Home-grown goldenberries!

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This goldenberry plant I planted a few month ago is taking over my windowsill space and growing berries all over the place. It probably grows a few inches a day. Since I don’t have an outdoor space to plant it, it’s just sprawled on top of my Aerogarden for the time being. Despite all the berries growing big really quickly, I’m still having a hard time preventing them from dropping before they turn yellow. So I’ve just been eating them green. They’re still sweet though, but just living up to their fullest potential.

All my plants are grown in water and coconut husk soil, no soil. This mitigates the number of bugs, which I hate. I’m also growing a lemon plant, but it’s not thriving like this goldenberry plant.

I should probably feed my goldenberry plant more nutrients, but I’ve also have had bad experiences with starving the roots of oxygen, so I need to be very careful with the nutrients I feed it. Some of the leafs are turning dry and yellow, but the majority is fine. The yellow flower in the back is pretty small, but has a recognizable design to it. I get about a fruit per flower.

After some reading, seems like the fruit has similar nutritional benefits as a tomato, anti-inflammatory, controls blood sugar and anti-oxidant rich. Seems like most of them are sold dried in stores, but I prefer eating them by peeling the paper lantern on the outside. Also, beware of dried fruit, since they don’t have the water content to help you feel fuller.

In my experience, it’s really easy to grow and it seems to self-pollenate so I don’t have to do anything but wait for the fruits to ripen. I can definitely get behind plants I can eat right away.

Eating healthy day 11: Leftover Basil Chicken Salad

I love Thai food. I can almost always taste sour, sweet, salty, and spicy in Thai dishes. They also tends to be healthier and richer in flavor. Basil Chicken is a Thai dish stable and it’s seasoned with garlic and chili, my favorites. Since I make it at home, I can control how much spice and sugar go into it. If you’re like me and could only shop at an American supermarket, you probably can’t find the bird eye chili peppers and holy basil the original dish calls for. My substitutes were Thai basil that I grew at home and a habanero pepper. I mistakenly used the whole pepper, big mistake. Hence I had a lot of chicken leftover. So I just tossed a few pieces in with my spinach leafs, cucumber slices, cherry tomatoes and yellow bell pepper. Luckily I had my berry fruit salad at the end to cool my mouth down from the heat. I still love spicy though!

Grocery List:

  • pre-washed baby spinach leafs (best from Costco)
  • cherry tomatoes
  • strawberries
  • blueberries
  • thai basil (holy basil if you can get your hands on it)
  • this basil chicken recipe
  • chicken breast
  • bird eye chilis (habanero if you dare or can’t find the Thai chilis)
  • garlic
  • yellow bell pepper

Eating healthy day 10: Whole fish with bones

Americans hate eating anything with tiny bones or seeds in it. Having grown up in China, they were just an unavoidable part of eating. I find myself having the patience for certain foods and none of others. I thank the scientists that genetically engineered seedless watermelons. How can GMO be bad when it enabled seedless watermelon a reality???? Animal bones on the other hand, I don’t mind as long as the dish is packed with flavor. Slow cooked whole fish, good. Dim sum chicken feet, good. Slow braised pork feet, good. I also view it as a sort of a game and practice for my tongue so it’s all good.

Grocery List:

  • fish
  • watermelon chunks
  • cabbage
  • seaweed salad

How to think

I finished 2 books over the weekend, “How to Think: A Survival Guide for a World at Odds” by Alan Jacobs and “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck” by Mark Manson. 2 authors who contrast each other as day and night, hold very similar beliefs about how one should think, that is, don’t let dissenting voices of others control one’s thoughts.

One should do what one beliefs is right only after one have done enough thinking regarding the subject. Just because a majority of people in a social circle agrees with something, doesn’t mean it’s right and it doesn’t mean one has to agree. One can disagree in a respectful manner and choose to listen to dissent without letting emotions cloud thinking. If one feels the need to argue, one will initiate it by arguing for the view opposite of oneself’s. Arguments and disagreements aren’t battles to be waged. Blunt honesty shouldn’t be thwarted for the good of group cohesion, but it should be managed appropriately like any efficient tool, in the case that it can cause unwanted effects. Accepting that normal and average is part of a long process that will give one more enjoyment in the long run than temporary pleasure.

