News

Himalayan Premium Foods June 03, 2016 00:49

I met Rag from Himalayan Premium Foods through Vinitha from Nutrihub Culinary Art. Rag's husband owns an organic farm in Nepal and Rag started a company to import organically grown foods form her husband's family farm as well as other neighbouring organic farmers bi-monthly.

It was a pleasure meeting with Rag who lets me have a test of Nepalese Rosemary. I was overwhelmed (in a good way, of course) of its strong smell. Rag told me Nepalese herbs and plants have a stronger taste and smell than similar foods here. It is amazing how the different altitudes, temperatures and climate influence the produces in different ways.

In my second meeting with Rag to pick up my order of seasonal foods (usually every other Thursday after 3pm), she urges me to try the Cheurii Honey and Mustard Blossom Honey. It is really interesting how different honey can taste! Apparently the taste and flavour of honey depends on the kind flowers the bees visit. I like both honey, they taste very light and yet flavourful.

You can join HPF's mailing list to be informed of the next shipment. Rag's store is located at Peninsula Hotel Shopping Centre (3 Coleman Street, #04-27, Singapore 179804). They provide delivery service too.


New Stockist - That Health Store@Raffles Place June 03, 2016 00:16

We are excited to have a new stockist in central Singapore. That Health Store@Arcade (Raffles Place) is well-stocked with organic health products and fresh produce which you will love. Pop by their store and and say hi to store partners Kim & Jo, who will always be willing to share wth you health tips and recipes.

THAT HEALTH SHOP@ARCADE (11 COLLYER QUAY, #03-05, SINGAPORE 049317, T: 9733 1850)

Jo and Kim got to know about us through recommendations of our products by their customers (a big thank you!). If you would like to see our products at your favourite store, please help us have a shout out or drop us an email to let us know!


Local Farm Tour & Malaysia Wellness Retreat April 11, 2016 12:20

Teacher Vinitha Ang from Nutrihub is organising a local farm tour during the June holidays and 2 wellness retreats in Malaysia. Please contact her for details regarding the tours.

 


BGO Ecoshop is now a SSL certified site! February 18, 2016 00:28

We are pleased to announce that BGO Ecoshop online store traffic is now securely encrypted with SSL.

SSL (secure sockets layer) creates a secure connection between your web browser and our server. With SSL, you can assured that all your information handled on our site stay private and secure.


Ziziphus and Deep Sleep January 31, 2016 21:30

Do you feel drowsy and lethargic in the morning and yet lay wide awake on your bed at night? If you are, experts say you are suffering from sleep deprivation, which sadly, is true of most people living in the modern city. And if you doze off typically after 5 min of lying down, the deprivation is serious.

When we don't get enough restful sleep, we cannot function well in the daytime. It can wreck our emotions, hurt our relationships, and even cause death. Unfortunately, we often do not think of such consequences when we push back or cut 1 or 2 hours of our sleeping time in order to finish work reports or other seemingly more important matters.

Most of us know about the quantity of sleep that we should have at different stage of our lives (adults 7-8 hours, teenagers about 9 hours, infants 16 hours) but many fault to realise that the quality of sleep is important as well.

To understand this, we need to know how our sleep cycle works. Our sleep cycle consists of 5 stages, Stage 1, 2, 3, 4 and REM (Rapid Eye Movement).

Stage 1 is the light sleep stage where we are easily awakened as we drift in and out of sleep. Eye movement is slow and muscle activity slows. This is also the stage where we might experience sense of sudden falling.

In Stage 2, eye movement stops and our brain waves become slower, with occasional bursts of rapid waves. This is the stage where we spend most of our sleeping time (about 50%) with the exception of infants, who spend 50% of their time in REM sleep (REM stage stimulates the brain region for learning).

In Stage 3, we experience extremely slow brain waves called delta waves. Smaller, faster waves still occur at intervals at this stage but by stage 4, these disappear completely as the brain produces exclusively dealt waves. Stage 3 and 4 are what we call deep sleep stage, where restorative process takes place. There is no eye movement and no muscle activity. It is very difficult to wake someone up in the deep sleep stage.

