The best thing you can do for your health is quit smoking.
But let's hope that all of you never started that disgusting habit or have already quit. So since we're all better than sticking a death stick between our lips, what's the next best thing you can do for your health?
EXERCISE AND EAT WELL!
It makes you feel amazing on the inside and the outside, and it's that secret that taught me to love myself and that it's okay to think I look amazing (even if someone else doesn't think so)
I know, for a fact, that not all of you who read my blog actually workout regularly or actually put an effort into what you eat. And that's okay, everyone has their reasons and I sure hope you have reasons instead of making up excuses for why you don't do it.
But if you've been reading my blog this whole time, I figure that you have some part of you that wants to start. So if you need a little push, a little convincing, let's hope this does the trick.
Anyone could go over the textbook details like improved sleep, lowered risk of certain diseases, better mental health, better body imagine etc But if all these reasons were good enough, people would all be active, they would all eat well and they would all be perfectly healthy.
But that's clearly not the case.
So, what's the real reasons you should exercise and eat well?
Maybe some of you already expected me to say these things and if you did then you understand why i love this lifestyle so much. I'm happier, healthier, the benefits are so much better than the negatives. And really what are the negatives? Doms? Maybe just doms. And they're only temporary!
So if you're still not doing it, what do you say,let's take the first step to being a better you!
I think it's safe to say every vegan experienced some weird or awkward moment after mentioning to friends and family that they're now a vegan. It's something for us to feel proud of but telling people doesn't always make us feel so great.
Based on some stories I've heard, I'd say the reactions I've received are definitely better than many. Besides the usual "where do you get protein/calcium/enough nutrients" "Why are you doing this" "You can't have dairy either!" I believe everything else has gone well. I've gone over the 1000 question hurdle from my grandmother and tiny arguments with my mum about her views. Now it's pretty much smooth sailing for me unless I meet someone who has some extreme hatred for vegans.
So if you're deciding to be vegan or you are a new vegan but don't know what to expect from the people in your life, here's a little of what I experienced.
There's definitely other things you may go through but everyone's experience, everyone's family and their reactions will be different. Whatever it is you do go through after deciding to be vegan, it's important to remember why you made the switch and that not everyone will understand it.
Most of us love something sweet to eat. It's a magical feeling when you're a kid. After dinner you get a scoop of ice cream and you feel like your whole life is completely perfect cause ice-cream is EVERYTHING! Or am I just exaggerating?
I can't remember what that felt like but I remember thinking it was absolutely amazing. Sure, dinner was good. But ice-cream was 1000 levels above other foods. I didn't crave it every single day and i knew how suggary it was but if mum served ice cream after dinner every night, I never would have complained.
Now sugar is one thing that we know is bad for us, but artifical sweeteners are on a whole other level.
You guys would have heard me mention on Instagram and Snapchat about how I hate artificial sweeteners. I cannot find myself supporting anyone who thinks using them as a "healthy alternative" to sugar is a good idea. The number of times I've been asked why and then had to explain isn't a problem, but perhaps this just makes it easier to understand my perspective on the matter.
Just like that magical feeling kids get, I'm sure as adults we still feel a little bit of magic when we eat dessert. I still love my occasional vegan desserts - coconut ice cream will always be a favourite!
But vegan or not, added sugar in these treats don't really do our bodies any good. As kids we know too much will give us cavities and "make us fat" and when you get older you realise there's much scarier things like the fact that sugar is basically useless since it has no essential nutrients, it could screw with your liver, bring you closer to diabetes and in extreme cases, it's even linked to cancer.
Am I saying refined sugar is pure evil? Well sugar is that friend you love but your parents say you shouldn't be hanging out with because they're a "bad influence".
Sugar is in nearly any box/pack/canned food item you are going to buy. Basically if it's some kind of processed food, it would be safe to assume there's added sugar somewhere in there.
It's not hard to find products labelled "low fat" "healthy" or even "sugar free" but whether or not they're completely healthy, you need to find out for yourself.
I'd prefer to live in a world where our sweet foods are naturally flavoured and do minimal harm to our bodies. But we've become to heavily reliant on sugar haven't we? We know refined sugar is not good for us yet we keep eating it and it's in so many products it's nearly impossible to avoid unless you make everything on your own.
At least more people seem to start caring everyday and start looking for alternatives
So what's the alternative to refined sugar? Artificial sweeteners!
Where is the logic with replacing a bad thing with something else that's equally, if not much worse than the original option?
I may not love sugar and i do avoid many processed food items because of it but I'd happily have my vegan ice cream with sugar than with an artificial sweetener as a substitute.
After all, everyone from your fave celeb to fitness "professionals" and even my own granddad uses artificial sweeteners instead of sugar these days. It's just better, you get the sweetness of sugar without adding all the calories. (and it's great for diabetics, right?) So why not use it?!
But everyone forgets to mention the other bits.
