How I Keep My Family Healthy

(Originally published in aspIRe magazine, Issue 21)

Joseph Bismark Vegetarian
Keeping your family on desirable levels of health and wellness, today, can be a challenge. The downside to the advancement of science and technology is the myriad of new causes of stress in our daily living, and the drastic change in our food nutrients within the last half century. Food we eat today is in stark contrast to what our grandparents ate. Given this, how do you keep your family healthy?

This is how I do it – you might pick up a thing or two from this list.

Eating right should be their fundamental education 

Children eat what they see you eat. I’m a vegetarian and so is my wife, and therefore so are my kids. I’ve educated my kids early in their lives on the importance of eating real food and respecting life and the environment. They emulate my eating habits. My diet consists of organic salads, fruits, and grains cooked naturally. They may indulge in sweet snacks and desserts once in a while but their staple diet consists of nutrient-packed meals. They say no to drinks stuffed with unnatural elements – soft drinks and energy drinks – as they know that those are nothing but poison.

Let them discover the joy of exercise 

An active lifestyle is not something you can impose on your family but I’ve always encouraged my kids to be physically active; me being a living example to them. I walk the talk by doing my regular exercises – bodyweight workout, biking, as well as practicing and teaching yoga. I’ve had many light conversations with them, as they were growing up, about the natural high you get from exercising, the different levels of health consciousness, about what kind of food and physical activities are best for which body types, and what kind of danger unnatural, useless, and senseless vices like smoking pose to our health and well-being.

Allow them to indulge themselves once in a while but keep reminding them

Children, as they grow up, may try unhealthy ways but they always go back to the fundamental good that you’ve taught them. My kids, as I’ve mentioned, enjoy eating cheesecakes and ice cream from time to time, but indulgences like these do not form part of their daily habits. Re-education is key. Constantly reminding them of the benefits of good health does not hurt at all. You as a parent should be the steadfast anchor that keeps them from wandering off the right path.

Teach them how to create balance

Give your family a strong spiritual foundation. Teach them ways to manage stress. Never get tired of spending time with them and having long enlightening conversations about living and loving. Encourage them to engage in activities that alleviate psychological and emotional strain, and help strengthen their mental health. You can never go wrong with getting them into studying and practicing yoga, enrolling them in a mindfulness programme or pepping them up to commit to volunteering regularly in their favourite charity or being a vocal and visible champion of the cause they feel passionate about.

Living absolutely is a habit one creates or picks up, but you can always educate and inspire your family to make the right choice. If you get every member to make that choice then your family becomes a small ecosystem of health, wellness, and happiness.


Read more: Consistency and Flexibility: My Everyday Life

Consistency and Flexibility: My Everyday Life

(Originally published in aspIRe magazine, Issue 20)

joseph bismark gems of wisdom

Just like you, I like spending my days productively, and engaging in activities that not only make me feel better, but actually make me a better person. If you’re wondering how I typically spend an ordinary day, read on. Welcome to my everyday life!

I usually wake up at 05:30 Singapore Time, and after a shower, I meditate for one hour.

Meditation is my prayer. It connects the soul to the spiritual world, the realm of the Supreme Person. It is through this disciplined practice that we get to the point where we constantly think of the Supreme Person and find ourselves perpetually immersed in that frame of consciousness. As soon as I’m done meditating, I do my yoga asanas for 30 minutes and read a book for another 30 minutes or an hour.

After this, I sit back, relax and enjoy my protein drink. You see, protein is not just used by bodybuilders for the production of muscles; it’s also consumed by physically active people to help produce life-enhancing hormones, enzymes, and immune-system components.

Around 08:30 or 09:00, I start working – I read and respond to my emails and WhatsApp messages, check my social media pages, and make a few calls.

At 11:00, I eat my lunch – my first meal of the day. I’m strictly vegetarian so it’s usually brown rice and steamed greens and leafy vegetables.

In the afternoon, I continue my work on various projects. I get on a call with my partner, Vijay Eswaran and/or with the other Directors of the QI Group. I meet with my Executive Assistant for at least an hour to get updates on projects and to sign documents. I also do my banking activities in the afternoon.

There’s always one day in a week, at 16:00, when I either engage in a body-weight workout called Rip 60 with a personal trainer, or do some indoor climbing – rock climbing performed on artificial structures built indoors that tries to mimic the experience of an outdoor climb but in a controlled and safe environment.

I dedicate a few hours on a weekend, usually Saturday, to playing golf. I like golf because it’s an individual sport where the result is down to me alone – it’s me, on my own, against the course. It’s a great reminder for me that I am my greatest competitor.

At 18:30, I have my dinner, my second and last meal for the day. It’s usually something light like a bowl of soup or salad.

After dinner, I spend quality time with my wife and kids, ask them how their day has been and have a conversation with them about various topics that are near and dear to us.

Between 20:00 and 21:00, I sip on a relaxing cup of chamomile or saffron tea.

There are evenings when I get to swim a few laps or do some cycling. When I have more free time available in the day, I login to my account on Lumosity for some brain training exercises – it’s one great programme that keeps my mind and memory sharp.

I usually go to bed around 22:00 or 22:30.

And that’s a typical day at home, but my daily schedule is not written in stone. It gets jumbled up from time to time, especially when I’m entertaining guests or travelling or attending big corporate meetings or events. However, I don’t make any of these an excuse to break my healthy eating habits and my fitness and wellness routine. It’s a must that you stick with the activities that give you sound mind, body, and spirit, no matter what variables are thrown into your days.

There shouldn’t be any conflict between consistency and flexibility; they should complement each other. Apply this principle to how you spend every day and you’ll soon feel the difference of living a full, healthy and well-balanced life. Now, that’s what we call Absolute Living!

READ ALSO: Urgent vs Important: Know The Difference

Urgent vs Important: Know the Difference

(Originally published in aspIRe magazine, Issue 19)

joseph bismark on urgent vs important

Sometimes, we say something we don’t really mean. We don’t even rethink it.

If I ask, ‘Is life important to you?’, you will say ‘yes’. If so, health would be too, right? And if health is important, then so are diet and exercise; but only few of us eat and exercise properly every day.

Many of us consume processed and fast foods that are convenient for life on the go, or because we perceive them as delicious. We don’t exercise because there are more important tasks, errands and obligations that require our time, or simply because exercising requires too much effort. Our list of reasons is endless.

This is where we should apply the Eisenhower Principle. In his 1954 speech, former US President Dwight D. Eisenhower said, “I have two kinds of problems: the urgent and the important. The urgent are not important, and the important are never urgent.” This is the principle that enabled him to organise his workload and priorities.

According to the website, the urgency of a task is largely governed by deadlines whereas the importance of a task is decided by the impact or significant change created. Urgency is driven by external factors like deadlines whereas importance is a more introspective exercise. What you consider important can differ from what others consider as important.

What we find difficult to grasp is that things that are most important are not urgent.

Proper diet and exercise are not “urgent” things to do, but you know they’re the most important in your life. We can always postpone our exercise routine or not do it at all. The next thing we know, we’re gaining weight and falling sick because of our sedentary lifestyle. Spending quality time with our loved ones is of utmost importance but other so-called urgent activities get in the way – and they are always going to be there anyway. The next thing we know, our loved ones start to drift away from us and relationships suffer.

We suffer because we don’t prioritise health and relationships. We prioritise activities that we think are urgent, like being competitive at work, paying bills on time, giving in to peer pressure and influences and cultivating habits that make us feel good for the moment but don’t help us in the long run.

We get caught up in things that are urgent but not important because we always fail to plan – time is the biggest factor here. While it’s true that managing time is difficult, it’s easy to manage the events and activities that make up our time by asking ourselves, ‘what is important?’ The more we plan, the less urgent matters we have to deal with and we can focus on what’s important.

It always pays to be truthful to ourselves. What is urgent? What is important? We should strive to schedule our tasks and activities based on their importance and urgency. This is how we can achieve a well-balanced life.


READ ALSO: My Health and Wellness Tools