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Banger Belles Rugby Club

As my final days of Bangkok life are coming to an end, I am not looking forward to saying goodbye to the Belles. I will miss a special group of girls who made me feel welcome. Watch our antics here!

The Banger Belles have been a great social group and rugby club over the years. With their help, my fitness and understanding of the game has improved, as well as my alcohol tolerance levels (!).

The Belles are always looking for members, so please reach out if you’re interested www.bangerbelles.com

 

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Lifestyle Juicery Cleanse

logo2At the beginning of the month, I completed a six day juice cleanse from Lifestyle Juicery. While I have completed detoxes before at Ananda Resort and The Yoga Retreat in Koh Pha Ngan, this was different.

The Reasons

After my trip to Myanmar, I returned to Bangkok very tired and sick. A couple weeks back into the work routine, I started getting insane headaches and extreme tiredness. It got so bad that I would go home and sleep for two hours after work, then go to the gym or resume my plans.

Had I been glutened? Or was I just exhausted from a long and stressful work year? Did I need another holiday?

I decided to do the juice cleanse as I knew I wouldn’t get down to Koh Pha Ngan until the end of July and I needed some help, FAST!

I usually do a detox once a year to help clear things out of my system and re-establish healthy eating and exercise routines. I find that cutting out the processed foods, sugar and dairy helps me reset my system. Some benefits I’ve noticed in the past are:

  • feeling of well-being
  • increased positivity
  • lack of headaches / head fog
  • increased energy and focus
  • better sleep
  • generally feeling refreshed
  • some weight loss

Motivation

While it can be hard to stay motivated, I found this juice cleanse much easier than the past detoxes. Perhaps that is because I had six juices each day, and just as soon as my stomach started rumbling again, it was time to have another juice.

I made the mistakes of moving apartments on my first day, so on the second day, I spent most of the day in bed reading and watching films. A certain amount of fatigue is to be expected, so I took advantage of the long weekend I had off work.

On the third day I had a bit more energy so did a workout on the treadmill and with free weights. In the evening, I was a bit more hungry than usual, but with a pot of peppermint and chamomile tea before bed, my stomach was satisfied.

The next day, I did a hot yoga session and almost passed out, but I’m happy I did. Going to the gym gave me the opportunity to weigh myself and I found I had lost 3kgs.

The fifth and sixth days were a bit of a challenge for me as I had to go back to work. Luckily though, I was used to the routine by then, and armed with my water bottle I was determined to finish it. Despite not eating whole food, my headaches were gone and I felt lighter and more energetic. For me, that was really the motivating factor.

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The Juices!

About Lifestyle Juicery

I heard about this company from a friend who received a gift voucher for her birthday. I hadn’t realised that there was anyone in Bangkok who did this, besides Rasayana, and that they deliver! They also have stands at the BKK Farmer’s Markets!

Several of my friends are avid juicers and I must say, that after reading about Jason Vale I became convinced of the benefits.

Lifestyle Juicery have a range of juices on offer, but also provide advice on how many days you should juice for. Their website is very helpful!

I will definitely cleanse with them again as they are convenient for people living in Bangkok and it makes detoxing much more accessible than traveling to the islands every few months.

New Health Goal: Do a juice cleanse every three months. Challenge accepted 🙂

What to do when you’ve been glutened….

gluten_is_the_enemy_rectangle_magnetThis post was originally a restaurant review of Indus on Sukhumvit Soi 26, however, the day after eating there, I experienced the worst stomach upset and brain fog that I’ve had in the last two years. I wasn’t hungry and barely ate anything, it felt like my head was full of cotton wool and I couldn’t remember a damn thing all day. Continue reading

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The Spa Koh Chang Resort

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Karang Bay, southeast part of the island

I was thinking about holiday escapes, when a colleague recommended Koh Chang to me. The largest island in Thailand, Koh Chang is 60% untouched jungle forest and a national park. This did not surprise me as we drove south east from the pier at Dan Khao and headed towards The Spa Koh Chang Resort; the looming mountains were on the right as the coast stretched out towards the sea on my left.image

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Bangkok Osteopath Centre

http://osteopathcentre.com/Located close to Ari BTS, Philip Hambly and his wife run a small clinic based on British Osteopathy. Struggling with hip and lower back pain that caused my awful bout with iliotibial band syndrome, my friend Ruth mentioned Dr Phil and how he had helped her and her partner.

