of Interest: You can find cities, FOOD and DRINK, fuel services, lodging, attractions, entertainment, recreation, SHOPPING, transportation, hospitals etc. Oh yes, you can also find COFFEE!

The downside is that it takes quite a while to load. BE PATIENT!

Looking for cities!

Around Me: It maps your current position and helps you find things that are around you.

You can move the little pizza slice to narrow the search to that area. SO COOL! *I was indoors and I didn’t wait for the map to load before taking this picture. A full map (like the one above) will appear.*

Back to Start: You can use this to get back to where you started if you ever get lost.

It will tell you how far off you currently are, ETA, directions, compass and a map.

Courses: You can preload routes from your phone/computer and let your watch do the navigating!

Round-Trip Courses: I absolutely LOVE this function! You can choose to run or bike, the distance and the direction (any direction, North, South, East and West)! Once you’ve done that, it will map out a route for you. This is GREAT especially when you’re exploring a new place/city! It will tell you where to go, turn and if you’re heading in the WRONG direction!

Other features:

Watch faces: You’d probably know by now that I go NUTS over watch faces.

Simple or complicated? YOU decide.

Battery: 20 hours for the Fenix 5X to support all your crazy endeavours (in GPS mode)!

Weight: 98g (Fenix 3HR – 86g; FR 235 – 42g) It is a lot heavier than the other models.

Connectivity: Bluetooth Smart sensor for all your external devices (HR monitor, Footpod etc) and WiFi (for Sapphire units) for easy and quick uploads straight to Garmin Connect! REALLY, and I mean REALLY quick.

HR Sensor: Improved optical sensor that takes readings more frequently – more accurate!

Data fields and screens: HIGHLY customizable! But I like to keep it simple to just 5 data screens with 3 data fields where appropriate.

I’ve included a map!

Smart notifications: When Bluetooth or WiFi is turned on, you can receive texts/tweets etc on your watch WITH Emoticons!

TOO CUTE!

Control “room”: Quick access to certain widgets and functions when you hold the LIGHT button.

Widgets: Like other models, you can add all sorts of widgets from heart rate, performance, steps, calendar, notifications, weather, “My Day”, calories, temperature, stress, altitude etc

Quick glimpse of your activities throughout the week.

New activities and apps: Navigate app, Track Me app, seperate Indoor Track and Treadmill, Mountain Biking, separate Snowboard and Ski

You can basically turn on Track Me and go! And it will do just that… TRACK YOU!

Breakdown of all the activities/sports mode:

Run: Run, Treadmill, Indoor Track, Trail Run

Other cardio: Hike, Walk, Climb

Bike: Bike, MTB, Bike Indoor

Swim: Pool Swim, Open Water Swim

Multisport: Multisport, Triathlon, Swim Run

Snow: XC Ski, Snowboard, Ski

Watersports: SUP, Boat, Row Indoor, Row

Gym: Strength, Fitness Timer

Other: Tactical, Golf, Tru Swing, Cardio, Jumpmaster, Project Wpt, Other

The Fitness Timer

I have been using this function for my HIIT workouts!

Try this quick Full Body 12 min workout. For one circuit, set your timer for 8 rounds of 20 seconds GO TIME and 10 seconds REST. Repeat this process for circuits 2 and 3.

Circuit 1

Burpees

Walking lunges

Jump squats

Step ups (on bench)

Rest for 1 min

Circuit 2

Push ups

Plank

Tricep dips

Lay down push ups

Rest for 1 min

Circuit 3

Plank

Mountain climbers

Flutter kicks

Dead bug

Quick example: When it beeps… it is GO TIME! Want more workout videos? Check out my Instagram.

One thing I love about Garmin watches is that it is not just a watch with a bunch of apps throwing all sorts of data at you but that these data are PERSONAL to you. It GROWS with you. For example, data from a VO2 Max workout allows the watch to determine your fitness level and provide suggestions for training/recovery etc accordingly.

Below are 2 new features with the Fenix 5 series:

Training Status Screen: It describes how your current training is affecting your performance and overall fitness. You can either be peaking, productive, maintaining, recovery, unproductive, detraining or overreaching.

As you can see, I am “maintaining”.

Training load shows you your current effort. It pulls data from the last 7 days of training (both duration and intensity). It will then let you know if it was low, optimal or high, comparing to what you’ve done previously.

Aerobic and Anaerobic Training Effect: After every workout, it gives you a split of your training effect.

Killing two birds with one stone!

I still consider myself fairly new to this whole techy GPS watch thing and have only tested a few Garmin models. But of all that I HAVE tried, this is by far THE BEST! I am REALLY happy with all the additional data and unique features especially THE MAPS!

It is pretty pricey. If you’re unsure about whether or not to get one, let me help you decide!

Is THE FENIX 5X for you?

YES if you:

-Are into multisport

-Data nutterhead (like me)

LOVE maps (also like me)

-Want to train effectively, efficiently and specifically

-Travel often

-Rough (I wore the Fenix 3HR (similar design, material and outlook) to Tough Mudder and it survived every bit of the MUDDY MADNESS!)

-Itching to spend your money somewhere

NO if you:

-Don’t care about data and maps (Pfffftttt!)

-Want to keep things simple

-Not a techy/data person and would easily be confused with data (OVERLOADDDDD!)

