Healthy Food Alternatives That Could Change Your Life

July 23rd, 2017 by author | Permalink

As the saying goes, the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. One simple but smart food swap can lead the way to a much healthier and happier life. However, lots of people are still skeptical when it comes to healthy alternatives, thinking that it means sacrificing the flavor of their favorite foods in exchange for additional nutrients and such. That’s not always the case: with the right substitutions, this can be easily proven wrong.

1. Vanilla extract instead of Sugar

Limiting your usual sugar intake to a half and replacing the other with a teaspoon of vanilla gives just as much sweet flavor. Although this substitute still requires an amount of sugar, it would be significantly less compared to the usual. This healthy alternative could be handy the next time you do some baking.

2. Whole fruit instead of fruit juice pouches

Orange juice drinks contain little amount of the pulp or skin from the actual orange and almost has no fiber content left. Instead of drinking fruit juice pouches, eat whole fruits in order to enjoy the full nutritional benefits it offers. Fruits are sweet and healthy to snack on, plus you can also save some calories compared to eating the usual snack food.

3. Natural peanut butter instead of reduced-fat peanut butter

As appealing as “reduced-fat” peanut butter jars are labeled as, they actually contain more sugar and additional additives than the classic ones. Natural peanut butter, especially of the unsalted variant, provides the comforting flavor most of us are familiar of without the extra artificial ingredients. Try buying one from your local farmer’s market and see for yourself.

4. Lettuce leaves instead of tortilla wraps

Substituting carbs for fresh lettuce is a fun alternative that can easily lighten up any wrap or taco dish. Using lettuce leaves gives more nutritional value to the meal in general. The whole munching experience takes on a different level too, as it provides a juicy little crunch your typical tortilla wrap does not offer.

5. Salsa instead of cream-based dips

For your next party, replace your traditional cream-based spreads with salsa — which is a much fierier and more flavorful alternative to cheese dips. Let your chips relish in the rich tomato-based sauce and get additional nutrients only for fewer calories. Total yum and win!

6. Black coffee instead of latte

If caffeine boost is what you need, have a simple black coffee. Not only will it satisfy your caffeine fix but it also cuts down on your sugar intake. Latte and frappuccinos contain a significant amount of creamers and sugar and for mere caffeine, they aren’t worth the calories or the cash.

5 Tips in Extending the Shelf Life of Your Cosmetic Products

July 21st, 2017 by author | Permalink

Cosmetic products have determined shelf life before they expire. As much as we love our trusty concealers and liquid eyeliners, there will come a point for us to throw them away. Common make-up can last for as short as 3 months to 2 years but with some of these tips you may lessen the contamination in your trusty cosmetic products as well as extend its usage.

1. Observe proper hygiene

From touching doorknobs to typing on our work keyboard, we touch so many objects on a daily basis. Slathering our hands with hand sanitizers may keep us clean but there are some instances when we do not have ample time to do it or even forget to do so. With that said, scooping ample amount of your make-up with a disposable applicator is ideal than having your fingers directly touch the product. Doing so may not only prevent possible contamination but also extend the shelf life of the item.

2. Don’t share your make-up

No matter how much a friend pushes you to let her try your newest make-up, learn to say no. It is not advisable to share one’s own cosmetic products with others. Not only do you put your friend in subject of contamination from your own products but you also put yourself in risk of getting contaminated yourself.

3. Keep containers sealed

Cosmetic containers must always be tightly closed when they are not in use. Doing so would prevent any chance at contamination from airborne bacteria, as well as prevent any possible mixture with foreign elements like dirt, dust, and the like.

4. Learn when to throw products away

If the color of the product changes and starts to have a distinct foul odor that should not be, discard it immediately. Chances are it is already bacteria infested and is dangerous to apply on one’s skin.

Most make-up contain preservatives which can break down over a period of time and without it, products may lose their original consistency or texture. Saving your products by mixing them with water or with your own saliva could only introduce bacteria that may grow out of hand.

5. Clean your brushes often

If you frequently use your brushes, chances are oil and bacteria may be accumulated in the bristles over time. In order to get rid of this and prevent any possible infection, it is advised to wash brushes at least once a month if they are natural-bristled. If you use synthetic brushes, you may need to give them a wash three to four times a month. Brush cleaner solutions are available in some stores but you can use mild soap for your convenience. Baby shampoo is also another alternative in getting your brushes clean.