Osteopaths are like massage therapists and chiropractors got together and had a love child; they know how the muscles join with bones and seek to solve issues without drugs or surgery.

Check out their website for more information. I highly recommend them over physiotherapy any day!

 

 

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Gluten Free Label Laws

A friend recently arrived from the UK with four packs of Haribo. I was so excited that I ate two packets in two days. Perhaps not my finest hour, but I was craving the gummy sugarness of twin cherries! The next day though, I started feeling a bit funny. Gluten tummy, as I call it.

So I fired off a quick email to Haribo UK anew as quite shocked to receive their response.

“The way products are labelled is determined by UK and European Union laws. The laws relating to gluten free labelling have changed which mean we are no longer permitted to label our products as “Gluten Free”.

Previously a product that contained less than 200mg of gluten per Kilo was deemed gluten free. After the change this has now changed to 20mg per Kilo and our suppliers cannot guarantee that the materials supplied are less than the current standard.”

The shocking realization that I could no longer have haribo took several days for me to comprehend.

Now, this got me wondering about my other imported gluten free goodies. I did some looking in the kitchen cupboards to see where my products came from. I also started worrying about my trip back to Canada this summer….

As it turns out, Canada, the US and the UK will allow gluten free labels:

“if gluten was present at levels not exceeding 20ppm (parts per million or milligrams per kilogram).”

But you should be warned: while this is the benchmark for Canada and the UK, the US Food and Drug Administration uses this as a guideline only. So my lovely Eco Planet GF oatmeal could be 21 or 145 ppm. This will make me question ALL products from the US, even Bob’s Red Mill products.****

Going back to the Haribo issue, items which were happily gluten free until 2010, had to be removed as the UK allowed up to 200mg parts per million.

Good news though – Australia and New Zealand have the toughest gluten free label laws. In order to get this coveted label, no gluten can be detected. That makes me feel a lot better about the Yes You Can, Springhill Farms bread mix and Nature Valley sorbets!

Sources:

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**** I have contacted these companies and they use their own gluten testing to ensure their GF products are in fact gluten free.

This was Arrowhead Mills’ response:

We take every measure possible to ensure that our gluten-free products meet our rigorous Quality Assurance Protocol, including an Allergen Program which evaluates the presence of gluten. We aim for our gluten-free products to contain less than 10 parts per million of the gluten protein from sources including wheat, rye and barley which is well below the international standards of 20 parts per million.

And Bob’s Red Mill response:

Our certified gluten free products are all produced in our dedicated gluten free facility and tested for gluten contact several times before being distributed. We test to the International and US standard of less than 20 parts per million, though many products test much lower than this standard.

 The lowest we can detect at this time is 3 parts per million. The test we use is ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) testing.

 We only guarantee that our Gluten Free products test less than 20ppm. No product that tests higher than this enters the facility or is processed as gluten free.

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Gluten Free Beauty Products – Resources

gluten-free-symbolWhile doing my own research, I found some great resources on the interweb.

First of all, this article discusses if Gluten Free Cosmetics are really necessary for Celiacs out there. I also found this post from Darling Magazine, and I have to agree, that if I’m going to put something on my body, it’s gotta be gluten free.

Here’s some other great blogs and posts that I found:

Happy Shopping!

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The Growing Paranoia – Gluten in The Body Shop

In my teens, I was an avid naturalist. I didn’t wear makeup or leather. I was a vegetarian, much to the dismay of my parents. I washed my clothes separately, using natural soap products. All of this was easy, especially since many products were available at the local health store.

Now I find myself circling back to this frame of mind. However, my paranoia is more rooted in detecting gluten, as opposed to synthetic chemicals and parabens. But this still makes me question what I am putting on my face and body.

After cleaning out the bathroom cupboard, I realized that my go-to moisturizer had gluten in it.

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How often have I put it on my face and accidentally licked my lips or pillow? The Seaweed Mattifying Day & Night Cream have oats! NOOOO!!! I found this information out from Gluten Free Bumble Bee’s post on The Body Shop. She even has a list of gluten free products.

These are some items I regularly use from The Body Shop and I am happy to report that they’re gluten free!

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This is helpful and hopeful news! I personally like The Body Shop as they use fair trade items and avoid many of the ‘dirty dozen’ chemicals listed in David Suzuki’s paper.

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The Growing Paranoia – Harmful Chemicals

While doing some research for this theme – Gluten Free Beauty Products for Spring 2014 – I came across an interesting article on how to be a sustainable shopper. I know when it comes to make up, I am less vigilant about gluten. But then I realized there’s other things I should look out for.

