It's not a secret that I like to visit Shanghai's parks and green spots several times a week - whether it's for a run, some yoga, a tabata workout or just a stroll. What is kind of a secret is the location of some of my spots! But Sharing is Caring right?
I find that by having different spots with different qualities (near my home, near some water, big & bustling, small & secret etc.) there is always a place I feel like going when the alarm rings too early in the morning! And there are less excuses...
Fuxing Park is easy and accessible, it has a decent size for a 5k morning run and it has great green areas for doing post-running stretches. But if you don't feel like running around hundreds of curious locals during their morning routines Fuxing is just a no-go. This has sometimes been my excuse for not getting out there (oh yes, I have good excuses as well).
But not long ago we discovered an amazing spot just around the corner from our apartment and I've been going there several times since. It's lush, it's beautiful and it's the spot I like to call my Secret Yoga Garden. In the morning you literally see below 10 people in this garden and it's just such a good little morning or afternoon green get-away from concrete and crowds! Only minus is that a 5k runs would include quite a lot of loops - but it's a great destination for a run through the streets and for doing yoga or other post-running activities!
Sharing is Caring
My Secret Yoga Garden is actually not my garden (!) no, it belongs to the Okura Garden Hotel on Maoming Lu/Changle lu which started as a French Club in the 1920s. Due to a visit by Mao in 1959 the Garden was designed with its current look including lots of small paths so the chairman could have his leisurely walks (read more on the Okura Garden Hotel's website).
The Garden is open everyday with access from Maoming Lu (between Changle and Huaihai) and as far as I am aware it is public (otherwise I am pretty convinced the Chinese guards and gardeners would have informed me as well as the small expat groups I've seen doing picnics here on weekends).
Do yourself a favor and visit this lush, secret spot in the heart of the French Concession in Shanghai. Whether its for pure healthy activities or a nice hangout make sure to bring a blanket and don't forget to do some stretches on the grass or practice your headstand like me and my boyfriend (I'm making him a yogi, so happy!!).
Enjoy Friends, and see you in the garden!
A couple of weeks ago I was contacted by Threads & Ginger - a Shanghai based blog giving tales and tips which you will love if you love Style & Travel (and yes we do, don't we?).
To share some Experiences, Ideas as well as Shanghai Stories I met up with the editor of T&G at one of Shanghai's most delicious and innovative healthy eateries: Pure & Whole. This place is such a living proof that Vegetarian does not have to rime with Boring!
I never know what to choose at this place and all their dishes seem to have been developed by someone with a similar mindset as mine: Think Colors, Think Raw, Think Flavors, Think Freshness, Think Toppings, Think Dips... Think healthy nutritiously naturally plant-based yumminess! And then just say Yes Please, Xie Xie Ni and await a party of flavors in your mouth.
Good Food should always go hand in hand with Good Company! With the Aussie editor from Threads & Ginger a couple of hours quickly flew by at Pure & Whole and I'm already looking forward reading Cidonie's next post as well as seeing her again...at Pure & Whole!
Cidonie Richards is the editor of the blog Threads & Ginger. She is a stylist, fashion editor, writer and now a Shanghai local who shares the tales of her adventures and research as she uncovers some of the best places to shop, stay and play around Shanghai and other travel destinations, whilst giving a few style tips along the way.
Make sure to check out her inspiring blog and her recent interview with me here.
I absolutely loooooove hummus and I make some kind of hummus-dip every week. I love to experience with my hummus "cooking" by adding different healthy ingredients. Hummus-dips & spreads are such a good way to make salads and vegetables extra yummy and interesting!
When it comes to what I add to my hummus I only have one rule:
Forget about that garlic powder & forget about that plastic lemon.
Natural Hummus is Happy Hummus!
My Hummus Base
1 can of ready-to-use chick peas (approx. 240 g)
3-4 cloves of garlic
juice from 1/2 lemon
50-100 ml olive oil
50-100 ml water
I use a blender and just add all ingredients (not all liquid at once though) and blend it!
My Favorite Hummus Adds
Chili (fresh or dried)
Roasted nuts (walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, pine nuts etc.)
Lentils (adds protein, not so much flavor difference from chick peas)
Sun dried tomatoes
My Happy Hummus Tips
- Don't add too many extra ingredients to your base! Keep it simple. Two ingredients is yummy to, for example broccoli & feta hummus-dip!
- I almost always add chili no matter which kind of hummus-dip I'm making - I love chili!
- I've started to replace 1/3 or or 1/2 of the chickpeas in my base with lentils as lentils have more protein than chickpeas and I find that the flavor and consistency is the same
- I find that most veggies and nuts get so much more flavorful if you roast them on the pan before you add them to your hummus
- Remember veggies have to be cooked before you add them to the hummus - the softer the easier to blend smooth!
Do you have any hummus tips? Please Share! And subscribe to Shanghaihabits so I can continue to share with you!
Enjoy your happy natural hummus & dip with vegetable sticks or with your salad!
I find that mornings are the best time to run, do yoga and work out: (I) The air in Shanghai is so much better in the morning (ii) most of us know when we have to be at work - we never reaaally know when we are going to leave work later (iii) it gives us that energy boost from the morning that support us in having an amazing day (endorphins friends endorphins...).
Everyone can set their alarm to ringing 30 minutes earlier - but does that really buy us the time needed for a workout? Say Ta-Ba-Ta. My Partner In Crime has introduced me to this High Intensity Interval Training which is known for burning fat & calories (and even more important: giving us energy, happiness and awsomeness) fast.
Tabata, in a sentence, is a super intense, super efficient and super quick training method. It's a form of High Intensity Interval ("HIT") which is really intense exercise performed in many, short intervals with tiny breaks in between. This one is named after a Japanese Professor Izumi Tabata who studied Olympic speed skaters.
It involves using cycles of 20-seconds of intense exercise, followed by 10-seconds rest, repeated continuously for 4 minutes. The theory behind it is that the body works so much harder when its really being pushed and that is burns more calories and recovers stronger.
There are many ways to do Tabata - try to google it and you will find websites dedicated to the concept. According to my Partner In Crime our favorites are body-weight exercises like pushups, pullups, dips, crunches, lunges, squats, jumps etc. It is easy to integrate running as well just switch between high and low intensity.
But Try it!
Classic routine of 3 or 4 sets:
- st set: Squats (4x cycles i.e. go as hard as you can for 20 seconds, rest for 10 seconds, repeat 4 times)
- nd set: Pushups (4x cycles)
- rd set: Crunches (4x cycles)
- th set: Pull-ups or dips (4x cycles)
Give yourself 100% and you will be buuuuuurning. Then repeat 3 or 4 times per week!
The beauty of Tabata is that its quick, no gyms required, its super flexible and its super effective! Don't forget to download the "Tabata Timer" app or similar to keep your timing.
In July this year the 6th Best Of Shanghai Awards took place in order to celebrate the city's best offerings for all sorts of categories. One of these categories was yoga and as I wrote in an earlier post about the best Healthy Choices in our city Pure Yoga was voted the best yoga center in Shanghai. Therefore I just had to check it out.
On the top of the IAPM shopping mall on Huaihai lu/Shaanxi nan lu over-viewing Shanghai's French Concession you find Pure Yoga.
I have a few friends who are members at Pure Yoga and they speak highly of this modern yoga studio. Still, I was a little bit skeptic about this center because of the fact that it is located in one of the greatest commercial shopping malls I've ever come across (and which happens to be my neighbor). You see, I'm so much into simplicity of life and this life philosophy is such a good combo with yoga and the old Indian principles behind.
So Pure Yoga in all its fanciness - can it really embrace the principles of traditional Yoga and capture the true essence?
I must say Pure Yoga really surprised me. As I walked through Saturday-busyness and over-consumerism in the IAPM mall and into Pure Yoga, it was like entering a different world. I immediately felt like taking a rest in their lounge area, enjoying a tea while overlooking my current home-area from the panorama windows or joining the tired yoga practitioners who took a nap in the rest-area. But my class was just about to begin so I went to studio 2 and chose a mat.
Then Adam happened. Adam is a yogi from the US who is currently in Shanghai to teach yoga and to share his passion for the philosophy behind. It's fair to say that his positive vibes, confident voice and peace of mind had my + my 15 yoga classmates' attention for all 70 minutes of this Vinyasa class. We practiced bakasanas or crow pose and he tried to teach us "how to fly". Afterwards I practiced a little bit by myself. I wanna fly.
2 hours flew by in the Shanghai Pure Yoga studio and then it was my time to be super Chinese and take a nap in their rest area.
Let's have a try
Pure Yoga is a pretty expensive center but from what I know their pricing is pretty transparent so at least you know you're not being ripped off just because you are a foreigner (or bad at negotiating). I believe their memberships are around 10.000/year... Yes it ain't cheap but if you're in Shanghai for a fixed period why not invest in yourself and leave Shanghai as a little yoga or at least being much more flexible, much more healthy and much more happy (it's yoga it's magic!). A center like Pure Yoga with its fanciness and amazing environment will certainly motivate you to come to class!
For now, do your body & your mind a favor and book a trial class through their website. A drop-in class is RMB300 but a trial is free!
For us "Laowais" (foreigners in China) Mid-Autumn Festival in China means a day off work and when there is a chance to travel... Me and my boyfriend, we travel! Out of Shanghai to see, try and experience something new. This time we went with four good friends which was so much.
Though not more than a long weekend this was enough for us to plan a get-away a little bit further away than just the outskirts of Shanghai. We decided to travel to Yangshuo (a county under Guilin the capital of China's Guangxi province) to explore this renowned area. In China, the Mid-Autumn festival is traditionally celebrated on the 15th day of the eighth month in the Chinese calendar under a full moon. So we got it perfectly right when we on this specific day found ourselves with four good friends under the clearest and brightest full moon in Yangshuo - or "Bright Moon" as the county's name literally translates to.
We had the most fantastic days in Yangshuo. Amazing weather, amazing accommodation, amazing food & amazing Yangshuo. I'd have to say this was probably my best trip in China so far.
What we did
- We left Shanghai Pudong Airport Friday evening at 19.45 and arrived in Guilin airport two hours later. A driver arranged by our accommodation (The Giggling Tree) was awaiting us in the airport and after a 1 1/2h drive we found ourselves surrounded by Yangshou's dark mountains.
- After a latte and a Western style breakfast on Saturday morning we rented bikes, explored the nearby area, went on an amazing bamboo raft on the Yulong River, had a swim, tanned and saw the sunset with beers from a rooftop in Yangshuo centre. We finished the day with the famous Light Show on the Li River. The River Lightshow is a big attraction in Yangshuo but not something any of us would highly recommend (especially after a few wines...).