In the next stage of REM, the blood pressure builds up, heart rate goes up and our breathing becomes more rapid, irregular and shallow. There is also significantly more eye movement. 

A complete sleep cycle takes about 90-110 minutes on average. The relatively shorter REM periods grow longer as morning approaches while the initially longer deep sleep  period may be completely skipped by morning.

When we talk about the quality of sleep, many factors come into play. We are familiar with most of them - caffeine, alcohol or drugs before sleep, pain, anxiety, discomfort, depression, nicotine withdrawal, exposure to light, jet lag and shift work.

Many people took to medication to try to sleep. What is better is to examine the reasons that are causing you to have difficulty in sleep and work on sleeping problems using holistic treatments, including herbal medicines, vitamins & supplements, lifestyle changes, exercise, yoga, meditation, homeopathy and acupuncture.

We mention in our Ziziphus page that this sour jujube seed (called Suan Zao Ren in Chinese) can help to improve deep sleep.

In deep sleep, the body increases production and reduced breakdown of proteins. Proteins is the building block of cell growth and helps the repair of damage such as stress. Hence the term "beauty sleep" comes about. Research has shown that deep sleep helps us to maintain optimal social and emotional functioning when we are awake. We also learn better if we get sufficient deep sleep as memory encoding also occurs at this stage. Therefore, we can say that Stage 3 of our sleep is the healing and revitalising stage.

This is not to say that taking ziziphus can help you fall asleep faster, but rather it can help you get a more restful sleep. Ziziphus not only has great sedative powers, but also increases GABA's inhibitory action on the arousal system.

Ziziphus has tons of health benefits, however like all things, if abused, it can lead to some problems. Excessive use can cause allergies, numbness of lips and diarrhoea. Recommended Suan Zao Ren dosage is from 6 to 15 grams in decoction or from 3 to 5 grams in the forms of powder and pills.

 

References:

1. Suan Zao Ren (Jujube Seed)

2. How Much Sleep Do You Need?

3. Brain Basics: Understanding Sleep

4. External Factors That Influence Sleep

5. Herbs and Natural Remedies For Insomnia

6. The Mysterious Benefits of Deep Sleep

7. Slow-wave Sleep


My 2016 New Year's Resolution - Gym For the Mind January 01, 2016 01:00

Typically, at the beginning of every new year, health fitness clubs and yoga centres see membership increase the most. New year it seems, have the magic of instilling in us renewed hopes and aspirations, as well as the determination to make good changes in our lives.

Sweng and I recently signed up subscription for Headspace, an app that guides you in meditation. Both of us have been using the free version of the app for some time and like it enough to subscribe to the new version to get more contents.

The guided meditation is voiced by Headspace founder Andy Puddicombe, who used to be a monk. The app has gained quite a success and became a global phenomenon, winning over even well-known personalities such as Richard Branson, Tim Ferriss and Kevin Rose.

Meditation has been practised for a long time and its benefits on brain functions were proven scientifically - it speeds up brain processing capability, lessens anxiety, increase immunity, decreases pain and fosters rapid memory recall. It even reduces the risk of heart diseases.

And not just physically, meditation also contributes to our emotional well-being. Long-term meditation helps to increase mindfulness and in turn has a positive effect on happiness and interpersonal relationship. These benefits are helpful towards building meaningful social relations, makes us more focused and attentive in work as well as being more creative.

Now, knowing the benefits of meditation is one thing, actually doing it and keeping the habit is quite another. Back to the topic of New Year's resolutions, why are they infamously difficult to keep? These are a few main reasons I have gathered:

Why New Year's Resolutions Are Often Broken:

  1. We simply set too many of them.
  2. There is a lack of specific plan to execute.
  3. There is an inertia to change (even when we know the benefits of the change)
  4. Lack of determination causes new habits to break easily.

