a dash of SPICE
Journey to Acceptance
Self Image and You
issue 9 may 2016
Feature: Journey to Acceptance The Coach
Interests and Hobbies
Food & Drink
Seeds of Inspiration
Health & Fitness Travel
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Body image and self-‐image are issues that many women of all ages struggle with. There are days when my 84-‐year old Mother tells me she’s put on weight and says she needs to watch what she eats! She says it’s for h ealth reasons that she is worried about her weight gain and I’ll believe her but I know of many women who beat themselves up for gaining the weight and not b eing able to shed it off. I’ll confess. I’m guilty as charged. I don’t like my thighs as I think they’re too chunky and I wish I h ad skinny thighs. But when I look at my photos from my younger days, I know that skinny thighs never existed in my physique. As I drift through my 40s and approach the 50s, I am more concerned about my weight. I rationalise that it’s for health reasons that I want to lose weight, but deep down inside, I have a desire to have a “nice toned body”, you know -‐ firm triceps, firm abs. I’m not striving to b e like any Hollywood star (but I confess I like J L o’s body and we’re born just a few days apart) but I want to do it, because I’m a control freak and I just hate that the fats in my body have reigned for so many years. It’s time for the Queen to take back the crown. Sometime in March I saw a new weight-‐loss fad that apparently started in China – where girls were striving to h ave a waist no wider than the width of a portrait A4-‐size paper! Now that’s probably the width of one of my thighs! Thus, this issue is dedicated to all women who are struggling with their body-‐types and other self-‐image issues – that you don’t h ave to let society define what you should look like and get the power back. Change whatever you want because you want it and not because you want to fit into a mould set by society. If you have a story you’d like to share and inspire women, we’d like to hear from you. Drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and b e part of the spicy family. Begin again; Live again; Love again.
Editor, A Dash of Spice
“I lived my life thinking that I would never amount to anything; that I’ll b e forever stupid. My journey is about acceptance, and telling myself that “Hey, you know what? You aren’t so bad after all.”
My name is Natalie Trog and I am 30 this year. For some reason, turning 30 made me reflect on my life, re-‐evaluate my life and ask myself what do I want to be and where do I see myself in a few years’ time? I made some achievable goals such as to meet up with almost everyone in my Facebook friend’s list – to meet them in flesh and not just be online acquaintances. It’s about taking small steps; I don’t dare to dream big. Maybe that is my biggest flaw. It is hard to believe that until four years ago, I was tipping the scale at 140kgs. It wasn’t easy and it’s been a long road for me. But hey, I’m an optimist who loves to travel and learn new languages. I’m a voracious reader with a passion for cooking and trying new recipes. I dream the impossible. If you are looking to lose weight and clean eating, do give me a nudge at email@example.com.
my journey to acceptance: by natalie trog the growing years: I grew up tossed around ever since m y parents got divorced when I was four years old and my younger sister was one. I still remember it vividly, which is surprising, given that I was only four but it was clear as day. Mom got married at 16, but she only had me when she was 20 so in a sense I am glad I wasn’t an accident and I suppose Mom was smart in that way, not rushing into “having kids” as soon as she got married. She didn’t succumb to social norms, a trait which I inherited. She was however, a homemaker. For 10 years of marriage with my dad, she didn’t have a job and but she was doing pretty alright. She was one of the prettiest amongst her siblings, fair and English educated; she was quite the catch. According to Mom, Dad went to study in Japan and mom was left alone to raise two toddlers, b ut she thought nothing of it. Dad would come b ack with a degree and will be able to earn more money for the family. We’ll just have to endure and b ite the bullet for a little while more. I remembered mom buying rice and milk on credit with the shop at the ground floor of our flat, always p romising to pay soon. I didn’t understand much of what was happenning as all I cared about was the happy times I get to get out of the house for a while to run around at the void deck. Dad came back not only brandishing a degree but with a fair svelte Japanese girl in his arms, crushing my mom inside out. What made it worse was that her mother-‐in-‐law told the Japanese girl that my dad wasn’t married and was still a bachelor, a revelation only when my mom confronted the other woman. I never saw my dad again after that
day. Having b een a homemaker for the past 10 years with no savings and no work experience, landed my mom in a state of frenzy. I was only four, still weaning off milk and occasionally wetting the mattress, and my sister was just one. We were living in our maternal grandfather’s one room flat along Beach Road. My maternal grandparents were divorced as well. Luck wasn’t done with us y et. I still remember the many times my mom was in a state of panic. One was when my baby sister was having difficulty breathing and she told me t o look after my sister while she went out to get help, perhaps begging relatives to lend h er money to e send my sister to the hospital. My sister, as w learned later, had asthma and I remember she was closing her eyes in fatigue and I would wake her up 5, and just to make sure she wasn’t dying. I was just she was 2. I don’t remember much, other than my sister pulled through and was well again.
