KYOTO 京都

Time to get out of big cities and experience old fashioned Japanese culture merged into unique nature of the continent. 

Kyoto is only 15 minutes away from Osaka (via Shinkansen) that makes easy to commute a day trip to the destination. Interesting fact that Kyoto used to be the capital of Japanese island Honsu. Therefore, it contains so many historical places, imperial palaces, temples. Due to invasion of Buddhist clergy into the Imperial government trying to influence on decisions of the Palace, the decision was made to move the capital to Edo in 19th century. 

Edo was later called 東京, meaning “Eastern Capital” which pronounces Tokyo. We all know Tokyo. 

Kyoto tried to be re-named as 西京, meaning “Western Capital”, however, came back to Kyoto giving the city that legacy of thousand-year capital (千年の都).

If you love hiking and exploring thousand year history, you should definitely go to Kyoto. There is one great FITNESS solution here that I have done in the past. As a part of that international crew that I joined fair few years ago, we went on a bike ride from Osaka to Kyoto. The distance between these two are 55,6km which makes your legs burned at the end of the day (this distance doesn’t include another 20-25 kms cruising around the city). 

Kyoto is fairly big city but mostly famous for its cultural events and nature. Heading there on a bike, you will get obsessed with its nature in its fullest. Moreover, it will make your trip more accessible to reach different temples where you can sometimes enjoy kabuki theatre or some dancing festivals.

One of the most famous festivals in Kyoto in October is Jidai Matsur (“Festival of Ages”). Day when Japanese citizens come out of their houses and dress up as people of the past to acknowledge oldest people of the land and “touch” the thousand year old history of the area.

Jidai Matsuri is held every October 22nd (*Will be held on October 26th in 2019), as it was on this day in 794 AD that Emperor Kanmu made Kyoto Japan’s imperial capital, a status that would last for over 1,000 years, right through to 1869 when the capital was then moved to Tokyo. *Note: The 2019 procession is exceptionally scheduled on October 26 as October 22 falls on the day of the Enthronement Ceremony of the Emperor in Tokyo. If you know a lovely Japanese person, do not hesitate to say some nice words on the day to them in regards to their celebration. They will appreciate the fact that you know and respect their culture and heritage. 

When you are in Kyoto, it is a MUST to visit Bamboo Forest of Nishikyo-ku and go pass Jizo-in Temple.  

The Forest is located just 15-minute from the central station of Kyoto. You will meet a lot of locals there – this is their place to go hiking, enjoy and appreciate the nature around them. Do not forget to pack some bento boxes to share picnic with your friends. 

Appreciation of beauty is another thing that I would like to highlight in this article. I have already mentioned it in my previous blog posts dedicated to Japan – great lesson to learn from Japanese: 

They do see the beauty around them, in other people, in items around them. They are very united with the universe if it makes sense. How many times we walk pass a beautiful park and do not even stop next to a bunch of beautiful flowers or natural arrangements around? We are always in a rush – the modern life demands us to be like that and it is understandable. 

Check out my previous post about mindfulness through appreciation of things around here .

This is why I love to visit Japan and “slow down” here. This is where you can re-unite with yourself, disappear in that Bamboo Forest to stay with your thoughts, discover new pathways and just let many things go that stuck in your soul like stones dragging you down. This is what Kyoto is about. 

Forget about FASHION here – this place is not about parade show. It is the place to discover yourself and be as you are without all these current trends, instagram stories and showcasing fancy lifestyle – leave it all for the next destinations…

Ange xx 

OSAKA 大阪

My personal choice in Japan.

My second destination is already well-known to me and, if you read my blog notes before, majority of my previous articles were written here, based on Osaka knowledge. 

So, it is clearly cheating from me to write a blog now. Doesn’t matter – I believe you can always discover something new if you really looking for it.

The reason why I called Osaka my personal choice is it is the place where you can experience everything you need in Japan if you really looking for it. 