How I Plan to Make My New Year's Resolutions work:

1. Make one resolution at a time - to create and sustain a habit of meditation.

2. Be specific - meditate twice a day, once in the morning, and once before bed.

3. Broadcast my resolution - by telling everyone in this blog. ;)

4. Have a program to help keep it going - The Headspace app I signed up has a tracking system and various levels to spur me to go further.

5. Buddy up - my husband Sweng signed up Headspace too so we can encourage and keep each other on track.

6. Constant reminder - I have set time alert to remind me to meditate. I have also read that successful people meditate and I want to be like them. So I will put a picture/pictures of some of these people who meditate at my work desk to remind myself of this intrinsic reason.

I wish you a memorable and blessed 2016. May all that you wish for come true.

I would like to leave this post with one of Yoda's famous lines:

do-yoda

References:

  1. Scientific Benefits of Meditation - 76 Things You Might Be Missing Out on
  2. 4 Best Scientifically Proven Benefits of Meditation
  3. 20 Scientific Reasons to Start Meditating Today
  4. Man Behind Meditation App Goes From Monk to Millionaire
  5. Your New Year's Resolutions Are Doomed Before You Even Begin - Unless...
  6. The Science Behind Keeping Your New Year's Resolutions
  7. The Science Behind Why We Break New Year's Resolutions

 


Learn Vegetarian CNY Cooking November 27, 2015 14:06

Teacher Vinitha Ang is conducting vegetarian cooking classes on the next Sundays at Awareness Place Well-being Centre.

Sign up with her now if you would like to learn how to make delicious and healthy CNY dishes like Yu Sheng (no artificial colouring, no additives!), Lotus Leaf Fragrant Brown Rice, Peng Chai and herbal dessert.

Ms. Vinitha Ang can be reached at 92368402, http://nutrihub.blogspot.sg


Thank you for coming to EarthFest! September 28, 2015 13:15

Bright sunny day at the Marina Barrage on 26 Sept 2015

Me at our stall with our friendly neighbour, Herbert from The Hunters' Kitchenette

The sky was pretty clear last Saturday, 26 Sept (bye bye, haze!) at the Marina Barrage and we connected with so many like-minded souls who came to support Singapore's inaugural EarthFest. We would like to thank many of you who dropped by our booth to talk to us and sampled our products. We have been to quite a few fairs and bazaars and I must say, this is probably the most organised one we have attended (kudos to Michael Broadhead and his team of volunteers!). It took months (almost a year, I heard) of preparation and coordination and we really hope the takeaway was good for everyone who came. We need events like these to remind us and people around us the pressing need to pay attention to environment protection.

Right, back to our sales that day. One of the the most popular items were without a doubt the Rawmio chocolate barks and Rawmio spreads. All samplers went "hhhmm...!!" after tasting our Rawmio Sour Cherry & Almonds Chocolate Barks, Rawmio Chocolate Coconut butter and Rawmio Almond Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough. These are almost sold out so if you would like to grab these healthy snacks, shop online now!

Our new Japanese are also very well-received. The Seaweed Snacks Teriyaki were sold out that day (still have just a few boxes left on our online store). Tasters like the fact that these seaweed snacks do not taste too salty. The Genmai brown rice crackers were well-liked too. Children couldn't help taking more than a few samples! :) What better way to make children take healthy snacks?

Sweng's drawing on the Buddha Board

We were really delighted that there were quite many visitors who were intrigued by the Buddha Board. People like the quality of the product and the smoothness the brush felt across the board. This is the corner where children lingers the most, unleashing their creative minds!

We didn't have much time to explore other part of the event (I was at the stall 100% of the time), so it was great that people came forward to make connections with us. One was Way Ling at Muddy Hands. Check out their FB to know more about their Eat Real community and watch the fun video showing juicing on a bike at the EarthFest.

Also, Marc Dass from intheLoop - an online magazine on yoga, healthy and mindful living and Adrian from Paper Carpenter who makes amazing stuff from cardboards. 

We look forward to the next time when we participate in a green event like the EarthFest and we certainly look forward to make new friends and connections!


BGO Ecoshop Gift Cards September 05, 2015 01:36

Gift someone a BGO Ecoshop Gift Card to shop for great natural and organic products from our online store!

Whether you are gifting one or a number of recipients, purchasing our Gift Card online is easy. 

Simply purchase Gift Cards that make up your total value and contact us to confirm the number of Gift Cards and the respective denominations to be issued.

For example: You want $20 Gift Card for 5 people and $80 Gift Card for 1 person. Total Gift Card value is $180.

How the Gift Card works: 

A. Select & purchase:

1 x $100 Gift Card
1 x $50 Gift Card
3 x $10 Gift Card
Total value: $180

B. Contact us to let us know your Gift Card requirements.

ie. $20 Gift Card for 5 people and $80 for 1 person

 

C. We will issue the respective Gift Cards with unique codes and send you by email.

D. You then email the Gift Cards to your gift recipients and delight them!


EarthFest Singapore 2015 September 03, 2015 02:55

Come join us for a day of greener living, music and entertainment at the inaugural EarthFest 2015!

We'll be at the Farmers' Market with some of our natural and organic products. Give us a shout if you would like to meet us there and perhaps reserve some items! See you there!

Date: 26 Sept 2015

Time 11am - 3:30pm

Venue: Marina Barrage


Jubilee Celebration - Delivery resumes on Tue 11/8/2015 August 06, 2015 02:12

Due to the Jubilee and National Day holidays, orders received from today will be fulfilled from Tuesday 11 August 2015 onwards.

Happy 50th birthday, Singapore!

May all enjoy the Jubilee celebration to the fullest!


Mega Balik Kampung Carnival (1 & 2 August 2015) August 01, 2015 00:17

Looking for a fun family outing? Head out to Mega Balik Kampung Carnival this weekend!

Ground-Up Initiative (GUI) aspires to bring the people of Singapore together through Mega Balik Kampung, a two-day carnival on the 1st & 2nd of August 2015 in celebration of Singapore’s jubilee year!

Expect exciting activities (Farming, Play, Craft, Family Zones, 5G* Interactive Exhibit) that promote community building and sustainable living, and give you and your family a chance to get your hands dirty in a space built through the power of community!

BGO Ecoshop will also have a stall at the food and bazaar. We have pledged 50% of all BGO sales at the carnival to GUI.

Do pop by and support GUI's causes and have fun with your family!

For more details, visit GUI's page.

*5G - Gracious, Green, Giving, Grounded, and Grateful


NParks Artist Night Out: Memories May 16, 2015 04:22

This weekend, NParks is offering a myriad of activities by talented artists, this night event will serenade and evoke the creativity in you. Enjoy the medley of performances, poetry recitals, workshops, interactive installations and the art market. Free admission!


Date | Time: 
16 May 2015 (Sat) | 12pm – 10pm, 
17 May 2015 (Sun) | 12pm – 6pm
Venue: Dhoby Ghaut Green (Outside Dhoby Ghaut MRT)
Visit NParks page for more details.

Maca Prices Soar and other Ayurvedic Herbs May 12, 2015 01:19

Organic-Raw-Maca-Powder-1-lb

 

One of our popular superfood red maca powder has been out of stock for quite some time. The reason we have not brought them back in stock is because their prices (as well as cream maca powder) has soared many folds since last year.

 

Maca prices have gone up significantly (at least 4 and 5 times the prices before) for some time. This is due to unprecedented demand from Asian, in particular, Chinese buyers. It has been said that there were Chinese businessmen coming to Peru as tourists and offered maca farmers suitcases full of cash for their maca crop and at 4-8 times the market rate for their maca product. The maca farmers have been accepting such high price, even at the expense of breaking the contract of their long-time supporting Peruvian national producers. Maca is a product considered native to Peru and since 2003 a regulation bans maca to be exported as unprocessed raw form but now it has been smuggled in great volume out of the country. Fox news reported in August 2014 that "2,000 tons of this year's 4,500-ton maca harvest" have been smuggled out of Peru.

 

It may be quite some time before we see maca prices normalising (if that's ever possible). However, fret not. There are quite a few adaptogens like maca that works wonderfully just as well. 

 

Nutritional Powerhouse - Pine Pollen (Cell Wall Broken)

First, there is the much cheaper nutritional powerhouse that is gaining recognition (thanks for Tim Ferriss' introduction in hi book 4-Hour Chef), Pine pollen. This superfood can help combat all those phyto and xeno-estrogens that our environment is full of these days, from drinking water, pesticides, plastics and more.

 

Pine pollen is a complete protein source (about 30% protein) as it contains seven of the essential amino acids. It has over 200 bioactive vitamins, minerals, amino acids, antioxidants and other super nutrients in every single serving. It is a wild-harvested super food with no added chemicals or preservatives. Besides increasing libido, it is also anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory, supports hormonal support and strengthens the immune system. According to Chinese medicine, pine pollen enters through the five major meridians including the lungs, kidneys, spleen, heart and liver. The testosterone boosting qualities of Pine pollen works well for women as well. Women need testosterone too for good body function, just not as much as men. Pine pollen also has been used as beauty tonic for women for thousand of years.

 

#1 Rated Herb in Ayuvedic Medicine - Shilajit

Then there is powerful ayurveda herb Shilajit, which is still relatively lesser known in the West. It is a powerful adaptogen and Jing substance. Shilajit is a phytocomplex that contains over 85 minerals in their ionic form and triterpenes, selenium, phospholipids, humic acid and fulvic acid. These compounds have strong antioxidant properties (anti-aging), while the minerals help give Shilajit an energy-enhancing effect.

 

Fulvic acid is one of the main constituents of shilajit that has some amazing benefits.

  • Helps move minerals and other nutrients into the tissues that need them
  • Free radical scavenger
  • Supports the immune system
  • Most powerful natural electrolyte known, balancing our cells
  • Makes Minerals Bioavailable

Shilajit also contains humid acid that are known to give us:

  • Increased Energy
  • Decreased Appetite
  • Better Sleep
  • Less Pain
  • Stress Reduction

Shilajit works well with many other herbs and often improves their potency.

 

Natural Aromatase Inhibitor - Nettle Root

Increasing testosterone will be quite futile if aromatization happens. Aromatization is the conversion of testosterone into estrogen. This not only means you won’t get the benefits of the testosterone, but it can actually be turned into something that works against you.

Nettle root is a natural aromatase inhibitor which has the reported ability to bind with the protein SHBG or the sex hormone binding globulin, due to its beta-sitosterol content. This promotes the circulation of free testosterone in the body so it can be utilized as an androgenic molecule rather than as an estrogen. 

 

More researched than any other effect is what nettle root can do for prostate health. Nettle root is very helpful for men with all sort of prostate problems not just BPH. Some studies have looked at its anti-prostate cancer effects.

 

Nettle root also has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It has also been shown to have some positive cardiovascular effects. Some people have even reported nettle root helping with baldness.

 

The Mushroom of Immortality - Reishi

Another antioxidant, anti-inflammatory that has the highest ratings among Chinese herbs is Reishi, also known as Ling Zhi and Ganoderma Lucidum. According to Chinese medicine, reishi is a premiere Qi and Shen Tonic Herb.

The reishi we sell  isn’t just one reishi, but includes four different varieties all mixed together in one blend:

  • Red Reishi
  • Purple Reishi
  • Black Reishi
  • White Reishi

Each of these mushrooms is likely to have slightly different benefits, thus giving you a broader range of effects.

 

Powerful Rejuvenator and Cleanser - Triphala

Triphala is one of the most often used herbal combos in ayurveda. Triphala means “three fruits” - Amalaki, Haritaki and Bhibitaki. Each one is great in its own right, but combined they become Triphala, one of the most important herbs in Ayurveda for balancing the five elements. It is a powerful rejuvenative to all constitutions, a rasayana suitable to all three doshas.

 

It is popular mainly for its colon cleansing actions. In Ayurveda, the colon is the seat of good health. Regular consumption of Triphala gently and slowly purifies the entire digestive system, rejuvenating down to the cellular level. This actual helps more food absorption to take place leading to healthy weight-loss (more energy from food means fewer calories to eat) and boosting one’s quality of life. Triphala is commonly mixed with Shilajit.

 

Indian Ginseng - Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha is one of the most powerful herbs in Ayurvedic healing and has been used since ancient times for a wide variety of conditions. It is most well-known for its restorative benefits. In Sanskrit, Ashwagandha means “the smell of a horse,” indicating that the herb imparts the vigor and strength of a stallion, and has traditionally been prescribed to help people strengthen their immune system after an illness.

 

Ashwagandha is frequently referred to as “Indian ginseng” because of its rejuvenating properties, even though botanically, ginseng and Ashwagandha are unrelated.

 

The Benefits of Ashwagandha

  • Used to Treat Auto-Immune Disorders
  • May Inhibit Tumor Growth
  • Has a Calming Effect and May Help Reduce the Effects of Too Much Stress
  • Anti-Inflammatory
  • Antioxidant
  • Works on the HPA Axis and Neuroendocrine System
  • Effective for Anxiety and Cloudy Thinking
  • Helps Lower Blood Pressure
  • Stabilizes Blood Sugar and Lowers Cholesterol
  • Immune System Support
  • Increases Production of Bone Marrow and Sperm
  • Diuretic
  • Increases Blood Cell Count and Hair Melanin
  • Increase Libido and Sexual Function

 

For people who suffer from insomnia and anxiety, having a cup of hot milk that contains a teaspoon of powdered Ashwagandha before bedtime is beneficial.


Kondo Marie: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up - The Japanese Art of De-cluttering and Organising March 16, 2015 13:52

Screen Shot 2015-03-16 at 1.33.54 pm

Late last year, Sweng and I put our hands on New York Times #1 Best-selling guide to de-cluttering, Kondo Marie's book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up - The Japanese Art of De-cluttering and Organising. 

It is Kondo Marie's zen-like de-cluttering philosophy that intrigued and inspired us to start reading her book. Instead of conventional tidying up methods that give quantitative guidelines (reduce your bins of clothes into half, have X number of good shirts, pants, dress etc), Kondo Marie (or so-called KonMari method focuses on qualitative de-cluttering. "Does this item spark joy in me?" is the only question you need to ask yourself when you pick up each of your item, one by one, and answer truthfully.

Since then, we have started cleaning out our house and both Sweng and I truly benefited from Kondo Marie's teachings. We are both not hoarders to begin with, so the result is not life-changing, but it is indeed very gratifying to see living space in our wardrobes, filled with pieces that we individually love and now wear often. I also developed a habit of removing all my items in my bag after my day's work and place them in allocated space (yes, every single item - purse, umbrella, keys, bus pass, small bags containing small miscellaneous item such as tissue packs, clipper and plasters). All my bags go into designated shelves much like parking lots for them. This gives me a sense of accomplishment every day. Things are tidier, the bags can breathe better and I can find my items easier.  I must confess though that the organisation of books and toys in our house are still not up to the vKonMari standard. It is tricky with young children in the family. But I have made the silent resolution to deal with it some time later, probably the June holidays. 

It is a key point in the KonMari method that this de-cluttering work be done swiftly in a short span of time (in our previous experience, we took a week). And if done properly, we only need to do it once in our lifetime. The rest are just daily simple upkeep. 

It is gratifying to know that none of Kondo Marie's clients have reverted back to their decluttering lifestyle after adopting her method and I can see why. If you truly follows through KonMari's method, you would have internalised her philosophy and realised for yourself how many items you really need, what kind of lifestyle you really want to live, what kind relationship you want to build and other deeper realisation, and there would be no turning back because you would find yourself more peaceful and at ease with your present. So why would you want to go back to your old cluttered lifestyle?

I highly recommend this book to anyone (and not just hoarders). You might be interested to check these videos to learn more about the KonMari method:

 Kondo Marie talks about her book and her philosophy

Kondo Marie speaking at Google Play

Kondo Mari helps a client organises her bookshelf

KonMari method of folding shirt

KonMari method of folding underwear