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Apr

4 Crucial Reasons Why You Should See a Therapist (and Not Just Your Friends and Family)

Mental health and wellness is one an important aspect of our lives, and having good mental health helps you cope and develop resilience in the face of life’s adversities.

Part of maintaining good mental health is being able to find out what’s in your mind and someone to help you understand why your thoughts are the way they are, and this is why it’s important to make sure that you have someone to talk to.

But while your friends and family may love you to bits, there’s a reason why they can’t replace therapy – and why you should seek it as much as possible:

  1. Your friends and family aren’t trained therapists…

…and this means that they’re not always the best source of advice. They may be there to provide emotional support, but therapists are specifically trained to understand why you think and respond to situations the way that you do.

This also means that therapists are also completely honest and objective without any risk or personal stake.

  • Therapy gives you healthy coping strategies

Mental fitness requires a personalized approach, and there are different coping strategies that suit different people, just as people settle into new things or process obstacles at their own pace.

A licensed therapist will be able to give you the right coping strategy and give you an insight into your psychological behavior. With regular counselling, you’ll be able to grow in ways that might have been impossible to you before.

  • Your problems won’t be minimized

People don’t always get along well with their families, and if you happen to have a difficult relationship with yours, it may not always be safe to share intimate struggles.

There’s also nothing worse than having to go through something painful or traumatic, only to be told by a family member or friend to “get over it” even though they mean well.

Therapists understand that people manage experiences and life events differently, and when it comes to mental issues both serious and sub-clinical, they make sure that you are heard and worthy of attention.

  • You don’t have to feel bad for being “needy”

You – or at least your insurance – will be paying, anyway, so you don’t have to feel bad about constantly “using” one person for support. In fact, because of the nature of the practice, your relationship with your therapist is not meant to be a two-way street.

Unlike most relationships that need reciprocation (i.e. friends may want that friendship back in return, parents need you to be their child), therapists don’t expect anything back from their clients except simply to show up for your sessions.

Apr

How to Stop Wasting Food at Home in 3 Easy Steps

If you love eating and enjoy the experience, food is certainly life. However, there’s a good chance your busy schedule and your lifestyle affects how you keep food in the fridge, which means you end up throwing more away than you should.

But the good news is there’s a fix for this. By taking the right steps, you can cut down on your food waste save both the planet and your wallet:

            1. Take a picture of your shelf

If you don’t have the time to make a list of everything in your fridge and your pantry, all you need to do is take a picture of both on your way out.

Not only does it take much less time, but it also helps you know more accurately how much of one item you already have as well as the items that you need more of – or the ones you might need to consume quickly for your next dinner plan before they go bad.

            2. Make a meal plan

Making a meal plan is arguably one of the best ways to reduce food waste. By planning your week and being realistic about your budget, you can not only save money, but you’ll also keep your food waste to a minimum.

For instance, if you like eating out, budget according to what you can afford and count in your expenses when you do, especially if you plan on doing so three out of the seven days of the week.

You should also plan out the meals you cook if you prefer to eat at home. It helps to make a list of the food items you need for your recipes, and sticking to it as much as possible can help you cut down on the expenses.

This is where a calendar will be really helpful for you, and the more details you add in your calendar, the better and more hassle-free your schedule will be.

            3. Embrace the leftovers

Leftovers are a part of life whether you cook your own food or not. But just because it’s old doesn’t mean it still can’t be eaten – all you need is a dedicated schedule for finishing leftovers and a little creativity and effort to make them into new dishes.

For instance, overripe fruits and leaves can make for a healthy smoothie in the morning and tomatoes that are close to going bad are a great excuse to make pasta sauce. Cooked meats can even be incorporated into salads, and vegetables can be made into Buddha bowls.

However, when it does go bad, you’ll know by simply looking at it, in which case you need to get rid of it.

Apr

5 Health Benefits of Eating Eggs

You may notice that in coffee shops, the usual Singapore-style breakfast includes a cup of kopi, some kaya toast, and a soft-boiled egg. But more than a delicious-looking addition to breakfast, eggs are among the most nutritious food in the world. Here, then are some of the health benefits we get from eating eggs.

1. The case of cholesterol

It is true that eggs are high in cholesterol. One whole egg contains 212 mg of cholesterol, more than half of the recommended daily intake that is 300 mg. Because of this, eggs have earned a bad reputation since the 1990’s. Later on, though, it has been found that the high cholesterol from eggs did not necessarily increase cholesterol in the blood. Plus, eating eggs is also a great way to increase good cholesterol.

2. Reduces the risk of heart disease

In relation to the point above, we should recognize that consuming food high in saturated fat and trans fatty acids can have more detrimental effects to the heart compared to the cholesterol in our diet. Additionally, eggs contain a good amount of selenium which functions as an anti-inflammatory to reduce the risk of cardiac arrest and heart disease. Also, bad cholesterol comes as small and dense particles. Consuming an egg actually changes those particles to larger LDL, which is basically related to lower risk of heart disease.

