#MondayMotivation: Dreams

When you were younger, a very common question that your elders loved to ask you was 'what do you like to be when you grow up?' Many of us gave typical answers like 'policeman', 'teacher', 'pilot, 'doctor', 'nurse'. However for me, I couldn't make up my mind.

From wanting to be a teacher, to a vet, a writer and the list never stops. It was like I was never working towards a main goal and perhaps that is why I never succeeded well academically (except for math, it was my favourite subject)

I was a little girl with many passions and I was lucky that my parents supported me in whatever I wished to do. I took art class and piano lessons since I was 8 years old. I soon became one of the seniors in the class and could 'upgrade' into doing pastel chalk drawings and other forms of art (which I'm not sure what they are called). I remember my art teacher brought a basket of fruits to class and told us to draw whatever was in front. It was so challenging but I managed it. I felt really proud of myself when I won 2nd prize in an art competition.

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Pastel chalk art (Image credit: google)

When I turned 11, I joined tennis as my CCA and continued playing when I enrolled in Secondary school. Because I wanted to be a better team player, my parents enrolled me in tennis class over the weekends so I could have more practise. However, I soon dropped out of class after many months because it made me had very low self esteem. But, I continued playing for the school team up to 'O' levels.

So from taking art class, to learning piano.... picking up 2 new sports (tennis and touch rugby) then to being a main committee in my course back in polytechnic, I gained a lot through experience which allowed me to be who I am today. It made me take a different route than what was planned out for me years ago.

Perhaps people may second guess me when I tell them that I'm not fully interested to go to Uni, but at the end of the day, does the cert really make you a much better person? What does it teach you other than allowing you to lead a successful comfortable life? 

I felt the pressure from society and relatives when they asked what I wanted to do after I graduate from Poly. A few times I made my mind to study naturopathology in Australia, then I decided to go to RMIT to study marketing. Then one day I simply decided not to further my studies.

After a few months of turning Vegan, I realised how much there is to life and how much pressure is put on living in Singapore. Everyone seems to think that without a degree, you cannot survive. Maybe that's how it is in the corporate world because everyone is fighting for a higher pay and a more comfortable life but, when you age.... is that all that matters to you?

How about the dreams you had when you were young? Are you going to work your entire life just to enjoy only when you turn old? What happened to gaining experience when you're younger? Is that not what life is about? 

Now don't go on saying that I am a pampered and spoilt child because I am not. I stop taking money from my parents ever since I started working and I have even worked in a corporate job for 8 months and absolutely hate it. This is why I wish people my age could see where the problem lies.

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Are you making your future plans because of the pressure from society and family members? Or are you making your future plans for you? Why choose to follow the norm when you know what's better for yourself?

For me, I decided to start a new venture - Singapore's first Vegan mart (http://souleygreen.com) because I wanted conscious shopping made easier locally. Also, I have always loved entrepreneurship in Poly so why not bring both of my passions together?

I am not trying to promote anything right here but I AM trying to bring across the message that if you don't make your dreams come true, you are only going to help others fulfill theirs.

Start making a change for yourself and stop listening to what others have to say. Stop following the route that's planned out for you especially if you want to walk the other.

Thank you 2015!

Like every other year, 2015 whizzed past faster than I expected it to. There were ups and downs, new memories forged, experiences and lessons learnt and new friends made. Above all, I would say I was pretty pleased with how my 2015 went.

2015 taught me to work hard towards achieving my goals, be it little or big, it will bound to be yours if you put your heart and mind into it.

2015 showed me what I was capable of achieving and that time is not always on our side. We have to make the most out of it, and it's never too late to start something new.

2015 showed me that no matter what obstacles I had to overcome, family and true friends will always be there to give you a hand.

Most importantly, 2015 was the year I decided to make a big change - a change that could save the lives of many animals, a change that could save the planet, and a change that would eventually transform how the world works, forever.

In this particular year, July 2015- I turned Vegan.

2015 was also the year that I graduated from Temasek Polytechnic with a Diploma in Retail Management. Then, went on to working part time for 3 months, before committing to a full time job as a Merchandiser in a sportswear manufacturing company.

I feel like I may have mentioned this a few times, but I can't be certain. Anyhow, here it is again.

I never liked the office environment. Since Secondary school, I have told myself that I wouldn't enjoy a desk job because I knew from the start, it isn't me. Did I regret taking on this full time job then? Definitely not.

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This full time job was a great experience for me. It opened my eyes to a whole new industry, allowed me to be more responsible and task efficient, definitely taught me a great lesson on time management and punctuality (which I'm still trying very hard to work on). And most importantly, it allowed me to finally figure out what I wish to do with my life - with my future.

