Health and Well-being

It’s been a year since our Japan travel and since then, we’ve adapted a few things we learned from Japanese culture in our lifestyle. One of which is drinking Matcha Tea. In one of our foodie experiences in Tokyo was dining at Uobei, a 105-yen sushi train restaurant in Shibuya where they had little hot water faucets individually placed in front of each guest so you can make your own Matcha Tea on a limitless basis. We’ve always been fond of drinking tea but it was only in Japan where we learned to love drinking Matcha tea. So we bought Matcha Tea from an online store called Kenko Tea, a shop based in Melbourne but gets their Matcha from the Nishio region of Japan.

We bought a Japanese Matcha Tea Set from Kenko Tea which includes a 30gram-tin of Premium Grade Matcha Green Tea, a hand crafted traditional matcha bamboo whisk and bamboo matcha tea scoop. The bamboo whisk, also called “chasen”, is used in traditional tea ceremonies and it’s ideal for used to bring out the froth and creaminess of the matcha tea. The bamboo scoop measures the correct amount of tea you need which is roughly 1 gram.

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This was something I picked up during our visit in Manila last year. I plan to share my other beauty finds when we were there but for now, I believe these Human Nature products deserve its own blog feature. 

What attracted me to Human Nature products? It’s organic, reasonably-priced and has pretty packaging. I also like that they have a great website where you can learn about their company and products and shop online too. 

These are the products I’ve tried so far:

Calming and Rejuvenating Massage Oil. I suffer from frozen shoulder (stiff shoulders due to cold weather, lifting heavy items, computer stress, poor posture, etc) during cold season and I found that massaging oil on my shoulders and back helps in preventing this to occur. I massage some oil on before bedtime and it keeps my shoulder and back warm at night. I like the smell of both variants, it really calms and rejuvenates, and at the same time moisturises my skin. 
Beauty Stash: Human Nature Products
Natural Strengthening Shampoo and Conditioner (with Soothing Aloe). I’m not very lucky when it comes to organic/natural shampoos and conditioner because sometimes they still make my scalp dry. Thankfully, these ones from Human Nature feels gentle to the scalp. I noticed too that I have less hair fall when I use these. 
Beauty Stash: Human Nature Products
Sunflower Beauty Oil. I’ve read on HN’s site of the many uses of this wonder oil before deciding to buy it. I love this oil and I’m so glad I gave this one a try. I use it as a moisturiser before bedtime. After a few days of use, I noticed the size of my pores have minimised and my skin has become less oily. My breakouts have lessened too and it brightened my skin. I normally use a different moisturiser during Summer season but even if this was made of oil, it’s still perfect for Summer as it’s not sticky. It’s the perfect moisturiser for the whole year. 
Beauty Stash: Human Nature Products
If you’re in Manila, visit one of their stores (locations list) or if you would love to do some online shopping for natural beauty products, check out Human Nature’s website (http://humanheartnature.com/buy/index.php/).

One of the healthy habits I discovered this year was dry brushing of the skin. A beauty blog has led me to information about it and while I was open to trying it out, it took me some time to finally buy my first dry brush and making it a habit. 

What is Dry Brushing? It is a way of exfoliating the skin by using just a brush. No water needed. It aids in the detoxification of the body’s lymphatic system.
I purchased a dry brush when I was in Manila last April. I found a reasonably-priced dry brush at Watsons (not more than P500.00) and it was only here in Sydney that I started using it. 

Did I like using it? Yes. My skin immediately adjusted to the bristles of the brush. It was neither hard nor soft, it just had enough roughness to exfoliate the skin. 

Effects on My Skin and Body. After a few days of dry brushing, I noticed my stretchmarks have disappeared and my cellulites have reduced. I noticed too that even if it’s Winter now, I don’t suffer from too much dryness of skin. 

When and How Often Do I Dry Brush? I dry brush before I take a shower and I try to do it everyday. Although on some days I can’t because I woke up late and rushing in the morning to go to work BUT I try to do it as regularly as possible.

Let me share with you a few things I learned about dry brushing:

Benefits of Dry Brushing

  • Removes dead layers of skin and other outer impurities.
  • Stimulates and increases blood circulation.
  • Helps release fatty deposits under your skin’s surface.
  • Assists the eliminative capacity of your body’s organs.
  • Rejuvenates your cells.
  • Strengthens your immune system.
  • Increases muscle tone.
  • Improves skin texture.
  • Helps prevent premature ageing.

