Categories
Life Rants

Are you constantly dismissing Information from the Internet?

Dismissing sources of information from the Internet just because there are some bad information out there is like shutting down a university just because a few students misspelled the word ‘orange’. Don’t be a believer, read or watch first, then you can judge, please remember that not everything you’ve been taught is accurate forever, science is skeptical of it’s own findings, science is always finding something new, science is humanity’s strongest tool in moving us forward.

The Internet is just another communication medium that just happened to be faster, richer, and more accessible. You wouldn’t be able to read what I’ve written here if it weren’t for the Internet.

We invented the Internet so we don’t have to wait for mails or pigeons to arrive whenever we need to send information to another person at another location.

Yes, I know the Internet has it’s bane too, fake news, impersonation, fake identity, illegal trading, untraceable drugs/ fire arms black market, and etc are only the few things that scratches the surface on the dark side of the Internet.

But please do remember this: Fakes news and bad information exists bar none of the communication medium.

So, read or watch any source of argument whether if it is siding to your pre-conceived beliefs or not before judging. Hell, be skeptical on everything you’re told, no matter if that person is an enemy or a friend, because they might be wrong.

Categories
WIP Podcast

Dungeons Dragons and Festive Seasons

In episode 2 of the Work In Progress Podcast, I sit down with Jay, an old friend of mine discussing about board games and festival seasons in Malaysia.

Jay is an experienced player of D&D and as well as an experience Dungeon Master and in this episode, he explains the ins and outs of the wonderful fantasy tabletop role-playing game that’s been bringing joy to the world since 1974.

In the podcast, Jay enlightened me about a few key points to D&D that the players can take as a guide to make the experience a fun one:

  1. Never be a Dungeon Master if you’re playing for the first time. Ask someone who has experience playing D&D instead.
  2. Never write a story if you’re playing for the first time
  3. Only appoint a person to be the Dungeon Master if you and your group decide that he/she isn’t an a**hole.
  4. D&D is always a great to build your network of acquaintances.
  5. If you’re seeking for a fun time with D&D in Malaysia and don’t know anyone to start, get in touch with me or visit reddit.com/r/malaysia and search for “It’s a good day to dice”.

Fun Fact:
Did you know that if you’re a newly wed Chinese couple, during your first Chinese New Year, it is tradition to offer 2 red packets to visitors that come to your home (one from the husband and one from the wife).

That’s about all we’ve got in this episode of the podcast, enjoy and please do leave a voice message at the WIP Podcast Page at Anchor.fm.

Categories
Nutrition

Ghee, the better butter

What is Ghee?

Ghee, or ‘Minyak Sapi’ in Malay (‘minyak’ means oil and ‘sapi’ means cattle) is a type of clarified butter made from further simmering butter after the evaporation of water and fat from milk solids.
Ghee originated from ancient India and is used for food preparation/ condiments as well as religious purposes for it’s purported sacred properties as product of cows.

This clarified butter has a smoke point of 250°C compared to the average refined vegetable oil at 200°C which makes it way more suitable for deep frying and pan cooking to its stability (saturated fats are less prone to oxidation (a process that turns oil rancid aka poisonous to our body). Refined vegetable oil are also higher in omega-6 than omega-3 fatty acids.

Why do you need fat?

So, here’s a little bit on why you need adequate fat in your body quoted from the Diet Doctor:

  • Helping you absorb the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K [Reference]
  • Regulating inflammation and immunity [Reference]
  • Maintaining the health of your cells, including skin and hair cells [Reference]
  • Adding richness to food, which helps you feel full and satisfied [Reference]

Isn’t Ghee full of Saturated Fat?

Modern pure ghee that are sold these days are 99% milk fat or above which is a better option compared to butter for your health if you can afford it. This is due to the higher content of saturated fat compared to trans and mono/poly unsaturated fat.

Wait, aren’t saturated fat bad for me?

No, there’s been new data from recent studies showing no evidence that dietary saturated fat causes cardiovascular diseases (CVD). However, there’s growing evidence stating that CVD are most likely due to the oxidized processed vegetable oils that’s loaded of trans fatty acids due to the hydrogenation process during factory production.

Here’s a handy video by Dr Paul Mason explaining why saturated fat is not bad for you.

“In summary, numerous lines of evidence show that the omega-6 polyunsaturated fat linoleic acid promotes oxidative stress, oxidised LDL, chronic low-grade inflammation and atherosclerosis, and is likely a major dietary culprit for causing Coronary Heart Diseases, especially when consumed in the form of industrial seed oils commonly referred to as ‘vegetable oils’ “

DiNicolantonio JJ, O’Keefe JH. Omega-6 vegetable oils as a driver of coronary heart disease: the oxidized linoleic acid hypothesis. Open Heart 2018;5:e000898. doi:10.1136/ openhrt-2018-000898 [Link]

Effect of Dietary trans Fatty Acids on High-Density and Low-Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol Levels in Healthy Subjects
List of authors.Ronald P. Mensink, Ph.D., 
and Martijn B. Katan, Ph.D. [Link]

Use of Ghee in Malaysia

Ghee in Malaysia are typically found at the baking isle in grocery stores as many would use it for baking traditional cookies and snacks (be it Indian, Malay, or Chinese).
No wonder those traditional baked goods from Hari Raya, Chinese New Year, or Deepavali taste so damn good.