Being vigilant in taking care of your cosmetic products may just increase the life span of that perfect lipstick you got last Christmas, and at the same time keep yourself protected from any potential harm or contamination.

Why You Shouldn’t Discount Your Dating Standards

May 20th, 2017 by author | Permalink

A standard is a level of quality, a measurement of something, a model or norm backed up with principles. It’s important in every aspect of our lives because its high expectations tell us the amount of work we need to put in to achieve something good, it is where the value comes in. Same is true in the dating arena. One’s personal standard in finding a mate is a reflection of their self-worth, perception and let’s say, protective measures. When someone is consciously aware of his/her standards, no one can hurt them and make their life miserable.

Some people get advices to reshape their expectations, it may be helpful in cases where one’s hope is beyond reality and perfection. But altering your standards just because you’re getting many bad apples doesn’t make sense, here’s why:

It makes you unattractive

Ever thought of the people you admire? What were the qualities you admire most about them? Isn’t it their level of dedication and passion to their craft that made them famous? That they chose not to settle for anything less—because if they did, they would be just like everybody else…they would’ve not stood out from the pack. That thing right there is why you respect them.

In the same context, when the person you’re dating is under the impression that you chose to drop your standards just for them, it makes you less attractive. No, it’s not a touching act of love. It basically tells them that you don’t respect yourself and you’re shaky to uphold them. For example, if a guy is stringing you along—texting you only when he is bored and sends you a reply after 3 days and you still put up with it like nothing’s wrong, then you’re sending the message that you can be treated that way.

It won’t make you happy

There is no genuine happiness knowing you get less of what you truly deserve. It’s horrible to keep giving out big investments to someone and you are only getting a very low effort in return. At first, it may seem bearable but in the long run, it’s a recipe for huge misery and heartache.

There is no challenge

As they say, “if it’s worth it, it would not be easy.” That alone speaks truth to everything—especially in the topic of love and romance. If the other person feels it’s too easy to be with you because you’re readily available all the time and you compromise your standards, then it makes you less of a challenge. This is not like a trophy that needs to be won in a game, but merely a representation for you to see the people who have the “willing-to-take-on-whatever it takes challenge” attitude to be with you, because you deserve it.

You miss out the right person

Wasting time and effort to someone who doesn’t put in the same work makes you lose the opportunity to find the ones who can. Life is too short to waste on things that can cause so much hurt and resentment when in fact, you have a choice.

Uncommon Spices Used in Cooking

May 17th, 2017 by author | Permalink

We live in a world where almost any type of food ingredient can be found at the nearest shop. In Singapore, it’s not a surprise that rare ingredients find their way into the local markets. Here are a few spices you need to try to level up your dishes.

Saffron

These tiny red threads are used as coloring too besides seasoning for food. They are considered one of the most expensive ingredients even if they have been used for thousands of years.

Ambergris

This is considered rare and expensive because acquiring it is no joke. Ambergris is sperm whale vomit. It is prized also for its healing properties and fragrance as well.

Grains of Paradise

Want something similar to black pepper? Grains of Paradise are dried seeds from Africa. They are expensive because the demand for them isn’t as great as for black pepper.

Sumac

Sumac are dried and ground fruits of the Rhus plant. It’s common in Middle Eastern dishes as a garnish and is made into a beverage in North America.

Fennel Pollen

Fennel seed is used for its sweet taste. It comes from a flower that is difficult to create that is why it’s almost as expensive as saffron.

Amchur Powder

Sometimes spelled amchoor or aamchur, amchur powder is made from dried and powdered unripe green mangoes. When used as a seasoning, it gives a tangy citrus flavor.

Wattleseed

Wattleseed has been used by Australian Aborigines for thousands of years. These seeds are dried, roasted and then crushed. Its flavor will remind you of chocolate, coffee and hazelnuts.

Ajwain

Sometimes called ajowan, carom and bishop’s weed, ajwain are the leaves and fruit of an herb. These are fried or dried-roasted in butter called ghee before they are used in food preparation.