First of all, looking at the city from gorgeous and unique architecture design of the Umeda Sky Garden, you will clearly see that the city is very modern and reminds you a bit of a Tokyo. When you walk down from the view point and start looking around the city centre, you realise how many international places around – another similarity with Tokyo. There is one huge difference, I would say one advantage over Tokyo, the Osaka city was not built crowded and touristic. The city obviously attracts millions of tourists a year, however, it is not trying to attract them with its touristic look like Tokyo does. This is what makes this place unique to me and my experience.

Throwing back to those long 7 years ago when I arrived to Osaka for a couple of months of summer holidays. That time I didn’t enter to Japanese school so was by myself and I needed to make some friends. 

I went to Starbucks (yes, before Australia I thought it was really cool place to be lol) and found a brochure with international meet ups. My English was weak but good enough to understand what’s written there regarding type of events, dates, locations and other important details. I carried that brochure everywhere like my passport. 

My International meet up journey started when I walked it to meet and greet at one Irish pub in Shinsaibashi. No-one checked my ID when I came to the bar and ordered Asahi. I sat down next to the international group – Canadian and American guys and one Japanese girl. They started talk to me. Found may first friends! 

Interesting to say that Ai (that amazing Japanese girl is in Melbourne now doing her own business in massage and beauty industry). We managed to catch in Melbourne last year – amazing that we both ended up in Australia. 

Those international friends took me on board and introduced me to meet up organisers. They took me to bike tours to Kobe and Kyoto. They got me to volunteer to international parties where I was given wristbands at the entrance. Then they were sneaking a VIP wristband to me so I could enter a party being 17 year old. Considering over age is 20 in Japan, I wouldn’t clearly experience incredible parties walking out the venue at sunrise time!

Anyways, the bottom line, Osaka was, is and will always be international hub in Japan but more inclusive than gigantic Tokyo. Going to Irish, English or international cafes pubs to find out where they meet up – I still believe that trip was my very best one because of that. 

Osaka is a bit cleaner – again, due to its size. It is easier to navigate around the city, the metro lines are more structured. Due to the fact that I have been there so many times, I can easily give you an overview of some of the areas to visit in Osaka. I went for a run the other morning and can say that outdoor walk/run is the best way to discover hidden shops and fascinating areas. Many beautiful stores are literally condensed in the city to fit more. 

FASHION – I have already mentioned Shinsaibashi. This area of Osaka is famous for its shopping lines (“leave all your money in Shinsaibashi”), great dining and places for parties and night life. 

Shinsaibashi never sleeps. You can shop there from 10-11:00am until late night. I could see how some people were buying new party dresses, got changed in them and went straight to night clubs and pubs to keep going. 

Shinsaibashi has everything from Japanese local brands to world famous outlets; from modern styles to luxury brands. There is a big shopping mall in the heart of Shinsaibashi called Daimaru. Daimaru is like Bondi Junction Westfield – this is how good it is!

Another thing to mention is better not to plan a day trip to Osaka if you plan to see some of the Osaka’s attractions. You need to spend the whole decent day to appreciate the fashion and go through stylish outlets in Shinsaibashi. If you are aiming for fashionista title, it is a big lie to say you will get enough fashion inspiration for a couple of hours in Shinsaibashi. You need at least one full day. Then head to an Irish pub at the end of the day to share your fashion knowledge with other Internationals. If you discuss it with Japanese, it might be even more different though as they have different vision in fashion.

FITNESS – Osaka has encouraged me to use the stairs over elevators or escalators. There are a lot of walks and transfers from one metro line to another. Go for stairs! Also, due to lesser crowds, it is much nicer and better to run outdoor in Osaka. My only recommendation is try to do it before 7:20am – 1) the sun goes up and it is super humid at this time of the year (summer is even worse); 2) people are start heading to work. You may notice that many people have to travel intercity so all the metros and shinkansens are packed from early mornings. 

