• #julie28dayschallenge

    The #

    For those following me on IG, you might have noticed this hashtag. I was recently on a 28 days-to-lean-meal plan where I do 5 meals daily consisting mainly protein, fiber and greens. It was a very interesting journey of consciously paying attention to what enters the body, thanks to the lean meal plan which I easily looked up on the net.

    The primary goal of the plan is to achieve fat-loss without compromising other valuable bodily needs and nutrition.  It didn’t take me long to decide that I will go all out to make this #julie28dayschallenge a real one.



    Anything with pushing off a cart and going down racks of food and down the fresh section is fun (and you sorta can go on and on). Anything which looks good will land into the cart and out of the cashier. For the #julie28dayschallenge, I’ve got a list with all the ‘raw’ stuff that I need to make the plan happen. My first stock lasted me for about 2 weeks (times 5 meals to 14days) a. This plan is more than a lean-meal to the body..its also lean to the pockets considering the net averagewas spending on each meal.

    A few things had to be sacrificed temporarily for this challenge, but I was mentally set (well that’s what I thought how I should be gearing up mentally) when I first started.

    The 1st week

    Hubs was away and it sort of complimented the fact I shall be preparing my meals for myself. Lil one had her own meals (confined to dinner after I pick her up from school). So it just so coincidentally happen that the kitchen space will be mine. I stayed up a lil to make sure  I have the food prepared according to meal (the first few session it was literally up to the milligrams!)

    The thing about this plan is the meals are all healthy, tasty (if you can make them taste better even better), and healthily satisfying. No second thoughts on that. Remember its not really on the amount of food you eat but rather what your food intake is really consisting of.

    The plan provided me no more than 2000 calories/day. I could have been more calculative but the general feeling which I got as I started my 1st week of the #julie28dayschallenge is that I am already consuming much lesser calories, and not just that I am eating healthier too!

    And to make things more motivating for me, I decided to post my meals on IG !


    The 2nd week

    Looking at the plan daily was really fun (I know.. I should have just printed them). Some photos below from the challenge :-



    I am not a natural cook hence every single bit needed referencing ie how to grill steak , how to make the perfect omelet, et cetera and et cetera. Along that line I actually got myself a steamer, so that I can steam the greens (and chicken!). I even got the hang of preparing my own lean steak. It was fun in one sense, but sometimes when you’re alone at home and have to juggle different house chores, it can be tiring ! So time management is important too !

    Preparing the meals in batches worked well for me (ie steam all the broccoli/chicken breast for 2 days meal in 1 shot). It saved the hassle having to wash so many dishes. And oh, the Tupperware suddenly became my best friend, and the tea lady at the pantry in the office becomes my regular spectator watching me unpack my food stock and placing them in the office fridge !

    Before this I didn’t know it is super duper easy to prepare some of the meals I’ve mentioned. Of course these are not the regular ‘masak rendang’ or ‘masak kari/merah’ meals – they’re not messy and meal prep time is quite short :)



    The 3rd week

    I’ve gotten the hang of this #julie28dayschallenge.

    And 1 of the rules which is allowed in this challenge is at least 1 cheat meal per week (recommended: the 5th day of each week depending on when you start the plan). I couldn’t really plan my ‘cheat meal’ day as sometimes I had to attend lunches with colleagues (colleague farewell, team lunch etc). The fix was to just burn off the calories accordingly.

    Since week 2,  trips to FRIM, Kepong with friends and colleagues became more regular Lil one tagged along as well. Or at night/early in the morning, I go out for a short run. Minimum of 30mins, and 40mins at max.


    1 of the many #julie28dayschallenge IG post !

    The plan iup the 3rd week is to really focus on following what’s in the meal plan . And towards the end of the 4th week is to slowly start a training routine (signed up for a small race in November). I did not even track my weight regularly. I just step on the scale whenever I feel to. Alhamdulillah the biggest difference with my starting weight (56.6kg) is at max a 4kg difference. Again, the objective of the plan is to guide me towards a lean-meal diet, and not weight loss though ultimately it might as well end to that. Just say it’s a bonus which will finish up as quickly as it came if I continued eating the way I ate before starting this #julie28days challenge.