                  How To Dry Brush: 
                  (source)

                  1. Begin with your feet and brush vigorously in circular motions.
                  2. Continue brushing up your legs.
                  3. Proceed to your hands and arms.
                  4. Brush your entire back and abdomen area, shoulders and neck.
                  5. Use circular counter-clockwise strokes on the abdomen.
                  6. Use light pressure on the breasts and any other sensitive areas.
                  7. Brush upwards on the back and down from the neck. Better yet, have a friend, spouse or family member brush your back.
                  A short video I found which shows the proper way of dry skin brushing:
                  Some Tips:
                  • You will need a brush with soft natural bristles for dry brushing. Do not use synthetic bristles. Buy one that has a longer handle so it’ll be easier to reach your back and sides.
                  • Make sure that the dry brushing is done softly in the initial stages so that soreness is avoided. 
                  • Application of a little more pressure can be done as your skin gets used to dry brushing.
                  • Your skin and brush should be dry. Shower after skin brushing to remove exfoliated skin.
                  • Do not do any dry brushing over cuts, wounds or rashes.
                  • Begin by brushing the outermost parts of your body (hands and feet) towards the center of your body.
                  • Pass the brush once over your body, except the face.
                  • The brush strokes should move towards your heart. This improvement in blood circulation is why so many people feel extremely refreshed after an energetic session of dry brushing.
                  • It is only when you are dry brushing your stomach that you are going to apply clockwise brushing movements.
                  • Slight flushing of the skin is normal, due to increased circulation. The skin should not be red or irritated, if it is you’re using too much pressure.
                  • The entire process should only take one to two minutes.
                  • Clean the brush meticulously after every brushing session.
                  • If your skin is extremely dry, rub some oil into it after you have brushed it and showered. 

                  Have you tried dry skin brushing? If so, what effects did you experience after dry brushing your skin?

                  I’ve always cooked my oatmeal. I’m used to heating it up on the stove and I have to say that doing so sometimes discourages me from having oatmeal even though I like having it for breakfast (We don’t own a microwave at home so that premise is moot).

                  Thank goodness the universe heard me and one day, I read a tweet from one of my tweethearts Bettina (@blissfulcow) wherein she shared that it’s possible to eat chilled oatmeal. Hooray! Problem solved! 

                  So here’s what I do in creating chilled and no-cook oatmeal in jars:

                  You need:
                  2 cups of Oatmeal
                  180 grams Natural Yogurt
                  2 cups of Milk
                  3 tbsp Honey
                  Fruits (or nuts) to mix in with your oatmeal (to make it a healthier dish)
                  – this yields 4 jars.
                  The Chilled & No-Cook Oatmeal
                  I always opt for the Natural Yogurt as it’s less sour. Alternatives to Honey: Maple Syrup, Sugar, Nutella, Peanut Butter. 
                  The Chilled & No-Cook Oatmeal
                  Mix the oatmeal, yogurt, honey and milk in a bowl.
                  The Chilled & No-Cook Oatmeal

                  Then place the mixture inside jars or plastic containers. Throw in your fruits on top and seal the jar/container. You can also add nuts if you like.

                  The Chilled & No-Cook Oatmeal

                  Put the jars inside the fridge and chill them for at least 30 minutes. That’s enough time to soften the oatmeal.

                  Freeze and Eat
                  I make a big batch, enough to fill at least four jars, during weekends and store them inside the freezer. I usually bring a jar to work and eat it for breakfast or morning tea. I finish all four jars in the course of the workweek. 

                  I’ve read that frozen oatmeal can stay good until about a month. The longest time I’ve stored oatmeal inside the freezer was two weeks.

                  The Flexibility of Oatmeal
                  There are so many things you can add into your oatmeal other than fruits and nuts. You can also make substitutions for the milk (almond milk, soy milk etc) and flavour of your yogurt. You can also omit the yogurt from the recipe if you don’t like yogurt. You can add different toppings, syrups and seeds (i.e. chia seeds).

                  Why I Love It
                  It keeps me full for longer. It’s low in calories but high in fiber, removes bad cholesterol, contains antioxidants and enhances the immune system. It’s easy to make and and it tastes good!