 Just given a small overview of the 1-day Osaka itinerary so you can cover “different aspects of Japan”.

  • Start with the Umeda Sky Garden. This place is open at 9:30am. Normally, nothing is open in Japan till 10-11:00am – they are not morning people at all (what a shame!). It will also give you nice natural morning light to overlook the whole city and start the day right. If you are into history, there is the illustrated museum inside the Sky Garden;
  • Head to the Osaka Castle – this is one of my favourite castles in Japan (still consider Akita has better ones but anyways). I love it because there are a lot of small gardens and temples around the castle to explore. When you get to the Castle, head up to the 8th Floor and start exploring from top to the bottom;
  • Head to Dotonbori river area taking Namba station 16th exit. It is very nice and beautiful there. You can also take the tour of the river cruising around crabs and octopuses on surrounded buildings;
  • After the river, time for get decent lunch – sushi is the go for me (Japanese Diet by Angie). There is an amazing sushi restaurant with English menu with freshest raw fish. You don’t need even worry to order anything, the plates are passing through you with whatever you like! The restaurant is located on that big crab street opposite direction to Dotonbori gates on the Starbucks side (right).
  • Also, try their popular Takoyaki that are everywhere on that street. They are very filling and made with true Japanese traditions;
  • Then jump to Shinsaibashi shops and get lost there!
  • End of at a nice Irish pub to relax as you might burn your legs after Shinsaibashi walks. Get some refreshments (I would still suggest NOT to order food in pubs and eat before – all these fish and chips and burgers you can eat everywhere; real Japanese food only made by Japanese).

Ange xx

Japanese Diet by Angie

I am after easy and enjoable diets as I believe in a few things that I follow.

1) Life is too short – enjoy it! Food is an essitial part of it;

2) I used to limit myself with food – felt horrible, got sick often. You need a proper nutrition in life;

3) Anti-social behaviour – when you are on diet, you are trying to avoid going out with friends as they all eat what you have restricted yourslef.

There are more reasons – just a few in the top of my mind.

Since I had started my Japanese trip yesterday (yes, I am here again!), I would like to share my Japanese Diet that I had already unintentionally followed already. When I weight myself after Japan trip(s) for around 10 days, I am normally 2-3 kgs lighter and this all without much effort.

I am here for 14 days tis time so the result should be even better.

THREE MAIN INGREDIENTS TO INCLUDE:

  • Sushi (or preferably sashimi)
  • Green Tea (heaps – 2 litres a day is great)
  • Greens

FEW MINOR WARNINGS:

  • If you are a female, be careful eat TOO MUCH fish IF you are 1) pregnant or 2) about to get pregnant 0r 3) breastfeeding. Many sorts of fish contains mercury that can damage brain development of a baby. Not my words – check this dietitian out – Leslie Beck;
  • Avoid too much soy sauce. It goes together with sushi/sushimi – true story. But the less you can have it, the better for you. One of my next healthy article to be is about consumption salt over sugar (still in production). Long story short here, avoid sodium that is overpacked in soy sauce. From weight perspective, sodium will hold your body weight; from health prospective, it increases your blood pressure. If you have had some, follow up with green tea as it reduces sodium greatly;
  • Fish is great, but mix it up with other Japanese proteins – tofu is yummy, Japanese BBQ worth a million.

Raw fish gives you a lot of required nutrition for protein intake. Having rice in your diet, will give you enough carb energy boost without any saturated fats. Strive for brown rice though, it is healthier, more nutritious and clearly has a lower glycemic index. Finally, greens, go for special Japanese greens that has A LOT OF good items for your metabolic rate – seaweed salad, edamine beans. And sip green tea everywhere. That’s about it !

Of course, you need to try amazing dishes such as tempura, okonominoyaki, udon, ramen, etc. while you are in Japan. The dining here is outstanding and you definitely didn’t try this in any European restaurants that serves Japanese food. Moreover, they have much lesser preservatives that stops your metabolism. Treat yourself with it.

