An excerpt from “Balek Kampong” (Return to Village)
“Everyone has a “village” they go to for safety, comfort, reminiscing, peace and serenity. Every place I go, I look for my “village.” I should appreciate wherever I am and not compare it to the place I keep in my heart’s cove, but since leaving home, I can’t help myself.”
1. Eat as much seafood as possible, especially mussels and scallops (had my best yet in Galway, Ireland, and Inverness, Scotland).
2. Skip the coffee and drink tea. My experience is that coffee is probably “rubbish” throughout all of Ireland unless it comes out of an espresso machine.
3. Porridge is the perfect sunrise comfort food and delicious in the British Isles! Choose to have it made with milk, not water. Bacon is really Canadian bacon (as we know it) + an extra piece.
4. Don’t skip the Guinness and whiskey distillery tours, like the Dalmore Distillery! I missed the Guinness tour and I’m still wishing I could have gone. Speaking of beer, it tastes different on the British Isles and I think it has everything to do with the pure water, especially in Scotland as they use fresh mountain “loch” water.
5. In Ireland, it’s this simple: get out of the city unless it’s Galway (The King’s Head, High Street, Tig Cóilí, Taffes). Glendalough in County Wicklow is a stunning setting with monastic ruins and a hiking trail. I hear the West Coast is nothing short of breathtaking, most particularly the Aran Islands and The Cliffs of Moher in County Claire. I missed these, but they are highly recommended and on my to-do list next time I visit the island. If you are in Dublin, take a trip out to Howth Harbour, a charming seaside town nearby. The seafood is succulent and you may spot a few seals swimming amongst the fishing boats. Dublin…Do a walking tour to see the colorful doors and parks. Visit the Guinness Storehouse for a tour and lesson on pouring. Walk around Trinity College pay a few euros to see The Old Library and the ancient manuscript, The Book of Kells. Finally, hit up a few old pubs for fish and chips, and then get out of town into the rolling green hills dotted with sheep and bogs.
6. Stay with a native if at all possible or at a B & B and see everything they suggest. If you don’t have this opportunity, then frequent a popular pub or eatery and chat up the nearest table for suggestions. The Irish and Scottish are very friendly people and they love helping you see the special places in their country!
7. Go to the Highlands. Period. Inverness, as a city, and Dornoch, as a village, are wonderful. While in Dornoch, visit The Dornoch Cathedral for the stained glass windows, lunch at The Dornoch Castle Hotel by the massive fireplace, and dip your toes in The North Sea near The Royal Dornoch Golf Club. The beach is pristine and wild.
8. Stroll through the rambling ruins of The Urquhart Castle on the banks of the Loch Ness. You can put your toes in the loch and hope the Monster doesn’t take a little lick!
9. Use your fork in your left hand (flipped upside down) and push the food onto it with a knife. It’s very European, a fun new trick to learn and it looks very cultured when eating in an American restaurant. It also forces you to eat slowly rather than “shoveling” food into your mouth, as is our tendency, right?
10. When in Inverness (don’t miss this beautiful city), eat at Rocpool. You might run into Gordon Ramsey, because he loves this place. But that’s not why I’m suggesting this restaurant: it’s top of the world in atmosphere, service, and gorgeous food made with fresh local ingredients from the surrounding Scotland land and sea with “a Mediterranean twist.” Tell Steven, the owner, that Karen (Jonny and Anna’s friend) sent you. Try the scallop starter. I PROMISSSSSSE….
11. Love bookstores? Visit Leakey’s Bookshop in Inverness. In the 1970s, it was converted from a church to a bookstore. When you walk in the door, the fragrance of old books, nutty and warm like cinnamon bread, envelopes you. Just stand still and inhale. Check out the prints in the bins in the middle of the store, they’re guaranteed to be over 100 years old. I snagged a few pastorals. Then climb the twisting stairs to the balcony cafe for a pot of tea and cakes. Delicious.
12. Last, but the top of my Best Vibes list is a climb up a Highland mountain to the Fyrish Monument. General Sir Hector Munro, just returned from war in 1783, paid 1 pound per rock (this is local legend) to townsfolk near Alness, Scotland, to erect a replica providing work in a time of famine. The monument is said to be a replica of the gates of the Indian fortress of Negapatam, captured by general.
With a few tweaks to your lifestyle, you will be on your way to banishing belly fat, which means a healthier new you!
What to Eat
1. Fiber: Fiber flushes the digestive tract, which helps regulate the digestive system and leads to a flatter stomach.
2. Non-fat Dairy: Dairy helps the body retain lean muscle, versus storing visceral fat tissue: “Increasing calcium suppresses calcitriol, a hormone that promotes fat storage.” Michael Zemel, PhD.
3. Fruits and Vegetables: By starting each meal with a fruit or vegetable, you fill up on pure foods and consume less calories, as well as aid in digestion and jump-starting your metabolism.
4. Healthy Fats:It is a big misconception that fat makes you fat. So not true! Healthy fats, found in most nuts and oils, have been proven to keep you lean. The omega-6 fatty acid found in “sunflower, soybean, and corn oils, helps increase the fat-burning hormone adiponectin.” Martha Belury, PhD.
What Not to Eat (and Drink!)
1. Alcohol: One or two drinks occasionally is fine, but if you’re frequently consuming three or more drinks, you will soon see it on your waistline! Choose light beer, wine, or diet mixers.
2. Trans Fats: Found mainly in baked goods and processed snack foods, trans fats have no notable nutritional value, so whenever possible completely avoid these foods!
3. Stress: This is huge contributor to belly fat! Maintaining a very low (and if possible, negligible) stress level is key to warding off unhealthy body fat. Stress boosts our production of cortisol, the hormone known to increase visceral fat, otherwise known as belly fat.
Do the Right Moves
1. Cardio: Abdominal exercises are great–and should be done regularly–but cardio is needed to burn the fat covering your beautiful, strong muscles. Aim to get up and move at least 30 minutes a day, three days a week.
2. Strength & Toning: Building muscle not only looks and feels great, but muscle is your constant companion when leading a Belly Fat-Busting Lifestyle. Muscle burns fat constantly throughout the entire day! Simply work your major muscle groups 2-3 times a week.
You can lead a Belly Fat-Busting Lifestyle starting today by making these small changes gradually over a three week period (that’s how long it takes to create a new habit). In less than a month, you’ll have a new lifestyle and a flatter belly!
Contributing Blogger:: Rachael Chronister is a Fitness Programming Manager at Liberty University majoring in Health Promotions & Nutrition, 2013. She helps facilitate the LaHaye Loser contest (you’re right, it’s just like The Biggest Loser!) and teaches popular turbo-like, Belly Fat-Busting fitness classes.