Sustainable shopper’s guide: 12 ingredients to avoid in your cosmetics is a great resource, from the David Suzuki Foundation. It outlines the harmful chemicals that are found in most beauty products: cleansers, moisturizers, soaps, body washes, etc.

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Awesome powder, if you don’t mind a mix of 5 different parabens!

This made me realize that my True Match pressed powder didn’t contain gluten, but it did contain 5 different parabens that are highlighted as carcinogenic substances.

I also found out that the colour CI75000, which is used in blue/green shampoos and soaps, is made from coal tar and has the ability to cause cancer, as well as damage the brain if ingested (think lipstick).

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Gluten Free Beauty Products

Since my last post, I have completely cleaned my flat from top to bottom. Why? I can hear you asking. Well, my flat has bugs. And not the sweet grasshopper or lady bug kind.

This super deep clean made me re-evaluate my clutter. All of my clutter. From my newspaper and magazine clippings, to my rock t-shirt collection, and even the melange of beauty products under the bathroom sink.

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Where does it all come from??

Today’s post is all about those beauty products. Some I’ve bought because they were in shiny packages, others have been gifts from friends. With a little research and careful reading, I soon found out that many of my day to day products have harmful chemicals and some – GASP! – even had undetected gluten.

With this in mind, my focus for spring is on gluten free beauty products. I will leave you with a list of names to look out for on your labels and this lovely little company:

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These are just a few names that gluten hides under:

BARLEY DERIVED INGREDIENTS
SAMINO PEPTIDE COMPLEX
BARLEY EXTRACT
HORDEUM VULGARE (BARLEY) EXTRACT
PHYTOSPHINGOSINE EXTRACT
BARLEY LIPIDS

WHEAT DERIVED INGREDIENTS
AMP-ISOSTEAROYL HYDROLYZED WHEAT PROTEIN
DISODIUM WHEATGERMAMIDO PEG-2 SULFOSUCCINATE
HYDROLYZED WHEAT GLUTEN
HYDROLYZED WHEAT PROTEIN
HYDROLYZED WHEAT PROTEIN PG-PROPYL SILANETRIOL
HYDROLYZED WHEAT STARCH
HYDROXYPROPYLTRIMONIUM HYDROLYZED WHEAT PROTEIN STEARYLDIMONIUMHYDROXYPROPYL
HYDROLYZED WHEAT PROTEIN
WHEAT AMINO ACIDS
WHEAT BRAN EXTRACT
WHEAT GERM EXTRACT
WHEAT GERM GLYCERIDES
WHEAT GERM OIL
WHEAT GERMAMIDOPROPYLDIMONIUM HYDROXYPROPYL
WHEAT (TRITICUM VULGARE) BRAN EXTRACT
TRITICUM VULGARE (WHEAT) FLOUR LIPIDS
TRITICUM VULGARE (WHEAT) GERM EXTRACT
TRITICUM VULGARE (WHEAT) GERM OIL
VITAMIN E DERIVED FROM WHEAT GERM OIL

OAT DERIVED INGREDIENTS
SAVENA SATIVA (OAT) FLOUR
AVENA SATIVA (OAT) KERNEL PROTEIN
OAT (AVENA SATIVA) EXTRACT
OAT BETA GLUCANOAT EXTRACT
OAT FLOURSODIUM LAUROYL
OAT AMINO ACIDS

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Surviving Gluten Free in Chiang Mai

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View of Chiang Mai from Doi Suthip

This lovely walled city is called ‘the rose of the north’ and it is easy to understand why. Less hustle and bustle, plus genuinely friendly people make this a nice destination for travelers. While you may find the cost of travelling here cheaper compared to Bangkok, you will also notice that there is a slower pace, another nice contrast to the capital. Chiang Mai is one of Thailand’s largest cities, though it doesn’t feel too big in the centre. It is easy to get around by bicycle and motorbike – these two travel options are widely available and won’t break the bank. Continue reading

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The Sanctuary – Another Reason to Love Koh Phangan

Recently, a reader of Gluten Free Thailand asked me about gluten free resorts in Thailand. I was clueless; usually I just book somewhere cheap and then sort out dining as I go. If there are gluten free restaurants, then I am happy and go back. If not, I suffer with plain veggies and rice.

Well, The Sanctuary in Koh Phangan knows how to deal with gluten-free diets, which is another great reason to visit my favourite island!

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Lovely views

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