The whole idea of the diet is to eat clean, stay active (don’t be a boring tourist – get out of bus and explore on your feet) and consume solid amount of green tea that is everywhere in Japan (see my previous blog article about coffee and tea in Japan).

I will be back here for some overview of my first Japanese destination – Tokyo shortly xx

Make a Magic..with the Water Bottle

Being fitness and healthy lifestyle advocate and ambassador helps me to discover amazing things that support my fitness journey. I have already shared the importance of water consumption in my blog. I have been sent a fantastic gift from one German company called John Hancock – Smart Drinking Flask. My everyday item that I take with me in my hand bag – this magical water bottle.

The button of the bottle cup mainly contains a natural ore called Alps. It is a rare mineral that can react instantaneously when exposed to water and has strong activity, which can help promote blood circulation accelerating metabolism.

Secondly, it might electrolyze water into H + and OH-, OH- Can combine with water molecules to form negative ions, which have strong reducibility. It can help reduce free radicals, weakening alkaline fluids providing an anti-oxidant effect.

Thirdly, it might help water turn into smaller molecular groups allegedly from 5-6. This small molecular group is a good carrier of nutrients with stronger penetration and 30% higher solubility than normal water. It can help dissolve fat, metabolize bowel stool and toxic or harmful substances.

This new German invention is always with me

Finally, Alps ore contain Mg ions that can be absorbed by the human body. Magnesium ions can activate more than 300 enzymes to participate in metabolism, and can be widely involved in the digestion of proteins, carbohydrates and fats.

So based on the above findings, you can clearly understand why this is my every day choice wherever I am: gym, work, walk, meeting, home. Check out this article too – https://www.abc-7.com/story/40768215/a-new-german-invention-drinking-water-may-have-a-new-effect-on-the-human-body

My everyday fitness plan at the 38X Fitness Manly

Fash + Fit

It was a bit of a risk to combine two different industries and expect a good result. 

Fashion – the word associated with runways, glamour, style trends. 

Fitness – Health, gym, marathons.

They are different so how can I really pitch them to be together? I can explain:

Attitude

Coming back to my previous topic about motivation – who are you training for? For yourself? To impress someone else? If you set up the right and healthy attitude, you train to look good for yourself. You want to look healthy, fit, skinnier or toned – all depends on your personal goals. Now, let’s take Fashion. If you are interested in Fashion, you probably have or aim to have a good sense of style and after important Fashion trends. You pay an extra attention to what you wear when you come out. You are getting ready before an important business meeting. What do you need Fashion for? Same thing again – for yourself? Impress someone at one event? Wear someone glamourous for horse races at Randwick? 

You start with the right attitude. You understand that things you build in life starts from you. If you have ever had an experience to move to another continent when you are a teenager that doesn’t know what she wants, you might come to realisation that you have to build self base before you can build something else in life. I cannot build my life looking at someone’s one – I need to look at what I do. I cannot get impressed by someone’s achievements only – I need to set up something for myself each month to feel I am moving. 

Attitude by @Angela_alina

When you go to the gym, you may notice more and more people are “dressing up” to the gym. Not literally. But trying to wear right sports gear, good active lifestyle brands, etc. Many fitness blogs suggest to wear “cool” gym wear to boost motivation to exercise more. I can definitely see the link between those two. You start with the attitude. You want to see yourself successful, fit, healthy and stylish. It is not a secret that you might be toned and skinny and look quite sexy but if you wear a dress that look like a bag for potatoes on you, your toned body disappears. And, of course, you can buy the most expensive suit from the best Italian designer – it probably looked so gorgeous on the runway – but it looks ugly on you because your body is poisoned with junk food, lack of movement and first signs of ageing.  I like to see and promote more on my page fashion in fitness.

It is not only wear something trendy at the gym but wear Fashion and Fitness within you..

Legendary Wine Diet 🍷

I got to the stage to share one of those iconic diets that has blown up minds of my friends and family. 