- Sunday we went with the legendary one-eyed local guide Peter on an amazing full-day scooter ride through beautiful landscapes, old villages, magnificent mountains - we even crossed the famous Li River and found the exact landscape you can see on a 20 Kuai note (this is a must-take picure when in Yangshuo).
- Monday we relaxed by the Giggling Tree's refreshing pool, explored the nearby surroundings, ate Moon cakes to celebrate the Chinese Festival and recharged our batteries before heading back to Shanghai on a late night flight.
We reckon that Yangshuo can be done in a normal weekend's time and we are definitely going back!
The Giggling Tree
I had The Giggling Tree Guesthouse recommended by a friend from my Instagram community and though I heard good things about it I had never imagined it to be either so idyllic or so comfortable. The private rooms are charming and clean, the menu yummy & the pool such a refreshing surprise! I would almost say that The Giggling Tree made our Shanghai get-away feel like a luxury retreat for mind & body (and it is very budget friendly!). Call Paula and Karst, the Dutch owners, on +86 13667866154 or send them an email through the website here.
Day 1 - Biking, Rafting & Soaking the Sun
We took bikes from the Giggling Tree and after a couple of hours bike ride by the Yulong River we jumped on bamboo rafts with our bikes. After a couple of hours of drifting, rafting and swimming we head back to the Giggling Tree to get changed and hereafter to the Yangshuo Centre for the sunset and to enjoy our Saturday evening in Yangshuo.
Day 2: Through picturesque Landscapes, local Villages, magnificent Mountains and across the Li River
Guided all day by the local English speaking guide Peter who was recommended to us by our friends who went to Yangshuo earlier this year (check out Charlottes blog) and who we can definitely recommend to anyone who wants to get the absolute most out of one or more days in the Yangshuo area. Call and book him on this number: +86 135 9730 0650.
Day 3 - Chilling, exploring & getting ready for a new week in busy Shanghai
On our last day we stayed in and around the Giggling Tree - we just had to take advantage of their amazing pool. We also visited their Chinese neighbor: Yangshuo Eco Farm Lodge which is another option for accommodation in Yangshuo or just for a healthy yummy & Chinese lunch in their garden. If you are into meditation, yoga and retreats try to check out Inner Happiness Center which is also in the area of the Giggling Tree (3-5k out of Yangshuo Centre). Some of us had an amazing vegetarian western lunch here and this is definitely a place I'll look into booking for my next stay in Yangshuo.
Yangshuo is definitely a place worth visiting and if you've already locked your trip in - have an amazing time! Don't forget to subscribe and receive my travel updates & other healthy stuff
Questions? I'm happy to help!
You see, I just love those thick, creamy, milkshake'ish smoothies with a walnutty, coconutty or even chocolatty flavor to it. Some mornings this is the first thing I think about when I open my eyes and I love to spend some time in bed considering "which flavor today" (of course I knoooow I have to sip on my warm lemon water first to give my body a little but important cleanse on the inside... and then I can have my Natural Energy-Boosting Treat and enjoy it even more!).
But sometimes I need, want and crave something completely different: Something fresh, cold & hydrating. Especially here in Shanghai where I often have the feeling of "Thank God, I made it" when I reach my front door on the 3rd floor in our very Chinese lane house. I made it through the crowds, the pollution, the traffic, the delays, the grocery shopping-on-a-Friday-afternoon-before-Mid-Autumn-Holiday-madness!
I need a Pick Me Up Smoothie!
Maybe you need one to?
Pick Me Up Apple & Avocado
1 small cup of water
Blend, Serve & Enjoy on the sofa
Pick Me Up Apple & Ginger
Fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 small cup of water
Blend, Serve & Enjoy on the sofa
HAVE A HAPPY MID-AUTUMN HOLIDAY FRIENDS & DON'T FORGET TO SIGN UP TO SHANGHAIHABITS:
This morning I had a Shanghai blogger's meet-up with my good friend Howard who is the guy behind the popular Shanghai blog lostinshanghai.com. He writes the most interesting, entertaining and well-researched posts about anything an expat family would wanna now before, during and after living in Shanghai/China.
Me and Howard are looking into doing some work together. That's really all I can say for now but check out his latest post about Healthcare in China vs. in the US and about general well-being when living in China (where I'm even quoted). I think I can reveal that our project does concern health... And safety... And food.
Liquid Laundry: Andy Warhol meets Shanghai
Enough about us. We met up last week as well for lunch at 2014's coolest new spot in town: Liquid Laundry. This Andy Warhol/New York City warehouse themed eatery is always bustling! In June I arranged a surprise birthday party for my boyfriend here and apart from a high level of service and a super cool NYC-Vibe I heard from everybody that the self-brewed beer, the cocktails and not least the share-able food was amazing! It seems like this spot has it's concept & quality together. And that is not too surprising because the ones behind can also write places as Boxing Cat Brewery, Cantina Algave and one of my favorites: Sproutworks on their resume. For a fully detailed restaurant review check out this one made by Smartshanghai.
Eat. More. Kale
From Liquid Laundry's lunch menu both me and Howard chose their super delicious Kale Salad. Kale is so popular these days and it should be because besides from its anti-inflammatory properties this leafy green is packed with antioxidants, essential vitamins and minerals. Furthermore it is sometimes referred to as Hollywood's new it vegetable and in the recent year or so you would often see celebrities with KALE prints on their outfits or hear them endorse this lucky veggie in the media.
Both Liquid Laundry and Kale is worth considering and I'm pretty sure they are both here to stay.
The celebrities knows about Kale and if you didn't know before well now you do. Wanna receive more healthy tips & tricks just subscribe to Shanghaihabits:
The last couple of months I've experienced something truly amazing. That is, if you're really passionate about something, if you dare to put yourself out there and share your passion with other people without asking for anything in return it aaaaall comes back to you.
How is that again?
Well, in the last months my path has been crossed by soooo many open and similar-minded people who I've come into contact with because of this similar interest for a Healthier Shanghai. As my starting point was me alone just sharing my ideas, experiences & beliefs, experiencing the existance of this Healthy-Shanghai society has such a magical feel to it. I feel so grateful for meeting and talking to new people everyday and it keeps me so motivated to explore, try, discuss, work, share & continously blog about Healthy Habits in Shanghai here on Shanghaihabits.
Shanghaihabits meets Fields China
Fields China has delivered groceries to people in Shanghai and China since 2009 and according to the company, Fields China is all about Freshness, Safety & Good Quality products. Place your order before 17 through their online shop or through their convenient shopping app and they promise same day delivery. Fields China aspire to help us eat & live Healthy in Shanghai and for this reason our paths have crossed.
This time to make dumplings - and not just any kind of dumplings! Fields gave me an opportunity to make a version I call "Traditional Dumplings Meets Shanghaihabits' Healthier Vegetarian Dumplings" (if you think of a shorter name, do let me know).
Here's our dumpling session in pictures and further down I've shared the recipe with instructions. Oh yes it is possible to make dumplings at home by yourself - I'm not exactly sure how well I would do without the Chinese Master Chef to my right but I will definitely give it a try one day and surprise my boyfriend with my own fresh-made, safer & healthier dumplings.
(4-5 persons 40-50 pcs)
100g Shiitake Mushrooms
100g Winter Bamboo
50g Green Beans
100 g Black Mushrooms
10g potato starch
Boil the winter bamboo, cut all ingredients very fine and stir fry everything together . Add potato starch and let the filling cool down for example over night in the fridge
The traditional dumpling recipe is based on pork and shrimp meat but obviously I would not use or eat that. Luckily Fields were able to find this vegetarian recipe just for :-)
If you prefer meat I'll just share the recipe for that:
Mix 50 g of ground pork, 25 g of peeled shrimp, a dash of salt and sugar, a few chopped spring onions, a pinch of ginger and pepper powder and a good glug of sesame oil
(4-5 persons 40-50 pcs)
300 g low gluten flour
20 g glutinous rice flour
20 g wheat starch
Approx. 200 ml warm water
For dumplings you need to make a kind of dough from water and flour. For steamed dumplings use warm water, for boiled dumplings use cold water.
1. Combine the flour and water and mix into a dough. Cover it and let it set 5 minutes
2. Roll the dough into a long cylinder and cut individual pieces of around 2-3 cm in length.
3. Flatten each piece with your hand.
4. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough into individual pieces of around 9 cm in size.
"Bao Jaozi" - Putting the dumplings together
1. Place a dumpling wrapper in your hand so that you’re forming a bowl shape.
2. Place a spoonful of the filling in the middle, don't overfill it!
3. You can make different patterns when you fold your dumpling but the simplest way is to fold the wrapper over the filling to make a half moon shape, pinching the sides. This works whether you’re steaming or boiling your dumplings. You can also experiement with folding them in other ways - I've already forgotten the Tips & Tricks from the Chinese Master Chef but if you manage to fold them in specific ways you can add colorful toppings (peas, fine cut egg, red capsicum, mushroom) in the "holes" (check my pictures). Just make sure your dumplings are sealed so you don't loose your filling during the steaming or boiling process.
4. Steam the dumplings over boiling water for 15 minutes. If you’re boiling them, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add your dumplings (if you are making many make sure not to boil them all at once but give them some space) and stir so they don't stick together. When the water boils again add ½ cup of cold water and stir again. When the dumplings boil for the third time, they are ready.
6. Drain and serve.
You can buy a traditional Steamer Base for only RMB 20 at Fields online store
and you can subscribe to healthy updates, tips & tricks from Shanghaihabits here:
As I like to say: If you wanna stay Happy & Healthy in Shanghai you gotta get out of Shanghai once in a while. This is something I'm really passionate about - also because traveling is fun and China is such an amazing and diverse country with countless spots, destinations & must-sees. Check out Trips & Travel to see what I travel-wise have been up to since I came to China for the first time in 2012.
Next weekend we will be heading to Guilin and Yangshuo in the Guanxi province for the "Mid-Autumn Day Holiday" (most people here will have Monday the 7th off). This is a trip I've been looking forward to since we locked it in when I came back to Shanghai after summer in Denmark over four weeks ago. Because that's what we do in order to realize all our trips & travel: We Lock Them In.
Planning, Planning & more Planning
When living in Shanghai I often think about how how time is flyyyyying and one thing I've learned here is that if you want to do something different, see something new and most importantly travel out of Shanghai you have to lock it in. Shanghai is an amazing place and there's things (awsome things) happening every day and week. I find that if I don't lock my trips in and make committing plans my schedule will be filled up with brunches, parties, events, dinners, workshops and lots of other big-city-life fun.