I want to stop sitting behind the desk, working for somebody else. I want to get out and explore, create content, experience what this world has to offer, and just do something meaningful with my life. I want to volunteer at animal shelters; I want to volunteer at events which serves to bring a message; I want to continue creating content to spread the awareness on Veganism.

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Now, the thing about being Asian and living with Asian parents is that, whenever you say you don't wish to further your studies/follow the norm, they get very VERY worried about your future. They are afraid that you won't have enough savings in time to come, to support your family or not being able to have a stable job = not being rich.

Now is that really what life is all about? Working your ass off till your retirement age; using your retirement money to travel and explore the world with your other half; watch your grandkids grow up before lying on your death bed?

I always feel that there are 2 types of people (I'm always repeating this to friends who needs motivation...Though I lack some myself) There will always be one group of people who see being successful in life as being rich, living in big houses and driving big cars. While the other, would determine success as how happy they are. And that's me.

I don't want a big house, or a big car. I don't want a rich husband or fancy handbags. I just want a simple life, doing meaningful things, knowing that I have done my part in trying to change the world and achieving my dreams. I don't want to go on fancy dates or receive expensive gifts as presents; I don't want to feel pressured to fit into society (not that I'm trying, I don't even bother to). I just want to spend time with the one I love, going on simple dates, like a walk in the park, picnic with my dogs, looking at skylines and even just... star gazing would be perfect.

Why should ANYONE of us feel the need to fit into society? To dress up with branded goods from head to toe? At the end of the day, everyone will be on their death beds - rich or poor, happy or sad. Why not make the most out of your youth, out of your life, to do something meaningful and something that you've always longed to do, before it's too late?

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To sum it all, I just wanted to say that 2015 has taught me valuable lessons, and also brought amazing people into my life that I never want to lose. Because of these experiences, it has pushed me to start doing something for myself.

To start off, I will be leaving my full time job, and working part time instead, saving up my pay cheque to buy a bike and head to Chiang Mai in June for #thaifruitfest2016. I even have plans to visit Melbourne and Sydney. I am currently thinking about Ubud in Bali, but we shall see how my expenses and work schedule is like in the next few months.

Talking about my plans always gets me excited. Of course, after leaving my full time job, I will have more free time to continue creating Youtube content, creating new recipes and experimenting with ingredients. I miss being in the kitchen and I can't wait to get back to my regular self.

Always find out what you want to do, work towards it and never give up. I have come a long way before figuring everything out, but it's never too late to start my friends.

Thank you for reading this, and I wish you all the best for 2016. Thank YOU for being a part of my journey. Here's to great adventures ahead!

My Eating Disorder Story

Everyone has a story to tell and here's my eating disorder story.

Am I proud of it? No. But, I wish to share this with anyone having a hard time accepting their body image, and struggling to see food as their friend instead of an enemy. I used to be so obsessed with being skinny when I was 14. Neither did I know that I was causing metabolic damage to my body.

Through this 6 years, I have learnt a lot, especially from the many different diets/lifestyle I picked up along the way. I believe it was through these experiences that allowed me to become who I am today.

I am now able to accept my body and love myself for who I am.

Watch my video down below if you haven't already. I explained my story more in detail there :)

MASKED//HOW ACNE HAS BEEN AFFECTING ME

Warning: This post contains graphic images of horrible cystic acne filled with pus... You've been warned. If your image of me has drastically changed, so be it. I'm still in the recovery process, just please don't spread hate. I am already taking a lot of courage to post and share this with everyone.

I was not born with perfect skin or a pretty face, but like every girl out there, all I ever wished for is to have a flawless face - One that would not cause me any form of embarrassment or low self esteem.

If you're new to my page, you probably wouldn't know that I suffer from Acne. Since I was 14, I was already struggling with Acne and ever since then, I have never seen myself blemish-free.

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Now that I'm 20, I find it tougher to live my life. Even though I have made a video on my Youtube channel, sharing with my followers and subscribers how I remain confident with Acne, there are still days where I feel like complete crap. I am not trying to say that I lied in the video, I will never lie to you guys. It's true that I do not wear makeup to cover up (unless important events), and it's true that I don't pity myself. But... Sometimes when you meet with pushy sales assistants or when you're out for a meal, all these strangers would just come up to you, either recommending you products that claim to heal acne or recommending you doctors/dermatologists/medicines/natural remedies....That could be quite tough to handle.