It doesn’t sound like it is legit but trust me – whatever I place in this blog, I have personally tested before sharing. 

Red, red wine…

It can be white too as long as it is a dry wine. 

All depends on your preferences but, yes, it is the wine diet!

I got the raw idea of this diet when I had explored it. I would also like to share some other tricks that I missed out when I firstly found this diet. 

Identified benefits and results 

First of all, a quick cheat sheet about DRY wine:

  • It has low to zero carbs according to laboratory research in Washington (sounds good, hey!) 
  • It has zero fat BUT it still contains enough calories to be able to put on weight 
  • It drops your blood sugar level 
  • Your body uses different technique to digest wine
  • Red wine has resveratrol, a plant polyphenol chemical that turn body white fat (“bad/obese fat”) into brown fat that is a healthier option of body’s immune and protective system and easier to be burned
  • Wine has fewer calories than beer or heavy spirits 
  • One bottle of dry wine can contain 570-750 calories – depending on the alcohol percentage 
  • Red wine has more vitamins and minerals than white wine. 
  • Red wine in moderation is good for your heart as it increases HDL cholesterol (“good cholesterol”) and decreases LDL (“bad one”)

The Wine diet can be considered as a separate dieting stream or be trailed as a part of the Mediterranean diet. As you might know the Mediterranean diet is based on the idea of consuming a lot of plant-based food together with some amount of dry wine. 

I have seen positive results of the wine diet for around 3 weeks allowing me to loose 1.5 kg in the first week, 1.1 kg in the second week and 1 kg in my third week. So, the verdict – the diet is working!!! 

Duration of the diet: MUST NOT exceed 3 weeks

Results: 3.6 kg down

Feeling: no craving, starving feeling (if you follow the instructions below)

Enjoying my favourite races with a refreshing glass of Pinot Gris

However, before explaining the algorithm of the diet, I would like to continue with some downsides of the diet. I am not a nutritionist or a school teacher so I am not going to tell simple things about alcohol effect on your body. Any side effects described below are purely related to the wine diet. 

Side Effect to consider

The progression has stopped after 3 weeks due to some side effects of the diet that were not revealed before.

Any dry wine significantly drops your blood sugar level – therefore, you might end up at the kebab or pizza shop after a good night out drinking wine. You feel much hungrier when there is a presence of alcohol in your blood. Your craving is increased to maximum – if you are a person with low self-control, this diet is not the right for you. 

Moreover, as said above, your body uses different technique to digest wine. This is where many people who has described this diet before put the full stop. What does this technique include? How to make this technique work for you, not against you? 

Our body functioning is a very smart system. When it is attacked, it will use all its effort to fight with an “enemy”. Alcohol toxin is an enemy for any body. Therefore, your body will stop ANY digesting activity and stops what it has just been doing to prioritise “work on alcohol toxins”. Which means when you have eaten simple carbohydrates or saturated fats before wine, it will turn them into your white body fat, no matter if you haven’t eaten much before and your body needs that “energy”. When you have eaten similar crap after wine consumption because  your food craving was high, it will also turn into same fat storage. This is how you can gain weight from the wine diet.

HOWEVER, if you eat enough “absorbing” and lean food, it will assist your body to work on toxins and leave the positive results from wine consumption. 

In addition to it, I love my strength trainings that are aimed to reduce my body fat and gain some muscle weight instead. Same procedure here – your muscles stop developing when you have alcohol toxin in your blood as your body needs some time to fight with the new “enemy”.

Avoid rewarding yourself with a glass of wine after a good strength or HIIT training. Try to pick your High intensity trainings when you are not planning to go out for a fair few hours after that (your body recovers muscles differently depending on a number of factors i.e. age, gender, metabolic rate, etc.)

We got to this stage – Wine Diet 1:1 

If you are still reading this and believe it can work for you, here below what I did to have positive results of my wine diet. Please note that the results will gradually decreased and bring your more negative effects than positive so I would not recommend to keep the diet longer than 3 weeks. 