Those delicious Raya cookies 😋. Image from The Malay Kitchen

Comparison of Pure Ghee and Palm-Based Ghee-like cooking fat

Although traditionally used by many of the population, the rise of palm oil in Asia (mostly originating from Indonesia and Malaysia) has given rise to palm-based ghee-like cooking fat which in my opinion has significantly less benefits compared to pure ghee. I’ll try to explain the difference between these two.

Pure Ghee

Pure Ghee is based on clarifying butter that are made from milk fat (basically purifying butter). This process dates back to before humans had industrial solutions to refine vegetable oils.
Here’s a video by Blue Apron on how pure ghee is made.

The process of ghee production is fairly natural and simple, no hydrogenation, no detergent, no addition of any foreign substances.
Butter is made from milk fats that comes from raw milk.

Palm-Based Ghee-like cooking fat

Palm-Based Ghee-like cooking fat on the other hand is made from palm oil which are fractionated (an industrial process of oil refinement).
Here’s how it’s made.

Notice the mention of the utilization of margarine production process involved, margarine is also one of the processed oil that’s made it into our dining table and it doesn’t have good reputation of being healthy.

Even with the lack of hydrogenation process in the ghee production, palm oil is still one of the seed oil that has gone through multiple unnatural refinery process, the health effects of palm oil still need more research and the environmental impact of palm oil plantation has been widely criticized.

Being one of Malaysia’s largest export, it doesn’t seem that we are going to see any reduction of palm oil consumption here, but that’s a topic for another day.

What to look for?

Always, always look for the word ‘Pure’ and REMEMBER to turn the packaging around to check.

Milk fat at 99.85% shown in Cow & Calf brand Pure Ghee and basically nothing else.
Never get ghee with these ingredients or any that contains anything other than milk fat in it.
This is Windmill brand GheeBlend.

Where to get them?

Ghee should be available in most supermarkets like Giant, Mydin, Tesco, Aeon, or maybe groceries near you.

I am not a nutritionist, doctor, nor an expert in fat. I’m just a curious guy who’s interested in finding out the best way to achieve peak human health while maintaining quality of life as long as possible. If you’re looking for reputable source of information from professionals, take a look at the links that I refer at the Sources Page.

Maybe it’s time to reconsider your fats

I’m not telling you that switching to using ghee to cook and bake will make you suddenly healthier or stronger, I just hope to share what I’ve learned through trial and error to seek for the healthier food and so far I’ve found that ghee (other than pork lard, beef tallow, and lamb suet) to be the optimum fat source in my daily nourishment.

Removing carbohydrates, sugar, grains, vegetables, and vegetable oils from my diet has allowed me to feel healthier and perform better in my lifts which I will be covering in another blog post soon.

Another disclaimer here, I am not recommending any health or nutritional advice. I am merely sharing my findings and experience regarding nutrition which I find very intriguing. If you have any shape or form of health issue, please seek out medical professionals for help.

Thanks so much for reading all the way here, do let me know if you have feedback or questions in the comment section below.

Categories
Nutrition

Getting Pork Lard in a jar in Petaling Jaya

Most must be wondering where to get pork lard while not staying near a pig farm or just staying in the city. Of course you can get pork lard from the fat trimmings of the pork that you purchase from the supermarket. However, you’ll need to heat and render the fat from the trimmings or from the sides of the pork meat causing your whole kitchen/ house to smell like barbeque for every meal you cook. To your convenience, I found this pork lard in a jar sold at almost all Village Grocer branches (I specifically got this from the Atria Shopping Gallery branch) and it allows you to scoop it as if you’re cooking with butter.

Here’s something you can get from Village Grocer for RM12.50 at the time of writing to increase your daily saturated fat intake if you’re practicing the ketogenic or the Paleo Ketogenic Diet.

These refined pork lard doesn’t taste or smell like the typical pork fat that are rendered from heating pork fat/skin on the pan given their refined state but they do add flavor to the meat you cook given enough salt.
In case you’re wondering, yes they do sizzle. I’ll update more information once I’ve found more saturated fats options around town.

Categories
Life Rants

Opportunity Cost and The Price of Saying Yes

Opportunity Cost – noun, used in Economics
Definition: the loss of other alternatives when one alternative is chosen.
E.g.: “idle cash balances represent an opportunity cost in terms of lost interest”

– Oxford Dictionary

No, we’re not going to talk about finance here, it’s way out of my lane. So here’s my take on what opportunity cost is.

