Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘nutrition’

Time and time again when people asked me about the recipe of my daily smoothies, I have always been telling everyone that it’s entirely up to your taste and the season.  There is so much variety when it comes to fruits and vegetables, and there isn’t one formula that fits everyone especially when taste is concerned.   Nevertheless, my daily recipe is listed below merely as a reference to what I like, particularly from my principle of diversity and balance of nutrients. 

If you want to know what this is and why I’m doing it in the first place, check out my previous blog post here.

Blend of Goodness

My daily smoothie recipe (2-Litre size)

One carrot

One tomato

Ginger (ample quantity; unpeeled)

One half cucumber

One apple (unpeeled; unseeded)

One pear (unpeeled; unseeded)

Grapes

One grapefruit (peeled)

One kiwi (peeled)

One half beet root (peeled)

One fourth cabbage; or One half broccoli

Black sesame (a dash)

Flaxseeds (a dash)

Dried wolfberries (a dash)

Water (650cc)

There you have it.  All ingredients are sliced for ease of blending.  Again, I have to stress that this only works with an industrial strength blender (as detailed in my earlier post).  Throw this recipe in the trash if you are using anything else.

Have fun and share with me what works for you!

Blend of Goodness 1

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Ever since I started posting pictures of some of my fruity smoothies on my Facebook page, some of my friends have been curiously asking me questions over the apparently weird contents of my daily regimen.  “Is it nasty?”,Does it kill you?” are amongst the many questions I have answered a number of times.  Perhaps there’s no better place than here on my own blog where I can lay out all the answers of these frequently asked questions.  Alright, let’s fire it up, and go!

Why Do You Do It?

All of us know about the nutritional value of fruits and vegetables, but I feel that I have not been eating the required amounts in my diet.  My occasional fruit intake is never going to deliver the healing effects they promise with such scarce quantities.  Vegetables are often cooked with oil and sauces and despite its fiber content, most of its nutrients are already gone by the time they are served on a plate.  Salads are rather expensive, and you probably get less than 500 grams of greens from one standard serving.  I feel that I need a solution that can give me the most benefits of fruits and vegetables in a tasty and efficient manner.

Why Don’t You Just Eat The Fruits And Vegetables Directly?

Good idea, but not all phytonutrients can be absorbed by our body purely by chewing and normal digestion.  With the use of a high-speed (35,000 rpm & above – revolutions per minute) food processor/blender, fruits and vegetables are chopped and ground into fine angstrom units that are perfect for phytonutrients to enter into our body cells.  In other words, blended juice is much easier to be digested and absorbed by our bodies.   Due to the high-speed motor itself, juices from these high-speed blenders are around 39 degrees celsius which can trigger the enzymes and magnify the phytonutrients in three folds.  Nutritional value of the juices will deteriorate above 39 degrees.  Lastly, the skin, seeds and core of fruits have the highest level of phytonutrients, though they are often discarded when we consume them in solid form.  With a high-speed blender, we are not wasting any single bit of these fruits and vegetables.

What Are Phytonutrients?

Phytonutrients exist in all fruits and vegetables and they help our bodies fight cancers and all kinds of diseases.   They are extremely effective in healing our bodies without the need for modern medication.  There are many types of phytonutrients depending on what fruits and vegetables you are getting.  Thus, it is always beneficial to include as many varieties as possible in our daily diet.  My earlier post 15 Healthy Foods You Cannot Afford to Miss covers these necessities in more detail.

I Have A Juicer.  Is That The Same Thing?

There has always been debates about whether a juicer is better than a blender, or the other way around.  I think it’s definitely up to your personal taste.  To begin with, either one is going to do you wonders when compared to eating cooked vegetables or fruits in small amount.  A juicer works without the need of adding water, and you get a perfectly smooth beverage every time.  However, I think it eliminates our access of the most natural dietary fiber, let alone seeds, core and skin.  I don’t want to just drink sugary juice.  With my blender, there is nothing to clean except a simple rinse under running water since the whole fruit is ground into liquid form with the addition of water to facilitate the grinding process.  I have wasted nothing.  Needless to say, blended smoothies are going to be thicker than the watery form of pure juices.  Yet you can control its thickness by adjusting your fruit/water content.  The more water you are adding, the lighter the texture.  You get the same level of goodness as long as you finish the whole thing.  Hence, you can tell that I am more of a fan of the high-speed blender than a juicer.

Can I Use Any Blender With Speed Lower Than 35,000 rpm?

Your stomach will have to do more work to digest the veggies if they aren’t ground fine enough.  You risk yourself stomach ulcer that way.   You may not be realizing the true benefits of all the nutrients.  The texture is going to be super thick if you put in a lot of goodies, and also you will end up spending more time in the kitchen cutting and dicing fruits before the blender can operate.  All in all, not worth it.  Better invest in a good tool if you want to do it right once and for all.

What Fruits And Vegetables Do You Blend On A Daily Basis?

As I mentioned, I prefer the concept of varieties and balance.  I like stocking my refrigerator with around 10 different fruits and vegetables on a daily basis.  It’s easy to google the benefits and nutritional value of each fruit as you like, and my article above highlights the 15 super foods that I often incorporate as well.  Lately, my must-have items include carrots, tomatoes, green beans, ginger, apples, pears, cucumbers, grapes, grapefruit, kiwi, beet root, broccoli, cabbages, black sesame and black soybean powder, flax seeds and cranberry mix, and wolfberries.  The beautiful thing is that you can create your own mix according to your personal liking.  I usually go down to the supermarkets and sample what’s in season.  You really can’t lose with that.

It Looks Overwhelming.  How Does It Taste?

Again, you know what each of these fruits and vegetables tastes like, so you already will have an idea as to the sweetness and sourness levels of your ingredients.  I like to balance my tastes with the sweetness of grapes and apples and mix it with grapefruit and one or two vegetables for a fresh and layered taste.  I first started with fruits only and it can ONLY taste good.  I then figured that I wanted an even more balanced diet and started adding more greens to my mix which may not be to your liking.  If that’s the case, just skip the greens and blend it some other time.  Also, you don’t need to pack as much like me.  Less ingredients with slightly more water will ensure a lighter smoothie which will be easier for beginners to adapt.  Use the natural flavor of your ingredients to adjust the taste.  Or simply stick to one fruit only as you can never go wrong with that.  You don’t need sugar or honey at all.

How Much Of It Do You Need?

It’s up to you really unless you are aiming to reverse particular symptoms, which you can easily google the various recipes online.  As normal supplements, you probably need no more than half to one litre a day, since you can keep it in your refrigerator for up to 24 hours.  As I replace my breakfasts and sometimes even lunches with my smoothies, I go all out by filling up my tank with goodies for a 2-litre mix.  I take half of it in the morning when it’s freshest, and leave the other half for the rest of my day.  Whatever left in the fridge will grow slightly thicker over the cold so the earlier you finish it the better.  Do not store it over 24 hours as it will go bad since there are absolutely no preservatives added.

What Benefits Have You Personally Experienced From It?

I’m not a medical doctor, and I have not taken physical examinations since then so I cannot provide scientific evidence here.  However as a fact, I feel that I have a lot of energy even if I replace some of my meals with my veggies mix.  The fibre keeps me full, and the smoothies are very easy to digest unlike regular meals with meats and processed foods.  You will not have any constipation problems whatsoever, and you will feel your body cleansed and detoxed.  My skin is better and brighter, as if the natural antioxidants are doing its magic.  All in all, I can’t say for sure whether this is all psychological only, but again I can’t think it will be harmful to me as well.

Is This Expensive?

Not at all.  I shop all of my ingredients from local supermarkets and they are imported from all over the world including China, United States, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Chile and Taiwan.  I have done a rough estimate that my daily mix (2-litre) costs no more than HK$35 a pop.  That’s cheaper than a Starbucks coffee, and almost the cost of breakfast in the city.  Some fruits like strawberries and blueberries will certainly cost a bit more, but you don’t need them on a daily basis.  I think this is one of the lowest cost healthy solution in the market.  Of course, this is unless you decide to pick organic fruits and vegetables.  I am sure they are so much better as they are free from pesticides and genetically engineered processes, but since they can easily cost up to 10 times higher, so far I have not been switching to organic just yet.

In terms of the blender, there are a few options in the market.  I don’t intend to promote any particular brands in this space as they each have their pros and cons.  Leave me a message if you are interested and I shall be happy to share some of my thoughts.  If you blend as often as myself, the daily cost of the blender is negligible.

What Do I Need To Watch Out For?

Check your allergies – Needless to say, you know yourself best, so stay away from suspicious foods instead of being overly adventurous.

Beware of pesticides – For vegetables and fruits which you won’t be skinning, soak them thoroughly in running water before putting them in the blender.  I know there are risks as with anything these days, but luckily for the 2 years I have taken this up so far, I have not had any problems with fruits and raw vegetables even if they are grown in China.

Time – No I’m not talking about blending.  In fact the preparation time is quite minimal, usually within 30 minutes which includes all the washing, cutting, blending and cleaning up.  The key is getting fresh ingredients if you want to maintain this as your daily regimen.  You can’t stock up too much since the ingredients are all perishable and they lose their nutritional value quickly.  I almost shop every other day, sometimes even daily since I blend a lot.  That’s why you need to assess whether it will be easy for you to find produce on a regular basis.  If not, reduce the frequency to a manageable level.  If you find it too time consuming or troublesome solely for the sourcing of your ingredients, I would advise you to drop the idea entirely.  You will not be able to keep this up.  So save the hassle and money of buying a blender.

Picking a blender – This topic will be taken offline but I just want to say that aside from functionalities and all, you need to find something that requires the minimum effort of cleaning.  As mentioned, if you need to spend 15 minutes cleaning up parts and filters and caps every day after usage, you will lose your drive altogether.  Furthermore, if you have other cooking ideas in mind, pick the right blender as some can whip up puree, sauces and even desserts like mine.  I once whipped up a hot ginger soup for myself that ended my months-long dry cough after only 2 days of serving.

Leave me other questions if you have any.  I am excited to share your experienes, anytime.  Happy blending!

Read Full Post »

Anthony Bourdain, celebrity chef with humor and personal wit that I come to admire and enjoy, has recently been caught in a “food fight” with fellow Food Network star, Paula Deen.   In an TV Guide interview, Bourdain calls Deen “the worst, most dangerous person to America” for  her artery-clogging style of cooking.”

She revels in unholy connections with evil  corporations, and she’s proud of the fact that her food is f–king bad for you,”  Bourdain said of the Food Network star, who is famous for her butter-heavy recipes.

I would think twice before telling an already obese nation that it is OK to eat food that is killing us,”  he said. “Plus, her food sucks.”

I have not personally heard of Deen before, and out of curiosity and just a few mouse clicks away, I can see why she is portrayed as the most dangerous person to the U.S. of A.

Judge for yourself.  Here below is one of her famous recipes, courtesy of additional commentary by FoxNews.com.

Deen’s Doughnut Burger

Ingredients:

4 Glazed Doughnuts

1 lb Ground Beef (not the lean kind!)

8 Slices of American Cheese

8 Strips of Bacon

Directions:

You can cook the doughnuts from scratch, but why go to the trouble? Any from your local bakery should be fine, but you can’t go wrong with Krispy Kremes. We suggest using the Glazed Sour Cream variety for a nice 310 calorie kick. Slice in two and fry the inside until browned.

Separate the beef into four patties. Resist your summertime instinct to put them on a BBQ grill and fry them to your liking in  butter instead. This is not the time to be worrying about your waist line.

Don’t even think about not frying the bacon in butter too.

Place one slice of cheese on the bottom of the bun,  followed by the patty and another slice of cheese on top to enhance overall gooeyness. Add two slices of bacon, in a crisscross fashion, of course, then consider for a moment if you really  want lettuce and tomato — we’ll leave that up to you.

(Don’t do it!)

And that’s it, you now hold in your hands the ultimate brunch or — for you late nighters — dinsert.

Depending on the time of day, you can either wash it down with a steaming cup of coffee or a crisp, hoppy beer to cut through the sweetness.

Either way, have a good night’s sleep.

And if you need further proof, go with the experts.  According to mnn.com, last year, Dean’s “Kitchen Classics” cookbook was ranked one of the worst of the decade according to the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. “You’d need a magnifying glass to find a vegetable in some of these cookbooks,” a rep for the group quipped.

Amen to America.

Read Full Post »

I came across this interesting article on Men’s Health how some food ingredients can trick our bodies into not recognizing fullness, and we all know what happens after that.  We continue eating even after we have finished a satisfying lunch or dinner.  Men’s Health listed these 7 reasons from the book “The New American Diet” by Stephen Perrine and Heather Herlock.