-Only do one type of sport (ain’t nobody got time for extra stuff) (Check out Garmin Forerunner series)

-Just wanting to keep fit

-Just wanting to track simple data like steps, calories etc (Check out Garmin Vivo series)

Please let me know if you have any specific questions about the watch or if you are thinking of getting one! 😉 You might get a special discount from me. 😉

xx

If you are in Malaysia, these are the relevant websites:

Main distributor

Facebook

Instagram

#AdeleWFOTM – Hui Xin

For the month of October (or whatever that’s left of it), we have Hui Xin!

Sorry for the delay this month. I got caught up with my research project and NEARLY missed this month’s feature.

Anyway! Back to Hui Xin – you might know her as the girl behind Run89. Indeed, she is one of the co-founders of the running group. Her fire and enthusiasm for running and just her overall outlook on living an active life continues to inspire me. Read on to find out more about her!

1. How long have you been running?

I started running since 2013.

2. How did you get into it?

Initially, I ran to lose weight.

When I heard that my favourite sports brand was organising a road race event, I registered! After signing up, I started to train for it. Since then, I’ve fallen in love with running!  It’s like a drug!

 3. You’re the co-founder of the Run89 crew. Tell us more about that!

Sure! Ru89 is more than just running and working out as a group, we are like a family with strong bonds! Besides running together, we travel together too and we will try our best to host a trip at least once a year! It is really fun to be with them.

We are also very grateful for all the support from Nike. We had a chance to attend many interesting events and meet other runners from different parts of the world! These are some of the best memories for the crew!

Our slogan is “Stronger with every stride” – which means in everything we do, every step that we take, will make us better and stronger!

4. Your profession/work:

Store Design & Construction Executive

5. How do you juggle work and running?

When I started my new job, it was a bit difficult to juggle both. But after a while, I managed to adapt. I will try to run at least 5km if there wasn’t any special activities going on that day.

6. Do you have a training schedule? What is it like?

My training schedule in a week looks something like this:

3 days of speed work

2 days of easy running/light workout/cross training/badminton

Race or LSD on weekends

7. Who do you usually train/run with?

My running buddies! This running community is huge and there will always be a familiar face whenever I go running! It’s great!

If we have similar running menu for that day, we will train together. Otherwise, we will catch up after training!

8. You also host weekly group core training on Tuesdays. Could you tell us more about that?

R89 Blastfit is hosted by Sabbie (Sabrina Lim) and myself. We both LOVE to workout! At first, we wanted to gather just a few of our BFFs for a group workout. We recognised that girls are quite shy to step out and we wanted to create a safe space to do just that.

We took this oppotunity to initiate the concept of “GIRL POWER”, where we can just be as strong as the boys. We are so blessed that the group has somehow grown into a big family!

 9. Which was your most memorable race event and why!

Definitely the Osaka Marathon! For now, it is my favourite running event! Everything is beautiful in Japan! The Osaka Marathon uses the rainbow as their theme color every year. Each color has a different meaning. The medals are also always beautifully designed. One of the main highlights that I really love is that there’s a whole row of Japanese food stalls at around the 30km mark.

The route is also always filled with passionate supporters, cheering for the runners and providing aids. You can also find cosplayers, which are fun to look out for!

Last but not least, the Osaka marathon’s route is totally flat with only one flyover incline at around the 37th km mark which makes it a totally perfect route to hit your PB!

 10. Favourite distance:

10km / 21km

 12. Other than running, what do you like to do?

I love working out in general and also Muay Thai!

13. Is there anything else that you would like to share with us?

I would like to share how running has changed me to be a better person. Before running, I was shy and someone who didn’t like to share and talk to people.

But through running, I got to know people from different stages of life and got to learn a lot from them. Besides being able to help you destress and have a more positive outlook of your life, running does make you think and realise that there are better things that exist in this world.

Thank you so much for sharing Hui Xin! Running (especially in a group) CAN be SO FUN! If you’re interested to join them for running or for a workout on Tuesdays (for the ladies only!), check out their FB page and Instagram.

Fruits and Vegetables: Fresh or Frozen?

Let’s talk about FRUITS and VEGETABLES. You either love em or hate em! Don’t worry, I am not going to tell you to “EAT YO FRUITS AND VEGGIES!” (although you should)

Due to my busy schedule (I shop once a week), budget and just out of convenience, I opt for frozen veggies and fruits (berries). I get asked a lot if frozen is good for you. So today we’re going to talk about that!

Fresh or Frozen?

We’ve always been told to eat fresh foods instead of frozen. That is true, but when it comes to fruits and vegetables, it can be a bit tricky.

Fresh may not always be best.

Research has shown that in many cases, frozen produce are just as nutritious as fresh produce and sometimes, they contain more nutrients! This is because nutrient levels gradually decrease over time (during transit from farm to supermarkets). This is the part where if left for too long, become brown/black, soft and rot!

Frozen fruits and vegetables are picked at their peak, when they have the highest amount of nutrients. The process of freezing slows the ripening process, retains these nutrients and prevents them from breaking down (slows enzymatic reactions).

Of course, this does not apply to all frozen foods but it does give you more options when you don’t have time to buy fresh produce!

Keep in mind that the method of cooking also affects the nutrient levels in food. For example, water soluble vitamin Bs can be loss in the cooking water. Other vitamins such as vitamin C are heat sensitive.

Another handy tip when buying fruits and vegetables is to buy whatever is in season! That way, you get to eat a wide variety each time and of course, cost efficient!

Personally, I find it stressful if I buy a heap of veggies that would not even last the week in my fridge! I end up throwing them away, which is such a waste. So for me, I mix fresh and frozen!

Let me know if you have any questions!