    A couple of friends have asked if I was on an all-natural diet (ie no processed food). I mentioned to my buddies that the plan gears up for a lean-meal diet and at the same time fat-loss (not necessarily weight loss). The higher protein intake gears up the body for a higher metabolism and help maintain muscle mass, all of which helps with fat burning (www.bodybuilding.com). I can’t remember how many egg whites I’ve consumed for this challenge !


    The 4th week

    I’d like to just reiterate that being practical with the meal plan and preparation is important. One is to avoid disappointing family members and colleagues just because…’..’, and secondly to make sure you own craving for that chocolate bar doesn’t backfire on you and spoil the rest of the remaining weeks. If you really have to accept that ice-cream offer, bubble tea idea and (lets just face the fact) you really had no time to prepare your meals, than do with what you have(and have to). Remembers this is an act of getting to know your own limitation. Just like how you thought you would never climb that hill and one day you realise that you are looking down from that hill ! You can. Your potential is tuned in your attitude and mind. *sounds familiar?*

    By the 4th week I’ve already felt a sense of achievement in me which I can take on to a different level after this. Try another type of plan perhaps? But the standing ovation came from the office pantry when my colleague (who I never really discussed) on my meal plan began describing my breakfast menu to the bosses who came and take a look at my fruit salad meal I was preparing.

    So being healthy (what you do, eat, think..) is something which should be a part of a lifestyle. Not just a passing zone which you enter, experience, exit and forget.

    Incorporating healthy eating habit should never be confined to just a ‘plan’–. But beyond that, with enough knowledge and fact, you can always tap on the healthy food and cuisine which you can find (and source) around you. It is easier said than done, but think again..its all in the mind. Give and take is the rule of the game. Eat and burn !


    The 5th week

     So now the big #julie28dayschallenge hoohaa is now over. What next ? What next is accepting the fact that I’ve learn something from the 28days experience. One of the take aways is that I can happily now pay attention to what I eat before I consume them. Like the Snickers bar this morning.. Flipped the packet..and ‘makk aihhhh 24g of fat !’ *pengsan*. But it was okay, I was celebrating my 29th day , yeayyy ! That followed by invitation to Kudu (a famous nasi kandar line in Jalan TAR, KL). So double that celebration. Of course I had to pay for my own meal lah. Had a very nice catch up with old buddies from the cycling and triathlon scene. Met Aini Zakaria after a long hiatus !! She’s expecting her 5th by the way if you know her. Memang super mummy. Hancik (silap, IM Hancik) lost so much weight . Congrats Hancik on the 14:22 ! Awesome feat !

    Azmar (another tri/cycling/kudu gang) is away in Langkawi for his MTB marathon (bak kat Dicky ‘marathon) with his team. Good luck Azmar !

    Yeah, so back to the question ‘What next ?’ Well, I’ve been started running lately—earlier for fitness… and now for that little race next month. I shall be travelling again soon insyaAllah but will try to eat as healthily as my #julie28dayschallenge. Perhaps experiment with more delicious and healthy recipes. Sapa ada, please share !


    Pic taken on Day 27 of the #julie28dayschallenge. First ride after so long. That’s lil one in my way (so we decided to turn it into a photo opt!) before I rode off. This was the  bike I used at IM Langkawi in 2009! *yellow submarine is thy nameth*winkss*


    So if you’re thinking to…

    If you think you want to give this 28 days challenge a shot, I’ve uploaded the document file right– >>  5 day meal- 28 days plan which I’ve formatted in table format to ease viewing (original source: here). There is a nutrition fact summary in the last row which tells what/how much you’ve consumed based on that particular day meal plan :

    Example :

    “1,959 calories, 254 g protein, 132 g carbohydrate, 39 g fat, 17 g fiber’.


    I’ve also included a groceries listing to ease my shopping spree at the supermarket !