1. You Drink Too Much Soda

Sodas and sweetened beverages contain high-fructose corn syrup, which according to new research from the University of California at San Francisco, can trick our brains into craving more food, even when we are full.  “It works by impeding the body’s ability to use leptin, the “satiation hormone” that tells us when we’ve had enough to eat.”

2. Your Dinner Came Out of a Can

“Many canned foods are high in the chemical bisphenol-A, or BPA, which the Food and Drug Administration recently stated was a chemical “of some concern.” Exposure to BPA can cause abnormal surges in leptin that, according to Harvard University researchers, leads to food cravings and obesity.”
 
3. Your Breakfast Wasn’t Big Enough
 
True.  A good breakfast drammatically cuts down my craving for a heavy greasy lunch.  “After following 6,764 healthy people for almost 4 years, researchers found that those who ate just 300 calories for breakfast gained almost twice as much weight as those who ate 500 calories or more for breakfast. The reason: Eating a big breakfast makes for smaller rises in blood sugar and insulin throughout the day, meaning fewer sudden food cravings.”
 
4. You Skipped The Salad
 
“…leafy greens…are rich in the essential B-vitamin folate and help protect against depression, fatigue, and weight gain. In one study, dieters with the highest levels of folate in their bodies lost 8.5 times as much weight as those with the lowest levels. Leafy greens are also high in vitamin K, another insulin-regulating nutrient that helps quash cravings. Best sources: Romaine lettuce, spinach, collard greens, radicchio.”
 
5. You Don’t Stop For Tea Time
 
Ok, easy.  They are not talking about those egg tarts, cakes and chicken wings you may be thinking about.   They are talking about actual tea here.   “According to a study in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, people who drank one cup of black tea after eating high-carb foods decreased their blood-sugar levels by 10 percent for 2 and a half hours after the meal, which means they stayed full longer and had fewer food cravings. Researchers credit the polyphenolic compounds in black tea for suppressing rebound hunger.”
 
6. You’re Not Staying Fluid
 
Can’t be more true.  So many of us are simplying not drinking enough water.  “Dehydration often mimics the feeling of hunger. If you’ve just eaten and still feel hungry, drink a glass of water before eating more, and see if your desires don’t diminish.”
 
7. You’re Bored
 
I’ll be damned.  How many of us want to eat just because we hate to get back to work?  “Researchers at Flinders University in Australia found that visual distractions can help curb cravings. To test yourself, envision a huge, sizzling steak. If you’re truly hungry, the steak will seem appealing. But if that doesn’t seem tempting, chances are you’re in need of a distraction, not another meal.”
 
The book comes highly recommended from fellow readers.   Check it out even if you are not American – our diets are getting similar!
 

 

Read Full Post »

I’ve gotten quite a number of questions from my previous post on healthy foods since most people know for a fact that fruits and veggies are good for them.  Despite this obvious and profound fact, we should always be reminded that any serving of fruits and vegetables equals to one less serving of unwanted carbs, fat and processed foods that we would otherwise be consuming in our daily diets.   Our food choices out there have gotten so incredibly confusing, hazardous and misleading that it just seems the more we eat, the more unhealthy we are.

That is when I find the following article by Courtney Hutchison of ABC News worthwhile to share.  Heart disease death rate drops with each added fruit and veggie serving we take in. 

“It’s time to make friends with the produce aisle: pumping your diet with fruits and vegetables isn’t just good for your waistline — it could save your life, according to new research from the University of Oxford.

While “5 a day” has traditionally been the mantra for fruit and veggie consumption, researchers found that those who consumed eight or more servings were 22 percent less likely to die from heart disease than those who consumed three or fewer servings a day.

Even among those who couldn’t manage the eight servings, more fruits and veggies consistently meant a lower risk; for every additional serving above two per day, researchers observed a four percent decrease in the rate of heart disease deaths.

Though past studies have linked the consumption of fruit and vegetables to heart health, many remain skeptical as to whether these foods have a direct protective effect on the heart. Given the size of Tuesday’s study (over 300,000 participants from eight different European countries) and the strength of its findings, some doctors feel that it may erase and remaining doubts concerning fruits and veggies, and cardiovascular health.