It's all these things that add up that crush you because you know that when people see you, they first notice your major flaw - your face. And that is the only ONE thing that you wish people would not talk about or notice. Of course, it's hard for them to do that since your face is uncovered and all the red spots and scars are constantly being exposed. Sometimes, wearing a mask could help save you 60% of the trouble, but the other 40%.... Not so lucky... People are just TOO observant.

Now you are about to see images that I never planned on showing the world....But just to let you have an idea of how my acne has affected my self esteem and confidence... This is really nerve-wrecking for me (please don't judge or hate, I'd really appreciate that)

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I wore a mask out on Saturday and I did a little experiment. I headed out after lunch to run some errands, and since the brow house where I usually visit to thread my eyebrows was around the corner, I thought why not just head for a session since I have an important event the next day (my cousin's wedding and I'm a bridesmaid). I hesitated for a while because whenever I visited their brow house, the staff there would always have questions about my face, followed by recommending me their facial packages. I did not feel like going through that whole cycle again, but I guess I ignored that voice in my head.

That's when everything started (and why I decided to write this post).

The lady that did my brows immediately exclaimed "WHAT HAPPENED TO YOUR FACE! IT'S SO RED AND OMG HAVE YOU SEEN A DOCTOR? THIS IS SO SERIOUS! IT'S YOUR ENTIRE FACE THAT'S BEING AFFECTED! OMG!" when she walked up to me. Yup, not lying about this one. She really said that in mandarin to me. I hated it. I wanted to cry. I know sometimes people are helping out of goodwill because, they too, want me to heal from acne, but sometimes I wish people would not talk to me about any treatment whatsoever.

Of course I know I have acne, and of course I know that it's serious. But don't you think I would already be seeking help? Why rub it in? This is my opinion and I'm not trying to spread hate or anything, but sometimes people don't realise that the things they say to someone suffering from any sort of disease could actually lead to depression/lower one's self esteem.

Me now, 2015 - face filled with red spots and scars
Me now, 2015 - face filled with red spots and scars

They didn't know how affected I was and how frustrated and annoyed I was to be constantly hearing negative remarks about my skin condition. They just went on and on, recommending me their facial package and telling me how effective their treatment was. It wasn't until a few minutes later when the boss personally walked up to me, showed me some progress and results photos of their customers. I hated how they wanted me to start their treatment immediately. I hated how they wanted me to sign up on the spot. I hated how they wouldn't stop talking about my face with other customers around. I hated how I got the entire shop's attention on me. I hated myself and I hated my skin.

No matter what sort of excuses I came up with, they just wouldn't give up. They even called a customer suffering from the same condition I was, to tell me about how happy she was with the treatment. But, the customer just sounded like she was being forced to tell me how effective it was!? In my heart, I just couldn't believe that they are going through this huge extent just to make me sign a package with them. Perhaps they really wanted to help me, but just please don't touch my face? I had enough of facials leaving me scars and I just had enough of everything. After 20 minutes, I managed to leave the brow house. But, I left feeling sorry for myself.

Once I stepped out, I immediately wore a mask and then I felt better because all eyes weren't on me anymore. Or so I thought......

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I walked into Guardian (a drugstore in Singapore), to find the highly raved burdock root tea - I have been searching for it for a while but to no avail. I was wearing a mask, just walking around and trying to avoid all the sales assistant because I know they would be ready to jump on me, to recommend me commercial products for my skin. And I was right. This lady immediately went up to me and asked if I wanted any recommendations to help treat my skin. Said no with a smile and walked out of the shop immediately.

I am not sure how long this will last, and I'm not sure how long I will continue to receive remarks about my skin from strangers, colleagues and even my family members, but I hope all this will come to an end soon. I want to continue creating content because I enjoy it. I don't want my physical appearance to be a major barrier for me.

A little note: If you ever thought of going on the pill (antibiotics/acutane), I would highly advise you NOT to. Once you're off the drug, the problem comes back.... WORSE. Take my learning experience as a lesson for all of you. I have been off and on the drug numerous times and caused my body high damage. Do I regret taking them? Yes, definitely. So please girls/guys, just eat a healthy diet, live a healthy lifestyle and let your skin heal naturally. It's honestly the best form of remedy.

Time

I always have these crazy ideas and plans in my head, but getting down to watch it come alive seems harder than I thought it’d be. Often I question myself if a desk bound job suits my lifestyle. I miss having the freedom to work out in the mornings, to create mouthwatering breakfast bowls to kick start my day – not for anyone else, but me.