Another time mom was frustrated because she tried to apply for me to go to primary school and the school policy asked for b oth p arents to come down, failing which they needed a divorce certificate. I remember clearly trips up and d own to the Syariah Court and the ugly custody battles. Between finding a job, toddlers that needed milk, the younger one with asthma, mom was hauling two kids up and down S yariah courts and fighting against the rigid school system just to get me enrolled into a primary school.
My mother had the reputation of Xena the Warrior Princess, a nickname given to her by my schoolmates, after they h ad the unfortunate luck to witness first hand during the “Meet the Parents session” when I had to bring my mom to collect my school report book. I’ve had my own share of her
Food -‐ My best friend.
not only beating with her bare hands but with anything she could grab within her reach: mop, broomsticks, umbrella, belt buckle and clothes hanger. once I got caught playing with fire and it burned a patch on the carpet. My mother tied me up with a rope and threatened to burn the other end of the rope to try and scare me that she was going to burn me alive. I was probably six or seven years old then. Guess who never played with fire again?
the teenage years: By now we were living with my maternal grandmother after mom had a disagreement with her dad. After her parents divorced, mom and her sister were raised by her father and her mother took custody of her other siblings. So we had little interaction with my grandmother and moving in with her was another adjustment; it was as though we had moved in with a total stranger. Grandma wasn’t the doting kind, having not raised my mom, much less her kids. My grandmother would prefer me to play downstairs with the neighbourhood kids rather than letting me stay at home because staying at home is “noisy” and watching TV uses “a lot of electricity”. Mom was working then, so she wasn’t home much. I was able to do things unsupervised, like dashing across the expressway to go to the East Coast Beach on the other side, a treat I never had the privilege to enjoy. I think a guardian angel must have been watching over me that I didn’t die, or grow up to be a thug or a hooligan. I’m surprised at myself for not being in jail at all.
As a result, I remember my sessions doing homework with my sister will be peppered with conversations like: Me: “Adik, how do you say newspaper in Malay?” Sister: “Suratkhabar. Then how do you say Nasi in English?” Me: “Rice.”
my relationship with food: “Oh you only got 47 out of 50 for your maths test? Mrs Soh’s son got 50! Why didn’t you get 50?” She might as well have asked me to create a new galaxy. I wasn’t good enough. I knew growing up I was different. All these physical beatings and the colourful vocabulary, not only made me fearful of my own mother, but also made me afraid to stand up on my own or for myself. My mother loved to compare me with the neighbour kids and my cousins that up to this point even as I’m writing this, up until this morning as of 17 March 2016, I lived my life thinking that I would never amount to anything; that I’ll be forever stupid.
My relatives never thought much about our family, we were just people from a broken home and were treated like lepers and the stigma of being a divorcee. Mom never praised me at all; perhaps she did but I can’t recall at all. All I remember she told One thing mom did right in my opinion, was teaching me during my Primary 4 Streaming Exam, “Oh you me English. She wanted me to be like her, English only got 47 out of 50 for your maths test? Mrs Soh’s educated. But she soon realised that she didn’t focus son got 50! Why didn’t you get 50?” She might as on the mother tongue language at all with me and well have asked me to create a new galaxy. I wasn’t I seem to forget my roots not being able to speak in good enough. And if I wasn’t good enough for her, my own native tongue, Malay. So with my sister, she her own flesh and blood, how would I be good did the reverse. enough for anyone? So I turned to the only non-‐judgemental thing that gave me a source of comfort – food.
