Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Matcha Green Tea

I loooooooove Matcha green tea. For the uninitiated, Matcha green tea is a Japanese tea that comes in powder form. The health benefits of Matcha tea are staggering when compared to normal green teas. It tastes more exotic than normal green tea and due to its powder form can be easily added into smoothies, shakes, milk, and even ice cream.

If you’re still drinking regular green tea, then you’re missing out.So pay close attention. This article will unveil the wonderful secrets of Matcha.

Matcha Health Benefits

Better to be deprived of food for three days than tea for one – Ancient Chinese Proverb

Let’s start from the top: The health benefits of Matcha green tea.

In a 2006 study, 1003 Japanese adults showed just how healthy green tea can be. The study showed that of all the Japanese subjects, those who drank one cup of green tea a day lowered their risk of cognitive decline (Alzheimer’s, etc) by 38%. Those who drank two cups a day lowered their risk by 54%!

Other research confirms that green tea has brain-friendly properties — a 2004 study in Journal of Immunology suggests that green tea can help treat and prevent multiple sclerosis by protecting brain cells.

So green tea is healthy for the brain. This health benefits appear to be the due to the superstar antioxidants found in green tea called EGCGs.

EGCGs are found in all green teas, but recent research shows that not all green teas are created equal. This is where Matcha comes in: Studies have shown that the EGCG amount in Matcha green tea is 137 times the amount in normal green tea. Wow…

In terms of EGCG content, you would have to drink 137 cups of normal green tea to get the same brain-health benefits from just one cup of Matcha!

Matcha Tea and Weight Loss

Yes, brain health is good, but that’s not the best part.

Research indicates that the various ingredients found in green tea can help eliminate abdominal fat. Many clinical trials, including this 2007 study, have shown that green tea extract reduces body fat and waist circumference.

What causes the weight loss? You guessed it — the EGCGs. EGCGs belong to a group of antioxidants called “catechins,” which are not only found in tea, but in cocoa as well. Catechins speed up metabolism, thus aiding in weight loss, among providing the usual antioxidant benefits.

Since the EGCGs in Matcha green tea are 137 times more abundant than in regular green tea, it’s a no-brainer to reach for the Matcha in your quest for a flat stomach.

(Almost forget… do I dare add that green tea can help suppress hunger cravings as well? see here)

Other Matcha Health Benefits

I could stop here with all the health benefits of (Matcha) green tea, but I won’t. :)

The EGCGs found in Matcha tea have also been shown to be powerfully effective at fighting certain cancer cells, while keeping normal cells healthy (see this study). Large-scale Japanese studies have shown that drinking green tea significantly delays the onset of cancer as well as reducing risk of cardiovascular disease.

And yet another study showed that EGCG protects against harmful bacteria, while promoting the growth of good intestinal bacteria, likeLactobacillus and Bifodobacteria (the stuff you find in yogurt).
If all of this sounds too good to be true… well, let’s go back to the basics: EGCG is an antioxidant, a potent antioxidant. Like all antioixidants, EGCG inhibits the aging process of tissue and reduces inflammation. The anti-inflammatory properties of EGCG are not just for a better immune system, but also for less acne, more radiant skin, whiter eyes, and just about any other outward sign of good health.

It’s no surprise that EGCGs promotes good health all across the board. That’s exactly what antioxidants are for!

Japan is the leading country in green tea consumption, and they also enjoy one of the highest life expectancies of any nation. Some experts believe that it’s the green tea that promotes their impressive longevity.

Why Matcha?

As mentioned before, not all green teas are equal. Matcha green tea contains 137 times more EGCGs than normal green tea. Why is that?

The answer is from how Matcha tea is made. Unlike normal tea leaves, Matcha tea is prepared by grinding full tea leaves into a fine powder. When you drink a cup of Matcha tea, you’re drinking the entire nutrient-rich leaf. In other words, you’re getting ALL of the health benefits that tea leaves have to offer.

Matcha green tea is THE healthiest tea on the planet. You can’t surpass the health benefits of consuming the entire tea leaf.

Matcha and Caffeine

One cup of Matcha tea has about half the caffeine of one cup of coffee.

I’ll admit, I like caffeine. It improves alertness, productivity, and mood. There’s no shame in going for that morning pick-me-up.

Nevertheless, there’s a huge difference between the caffeine found in coffee and the caffeine found in green tea.

Green tea contains a compound called tannin. Tannin slows down the absorption of caffeine into the blood. This means that the caffeine from green tea is gradually released over the course of 6-8 hours, unlike the short burst from coffee.