    Lean meal shopping tips

    1- Sort out your list first according to the plan

    2- Tell your household/housemates that you’re on this plan and not to touch your stock in the fridge (unless they’re on the same plan as ya!)

    3- Buy enough fresh goods to last 1 week. Coordinate from there as your fridge may/may not fit everything

    4-Eggs are staple in this meal. Buy them in rack to save more $$

    5- Go organic/natural/healthier option whenever  you can (think organic sea salt, brown sugar, low fat peanut butter spread)

    6- For fresh good stock up for a good 1 week and see how it goes from there unless asparagus and butter heads can stay fresh for 3 week !

    7-Don’t forget to vary the greens and fruits :) If extra, throw em in your salad mix ! Or share them, y’know

    8. Look for the fat/sugar measurements in the nutrition info table printed on that low fat milk carton. Some brands have lower measurement/serving/box (ie HL has lower fat % compared to Dutch Lady low fat milk).


    Some things to stay away from (in order for this challenge to succeed!)

    1. Stay off the scale (unless you’re doing it once a week )

    2. Snacking on chocolate and sweets as regularly as before you started this meal

    3. Not ever treating yourself once a while (you can reward yourself with a cheat meal at least once a week), or have that Sara Lee ice-cream. Just remember to ‘pay back’



    If you have any health issues or are expecting, best to consult your physician before starting any meal plan for that matter. This is not a weight loss program. This is a lean-meal-plan or ‘burn-fat-fast-eating-plan’ according to musclefitness.com.


    Feel free to give feedback, or if you have any questions do drop me a line. I shall be responding as a ‘user’ of this meal plan .


    Thank you and all the best !!


  • Waking up from blog-a-hibernation

    Salam and hello world ! It feels good, fresh and crispy to be back writing ! I have been happily  moving along with the real world and life outside this screen I almost don’t have the time to share with you folks any updates. I have been out and about !

    Work as usual

    Work is as usual, and I would like to maintain that the real job is really with the people whom you care most ie parents, spouse, children and all your loved ones. Planning to have a balanced and fulfilled work-life is an art which which needs patience and practise in order to become a master. I’m novice but hey, I am taking a step at a time to learn this. Not everything was ‘handed’ down or asked in exams eyh ?

    Working out as usual too (yeahh !!!)

    I have to admit that I was through plateau stage the past few months where the day-in and day-out seems to mirror each other the same way, every day, for every week and every month. It was a struggle getting a pair of sneakers on, what more clicking that helmet underneath my chin ! Good news is I have finally managed to break through (think a pupa morphing) this shell and I am on it again , yeahh !!! Heading out to the parks and forests was the best thing my family and I could do — so both eventually benefit. Lil one gets to meet mother nature and mommi gets to burn some extra calories climbing those hills. Real fun ! *check out pics below*

    Park and slides

    Ahhh yes, not forgetting the land of children kingdom – where all kids rule. This is simple one of the places where babies and kids become lesser cranky babies, and happy kids happier ( and adults ..’man I wish I was a kid again!).  I’ve been getting the signals from the soft and cute tug on the hand every time I come home from work with her. So instead of heading right to the door, its now the slide ! *LO can’t pronounce ‘slide’. Ends up sound more like ‘shide’..

    The great outdoors

    Frequenting FRIM (Forest Research Institute Malaysia) in Kepong has never felt better. This month alone I have made 3 trips with my little one :) First trip (if you are familiar) was through Rover’s Track – short and sweet despite somebody having a careless fall because she was running a tad too fast for her size and couldn’t balance. The next 2 visits were basically up Steroid Hill and the Helipad. It was fun and not stressful at all as I took the pace easy. Carrying her was part of the work out. That’s how I mentally kept going ! I will be organising another trip this weekend, and if you happen to got to Helipad/Steroid, I hope I bump into you ! Say Hello! Oh and I saw Shanaz, Nik and Richard Tang (Ironman) too.

