Eating on Banana Leaf

Eating on a banana leaf is a tradition in countries like India, Guyana, Jamaica, and Trinidad. This past weekend I had the pleasure to try it out myself and I was able to notice some differences in comparison to eating with metal utensils and on paper plates.

Eating on banana leaf is a custom that dates back thousands of years; however, its benefits still exist. Based on my own research I have found several differences and benefits when eating in this manner.

Benefits of Eating on Banana Leaf

HEALTH: Banana leaves contain polyphenols, which help fight against free radicals and diseases. Banana leaves are hard for the human body to digest when eaten directly; however, the food eaten in the leaf absorbs the polyphenols from the leaf. There are also reasons to believe that the leaf can kill germs in the food due to anti-bacterial properties.

FLAVOR: When eating off the leaf, I found my food to be more flavorful than usual. Using metal utensils can give a somewhat metalic taste to the foods. In addition, hot foods melt the waxy coating from the leaf, introducing more flavor and even tastier food.

The banana leaf also is eco-friendly, in that it decomposes far quicker than plastic.


Getting back into eating healthy and a workout after vacation…

This past weekend I went on vacation that ended up in a few binges and more than a few regrets. Although I was able to squeeze in a workout, avoiding sugary foods can be harder.

 The only thing that makes me feel better and motivated into getting back into a healthier routine is to remind myself that it is in the past and I can do better tomorrow. After getting home from my vacation and went straight for a run and picked up some healthy snacks. 

It is easy to get tempted over a relaxing vacation but we also have to try to remind ourselves that each indulge takes us one step back. While we can eat some treats, we should remind ourselves not to overeat. 

Salmon Wellington 

I discovered this wonderful way to make fish this past weekend….Salmon Wellington. Fish is a great source of protein and it contains less fat than other meats. This was my first time cooking with raw fish and it was not as bad as my chicken experience.

The recipe creates a spinach and dill creamy mixture that is laid on top of a salmon fillet and then baked in a puff pastry. As someone who doesn’t have much cooking experience, I was nervous going into this. However, I received many complements and “woohoos” from my family. And they are my biggest critics.

The dish is extremely filling…after 3 bites we were already feeling stuffed. Especially because the salmon dish was paired with my brother’s own Penne Pasta recipe. Enjoy the Salmon Wellington!

Salmon Wellington


Serves 2

2 tablespoons butter

2 cloves garlic, chopped

½ medium onion, chopped

5 ounces spinach

1 teaspoon salt (for spinach)

1 teaspoon pepper (for spinach)

⅓ cup breadcrumbs

4 ounces cream cheese

¼ cup Parmesan, shredded

2 tablespoons dill, chopped

1 sheet puff pastry, softened to room temperature

1 salmon filet

1 teaspoon salt (for salmon)

1 teaspoon pepper (for salmon)

1 egg, beaten


Preheat oven to 425°F.

In a pan over medium heat, melt butter.

Add the garlic and onions, cooking until translucent.

Add the spinach, salt, and pepper, cooking until spinach is wilted.

Add the breadcrumbs, cream cheese, parmesan, and dill, stirring until mixture is evenly combined. Remove from heat and set aside.

On a cutting board, smooth out the sheet of puff pastry. Place the salmon in the middle of the pastry and season both sides with salt and pepper.

Place several spoonfuls of the spinach mixture on top of the salmon, smoothing it out so that it does not spill over the sides.

Fold the edges of the puff pastry over the salmon and spinach, starting with the longer sides and then the shorter ends. Trim any excess pastry from the ends, then fold the ends on top. Flip the puff pastry-wrapped salmon over and transfer for a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Brush the beaten egg on the top and sides of the pastry.

Score the top of the pastry with a knife, cutting shallow diagonal lines to create a crosshatch pattern.

Brush the top again with the egg wash.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, until pastry is golden brown.

Slice, then serve

What Can Squats Do For You?

Exercise plays a vital role in mental, emotional and pysical health, disease reduction, and endurance. And adding squats to your fitness routine has many benefits! Here’s what you could be missing out on without squats.

***The following is based on my research and experience.***

Benefits of Squats

  • Builds Muscle Throughout Your Body

Not only do squats help build leg muscles – quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves – but they can trigger the release of testosterone hormone, promoting body-wide muscle building.

  • Makes Real-Life Activities Easier

Squats are known as a functional exercise to help the body perform real-life activitites, as opposed to operating gym equipment. When building muscle through squats, this action is helping your muscles to work more efficiently if the exercise is done properly. Squats also promote mobility and balance.

  • Burn More Fat

While cardio helps burn body fat, so does gaining more muscle! As muscle is put on, your body will burn more calories.

  • Prevent Injuries

Strong legs are important for mobility as age progresses and squats are great for increasing leg strength. In addition to improvement in mobility, squats improve balance which can prevent injuries such as falls. Most injuries involve weak stabilizer muscles, ligaments and connective tissues. Squats can help strengthen these areas while increasing flexibilty in your ankles and hips.


How To Do A Proper Squat

From experience, squats can hurt your knees but they can improve knee stability if done correctly.

  1. Warm up
  2. Stand with your feet just over shoulder width apart
  3. Keep your back in a neutral position and knees centered over your feet (do not arch your back!)
  4. Slowly bend your knees, hips and ankles, lowering until reaching a 90-degree angle
  5. Rise and return to the starting position. Repeat 15 times for 2-3 sets.
  6. Breathe in as you lower down and breathe out as you return to starting position



Teriyaki Grilled Chicken and Veggie Rice Bowl

Over the weekend, I dipped my fingers in raw chicken for the first time and I admit that I squealed. But all the squealing was worth it for the Teriyaki Grilled Chicken and Veggie Rice Bowl that I made.

This dish is the perfect combination of protein, carbs, and veggies. While the recipe called for 4 servings, I uped mine to 5 with 2lbs of chicken. I also used par-boiled rice to substitute white rice. In addition, due to lack of experience on a grill, I used a grill pan to grill the chicken on a stovetop.

My family is my biggest critic and they haven’t loved my past dishes that much but this one earned a hearty smile and a big thumbs up. So I recommed this dish to anyone because it was absolutely delicious and cozy to have dinner a bowl.

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Teriyaki Grilled Chicken and Veggie Rice Bowls

Yield: 4 servings


  • Teriyaki sauce
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 Tbsp packed light-brown sugar
  • 3 Tbsp honey
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (1 Tbsp)
  • 1 Tbsp minced ginger
  • 1 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp cornstarch
  • Chicken, veggies and rice
  • 3 1/2 Tbsp olive oil, divided, plus more for brushing grill
  • 1 1/2 lbs bonless skinless chicken breasts
  • Ground black pepper
  • 1 medium zucchini, diced into half moons and quartered (1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 1/2 cups matchstick carrots
  • 2 1/2 cups small diced broccoli florets
  • 1 1/2 – 2 cups white or brown rice, cooked according to directions on package (I prefer short grain brown rice)
  • Sesame seeds, optional


For the teriyaki sauce:

In a small saucepan whisk together low-sodium soy sauce, 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp of the water, the brown sugar, honey, garlic, ginger and rice vinegar. Bring mixture to a light boil over medium-high heat. Whisk together cornstarch with remaining 2 Tbsp water, then add to sauce mixture in saucepan. Reduce heat slightly and allow to boil 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, set aside.

For the chicken:

Brush both sides of chicken with 1 1/2 Tbsp of the olive oil and season pepper (you won’t need salt since the teriyaki sauce is plenty salty). Preheat a grill over medium-high heat (to about 425 – 450 degrees). Brush grill grates lightly with oil then grill chicken until center registers 160 – 165 degrees on an instant read thermometer, about 4 minutes per side. Remove and let rest 5 minutes then dice into cubes.

For the veggies:

Heat remaining 2 Tbsp olive oil in a saute pan over medium-high heat. Add zucchini, broccoli and carrots and saute 4 – 5 minutes until crisp tender.

To assemble bowls:

Layer rice into 4 bowls then top each with 1/4 of the chicken and 1/4 of the veggies. Drizzle desired amount of teriyaki sauce over tops (you’ll have extra left over – use it for chicken or salmon the next day), sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve warm.

Recipe source: Cooking Classy


A break in your workout routine causing you troubles?

Over the past week I was not allowed to move much due to doctor’s orders. Therefore, that meant no weights, no cardio, and no stretching. I basically sat on a couch for a week until now.

A week out of my workout routine can change a person’s motivation or frustruation. Now, I feel antsy to get back in the gym. While a break can be good sometimes, being told you’re not allowed to do anything can be frustrating. Sometimes I began to feel gross sitting all the time, but I was able to compensate by concentrating on what I was eating. In my opinion, for a healthy body, eating is 70% of the process, while exercise is 30%.

If motivation is lacking for anyone, this picture quote easily boosted my desire to workout.

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Spicy Pumpkin and Sweet Potato Soup

Check out this post and recipe by greenflatkitchen! It may not be winter time – quite the opposite in fact – but it looks like a nice and light dish.


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INGREDIENTS:                                                                                       SERVING: 1 LITRE

1 cup chopped pumpkin

1 cup chopped sweet potato/kumara

1/2 cup chopped capsicum

2 clove of garlic

1/2 chopped onion

1 pc of small chille *optional

1 tsp chopped ginger

1 tsp cumin

3 cups water


1. Heat a pot with oil then sautee onions,garlic,ginger,cumin seeds,capsicum for 3 minutes.

2. Add water into the pot and boil until pumpkin and sweet potato is soft and mushy.

3.Remove from heat and with a stick blender, puree all the vegetables into soup consistency. Add more liquid if needed.

Serve with garnished coriander,a dollop of yogurt or sour cream and sprinkle some smoked paprika.

Breakfast in a Treat

Most people skip breakfast but it is one meal that can give us the energy and boost of nutrition to start our day out right. For those who skip breakfast either because there’s no time or because they do not enjoy breakfast foods, here’s a twist on oatmeal and muffins.

Eating plain oatmeal can get boring sometimes…I can agree with that. But this breakfast treat is an easy on-the-go breakfast or snack that is filling.

In about 45 minutes these muffins can be prepared, baked, and devoured! I recommend prepping them the night before or making them on a lazy weekend morning.

So whip ’em up:

Blueberry Granola Oatmeal Muffins

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Enjoy!! 🙂

Wrist Pain in Yoga?

Do you enjoy the calmness of practicing yoga? But hate the wrist pains you feel during or after?

Over the past several months, I have incorporated yoga into my workout routines. While my mind is calm when practicing the breathing techiques, I’ve experienced wrist soreness and pain.

I always wondered how I can train myself to avoid applying pressure on my wrists and distribute the pressure throughout my palm and fingers but I didn’t know how to until this picture:

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I’ve tried practicing this on a couch and then eventually on the floor once these pressure techniques became memory. I am still practicing it because I find that I still have wrist pains when doing planks or core exercises since I forget where to apply the pressure.

Let me know if this works for you! I hope you can get rid of your wrist pains in yoga too.

Enjoy your day!

I don’t like the word “diets”

What do you think of when you hear the word “diets”? I think of lots of salad and the frustration of not seeing results. I think of people quitting after a month..if even.

I don’t like diets because it seems like a temporary solution to something that takes a lifetime of commitment to your health and body. When I eat, I don’t eat to feel happy and healthy. I feel happy to eat.

The food choices we make shouldn’t last a few weeks or months; instead, they should be a lifestyle. I want to eat healthy foods throughout the duration of my life, not until I reach a certain number on the scale or a body structure I like.

Yes, I like sweets and desserts. I more than like them…I love them. I do have the occasional binge when I feel that crazy urge. But I also know that it happens and it is not a “mistake” to “mess up.” Even people who eat totally clean die.

So eat your oatmeal, vegetables, and fish. But also know there is nothing wrong with eating desserts. And diets aren’t always the answer for you.

Enjoy your day!