Thursday, June 23, 2016

Healthy Green Tea (Matcha) Chia Seed Pancakes




Making pancakes used to be my favorite activity on Sunday mornings and I have definitely missed it. Over the weekend, I decided to put on my apron and get back into it! This time, I gave Matcha Green Tea and Chia Seed a try and it was such a pleasant surprise! My parents especially liked these pancakes because they were not as sweet and heavy as the normal ones. So I thought I would share the recipe with you all!

Other pancakes recipes:

Why Matcha Green Tea and Chia Seed
Matcha Green Tea's Health Benefits 
  • Is packed with antioxidants including the powerful EGCg
  • Boosts metabolism and burns calories
  • Detoxifies effectively and naturally
  • Calms the mind and relaxes the body
  • Is rich in fiber, chlorophyll and vitamins
  • Enhances mood and aids in concentration
  • Provides vitamin C, selenium, chromium, zinc and magnesium
  • Prevents disease
  • Lowers cholesterol and blood sugar
Chia Seed's Health Benefits 
  • Delivers a massive amount of nutrients with very few calories
  • Is loaded with antioxidants
  • Is rich in fiber and high in quality protein
  • Is high in omega-3 fatty acids
  • Lowers the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes
  • Improves exercise perfromance

Ingredients
Pancakes
Organic Whole Wheat / Brown Rice Flour x 2 Cups
Organic Matcha Powder x 2 tbsp
Chia Seed x 1 tbsp
Steviana x 2 tbsp (superfood - healthy substitute of sugar)
Baking Powder x 1.5 tsp
Homemade Almond Milk x 1.5 Cup (Recipe in previous blogpost: http://stayfitandtravel.blogspot.hk/2014/11/homemade-almond-milk.html)
Whole Egg x 1 
Coconut Oil x 2 tbsp
A pinch of salt

Toppings
Organic Greek Yogurt (choose one with low sugar content)
Pure Honey
Fresh Blueberries
Sprinked with Wild Lingonberry Powder (https://berrytime.com/products/biokia-wild-lingonberry-powder)


Directions
Whisk milk, egg and coconut oil in a mixing bowl and then add in flour, matcha powder, steviana and baking powder. Stir until they are well mixed together. Sprinkle a pinch of salt into the batter and then fold in the chia seeds.

Heat up a pan (low to medium heat) and brush the pan with coconut oil. Scoop the batter onto the heated pan (I used two spoonfuls of batter for one pancake). Cook until you can see bubbles appearing on one side and then flip the pancakes and cook the other side until they turn golden brown. 

You can then stack the pancakes together and add your favorite toppings! Simple and quick, there you have your guilt-free and yummy green tea pancakes!! Don't forget to take a photo of these beautiful hot cakes before you eat so you can show them off on instagram! :D

Stay tuned for more yummy recipes x



Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Weekend Trip to Siem Reap, Cambodia (4 days 3 nights)



Travel Destination: Siem Reap, Cambodia
Duration: 4 days 3 nights
Dates: 12 May - 16 May, 2016
Who am I travelling with: 2 of my good female friends
My spending: Less than USD450

Accommodation: Viroth's Hotel (http://www.viroth-hotel.com/) - Booked through Agoda
Currency: Highly recommended NOT TO change any local money because USD is accepted everywhere. It is also more difficult to bargain in local money. If you bring local money back to your home country, it is not easy to change them back to other currencies

It is always especially exciting to travel to a completely new country that I have never set foot on. Cambodia had been on top of my travel watch list for quite a while already, which was why when I saw the flights promotion on http://www.hkexpress.com/ I immediately asked if my friends would like to go with me. We had the flights and accommodations booked within 2 days! :D 


Accommodation


Most of the hotels are relatively cheap in Siem Reap, and it was not easy to narrow down our choices. We ended up picking Viroth's Hotel because of the convenient location (it is right at the downtown centre, walkable distance to the pub street area where most restaurants / stores / night activities are at), and also of all the great reviews it has from previous travellers. Of course, the place looks amazing and seems like a great spot to take photos (instagram-friendly is always important!;p)






Price: Around USD100 per night for 3 persons (3 beds), inclusive of breakfast






The hotel ended up to be even better than we expected. The service was perfect, breakfast included was delicious and healthy, massage was one of the best that I have had, they even had a vintage Mercedes for only USD10 to take us to the airport! (normal taxi was USD7)  - plus, there were photo opportunities everywhere we looked because the whole place was absolutely breathtaking! 



Transportation

Common form of transport for tourists within the city is tuk-tuk (an auto rickshaw) and it normally costs very little (only USD2-3 for us to go from hotel to dinners / other spots in downtown). It is also a very fun way to see the city! 
As we had luggages with us from the airport, we took taxi instead to go to the hotel which was USD7 for one way, and on the way back to the airport we had decided to spoil ourselves a little bit and reserved a vintage Mercedes from the hotel (it only costed USD10, 3 dollars more than normal taxi!)