On top of that, green tea also contains L-theanine, which as a relaxing effect that reduces stress. L-theanine has been shown to promote alpha brain-wave activity, a sign of relaxation (see here).
Thanks to the combined effects of caffeine, tannin, and L-theanine, Matcha tea provides:

  • Improved alertness and focus.
  • Improved mood.
  • Relaxation and reduced stress.
  • Increased feeling of well-being.
Japanese Zen Buddhists have been using Matcha green tea for centuries for meditation. In fact, I drink a cup before I meditate, which noticably improves both the focus and relaxation needed for long meditation sessions.

Say goodbye to coffee jitters and caffeine crashes — grab some Matcha tea instead. :)

Matcha Recipes

OK, here’s the fun part….

Matcha is so versatile because it comes in a powder form. You can toss Matcha into anything.
While there’s a whole bunch of awesome Matcha recipes out there. I go for simplicity, because I’m lazy.

Matcha Recipe #1: The Dasani Shake

Add a spoonful of Matcha to a cold water bottle, shake, and enjoy. Instant iced green tea.
Note: I drink my iced tea straight and unsweetened. But if you prefer a bit of sugar with your iced tea, use natural sugars.

Matcha Recipe #2: The Matcha-Powered Smoothie

A blueberry, banana, Matcha smoothie I made this morning. :)Yum.
Matcha Recipe #3: Green Tea Ice Cream

Throw some Matcha powder into vanilla ice cream. Mix it up a bit and voila! Green tea ice cream! Who said dessert can't be healthy?
OK, so I seem to be forgetting the “normal” way to drink Matcha — hot, and whisked with some ceremonial bamboo whisk thing. You can do that too, I guess.

Where to Buy Matcha

Given Matcha’s health benefits, it’s subtle, exotic taste, and it’s easy-to-use powder form, having at least some Matcha in the kitchen is a no-brainer.

So where do you find this stuff? And more importantly, is it affordable? I get my Matcha from Amazon. I pay about $19 for 300 grams of Matcha. Each serving is about 2 grams… so that’s $19 for about 150 servings of Matcha. That should last about half a year if you use it religiously (which I do). Not a bad deal if you ask me.
— — —

Here’s my Vita Life Matcha box.

Vita Life Matcha!

The Vita Life Matcha box comes with a small spoon to measure your 2 grams of powder. This box contains about 150 spoonfuls of Matcha.


Monday, 28 October 2013

Checkpoints When Investing in a Condo

Article by Tyrone Solee | Original Source:
With property values in major metropolitan areas becoming exceedingly high, and the availability of space becoming exceedingly low, a key solution to the continually burgeoning population in the metro is the condominium – and to date, most of the country’s developers have been responding to this need with a vengeance.

However, most of the condominiums cropping up left and right are spartan towers of tiny cubbyholes which attempt to fit as many as possible, in as little space as possible. While this is not the way a person or a family should live in, for many, the convenience condo living offers outweighs the lack of space and loss of privacy.

If you are considering investing in a condominium, here are some tips that you should check out before putting your hard-earned money into it:

Check the developer. The number one check point when buying any kind of real estate is its developer. Check if the developer can be trusted. Look into other developments that they have done in the past. Ask some unit owners or tenants from their previous projects if they are satisfied regarding their residence experience.

Ask yourself some questions such as: Are they delivering what was originally planned? Do they have in-house property or condo managers to manage the condo?

Check location. The primary selling point of any condo is its location as condos are known to provide convenience to its residents. Is it near your workplace? Does it have nearby establishments in it such as malls or schools?

If you have a sole intention to rent it out in the future, be sure to check if it’s near office buildings. Chances are your number one tenants are surely nearby office workers.

Moreover, if you plan to make passive income out of rental income in the future, you can make it as a self-liquidating asset. What you can do is pay required down payment before turn over, look for a tenant who will rent it, and use the rental income to pay your remaining amortization. In this case, the monthly rental will offset your monthly amortization.

Check your cash flow. Once you’ve checked both the developer and location, the next thing to check is your cash flow if you can afford to own the condo you’re eyeing. Most condos are cheap in their pre-selling period. Check your monthly cash flow to assess if it can accommodate the monthly amortization you’ll be paying for your condo investment.

It is advisable to make straight cash or partial spot down payments to take advantage of the discounts offered by developers. Straight cash payers can avail of up to 15% discounts while spot cash down payment payers can avail of discounts ranging from 5% to 11%.

Check the accessibility to public transportation. Some condos have sprouted to areas in which public transportation is hard and restricted. Look for developments which are easily accessible to public transportation as most tenants and condo residents look for means of saving from their transportation expenses.