Tommy and I on our wedding day in 2009
Funny how a kid from a broken family and living probably in the poverty line could grow so huge. Eating was my source where I found comfort, solace even love. I even borrowed money from my classmates during primary school just so that I could have another round of hot dogs. Once or twice, and I confess this with great hesitation, I stole money so that I could eat. Because life was hard, pizza was something that mom treated us on our birthdays, year after year. As a result, until today, I associate pizza with birthdays and mom still has a habit of ordering pizza on our birthdays even though my sister and I are well over into our 30s now. But I digress. The more I ate, the more I felt happy, satisfied and food was my friend. I would fry corned beef with cooking oil and relish the rich slurry of mess with a pat on my stomach. Instant noodles, by default, was always made with 2 packets and 2 poached eggs -‐ one of each wouldn’t cut it. Of course my bowl of noodles would be joined with companions like hot dogs, fish balls and chicken nuggets. How about Chicken rice? Two packets please. Extra gravy was always welcomed. This food addiction escalated for years and grew well into my adulthood up until my mid-‐20s. I had always been a chubby kid and I never really cared. TAF club? I remembered my secondary school teacher when I was in my senior year, said “Look, I’ve seen you join the TAF club since secondary 1, four years ago. Instead of losing weight, I see that you are gaining weight. So this year, I leave it up to you. If you want to join, go ahead. If not, I won’t force you”. Father Christmas stayed behind in January that year because no more TAF club, no more being brined in my own perspiration and no more smelling like I’ve been slaving on the farm. No sir, I was going to be a fabulous, nice smelling,
powdered fresh face when the school bell rang at 7:20 am. I’d like to think that my teacher told me that to let me enjoy my final senior year in secondary school in peace, but looking back, I detected a tone of resignation in her voice. Oh well, water under the bridge now. Food was also my reward of choice whenever I accomplished something. Finished my exams? Mcdonalds please. Got a pay check? Hell yeah bring on the buffet. Birthdays? My birthday celebrations lasted the entire month of October and I expected no less than dinners and desserts.
the tipping point: The year was 2012. At 26, I was tipping close to 140kg and so it began. My knees and ankles started to hurt whenever I stood for long periods of time, which pissed me off when the morning trains got crowded and I couldn’t get a seat. After a while, it became embarrassing that when I took an empty seat the other person would get up because clearly it was uncomfortable sitting next to me when I took up more than one seat space. Did I care? Nope. My thighs thank thee, fellow commuter, for now they didn’t have to be squeezed together. But something else nagged me; I always seemed to wake up with a headache almost every morning. Migraines were becoming frequent. But I thought nothing of it until I was down with flu one day and I went to see my family doctor. It was then he dropped the bomb saying that I had mild high blood pressure. That explained the headaches every morning, and at 26 years old at that! I knew it would lead me to even bigger onset of ailments as I grew older and diabetes and heart diseases run in both sides of my family. I decided I had to do something.
“I heard comments like, “Oh the only reason she could lose weight was because she had surgery and if she hadn’t done it, I doubt she would have lost the weight.” It solidified the notion and gave the conviction that yes, I am a failure and I wouldn’t amount to anything. I will not achieve anything.” I joined a gym, Fitness First, and got a trainer. Oh Lord, have mercy! The first few sessions were a killer but I had my best friend Pratishtha, who happened to be my colleague as well, signing up for membership so she motivated me to go for classes after work. Tommy, my husband, also signed up so we went to gym together. My weight was reducing and I slept better at night, probably because of the exhaustion more than anything. But my addiction with food was still haunting me and I told myself, “as long you can work it off, you can eat whatever you want.” Perhaps not the best self-‐talk. It was around the end of 2013 that I realised that my weight loss wasn’t going anywhere; in fact I had a new problem. Turns out, my stomach wall lining had become dangerously thin that I was in danger of rupturing it and having a hole in my stomach. I also discovered that I have polyps in my intestinal wall lining. It wasn’t cancerous but I freaked out. The doctor suggested
weight loss surgery, because I told him my gym sessions weren’t going anywhere and my knees were not going to allow me to exercise any longer. He was more concerned with the stomach problem; that if it ruptured and created a hole in the stomach, they would have to staple it. Why not do it now rather than waiting for the time bomb to explode? So after a few tests, I was fit for the gastric bypass surgery. This was something I didn’t openly share with people as society tends to judge. I heard comments like, “Oh the only reason she could lose weight was because she had surgery and if she hadn’t done it, I doubt she would have lost the weight.” It solidified the notion and gave the conviction that yes, I am a failure and I wouldn’t amount to anything. I will not achieve anything.
truths, half truths and lies: I guess I could charm my ways with the dietician and the doctors because they were assessing my suitability of having the surgery. They tried to make it sound like “you have to control your mind because the surgery will not be a success if you still eat a lot and not control your diet..blah blah blah.” I told them that I was comfortable in my own skin (quite true), that I didn’t want to go through this surgery because of vanity sake but rather I was afraid of my worsening health at 26 with onset of problems (half true), that I’ve tried to exercise by joining gyms and it’s not like I wasn’t making any effort (true) and that it’s not like I have an addiction with food! I don’t even like food! I don’t eat things that are too sweet or too greasy as it will make my stomach queasy and I don’t like soft drinks at all! (Lies! ALL LIESSSSS!). I might have batted an eyelid or two but whatever it is, it worked like a charm and soon I was scheduled for surgery.
hypoglycaemia, low blood sugar. Fainting spells followed by immense sweating became a norm. I began to doubt myself if this was really what I wanted. Yes I was losing weight at a rate of 13kg a month but I looked like death warmed up. Literally. I didn’t look healthy physically, and mentally I was forced to give up my food addiction cold turkey. I couldn’t go back to my source of comfort and had to live a life of liquid sustenance. It was hell.
I knew I had to eat something, so it was steamed broccoli, a slice of watermelon and fruits and vegetables became pretty much the only food my body was able to accept and not retch it out. I was a complete vegetarian, vegan in fact. I began to take notice at what food made me sick – turns out it’s the darned processed food. So I stopped taking that and I began to eat wholesome nutritious meals – fish congee, steamed eggs, steamed vegetables and I noticed in the absence of all these meats and processed foods in my life, for the first time, I began to feel and see the difference. Skin looked and felt Yey! The day for surgery arrived and it was a success. incredible, with a glow and radiance to it. I also felt better, being more mobile and that motivated me to But the horror of reality began to sink it. Up till that moment, I believed that since I wasn’t able to eat start exercising. Not to mention the sudden plethora of clothes that was available to me – I used to shy much, I could eat ANYTHING I want in smaller from clothing stores because I knew for a fact they portions and it still won’t hit the calorie limit. No don’t carry my size. I now became more motivated harm no foul, I thought. Boy, I was in for a rude and more positive with a fresh new outlook and shock. perspective in life.
life after surgery:
Because vegetables seemed to be the only thing that All the food that I was accustomed to suddenly made my body seemed to agree and accept, I began to look into raw vegan fads and try out new things. So me ill. Processed foods and wheat in particular. many ways to eat vegetables and not risking my Meats, deli, fried wings, desserts. Consuming any body expelling it out! I was ecstatic. I knew I needed one of these will result in sharp pains in the protein, the building blocks of our body otherwise abdomen, retching and vomiting in an attempt to I will risk being seriously ill so I began to consume expel the food or worse, the dumping syndrome. Also, because of the malnutrition that arose from the healthy lean meats. Eggs, fish, chicken, turkey; no surgery, my hair began to fall off like a scene from more cold cuts and red meats. a horror movie. I also began experiencing
As I began to look better, feel better and getting compliments from friends, I began to be more motivated in life. I signed up for Diploma in Human Resource Management, having only completed my secondary education and now I am pursuing a Degree in Guidance, Counselling and Disability Studies. I also took up sign language classes and on weekends I try to go out and climb Bukit Timah, the highest hill in Singapore with Tommy in an effort to try and lose weight and motivate him to do the same. We get to spend more time together as opposed to just going out for dinner and movies – we actually manage to do something together as a couple for a change. I will also be getting my keys to my new house slated to be ready in 2017. Really looking forward to that.
All my life I was led to believe that I wasn’t good enough, that I won’t amount to anything, that I’ll never find love, I’ll be forever obese and I am set for failure. Now when I look back, I tell myself “Hey, maybe I’m not so bad after all. J”
the power of words by Carol Johnston
Carol is a certified Law Of Attraction Life Coach. She also holds a Level 4 Certificate in telephone crisis counselling. As an extension of her work as an LOA coach, Carol is also an Empowerment/Self Esteem and Mother/Daughter relationship coach.
“Everyone tells me I look like my mum, and mum always says, “you wouldn't want to grow up and have a face like this would you? Look at me; I look disgusting.” Kate* (11 years old)
At that moment my heart sank for Kate and her mum. Firstly because this pretty 11 year old had already taken her mother’s words on board, enough to tell a complete stranger she wasn't pretty. For her mum because I had only met her half an hour before and she seemed to be a beautiful and confident woman (on the outside).
This mum had no idea what was or had been going A few years ago I wrote a program called “Buds To on in her daughter’s mind, all because of a comment. Blossoms”, a Self Esteem and Empowerment Now I don't know if it was something said on a workshop for 10-‐12 year olds. The very first question regular basis or it was mum just having one of those I asked after getting to know them a little was “What days that all of us have when we just feel a little yuk. does self esteem mean to you?” Of course I got the I must admit yes, I have those days too however usual answers a girl that age would give like being most of the time I keep those thoughts at bay. proud of yourself, being happy, feeling good when Gorgeous mums, your darling girls hear the words you get dressed up and so on. you say -‐ when you are looking in the mirror and telling yourself you look like crap or your jeans are But I will never ever forget the conversation I had too tight or your top doesn't fit properly. You are the with Kate* (not her real name). The first words that one she looks up to; you are her role model and her came out of her mouth were “well I'm not very pretty am I?” I asked her why would she think that? I teacher. It's your job to help her navigate her way through the winding road of growing up. How would was stunned by her answer and let me assure you you feel if Kate was your daughter? there is a huge lesson to all mums of daughters in what she had to say. Her answer “Everyone tells me I This is why it's so important as hard as it may be, look like my mum, and mum always says, “you sometime to learn to really love yourself because wouldn't want to grow up and have a face like this then your daughter will too. would you, look at me; I look disgusting.””
When it comes to our children words are so important and when they hear you speaking negatively they will take it on board.
If you feel that you may need some help in this area I would love to work with you and your daughter through my program “Mothers & Daughters United.”
If I were to sit with your daughter and ask her these questions I wonder what she would say? What is the one thing you love most about your mum? Tell me something really special about your mum? What is your favourite thing to do with mum? Why is your mum the best mum in the world? How do you feel when mum hugs you? Mums, none of these questions relate to the way you look do they? In these questions to your daughter I'm sure that you could find some magic that make you proud of the mother that you are. You could even answer these questions about your daughter and tell her your answers. I'm sure she would feel amazing. When it comes to our children words are so important and when they hear you speaking negatively they will take it on board. Mums, next time you are standing in front of your mirror say “ ……………… You look great today!” Notice how that feels, say it until you have a beaming smile on your face. Embrace your uniqueness; embrace those special qualities that your daughter loves about you. Embrace the fact that you have a daughter and show her how to love herself.
How would you feel sitting with your gorgeous girl facing each other holding hands and you both saying “ I love you because……………, I'm proud of you for…………… I'm glad you are my mother/ daughter because………… . This is one p art of my workshop where I get amazing results and after this exercise both Mother and Daughter feel more connected.
