Category Archives: Diet and Nutrition

Watch “Why do animals have such different lifespans? – Joao Pedro de Magalhaes” on YouTube

I know its comparing animals but tempted to think these life extending factors can apply to human lifespan.

External factors

  • frigid cold environments causes lower heartbeat and metabolism, can be achieved by living in cold places and doing not too much activities. Not sure if I am willing to move and live in a colder environment. Although I do love swimming relaxed in the cold water like a whale.
  • As much low activities may be low heartbeat and low metabolism. Studies have shown that people who exercise tend to get lower resting heart rates than those who are sedentary. High intensity exercises may increase metabolism. I guess I can focus on long slow endurance when I do swimming, cycling and running.
  • Fasting does lower metabolism. I don’t eat as frequent anymore. Fasting during the month of ramadhan may help once a year, but I practice intermittent and water fasting more often on other months throughout the year as well. Although I may lose weight on this and negate the size factor later…

Internal factors

  • Evolution and Genetics, these is unfortunately the luck of the draw, interestingly, there are genetic therapies being developed, potentially we can identify the genes that are responsible for ageing and extend our life by altering them. Lets see if this happens in our life time.
  • healthy immune system, these is also partly genetic, but also on how well we avoid getting sick and in addition recover from them. Medicine has come a long way in assisting us to these very well. Let’s just hope the germs don’t win the biological war against us.
  • bigger size, partly genetic, partly nutrition. The bigger the organism the less predator they have, in addition, metabolism can be lower as the body does not need to produce heat too much to maintain body temperature. May also allow bigger animals to eat less per body weight, which lowers the metabolism again. Although my fasting might reduce my weight and thus reduce the size effect.

Day 30 – dreamt of lailatul qadr, henna wife’s hair, house cleaning 

Woke up at 4am, drank 750ml of water, couldnt go back to sleep, so I read online stuff again, slept after 5am. Woke up after 8am. That last sleep I dreamt of seeing lailatul qadr, keep in mind I am not saying I saw it, I dreamt what I think it would look like, in my dream anyway. Must have been that fake picture that people claimed what it looked like, found out that it was actually pictures of an annular eclipse.

In my dream I saw at night alongside the new moon was a faint circle, that if looked at closer was a reflection of the earth, in my dream I was even rationally trying to explain the phenomena scientifically. It was either the angle of the celestial bodies or the weather conditions.  In any case I woke up wondering how it would look like in reality. Apparently no one has, or at least no one has seen it has posted, and then there those who posted a few fake claims that didn’t make any astronomical sense to me. Maybe lailatul qadr isn’t of what it looks like, but more of what it feels like. I guess I may never know. Looking up, lailatul qadr either means the night of power, or the night of decree. It is only said that the night will be quiet, and the sunrise will be clear with no rays.
Almost mid day and my wife asked me to help her with dyeing her hair with henna, looked up a few articles and youtube videos for some guidelines. It took a painstaking long time. Especially in order to make sure every strand gets covered. I understand why saloons charge high for this type of services.

Today is one of the rare days we didn’t go out, our break was water, kurma, maggi noodles 🍜 , an egg 🍳 , some biscuits 🍪 for dessert and later veggie juice.

Spent the night cleaning house, while the the neighbours were playing firecrackers. (It is actually illegal without permission.  But people are able to acquire and pay them any way). While cleaning found a lot old lost items. Cleared out a few expired items in the kitchen. 

Today will be the last day of ramadhan,  but it won’t be my last post. I will be posting on open houses and food I eat during syawal, as well as my training and sports events. Hopefully intermittent fasting during syawal and a few training will maintain my weight loss and improve my performance.

Day 29 – servicing the car, fuel traffic jam, and eid moonsighting announcement

Woke up at 4am, but didnt sleep till sun up. Booked an appointment for car service today by calling last Wednesday. Thankfully Saturday morning was available. Got picked up and went to post office at airport lama to try to get a package, but the mislabelling on the card didn’t state it was supposed to be picked up at sengkurong instead. I guess I will pick up on thursday when all government offices are open.

My car has been making screeching sounds ever since I drove through floods a few months ago. Before that the engine has been rattling when it goes up hill. Apparently, it was related to the fan belt. The workshop also recommended replacing the air filter. I just accepted. It all amounted to $215. That used up a bit more than my usual car budget. With the recent bike purchase I need to tighten my own belt.

Planned to buy fuel, but every fuel station was jam packed. I guess everyone was preparing for their long trips on the first day of raya. I decided to forego until convenient. Slept most of the afternoon replacing my lack of sleep in the morning.

