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Archive for February, 2011

(credit) dolphin blowing a bubble | Clare’s Spectrum Crafts

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..For instance, on the planet Earth, man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much—the wheel, New York, wars and so on—whilst all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time.

But conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man—for precisely the same reasons.

— from Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

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(credit) getty images via chatelaine

FIRST TIME

It was in Malaysia that I first tried coconut-water. I was backpacking throughout Southeast Asia, and upon arrival in Kuala Lumpur I fell violently sick. I was bedridden in the hostel and my partner went out to search for “healing power.” Luckily his family had come from the region and he was able to ascertain some local meds in the shape of a few young green coconuts and charcoal-pills. Sure enough, after downing the coconut-water I felt better in short time. I’ve been told it’s like a natural form of “Gatorade” — full of electrolytes to invigorate your cells.

LOVING COCONUT WATER

Now I see coconut-water everywhere. I noticed it all bottled up in pretty containers at Whole Foods. I have a friend who’s addicted to the stuff, but only drinks it fresh from young coconuts that she purchases from a wholesaler (that sells to Asian grocery stores). Then I had a conversation with a raw-vegan friend who extolled the virtues of coconut-water. She so convinced me that I went off to Whole Foods to buy some. Although I wasn’t as ambitious as to cut open a young coconut yet.

At first, I tried it after running a few kilometers and perked up real quick. Hmmm, nice. Then I tried drinking it before a run, when I was feeling sluggish and cranky, and I took a few slow sips of coconut water and plumped up in a flash. Hmmm, interesting.

I also drink tons of coconut-water when I’m feeling under-the-weather, and even full-on sick. I find it helps me get better, faster…although that could just be my wishful thinking!

TASTE

 I’m not sure I quite like the taste, per se. It’s pleasant yet I wouldn’t say it’s all that tasty. It basically tastes like a sweet-water. A good coconut-water should have a wisp of the coconut-meat taste to it. Not that fake dried-coconut taste, but the fleshy sweet-chewy coconut-meat taste.  Actually, my bad. A young green coconut doesn’t have “meat” yet, rather the “meat” is in that gelantinous stage and called coconut-jelly. Mmm, yum. In general, I find some brands of coconut-water too sweet, so I often top it off with some alkaline-water to balance it out.

There are flavoured coconut-water (ie. mango, pineapple, acai, pomegranate, peach), which I find quite horrendous because it makes the coconut-water taste artificial. Yeah, yeah, the flavours are “natural” extracts or juices or essences or whatever. Meh. I prefer it clean and fresh and straight-out coconut sweet.

WHY IT’S GOOD FOR YOU

* It’s isotonic — supplies electrolytes (mineral ions such as magnesium, potassium, sodium) needed by your body for muscle, nerve, tissue, cell function. When we work-out, we lose electrolytes through sweat. Drinking coconut water speeds up recovery.

* Tons of a particular electrolyte — potassium. Coconut water has more potassium than sport drinks or bananas (660mg per serving!). Potassium is a good thing — it helps cell function; alkalizing our blood (disease needs acidic environment); regulates blood pressure. Yay!

* Little bit of lauric-acid, which is a type of fat.  Don’t worry, it’s a healthy fat that helps with nutrient absorption and gives quick energy. It’s found in a mother’s breast milk!

* Sterile and mimics human blood plasma

* Contains calcium, riboflavin, vitamin c

CAREFUL!

* Bleach & fungacide: You may have seen the commercial young coconuts, all-pristine and white in the market with their outer green husk peeled off. Often times these pretty coconuts are dipped in bleach and fungacide (!) to make them look presentable.

* Short shelf-life: Coconut-water that starts off with unprocessed young coconuts, only has a shelf-life of 3 weeks. This explains why most commercial coconut-water distributors use the above-methods to extend the natural shelf-life. While organic suppliers will pluck the young coconut off the tree, quickly bring them to sterile environment to hull the coconuts by hand, bottle them up and then freeze them right away. Freezing the product does not break down the coconut-water’s components and does preserve it.