We also saw many tourists riding bicycles around town (even to the temples), unfortunately I am not good at biking (fell down and ended up in Hospital twice in recent years..) and therefore did not choose that as a way of commute.




Things to do

As all 3 of us were pretty busy with work prior to this trip and therefore we did not make any tours booking in advance. We only made online bookings as we were chilling at the hotel pool on the first day we arrived.

1. One Day Temples Tour Package Without Sunrise But With Sunset  (sunrise tours all start at around 4 am and we are not exactly morning persons :p)
http://www.happyangkortour.com/


Price: Around USD20 per person, including English tour guide, full transportation (Mini Van with AC - pick up and return to Hotel), cold water and towels (extremely important with the high temperature), excluding lunch at a touristy restaurant and temple pass


We visited various temples sites, including the Angkor Wat, Phnom Bakheng, Elephant Terrace, Bayon temple, and also the Ta Prohm. The whole experience was simply magical.





2. Half day Pottery Class + Quad Bike adventure
http://www.quad-adventure-cambodia.com/

Price: Around USD55 per person, 2 hours of Pottery at the Ceramics Fine Arts Center and 2-3 hours of Quad Bike around local villages. Prices include tuk-tuk / car transportation in between hotel and destinations. You can either take your own pottery (make 3, choose your favorite piece to be fired and take it back home the day after) / choose one (under USD10) from the souvenir shop 


                        


It was my first time making pottery and it was surprisingly fun! I would not be able to make mine without the help of the local teachers but it was a great experience to interact with them and to make pottery together. One reminder - if you would like to bring your own pottery back home, do not do this on your last day as it will take a day to fire the clay and they can only send your final work to your hotel the next day evening. 

For me, quad biking around different local villages was probably the most previous experience of the trip. We each had a local guide riding with us and we spent hours exploring villages and farmlands, and having a glimpse of how lives are for the local inhabitants and animals in these villages. 

I had an especially inspiring talk with my guide - who is an orphan and has always worked hard towards his goals in his whole life. He spent years washing quad bikes as his full time job. He taught himself English by interacting with tourists and 2 years ago he finally got this job as a quad bike tour guide which he enjoys very much as he gets the chance to talk to people from all over the world and he learns a lot from each person he meets. Apart from long hours of hard work everyday, he is also studying and hoping to get his degree soon in order to further his career as a tourist guide. 

His story is such an inspiration to me because I have always believed that hard work and determination are keys to success for anyone, no matter who you are and where you are from. I hope he will achieve his goals and make a great life for himself! 


Food 
I have always been a fan of South East Asian food, and Cambodia definitely did not disappoint!

Local Street Stalls: Interesting experience to try different local food. We got skewers (our favorite!), fried rice cakes in sauce, and baguette with pork (mostly fat) and veggies on top. USD1 for each dish
A must-try of the street stalls on the pub street is the pancakes! Our favorite is banana - they are sold everywhere and they taste HEAVENLY (cheat-meal for sure though). Photo is in the collage under Restaurant Lilypop

Hotel Breakfast and Pool Food: Breakfasts are included in our hotel room rates - and they are absolutely amazing! Wide selection of fresh and healthy food. Pool food is overpriced comparing to what you can get in the city.

Restaurant - LilyPop
My favorite restaurant in Siem Reap! Very very cheap. Around USD5 per person and we had the best food! Must order: Fried Noodles, Curry and also Mango Sticky Rice


Restaurant - Sister Srey Cafe
Great cafe, love the vibe! Had great juice and shakes, but we were a bit disappointed with the food. Quite expensive as well comparing to local restaurants.


Restaurant - Genevieve
https://en.tripadvisor.com.hk/Restaurant_Review-g297390-d4037530-Reviews-Genevieve_s_Restaurant-Siem_Reap_Siem_Reap_Province.html
No. 1 restaurant on Tripadvisor - must make booking in advance! Great fusion food and the owner is simply the best.


Hope you enjoy reading about my trip to Siem Reap, Cambodia! Subscribe to my blog and stay tuned for more travelling stories! #StayFitandTravel

Emi xx
Instagram: @stayfitandtravel
Facebook: Stay Fit and Travel
Snapchat: stayfitntravel
Email: emi.stayfitandtravel@gmail.com


Friday, June 17, 2016

Taking a break from Fitness and Blogging - But now I am back!


Last blog post - August 12, 2015

For a long time, I was too scared to even log back here onto my blog because I did not want to face the fact that I gave up doing something that I used to love so much and put in so much effort into.  





It's been almost 10 months since I last blogged. And the fact is, I had been slacking way before that. When I first started this blog in November, I wrote 64 blog posts in just the space of 2 months, while in 2015 I only wrote 20 blog posts throughout the whole 8 months.

