Thursday, June 25, 2009

Take Charge of Your Health Today

"When it comes to eating right and exercising, there is no "I'll start tomorrow." Tomorrow is disease. ~V.L. Allineare

Over the last couple of years, I've seen my dad survive a heart attack and colon cancer. It's scary. Nowadays it is not uncommon for any one of us to know personally of one or more person with cancer. Maybe it's the world we live in today - Pollution in the air, hormones in our food, contaminants in our water, etc. Seeing my dad endure all the pain and suffering from surgery and treatment is a strong reminder to take care of my health now for my future.

I love food and am not likely to be vegetarian anytime soon. I am a strong believer in eating delicious food (translate to not so healthy stuff) in moderation and adding more vegetable and fruits to my diet. I also believe that when we eat home-cooked food, we have more control over what goes into our bodies. Hence, apart from cooking dinner most days (less salt and oil), I now bake my own bread (which is a breeze with my Kenwood breadmaker), make my own cakes (reduced sugar)and boil barley and herb drinks, or as the Chinese call "Liong cha" (which helps cool the body in today's hazy and hot weather). Don't get me wrong, I still enjoy going out for meals from time to time.

Exercise is the other important component for good health. Due to his bad knee, my dad used to give the excuse that he can't exercise. Now, based on the advice from his orthopedic surgeon, he is working out on a recumbent exercise bike which has a back support to prepare for his knee replacement surgery. The point is we shouldn't give excuses for not working out. There are many exercise options to compensate for injury if only we bother to find out. I've just taken up Pilates this year and find that the stretches and exercises strengthen my muscles and back. Strange as it may sound, I actually look forward to my abs and other muscles aching after a workout because I know I'm working towards a stronger body.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

My New York Journey

It's taken me almost a year to finally complete my posts on my New York journey last summer. I'm glad I finally did to provide myself a written memory of the trip. Towards the end, I had to rack my brains to recall the highlights and places. So, I can imagine a few years down the track, it would be even worse!

We started in New York city, made our way north west towards Finger Lakes, with a shopping stop at Woodbury before that. We then headed west as we visited the southern tips of the major lakes heading towards Castile. We ended up at the beautiful Niagara Falls and journeyed back eastwards, this time on the northern tip of the Finger Lakes towards the Southern Adirondacks. Mapquest made planning our journey easier as it provided us with driving directions. It's not 100% accurate but it does a good job!

Highlights of our trip:
1) Seeing the famous icons of New York - Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building, Central Park, Rockefeller Centre, Brooklyn Bridge, Times Square and the Wall Street Bull

2) Visiting the United Nations and sitting in the the General Assembly Hall and the Security Council Chamber.

3) Walking down Broadway and watching the live performances

4) Shopping, shopping and more shopping!

5) Staying at bed and breakfasts and making friends with our hosts. We particularly enjoyed getting to know Napoleon from Fox Ridge Farm.

6) Spotting unusual surprises on our journey

7) Enjoying the great outdoors

8) Savouring the beautiful sunsets

As the theme song from the movie New York, New York goes:
"Start spreadin' the news, I'm leaving today
I want to be a part of it: New York, New York.”

I Love New York!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Lake George - Southern Adirondacks

Lake George greeted our arrival with summer sunshine and dreamy cloud-dotted blue skies. The 32-mile long lake is a hub of activity filled with sightseeing cruise boats, kayakers, swimmers and picnickers all out for some fun in the sun. It's definitely a tourist hot spot with no shortage of accomodation, eating and activity options.It was fun strolling down the streets in town and checking out the colourful shops selling souveniers, t-shirts, ice creams, handicrafts, etc. We managed to find a little china porcelain dog to add to our beagle collection.

But it soon became too hot to be outdoors. To escape the afternoon heat, we headed out to the factory outlets on State Route 9, not too far out of town. At this stage, I've lost count of the number of factory outlets I've visited in the state of New York. Let's see, first there was Century 21, then Woodbury, Niagara, Waterloo and now Lake George! Talk about shopper's haven - we'll worry about the credit card bill later...

That night, we decided to skip the tourist restaurants and opted for a local favourite which is off the main tourist streets. The East Cove restaurant is a cosy log cabin which serves great food.

We definitely stood out at the almost full restaurant, as we were not only the only tourists, but also the only Asians. At this stage of our trip, we were pretty used to it. Outside of New York City and Woodbury, we had only seen 1 other Asian family during our road trip around New York State. The contrast hits you on the face, especially since New York City is a giant melting pot of diverse cultures and skin colours. Anyway, because we "stood out", we drew the attention of a couple sitted near us, the Reicherts. They were curious as to how we knew about the East Cove since it was out of the tourist belt. Again, we had to thank Frommers - our New York guide book pages were dog-eared at this stage of our journey. The Reicherts are a lovely couple and we enjoyed our short conversation with them until our dinner arrived. What a dinner it was - Maine lobsters and grilled pork chop. Yummm....

Later, we popped by the supermarket to buy a tub of Ben and Jerry's for dessert. This was our second ice-cream for the entire trip as we were both down with a cough earlier. Sadly, it would be the last ice cream in New York as our road trip had come to an end. The next day, we headed back to New York City for 1 last night before we caught a flight back home. In direct contrast to the day before, and in matching with our mood, the weather was gloomy as the drizzle bade us farewell.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Words of Wisdom

Lack of activity destroys the good condition of every human being, while movement and methodical physical exercise save it and preserve it. ~Plato

This philosopher hit the nail on the head. We all need exercise for healthy living. The trouble with us human beings is that we are too lazy to get up and get out for a workout. Ever since we got Kess, our beagle, we walk twice a day, no excuses. It's a commitment we've made to Kess and ourselves. So, we get at least 30 mins - 1 hour walk a day. So, if you need a reason to go for a walk, get a dog!

If your dog is fat, you're not getting enough exercise. ~Author Unknown