* Pasteurized: Most commercial coconut water drinks are flash-pasteurized, not raw. As explained by Body Ecology, “many proponents of pasteurization claim that it kills harmful bacteria without damaging food, but pasteurized products can actually harm your health and deprive you of beneficial enzymes and vitamins.”

COCONUT WATERS OUT THERE

I admit, my go-to coconut water is from Organic Lives (below) but when I run out I just pop into my local health food store to grab whatever brand they have available. I never, ever buy the flavoured coconut-water, so all the brands (other than Organic Lives, which has a decidedly more palatable flavour to my tastebuds) end up tasting the same. I can’t really discern the difference — it all tastes mildly sweet with a slight coconut taste.

Organic Lives Raw Organic Coconut Water

This is my absolute favorite coconut water! I tried the other brands before I tried this one, and couldn’t believe the difference. Could.not.believe. Seriously. It’s smooth, fresh, sweet, clean. Yum!

They source their coconut water from a sustainable organic farm in Thailand, where they use traditional farming methods (composting, hand mulching, etc). The harvesting, husking, and processing is all done by hand (!) to retain the integrity of the coconut water. It’s pretty awesome that Organic Lives works with this little community in Thailand to sustain their own economy. Sorry, they only ship within Canada.

More brands under the cut (including Blue Monkey, O.N.E., Vita Coco, Zico, Taste Nirvana, C20, Amy & Brian, Naked, and Body Ecology):

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♫ Adele | Someone Like You

(if enabled, click here)

Wow. British singer Adele is only 22. Amazing. I recall her “Chasing Pavements” but this song (listen above), whoa…takes your breath away. It aches your heart. It makes you shiver. It makes you want to weep and smear your makeup and wear black with devastation on your face. Amazing. This song as she sings it live. So very lovely.

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I ♥ Amélie

FIRST BLECH!

Truth be told, when I first watched the French film Amélie I disliked it very much. That was back in 2001 when it first came out. I vaguely remember that I found it annoying and cloying. Too precious, too precocious. Then I forget all about it.

Fast-forward to the present. On a whim after picking up some lovely French pastries — all pink, buttercream, and petit — at this charming old-world type European bakery-cafe in town, I decided to sit down for a spot of tea and a petit-four…and a reading with the resident psychic.

As the lady with bouffant hair working at the counter noted (after I noticed the signage), “Well, we wouldn’t be a real European cafe without our in-house psychic!”

AND SO IT IS

After a short wait while the “reader” (much preferred title than psychic) finished with another table, he came over to greet me. He spoke with a strong Scottish brogue (is it still a “brogue” if he’s not Irish?) and quite frankly I had a hard time keeping up with his accent. He was too good to be true in that he wore a thick well-worn brown wooly sweater over a dress-shirt, with rumpled white hair and sparkling mischievous eyes. I mean in that he looked like a movie character. His name is James.

He told me to cut the tarot cards into 3 parts, and then he read my cards. One of the cards said that I wasn’t living in reality and that I spent too much time in fantasy-land. Meaning my imagination is so vivid that I spent a lot of time there, and not enough time enjoying “real life.” He said I don’t quite get that real life is great, my real life is grand. He said I ought to spent more time here in reality because I have it damn good.

GRRR

I poo-poo-ed, (feigned) confusion and annoyance, and tried to argue otherwise. Who am I kidding? Yes I do. I really do. I hadn’t thought I did, but I do have a great imagination and imaginative world. I wonder if it’s because I’m an only-child? Anyways, he said I ought to watch the film Amélie because I could learn a lot from her….mistakes.

I was incensed. I disliked that film very much, I said. I know you did, James said. It reminded you too much of you, even though you didn’t know it, he said. No wonder you disliked it, he said. But you must see it again, you must learn from her, he said. All I remember is the part where she breaks her crème brulée, I say. Of course you do, he said, because it distracted you from what you didn’t want to see.

