April 15, 2009

A Health Starter Kit with the Smiling Dragon

It's been more or less two months I have joined Tai Chi class, and I cannot feel more gratitude than how much improving my health has been since.

To be honest, I was very sick last year, very moody with severe headaches, perhaps almost on the state of depression with delicate emotional being. I felt so alone. I could not even concentrate and lost interests in anything else but myself. I felt like there's darkness in my mind, and I was blind. I was not me, to be short, really.

I was lucky enough to have a very wonderful husband who really looks after me and understands what I need. With his help of muscle testing, I start a new approach of lifestyle. What I eat is what my body needs. I am aware of what she needs and what does not. Yes, there are temptation, but again, I am doing it for me, because I am not alone. My presence is needed by my family, and to them, I am precious. Does not it make you happy, to be needed by your loved ones? And why should I miss every moment of it, just because I am not looking after myself?

Introduced by Tamara, the Smiling Dragon, our lovely Tai Chi instructor, Tai Chi has become another path way of life for me to get on. It helps improving my health. I benefited from every movement and breathing exercise.

To me, Tai Chi is just like the movements of Yoga and meditation at the same time, and I don't consider it as martial arts (although the movements of Tai Chi themselves originated from martial arts), but more as the meditative exercise of my body, mind, and spirit. In Chinese Philosophy, everyone has 'chi' energy floating in their body, but it is depending on himself/herself to generate this chi within, so that chi can circulate to the nervous and vascular system, therefore a healthy well-being is enhanced.

"Stiff and bending is the principle of death. Gentle and yielding is the principle of life. Thus an army without flexibility never wins a battle. A tree that is unbending is easily broken. The hard and strong will fall. The soft and weak will overcome." [Tao Te Ching]

That philosophy can describe the principle of Tai Chi, I suppose. With its slow movements, you are AWARE of your arms moving, your weight is shifting to another foot, your foot is touching the ground, you feel your abdomen moving while you're breathing, and yourself makes connection within. The slower you do it, the stronger you can feel your chi energy is generated. I always feel my palms and body grow warmer during the movements and this is a pleasant feeling. It is true that Tai Chi can foster tranquil mind and it calms me down.

I am so happy, like I've never been before. Thank you, Tamara!!

Now, this is my entry for Cooking to Combat Cancer 3, hosted by Chris of Melecotte. The third year, ladies and gentlemen! My first entry was Ong Choy Salad, and second was Gado-Gado and Blueberry Yogurt. This is my third, and I am going gluten-free. Do you know what the muscle testing results on this? YES!

Gluten-Free Almond and Pineapple Biscuits by ab '09

Gluten-Free Almond and Pineapple Biscuits

1 1/2 cup ground almond
1 1/2 cup gluten-free flour
1/4 cup caster sugar
3-4 Tbs rice bran oil
1 egg

Preheat the oven to 170C. Line the baking trays with baking paper. Combine rice bran oil, egg, and sugar, whisk well. Combine ground almond and gluten-free flour. Pour in the wet mixture, mix well. Roll into balls and put them on the baking trays. Make an indent in the centre and spoon the pineapple jam on top. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the biscuits are crisp. Makes 20-25.

Homemade Pineapple Jam

1 pineapple, peeled, removed the eyes if there are to be seen. Remove the core, and chopped. Put the chopped pineapple in the food processor, and puree. Pour it into a saucepan or frying pan. Throw in 2 whole cloves and 1 small cinnamon stick. Cook until thickened, then add 1/2 cup to 1 cup white sugar, depending on how sweet the pineapple is. Cook until thick and becomes paste which should not be dry. Use this to fill the biscuits. Makes a middle size jar.

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Jeena said...

Lovely post. I am glad that you have got over your rough patch, it is strange what our minds and bodies can do...

I have considered taking up tai chi in the past but always thought I might not have the patience to do it. :-) Sometimes for some people relaxing can be harder than being busy.

I love your gluten free recipe they look delightful. :-)

Peter G said...

Glad to see you've found your balance in life Arfi...we all have different journeys and it's been very interesting hearing yours. Great bikkies btw! Love the pineapple jam too!

Y said...

Wishing you all the best of health, Arfi. Those gluten free biscuits look great.

Chris said...

Lovely post, Arfi! Thank you for being so open and participating for yet another year. I haven't tried gluen - free flour yet. hmmm...adding it to my list! Cheers!

Barbara said...

I love the sound of the pineapple paste. I have done Tai Chi and loved it. I think I'll go back to it now you've talkd about it.

Arfi Binsted said...

@ Jeena: perhaps you will find a type of sports that you will enjoy :)

@ P: yes, and I am, too P. I am so glad I am out of that miserable state now. Everything comes clear and I am just like a new person.

@ Y: thank you, Y. Same to you.

@ Chris: you're most welcome, my friend :)

@ Barbara: that's good if you'd like to do it again. There are many older women in the class who have weaknesses and sicknesses at some parts, and this modified Tai Chi helps them to get better. Perhaps, it will also be able to help you after your chemo.

Arwen said...

Arfi, they look lovely. It's great the way you make these small quantities of home made jam. I will have to give it a go.

I'm glad the thai chi is working well for you. I've been enjoying yoga, but it's hard to make sure that you fit in a class each week.

Zita said...

You really know how to enjoy life...

gluten free flour ya mbak? enak gak sih?... aku pengen nyoba tapi takut gak enak ;)

amerrierworld said...

They look lovely, Arfi - like little drops of sunshine! Have you ever come across Byron Katie? I find that her ideas and way of looking at life sit very easily with Buddhist and meditative philosophies.

Coffee and Vanilla said...

Great recipe... I'm recently in need for gluten free recipes (friends son is intolerance to gluten)... so I may be back soon to make it.

Have a nice day and don't forget to send entry to Mayan Magic Chocolate-Making Kit Giveaway on my site! :)


Happy cook said...

Here they gve tai chilessons, and when it is good weather they sometimes practice in the beach or in the center garden, it is always so tanquil to see them doing the excersie.
I live pineappla and the biscuits loks so yumm.