Truffle Salt

Truffles salt comes the Mediterranean sea. So how is it different from other sea salt? It contains ground black truffles.

Anardana

Anardana comes from the pods of pomegranates. If you’re looking to buy some, make sure you’re prepared to shed bucks because they’re pricey. It is used as a seasoning because of its sour flavor.

Nigella Seeds

Nigella seeds are one of the oldest known spices in the world. Also called kalonji, its black seeds are used for their bitter and pungent aroma.

Asafetida

This is the powdered gum resin of the asafetida plant. It is used for its acrid and bitter flavors. You have to heat it in oil or butter to make the flavor milder.

Kala Jeera

This is called black cumin by some chefs. These are seeds from plants that belong to the parsley family. They are often confused with the kalonji and cumin spices. Black cumin should be dark brown in color and crescent-shaped.

Urfa Biber

Called isot pepper, urfa biber are dried Turkish chili pepper. They are usually maroon or red in color and they turn to purple or black when dried.

Inconspicuous Things That Could Cause Your Breakup Later On

April 9th, 2017 by author | Permalink

 

Some deal breakers in a relationship are obvious and immediate. Whether it’s because of body odour or because they chew loudly, they are the things that send you scrambling for excuses to cut your date short. However, there are also deal breakers that, at first, seem like issues that you can ignore – things that bother you deeply, but can also get easily dismissed. What you don’t know though, is any of these “little things” could trigger your breakup later on.

  1. His Career Goals

Most people value the importance of furthering their career, while there are some who only see their job as a means to an end. While there’s no right or wrong belief here, things could get messy for both you and your partner later on if his work ethic is starting to bother you now. If your beau is too passionate in his work, then expect to have a lot of dinners by yourself as you move in together. Likewise, don’t expect him to become the boss of their company if he’s content at keeping his head down at work.

  1. His Past Relationships

Dating someone and deciding that their past relationships doesn’t matter is quite easy. After all, what it’s important is how you’re together now. This is true to some extent, but if your significant other has a history of jumping from one relationship to another, then it’s possible that there’s some deeply rooted pattern there. Everything might be going well for you now, but if there’s a patter that shows that he’s a serial cheater, then there’s a good chance that you’ll wind up the same way as his exes.

  1. His Religious Views

You can simply tiptoe on this issue for a while, but at a certain point, you’ll have to discuss it again if you really intend to marry your partner. If you both feel strongly about your respective religious beliefs, then this issue could really turn the screw and cause a lot of stress for both of you. To avoid this, ensure that you discuss this matter early on, but do keep in mind that you might not be able to change your partner’s mind.

  1. His Attitude About Having Kids

This issue can be quite easy to ignore, but rest assured, it could also spell disaster in your relationship later on. The conversation about having kids often come up early in a relationship, and it’s quite easy to decide to revisit that idea years later. However, if didn’t agree on whether or not you’ll be having kids back then, then you never will. Sure, people change their minds, but don’t expect your partner to hit a certain age and just decide that you’ll have kids.

Although some relationship deal breakers seem to be inconspicuous, these things are really what we should look out for. So do discuss the aforementioned deal breakers with your partner beforehand to ensure that you’ll have a happy and healthy relationship.

Baby Budget: 5 Tips to Financially Prepare for a Baby

April 4th, 2017 by author | Permalink

 

Perhaps you already have a solid understanding of personal savings and planning. But what about financially preparing for a baby? Maybe you know that adding another person in your relationship is expensive, but beyond purchasing toys and diapers, do know what else you should be financially preparing for? To give you some idea, we asked a group of financially savvy moms for some tips on how new couples can financially prepare for the new member in their family.

  1. Decide on the Kind of Lifestyle You Want

One of the first things you and your partner should do is to get clear with the kind of lifestyle you want to have. It’s quite easy to get consumed with the additional costs of having a baby, but it’s still important that you focus on the kind of life you want to have as you welcome a new addition to your family. Will you still take annual vacations? How about your regular date nights? Knowing what kind of lifestyle you both want will help in planning your financial life once your little angel arrives.