Contact Carol Johnston at: www.mothersanddaughtersunited.com https://www.facebook.com/CarolJohnston2013 LinkedIn: Carol Johnston Twitter @CarolJohnston70 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Or email@example.com
spice up your life
by Rachpal Kaur Tulsi
I’ve been called a narcissist. Why? Because my Instagram account (yes at 46 I am on Instagram and you can follow me on Rachpal28) I MOSTLY have pictures of myself! Well hello?? Isn’t that what people do when they’re on Instagram – post pictures of themselves and what they do? Google it up “why people take selfies” and many different pop p sychologists give their views; some say it’s because we want p eople to know that we have a life, that we’re n ot losers or that we’re living it up with all the check-‐ins we do at the latest clubs and cafes. What’s worrying for me is a study done by University of Strathclyde (yes it exists in Scotland) found that female students who surfed the social media looking at selfies, often have negative feelings about body image – their own b ody image! So that means, females spend much time looking at what they think is the ideal body image and then they beat themselves u p for n ot fitting into the ideals set by society. I know that I am part of the problem – I post selfies of myself on a weekly basis and I’m not about to stop. But I have a higher purpose and intention – that I’m simply living. Some people express themselves through music or drawing, I, through photos. I want women who look at my photos to be inspired to go out there and live the life they d esire and not be trapped in a vicious cycles of work-‐home-‐sleep-‐repeat. If a narcissist I am, then I will embrace the label. As I am probably the only narcissist who d ares to p ost selfies of myself sans filter, sans make-‐up, sans hair-‐dye and M ichelin-‐tyre-‐like waist sticking out the sides of my workout gear. Dear lover of selfies, go past what society defines as the ideal image of what a woman should be and own your selfies. If taking selfies is your new hobby, then click away. It’s your body, your face and you don’t need to fix it. They need to fix their perspective.
beauty from within
Mirror, Mirror…Is that me? by Cassi Grey
Mirror, mirror, is that me? Looking mighty old, I see Oh, those creases and that flab Slay my ego like a sharp knife stab. Where's the beauty that I used to be? Mirror, you make fun of me. Mirror, Mirror, why oh why Are there dark bags under where I cry And why is my tummy, once so flat Rippling with postmenopausal fat? Mirror, mirror, why oh why Does it look like youth has passed me by? Mirror, do you think it's time I spent some cash to look my prime Should I Botox this and laser that Lift my face and suck out some fat? Will people love and admire me If I look like the girl I once used to be?
Mirror, wait -‐ what do I see here? This face shows a journey of strength and fear Those lines where I laughed for hours and cried With sorrow whenever a loved one died. These eyes that saw God in moments of pain Who reminded me one day I'd be happy again. These arms of strength who've held and healed These legs upon the ground have kneeled. My face may sag, my eyes may dim But Mirror, I'm a Goddess within. So Mirror, Mirror, if I may I'd like to get a facial today Join some friends for a laugh or two And hug someone who's feeling blue I may get lifted, I may get waxed Or maybe I'll give these fixins' the axe Whatever I do I do for me Because I'm perfect as I am. I'm me.
Cassi through the years
Cassi in her sophomore year
Cassi at about age 16 years. Picture by Thomas Corcoran
Cassi in her 40s. Picture taken by Callen Harty
food and drink:
spice, dice and splash
C lea n a n d G u ilt-free E a tin g
by Rachpal Kaur Tulsi When I read Natalie’s story (our main feature for this issue), I was, in the words of m y friend Aditee, gobsmacked. Yep, it’s a word to express that I was speechless. I’m filled with admiration for Natalie and anyone else that is on the weight-‐loss journey. Like Natalie, I love food. I plan my meal dates with all my loved ones so that I get a whole array of food throughout the year. I love rich food – deep fried, cheesy and d on’t get me started on desserts. As I was editing Natalie’s story, I saw a phrase she’s used “clean eating” and that sealed it for this issue. Just because you’re overweight and trying to lose weight it doesn’t mean you have to starve yourself or be banished to eating leaves and dry biscuits. What is clean eating? To borrow, Natalie’s philosophy on eating, it’s about eating whole foods and not processed foods. It’s about preparing the food yourself so that you know what’s going into your b ody. In this issue, I won’t be sharing any recipes, but just 4 simple ways you can start enjoying food while getting your health and weight back on track. Why only 4 tips? Eating needs to be pleasurable. I don’t want to take that away from you. Start with these four and the rest you will figure out as you notice the changes in your body.