3. Contains quality protein

You may have heard of some bodybuilders consuming 2-6 raw eggs a day, and for good reason. Eggs are not only high in quality protein, but they also contain the right ratios of amino acids essential to the body.  Proteins are typically the building blocks of the human body. They are used in muscle growth and repair, and also produce tissues and molecules for other functional purposes in the body. In the case of bodybuilders though, it is still recommended to cook the eggs, not only for safety but also because the heat will allow the protein to be more easily digestible.

4. Choline

Is it the first time you’ve heard about this? Don’t worry a lot of people don’t know it too, but choline is actually an essential nutrient for brain development, muscle control, and nerve and memory function. Because of the lack of knowledge about it, most people don’t get enough of such an important nutrient. Fortunately, eggs are great sources of choline.

5. Protect the eyes

Many people don’t expect it, but eggs also have benefits to our eyes. The egg yolks contain lutein and zeaxanthin which are nutrients that slow the age-related degeneration of our eyesight. They are anti-oxidants that stay in the retina to protect the eyes against harmful wavelengths of light, like those in our smartphone, computer, and TV screens.

Apr

Ways to Deal with People You Don’t Like

Singaporeans are among the hardest working in the world. Even so, many individuals get built-up stress from work. Among the common workplace issues one may face, interpersonal conflict and communication problems are the ones that normally increase anxiety and stress. Whether at work or at home, here are some ways you can deal with people you don’t like.

Recognizing the fact that everyone is different

You may have already heard the line “nobody is perfect” a million times, but of course, it wouldn’t be said again and again if it wasn’t true. Recognizing that people have different beliefs and values will make it easier for you to understand them. When they start to display unpleasant behavior and disagreeable actions, you will at least know how to approach them calmly and smartly. With this, you will see that the person you don’t like isn’t necessarily bad, he/she just has different beliefs and values.

Treat them equally with others

If by chance you’ve earned an enemy, it would be very helpful in resolving the issue if you remain fair and unbiased towards them. If they feel an atmosphere of hostility from you, they will most likely reciprocate those feelings and the problem will only grow bigger. If they see that you treat them just as well as you would others, they might consider their actions better next time. Of course, this doesn’t mean you have to agree with them completely, you only have to be consistent with civility.

Focus on yourself

It’s easier to change your own attitude and behavior than to expect someone to do so. When you focus on controlling your feelings and stop comparing yourself to others, you can rise above all the conflicts and disagreements. However, this doesn’t mean that you should stop listening to the opinions of others. You’re only giving yourself time to reflect on your frustrations to be able to overcome them without venting on others.

Let things go

Recognize that there are things simply not worth your time and attention. If you think that an argument with a co-worker is only going in circles, just let it go as it’s only wasting your time. If a person keeps bugging you, ask yourself how engaging with this person will affect your work. Supposing you can take advantage and it can benefit you in some ways, by all means, do it. Otherwise, it would be better to just lay off of it.

Don’t take everything personally

You may not notice but sometimes what we hate about others is actually something that we don’t like in ourselves. Plus, what causes us to dislike others only starts from a certain misunderstanding. You might get criticized and told off, but think of these as ways to be better rather than taking them personally. Others’ opinions are typically feedback to your own actions, so use them for self-improvement.

Mar

How to Cook the Perfect Pasta for Any Occasion

It may look simple in cooking videos, but there’s a little more to cooking pasta than you think – once you get the pasta in the water, it’s all about making sure that you get the perfect bite. Not too soft, and not too crunchy, but just the right firmness inside every strand.

Here’s how you can cook the perfect pasta every time:

1. Use a large pot.

No, don’t break the pasta strands to solve your problem! What you need is a big pot with enough room for the pasta to move around, and this is when the stockpot in your kitchen really comes in handy.

You should also get a lot of water in the stockpot and actually let it boil first before adding the pasta in. Not doing so will result in undercooked strands of pasta.

2. Salt the water beforehand.

Starch tastes best when given a generous hint of salt, and you want at least a tablespoon of it in the water. Once the water is salted and brought to a boil, only then can you start adding the pasta.

3. Don’t stop stirring!

Don’t take your eyes off that pasta for even a minute – you need to keep stirring the pasta every now and then to keep the strands from clumping. Once the strands have softened after placing it in the boiling water, turn them gently to allow the rest to boil in the stockpot.

4. Test for two minutes.

The cooking time on the packaging isn’t gospel. After about two minutes, check if the pasta is done by fishing out a single strand using your utensil of choice. Let it cool, and then bite.

Ideally, your pasta strand should be springy and chewy, and yet still firm on the inside. This is called “al dente”. If you’re not confident, you’re better off having pasta that’s just past the point of being raw.

5. Save that pasta water!

Once you’ve cooked the pasta to your liking, save a single cup of that pasta water before draining it into a colander.

This starchy water works amazingly well when it comes to binding the sauce and the pasta together, and if you happen to have a thick pasta sauce, this will break it down to make it less likely to clump at the bottom.

