Tag Archives: health

Black Garlic Juice

So, um. I don’t know how I get myself into these things sometimes. It’s like I practice.

I spotted the black garlic stuffs in the supplement section of my local Emart months ago. My moms swears by taking garlic, so I was intrigued by the black garlic. Obviously black is cool, so black garlic had to be better than white garlic, right?

photo 1

Here’s the box full of boxes of garlic.

Apparently the black stuff is supposed to be better than the regular stuff (according to some websites I perused and can’t be bothered to link to). And because I haven’t seen any other garlic supplements around these here parts, I thought I would give these a try.

Until I took a closer look at the box. First of all, it was huge. Second of all, it was 57,000won (about $55USD). That’s not expensive for a huge box of garlic, but at the time I first started scoping the goods, it was more than I wanted to spend. Also, I’m solo. I don’t really need a family-sized box of supplementation.

But today I figured I was going to go for it. So I’d have a life-time supply of black garlic. What’s the worst that could happen?

Well, the worse that could happen is that it isn’t in a capsule. Or a pill. Or a pellet, lozenge, or pastille.

It’s a liquid. A PACKET OF LIQUID.

photo 2

Full of juicy garlic juiceness.

Ew. I mean, right? Ew. It’s a packet of BLACK GARLIC JUICE. Ew. I was scared. Relieved that it wasn’t like those little pellets I’ve had before, but still. Garlic. Juice.

I was a little worried to just rip one of these bad-boys open and pour it down my throat. But there was no information in English on the package at all. Fortunately, there was a website, which told me all I needed to know (kinda) about how to take it. Thank you, Google Translate!

Long story short: Bottoms up. Just rip that bitch open and drink yourself some black garlic juice.

Wanna know how bad it is? It tastes like garlic and (sweet-ish) vinegar. It’s not horrid. It’s not good. It’s not too much to take at once, so I’m just going to down it in a mouthful and then chase it with something (anything!)

Apparently you can take it one or two times a day, so I’m going to try taking it after breakfast or dinner each day. That’ll give me a month of black garlic goodness. If I can remember to choke it down each day.

If I don’t post about it again (like, in a month), it means that I didn’t notice enough of an affect (to my health or skin or whatevs) to bother buying more. But if it does have a noticeable effect, I’ll be sure to post about it.

In the meantime, I really ought to accelerate my Korean study. I mean, I gotta stop buying shit without being able to read the labels. That’s how you end up choking down garlic juice for a month instead of popping garlic pills.

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Korean Meds

So I don’t always buy things because they are funny or interesting. Sometimes I actually need stuff. Like when I’ve had a cough and stuffy nose for weeks. And then you find out that even when you aren’t actively trying to buy something funny or interesting, that’s what you get anyway.

Happily, there is a pharmacy between work and home with a front counter person with fantastic English. I told her that I’d been stuffed up for weeks and she gave me two kinds of medication. Which she gave to me in a weird little paper bag.

photo 1

 

Seriously, can we talk about that bag with the octopus on it? What is going on there? I could probably Google Translate it, but I’d rather just guess. The pharmacy industry in Korea is obviously not happy with something.

The box contains a bunch of small white pills. The packages with what looks like a “J” on it were filled with dirt. Or something like dirt. Think I’m kidding?

photo 2

KOREA. Why is that shit not in a gelcap, you knob?

The pill you take like normal. The dirt you just pour in your mouth (I put it under my tongue so the taste is minimised) and then slam a glass of water. It doesn’t taste horrible, but it doesn’t taste good either. And the texture? GAH. You’ve got to drink a lot of water quickly to get it down without choking, and even then it’s a good idea to have a second drink to help get it completely out of your mouth. The taste I mean. If you don’t have the dirt-stuff out of your mouth after a full glass of water, you’ve definitely done something wrong.

The cost kinda makes up for the taste and texture. Both meds were less than $5, which is pretty rad.

But now to the most important thing: Did it work? You bet. I wasn’t sniffling nearly as much and I wasn’t being woken up because I was gasping for air. Definitely worth suffering through the dirt eating to stop suffering through this cold, or allergies, or hayfever or whatever it is that I’m not willing to go to a doctor to fix. I’ll definitely go back for more if I need it.

The Dirty Foreigner Test

Something massive that has changed since the last time I was in Korea (2005 – 2007) is that you have to get a “medical certificate” in order to get your Alien Registration Card (ARC). Also new is that you need your ARC in order to get a bank account. They’ve really got foreign teachers by the balls on this one, especially since some schools won’t pay you until you get a bank account. Yikes.

The “medical certificate” is just a form that the hospital gives you saying you are a-okay to be in the country. I suppose that they are checking for a few things, but the key things they look for is drugs (which are bad, mmmmkay?) and disease (also not cool) – especially sexually transmitted diseases (more not-coolness).

The amount of information I received from the school on how to get this done was hilariously weak. I was given a piece of paper that said this:

Where – Gang Nam Hospital in Young in
(Ask Lauren, Song TR. They know how to go there…)

Ready – 1. You must fast for 8hours
2. Photo (3.5* 4.0 size) 4
3. health diagnosis fee 61,000 Won

How – 1. When you arrive hospital, go to the hospital administration
Tell them “I want to issue medical certificate in English…”
They will help you.

You have to get 2sets.

::SIDE NOTE::

I’m hoping that these stories will a) amuse people who know me – my pain and suffering seems to bring my friends and family joy (haha) and b) really help out people who are thinking about teaching in Korea. Nothing like reading about someone else’s pain and suffering to realise it’s not nearly as scary as you would think.

::END SIDE NOTE::

“Where – Gang Nam Hospital in Young in”

The “Lauren, Song Tr.” part of this sentence means that I should have spoken with fellow foreign teachers (Lauren and Song) to get more details on how to get to the hospital. Lauren isn’t even there anymore. Song Teacher was really helpful though, I definitely wouldn’t have made it there without her. It would have been so much easier if they had just included some instructions of how to get there.

Getting there wasn’t bad. I had to get up early on a Saturday (sob) to get there relatively early. It was one weird little bus for about 15 minutes and then a two minute walk. I still managed to get myself slightly turned around, but still made it there early. I was really happy I had looked up the name of Gangnam Hospital in Korean (강남병원, if you are interested) so I could show a Korean where I was trying to go. She was good enough to point me in the right direction.

“How – 1. When you arrive hospital”

Once I was going the right way, the hospital was dead easy to find. And as promised to me by Song Teacher, I just had to go in through the sliding glass doors, where there was a long information desk to my left. All I had to do next was “take a number” and wait. Unfortunately, this is what the number machine looked like:

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Sorry it looks like I took the picture with a potato, but I was trying to take a sneaky picture in the hospital. That machine has three buttons, all in Korean. I HAD NO CLUE. Then this nice Korean lady (who basically spoke no English except one word – “long”) helped me. She pointed at buttons and spoke to me slowly in Korean. Poor lady. Speak as slowly as you want, I won’t get it. When she pointed at the third button though she said “long”, and I figured that was going to be for people who were going to be in the hospital a long time (although it seems REALLY weird to me that you would have to take a freaking number if you were so ill that you’d be in the hospital forever). In the end, she gave me a ticket produced from the same button she had pushed, the first one. Then that cute motherly Korean lady sat down and saved the seat beside her for me. What a star.

When it was my turn – and the wait was very short – I went up to a Korean girl who looked like I was going to ruin her morning by making her speak English and handed her my number. I then said the only thing I knew to say: “medical certificate”. Yah, she didn’t know what that was. I had to type it into the dictionary on her phone. I still don’t think she got it. But she called for someone else and they knew exactly what I was after as they spoke English. Sadly, she didn’t stick around.

I had to pay 80,000won (not 61,000) but fortunately they took debit card. Once I paid, she gave me a piece of paper with further instructions. Awesome. Except the instructions looked like this:

20140114-200116.jpg

I understood that I needed to go to the second floor, but that was about it. Happily a woman on the lift spoke flawless English and once the doors opened on the correct floor, she helped me find the way to my next step – the x-ray room.

::SIDE NOTE::

She also asked if I did private lessons. Worth knowing if you are teaching in Korea that it’s not really legal here. I’m not exactly sure what the rules are, but I don’t think you are supposed to give private lessons. What I told her is that I had only been in Korea one week, and I wasn’t looking to take on extra work. Which is also true.

::END SIDE NOTE::

I walked to the x-ray/MRI counter and they seemed to know what to do (thankfully!) and even spoke a little English (thankfully!) They ushered me behind a curtain and instructed me to take off everything I was wearing on my upper body and then put on a gown. I put on the gown North America style, open to the back, and they thought that was HILARIOUS. Like I was too retarded to dress myself. Which, at that point, I suppose I was. Then it was over to “hug” the x-ray machine, and they took a chest x-ray.

::SIDE NOTE::

No one, not in the instructions nor when I asked the other foreign staff, told me what to expect in the way of “tests” for this medical certificate. I knew that they would be testing for drugs thanks to the forums, but the rest was a complete surprise. Like the chest x-ray. Like the freaking blood test (and I hate needles) coming up. Just thought y’all would like to know. And, of course, no one at the hospital could explain much to me about what was happening.

::END SIDE NOTE::

The x-ray people were able to tell me to move along further down the hall. I believe their exact words were “You go there. Wait.” Okey-dokey-smokey. So I head down the hall and there is another waiting room with another information desk. Happily, this time there was a sign that said “foreign patients” in front of one of the workers. So, being the only white person in there, I went straight up to her without a number. She took my receipt and some other information, then asked me to sit. Not even two minutes later, I was off to do the next test.

The nurse had me take off my coat and shoes to be weighed and have my height measured. Weighed slightly less than I thought (whoo-hoo) but strangely I’m also shorter than I thought. I always thought I was 171cm, turns out I’m 169.3cm. Whatevs. But then came one of those situations where not speaking the language can make the simplest tasks both harder and more hilarious.

I step off the scale. Nurse points at my shoes. I pick them up to take them back to the chairs to put them on. Nurse says “anniyo” (Korean for “no”) and takes my shoes and puts them on the floor again. I look at her quizzically. She points at my shoes and says something in Korean. I go to pick them up. “Anniyo, anniyo!” and she makes me leave them. Says something else in Korean. I tell her (in Korean) that I don’t understand Korean (clever that). She picks up my foot and puts it on my shoe. At this point an elderly woman patient is laughing at me. At this point I wish I could say “I’m not a retard. I know what you want me to do, but I want to sit down to put on my shoes.” At this point I give up and just put on my shoes standing there. Which is all that poor Korean nurse ever wanted. She was worried I’d put them on 5 feet away and walk off without finishing my tests, I guess.

After the Great Shoe Debacle of 2014, I had to have my blood pressure tested. Then my hearing. And then I was tested for colour blindness. And then they checked my eyesight. After that I got to wee in a cup and another nurse took some blood. She was incredibly gentle – I didn’t even feel the needle. Serious business. I want any future necessary needle action done by that chick. She was the nursebomb.

And that was that, I was all finished. Or at least, I should have been. On Monday there was a call to the school because there was “something wrong” with the urine tests. You know what you don’t want to hear when they are testing for drugs and sexually transmitted diseases? “There is something wrong with your urine test”. That. You don’t want to hear that. But fortunately for me, it was just that they (for some reason) didn’t get a clear reading because of protein something something and blood sugar something. I went back this morning bright and early to re-do the test and they came back normal. Whew!

My next adventure (which I should be undertaking tomorrow) will be to take my passport and medical certificate and apply in Suwon at the Immigration Centre for my Alien Registration Card. I’ve already been given bad instructions on how to get there and I think I may be missing a piece of information here – I may be going Friday after all. Ah, teaching in Korea. Where everything is made much harder than it needs to be.

The good news though is that I’m officially drug and disease free. And that’s a good thing.

fitbit: 11 – 17 June 2012

Each week I get a lovely newsletter from fibit with my weekly stats, and I thought I would share some of them here.

I managed to take 57,787 steps last week, which is actually down from my average. That’s a total of 40.80km… which doesn’t include the weekend when I forgot to wear the damned thing. Not too shabby.

I don’t entirely trust my calories in vs out… I don’t record on the weekends so it isn’t accurate. However, it does tell me that my weight is down 2.6kg. Woot! It was back up a bit this Monday (which I expected), but as long as it is moving down overall, I’m happy.

The most disturbing stat this week is my sleep. My average sleep duration last week was 3 hours and 36 minutes. YIKES. On average I was awakened FIFTEEN times.

I haven’t been sleeping well (stress, innit?) but it is a wee bit shocking to see just how badly. Sleep is such an important part of your overall health (physical as well as emotional and mental) so I think I’m going to have to focus on this metric a bit more. I slept well over the weekend (mmmm…. lazy lie ins) but Sunday night and last night (Monday) I could not shut down. I think a week of regular bedtimes, wakeup times and perhaps some melatonin might do me some good. As would winning the lottery… that would kill loads of my stress and I sleep better in a hammock on the beach anyway. Haha.

The ups and downs

It’s been awhile since I’ve written about my weight loss attempts, because frankly I haven’t even been trying lately. Blame the Queen (for all the long weekends). Blame the weather (for all the energy-draining pisstastic weather). Blame Rich (for the wedding).

Mostly though, blame me.

I don’t really know why I do this. I do something that works to reduce my mass, but then after I start succeeding, I give up before I can actually succeed. There’s definitely a pattern to it – just check out this graph of my weight over the last year.

Not I’m not willing to show you the actual weight numbers… I’m not as brave as some fantastic people I know!

There is an 11kg (25lb or nearly 2 stone) difference between my lowest weight (the first “YAY”) and my highest (the “WTF”) during the last year. Why did I a) stop doing what I was doing to drop the weight and b) wait until I was so much heavier again before trying to do something about it?

I think if I can figure that out, not only will I finally get to a healthy weight, but I’ll also stop hanging out in my overdraft (I honestly believe that whatever it is that drives me to avoid weight regulation also drives me to avoid budgeting).

In the meantime, I’m gonna try again. It’s all I can do, right? Pick up where I am and try again. So far this week, what I’m doing is working. Here’s the graph for this week.

I’m pretty pleased with myself. I’m down 3.5kg (nearly 8 pounds) in four days. I completely understand that I can’t maintain that pace, but as long as it keeps dropping, I’m happy.

So what am I doing? I’m basically following the advice in Timothy Ferriss’ book “The 4 Hour Body“.  Again. It’s how I lost a bunch of weight at the beginning of 2011, before I gave up (WHY WHY WHY?) at the end of April and went back to my old lifestyle.

The advice in that book may not be for everyone, but it does work for me. When I follow it, I mean. Obviously. Which I hope to keep doing this time. I would still like to get to my goal weight by the end of the year. To make that happen, I have to be a bit more dedicated.

So… here’s to being a bit more dedicated for the second half of 2012. I’ll try to blog more about my progress, what I’m doing to make it work (or what is getting in the way of making it work) and hopefully – by 31 December 2012 – I’ll be celebrating being a healthy weight for the first time in my life since childhood. Wouldn’t that be grand?

Goal Tracking. Weeks 13, 14 and 15.

THREE WEEKS WITHOUT POSTING? BAD JODI.

Week 13: Success. On track for 12/52 weeks so far.
Week 14: FAIL! On track for 12/52 weeks so far.
Week 15: FAIL! On track for 12/52 weeks so far.

I wasn’t really surprised about weeks 14 and 15, to be honest. I’ve been on holidays for the last couple of weeks and have been eating (and drinking) a LOT. And although I’ve been walking a lot on my holidays, it hasn’t been enough to make up for the amount of pub grub and ales I’ve inhaled.

Like I said before: You can’t outrun your fork. Back to better eating then!

De-Ragifying with the Zoms

A strange thing happened to me today.

Started out as a fairly regular Monday. You know. Pretty shit. Had to get up early. Had to get on a stinky, crowded train. Decided that rather than walk to work (Waterloo to London Bridge) I would take more of a stinky train to get in early.

Got in early. No bananas. Work work work worky work. Gym at lunch – ran 5km. Fairly standard.

Work work work worky work. (There may have been a meeting or two in that worky work there somewhere).

Commute home, stinky train. Pick up groceries. Eat some dinner, eff about online. Talk to my moms (which is always a highlight) but then RAGE RAGE RAGE (my poor, patient moms) about a particularly INFURIATING work thing that is going on.

I was very ragey again today. There is a thing (the same “thing” as always) at work and a thing in my personal life that is filling me full of rageohol.

Now, if you know me, you know how I deal with rageohol: Usually I dilute it with alcohol. Seems like the right thing to do.

But today… today I got changed into my running shit after my call with my moms. I fired up my Runkeeper and Zombies, Run! apps. And I went for a motherfucking run.

Now… here’s the strange thing that happened (I mean – over and above the fact that I went for a run instead of a pint): I liked it.

There was a point where I was actually enjoying the exercise. Double-you Tee Eff, man? ENJOYING THE RUNNING.

I’m sat here now in minor amounts of pain. My feet are a wee bit torn apart (I did run nearly 15km today in total – and this after running 10km yesterday… WHO EVEN AM I?) and I’m pretty sure my thighs are going to be non-functioning tomorrow (there is already a pretty deep ache)… but I feel good.

And not just self-righteous good (a by-product of any exercise if you are me), but good-good. My rage has subsided. I am feeling fairly at piece with the universe.

I hope this is a feeling I can remember (not the feet/thighs part – the other part) because I would like to feel this way more often.

This was my run, by the way. Check out those changes in elevation. That first hill is where the zoms nearly got me. I thought I was going to vomit (zom vom) when I got to the top… I’m not nearly in shape enough to fucking sprint up a hill that far into a run.

http://runkeeper.com/user/jodiwankenobi/activity/77826178

Who knew that trying to escape a murderous pack of zombies would motivate me enough to run and run and run. Bless you, zombies.