As for fitness, those of you who are still following my journey on Instagram would know that I also took a 3-4 months break since last August and I only started getting back into it around 4 months ago in Feb 2016. 

As someone with the word "determination" tattooed on my body, I have always believed passion alone is not enough because hard work and determination are what will take you far. Unfortunately, I failed to keep up with my own motto when it comes to fitness and blogging and there is no excuse for it.

My priorities simply changed throughout these two years and my balance in health and fitness went through a roller coaster journey with countless ups and downs. 

When I first started my fitness journey and this blog, I was gyming 4-6 times a week (Kayla Itsines' Bikini Body Guide), quitting alcohol and eating a completely clean diet (http://stayfitandtravel.blogspot.hk/2014/11/my-daily-schedule-workouts-and-diet.html). That was when I would frequently share different healthy recipes via instagram and here on my blog  and I had so much fun connecting and engaging with the fitness community online. However, I got to a point where I was too obsessed with exercising  and being extremely strict with my diet that I ended up having a slight bulimia problem. 

  

  
  


In search of a more sustainable and balanced lifestyle, I became less restrictive with my diet and I also started exploring other workout options i.e. pole dancing, and I immediately got hooked. I realized fitness was not just about getting skinnier and having abs, which were my initial goals to work out. I used to look at pole dancing as something that I would never be able to do - no way I could do a pose like that! I thought my body did not have that kind of strength and flexibility. But I was proven wrong. Every time I went to a pole dancing class, I would be amazed by what my body could do and the progress was very addicting. 
  

As my full time job was also getting busier, my priorities shifted and I began to spend less time doing the BBG (The Bikini Body Guide) and making healthy food and posting recipes online - I guess that's when I engaged less through social media because I did not have as much to post. I also started to drink and party again as summer was approaching.


My low point of this journey was after I moved to Seoul, Korea for work. When I first arrived, I thought that it was the time for me to take my  fitness journey to the next level because I was there alone and I would not have as much distractions. After first 2 weeks of clean eating and hard core training, I realized I was not happy. 



Having the opportunity to be in a foreign country for only 3 months, I wanted to try everything and make the most out of my experience. I started to choose socializing / eating and drinking with new friends instead of spending off work time alone in the gym, and I soon began to lose all motivation to lead a healthy lifestyle. 


                         


I felt like I was on exchange in university again - I finally found that feeling of being young, wild and free again and I did not want to let it go. By the second and third month, I ended up only going to the gym once, and I ate and drank like there's no tomorrow. 



Because of my wild and unstable lifestyle, I also almost ruined my 2 years relationship with my boyfriend back home with having a lot of drama in Korea. By the end of my 3 months work relocation, I finally flew back to Hong Kong on a Sunday after another night of crazy partying and drinking and I threw up 4 times on my flight - it was the worst flight of my life. 

That was when it hit me. As someone who used to have an alcohol problem (my story as a party girl in university http://stayfitandtravel.blogspot.hk/p/blog-page.html), it took me one year of hard work and determination to reach my fitness and health goals so that I can be my best self and to live my best life - but 3 months of letting loose seemed to take me back to zero, both physically and mentally. I was once again my immature YOLO self who seemed to lack the ability to grow up.


Fitness wise, I tried going back to the gym once in a while upon returning to Hong Kong but I was very disappointed by how quickly my strength and stamina went down after only a 3 months break, and I was once again feeling insecure and scared to be wearing a cropped top working out in the gym. The strength and confidence that took me a year to build just disappeared. It was as if the one year of fitness journey did not happen. I understood that it would take time to pick it back up again, but with another long work + vacation trip at the end of 2015, I was struggling to  prioritize my workouts and diet until early 2016. 
  

Frustrated, I knew even though it might be even harder than the first time, I needed to restart this fitness journey again, not for anyone but for myself. If I did it once, I know I can do it again.
    

Remember why you first started.

 There might be ups and downs, but that's why it is called a journey. It is not about being perfect, it is about the effort you are willing to put in. And when you bring that effort every single day, that's where transformation happens. One thing that I sometimes forget is that, this is not a race but a lifelong marathon.




"Because I go when you can't go any further. Because easy will no longer suffice. Because I don't just get better. Because I get better than great and strive for perfection. Because I know my limits and I defy them daily. Because I don't stop when I am tired. I stop when I am done. Because I know pain is weakness leaving my body. Because I have what it takes even if it takes all that i have got. Because I am greater than my obstacles." - my motivation to get back to the gym, explore different ways to work out and start Crossfit 4 months ago 


Hope you enjoy reading about my journey. I know that many of you reading this  are also going through struggles of your own and I guess I just want to let you know that you are not alone.

Much love,
Emi xx
Instagram: @stayfitandtravel
Facebook: Stay Fit and Travel
Snapchat: stayfitntravel
Email: emi.stayfitandtravel@gmail.com