Once the pasta is finished cooking, drain and add the sauce. Don’t rinse the pasta with cold water – this will only wash away the starches that lets the sauce bind to them!

If you’re worried about adding too much or too little pasta sauce, the trick is to keep it separate and add only a little at a time for every serving.

Add toppings, serve, and enjoy!

Mar

A Beginner’s Guide on How to Have the Perfect Cheat Meal

When it comes to weight loss or intensive exercise routines, there’s nothing quite like that first bite of your favorite greasy food after a long week of vegetables and lean meats.

This amount of leeway can work wonders for getting into shape. But while the cheat meal is great for keeping your goals in sight, you can easily throw yourself off track when you’re not careful.

Here’s how you can get the best cheat meal you can while still on your way to being healthy:

  1. Plan it well

What makes a cheat meal work is the fact that it’s planned between rigorous workouts and dieting regimens – not only does it trick your body into continuing to burn weight, but it also motivates you to keep going.

Ideally, they should be in line with other people’s schedules when they’re not busy for lunch or dinner, as cheat meals feel even more rewarding when you factor in the social aspect of food.

  • Don’t go on a cheat meal when you’re starving

Don’t starve yourself of your weekly caloric intake just to get to your cheat day – doing so only makes it so that you’ll throw your whole regimen off course, since it’s harder for you to control yourself when you haven’t eaten properly for a while.

What you do need to go along with your cheat day would be the following:

  • It limits your body’s insulin response. The higher the insulin response, the more sugar in your body is converted to fat.
  • Opening your muscles. Contracting muscles requires energy, which helps to burn the extra that you gained on your cheat meal.
  • Emptying your stomach quickly. Limiting your digestion time gets the junk out as quickly as possible while ensuring that the least amount of fat goes into your body.
  • Add caffeine and cinnamon with your cheat meals

Cinnamon is known to lower the body’s insulin response, which means less sugar in your body is converted into fat. It also takes longer to digest and makes you feel fuller for a longer period of time.

Caffeine in your cheat meals is also great since it works as a laxative, helping food pass through your digestive system more easily.

  • Get a few rounds of exercise in

While it’s great that you get these extra calories in your system, you also need to spend the extra time to burn them off. Doing 90 seconds of bodyweight exercises ninety minutes after your cheat meal is a great way to do this.

Some great exercises for this include air squats, wall presses, or even chest pulls, as these are the ones most likely to divert the calories into your muscles instead of being stored as fat.

Feb

5 Amazing Street Markets to Visit in Asia

Asia has a lot of experience to offer, from diverse culture and traditions to breathtaking architecture and authentic cuisine. Another must-checkout experience across this humongous continent is the plethora of vibrant local market scene. What each of these markets sell and for what purpose they serve varies widely. Some occupy an entire street while others can be found underground. Regardless what you’re shopping for, whether the perfect memento to bring home or experience delightful local cuisine, these five Asian markets will not disappoint you.

  1. Bugis Street, Singapore

Formerly Singapore’s central hub of vibrant nightlife, Bugis Street is now one of the world’s most renowned street markets where you can find trendy cafes, cheap shopping and amazingly good street food. Since it is sheltered, shoppers can absolutely spend the whole day shopping at its more than 800 stalls no matter the weather.

  • Chatuchak Weekend Market, Bangkok

For a fancy Persian feline, a vintage hand bag or a good books to read—for all this and a lot more, include Chatuchak Weekend Market in your itinerary when visiting Bangkok. Even with a map and your strong sense of direction, you will get lost in shopping bliss in one of the world’s largest flea markets. With over 15,000 stalls spread across the 27-acre field, you’re sure to find everything you need and experience shopping like you never did before.

  • Angkor Night Market, Cambodia

Cambodia’s Angkor Night Market is a one-stop shop for anyone looking for handcrafted home wares, massages and even live entertainment. Originally founded to preserve the traditional Khmer crafts, the night market has since become one of the most visited shopping centers in Cambodia by locals and tourists alike. 

  • Namdaemun Market, Seoul

Established more than 50 years ago, Namdaemum Market is the biggest market of its kind in Seoul. Open 24/7, this market boasts more than 10,000 vendors, retailers and wholesalers. While this gigantic market operates every day, it is actually up to the vendor what time in the day they open their stalls. But rest assured, you’ll find many that never closes. 

  • Divisoria, Philippines

Shopping in Divisoria is not for the faint of heart; it is absolutely one of the best shopping experience you can ever have. If you are looking for first-class brand knock-offs to greatly discounted original goods, make sure to check this place out. It may not be the safest looking shopping center on earth, but if you wish to witness every sound, sight and smell imaginable, you’re sure to find them all here. A few tips when going shopping in Divisoria: dress down, don’t take anything valuable and keep your wallet in the front pocket at all times. After all, you can’t expect to be 100 percent safe from pickpockets at any of these crowded places, can you?

Any Asian trip won’t be complete without spending a night in any of these markets. Add these night street markets to your must-visit places for an authentic experience of local cuisine, culture and fashion.