Adventures in Mindfulness and Mediation

Hi folks,

It’s been a while, sorry about that. In my last post I talked about having problems with finding things to write about, which kind of also paralyzed me for a while when it came to writing for this blog. Ironically, I did quite a lot of writing outside of it over the last few months (for work of course, but also on personal projects) so now that I’ve finally found a topic for an article, I hope I’m cured of my temporary block.

There are a lot of things written about mindfulness and meditation out there, so I can be honest upfront and tell you I’m not going to give you any earth-shattering revelations about those practices in this post. I’m not an expert on either subject, by any means. I’m only starting out and I decided to write this article to share with you what I’ve learnt so far.

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Japan 2014 – Day 4 (Kamakura)

Read days 1, 2 and 3 here.

Today we were given a choice of buffet breakfast or traditional Japanese breakfast, which the hotel serves on weekends and bank holidays. Feeling adventurous, we chose the traditional breakfast and were taken to the hotel’s other restaurant where we quickly realised that we were the only gaijin (foreigners) brave enough to try this meal. We were a little nervous as so far, we’d managed to stay clear of having fish for breakfast, but we figured we should make the most of trying as many things as possible while we were here. I’d seen the traditional breakfast advertised on the hotel website and it seemed quite expensive, so I wondered if we’d have to pay a surcharge, but it turned out to be free for guests actually staying at the hotel.

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Reaching a Milestone (and Moving On)

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Around about the end of this past week, I reached a personal milestone. I stepped on the scales and realised I’d well and truly lost 10 whole kilos (22lb or 1.8 stone, if that helps) since I took matters into my own hands last February. I’d been a bit optimistic back then and hoped to have lost 20kg by October, but I realise now that that’s a asking a little bit much of my body (and putting myself at risk of gaining the weight back really quickly again). Still, 10kg is no small feat… imagine strapping 10 cartons of milk to your body and trying to run around! 🙂

Yet weight is a funny thing. I’m going to be totally honest, even though it’s hard for me, because this is a lifestyle blog and I feel I owe it to you… no less because you owe it to yourself to be honest about your own weight, if the situation requires it. I truly believe that’s how change happens, with a healthy dose of honesty.

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Weekly Recipe: Salmon Filets with Pecan Nut Crust

After the hearty Mexican-style bake of last week, it’s time we introduced a little healthy eating to this blog. I’ve been following the wise advice of a nutritionist since mid February of this year, learning to adapt certain recipes to suit a healthier eating regimen (I dislike the word “diet” in this context, as it is a permanent change I am making – although as with the Mexican dish, I sometimes veer from it a bit too). This week’s dish is a light and easy meal to prepare either for yourself and your family or when you have guests. Although the crust may get a bit soggy if you keep some for the next day, it’s still a tasty lunch to take to the office if you don’t mind the change in texture.

For this recipe, I decided to replace the original four spoonfulls of mayonnaise with one spoonfull of mayonnaise (for the taste and texture) and three spoonfulls of low-fat yoghurt (or fromage frais if you can get some). It is a great recipe if you’re trying to follow a diet high in protein and low in carbohydrates.

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Weekly Recipe: Mexican-Style Chicken, Chorizo and Pepper Nacho Bake

Fact: Mexican food is a delicious thing (or a series of delicious things flung together, to be more accurate). Fajita (or enchilada, or burrito, or taco) kits are readily available in most supermarkets, with easy-to-follow instructions. It’s up to you to add whatever ingredients you like to make those stuffed tortilla wraps even more mouth-watering.

So why do people go to Mexican restaurants? Is it in the hopes of seeing something different on the menu? Or because it might taste better, despite our best efforts at home?

It’s time to gain a little confidence in your own cooking skills, ladies and gentlemen. With a few simple ingredients, it’s very easy to turn your favourite flavours into a dish so “you” that you’ll never feel the need to settle for a mediocre fast-food burrito ever again. The beauty of the country-inspired invention test is that you’re not bound by any rules. You can put exactly what you want into your concoction and no one can criticize you for it, or say it’s not authentic, because that particular dish didn’t exist before you made it and therefore you have full parental authority over it. All you have to do is label it “Mexican-Style”, as I have here, and you can get away with pretty much anything.

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