You MUST include a lot of green leafy food and good fats in every day of your diet! Some partition of protein should be included in any main meal of the day.

PART I – Morning 

As I am a morning person, I would typically end of at the gym or run in the morning. Hence, I would it breakfast rich in good carbs, vitamins and minerals. My typical breakfast would be Cocao Oat Bowl that I have described before here 

https://fashfitbox.home.blog/2019/05/18/cocoa-oat-bowl/

 The breakfast meal would include some fruits and fresh fat free yogurt. In that case, my morning tea would include 10-20 gram of peanut butter to fulfil some good fats in my body (Cocoa Oat Bowl is originally almost fat free). If I am after more “proteiny” breakfast option, I would go for egg whites omelette with a plenty of spinach or rocket. My morning tea would include a piece of fruit. 

PART II – Afternoon 

Feel it up with protein – a good piece of grilled chicken, salmon or a sirloin beef steak. I am always a bit flexible with lunch option as long as it has a plenty (up to 30 gram or more) of protein and green leaves – Italian 4 leaves mix is perfect for it. Include some vitamin enriched vegetables such as pumpkin, tomatoes, sweet potato, etc. I love to include 20-30 grams of cheese or 50 grams of avocado to fulfil good fat.

Afternoon tea – something simple, raw, non-carbohydrate food. It can be a piece of cheese or a protein bar. The most important here is to keep it one-stream i.e. good fat or protein, no carbs. It MUST be more filling than morning tea snack. 

PART III – Dinner time

Here we go! Time to crack a bottle of nice Pinot Noir (or different dry wine depending on your personal preference). Instructions:

Have a one-stream food with it so the alcohol toxin doesn’t hit you and your health. Options:

  • Cheese – blue vein, mild cheeses, just as it is, no crackers or carb food
  • Low fat ricotta or cottage cheese with celery and carrot sticks 
  • A piece of chicken, ideally, no more than ¼ chicken

And now you can enjoy your 2-2.5 glasses of wine. After one glass you may notice that your appetite has decreased, however, it is still important to consume some one-stream food (as above) to avoid bad influence of alcohol on your body and future craving feeling. 

Happy Dieting 🙂

***As said, this is the guideline for a healthy option of the wine diet only, no alcohol promotion and irresponsible drinking can be associated with the article.

Research found during trail diet weeks:

Drinking red wine is good for you — or maybe not

Watching your sugar intake? Toast to dry wine.

Drinking a plenty of red wine won’t help you lose weight

Ask the Diet Doctor: Is Red Wine Worth the Calories?

Go for Green – Dinner Bowls

I have to share this as it seems working. I put on my old jeans today. When I wore them last time few months ago, it was a slight effort to put them on. It was morning and I put them on not thinking much about it. Only on my way to work I realised that they felt pretty loose on me.

I think I can thank my green dinner bowls. The main idea behind is having various greens and light digestive protein together.

As to light digestive protein, you can pick:

  • Chicken – 150 gram
  • White fish – barramundi is great – 120-150 gram
  • Salmon – never go wrong with salmon – 100-150 gram
  • Tofu (for VG or vegans) – 100 gram

Greens..get creative – make a variety. My top favourite is asparagus, spinach, 4 leaf mix, sprouts, zucchini.

Grilled chicken with snow peas, spinach, asparagus and ricotta

Try to avoid overcooking any of the ingredients is my main rule while cooking. All the ingredients are light and easy to absorb by your body. You can add 40-50 gram of smashed avocado and some spices if you like.

I started this type of dinners a few weeks ago and I can the outcome:

  • Less bloating in stomach
  • Feeling more energy to workout next morning
  • No hunger in the morning

Greens help to absorb any bad elements and toxins from your body. Light protein is digested in your body within 2-3 hours which make you sleep better at night.