Broke fast with air bandung, fried noodles, sardine puffs, and dessert with mangoes. Checked whatsapp for any updates regarding the moon sighting,  but it was mostly filled with jokes. A few reliable sources shared.  But from past experience, it was best to wait for the official announcement. At 7:30pm, the announcement came, no new moon sighted. I bet its due to the weather. So Brunei wipl celebrate Hari Raya Aidilfitri or Eid on Monday. Later found out that. Malaysia and Indonesia announced that they will celebrate it on Sunday. Its funny how Brunei doesn’t follow Malaysian ruling on moon sighting anymore. It was even more funny to think about the consequences of crossing the border to Malaysia on a Sunday. Would I fast? Or do I celebrate raya? Especially considering the first day of raya is haram to fast. In any case I would be grateful in either case.  If eid was on Sunday,  then it would be 4 consecutive days of raya.  If it was on Monday it would just be 3, but it would be an extra day to fast in ramadhan. 

Slept early, expected to sleep in on sunday morning.

Day 28 – small workshop, afternoon cycling, and an amazing swim class

In the morning had a business plan workshop, it was disappointing to have a significantly smaller number on the last day of the workshop, but not unexpected. Kinda felt tired, but that might be from the disappointment, at the end of the class, a few people left early. I dont blame people for being unable to come or that they have to leave early, as I understand people have priorities.  The last friday of ramadhan is often a day where families visit graves, also considering pay day a few days ago and raya is upcoming, some people might need to go to the bank today in the morning.

The friday sermon or khutbah today was started with something about how complicated and fragile the human body is, and ended with the importance of masjid, or the place of worship. Mentioning on the newly (and amazingly quickly) built masjid in mentiri. It burnt down in early April 2017, but it was finished this late june 2017.  That’s like 3 months to build a structure that can house hundreds or maybe a thousand people. Which just shows with power, money a stong desire, a lot can be built in a relatively short amount of time. Inspires me to be rich and powerful to do something as great. 🤔

In the late afternoon after a power nap, my wife and I went out on a bike ride, me with my new bike. Originally she felt lazy, but she incentivize herself to bike by requesting to eat out afterwards. So I agreed. I was setting up, I realize how many important accessories I need to buy for my new bike. A new saddle bag for emergency repair kit, maybe a bag to put extra items, and some lights. Temporarily I transferred from my old bike to my new bike and we went out. And then due to larger frame and taller saddle, I had to remove both wheels instead of the usual front wheel only, in order to fit 2 bikes in one car. Also testing out my new bib shorts and cycling jersey that arrived yesterday. Which coincidentally matched the colour of my bike. I think green might be my new colour.

When I tested the bike previously, it was around the stadium, so I couldn’t go full speed at extended periods. This time around I wanted to see how well I would do on the highway. We started off easy, as a warmup. I cant fully experience going fast on a steep climb yet on the highway, as we went sliw and relaxed. My wife didn’t want to go too far so we settled for the 8km mark and made a u-turn. It was only then on the way back with a lot of descents that we went fast, I thought I might have gone too fast and left my wife far behind, but she was doing well keeping up just behind me, so I was able to go faster with her keeping up. I was surprised how I could maintain my speed, and even more surprised that my wife could keep up. Well for a while anyway, but it was still impressive. We went fast downhill and maintained a bit of speed uphill as well. Going downhill with my urata, I would have to pedal faster to avoid the dead zone to convert the pedaling to get speed, but with the smaller teeth of 11t vs a 13t, I was able convert more of that pedalling to speed without any dead zones. That means I could potentially go faster. Our last ride was 44 mins, this time around with the longer wait at the u turn we did 42 mins.

Looking at the speed graph below, potentially without the warm up, we could have averaged 30kmph. Previously with my urata, and withput drafting. I struggled to get to and maintain 30kmph. 27kmph would have been the average. What a difference a higher end bike makes. Of course I think the power I have built up with the urata over the years helped. The bike’s function is to convert that power into speed. And oh boy, did that new bike transferred that into speed. I feel more confident that I can keep up with the big boys. I look forward to riding with a group, or joining a cycling event. Just to see how much my speed is improved with a better bike. 

As we finished, I shared with my wife how impressed I was with her ability to keep up. Her faced was flush red from her attempt. I remembered this time around to do some stretches for myself an my wife, before we headed home.

We got home and prepared to go out. It was only then I realized I had a few invites that day, one was a function nearby. I decided to forego the functions and just treat my wife for her achievements today. Unfortunately a lot of restaurants were full for the iftar. So we decided to delay my break (and her treat) and went off to buy some bike accessories instead at the bike shop. Bought some lights and a bottle cage, will have to look for the saddle bag elsewhere. 

When we went to the restaurant,  they were a few available tables. We noticed that there were others that were waiting to be served as well. We were prepared for some slow and possibly bad customer service. My wife really wanted her treat, her reward, so she was willing to wait. For starters the table we got want wiped clean yet. Then it was a few minutes before we got the menu, thankfully we knew what we wanted and ordered on the spot. There a few food items that were out of stock, but there were acceptable alternatives. We noticed while waiting, a few other people left as they weren’t serviced fast enough. I acknowledged my wife for being patient as she used to be one of toys impatient people, but she shared she knows what she wanted, and wouldn’t go any where else, as if she did age any where else or anything else, from past experience, she knows she wouldn’t feel satisfied.  So the food was worth the wait. 

The cucumber and carrot slices with the sambal paste and ambuyat sauce came first. A few more minutes passed by before the ambuyat came along with leafy vegetable, we waited a bit longer before the plates and the utensils were provided along with the hati buyah, and finally our drinks. We noticed that the service was improving as one staff from the 1st floor kitchen came down and coordinated their efforts. We empathize with the workers at the restaurant, it is not often that they have a full house. I wondered when if they did at all, broke their fast. The service was uncharacteristically slower, but it was not bad. Aminah Arif was having a good bad day. Good that they have a lot of customers. Bad that they couldn’t keep up.

Done with the main course we dropped by a convenience store to buy some snacks as desserts. Soft drinks and ice cream. Then my wife dropped me off to the swimming pool for my class.

During non-ramadhan my classes were 4 sessions x 1.5 hours. But because the pool only opens at 9-10pm during ramadhan, my classes turned to 6 sessions x 1 hour. So my syllabus changed a bit. But then again, my syllabus is very flexible, as it accounts for different people’s abilities. Tonight is the 2nd last class, but 1 out of 2 of my students were able to do 50m non-stop at the basement pool. But she has the advantage of being a floater. Their next session will involve swimming at the lap pool above, after refining their technique a bit more.

If it wasn’t for the rain and my wife waiting in the car, i would be tempte to run. So we went staright home. When we arrived, we were so tired and sleepy. My wife wasn’t able to juice as she usually does , and I went straight to bed and dozed off.

Day 26 – Going to Miri, Buying a New Bike, Swim Class and Bike Testing.

Woke up comfortably as I took a day off from work, so there was no urgency to wake me up. I decided that today might be the only day that I could easily and comfortably go to Miri to look for and buy my road bike.  Considering it is a week day, the lines to cross the border was short and smooth. going there and back. It is important to note and share that the border closes about 5 minutes before the break time, and opens up 30mins later.

Buying the bike

I have been able to obtain a budget for my bike and I have been considering what bike to purchase. One of the reviews I found was a review from bikeradar in the video below.


I remember seeing 2 bikes in this review in this last one year, when I was just window shopping. The Specialized Allez E5 Sport in november last year, and the Giant Defy 3 when the Giant Bicycle shop opened up early this year. Unfortunately when I checked this time around they weren’t in stock.

Based on my  research, the criteria for my selection were:

  • Under BND1300, as that’s the money I have. Coincidentally, that’s roughtly the exchange rate from USD1000,  or MYR3900
  • My size. In general is 54cm or M. I have been using an S size or a 49cm.
  • 9 Speed Sora Shifter, 10 Speed Tiagra if possible. I have been using a 7 speed tourney for the last 4 years, any increase in gear shifting is an improvement.
  • Cassette Gears of 11t-32t. Some models come with a compact crank 50t-36t, so a 11t-28t is acceptable. But based on my langkawi ride last year, I prefer to have the low gearing option for easy climbs.

So of we went in search of the right bicycle. In Brunei, it is either a bit more expensive, or (and here is the main reason) they don’t have in my size in stock. So they would need to order it. So went to Miri.

Unfortunately, the Specialized Allez E5 Sport wasn’t available, the closest to it was the E5 Elite, it had a Tiagra 10 speed, but a 11-28T, meaning the climb wouldn’t be as easy as I would like. But at a Price of MYR4300.  more than my budget, but it was under consideration.