Living in modern technological times, we’re always pushed to say ‘YES’ to anything from helping a colleague out to going out on a dinner that you didn’t want to go at the first place.

Because it is convenient to say Yes. Because otherwise, you’re obliged to give a reason that might be seen as an ‘excuse‘. And the idea of having an excuse is kryptonite to many youngsters these days as we are constantly exposed to the entrepreneurial mindset where motivated young people aren’t supposed rest, relax, or reject anything they are presented. This is referred to as ‘hustle porn’ by founder of Reddit, Alexis Ohanian in a presentation in Lisbon.

As if we’re supposed to consume, comply, and chip in our time and effort into every single thing that ‘might’ be beneficial to us in our goals, no matter the goal. We have this idea that everything is connected, that if we place all our of soul into succeeding, and opening ourselves to possible opportunities the best that we can, we will make it somehow.

But, have we stopped to think that being occupied all the time doesn’t only bring in possible new opportunities, but also fatigue, emotional stress (which can increases cortisol in our brains that leads to a cascade of negative health effects that I’ll be discussing here [coming soon]), and eventually burnout (a stage where a person is mentally and/or physically exhausted to a point of tipping).

Here’s a simple case to illustrate my point:
You have a full time job and you’re always working (like 12 hours a day) to prove yourself in the company so that you can make more money.
You have a goal to have a great body, so you have to make time to go to the gym frequently and spend time to cook every single day.
You also have a significant other (be it girl or boy) that not only wants you to be around more but actually need it for the relationship to thrive.
These 3 mains pillars of your life are already taking up at least 18 hours of your day, which only leaves around 6 hours or less for sleep.

Here’s the catch, if you’re trying to improve all these at once, while trying to build a side business or answering to friends’ hang out sessions, you are literally stretching yourself too thin.

Some of the signs that you’re saying ‘YES’ to too many things in life:

  1. If you say ‘YES’ to hanging out with your friends while sacrificing sleep since you already have so much on your plate.
    • Sleep is THE UTMOST IMPORTANT activity in our lives as explained by Dr Matthew Walker in his book ‘Why We Sleep’ (Review here)
    • Lacking of sleep will cause a cascade of health issues that is detrimental not only to your body but also your performance at work, gym, or in bed.
  2. If you say ‘YES’ to starting a new venture/ business with your friend while juggling a full time job/ workout schedule/ and home responsibilities.
    • It all looks pretty on Instagram when people refer to you as an ‘entrepreneur’, however it’s pointless if you’re not putting your best into your potentially great business no matter the cause.
    • If you aren’t handling your current situation well and you barely have enough time to relax while not doing anything, don’t even dream of starting a new business.
  3. If you label yourself with more than 3 things in your IG bio.
    • Yes, your bio will look amazing with multiple titles like ‘Entrepreneur’, ‘Engineer’, ‘Marketer’, ‘Husband/Wife’, ‘Fitness Enthusiast’, ‘Runner’, ‘Powerlifter/Bodybuilder’, but nobody significant in history has been known for more than 1 amazing achievement at once (Elon Musk was the CEO of Zip2 from 1995 until 1999 and that was his sole focus that time, he then proceeded to helm Paypal from 1999 to 2000, then continued his career starting his new venture SpaceX in 2001).
      Okay, Elon Musk might not be the best example but he should a poster-child for someone that excelled in early years of his career but as he piled the responsibilities on, his relationship with his wife suffered, he had troubles sustaining a relationship being on and off relationships even though being a millionaire.
  4. If you barely have enough time to sit down and relax at least an hour a day after fulfilling all your responsibilities.
    • The mind needs to rest from all the work it’s done all day, sleeping doesn’t count if you’re not aiming at least an 8-hour sleep every night.
    • The brain needs downtime as well, now more than ever as we are constantly exposed to instant information in front of the screen from our laptops and mobile phones to the electronic billboards we drive through every single day.

Whenever you’re inclined to say ‘YES’ to anything extra next time, think again, think about what would you say No to in order to accommodate your new activity.

Then evaluate which gives you more joy 1 day, 10 days, and 100 days from now:
Saying Yes to the new thing
OR
Saying No to the many things that you are already on your plate.

Categories
Uncategorized

Hello world!

This will be the first post of WorkInProgress.my.

This is where me, James Leng will be placing my posts and all things related to my podcasting, lifting, and occasionally coding/ computer stuffs. Topics of this website will range from modern nutrition, health, sports, and many more random stuffs.

At this moment of posting, I have published an episode of my first podcast ever, titled ‘Conversations Over Coffee’ discussing about personal finance and marriage with 3 of my friends.

Listen to the latest episode by clicking the play button below:

Link to all episodes