How artificial sweeteners are basically "calorie free" because they are so potent in sweetness that they require a small amount in calories to give you what you need in sweetness. That's why your diet sodas are still sweet with virtually no calories in them.
But it's no calories, isn't that a good thing?
Haven't we learned that nothing in this world comes that easy? So what's the catch?
Frankly there are a lot more negatives than positives when it comes to artificial sweeteners. And the one point everyone loves, that it's calorie free, doesn't automatically make it a better choice.
Just like sugar, I don't have to list all the negatives from small ones like weight gain to major ones like an increased risk in developing Type 2 Diabetes (though more research still needs to be done). I'm sure it's easy enough to do a google search yourself to find out everything it does to your body.
But the one thing about artificial sweeteners that really fucked me up is this:
They screw with your brain.
What I'm talking about isn't exactly the worst thing that could happen to someone but it's still pretty bad and something I know I never want to experience.
In short, because of how potent they are, long term use of artificial sweeteners may just affect your brain's pleasure response to sweetness.
These artificial sweeteners, depending on the brand used, can go from 180 to 600 times sweeter than sugar. And there are other artificial sweeteners like Neotame and Advantame which go up to 20,000 times sweeter than sugar. They're so potent which is why we get 0 calories for the amount of sweetness we need. After long term use, your brain might just get used to the sweetness of these artificial sweetners and not be so sensitive to the sweetness that comes from refined or natural sugar.
And what does this mean?
This means if you keep using artificial sweetners regularly in place of sugar, you might find that one day you won't be able to taste the sweetness in fruits or vegetables.
You can imagine eating apples, watermelon, carrots, pears etc. I absolutely love them all, now imagine biting into one and tasting just a tiny fraction of the sweetness you get now, if any at all.
whether or not this will happen to every single person, I don't know. But thankfully my paranoid self bothered reading some of the research behind artifical sweeteners after hearing so much about it. At least now I know.
I'd much rather eat that 100 calories in refined sugar, or make myself some nana ice cream that's sweetned only with the sugar from bananas or mangoes, than put any artificial sweeteners in my body.
But even then, if avoid adding sugar or artificial sweeteners into your food, there are many things, food and otherwise, that already have it added. So you can deal it the best way you know how (like many of us do) or find an alternative for yourself. Frankly I feel there's no need to stress over sugar and sweetness in every little thing you own, as long as you know what you're doing and feeding yourself 80% of the time there's not need to worry about some sweetness in your toothpaste or sugar in that cookie your grandma made.
It's not possible to be perfect, so make the best possible decision based on the information you have.
I absolutely love backbends. Remember sometime last year when I hosted a challenge all about backhanding? Oh yeah, I love backbends. So what works so well for a backbend lover like me? Haramichi Back Warmers...DUH!
It's a beautiful, metallic piece that wraps around your torso, helping your back warm up for all these intense backbends and folds that you know you wanna do and sometimes wish you didn't have to warm up for. And how does it work?
basically it works because it's like a sweater just for your back.
But even with a Haramichi Backwarmer i'm not gonna tell you to skip the warm ups. I'm telling you you'll find your body getting warm and loose faster than normal.
One bonus i always had was that living in the unbearably hot Singapore, if i wanted to get warm faster and start some backbending, i'd do it all outside in the sun. It's like being in a hot yoga class, only you're outside with nature! And we all know how amazing it is to feel the sun on your skin. But not everyone has this option. So instead, you can fall in love with these back warmers!
I have 2 haramichi bacwarmers, a gold one in XS and a silver one in S.
I love them both equally but i have learned from this that size does matter.
The gold one, being a smaller size, hugs my waist better and really packs in the heat. It barely takes 5 minutes before i feel my back and waist getting all heated and i feel so much looser and relaxed.
One thing i especially like is that even though you're getting all heated up in that area, the rest of you doesn't get too hot. No breaking a sweat all over your body so you can be in a cooler environment and still get all nice and warm for your back to bend.
I still love the silver piece, it doesn't hold as tightly but it's easier to put on, and i like that. I can deal with an extra 5 minutes of warm up time if it means less struggling yo get my backwarmer on.
Size wise, i'm 33 inches at the hip, 35 inches at the bum and 27 iches at the waist. Technically an XS does fit me best, but you gotta take into account your other two measurements as well.
You put on the backwarmer by stepping into it like a skirt then pulling it over your body. Easy right? Maybe not if you have a bigger booty or wide hips - so you may want to go a size up, which is what i did when I realised it was a struggle to put on the gold piece, and now the silver works perfectly!
I can easily and honestly say I'm adding the back warmers to my regular practice. It's always fun to use props and equipment to improve your practice and this is exactly how Haramichi works. It helps improve your practice and it will definitely make these backbends a little easier - especially if you find yourself with a really stiff back.
So get yourself one right here - HARAMICHI BACK WARMER
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