These 2 books are worth reading at least once a year, for people young and old. Manson’s book is so refreshing and funny, I really couldn’t put it down. On the other hand, I found Jacobs’ book to be a challenging read because his words weren’t made to convince but to provoke.

Honestly, I don’t feel I’m even beginning to summarize the content, but you don’t have to take my words for it. Do a quick search and you’ll find so many reasons to read them. I borrowed mine from the public library, but if you don’t want to wait, you can buy both on Amazon and own it forever. Either way, don’t give yourself excuses to not read them.

I probably illegally procured these 2 pages from Jacobs’ book, but here is a checklist that can be found at the end of the book. My takeaways

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Here, I leave you with some quotes from Manson’s book as well.

“The desire for more positive experience is itself a negative experience. And, paradoxically, the acceptance of one’s negative experience is itself a positive experience.”

“Subtlety #1: Not giving a fuck does not mean being indifferent; it means being comfortable with being different.

Subtlety # 2: To not give a fuck about adversity, you must first give a fuck about something more important than adversity.

Subtlety #3: Whether you realize it or not, you are always choosing what to give a fuck about.”

Eating healthy day 9: Chinese “dessert”

I posted before about this traditional Chinese sticky rice ball and how it can be both sweet and salty. I definitely prefer the sweet kind because it just tastes like dessert to me, if you’re using American standards. Chinese people don’t have the tradition of eating “dessert”, it’s more like, since eat the sweets with our meal, it’s just, entree, entree, entree. I also find Chinese “desserts” to be much less sweet and oily, which is much healthier in comparison.

Grocery List:

  • spinach
  • strawberries
  • blueberries
  • cherry tomatoes
  • Chinese sticky rice ball
  • cabbage stir fry
  • seaweed

Eating healthy day 8: Fresh salad tossed in balsamic vinegar and evoo

Salad is basically a bunch of ingredients, cooked or raw, tossed together. You can make a healthy salad or the unhealthiest, both are technically “salads”. Want a healthy salad? Skip the vinaigrettes, the croutons, in fact, skip any carbs, skip the cheese, and skip the cold cuts. A really good dressing that’s also flavorful is balsamic vinegar (the good kind), salt, pepper and extra virgin olive oil. As for vegetables, sky is the limit!

Grocery List:

  • spinach
  • cherry tomatoes
  • yellow bell pepper
  • blueberries
  • strawberries
  • balsamic vinegar
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • sale & pepper
  • watermelon
  • fish

Eating healthy day 7: Ready to eat good food

Whether you buy pre-cooked packaged food or cook and pack your own, having them sitting ready to be consumed in your fridge is going to save you every time. We tend to reach for our chips and cookies because we can eat them immediately, no heating or cutting required. If you like eating good food and it’s more readily available than your chips (ASSUMING you don’t buy those chips in the first place), it’s no brainer that you’re going to eat good food. That is cravings aside, which is something to discuss another time.

Grocery List:

  • seaweed salad
  • kimchi
  • home-pickled cucumber
  • olives
  • home-pickled garlic
  • cabbage stir-fry
  • pre-packaged hummus
  • baby carrots mini-pack
  • apricot

Eating healthy day 6: Frozen vegetables (& dumplings) are awesome

A really fast way to throw a vegetable dish together is to incorporate frozen vegetables. In my case, I always keep a variety pack in the freezer, which in this case I tossed with my green cabbage. I also really like purple cabbage, it’s just so easy to wash and cut, almost no work at all. Onion is also great. So toss your frozen veggie mix together and you got a quick dish that tastes good and is good for you. Of course if you have the time and talents to make dumplings, just make a bunch and freeze them.

Remember, it’s also ok to leave food on your plate. You don’t have to force yourself to eat everything just because it’s in front of you. You can always pack it up for later. I’m a huge proponent of NOT WASTING FOOD.