“This is probably the largest study of its type and should convince even the greatest skeptic of the value of fruits and veggies,” said Dr. Randall Zusman, director of the division of hypertension at Massachusetts General Hospital.

“This compares ‘enough’ fruit and vegetable intake to ‘more than enough’ and suggests that ‘more than enough’ is better,” said Dr. David Katz, director of Yale University’s Prevention Research Center. This could have big implications considering that the U.S. population “doesn’t even approximate the ‘enough’ target” as it is.

The study, which was published Tuesday in the European Heart Journal, is part of the EPIC trial, a long-term study in Europe initially set up to track the effect of vegetable and fruit intake on cancer.

In the U.S., the recommended consumption of fruits and vegetables has often been promoted as “five a day”. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention moved away from that recommendation in 2007, to a more flexible approach, dubbed Fruits & Veggies – More Matters.

Instead of a flat recommendation of five servings a day, the new program changes recommendations based on age, sex and activity level. For a 40-year-old sedentary man, recommendations are now two cups of fruits and three cups of vegetables a day; for a sedentary woman of that age, the recommendation is 1.5 cups of fruit and 2.5 cups of veggies.

From 5 a Day to “the More the Better”

So what exactly would the eight portions a day observed in the study look like? 

“A large navel orange can easily weight close to 8 ounces and so does a large apple,” says Carla Wolper with the Obesity Research Center at St. Lukes-Roosevelt Hospital in New York. “That leaves a measly six ounces for salad, string beans, or other vegetables on the dinner plate, so yes people can easily eat this much,” she said.

Considering that the majority of the general population in the U.K. and the U.S. consume fewer than five recommended servings of fruits and vegetables per day, asking for eight may be a bit of a stretch, concedes Dr. Francesca Crowe, lead author on the study. 

Given that each additional serving suggested an additional heart health benefit, “it may be a relatively simple public health goal to encourage everyone to increase their intake of [fruits and vegetables] by a portion per day,” she says.

What Are Fruits and Vegetables Doing?

We all know that fruits and veggies are good for us, but why would eating them prevent death from heart disease?

The evidence points to a number of ways that these foods could work to boost heart health.

It could be that vegetables and fruits contain vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that are having a specific effect on cardiovascular health, says Dr. Keith Ayoob, associate professor in the department of pediatrics at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City.

Another possible mechanism “is the impact of fruit and vegetables to lower inflammation, a known mechanism contributing to cardiovascular disease,” adds Dr. Stephen Devries, a preventive cardiologist at Northwestern Hospital.

No Harm in Piling on the Fruits and Veggies

It also may not be what fruits and veggies add to the diet, but what they replace. There’s less room in the diet for the high-fat, high-cholesterol, high-salt foods often associated with increased risk of heart disease when someone is consuming so many fruits and vegetables each day, doctors noted.

This makes for “lower blood pressure (because these foods are salt free), lower cholesterol (because they are fat free), lower weight (because they are likely to be associated with weight loss), [and] lower blood sugar (lower carbohydrate and sugar content),” says Zusman.

“Just by taking up a lot of room” in the stomach, [those] ounces of fruits and vegetables inherent in eight servings “will have a salutary effect vis-a-vis [cardiovascular disease],” Wolper says.

More importantly, there are few if any drawbacks to consuming a good amount of fruits and veggies .

“I tell my patients to eat whatever fruits and veggies they like at whatever means they can,” says Ayoob >. “They’re that good for you. Indeed Weight Watchers doesn’t even count them in their programs now. No one gains weight eating whole fruits and veggies.”

 

Read Full Post »

Have you heard of phytochemicals?  If not, it’s time to pay some attention to this most natural and valuable element on earth.  Phytochemicals help our bodies fight cancer and all kinds of illnesses.  It is a natural element that can only be found from natural foods, like Isoflavones from beans, Lycopene from tomatoes, Allicin from garlic, Indoles from cabbages, and Catechins from green tea.  In the past, nutritionists did not pay much attention to phytochemicals since they are neither minerals nor vitamins that are vital to maintaining the smooth operation of the human body.  However, scientists have since discovered that these colorful natural chemicals provide excellent antioxidation capabilities.  We all know that most illnesses (cancer included) as well as our aging process has a lot to do with oxidation, so phytochemicals provide the much needed and most effective natural remedies for our bodies.