Next was looking into the Giant Defy. Unfortunately it wasn’t in stock, but the storekeeper said they can have it ordered and arrived in 10 days, with a MYR500 Deposit, for a total of MYR3800 (I think, as I forgot to note it down), He did recommend a Giant Contender SL that was in stock. It also had Tiagra instead of Sora, for the price of MYR 4200 (again at this point, I forgot to write down notes). I was consdiering that if I couldn’t get the right bike today, I wouldn’t mind ordering mine from here. I just need to dropby miri again in 2 weeks time.


Finally, went to the same shop where we bought my wife’s roadbike. I remember they had the s40, that have the Sora 9 speed with 11t-32t cassette. But I also remembered checking it out and found poor reviews, mostly on the weak breaks. But upgrading from a Urata road bike, anything else would be an improvement. When we went to the shop, we did find the s40, and it was in my size. So I was tempted for MYR3800. But the sales guy recommended to go for s30. A similar version, but it has Tiagra with the same cassette. and offer price of MYR4000. With that small price difference, I wouldn’t mind changing my decision to the s30. The salesperson tried to upgrade me to a cheap carbon roadbike for MYR6000, I was tempted, but, as I only budgeted for MYR4000, I was just gonna get the s30. In a review I read the casssette was a 12t-30t, but this one had my desired 11t-32t. So I settled.



The Break

We bought Pizza Hut and and some chicken wings from Miri in order to eat on the way back home. We also bought some famous amos cookies, but we were only able to eat the pizza, not the cookies. I guess we will leave it for the next day.

The Bike Test

That night I had a swim class, and I planned to cycle after that. Either I joined a Sahur Ride planned by a group that evening, or I could test it out at the stadium. When I left home I realized that my phone line hasn’t been changed back to my Brunei line from my Malaysian line. I decided it was to dangerous to ride solo to try to catchup to the sahur ride heading towards jerudong, so I settled to ride around the stadium, in that case if my bicycle broke down, I could easily just walk back to the car.

new bike 20170721

I rode kinda randomly around the stadium, and went to the Audit area to test out the climbs and descents. Among the things I noticed were:

  • It was definitely taller, finally I am riding my properly sized bike.
  • My hands were more comfortable on the handle bars. Previously I oftened moved my hands around from the flats to the hoods to the drops so my hands were comfortable. But the hoods were comfortable enough that I kept my hands there throughout. of course it was just a 40 minute ride, I look forward to test it on longer rides.
  • The gearing feels more or less the same… for the gearing that I previously used. I was wondering if it would feel different, but it didn’t, I guess the mechanics of the gear ratios doesn’t change much if  at all. But when I used the  the extra gears, the difference was felt. Again as a reminder, I used to ride a 13t-28t, Now I am riding 11t-32t. So the difference between the lowest and highest gears were noticeable. The lowest gear was easier than what I was used to, and the heaviest gear was faster than I usually go.
  • The gear shifts are a lot smoother. Previously there was a significant lag between wanting to change gear to actually changing gear. To be precise, my Urata Gear Shifter was on then flats. So if my hands weren’t already on the flats, I had to move my hand from the hoods to the flats in order to change gear. Having the lever shifters didn’t require me to move my hand from the hoods. That in itself saved me a single second for every time I wanted to change my gears. In addition, the shifting of the cranks and the cassette was smoother and faster as well, making the shifting significanly faster. No wonder I kept on getting dropped on the climbs and descents.
  • In general, I feel the intensity of the ride was not much different, but I think that is more of a function of power out put or effort from the rider (myself) rather than the bike. How that translates to the speed of the bike is a function of the bike. The comfort on the other hand is greatly improved, on my hands, my neck and my back. My groin area got numb at the end, But I guess that is a matter of a bike fit. Overall it was a fast and comfortable ride.

The Mile Run

After biking for half an hour, I decided the test was enough, and I would actually like to have a bit of a run. so I ran a mile route around the swimming pool area. Other than the groin numbness that dissipated after a few minutes, I felt I could run well enough. Despite not having a lot of Brick runs in recent months, The run was okay, and I could push myself a bit.

mile run 20170622

At the end of the run, again I cooled down with a few stretches for my back muscles.


Going home, I went through the long route to see if can spot the sahur ride group. unfortunately that road had a traffic jam caused by a police road block. I spotted the sahur ride group at 11:30pm, just passing by empire hotel. So I guessed they arrived at Jerudong Food Court at about 10:30pm, and left there just after 11pm.

Arrived home, but couldn’t go to sleep until 1am in the morning.  Woke up earlyish the next morning to go to work.