    If you happen to look for natural parks where you and your family can stroll along, I would suggest FRIM. Its within the vicinity of KL/Selangor. Plenty parking space , walker/runner and mountain bike friendly trail with different difficulty/technical levels to choose from. There is a canopy walk too if you like to enjoy the beauty from above ! I’ve never tried it but look forward to it one day insyaAllah. note: you have to purchase the access ticket from the FRIM Info Center@Souvenir Shop. There’s a limit to how many visitors are allowed on the canopy walk/day. So better come early to get your tickets. More info on the canopy walk here.

    Some pics from my recent trips to FRIM below :-

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    Hashtag #julie28dayschallenge

    I’ve been on a 28 days challenge to achieve a lean-meal diet and fat burn loss (please don’t confuse this with a weight loss program, I am fine with my weight for now ! Look up for the hashtag #julie28dayschallenge to see what its all about.

    Some pics from my IG postings below :-

    Will catch up in my next post ! Adios !

    Lil miss A and missJeweLz

    Lil miss A and missJeweLz #lovethestairsbehindme

  • Blackout

    That feeling and sensation when you are looming in pitch darkness. You are not quite sure what to do,where to move and how to even begin thinking what to do next.

    You may choose to accept the darkness and ‘continue’ to do whatever that needs to be done,besides you still have your other capable senses functioning. You may also have choose to wait and see if any hero will come to the rescue. It always happens in the books and movies ! Or,you can start looking for a solution– either by getting out of the room, stay in the room and search for a source of light as you know how that darkness have a slow but certain crippling effect on your especially once it starts crawling up your neck into your soul. Then you realise the greatness of having a light or sunshine– which lit up your entire life. You continue to search for that light. At the far end of that room, is another person.. you are not quite sure who. He or she doesn’t seem to react to your mumbles as you score the walls and floor for a solution.


    What’s this fuss all about?

    That person has lost hope ( apparently,according to this story line). To him ( or could it be a ‘her’?) what happens ,happens. Nothing can be done. You continue your struggle alone now knowing how hopeless it is to rely on somebody else who is ignorant, weak and silent. He ( or she) acknowledges the darkness but chose to ignore it. Close one eye,or both,the view is pretty much the same. ‘What’s all this fuss about? ‘ this person whispers..

    So lets ask ourselves for once which character are we..? If that character is not listed here,chances are you might not be in that dark room at the first place. You are outside. Aware of whats going on inside you can choose to be i) ease the burden of those inside ii) add to their sorrow or iii) choose to acknowledged but ignore their miseries by pretending to be concerned when in fact you haven’t lifted a single finger to help. You choose,to close one eye and continue to complain on slow internet and how your refrigerator is running out of space. Your phone battery is about to die off but you manage to play a game of Bejeweled Blitz or two and in the interim expressing your ‘dismay’ to those trapped in the dark room. You continue to play another round of Bejeweled Blitz.

    Its been a blackout period to those who ‘feel’ for the Palestinians. May Allah grant them strength,courage and sabr. I’m in the mix (emotionally).. there are channels to help and reach out to them. Deep inside i know i haven’t done anything much. At guilt. I hardly comment on the heartbreaking photos of young shaheedsc. I reserve my comments and turn those into questions. Many questions are unanswered,and many problems haven’t been resolved because those essential questions have not been answered.


    Wake up call, again

    Its been a blackout period for me because I am loomed in that darkness.. and not sure where to begin. The soul searching begins in this last 10 days of Ramadhan and its apparent to me this is what I want to share with the rest of you reading. Does not make sense for me to write ‘how to save $ for eid/raya celebration’ or how to train for a triathlon. Doesn’t sync with the psychological turmoil which I am going through. And now with the gunning down of Malaysian Airlines #MH17.


    Back to Gaza

    To me,true understanding of whats happening in Gaza (and else where) is as important. We can continue to sympathize and extend our help to the victims of this oppressed state but we’ll never get to the bottom of it until we fully understand why  it happened.

    I’m a staunch believer in history and how it tends to repeat itself. What those people saw during the Holocaust, the apartheid, Iraqi war, etc.. its the same story and over. Country leaders toppled,human lives wiped out. So are we just going to sit and become another spectator,or start taking steps to end all this evil..? Never be shy to read and dig up more of the story from both sides and see where you stand and how you can step into help.