So instead of popping pills and supplements with unknown origins, concentration and doubtful manufacturing processes, getting phytochemicals from the world’s most natural fruits and vegetables is not only safe but also inexpensive.  It may take time and energy to make it a ritual to go to the markets for fresh produce every other day, but it’s a rather small price and effort to pay when health is at stake.

Where are these chemicals located in our fruits and vegetables?  Well they are mostly found under the skin fiber, inside the seeds, pits, stones and stems.  Ironically, these are the parts that we often discard when we prepare fruits and vegetables.  Hence many of us fail to fully benefit from the fruits and vegetables just from the way we consume them.  That’s how high-speed food processors come into play.

And now let the drum roll begins…

15 Most Photochemicals-Enriched Foods

  1. Garlic.  Garlic helps prevent a number of cancer formulations, has high anti-inflammatory effects, and protects the heart.  However over-dosage has its side effects and hence the right dosage per day is roughly 0.125 grams of garlic for every 1 kg of body weight.  A little goes a long way.
  2. Ginger.  Ginger has Curcumin which helps with blood circulation, reduce cholesterol levels, and contains anti-inflammatory effects.
  3. Almond.  Almonds have vitamins A, B17 or Amygdalin, and E, which are proven to prevent cancer and reduce cholesterol levels.  Picking fresh almonds is key however as it oxidizes fairly quickly.
  4. Tomatoes.  My refrigerator favorite.  Lycopene can inhibit cancer cells and boost our natural killer cells.  It is inexpensive, and simply delicious!
  5. Carrots.  Another refrigerator favorite.  It’s nicknamed “ginseng for the poor” because it contains over 490 types of phytochemicals.  We all know that carrots are good for night blindness, coughing, high blood pressure as well as our liver.
  6. Beet Root.  Before I never heard of beet root.  I recall seeing it in salad bars in the school cafeteria when I used to study in the States years ago.  It was cooked and has that amazing red color that is overpowering.  I seldom see it in local markets here at home and almost never heard of anyone incorporating beet root into their diets.  In fact, beet root is considered as the equivalent of Chinese Lingzhi in Europe.  You can just begin to imagine the incredible health value of beet root from that analogy.  They are a rich source of potent antioxidants and nutrients, including magnesium, sodium, potassium and vitamin C, and betaine, which is important for cardiovascular health. It functions by acting with other nutrients to reduce the concentration of homocysteine, a homologue of the naturally occurring amino acid cysteine, which can be harmful to blood vessels and thus contribute to the development of heart disease, stroke, and peripheral vascular disease.  Additionally, several preliminary studies on both rats and humans have shown betaine may protect against liver disease, particularly the build up of fatty deposits in the liver caused by alcohol abuse, protein deficiency, or diabetes, among other causes. The nutrient also helps individuals with hypochlorhydria, a condition causing abnormally low levels of stomach acid, by increasing stomach acidity.  Beetroot juice has been shown to lower blood pressure and thus help prevent cardiovascular problems.   Now, I always make sure I have enough beet root in my fridge.  It’s definitely way cheaper than Lingzhi!
  7. Asparagus.  Particularly beneficial for women who are preparing for pregnancy.  It has high concentration of vitamins A, C, E, as well as the capability to fight many types of cancer.
  8. Celery.  Amazing food to lower blood pressure!
  9. Blueberries.  United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) advises that blueberries are good for cancer prevention and anti-aging.  I remember it used to be quite pricey in this neck of the woods since they used to be imported from United States, but lately I see a lot of cheaper options originated from Chile.  Not bad.
  10. Cherries.  Prevents cancer, heart disease, Parkinson’s disease, aging, inflammation, eye fatigue, insomnia…the list goes on.
  11. Strawberries.  Great fruit to fight cancer, but it’s not in my daily diet since it is still relatively pricey.
  12. Wolfberry, or Lycium Barbarum.  We almost always see them in dried reddish form and we Chinese always put them in soups and desserts.  When Chinese Emperor Qin (221 BC) ordered his people to look for the “prescription of eternal life”, the few rumored prescriptions that are countered for today ALL contain wolfberries as a critical ingredient.  It’s good for our eyes, skin, immune system, liver and kidney.  I don’t think it will give me eternal life (and not that I ever want that really), but I won’t say no to healthier skin!
  13. Cranberries.  Known for its effect on urinary infections.  Relatively more rare and expensive here, and imported concentrated juices can be rather costly too.
  14. Linseed or Flax seed.  Can be found in most organic health food stores.  It contains Omega-3, Omega-6 and Omega-9.  It prevents heart disease and cancer, lowers cholesterol, blood sugar, degradation of the brain, and prevents hair loss, sight degradation and dry skin.  I have not yet tried this, and it just seems that I’ve been missing out.
  15. Sesame.  We Chinese are known to prepare creamy black sesame puree as desserts, though in the last decade or two its role on the dining table  has been largely replaced by ice cream, fancy cakes and puddings.  It does incredible wonders to our skin and helps delay the aging process.