GULP

À la Jane Eyre: Reader, I saw it. I happened to come across it at the library and borrowed it. It sat on my table for awhile before I resigned myself to watch it. A whole 10 years after I first watched it. Holy crap, that’s a long time.

I began to watch it and was pleasantly surprised that I enjoyed it. I didn’t watch it to analyze it. I simply watched. Oh. My. Goodness…I began to see what James meant. I understand what he was saying. I understand James is my Glass Man (a reference to one of the characters). It may not mean much to anyone else who watches it but it made a whole lot of sense.

I’m not exactly Amélie. There are many things that we do not share exactly, but the spirit remains the same.

Who would have “thunk” it. Pretty neat.

EVERYONE ELSE

There’s a feel-good quality to the film Amélie that I can now appreciate (when before it did not do anything for me). I especially like these little quotes:

1. Raymond Dufayel, Glass Man: So, my little Amélie, you don’t have bones of glass. You can take life’s knocks. If you let this chance pass, eventually, your heart will become as dry and brittle as my skeleton. So, go get him, for Pete’s sake!

2. Raymond Dufayel, Glass Man: You mean she would rather imagine herself relating to an absent person than build relationships with those around her?

3. Raymond Dufayel aka Glass Man: The time has come for her to take some real risks.

Amélie: Well yes, she’s thinking about it. She’s thinking of a stratagem.

Raymond Dufayel aka Glass Man:  Yes, she likes stratagems, doesn’t she?

Amélie: Yes.

Raymond Dufayel aka Glass Man:  She’s a bit of a coward. That’s why I have trouble with her eyes.

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♡ Success is an inside job

(credit) Let the Ebbs & Flows Carry Us | Phizzwizard Design @ etsy:

 

Being relaxed, at peace with yourself, confident, emotionally neutral, loose, and free-floating — these are the keys to successful performance in almost everything you do.

– Dr. Wayne D. Dyer, Daily Affirmations

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(credit) Heart Light | ara 133 photography @ etsy:

 

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(photo credit) Tom Bihn

Lifefactory Glass Water Bottles

WHY? TO KEEP MY ALKALINE WATER FRESH

I’ve recently acquired a water filter that turns my tap water into alkaline water. My water tastes soooo smooth and delicious and clean and fresh! I’m blessed to live in a part of Canada that has non-fluorinated clean water, so it’s simple to convert it into a delicious alkaline water.

I didn’t realize how much better alkaline water is until I got off my butt and got my filter. My daily sips of water tastes better; green tea tastes better; herbal tea tastes better; coffee tastes better. My sole-brine tastes better. We’re talking heaps better. Oooh-wee!

BUT…

my alkaline water ceased to taste better as it sat in my steel-water-bottle all day. It got this odd metallic aftertaste by afternoon. It’s infinitely better tasting than a plastic water bottle, but still.

What to do? I searched for an alternative and found it. I am now a happy owner of many glass water bottles. No more metallic after-taste!

I researched about glass water bottles for days before I found my fantabulous glass water bottles, including the Lifefactory one (above pic). I love it! I also like my Starbucks Takeya glass bottle….my Flaska glass water bottle…my reusable Voss glass water bottle….and more. Scroll down to see where my research took me:

 

LIFEFACTORY GLASS WATER BOTTLE

I have this stylish and convenient glass water bottle — a 22oz (650ml)  glass bottle with a sunny orange silicone sleeve to protect the glass from Lifefactory. I bought mine at the Vancouver-based Water Matters, but you can find retail locations here (including Whole Foods). I’m not going to lie, I really wanted a raspberry silicone sleeve but this colour only comes in a smaller bottle size. *sigh*

Here’s the goods on Lifefactory’s Glass Beverage Bottles:

  • BPA, phthalate, PVC, latex, lead, and polycarbonate free (chemical free)
  • clear soda lime glass with no chemical leaching and no metallic taste
  • wrapped in a modern silicone sleeve that’s free of plastics and 100% non-toxic
  • widemouth bottle make it easy to add ice, citrus slices, and makes it easy to clean.
  • silicone sleeve provides a great gripping surface and helps to prevent breakage
  • dishwasher safe
  • 16 oz beverage bottles (6 colours)
  • 22 oz beverage bottles (6 colours)
  • 4 oz or 9 oz baby bottle with nipple (9 colours)
  • 9 oz beverage bottles with cap for kids (4 colours)
  • glass bottles are custom made in France
  • silicone sleeves are made in United States
  • polypropylene plastic caps are made in Poland.
  • glass and plastic parts are recyclable
  • silicone sleeves can be sent back to Lifefactory where it can be re-ground to make outdoor playground mats or mats for barn animals.

I know, I know…it’s glass and I’m a klutz! Lifefactory does sell replaceable glass bottles (and even caps if you loose them). This glass bottle is quite sturdy — it’s not delicate like a tumbler, rather it’s more like a tall glass jar. So yes, it’s not exactly the lightest bottle out there but it’s sturdy!

Even better, the Vancouver-based eco-friendly company Lavish & Lime shows off this glass bottle’s resilience in this great youtube video that demonstrates how durable the silicone-sleeve glass bottle is by dropping the bottle on slate steps! Watch here.

Here are some other glass water bottles I found while researching:

LULULEMON PURE BALANCE GLASS WATER BOTTLE

I recently (February 2012) went into Lululemon to peruse the new running line, when I saw their new Pure Balance glass water bottle. This 19.5oz glass water bottle has a silicon sleeve that comes in violet (above), pink, or blue. Perhaps they’ll have different colours as the seasons change.

It was a good size, much lighter than the Lifefactory bottle. However, I still prefer my Starbucks glass water bottle (scroll down) because I like its pop-up lid that’s attached to the rim.

With screw-on type lids, like this Lululemon one, I’ve lost the lid by misplacing it somewhere, or I’ve accidentally screwed the lid back on improperly which led to water leaking into my bag. Gasp!

On the other hand, the Lululemon and Lifefactory ones I own hold waaaaay more water than the Starbucks one, which makes it more useful.

[EDIT: Oct.2012] FLASKA GLASS BOTTLE

These Flaska glass water bottles come straight out of Europe. Oh la, I’m going to try this one out – I like the sleeve! Apparently the 16.5oz  glass bottle is made with “glass programming” which restructures the water and enhances its quality — you apparently end up with a softer taste of water. It’s made from extra-thick tempered glass, which I’m always looking for in glass bottles since you’d want a sturdy one.

You can choose the sleeve — or “sock” — that you wish. They even have an eco-friendly version called Flaska Organic with an organic cotton sleeve and a cork cap. There’s also neoprene sleeves imbedded with Swarowski crystals, or imprinted with butterflies, flowers, raindrops, vines, etc.;  classic sleeves in black, blue, or orange, and more! See their webshop for all the choices HERE.

Check out their sites: Flaska North America HERE…Flaska Europe HERE….Flaska UK HERE….

I really enjoy using my Flaska glass water bottle. It has a hot pink sleeve imbedded with sky-blue butterflies and adorned with Swarowski crystals. Yup, it’s pretty bling. Uncorking my bottle is always interesting, because it looks like I’m going to have an apertif midday. The “lid” is really a cork-like contraption! Only…I wish the cork was attached to the sleeve because I have misplaced it here and there. Erm, I’ve always found it but one day it may just roll out into the ether on me! The scuba-diving- suit-material that makes up the sleeve is sturdy and fabulous and feels comfy in my grip…and no slips! Best of all the “glass programming” truly does make my alkaline water tastes softer (if you like that kind of water taste).

[Edit: Nov 2012] BKR GLASS WATER BOTTLE

I just discovered the BKR glass water bottle (pronounced “beaker”) at this fancy shmanshy pharmacy in my city the other day. The photo above does not do this bottle justice. In my hands, the BKR is a gorgeous, stylish jewel of a glass water bottle.