    Also note that Allah does not test any ummah or insan unless its bearable to them. I believe the Palestinians shall make it through,and the rest of us to give support and help to our brothers,sisters and children in Palestine. You dont have to be a Muslim to give and show support for Gaza/ Palestine. The rallies around the world are proof how the world comes in solidarity,for a common goal.

    What sets you apart from those who choose to be ‘silent’ and those who wants join in to help.. ? I will let you answer that on your own time.

    The internet connection at my home is garbage and i’m left writing this on my phone. Fridge is running out of space– time to reshuffle the goods inside. Daughter was sick and mummy was ‘suffering’ from cold and flu– monthly report due nex week and sustainability report to be completed by tomorrow. All this worldly miseries are NOTHING. I’m fasting, breaking fast to good and more than enough food to last the week. One lady was bombed while waiting for iftar — leaving blood in her plate of food.

    Some of us are already planning for vacation, a trip to the beautiful beautiful beaches in Turkey or Greece ( and still deciding between the two). 4 kids were killed playing on the beach in Gaza. I have a beautiful daughter,somebody’s son was bombed leaving a huge whole in his skull for the whole world to view,and share on Facebook yet some of us are still taking things for granted.. We dont pay attention to our kids and yell at them all the time to justify our parenting style and anger. .until they’re gone of course.

    Young shaheeds 

    I know my munchaquila is God sent soul. I was chosen to be her mother and. I am responsible in her care taking and upbringing. She IS the investment for me,like how all the young shaheeds are in Palestine– for their parents and family. I am sure they are all in Jannah now praying for their parents forgiveness and that they may be united soonest possible. The earth is just a transition where we leave our deeds and wisdom. What do you want to leave when you eventually go..?

    Blackout is a test and whoever in that room better buck up and stay united to get out of the darkness. Those outside the room,be prepared to get these people out soon ! They deserve light and sunshine like you.

    Note: my friend Mafeitzeral Mamat  is among the medical team who left KLIA last night to assist in Palestine. May Allah bless the entourage,the trip and work in Palestine,and for their trip bad to Malaysia InsyaAllah.


    Al Fatihah

    Al Fatihah also to the crash victims of #mh17 . Another test for us Malaysians. Lets stay united. Undivided. And stop spreading ‘aib’ orang on your social media. Its as good as backbiting. Allahualam. ( Allah Knows best)




  • Ramadhan Kareem 1435 A.H.

    Ramadhan Kareem to all my Muslim brothers and sisters. (Ramadhan Kareem literal translation = ‘Ramadhan is Generous’



    Let’s together leave a lasting impression during this Holy Month of Ramadhan which we have been given the chance to enjoy.. Appreciate each moment as if its your last Ramadhan. Close your ties, forgive your enemies, give charity pay your zakat, and say Syukur Alhamdulillah for all which you have been blessed with – insyaAllah.




    On the authority of Abee Hurayrah, رضي الله عنه who said, “The Messenger of Allaah صلى الله عليه وسلم said, “A person is upon the Deen of his friend. So let each one of you look to whom he keeps as a friend.” [Reported by Ahmad (2/303), Aboo Daawood (no.4812) and at-Tirmidhee (no.2484).]


    Announcement : Al-Fatihah buat saudara Jafryin Jaafar, seorang penggemar tegar sukan berbasikal, yang kembali kepada Rahmatullah pada hari ini 30 Jun 2014. Beliau terlibat dalam kemalangan sewaktu menunggang basikal bersama rakan-rakannya pada Jumaat lepas. Solat jenazah akan diadakan di Surau Bangi Perdana pada waktu Asar hari ini. Salam takziah kepada keluarga arwah. Diharap bersabar menempuh ujian Allah ini. Semoga roh arwah sentiasa diberkati rahmat ilahi. Amin..

  • Dates / Tamar / Kurma Price Guide 2014 (Malaysia) and other dates info

    This is a fun project which I stumbled on when looking for where to purchase my dates stock for the upcoming Ramadhan. Date is a type of fruit from date palm. Synonymous with the desert and Arabic Peninsular, the fruit (and tree) has a historical and cultural connection with the Middle East and Indus Valley region. In recent times, the fruit is widely cultivated worldwide including countries like Australia, United States (Nevada, California), Mexico, China, India and Pakistan.


    A date palm loaded with dates !! Photo from http://commons.wikimedia.org/

    A date palm loaded with dates !! Photo from http://commons.wikimedia.org/



    A medjool date palm in United States. Florida, Nevada and California are known to cultivate date palms. Groundworks for example specializes in Canary Island date palm, Medjool date palm and Zahidi date palm.

    A medjool date palm in United States. Florida, Nevada and California are known to cultivate date palms. Groundworks for example specializes in Canary Island date palm, Medjool date palm and Zahidi date palm. Photo from datepalm.com. Date palm offshoots were first actively imported to the united states in 1913, a good 100 years ago.



    View at a Mexican date palm plantation. Photo from http://davereilly.blogspot.com/

    View at a Mexican date palm plantation. Photo from http://davereilly.blogspot.com/


    Let’s take a look at some of the requirements to grow this wonderful plant :-

    • long and hot summers, no (or at most low) rainfall
    • very low relative humidity level during the ripening period
    • exceptional high temperatures (± 56°C) are well endured by a date palm for several days under irrigation.
    • during winters, temperatures below 0°C are also endured.


    It is not the easiest plant to grow because heavy rain which we think is beneficial for most plants, is not the case for date palm. Rain is likely to cause damage to the harvest (date fruit) during flowering and harvest season. Of course there are other factors to be considered i.e wind, moisture, soil. In case you still insist to plant it in your backyard, check out this link.

    Note : Day to harvest = 4 – 7 years


    I have compiled a price guide for both retail (small quantity) and bulk purchase from 2 biggest hypermarkets in the country (Malaysia) ; Tesco and Giant. Additionally 2 wholesalers who sell their products both at their stores, and online. If you are interested to stock up for Ramadhan, or simply to donate this wonderful and nutritious fruit to the mosques, orphanages etc, the wholesale buy would be a better option.


    Dates Tamar Kurma Price Guide -Malaysia (2014)- Tab A

    Dates Tamar Kurma Price Guide -Malaysia (2014)- Tab B

    Dates Tamar Kurma Price Guide -Malaysia (2014)- Tab C-F

    Dates Tamar Kurma Price Guide -Malaysia (2014)(wholelist)



    How to use the guide :

    1. Decide which type of purchase are you going to make. Small quantity or bulk ? If small quantity, view tab A. For bulk purchaser, tab B is for you. Use tab C-F if you want to compare dates prices within a store.

    2. For small quantity purchaser (tab A), RM/g is listed from lowest to highest against the weight (g) (also arranged from low to high).

    3. For bulk purchaser(tab B), RM/g is listed from lowest to highest against the weight(g)(highest to lowest).

    4. For those interested to check out prices within a store of choice (ie. Tesco, Giant), prices are arranged from lowest RM/gram to the highest in tab C-F. There are 4 stores in this guide ; Tesco, Giant, Mahnaz Food and Berkat Madinah.

    5. Online shop links and store location link are also available in this guide.


    Summary points :

    Your feedback on this post and comparison guide is highly appreciated. This is my first ‘fun’ project involving price comparison and guides so, please be gentle.


    Disclaimer : The various types of dates differ in their size, quality and nutritional values. This post and guide does not include those information. Irregardless, dates are essentially good for both diet and health. Check out these 2 links for some additional info on dates and its nutrients : Dates nutrition facts Medjool dates nutrition facts

    Thanks and have a great weekend ahead !



    Sources :-

    1. http://www.datepalm.com/

    2. http://www.pubhort.org/

    3. http://www.kcet.org/

    4. http://www.gardeningblog.net/

    5. http://en.wikipedia.org/

    6. http://www.fao.org/



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