New Year’s Resolution: Gym for the Mind


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:



  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 CNY Vegetarian Cooking

2015 July to Dec Veg Cooking class at Awareness Place by Vinitha

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,


Thank you for coming to EarthFest 2015!

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 BarksRawmio 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, Adrian from Paper Carpenter who makes amazing stuff from cardboards and Shalu from Little Green Kitchen.

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 Card is here!

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!

NParks Artists’ Night Out – Memories

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 Smuggling Problem in Peru Leads to Price Hike in Maca


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

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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 what she does

Kondo Marie speaking at Google Play

Kondo Mari helping a client tidying up her bookshelves

KonMari method of folding shirt

KonMari method of folding underwear