4 Tips to clean eating 1 2 3
Minimise Processed Food. It’s hard to eliminate them altogether. Choose healthy options like
tuna in water, p asta, whole grain cereals or bread. Avoid those that are smothered in oil and sauces.
More fruits and veggies. Both are excellent sources of fibre. Fruits also help fulfil the sugar
cravings. And veggies you can p retty much do anything with them: bake, fry, soup or eat them raw.
Make your own soups, sauces and patties. You can control and modify the ingredients and you
know what’s going in. I buy chicken or fish fillets; mince them in my food-‐processor, add some spices and make them into patties. I love making tomato-‐based soups as I usually dump in a few d ifferent kinds of veggies and just let them stew and I sprinkle with some cheese or fried onions and serve with garlic toast.
Spices, butter and oils. No meal is complete without the right spice or oil. A dash of cinnamon
and h oney on fruits; or a dash of garlic and salt on the boiled potatoes. Some pepper and garlic on potatoes. Olive oil and butter (in the right proportion) does add flavour to any food – I drizzle some on my salads; sometimes I fry or bake my veggies with a little butter. My philosophy to clean eating is: Keep it simple, keep it flavourful. And yes colourful helps too!
Branded Goods ≠ Self-image by Rachpal Kaur Tulsi
A few years ago, someone I love dearly, got a gift of$2000 and dashed off to buy herself an $800 evening purse that she clearly could not afford. She just wanted it because everyone else around her was flashing branded h andbags and she felt left out. Fast forward two years later, this same person is holding two jobs to keep up payments for the house and car or face bankruptcy. It breaks my hear every time I see a woman spending money on luxury goods that she cannot afford so that she can keep up the appearances and fit into society’s definition of a successful person. Some studies suggest that people have a fear of social exclusion and ostracism that they will do whatever to fit in as not fitting in will have a detrimental effect on their sense of belonging, self esteem and meaningful existence. S o rather than face being alone or not part of a larger group, people conform to standards set by others. Every time we make a p urchase , we’re subconsciously making an evaluation of our self – our image and identity. Be it purchasing your home, your car or even simple things like where your groceries,; every time you’re making that purchase you’re making a statement about who you are. Sadly, with decades of advertisements shoved in our faces we’ve fallen p rey and start believing that we’ll become better or more whole if we owned a certain b rand. We mistakenly believe that our lives would be better if we bought that new bracelet with little charms hanging from it and people will respect us more. We look at sports stars and celebrities and rush to buy whatever it is they endorse or they wore. At the end of the day, they’ve been paid millions and where does that leave you – a few hundreds if not thousands dollars poorer and perhaps a credit card debt you’ll be servicing for a long time. Be money smart. The next time you’ve got the money and you want to buy a b ig-‐ticket item, I want you to ask yourself this important question: “Am I b uying this because I want it or because I want people to think of me in certain way?” The second question to ask yourself is: “Will buying something less expensive and not branded make me a lesser person?” You are more than a mere brand. Brands don’t define you. Your values, virtues and actions define you.
health and fitness:
fit and fab
Who Gets to Define Our Body Image? by Emma Blake What is your attitude towards your b ody? How do you see yourself when you look in the mirror? How does your reflection make you feel OR should I say how does society make you feel about your own reflection? For tens of years the media has had a lot to do with how we perceive what a healthy body image is. On a daily basis we are bombarded with pictures of photo shopped bodies that are u nrealistic and with all the “quick fix” shake diets, weight loss pills advertised all throughout the media it’s no wonder we are hard on ourselves when we look in the mirror as we it has been engraved into our subconscious, that to be accepted by society, we should look a certain way. Body image has b ecome such a negative topic over the years with women across the world, young and old, comparing themselves to celebrities or fitness models in magazines or comparing themselves to the latest body image fad. The most recent one being in China where women are comparing their waistlines to the portrait size of an A4 piece of p aper! This type of “fad” sends the wrong message to women across the world, which can lead to serious health issues.