Grocery list:

  • watermelon
  • cabbage
  • frozen vegetable (variety pack – string beans, carrots, broccoli)
  • onion
  • homemade dumplings
  • seaweed salad
  • kimchi
  • olive
  • pickled garlic
  • picked cucumber

 

Eating healthy day 5: Let’s talk meal replacement shakes

I ordered 2 cans of protein power a week ago and they finally got delivered; despite my putting the wrong apartment number on the shipping address. Phew! I started bringing them to work to as my lunch. It averages out to less than $2 a meal! The brand is IdealShape. I highly recommend the Super line because of the added superfoods in there, check out the nutrition labels to see for yourself. So far I’ve only tried the vanilla. It is super delicious and tastes just like a milk shake, with just water mixed in.

Grocery List:

  • IdealShape meal replacement shake (Not part of this meal but highly recommend it for lunch. It gives you energy and yummy taste without the drowsiness.)
  • homemade dumplings (chives, eggs, shrimp)
  • apricot
  • watermelon
  • seaweed salad
  • kimchi
  • home-pickled cucumber
  • olives
  • home-pickled garlic
  • cabbage stir-fry

Eating healthy day 4: Be more open minded

Since it’s the summertime, I like to go for light, refreshing and cold dishes. I’m not about to cook a bunch of dishes and stand in a hot kitchen for an hour. In this scenario, simplicity is key. You really only need to add a bit of salt and lemon juice to bring out the natural taste of food. Take avocado for example, there’s just no other flavor quite like it.

I can’t stress the importance of keeping an open mind. Yes, once we become adults, we’ve become very set in our own preferences. Unfortunately, for those of us not open to trying new foods, we are limiting our options and limiting our sources for micronutrients. I’ll take natural food over supplements any day, food taste way better.

Grocery list:

  • pre-cut watermelon slices
  • golden kiwi
  • seaweed
  • cabbage
  • avocado half
  • pickled cucumber
  • kimchi

Eating healthy day 3: Fruit is my BFF

My favorite fruit, the watermelon, is 92% water and 6% sugar. My best memories of eating watermelon is after a few of hours of activities out in the summer sun and then coming back home sweating and feeling super thirsty. It doesn’t even have to be pre-sliced, it just have to be cold, taken straight out of the fridge. It’s the best fruit to eat in the summertime and the perfect replacement for water.

Eating fresh fruit before a meal can be a substitute for chugging water, both taking up space in your stomach and reducing the amount of food you eat per meal.

Grocery list:

  • pre-cut watermelon slices
  • baby carrots
  • seaweed
  • cabbage
  • avocado half
  • sticky rice ball (“粽子“ in Chinese pronounced “zoon zi”)
  • soba noodles

Eating healthy day 2: A treat from childhood

The highlight of this meal is that homemade sticky rice ball called “粽子“ in Chinese pronounced “zoon zi”. Similar to “年糕“ pronounced “nyann goow” , it’s made from sticky rice, jujube, peanuts, red bean, and just about any dried fruit you can think of, all wrapped in the leaf of a reed plant. Yes, it’s vegan and deliciously homemade!

Grocery list:

  • green olives
  • seaweed salad & dried seaweed
  • bamboo shoots in chili oil
  • cabbage (such an underrated superfood! read this article for more info)
  • kimchi
  • baby carrots
  • sticky rice ball (sweet)

 

Determined to eat healthier – vlog begins

I’m determined to eat healthier and hopefully lead by example in convincing others to do the same! Hence, I’m starting a food eating series called “Eating healthy” where I narrate what I’m eating while describing the taste, texture and nutrition info. I’ll also be incorporating other interesting health-related facts. Ideally, I’ll upload one video a day. Not only because I want to, but because it also makes eating alone feel not so lonely. I really get why people make or watch food eating videos…

My goal is to convince you that eating healthy can be very enjoyable and easy. At the center of eating healthy is variety, which I discussed in this recent post titled “I Looked Up What’s in My Salad“. So my focus is to introduce as many healthy dishes as I can and make a grocery list for you the next time you go to a supermarket.

In this first video, I did my shopping at a Chinese grocery store in Chinatown and picked up the following items:

  • soba noodle
  • seaweed salad
  • dried seaweed
  • bamboo shoots in chili oil
  • cabbage (such an underrated superfood! read this article for more info)
  • Chinese broccoli
  • cucumber
  • tomato
  • “罗汉斋“ pronounced “looh han jai” which literally translates to monk food
  • garlic

Stay tuned for more videos and grocery lists~