The silicon sleeve comes in the most glorious array of jewel tones that just pop. I luurve their colour names: Night (purple-black)….Kitsch (neon orange)…Betty (plum fuschia)…True (electric blue)….Lush (blue-green teal)…Velvet (oxblood burgundy–hello, people, the colour of the season)…Jelly (candy purple)…Fog (grey)…Canary (yellow)…Surf (tropical blue)…Candy (pink)…Smith (green apple)…Crush (coral)…Jet (black)…and Julep (emerald teal). My favourites are Velvet — such gorgeous indulgence!, and Canary (happy sunshine).

The BKR glass bottle is 500mL (16 oz) with a silicone sleeve and retails at $28 US. It has a food grade polypropylene cap + silicone gasket. It is FDA approved, BPA-free, BPA replacement free, phthalate free (woo hoo!). It has a small one-inch opening for no-spill sipping. It apparently fits most cup holders – 3.18 inches wide, 7.88 inches tall. It’s lightweight (I longingly cradled it at the pharmacy), and 100% reusable + recyclable. Plus you can safely clean in the dishwasher. Kudos to BKR’s philanthropy — portion of proceeds benefit the Obakki and Canary Foundations. Oh, if you accidentally break it in the first 90 days, BKR will replace it for you (conditions apply, of course).

Find a retail location (USA, Canada, UK, Indonesia — the latter is random!) near you HERE. Otherwise, order it online HERE. I found them at Finlandia Pharmacy in Vancouver, Canada…oh how I want one! But I have some lovely glass water bottles in use already. I hope you try it, let me know how you like it. You can even by them at Chapters/Indigo in Canada. 

I really want this one with the heart – it’s call Momo Heart. HERE.

 

 

CAMELBAK eddy GLASS WATER BOTTLE

Ah, Camelbak finally has their own glass water bottle. It’s called the ‘eddy™ Glass.’  You can get it wherever you find Camelbak for $32: LLBean, Amazon, REI, Camelbak Canada, Camelback USA.

The guts: 
* Naturally BPA-Free * Lead-free glass * .7L water bottle won’t retain odors or tastes * You can sip without tipping thanks to our patented flip-top bite valve technology * Silicone sleeve that adds protection * Available in 4 colors (Lime, Aqua, Charcoal, Purple) * Dishwasher safe *

BAMBOO BOTTLE COMPANY

I want! I like the idea of having this protective bamboo exterior. Plus, its pretty stylin’! It’s shame it’s only found in the US 😦

  • created by outdoor industry veterans
  • bamboo is sleek, durable, stylish and renewable
  • bamboo outer acts as a natural insulator for hot/cold beverages and protects the glass
  • easily removable, dishwasher-safe, 60 percent recycled, durable glass interior
  • BPA-free glass interior
  • wide mouth for easy cleanup
  • cap, bottom made from BPA-free plastic
  • 17 oz @ $25.00 US
  • Buy online here @ The Bamboo Bottle Company

TAKEYA GLASS BOTTLES

Takeya, a Japanese design company, has these beautiful modern glass bottles. I love the frosty look of their silicone sleeves. Very sleek and modern.

  • dishwasher safe
  • free of any toxic chemicals.
  • silicone jacket provides soft grip & protects the glass bottle
  • airtight leakproof twist cap
  • bottle & silicone are dishwasher safe
  • Modern Glass Water Bottle (pictured right): 18oz (5 colours)
  • Classic Glass Water Bottle (pictured left): 22 oz (5 colours)
  • Classic Glass Water Bottle (pictured middle): 16 oz (5 colours)
  • Buy online here @ Takeya, or at Amazon, or MedPodium.

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For more GLASS BOTTLES (from Starbucks, Faucet Face, Kerplunk, Tkaro, Bottles Up, and Libre (under the cut):

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