I know that by starting my day with a good breakfast, I’d be able to have a better day ahead. I had all this time for myself when I was working at Nike part time as a sales associate. Now that I’ve a full time office job, I’m just dead beat tired, especially when I get home in the evenings.

I work out lesser now because most mornings I can’t drag myself out of bed, but some mornings I am able to wake up when my alarm goes off at 515am. Other than my sleeping patterns recorded by my Fitbit watch, it’s a no brainier that if you sleep early, you are able to get out of bed early. So, if I go to bed by 11pm, I only have around 2-3 hours to blog/create content which is not enough, at all. Because on some nights, I just feel like lazing in front of the TV watching local dramas.

This is where I’m caught in a whirlwind.

Where do I find the time to do the things I love? Time in the mornings always pass the fastest. Sometimes it feels as though all this hard work and effort put into my job now would not benefit me at all/in the future. I’m so tempted to get a stay-home job or make blogging my full time, but I know well myself that it’s risk taking. I can only suck it up, and remain with my full time job.

I miss writing, I miss creating content, I miss experimenting with ingredients and I miss creating recipes.

I hope there are still a few of you on here, secretly reading. I will make time for my blog, I promise. I’m already in the progress of improving the site. I will make a few changes here and there and make it easy to navigate for everyone.

Keep dreaming xx

 

Why I Choose Veganism

A few years ago, being vegan/vegetarian was seen as an 'abnormal' diet. Not many people believed in it because, they believe that a human body needs meat/animal products to survive. But, that is NOT true. Just to share, I have been a vegetarian back when I was only 10 years old, for 2 years. No meat, but I still consumed eggs and dairy. I was also active in sports because tennis was my CCA in primary school. I had training about once a week, and I would also go for a swim every weekend. I was under the 'healthy weight' range even though I was vegetarian. I remember attending my primary 5 camp, my first school camp, and there was not any vegetarian meal option available. I was already a 'one year' vegetarian then, so obviously my body would not recognize meat when I placed it in my body. I felt so weird and disgusted after having that meal, and I remember rushing to the toilet immediately because I had such a bad diarrhoea. Since I was still young, I did not realise that it's actually a good thing that my body flushed out toxins automatically. Instead, I thought otherwise.

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Additionally, as my Dad always had trouble getting vegetarian meals at his workplace, my family somehow decided to go back to eating meat. I remember I put on a few KG after that, and I felt more bloated often. I thought that was perfectly normal, especially since I had hit puberty age.

After going through different diet plans and lifestyle changes these couple of years, I decided to turn vegan last month. Before I made this decision, I watched almost all of Essena and Freelee's videos on Youtube, whom are both vegan. They are both really inspiring, and I really recommend beginner vegans to watch them!

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After being on a high carb low fat (HCLF) vegan diet for just ONE month, I have already seen so much changes in my body and my skin. Today, I am going to share with you 5 reasons why I choose veganism.

1. To Feel Healthier & Happier

I was on a Paleo diet before I turned vegan. People on this diet believe that they need lots of animal protein, especially after a heavy workout. I hardly ever consumed carbs, even good carbs like sweet potatoes and brown rice. Somehow, I had this mindset that carbs will make me fat, so I stayed away from all kinds of carbs. I would usually pack chicken, hard boiled eggs and vegetables to school during my breaks. Whenever I was hungry, I would snack on fruits or raw bars. However, I realised that I was gaining fats and most possibly tons of weight even though I workout 5-6 times a day.

I also stopped having tons of fruits with my oats for breakfast because I thought that the sugar in them was making me more lethargic. Because of this, I was constantly worrying about weight gain instead of being genuinely happy. In order to mask it, I constantly told myself 'it's muscle gain', clearly that's downright stupid and ridiculous.

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After switching to a HCLF vegan diet, I consumed more carbs. Sweet potatoes became my staples. I also became less afraid of potatoes, brown rice, and even white rice (I stayed away from white rice for 2 years) I ate more fruits and vegetables. I had more variety of fruits in my oat bowls in the morning, much much muuccchhh more that what I had before. Surprisingly, I felt happier and more energized when I got out of bed every morning. I stopped feeling bloated, and started to see more definitions in my body. Why? Simple. No animal fats = no fats stored in the body. Of course, It's still going to take me some time to completely strip off that layer of fats, but nothing a HCLF vegan diet and consuming 2L of water everyday can't solve ;)

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According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, vegans are less likely to develop heart disease, cancer, diabetes, or high blood pressure than meat-eaters are. Vegans get all the nutrients that they need to be healthy, such as plant protein, fiber, and minerals, without all the nasty stuff in meat that slows you down and makes you sick, such as cholesterol and saturated animal fat (source: http://www.peta.org)

2. Say 'NO' to Animal Abuse

Have you ever wondered how you get your meat? What goes on in slaughterhouses? How you get your eggs and dairy products? Did you know that in countries like China, they consume dog meat? In Japan, you can find whale and dolphin meat in their supermarkets. How does that sound? Especially if you have a pet at home.