There you have it.  Don’t over-stress yourself to find all 15, instead just go for the ones that are easy to get, in season and affordable.  Nevertheless most of these foods are low-priced relative to the so-called bottled supplements in health food stores, without the unknown side effects and artificial addictives.   If taking these foods can improve your health and energy PLUS offering the sense of fullness to your stomach, I really don’t see how one won’t be able to lose weight while feeling great, at the same time. 

Read Full Post »

Watching the documentary Food Inc. is still disturbing considering it is already 3 years old.  The reality is terribly frightening.  The below summary is extracted from its website.

“In Food, Inc., filmmaker Robert Kenner lifts the veil on our nation’s food industry, exposing the highly mechanized underbelly that has been hidden from the American consumer with the consent of our government’s regulatory agencies, USDA and FDA. Our nation’s food supply is now controlled by a handful of corporations that often put profit ahead of consumer health, the livelihood of the American farmer, the safety of workers and our own environment. We have bigger-breasted chickens, the perfect pork chop, herbicide-resistant soybean seeds, even tomatoes that won’t go bad, but we also have new strains of E. coli—the harmful bacteria that causes illness for an estimated 73,000 Americans annually. We are riddled with widespread obesity, particularly among children, and an epidemic level of diabetes among adults.”

What I find most alarming is genetically engineered food products, all the way from the staple ingredient of corn to cows (who feed on corn nowadays) to all meats, soda and snacks.  As the end of the food chain, we human beings are unaware of how much genetically engineered products we have taken in on a daily basis.  I hardly think it is doing anything good to our bodies.

So I conduct a quick round of web research and I want to share the below from The Center For Food Safety.

“…By being able to take the genetic material from one organism and insert it into the permanent genetic code of another, biotechnologists have engineered numerous novel creations, such as potatoes with bacteria genes, “super” pigs with human growth genes, fish with cattle growth genes, tomatoes with flounder genes, and thousands of other plants, animals and insects. At an alarming rate, these creations are now being patented and released into the environment.

Currently, up to 40 percent of U.S. corn is genetically engineered as is 80 percent of soybeans. It has been estimated that upwards of 60 percent of processed foods on supermarket shelves–from soda to soup, crackers to condiments–contain genetically engineered ingredients.

A number of studies over the past decade have revealed that genetically engineered foods can pose serious risks to humans, domesticated animals, wildlife and the environment. Human health effects can include higher risks of toxicity, allergenicity, antibiotic resistance, immune-suppression and cancer. As for environmental impacts, the use of genetic engineering in agriculture will lead to uncontrolled biological pollution, threatening numerous microbial, plant and animal species with extinction, and the potential contamination of all non-genetically engineered life forms with novel and possibly hazardous genetic material.”

This is not an American problem.  This is evident in all parts of the world, and we can find traces of engineered corn as ingredients on mostly every food product label we see in supermarkets.   It’s difficult to fight all this as our food supply is highly monopolized by a handful of manufacturing giants in the global and regional markets.  Though as a rule of thumb, I am trying my hardest to get away from as much processed food as possible, and I am beginning to pay more attention to organic ingredients.  Fresh vegetables and fruits now become my main diet.  It’s not an easy journey and it takes work and money to lead a healthy and responsible lifestyle.   Yet even if we cannot avoid all hazardous ingredients at once, being aware of such risks and getting committed to be more selective in choosing what we put in our bodies, is never too late.

Be a smart shopper at the supermarkets, and go beyond bargain hunting.

 Check out the trailer of Food Inc. below. 

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: