Healthy Oil Free Cooking

Joining Gallery Helios is nutrition consultant and health writer Mayura Mohta. She will be offering individual sessions and workshops, both in-house and for corporate venues.

A proponent of a plant-based diet, Mayura also believes in moderation. She knows that hardcore or sudden changes in habit do not work for most people. For them, she advises a 80-20 rule of thumb. 80% healthy and conscious eating, at least for the general public. The key is choosing nutrient-dense (not calorie-dense) foods.

Why wait for the extremes, as seen with former President Bill Clinton. You may have seen his dramatic weight loss but it wasn’t for vanity. After his bypass failed, Dr Caldwell B Esselstyn Jr (world renowned Cleveland Clinic), along with Dr Dean Ornish (NPO Preventive Medicine Research Institute) consulted Mr Clinton on a plant-based diet to stop the progression of his heart disease.

Based on the research of Dr Esselstyn Jr, Mayura co-authored The Heart Smart Oil-Free Cookbook. It was a love of labour for two years as chefs, nutritionists, and doctors both in Singapore and worldwide were consulted for the book. Recipes from vegan chefs, including Singapore’s own Original Sin, were collected. They were road-tested by Mayura and lab-tested by the Singapore Heart Foundation. Some, like local recipes that were a little heavy on the soya, were tweaked to meet nutritional standards.

These are good and tasty recipes and all ingredients can be sourced locally. In fact, eating locally and seasonally is important but as Mayura pointed out, we are lucky Thailand is so close for our durians, mangoes and other fruits and foodstuff.

So to clear up some confusion and to get some tips here are some questions we asked Mayura:

What is a vegan diet?
That is a diet that includes no animal products. The diet is based on plants – legumes, beans, greens, lentils, grains…no fish, no eggs, no dairy.

People say olive oil and avocado oil are good for us…are they not good when they are cooked or just not good for us at all?
For heart patients specifically and for people who tend to have obesity or excessive weight gain, no oil is the policy. You can have a bit of nuts and seeds – raw. Even if you don’t soak them, as long as the nuts and seeds aren’t toasted.

So I see it as two-fold – knowing you have to make a healthy choice and getting what you want on the go or when you are working 10 hours…what would you advise?
There are a lot of options in Singapore. Things like wraps are good. But you can also have our local foods. We have lots of brown rice and vegetables in the food courts. The Singapore government is initiating healthy eating and most food courts are now required to serve brown rice.

Smoothies are also a good choice – it’s a meal in a glass. There are many smoothie recipes in the cookbook.

Speaking of smoothies, what’s a good one?
Broccoli, pineapple, lime, orange…You have add seeds and nuts, if you want. You can have a banana, almonds, …You can put in agave or dates, apricots – anything naturally sweet. I normally pre-soak what I want to use. I use goji berries – any berries – they are good for antioxidants. I soak my seeds and the dried fruits for about 1/2 hour. Chia seeds and flaxseeds get soaked. So you can soak these and add them to your smoothie to increase the thickness.

If I give the seeds to my kids, they won’t have it. So normally I put the flaxseeds and chia seeds in smoothies. Because the chia seeds are grinded in the smoothie, this is good for kids. They don’t mind. This is a nutrient-dense meal so I’m happy as a mom.

(It’s important the blender doesn’t overheat. The enzymes get denatured.)

I think breakfast is the most difficult meal for many people…what do you suggest?
Oats, grains – unrefined cereals and top it with apples.Pineapples and papaya, with digestives enzymes, are also okay. But other fruits is not good to mix. Combining food is very important. No fruits for 1/2 hour before other food and 2 hours after – that’s the golden rule.

So.. in summary – eat breakfast, have many small meals during the day to sustain a constant level of energy, be a smart consumer, choose nutrient-dense foods, separate your fruits from other foods, stock healthy foods and eat at least two hours before sleeping.

80/20 because we still have weddings, parties, and dates to go to in real life.

Mayura Mohta is a Singapore-based nutrition consultant and a health writer. She is a qualified fitness and wellness coach and has an academic background in biochemistry, microbiology and nutritional science.

In 2010 Mayura founded Healthfriend, a social enterprise that combines her love for health and fitness with her desire to contribute to community welfare.

Mayura believes in prevention and reversal of disease through a plant-based diet. She has co-authored “The Heart Smart Oil Free Cookbook” which is launching October 2012.

Language – Prisoner or Liberator?

“It is inherent in our intellectual activity that we seek to imprison reality in our description of it. Soon, long before we realize it, it is we who become the prisoners of the description. From that point on, our ideas degenerate into a kind of folklore that we pass on to each other, fondly thinking we are still talking of the reality around us.” ~ Aneurin Bevan, British statesman.

John (not his real name) is a childhood friend. We grew up together in a small little town in Malaysia. When he was in his early adults he was diagnosed with Schizophrenia. He went through periods of trauma and ?nally stabilized with the help of medication. He has been stable for more than twenty years now. He is physically healthy and mentally ?t. However, every time I see him he will says he wish he can have a normal life with family and children of his own. “Who will want to marry me? I have no hope”. On the hand, I have a neighbor living upstairs and also suffering from Schizophrenia. He will occasionally show physical symptoms like shouting and singing out loud. So I thought, “who will marry him?” Lo and behold, suddenly I notice he got married. He even has a kid!

We give meaning to events that happen in our life and represent it through language. As Bevan says, language can imprison us and stops us from doing things. In NLP, there is a category of linguistic patterns called Generalization that can be particularly limiting or empowering. Statements such as “He is always late?” “This country is not safe?” “She is always nagging?” are some examples of generalization. A person who holds this generalization and responds to the world in this manner can sometimes limit the potential for choices of actions. On the other hand, it is not uncommon to notice successful people saying to themselves “there is no failure, only feedback”. This is a generalization that empowers people to continue to progress. Simply replacing the word failure with feedback allows the person to continue with the process of pursuing goals or outcome. As soon as the process is labelled as failure, it becomes an event with a label of ?nality. The process is implicitly stopped. The word feedback turns the event to process again and therefore there is hope for achievement. Is like magic!

In the context of coaching, language becomes a tool that opens possibilities for the client. In the hands of an expert, it can unveil the cloak of darkness with just a word or a question. Sigmund Freud, musing on the origins of language in his introductory lecture in psychoanalysis in 1915, wrote, “Words were originally magic and to this day words have retained much of their ancient magical power.” Beware of what you say to yourself. Slow down your thoughts and notice the language you use in your head. You may catch the culprit that has imprisoned you for a long time. Change the language and change your life. We all deserve a great life!

Simon Wong, NLP Trainer and Coach

Wanna feel wonderful?

Choose the way you want to feel.

If you were to ask ten people what they want in life you are likely to get answers like happiness and peace. These are higher goals that most people aspire to have. Obviously, there are spiritual goals too. Let’s bring our attention to happiness and peace. These are examples of feeling good. If you were to think of a situation in which you feel happy you will likely cast your thoughts to sometime in the past that you felt happy. You will remember where and when and perhaps with whom you were with. As you begin to immerse yourself into this memory you will regain the happy feeling you had then, now. In essence you are able to feel this happy feeling anytime you want.

To illustrate this point further, imagine you are attending a wedding dinner. With a camera in your hand you decided to take some pictures. You scanned around. You proceeded to snap away. A few days later you fished out your camera from your bag and thumbed through those shots. Each shots reminded you a specific moment in time during the party. Some shots brings back moment of joy and laughter. Some shots bring back memories that go way back and connect to some nostalgia and etc. The effects of thumbing through those photos evoke a range of emotions.  Think for a moment. If you have not thumbed through those photos you will unlikely have experienced those emotions during and after seeing it. With this awareness, you have some control on what you choose to feel anytime you want. It underscores the point that the mind and body are connected. What you think can produce feelings. What you choose to think will produce the feeling that you want.

Would you like to feel wonderful, now? You can. Here is how.

How to Feel Wonderful

You do not need to have a reason to feel wonderful. You can feel wonderful any time you want. This is how you do it:


  1. Think of a situation in which you felt wonderful in the past.
  2. Notice the surrounding, the people (if any), the sound and the feeling.
  3. If you see yourself in the picture, float into it and be in the picture. See what you see, hear what you hear and feel what you feel.
  4. Notice the location of this wonderful feeling in your body.
  5. Touch the sensation with your hand and notice which direction it is moving.
  6. Whichever direction it is moving, spin it faster.

By spinning it faster you get a more intense feeling of wonderful. Think about feeling gorgeous. You can have this feeling anytime you want. You don’t have to wait until you are dressed up for it.


Simon Wong

The Feldenkrais Method – Awareness Through Movement and Functional Integration

Mind Body Study (The Feldenkrais Method) is the exploration of the inter-connection between brain and behavior as the key to well-being and realizing our full human potential.

This is the third in a series of four workshops in Singapore by Feldenkrais trainers. Our trainer this time is Maja Van Niekerk.

Maja Van Niekerk
While studying education, Maja became interested in the movement behaviour of blind children. Because of their seriously restricted sense of orientation, such children have very little freedom of movement and anxiously maintain the security of contact with the floor. Maja nevertheless taught a number of these children to perform somersaults on a trampoline. The realisation that they could move more freely in space had a positive impact on the children’s movement and behaviourpatterns. She found the answers to many questions about movement education during her training to become a Feldenkrais practitioner. Maja was trained by Mia Segal, Moshe Feldenkrais’s first assistant. From 1993 till 2003 Maja has been assisting Mia Segal in her three-year international Feldenkrais training programmes. Since 2003 she is working as Senior-Assistant and since 2006 as Co-Trainer in the MBS Academy (Mind and Body Study) of Mia Segal and Leora Gaster.

Maja also works in close consultation with neurologist and acupuncturist Mr Wong-Chung, who is an enthusiastic advocate of the Feldenkrais Method.
She gives individual and group sessions and workshops over several days in her praxis Nijmegen, Holland and abroad. Maja coaches Dutch and International Feldenkrais colleagues in different formats.

Awareness Through Movement 2 day Workshop
Date: 15 – 16 January 2011 , 10am  – 4 pm
Venue: TBD
Cost: $300
Returning participants: TBD

Functional Integration – individual sessions
Date: 17 – 21 January 2010
Time: By appointment only
Venue: TBD
Cost: $200 per hour
Contact Jack Wei to book Functional Integration sessions

For more information please contact:

Jack Wei
Mind Body Study Asia Pacific
Block 5, Ang Mo Kio Industrial Park 2A #05-18, AMK Tech II Singapore 567760
+65 9616 6043

MBS Asia Pacific is the premier teaching center for Mind Body Studies / The Feldenkrais method. It strives to spread the teachings, philosophies and practice of the work of Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais.