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Archive for May, 2010

The Ajax Nasal Spray

I was out for lunch with my husband today in the beautiful seaside town Manly.

The sun came out over the beach after a few days of torrential rain and the air was crisp and clean. The hint of chill in the atmosphere made me salivate over the thought of a warm bowl of pasta. We chose the place and sat down. It was a busy place and the tables were quite close to each other. We didn’t mind as it gave a warm and snuggling feeling. I knew exactly what I wanted and placed my order: prawn and scallop fettuccine in white wine sauce, yum….

The dish came before long. It looked great and smelt great! I could not wait to dive in! Just as I was ready to plunge into the fettuccine, a slight drift of odor from somewhere else hit my nose: a harsh smell of  something in between a paint and concrete. It instantly killed my fervent appetite. I looked over my shoulder and saw what happened. A waitress was wiping a table behind me faithfully by firing an “Ajax Clean n Wipe” gun at the object. The cleaning liquid hit the table and bounced back into a mist in the air and happily drifted to my nose.  The mist then had a free ride on the breath I drew and  whatever chemicals carried by the mist permeated through to the blood stream once it came in contact with the nasal mucosa. My poor liver, seeing what was coming in its way, immediately spun into action and destroyed the little invaders.  That was how exactly a medicinal nasal spray would work.  After some struggles (both internally and externally), I finally settled down and went back to my bowl of now somewhat less warm pasta. But good time seldom lasts as they always say. While I was eating my second mouthful of the beautiful seafood pasta, that familiar odor came knocking door again! This time it was from the table on the right. Ahhhhhh!

I didn’t know though I was to have 4 more doses of Ajax nasal spray before I would finish my lunch.  There I had, in a beautiful late autumn day, a bowl of warm, delicious prawn and scallop fettuccine with 6 complimentary doses of Ajax nasal spray. Well, at least the spray was for free, or not I wonder? Maybe the cost of the spray was already factored in the fettuccine price? To be honest, a bottle of diluted vinegar would do a better job than the Ajax did and the pasta dish may have been less dear?!

I almost could not resist the urge to look up what was in the Ajax spray but decided to have faith in my liver instead this time.

Sigh…

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Moist Coconut Cake

This is the third level recipe for those who want to venture out further about introducing coconut nutrients into their diet. This cake is one of the few desserts I would approve for my patients who know how mean I can be when it comes to dessert prescriptions! (The other approved recipes of course would be the guilt-free chocolate cake and the cocochoc delight)

The flour in this cake is almond meal mixed with coconut flour so it is totally gluten free. Coconut flour is made from grinding down dry coconut flesh so it is 100% fiber and has virtually no calories. Coconut flour can be brought in good health stores or from the internet. No dairy or yeast is needed so is also dairy and yeast free.

The sugar I use this time is coconut palm sugar. It is made from the sap of coconut flowers. It has a rich mineral content and  a very low Glycaemic Index of 35 (meaning a very slow absorption of the sugar resulting in minimal negative impact on the blood sugar level, suitable for diabetes) compared with cane sugar of 68. You can buy them in Asian food stores. Be aware of the quality of coconut palm sugar as some  have cane sugar added to them so always check the label. Try to get the type that has been set in small blocks so it is easier to measure out different quantities you need.

Ingredients:

Full cream coconut milk 1 cup (1x  270 ml can)

Desiccated coconut 1/2 cup

Shredded coconut 1/2 cup

Coconut flour 1/2 cup sieved

Almond meal 1 cup

Coconut palm sugar 100-150 gm (approx.)

Eggs 4

Vanilla essence 1/2 tsp (optional)

Method (the following sequence seems to be the most time efficient)

1. Bring coconut milk to boil and remove pot from stove. Add desiccated coconut and shredded coconut to hot coconut milk and leave for 20 minutes.

2. Put palm sugar in a bowl and steam for around 15 minutes until melted (do not direct heat the sugar as it would caramelise).

3. While waiting for the above steps to progress, mix coconut flour and almond meal in a large mixing bowl.

4. Separate egg yolk from egg white.

5. Stir egg yolks one at a time into flour mixture.

6. Line a 20cm cake tin with baking paper.

7. Beat egg white till stiff.

8. Take melted palm sugar out from steamer and let it cool a little but not too cold to become hard again.

9. Put desiccated and shredded coconut/coconut milk mixture now in a sieve and drain away excess coconut milk. Mix the drained coconut into the flour mixture.

10. Mix sugar syrup into the flour mixture. Add vanilla essence.

10. Fold in egg white bit by bit.

11. Pour flour mixture in baking tin and bake in a slow oven at 120-150 degree for about 1 hour

12. Stand cake for 15 minutes before serving.

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Here is the second level recipe to help increase coconut intake. This is one of my favorite recipes as it is simple, quick and packed with flavours.

When you buy coconut cream or coconut milk, try to resist the urge to buy the “light” or “low-fat” version as the purpose of the exercise here is to increase coconut fat intake!! 🙂

Mung bean vermicelli (also known as glass noodles) can be found in Asian food stores.

Ingredients:

Chicken thigh fillet or breast (organic preferable) 500 gm

Light soy sauce 3 tablespoons

Celtic sea salt 1.5 tsp

Brown sugar 1.5 tsp

Corn flour 1 tablespoon for thickening

Fresh garlic 2 cloves, minced

Dried chili 1-2 x (mince it with your fingers)

Full cream coconut milk 1 cup

Mung bean vermicelli 1x mini bunch (pre-soaked in water until soft)

Coconut fat/oil 1 tablespoon

Coriander for garnish

Method

1. Cut chicken into bite size chunks.

2. Marinate chicken with soy sauce, salt, sugar and corn flour for 15 minutes.

3. Heat heavy based saucepan, add coconut oil, garlic and chili, stir till fragrant.

4. Add chicken pieces and stir  frequently for 2-3 minutes.

5. Add coconut milk (may need some water if it is too thick)

6. Cover lid and simmer for 30 minutes till chicken is cooked.

7. Add soaked vermicelli and cook further for 1 minute.

8. Turn the heat off and garnish the dish with fresh coriander.

9. Serve with rice

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CocoChoc Delight

This is an entry-level recipe to help introduce coconut oil in your diet!

Just a word of caution: coconut fat/oil sold in shops can vary in quality and freshness. The less fresh ones tend to taste slightly rancid (it gives a sharp and unpleasant after taste). It ‘s worth the hassle to search the freshest product available, which is usually found in quality health food store or the internet.

For general health maintenance, I recommend 2 tablespoons of coconut fat intake a day. It can be increased to 3-4 tablespoons a day in chronically ill patients especially those who need to gain some weight desperately (not to worry if you carry extra weight as coconut fat helps to reduce fat weight–see post “Go Nutty About Coconut”).

Ingredients: (makes 10 ice-cube size cocochoc delight)

Good quality coconut fat 5 tablespoons

Organic dark chocolate of your choice   50 gm

Method:

1. In a large bowl, melt coconut fat and chocolate together in low heat.

2. Cool mixture slightly

3. Pour mixture into an ice-cube tray

4. Put tray in fridge to let mixture set

5. Remove individual cubes and store them in an air-tight jar, in a cool place

Take one cube after each meal two to three times a day as dessert!

Variation:

1. Wash 1 punnet fresh strawberries and drain well

2. Dip individual strawberry in the above melted coconut chocolate mixture

3. Cool strawberries in fridge and serve

Enjoy!

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Do yourself a favour, go nutty about coconut! It is not only insanely tasty, but also packed with nutrients the modern body needs.

You would see two types of coconut in shops: young and mature. Young coconut has a white husk.  If you travel to Thailand where young coconut is everywhere, you might notice left -over green skin on the outside of the white husk. Young coconut has much more juice than the mature one and young coconut juice has a higher sugar content.  The flesh in young coconuts is softer and creamier. Mature coconut has a brown, hairy husk. It has much less juice (also less sugar in the juice) inside and the flesh is much harder, the flavour though is much more intense.

Young coconut juice is the best sport’s drink in the world because it is rich in electrolytes especially potassium, the electrolyte that is lost through sweating. The sugar in the juice rapidly replenishes the glucose store of the body and helps to provide energy during exercise.

Coconut fat extracted from coconut flesh (in the form of pure coconut fat in a jar, or in full cream coconut cream or coconut milk) is an interesting substance. Because it is a type of saturated fat and because of the society’s anti-saturated fat campaign, it has been a politically incorrect food  for years. People are led to believe that coconut oil or fat clogs arteries and raises cholesterol. Those  who take on the positive message of  introducing coconut fat into  their diet often face enormous negative pressure from the community. However,  the shocking truth is fats are essential nutrients for the body’s optimal physiological function and coconut fat  is one of the healthiest fats that nature has on offer to bring total wellbeing that we so long for! Scientific research now reveals that coconut fat does not cause high cholesterol nor coronary heart disease. In an other word, coconut fat is cholesterol and heart disease neutral. Studies also confirm that consumption of coconut fat has multiple benefits on the human body. Let me explain.

Unlike most other fat or oil human consumes, coconut fat is composed predominately of “medium chain fatty acids(MCFAs)” instead of “long chain fatty acids(LCFAs)”. Medium chain fatty acids (MCFAs) have much shorter carbon chains as the name implies. because of the smaller molecular size, MCFAs require less energy and enzymes to break down for absorption. MCFAs in fact get broken down as soon as they come in contact with saliver and gastric juices, and very little pancreatic enzymes or bile salt emulsification are needed. MCFAs then get absorbed directly into the blood stream. This is critically important for people who have a reduced capacity to absorb nutrients, especially fat and therefore fat soluble vitamins (K, D, E, A). Some conditions commonly linked to this situation are gall bladder disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, premature babies, digestive tract diseases and dysfunction, stress and malnutrition. It is not surprising then to find MCFAs a major component in the human breast milk and intravenous feed for acutely ill patients. By supplementing MCFAs in the diet, we bypass the problems with an ill digestive tract and provide essential fatty acids and fat soluble vitamins to the body for the much needed repair and growth. MCFAs, unlike other fatty acids,  get directly transported into the liver via the portal vein (rather than through the lymphatic system) and are immediately used for mitochondrial energy production. As a result, metabolic rate increases after ingestion of MCFAs. Organ functions improve and adipose tissues get burnt off  with better cellular metabolism.  Yes, you are right, that means you will lose FAT weight by eating coconut fat!

Coconut fat has another component that is highly beneficial for the human’s immune system. Coconut fat contains two special types of medium chain fatty acid called lauric acid and capric acid (50% and 7% of the coconut fat respectively). Both these two fatty acids could be metabolised into monolaurin and monocaprin which have the capacity to break down viral and bacterial walls. Lauric acid is also an important component of human breast milk. Regular consumption of coconut fat therefore provides the critical elements for the immune system to defend us from microbial invasion.

Because coconut fat is a type of saturated fat (meaning all chemical bondings are saturated and stable), it is heat and oxygen stable. It is therefore the most suitable fat for cooking or frying.

So how can we get enough coconut in our diet? Keep watching this space for upcoming recipes to help increasing your coconut consumption!

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Guilt-Free Chocolate Cake

This is a cake that nourishes your soul as well as your body!

This cake is gluten-free, yeast free, dairy free, and almost sugar-free depending on the sugar content in the chocolate one chooses. If 100% dark chocolate is used, the cake is sugar-free. It has a great taste, and it is suitable for people with insulin resistance, people who are on anticandida diet or gluten/dairy free diet. For those who are on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) for intestinal streptococcal overgrowth, the 70% Lindt dark cooking chocolate should be fine. Those who are on the SCD for more serious conditions like autism, Crohn’s disease or Ulcerative Colitis, 100% dark chocolate should be used to minimize sugar (if in doubt, check with your health practitioner). Of course this cake is not suitable for those who are allergic to almond or eggs. Most people who are allergic to dairy can tolerate butter as dairy allergy is related  to cow’s milk protein not butter fat (unless if a person has an anaphylactic shock reaction to dairy products then the minute remnant of cow’s milk protein in butter might still be an issue).

This cake is full of goodies. Xylitol is a natural sweetener extracted from raspberries. It has minimal effect on blood sugar level and has the ability to inhibit streptococcal infection. Pure butter contains vital nutrients like vitamin A, D, K and conjugated linoleic acid (anti cancer substance) and helps to fight insulin resistance. Chocolate is rich in magnesium and antioxidants. So go ahead and pamper yourself with a slice!

Ingredients:

70% Dark cooking chocolate 150g

Organic pure butter 150g

Almond meal 1 cup (can be replaced by hazelnut meal if allergic to almond)

Eggs 4

Cocoa powder 1/3 cup

Hot water 1/3 cup

Xylitol 1 cup

Method:

1. Melt chocolate and butter together in a bowel .

2. Separate egg yolks from egg white.

3. Blend cocoa powder with hot water in large bowel until smooth. Stir in

melted chocolate, butter, egg yolk, almond meal and xylitol.

4. Beat egg white in small bowl with electric mixer until soft peaks

formed.

5. Fold beaten egg white into chocolate mixture.

6. Pour mixture into a 19cm square cake pan lined by baking paper.

7. Preheat oven to moderate (150-180 degree). Bake for about 1 hour.

8. Stand cake for 15 minutes and dust with sifted extra cocoa powder to

serve.

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Balance

 

 

Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age.”  I remembered as I listened to the inauguration speech of the newly elect President Obama of United State of America, my mind was far away somewhere else…

We may be facing a global economic crisis. “Greed”, “irresponsibility” and “failure to make hard choices” may indeed be some of the aspects people must reflect upon for the years to come in order to rebuild a healthier global financial system. And yet many of us may not realize that our health may be heading to crisis for just exactly the same reasons…

The body has a unique intrinsic banking system that requires responsible operating. Everybody is born a millionaire with abundant resources and healing power. That is the inherited money in the bank. To live is to make constant choices of depositing and withdrawing. Wellbeing means a nice balance sheet. We withdraw and spend to achieve many goals, and we save and deposit to preserve our capitals. A balanced withdrawal and deposit activity leads to maintenance of fund and therefore health, a withdrawal exceeding the capacity of the capital leads to deficit in health… well everyone knows how painful a deficit or being tight with cash is without further explanation.

To withdraw is to work under pressure, to work long hours, to work night shifts, to work in a job you hate, to have to meet a deadline, to eat irregularly, to eat out, to eat fast and junk food, to eat the wrong foods types, to go to bed late (later than 10pm), to drink or smoke, to exercise, to have long meetings, to have unresolved emotional issues, to go through a divorce, to grieve, to be obsessed with a certain things, to get angry, to feel intimidated, to carry constant guilt, to worry, to be competitive, and many more. Many of these maybe unavoidable, necessary or even beneficial as we go through life but knowing their “withdrawal” nature helps us want to make large sum of deposit to offset their negative effect and limit their frequencies when appropriate. Please ask yourself how often you make a withdrawal.

To deposit is to work civilized hours, to have a dream job, to be appreciated at work or at home, to eat regularly, to eat home cooked food, to choose the right food for your metabolism, to drink plenty of water, to go to bed at better hours, to be at peace with yourself, to feel happy, to laugh or smile, to have plenty of time to finish a task, to let go, to forgive yourself and others, to be thankful, to do nurturing exercise like Taichi/yoga, to meditate, to be in a loving relationship, to have regular medical check, and many more. Many of these may not be easy to achieve in our lives or even seem to be impossible, but knowing their “deposit” nature helps us want to maximize their frequencies where possible. Please ask yourself if you have made a deposit lately?

To the body, “greed” is when we ask it to perform outside its capacity over and over again—withdrawal from an inadequate fund. “Irresponsibility” is when we do not make an effort regularly to maintain our health—deposit regularly when we can. “Failure to make hard choices” is when we have the head knowledge to improve our health but fail to act on it.

Let’s learn to listen to our body as it will give us warning signals when we are in deficit. Let’s not have our own health financial crisis by steering away from “greed”, “irresponsibility” or “failure to make hard choices” with our health, unless what you are trying to achieve is worth your very life (and the lives of your loved ones).

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