  1. Gain Control Over Your Debt

If you made a lot of debts before having a baby, then there’s a good chance you’ll add to it once you finally have one. The best way to avoid it is to be debt-free before you even think of having a child. Gaining control over your debts will give a financial margin in your family life, thus leading to happier and a more financially stable home.

  1. Plan Out Your Kid’s Education

Discuss with your spouse about where you’d want to send your kids to school, and if possible, include college. While it may seem premature to already talk about college before the baby is even born, planning about these things early on is never a bad idea. Initiating these discussions beforehand is the key to financially prepare for your child’s education.

  1. Avoid Deferring Career Decisions

Although planning a family may feel overwhelming and all consuming, don’t put off your career decisions just because you’re worried of the financial impact it may have. Instead, chase after that promotion that you want or venture to a new career path. It’d also be a good idea to set some money aside for when you’re already prepared to try a side hustle or take a job in a different field.

  1. Have a Plan B Ready

Regardless of how much you plan everything out, understand that some things will rarely work out the way you want them to be. So instead of only focusing on your pre-baby plans, consider making some post-baby plans as well. You may think that you already know you want to do, but things can change quickly when the baby arrives. For that reason, ensure that you have a plan B to fall back on so that transitioning into some of your plan changes will be less stressful.

Being financially prepared for a baby isn’t as difficult as you think it to be. Simply put the aforementioned tips to work, plan out the things that you can, and you’ll be welcoming the new member of your family with much less stress.

Strategies for Improving Any Organization

March 13th, 2017 by author | Permalink

 

In Japan, there is a mindset and practice being taught in every organization. It is called kaizen or continuous improvement. It was conceptualized by Masaaki Imai. This practice encourages and promotes reflection, standardization, teamwork and the mastery of the processes for better results. It asks a fundamental question “how can I do this better?” The concept is already known here in Singapore and the world.

Organizations have to realize that changes are not immediate. It is more like doing it for the long haul and achieving better results at a period in time. There are many methodologies or strategies companies can undertake. Some of the strategies include:

Six Sigma

Six Sigma is famous as big companies and corporations use this to enhance the quality of output of business processes and systems. For small businesses, they can profit immensely by knowing the principles of Six Sigma.

But before anything else, you have to know the three major concepts of Six Sigma. One is quality product (that conforms to set standards), quality standards (determined implicitly or explicitly by the customers) and variation (refers to the nonconformity of the expectations or specifications).

Six Sigma refers to quality standards with two outcomes – either met or not met. There should be no in-between.

Lean Thinking

You have to know that there are two pillars of Lean Thinking – respect people and develop relentless focus on improvement. How do you respect people? It is through providing culture of growth and more learning, safety and high morale. This is done to test the status quo. Another pillar is to develop relentless focus on improvement that seeks to bring quality products or services in the shortest time.

Toyota is famous for imbibing this strategy. It can also be considered by small entrepreneurs.

Theory of Constraints

The Theory of Constraints banks on the fact that restraints or restrictions are everywhere. The Theory applies to both product and service companies. It is said that in every business, there is at least one constraint and that is what keeps the company from achieving maximum potential.

It is important that you identify the weakest point or link. It is called a bottleneck. The company can overcome a bottleneck by elevating the performance not just improve other steps following it. The good thing about this is that bottlenecks are easy to spot usually by asking the employees what factors are slowing them down.

There you go. These strategies sound complicated that is why it is for bigger corporations but just know that you can also apply it even if you have a smaller business.

Jobs with the Most Attractive Salaries

March 9th, 2017 by author | Permalink

 

Here in Singapore, it is not enough to earn a meagre income. This is after all the most expensive city in the world. You need an income as big as you could possibly dream to cope up with all the expenses. At the end of the day, your income will depend on your career choice. You are lucky if you find a job with a reasonable pay and even fortunate if it pays more.

However there are times that you are offered scanty salary. With this, it is important that you know what these jobs are. The good news is that there are certain positions that might actually surprise you with how little or how much salary they offer. Thanks to an online information company called Glassdoor.com. The company released an online article that revealed median annual income of jobs that pay outrageous.

  1. Paramedic: The median base salary of a paramedic is $36,000. Though they do not make more than doctors (more or less $176,000) and nurses (more or less $63,000), the pay is still good because you do not need a medical degree to land this job. You just need training.