When is society going to put an end to the superficial definitions of beauty and stop pressuring women to try and reach unachievable goals to look a certain way just to be accepted?
It took Emma Blake 2.5yrs to lose 35kg and it all started with changing bad h abits to good habits, changing her way of thinking and seeing things to be more positive and fuelling her body with real whole foods and finding a type of exercise that she enjoyed. Emma Blake, is a personal trainer and wellness coach whose aim is to work with her clients to overcome their struggles when it comes to living a healthy lifestyle. She is a single mum of a 15-‐ year old daughter and sporty 9 –year old son. If you want to work with Emma on your weight-‐ loss or wellness, you can contact her at: Facebook link: https://www.facebook.com/Body-‐ Mind-‐Soul-‐Wellness-‐628900180585733/
Website: Under Construction Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Instagram:
As women, we are beautiful in our own rights and our bodies are already p ut through so much from the amazing things our bodies can do, why should we put extra stress on ourselves to look a certain way just because society says so? Be proud of your body and accept that no one h as a perfect body. We have the ability to empower one another and raise each other up to shut society’s definition of beauty and bring back a Positive Body Image Movement for ourselves and the generations of women to follow. Surround yourself with positive uplifting women, appreciate all that your body can do, and when you look in the mirror, don’t just look at the reflection looking back at you; REALLY look into that beautiful person and be happy with what you see. Don’t count calories, don’t worry about the number on the scales and d on’t waste your time worrying about what others think of you. No one has the right to judge the way we look. Embrace your beauty and all that that you are b ecause no matter what society says you are BEAUTIFUL. “I am beautiful no matter what they say, words can’t bring m e down, I AM BEAUTIFUL in every single way” -‐ Christina Aguilera
https://instagram.com/bodymindsoulwellness/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/soul_wellness
the spicy route
Destination Branding??? Seriously……???? by Rachpal Kaur Tulsi
Destination branding? That’s a new one for me. So apparently there is an active movement out there to lure you to travel not because you want to see the sights or just relax but because of what you would like to see in and of yourself. So travelling is no longer a simple process of pick a destination, get the plane tickets, throw some clothes into the suitcase and escape. Now I’m torn on this issue. I absolutely love travelling and as I grow older, I find myself looking for little creature comforts: I’ll gladly pay $300 more if it gets me on the b usiness class or $100 more for h otel stay if it gets me into the Club/Executive suites with free flow of drinks in the evenings. Gone are my back-‐packing and budget hotel days. Taking in the sights is just as important as my comfort. Have I succumbed to this advertiser’s trap called destination branding? I can confidently say, “No.’ For me, travelling is about getting away from the humdrum of d aily life and work; it’s an escape to allow me to relax and recharge. I want to be able to eat and drink and be spoilt. What flight I take, what class I travel on and where I stay, are to meet those needs and not because it’s purported as the “must be seen places to visit before you die.” I’m just as comfortable on a laid back farm in Punjab as I am in a 5-‐star hotel in Manila. Am I buying into this destination-‐branding-‐kind-‐of-‐travel? No. Never did and never will. While I love comfort, I’m not breaking my bank balance just to be seen at the top holiday destinations. Like branded goods, holidays should be about what you want and not what others perceive of you.
seeds of inspiration:
where women inspire women
Surround yourself with positive uplifting women, appreciate all that your body can do - Emma Blake Â
…I specialise in Transitional Transformation Coaching for women in transition; to smoothen the transition period, to give clarity and equip you with skills to move effortlessly to the next phase. My coaching philosophy is to take you from being a blunt tool to the sharpest tool in the shed… Rachpal Kaur Tulsi
Reigniting Personal Belief; Reclaiming Personal Power Rachpal Kaur Tulsi Small Business Consultant www.oneasiacoach.com
A Dash of Spice May 2016