Big-city-life fun is awsome but as I often mention I find that it is so important for our General Well-being, our Health and our Happiness that we get out of Shanghai once in a while. And no matter which city you live in actually. That's why I use a whole section on Shanghaihabits to share my traveling in China - to help, inspire and motivate you to get away.
Small as well as big get-aways make me reenergized, make me think about new ideas and makes me consider the future in a different perspective. It most importantly buys me the only thing I believe money is really worth buying: experiences!
Get into it
If you feel the same but not sure where to go or how to go you can check out my China trips for some travel inspiration as well as travel information. Another and maybe even more important recommendation is to get the book Shanghai Connections. It's written by another passionate traveler and it literally contains 40 trips out of Shanghai (including mountains, islands, smaller biking tours and helpful information). We use this book a lot and I've recommended it to many friends. Get it here - it is awsome and can change your Shanghai life!
Just to repeat myself: I really find that the most important thing is: Planning! So start planning friends and share your travels with me so we can help each other stay Happy & Healthy in Shanghai.
Share with your friends and don't forget to subscribe to Shanghaihabits to receive other good tips & trips from China's New York
Suzhou Creek is just a 10 minutes bike ride away from my home in the French Consession and I love to go here for a run or an evening walk. Especially on a day like today where I had plenty of time for outdoor activities and where the air feels so fresh, the sky is blue and the temperature has dropped to more running-friendly degrees.
I lock my bike at the Creek in the Jing'an-end and if I have a good leg-day like today I run all the way to the Bund and back. There is something really spectacular about running by the creek as it gets broader and broader and suddenly the Pudong Skyline shows behind bridges and buildings. Before you know of it the creek runs into Huangpu River and you are being stopped by a Chinese tourist for a photo together at the Bund.
If you're not sure how to get to the creek or where to start you can check out my route and map here. Or just grab your trainers, head to the creek and start running along the tracks on both sides of the water.
I love running by water and I literally feel like I've been on a little morning get-away from busy Shanghai every time I do this mission.
This morning I skipped yoga and my regular Morning Energy Class in order to join my friend Martin at Iron Dragon Cross Fit in Jing'an. Martin represents Iron Dragon in competitions and is a cross fit PRO so I was'nt really sure whether I was super lucky to have him give me a session or super fuc****.... Anyways, I was super keen to visit and experience the original CrossFit gym in China: Iron Dragon (the name says it all doesn't it?) and give Cross Fit a proper go.
The gym's box (yup, when you train Cross Fit you are not really inside a gym or a center - you are in the box) the biggest in Asia and all I can say is that it's a super cool box! Being inside Iron Dragon feels like being in another world - a world inspired by an underground environment, simple warehouse facilities and a hardcore gym (don't expect to find any nice motivational quotes around here telling you that "come on, you can do it CLAP CLAP" instead you find "no excuses FULL STOP").
Cross Fit shi shenme?
According to Iron Dragon CrossFit is "The Sport of Fitness” and despite it's rather rough edges it is said to be suitable for everyone - even weak'ish unexperienced yoga girls. I actually did the same program as the PRO Martin this morning - just with fewer repetitions and a little bit less weight...or a lot less...or actually no weight sometimes where I just did the squat... But I did it. Cross fit is a combination of lots of training systems and philosophies - even elements from yoga is super important as cross fit is more than strength: balance and flexibility are essential! (And suddenly I found my Cross Fit advantage).
If you want to try this action packed work out just visit Iron Dragon's website for bookings of classes and private sessions or rock up at 325 Changhua Lu / Kangding Lu in Jing'an district on Fridays after 18pm where they offer open workout where anybody is welcome for free. Yes: For free. You don't hear these words too often in Shanghai friends so I'll just repeat the words of Iron Dragon: NO EXCUSES!
We all know that An Apple A Day Keeps The Doctor Away, right? Well, here's another one you might not be aware of: A shot of Apple Cider Vinegar a day or even a shot before each meal is known to be one of the best cleanses for your body as well as one of the best health boosting habits!
I have previous shared how I use this natural goodness as a magical remedy for cleaning my yoga mat or rinsing my veggies. Here I'm going to share with you which ACV you should use as a natural supplement to your diet in order to improve and heal your health, boost your energy and potentially start shining on the inside as well as the outside.
It is very important that you drink the right kind of ACV in order to obtain any of the desired health benefits. The right kind is the real kind: Organic, Raw, Unfiltered ACV which contains the "mother" of vinegar. You can find many ACV on the shelves with different labels and fancy adjectives but not to worry you can easily recognize the right one as the liquid is not transparent but kind of foggy and brown'ish. My good friend and food expert Lou (known in Shanghai as Loueatsmore) has always recommended me to use BRAGG's Apple Cider Vinegar and I recently went to the amazing Sprout Lifestyle in Surpass Course 570 Yongjia lu to pick up a bottle (approx. RMB 70).
The list of benefits provided by this drink is long and to mention the most important (in my opinion) ACV is known to:
- Improve digestion (why I like it before meals)
- Prevent constipation (why I like it in the early mornings before breakfast)
- Strengthen your immune system (why I like it hot in the winter)
- Get rid of bad breath (which you can almost feel when you sip on it)
- Detoxify your system (why I really like it as a daily detox after a toxic weekend)
- Be anti-bacterial and anti-funcal (why I love it as a supplement when I live in dirty Shanghai)
If you want to read more about the research behind and ACV's additional benefits just hit google and use your common sense to find valid sources (which might not be personal blogs like this written by an Apple Cider Vinegar FAN). Or just head down to Sprout Lifestyle, grab a bottle and try for yourself. I was convinced about this historic elixir after the first sip!
Mix 1 tablespoon of ACV in a cup of hot water and sip on it. I love the flavor but if you don't try to add some honey.
Share and spread the healthy word - and don't forget to subscribe to Shanghaihabits:
With Shanghai's fast paced life and metropol'ish lifestyle there is nothing better than getting together with good friends at someone's home. No crowds, no queues, no hazzle, no noise.
To night I'm meeting some of my favorite Shanghai girls to catch-up and discuss the life as being Young Professionals in Shanghai (aaaand probably a few other things as well).
Being a vegetarian is such a good "excuse" for bringing some of my favorite food to dinners: Salad & Hummus Dip!
To night's Hummus version is a Protein Rich Hummus - oh so yummy, oh so filling & oh so healthy.
1 can of chickpeas ready-to-eat (approx. 250 g drained weight)
1/2 can of lentils ready-to-eat (approx. 150 g drained weight)
2 cloves of garlic
15 almonds slightly roasted on a dry pan
1/2 cup of olive oil
1/2 cup of water
A dash of fresh lemon
A dash of tabasco or some fresh chili
Mix in a blender or food-processor but don't add all liquids at once. Add more if necessary. You can decide the olive oil/water proportion yourself. Some prefer only oil.
Blend & enjoy as a meat-replacement in a salad or as a sandwich spread
Before I moved to China I rarely gave a lot of thoughts to food safety. In Denmark I would choose organic if the price and availability were reasonable and I would buy local whenever possible. I love the thought of eating Danish fruits & veggies.
Still, I would classify my attitude towards organic, local and safer products as "comfortable". Thus if it were convenient for me I would get it, if not I would choose imported or cheaper products.
When it comes to cleaning my fruits & veggies the story is the same. Yes, I would always wash my apple and soak my baby spinach. But rinse, scrub or use anything else but water to clean it have never crossed my mind.
Then China happened.
Being a vegetarian, a salad-lover and a smoothie-addict I consume a looooot of fruits & veggies every day. So when I discovered the local Chinese Veggie Markets with good prices and good selections (as oppose to the outrageous priced international supermarkets) I was a very happy rabbit: Buying local & saving money. Every weekend my boyfriend and I would do a mission to the market and get bags and bags of greens, yellows, reds, pinks and more greens for the forthcoming week. We did sometimes talk about the safety and cleanness of everything but we are not too fuzz about things in general. I mean we all eat out in Shanghai so often and believing that any eatery here can use anything but the cheapest to stay competitive would be a naive belief (in my opinion). Still I often found myself with a wondering taste in my mouth thinking about how many pesticides and how much hidden dirt from Chinese soil I had just consumed.
Then I heard about Apple Cider Vinegar Solution as a natural remedy to properly clean all kinds of fruits and veggies (I have previously used it as a natural and efficient way to clean my yoga mat and other gym tools which you can read about here).
I made a google search and lots of articles and food blogs popped up with great proof that there is something to this natural miracle solution. Tiffany from "Don't waste the Crumbs" have a great post showing actual pictures of the dirt-left-overs from Strawberries soaked in ACV solution - check it here - it speaks for itself.
Commiting to Apple Cider Vinegar Solution
My philosophy is that it's very possible to live healthy in Shanghai. It just demands a few things like planning, research & commitment. So after realizing that there is a way to feel better about buying and consuming local here in Shanghai I decided to commit to following this way and soak all my fruits & greens in Apple Cider Vinegar Solution.
- Apple Cider Vinegar Solution: Apple Cider Vinegar can be bought in most International Supermarkets here and I've both seen and used non-organic which cost around RMB 20 - 30/bottle. Organic is around RMB 70. I use approximately 1/10 Apple Cider Vinegar and 9/10 water mixed in a big bowl. I soak fruits and veggies for 10 minutes in the solution (I find that stirring is effective) and dry them in a clean kitchen towel.
- Fruits: Most of the time I will wash fruits as soon as I bring them home so that when I'm craving an apple it will be ready to eat. I will clean watermelon, grape fruits & avocados in the solution even though I don't eat the peel or the shell. Why? Because if you think about it these fruits' outer layer will be all over your hands and chopping board when you are preparing them.
- Veggies: I normally clean my veggies when I'm preparing a salad or something else where I plan to use them - I find it too difficult to dry properly when I'm not using them straight away and you don't want to put cleaned fruits or veggies back in the refrigerator before they are dry.
But, what about on the inside?
The next question is what about these fruits and veggies on the inside and all the cra* from the polluted Chinese soil they might have absorbed and grown from? That is a really good question and I can't say I'm not concerned. But, I am a realist not an idealist and this might be why I as a healthy lifestyle addict can still live in this place without being too frustrated or paranoid.
I myself is currently looking into safer options than the Local Veggie Markets. I'm doing research and talking to people from the healthy & "safer food scene" in Shanghai in order to figure out if other options like buying through online suppliers (i) is affordable/reasonable (ii) has proof that it's actually safer and healthier. The polluted soil is the same I would say but of course if we can avoid additional chemicals and pesticides at least that is one step in the right directions, don't you think so?
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I would love to hear from anyone with opinions, inside information or healthy & safe tips! Let's help each other with Healthier Habits!
The past week I've had 2 friends visiting me here in Shanghai and we've had so much on the program. Anne and me went to Huangshan for a hiking trip and just as we returned to Shanghai Lilya arrived. Lilya flew in from Taiwan without a visa as China has the 72h rule saying that you can stop over for 72 hours without a visa. As far as I know the only demand is that the airport/country you come from is different from the one you travel to after - so it's actually a prober stop-over. So with 72 hours in Shanghai I had to choose carefully what to show and what to do.
The list of places to show in Shanghai is endless so for me personally the most important thing to show is Shanghai's incredible contrasts: Old vs. New. Traditional vs. Modern. Rich vs. Poor. Over-the-top vs. Simple. I love spending an afternoon walking around in my local area in the French Concession, chatting with the locals in my lane house, eating street noodles and then continuing the evening with a visit to the bund e.g. for a drink at the fancy Hotel Indigo's Char Bar which has the most incredible view over Shanghai (in my opinion).
I really wanted to show Anne and Lilya a little bit of a different China than Shanghai but with our tight schedule a 2-3 hour trip a nice water town such as Zhujiajiao, Tongli or Luzhi just seemed too long. Then I remembered that my friend Janie had once posted a really nice picture of Qibao Old Town on her Instagram. And that this place is only a short subway ride away.
It's line 9 to Qibao st. and it took us 25 minutes to get there from the centre of the French Concession. Don't get disappointed when you walk out of Exit 2 and are being met by a big shopping mall and a Starbucks (yes you are still in Shanghai) just turn right and you'll see one of the brown attraction signs with "Qibao Old Town" and directions.
Qibao Zhen which is the traditional Chinese name literally means The Seven Treasures Town and the old town is named after the temple you can also find here. The peaceful temple is RMB 5 and definitely worth a visit after a stroll through the touristed small paths and bridges hosting shops, vendors and restaurants. Maybe you will meet the happy monk Frank from Taiwan, if so remember to say hi from me.
I've heard Qibao is really famous for "hong shao rou" (red braised pork) but as a veggie I didn't have the full experience of that part.
Enoy Qibao with or without visitors - it's so worth half a day trip!
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This Sunday morning I felt like a treat and served myself an ice-cold Almond-Banana Smoothie in bed. Milk-based smoothies are so yummy when you have a sweet tooth or feel like some extra energy in the morning. Today I based my smoothie on soy milk but thought to myself it should have been on almond milk in order to support the flavor of the roasted almonds I added. I don't see almond milk a lot of places here in Shanghai but through my Instagram community I learned today that you can get it at the renowned Avocado Lady on Wulumuqi Lu and in bigger international supermarkets e.g City Super in the IAPM Mall. What I also learned from one of my Instagram connections is that it's super easy to make your own almond milk. I can't wait to try!
Here I'll share the recipe so you can try as well!
1 cup of milk (soy, almond, cow's)
1/2 cup of water
10-15 almonds slightly roasted on the pan
A dash of honey
Blend & Enjoy
Homemade Almond Milk
1 cup almonds soaked in water over night
2 cups of water
Vanilla essence / vanilla powder
Blend and add to a smoothie or a coffee (if it's for coffee you may want to strain the milk through a sleve. The almond bits can be used in smoothies, muffins or on yoghurt.)
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I've heard soooo many and soooo great things about Huangshan or Yellow Mountain. So when my friend Anne came to China to visit me and we wanted to take a trip out of Shanghai Huangshan was the first place that came to my mind.
The close to 2000 m tall mountain is located in Anhui province near the city Tunxi which nowadays has been renamed Huangshan. From Shanghai to Huangshan city you can travel by flight (1 hour), by bus (6 hours) or by night train (12 hours).
Remember to buy tickets in advance as they sell out. We wanted to go by night train in order to arrive as early as possible at the mountain but when we went to the Station 2 days before departure "sleeper" tickets were sold out (they still had seats left but 12 hours of sitting before a hiking adventure doesn't sound optimal to me). Instead we went with the bus option and bought our one-way tickets as returns have to be bought in Huangshan. They were RMB 132 for a single.
All three transportation options include a transfer to a smaller bus (or taxi) in Huangshan city to go to the ctiy Tangkou which is located at the foot of the mountain - a 1 hour trip. From Tangkou Station an official park bus will take you the last 15-20 minutes to the "entrance" of the mountain where you pay the Entrance of RMB 200 (on a student visa? Bring your student card and save RMB 160) and either start your hike OR jump into a cable car (East side: Yungu Cable Car. West side: Yuping Cable Car).
East Steps or West Steps
You need to know wether you want to climb the East side or the West side before you board the last park bus. It's said that the West side is the most challenging which is rewarded as it is also the most beautiful. We chose to hike up the West Steps because our hotel Yupinglou Hotel was located on this side of the mountain. In order to see both sides we took the East side down the next morning and I can definitely recommend that you one way or the other see especially the top- and last part of the West side. Absolutely stunning. I can also recommend you to buy a tourist map in Tangkou (sold lots of places) and have some locals point your hotel and recommended route out.
Our Huangshan Adventure
We took the bus from Shanghai Long Distance Bus Station (close to Shanghai Railway Station on line 1) at 7.50 and arrived in Huangshan city at 13.40. 10 minutes after arrival we boarded a mini bus towards Tangkou (RMB 17 and tickets are purchased on the bus). This is a 1 hour trip through amazingly green landscape.
After a 10-15 minutes wait where we studied a tourist map we jumped on a Park Bus towards the entrance to the West Steps (RMB 19).
We started walking at 15.40 and arrived at our hotel at 18.10 just before it got dark. Our ascend was a rainy one so we were hiking in a pretty solid pace and limited our stops and breaks. Still it was absolutely beautiful. Green, lush and mysterious.
The East route was quite steep and as with most mountains in China it is stairs all the way. The path is sometimes very narrow and I can imagine that on busy days (weekends and national holidays) where Huangshan is taken over by Chinese tour groups with yelling guides the hiking experience can really be an uncomfortable one. You can say we were a bit unlucky with our weather especially for the sunset Tuesday morning which was hardly there (it just got light no sight of the sun) but as I mentioned it was a beeeeeautiful hike and at many points we literally felt like we had the mountains for ourselves which is a very very rare experience at this popular mountain.
Rise & Shine
Even though the weather forecast did warn us about the non-existing sunrise we still got up at 5 on Tuesday morning to give it a chance at 5.36 (the hotels will know the exact time for sunrise) and as it got light we started hiking the last part to the Lotus Peak which is the highest point. Around 7-8 we reached the peak and some places serving breakfast. Beihai Hotel serves a big breakfast buffet and you can just rock up and pay around RMB 150. We decided to continue the Chinese traveling experience as well as simple hiking living and chose a nearby place that served a RMB 30 very simple Chinese Breakfast.
After breakfast we started hiking down the East Steps and after a few hours we reached the entrance. Here we found thousands of Chinese tourists queuing for the Yungu Cable Car and that really made me realize how lucky we had been with our itinerary. I have been warned by friends about the hourlong queuing for the cable cars as well as the Chinese tourist nightmare that can ruin your Huangshan experience so my biggest recommendation is to plan to go here in the weekdays. My next biggest is to hike up the West side but it depends where your hotel is and how long time you have to reach it before it gets dark.
We easily found the empty Park bus (as we managed to get down so early) and in Tangkou we jumped straight into a mini bus towards Huangshan city. In Huangshan we only had to wait 20 minutes before we found ourself on a bus back to Shanghai. When we arrived in Huangshan on Monday we forgot to buy the return tickets to Shanghai which gave us more flexibility if we wanted to stay on the mountain another night to do some of the extra hikes on the top (especially Xihai which is a 2-3 our hike down a gorge and back to the top is said to be absolutely amazing) but on the other hand it gave us some uncertainty as we didn't know if we could actually get back to Shanghai this day. Our back-up plan was to visit one of the smaller villages around Huangshan which is said to be a real local and real China experience. Due to our wet hike we were still partly soaked so we couldn't think of anything but getting back to Shanghai and civilization.
Hiking Huangshan was such an intense experience - especially our 2 hour hike on Tuesday morning where we felt alone in the world with the magnificent mountain and breathtaking nature. Weather-wise we could have been luckier but we enjoyed the hike a lot and really appreciate how we had such a lonesome hike. It's a tough hike on the numberless amount of stairs and you will be soar for days (which is pretty cool as it reminds you of your amazing effort & amazing experience). I can definitely recommend a visit here and especially a hiking adventure as oppose to a queuing/cable car visit.
Let me know if you have any questions about hiking Huangshan & have an awsome time! Don't forget to bring healthy energetic snacks & don't forget to subscribe to Shanghaihabits
After returning to Shanghai from our hiking trip to Yellow Mountain in Huangshan (Anhui Province) coming back to "civilization" was so sweet. I love traveling to rural destinations, I love experiencing less civilized areas of China, I love eating noodles for breakfast or trying weird stable food on a mountain but I absolutely L-O-V-E coming back to salads, smoothies & salads in Shanghai. And lattes yum the first latte back in the city is heaven.
Back in Shanghai we felt like a night out and we felt like treating ourself with something yummy and healthy. And what better place to go to than my friend Alcide's cafe & restaurant Organic Kitchen & Wine.
Here I've enjoyed some of the freshest salads, most creamy hummuses and best red wine in Shanghai. This time we had the most amazing vegetarian and paleo-style burger I have ever tried. Veggie-paleo is my favorite way of eating and I am very very impressed with this recipe. Instead of buns it comes with two tasty chickpea patties layered with fried veggies, fresh salad and creamy spread. So filling, so delicious & so healthy.
Organic Kitchen & Wine is a great cafe choice but an even better restaurant choice if you feel like a simpler and healthy dinner with great wine on the side. Everyday from 17-20 the house wine is 50% of and Alcides often hosts intimate concerts where the vibe is even more cozy.
If Alcides is there and you feel like a drink ask him to make one of his special Sangrias with lots of wine & fruits and no sugary juice or syrups (which are used many places for sangria). Also look out for the new spot IZA on Anfu lu which will open any time soon. IZA is Alcides second restaurant which will offer Japanese Cuisine with the same focus on quality and health. I can't wait to try it!
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