Check out the condo dues and amenities. One of the monthly recurring expenses of residing in a condo is the monthly dues. Look for condo developments which have lower monthly dues. In addition, check out the amenities of the development. This is part of what you are paying in your monthly dues.

One of the country’s top developers is Vista Residences. Although the company is a relatively new player in this high-rise property development industry, it brings its three-decade experience of building homes, developing properties, and creating master-planned communities.

Vista Residences carries three brands namely Camella Condo Homes, Crown Asia Residences and Brittany to address the needs of the housing and residence market.

Camella Condo Homes caters to the low-income segment. One of their latest projects 878 Espana, dubbed as “Not Your Usual College Address”, is located in No. 878 G. Tolentino Street, Sampaloc, Manila which is suitable to students in nearby schools.

Brittany, on the other hand, is suitable the high-income segment. Their latest projects include The Hudson, dubbed as “Address of the Privileged Few”, is located at the Fort Global City named for and inspired by Hudson River which flows between New York and New Jersey.

Lastly, Crown Asia Residences, suitable for the upper middle-income group had their eyes on their latest project at Wack Wack on Shaw Boulevard dubbed as “a heritage redefined through world class masterplanning” It will be situated in the Laurel Mansion built by then president Jose P. Laurel.

Elevating your address to condo living usually involves both comfort and convenience. However, before you put your hard-earned money, be sure to check the following points above to be sure that it is really indeed worthy as an investment.

Full disclosure: This is a sponsored post from Vista Residences

Date a Girl or Guy Who Invests!

Article by Tyrone Solee | Original Source:

Happy Valentines Day to all! For all lovers and couples, this is the best time to show the love and affection for your partner. Time to go on date and to celebrate love! Love is truly in the air today as restaurants, hotels and scenic spots will be filled with love birds!

Valentines gifts need not be expensive. Try to leave a Valentines note at her office desk. Ask a colleague to do this for you. This should be the first thing in the morning that she will see. It will surely brighten her day. If you have the budget, couple it with flowers or chocolates.

Another Valentines present where you can show your sweet spot is to make a customized video compiling all the most memorable pictures with her. Couple it with a love song on the background as you reminisce each of the moments you’ve shared together! Do this while having a date with her. She will truly appreciate and will love you more.

I recently saw two well-written articles on Valentines Day about dating a girl or guy who invests! For all searchees out there including yours truly, these two articles will truly inspire you! Happy Valentines Day! Spread the love! Make everyday your Valentines Day! :)

Date a Girl Who Invests in the Stock Market

Date a girl who would rather buy shares of stock than the latest gadgets and apparel. When you take her out on dates, she might wear the same clothes over and over again, but learn not to mind it. Because beyond her very limited wardrobe is a well-diversified portfolio of blue-chip companies.

Date a girl who is financially literate because she doesn’t need you to date her. She knows that men are like stocks – there are so many options to choose from. So when she says yes to a date, it means she sees something in you. You’ll never have doubts with a girl who invests in the stock market because she’s already wealthy (or soon to be wealthy). You’re sure she won’t be interested in you for your money. She’ll love you not for what you have, but for who you really are.

Date a girl who understands the time value of money. She understands that the time you’ll spend together is the most important thing in your relationship. She won’t ask for expensive gifts and gestures, because she knows that these things will depreciate in value in the future. She’ll be happy to stay at home with you and watch DVDs, rather than go to the movies. She knows all too well that the value of spending P1,000 a month on “monthsaries” for 20 years is more than P1 Million. She’d rather spend her time with you at home, so she can invest her money on your dream home.

Date a girl who does peso-cost averaging. She’ll stick with you until the end, no matter what happens. She’ll wait for you even if you don’t know where the relationship is going. She’ll be committed to you even if your life goes in a downward direction because she knows that’s the greatest opportunity for your relationship to grow. She’ll stay by your side in good times and in bad, because she believes in who you are and who you can be.

You’ll continually be inspired by a girl who does peso-cost averaging. She’s full of hopes and dreams, even if the past has been cruel to her. When life gives her an obstacle, she’ll never give up. In fact, she’ll be happier; she has learned very early on that challenges are merely opportunities that make us better people. She knows that the bigger the obstacle, the bigger the reward.

Date a girl who trades in the stock market. She’ll be prepared for anything that could happen. Can’t make it on a date? She’ll understand. Want to suddenly go to a party? She’ll be there in 5 minutes. Sudden change of plans will never anger her – that’s because she knows what to do in case things don’t go as planned.

It’s easy to date a girl who trades in the stock market. You’ll be able to argue with her using logic. And even if you win, she won’t get angry. She’ll swallow her pride and accept the loss. That’s because she knows your relationship is far more important.

A girl who invests in the stock market will be the rarest girl you’ll meet here in the country. So when you find her: love her and never let her go. Invest your time understanding her. Invest your money creating beautiful memories with her. Follow this advice, and your life will better forever.

Date a Guy Who Invests

Date a guy who has a passion for investing; a guy with goals, targets and a direction in life. He’s a decision maker, he knows what he wants in life and if he wants you, he wants you for good.

Date a guy who appreciates the value of money. He won’t always have the latest gadgets nor constantly treat you in a fancy restaurant, but he dreams of bigger things for the both of you. He plans to give you your dream home where you and your future family will be more than comfortable. When he sees you having a hard time walking when you’re in your heels or gets frustrated going to a certain place especially during rainy nights, he’ll save and invest for a car for the both of you.

He might not be very good with fashion, but he will be more than happy to take advice from you as long as the price of clothes is within the budget. He knows that the finer things in life need money and he wants to give them to you. He’ll be busy making money grow instead of flirting with other girls.

Date a guy who invests in the long term. He understands the bigger picture of your relationship. He knows that there may be bad times, but in the long run you’ll still be happy together. He will trust and love you and won’t be affected much by jealousy.

Date a guy who observes the current inflation rate. He cares about what’s happening in the market, a concerned citizen, a patriot if you may. If you want to start a business or a new idea, you can talk to him about it. He enjoys mature topics. Oh, he’ll definitely get along well with your parents.

Date a guy who invests in the stock market. He’s exciting and interesting. He enjoys thrills and won’t bore you. At the same time, he’s prepared during a calamity. He’ll be able to cope and think of the next step to do instead of just waiting. He’s flexible because he knows things don’t always go as planned. It may not look like it, but he’s not hard to please. He appreciates the little things and takes joy in them because he knows that they build up to something great.

Don’t be afraid to voice your opinions to him, he values them greatly and takes them into consideration. He’s very understanding and patient which he acquired from his experience in investing. At times that you come late on your dates, he won’t be mad at you. If the both of you were supposed to go out this weekend but you’re suddenly unavailable, he’ll understand, with the right reasons, of course.

A guy who invests is a rare breed. If you see one, capture his heart and see him invest in you and make your love grow more than double. Now that’s a good ROI (Return of Investment)!

The 5 Love Languages

Words of Affirmation
Actions don’t always speak louder than words. If this is your love language, unsolicited compliments mean the world to you. Hearing the words, “I love you,” are important—hearing the reasons behind that love sends your spirits skyward. Insults can leave you shattered and are not easily forgotten.
Quality Time
In the vernacular of Quality Time, nothing says, “I love you,” like full, undivided attention. Being there for this type of person is critical, but really being there—with the TV off, fork and knife down, and all chores and tasks on standby—makes your significant other feel truly special and loved. Distractions, postponed dates, or the failure to listen can be especially hurtful.
Receiving Gifts
Don’t mistake this love language for materialism; the receiver of gifts thrives on the love, thoughtfulness, and effort behind the gift. If you speak this language, the perfect gift or gesture shows that you are known, you are cared for, and you are prized above whatever was sacrificed to bring the gift to you. A missed birthday, anniversary, or a hasty, thoughtless gift would be disastrous—so would the absence of everyday gestures.
Acts of Service
Can vacuuming the floors really be an expression of love? Absolutely! Anything you do to ease the burden of responsibilities weighing on an “Acts of Service” person will speak volumes. The words he or she most want to hear: “Let me do that for you.” Laziness, broken commitments, and making more work for them tell speakers of this language their feelings don’t matter.
Physical Touch
This language isn’t all about the bedroom. A person whose primary language is Physical Touch is, not surprisingly, very touchy. Hugs, pats on the back, holding hands, and thoughtful touches on the arm, shoulder, or face—they can all be ways to show excitement, concern, care, and love. Physical presence and accessibility are crucial, while neglect or abuse can be unforgivable and destructive.
Photo credits: A_Prokopovic
Source: “The 5 Love Languages” by Gary Chapman

6 Ways to Get Motivated in Saving

Article by Tyrone Solee | Original Source:
Most students enter the real world when they reached the age of 20 or 21. That is when they enter the corporate race. This is also where the real challenge happens when it comes to saving money.
You’re not dependent anymore on your allowance from your parents. You now earn your own money. With that come different challenges to lure you not to save money. Social pressure from your friends to buy the latest gadgets just to be ‘in’ comes along your way. Officemates will be there to invite you too for gimmicks and parties.
You say to yourself that you earned that money and that you’re entitled to spend it in anyway you want. Some say they are entitled to reward themselves because they worked hard for it. Before you knew it, your salary goes directly to expenses leaving you with zero savings and perhaps credit card debts if you really cannot discipline yourself when it comes to saving money.

What should you do then in order to fight the urgency to spend? Here are some useful tips to resist spending away your hard-earned money.
Know your hourly rate in your job. Before you spend that hard-earned money from your job, calculate first how much you make on a per hour basis. Suppose you earn 18,000 a month as a fresh graduate and you work 8 hours a day, five times a week. In a week, you’re working for 40 hours and in one month, you’re working for 160 hours.
So your hourly rate from your job would be 18,000 divided by 160 leaving you Php 112.5 per hour.
Now before you buy stuffs, calculate first how many hours you worked for that money you’re going to spend. Are you thinking of buying a pair of shoes worth Php 3,000? Ask yourself first: Do you really want to work 26 hours just for that pair of shoes? Do you want to repeat the 26 hours of tiring labor, 26 hours of your boss shouting and bullying you, 26 hours of your back hurting sitting in front of that computer, and 26 hours talking to annoying colleagues for just one pair of shoes? Think about it carefully. Think twice, thrice or even four times.
Force your savings. True enough, it’s hard to save money especially if your will to do it is weak. Leave it to automation so you’ll be motivated to save!
Nowadays, you can now automate your savings by setting up a fixed amount to be deducted on your payroll account on a particular date every month. With the availability of UITF investments as the new form of trust funds of banks, you can enroll to their Regular Subscription Plan (RSP) for as little as Php 1,000 every month so that you are not only saving but also investing in your chosen UITF fund.
Make a savings goal and track it. Make a savings goal for yourself. Do you want to have 1M in savings before you reach 30? Then list down that savings goal! Listed goals are more achievable than unlisted ones.
Make an excel sheet tracking your savings developments on a monthly basis. Update it at the end of every month. You’ll get excited as you see the amounts increase every time you save especially as you get closer and closer to your savings goal.
Look for more ways to earn money for you. Do you have that unused item on your house? Then sell it by setting up a garage sale or post it on online classifieds like Sulit. Sell your services to your friends and colleagues. Think of more ways to earn and don’t forget to add the earnings of these to your savings goal. Your excitement grows more and more as you become closer to your goal.
Think of your health. Are you the type of person who needs exercise because you’re fat or are you worried about your health? Then try to save transportation costs by walking short distances. Instead of drinking sodas and juices in restaurants, drink water. Aside from additional sugar that will be added in to your body, you will just excrete it anyway through urine few hours after you leave the restaurant.
Don’t buy too much junk food in grocery stores. They are called such because they don’t provide much nutrients to your body. Avoid smoking, it won’t make you any good. It will just destroy your lungs and will cause you bad breath. Instead of thinking ways to spend your money, engage yourself in physical activities such as sports or your favorite hobby such as cooking or crafting.
There are many ways on how to save money by just thinking of your health. These little savings can pile up to make thousands when saved for a long time. A penny saved is always a penny earned. Truly, health is wealth.
Let the ‘Law of Attraction’ works. Do you have a goal of building your own dream house in the future? How about traveling to another country for vacation? Or perhaps buying your own car?
Place a picture of how you visualize these things in your wallet with the motivational words such as “I will achieve this” or “I will have this”. You can have the option to make it more specific by placing a time to it – “I will go to this place by December” or “I will achieve this by age 35”
Every time you spend money either by cash or credit cards, you’ll be reminded about these goals which will make you think twice before spending especially if it’s only a want.
Put a name on your bank accounts. Put a name on your bank accounts according to your specific goals. If you’re saving for a car, try to name it “Ride To a Brand New Vios” or if you’re planning to go abroad, try to name it “Enjoy Singapore Trip”. You’ll get more motivated to save for these savings goals.
It’s important to treat yourself occasionally to avoid getting frustrated and spending all your savings at once, so make sure you include a little “happy time” money in your budget to treat yourself every now and then.
Nowadays, with the influence of TV and media, everyone is encouraged to spend which makes saving more difficult. Saving money is hard and for some, it’s boring.
However, if you have that will and determination towards your goals in life, you will surely possess that self-discipline to save your hard-earned money and stick with your plans.
Photo Credits: Brianna