Watching Earthlings (Video below) will give you a glimpse of what happens in slaughterhouses. How you get your meat, and how the animals are being treated. This is also the documentary that my family and I watched about 10 years back, that convinced us to switch to a vegetarian diet. Watching it again, made me understand why we made that change.

I cried watching this. I even cringed... If you don't feel anything after watching this documentary, then I'm sorry to say that, but you're not human.

3. Cure My Severe Acne Condition

I may or may not have mentioned this before, but I started getting my first active breakout after I came back from my primary 5 camp. My mum and my yoga teacher (oh yes, I practised yoga since young. I forgot to mention that above) noticed that I was getting a few bumps on my face, and my teacher even recommended me to a dermatologist that 'cured' her daughter. I was on antibiotics for about 3 months, and like what all dermatologists would say, they claim that it's my hormones acting up yada yada. (But now piecing everything back together, it was because I started consuming meat again, thus I suffered from acne breakouts....)

I was 'cured', but when I turned 15, I suffered another breakout. I did what I had to do - go back to my derma. Antibiotics again for another 3 months. Had flawless skin again till September 2013, when I started noticing small red bumps on my face again, and then it just got worse.... That declared my WORST breakout ever. Maybe I'll blog about this next time and show you guys how bad my face was. Literally my whole face (cheeks and forehead) was covered in cystic acne and red marks.

Started on a healthier diet which made it slightly better, but It didn't cure completely. I even visited my derma again and was on antibiotics for 5-6 months. Can you believe, it's been 2 years now and my acne has not completely go away? However, being on this vegan diet has made MAJOR improvements in my skin. Even my family and friends commented on it, and this makes me so sooo happpppyyyyyyy!!!!!!!

I stopped getting active breakouts (except during my period, but just one or two small ones) and my acne scars are also starting to fade away. And all I did was cut meat out of my diet (I haven't consumed dairy since 2013 after my bad breakout), especially chicken and seafood. Those 2 I find, are the worst for my skin. Eat more fruits and vegetables and drink 2L of water everyday. Trust me, it makes SOOOO much difference to your skin!

Even Essena stands by it :)

And the twins, Nina and Randa!

4. Feel Confident in My Own Body

I wanted to stop feeling slobbish and I just wanted to feel more confident in my own skin. Even when I was on a Paleo diet, I couldn't help but feel really insecure in my own body. I even wore cardigans on super humid days because I wanted to cover my arms. THAT WAS HOW BAD IT GOT....

I knew this has got to stop because it was unhealthy for my mind. Being vegan has not only helped me feel confident in my own body, but my own skin as well. I no longer have to worry about covering my scars like I used to. Once you feel confident in your own skin, no one is able to tell you what you should or shouldn't do :)

5. Avoid Processed and Toxic Food

Flesh foods are loaded with dangerous poisons and contaminants such as hormones, herbicides and pesticides, and antibiotics. As these toxins are all fat-soluble, they concentrate in the fatty flesh of the animals. Not to mention the viruses, bacteria and parasites such as salmonella, trichinella and other worms, and toxoplasmosis parasites. (Source: http://www.ecomall.com)

Processed foods also cause you to have acne. Try to avoid processed foods at all cost, because they're not real foods. They are loaded with chemicals, things that you do not want to put into your body. Especially not when you want to be the best version of yourself.

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When you make the switch, you will realise that getting loads of nasty remarks and comments is normal, even from your close friends. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't stand up for what you believe in. A little tip: don't bother convincing your friends/family to turn vegan if they don't believe in it. They will always stay in their little bubble. Some may support your decision, others will mock you for it. Thankfully for me, I have a supportive family, and I have friends who respect my lifestyle change. It wouldn't be easy at first, but you will get there.

Remember to always be the best version of you, and stand up for what you believe in. Other people's opinion wouldn't matter once you feel confident in yourself! If you have reached the bottom of this lengthy post, thank you for that, you're awesome ;) This year, I plan to be more active on my blog, after all, I created it for a reason! And a huge thank you to all of you who stayed with me even though there was a period I was rather inactive due to my internship and final year in school. I can never thank you guys enough <3

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