 

  1. Anaesthesiologist: Talk about medical school and years of residency, you would want to be an anaesthesiologist. The median base salary of these doctors is $294,891. This is quite big but it is expected because the position requires completion of medical school and at least four years of residency.

 

  1. Intern Software Engineer: If you are trying to figure out what is a good course, you have to consider software engineer. You have to know that even as interns, software engineers have median base salary of $5,715. The demand for software engineer is high and if you are a performer, the company might just retain you.

  1. Chief Executive Officer: CEO is a figure of power in the company but you will be surprised how little they make – unless they own the company itself. The median base salary of CEOs is $177,800.

 

  1. Food scientist: The median base salary of food scientist is $58,085. Though they make less money than other scientists, it is still bigger compared to other jobs. Their goal is simple – make sure that the foods are safe to consume.

 

  1. School principal: The median base salary of a school principal is $100,438. Principals make more than their teacher but this is not a surprise since running a school is not every easy.

Everyday Uses of Alkaline Water

March 1st, 2017 by author | Permalink

While the primary objective of alkalizing the water is for healthy drinking, alkalized or ionized water has many other uses.

Virtually, water ionizing machines have settings that allow you to produce different pH-levelled alkaline and acid waters. Alkaline often comes in pH level settings 8.0, 9.0, 10.0, and 11.0; while acid waters comes in pH levels 6.0, 5.0, 4.0, and 3.0. In addition to these settings, ionizing machines also include a setting for purified water at a neutral pH level of 7.0.

So here, let’s find out how each pH level can be used to maximize the benefits of alkaline water.

Highest Alkaline Level (pH 10 and above)

Wash Produce

Ideally, unfiltered tap water should never be used to wash fruits and vegetables as the chlorine content in it easily sips into the produce. To remove any oil-based coatings, which may contain pesticides, on fruits and vegetables, soak them in the highest pH level for 15 minutes.

Grease and Stain Removal

Use the strongest pH level of alkaline to remove grease and stains on clothes, carpets, floors, dishes, inside the oven, and in the shower. It can even remove stubborn coffee, oil, and wine stains on the whitest of cloth. Although bleach is also highly alkalized, ionized water is safe for all types of fabrics and doesn’t have that offensive odour, so you’re sure your clothes come out cleaner and smelling fresh when you use alkaline water.

Pain Reliever

For a natural remedy that provides relief, soak a clean towel in highly ionized water and apply it directly to the area of pain. The water helps neutralize inflammation and reduce oxidation, thus giving you temporary relief from backaches, muscle aches, headaches, sprains, and arthritic-related pains.

Average Alkaline Level (pH 8.5 to 9.5)

Everyday Drink

Ionized water is lighter and smoother than tap water due to its micro-clustered structure, allowing for better absorption in the body. When you drink ionized water, you are fully hydrating your body and replenishing fluid that we naturally lose every day. Many common conditions like headache, fatigue, and hunger are signs of dehydration, so drink more alkaline water to prevent experiencing any of these symptoms.

Detoxification

Ionized water helps detoxify the body as its reduced structure is able to penetrate deeper into the cellular membranes. Even those who live in the rural areas of Singapore also experience toxins on day-to-day basis and can essentially benefit from the detoxification properties of ionized water.

Cooking

Alkaline water enhances the flavour of the food, so you won’t need extra artificial seasonings when preparing a dish. Before you start cooking, prepare the meat by soaking it in ionized water to tenderize, enhance the flavour, and kill any bacteria. As you know, alkaline water is good for health in Singapore where water is relatively unclean. The water also makes the rice fluffier and soups tastier, and it boils much faster, cutting down cooking time by about 25 percent.

Beverage Preparation

When you use ionized water, you only need half the amount of coffee beans and tea leaves to prepare your beverages. Since the water can penetrate easily into the product, flavours are easily pulled out that you don’t even need to heat the water to brew your coffee or tea (unless you want your drink hot). You can also try mixing ionized water with mixed alcohols to offset their acidity.

Lower Alkaline Level (pH 7.5 to 8.5)

Beginners

Those who are new to drinking ionized water should start at this pH level for the first couple of weeks, and then slowly increase to 9.0 to 9.5. This is because of the fact that most beginners are highly acidic and expected to experience detoxification. You can make the cleansing process easier for the body if you start at a lower level, gradually working your way up.

Plants

Although growing plants benefit from ionized acid water, since they breathe in carbon dioxide and breath out oxygen, cut plants and flowers live longer with alkaline water. The life of these plants is significantly extended as ionized water sips deeply and easily into the stem, providing them better hydration.

Natural Water Level (pH 7.0)

Water in pH level 7.0 is considered neutral and is safe for consumption of infants when taking medications and consuming with meals. Singapore physicians recommend that children should only drink water in this pH level until they reach four years old as children are less acidic. Also, if you’re drinking more than four ounces of water with your meals, it’s recommended not to drink water that’s higher than 7.0. Water ran from an unionized water filter is enough to go with your meals in order not to interfere with your stomach acid that’s needed to digest the food.

Lowest or Acidic Level (pH 2.0 to 5.5)

Skin Care

Your skin is naturally acidic, which helps with clearer and youthful complexion. By washing your face with ionized acid water in pH levels 2.0 to 5.5, you’re blocking growth of pimple-causing bacteria and delaying formation of fine lines and wrinkles. Acidic water can also serve as a natural toner, make-up remover, and post-shave balm and can replace many skin care products at home.

Cleaner and Disinfectant

Ionized acid water is all-natural and hypoallergenic substitute to many commercial household cleaners. It has been proven that ionized acid water is effective in killing e-coli and staph bacteria. Acid water works on countertops, tiles, and glass surfaces, and is a potent sanitizer for your kitchen utensils.

Alkaline water is indeed beneficial to have at home, but it’s also good to know that your water ionizer doesn’t only make alkaline water. With the right utilization of your water ionizer, you can produce alkaline and acid ionized water that are highly valuable in maintaining good health and healthy environment.

8 Small Changes to Improve Your Hair and Nails

February 8th, 2017 by author | Permalink

There’s no denying that hair and nail salons does excellent job in beautifying our hair and nails. But it’s also worth knowing that it only takes a few simple changes in your everyday routine to get your hair and nails shiny and strong. Save the spa days for extra special pampering occasions, and incorporate these small daily changes instead to achieve the same effects on your hair and nails permanently.

shiny-hair-nails-400x400

1.       Drink More Milk

Listen to your own advice the next time you ask your kids to drink their glass of milk before going to bed. The calcium and vitamin D in a glass of fresh milk helps build healthy nails and hair.

2.       Pack In Your Protein

Your morning protein smoothie does more than just help repair stressed out muscles. It also helps a lot in thickening your tresses.

3.       Go Easy With Coffee

Caffeine may be great to perk you up at the middle of the afternoon, but it does the opposite for your hair and nails. Too much coffee can dehydrate your body, and you need enough hydration to look young and glowing.

4.       Take a Break From Polish

Your glitter polish and nail art skill sure makes your hands look pretty, but it also keeps your nails from absorbing moisture, which leads to brittle nails.

4e7b08decb0f0dcc1db6ff8c5f63c258

5.       Work Out More Often

Here’s another reason to get yourself moving to the gym: increased blood flow gives your skin that healthy, flushed glow and stimulates the scalp, keeping your hair follicles healthy.

6.       Cover Up

It’s known fact that UV can wreak havoc on the skin, but that’s not all. The same harmful rays can also damage your locks, making it easy to break. The next time you step out into the sun, grab a scarf or hat to protect your tresses from the heat of the sun.

7.       Take Multivitamin Supplements

What you eat has a lot to do with your hair and nails. Fill in nutritional gaps by taking multivitamin supplements to keep everything healthy and strong.

8.       Have a Bit of Fat

There’s nothing wrong with being conscious of what you eat, but making drastic cuts will take a toll on your hair and nails, as well as on your skin. Lack of essential fatty acids can cause dryness to your hair and nails, making them easily breakable.

So, before you buy a new tub of hair mask or go visit a nail spa, take a peek at your daily routine first. You can save a few pennies and expect more long-lasting—or even permanent—results by tweaking some of your day-to-day activities.

hi-fat-food-400x400