Maple Syrup Health Benefits

This morning I bought a bottle of organic 100% pure maple syrup from the mini mart.  I could not decide if I should buy it or otherwise as I think forking out RM34.90 for a 250ml bottle of syrup is just too expensive.  At the mini mart, I was also hunting for agave nectar (which is slightly cheaper) but it was out of stock.  In our household, we do not use white sugar.  We use healthier alternatives like agave nectar, palm sugar or organic raw brown sugar.  With no other choice, I bought the bottle of 100% pure maple syrup, simply because the new chicken recipe that I found requires maple syrup and I am very eager to try cooking this crock pot chicken drumstick cooked with maple syrup and dijon mustard.  It looks very easy to prepare and sweat-free too.

Besides using maple syrup to cook the new chicken recipe that I have in mind, I can also drizzle some maple syrup onto my sugar-free skinny yoghurt which I take on most weekday mornings.






Why is maple syrup one of the best sugar alternatives?
This healthy sweetener is 100% natural, pure and free of any coloring or additives. Boiled down directly from tree sap, which is harvested from the maple tree towards the end of winter, pure maple syrup is an unprocessed, authentic product of nature. White sugar, for example, is typically derived from sugar cane, and processed and purified before being sold. Because maple syrup is not processed, it contains higher levels of potentially beneficial minerals, including calcium, potassium, sodium and copper, making it the best sugar alternative.

A previous study published in the Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2007 found that maple syrup contains polyphenols such as abscisic acid (ABA), which is thought to stimulate insulin release through pancreatic cells very much the same way berries increase sensitivity of the fat cells to insulin, which makes the syrup beneficial for those with metabolic syndrome and diabetes.

Maple syrup is one of the many wonders of the world and far more than a simple sweetener. Maple syrup is not only rich in essential nutrients such as manganese as well as zinc, but 34 new beneficial compounds discovered just a few years ago have been confirmed to play a key role in human health.



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Overnight Oats With Fresh Coconut Milk

This bowl of overnight oats is probably the last thing you want to eat for breakfast. But looks can be deceiving. My bowl of chilled oats for today’s breakfast tastes awesome! It reminds me of the Bircher Muesli that I often eat at hotels for breakfast, sans the grated apple.






Health Freak Mommy’s breakfast of overnight oats today composes of chia seeds, macadamia nuts, pumpkin seeds, ground hazelnut, fresh coconut milk and zero sugar.  All the nuts and seeds were raw and soaked with the oats and milk, except for the ground hazelnut.   The fresh coconut milk was added in last, at the time of eating.  This breakfast is suitable for diabetics and diet freaks too as it is sugar-free, low in carb and high in protein. This is just so good. Eating clean just can’t get any better!




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Recycling Chicken Breast Meat

We all know that breast meat is lean and  healthier  in comparison to other parts of the chicken.  Lean chicken meat is one of the best sources of protein and perfect for health freaks on a low-carb and low-fat diet.   The problem with us is when we are served chicken, no one would touch the breast meat.

Below is a common sight whenever we have roast chicken.



I normally keep the breast meat and deep freeze them for ‘recycling’ at a later date.  I use it in fried rice, fried noodles, fried vegetables, pizza, salad, sandwiches and wraps by shredding the meat.

These are my chives wraps with the ‘recycled’ chicken breast meat.  I saved the sauce that came with the roast chicken and spread it on the wraps.   Added fresh sweet corn kernels and a slice of cheese before baking it for 15 minutes in the oven.



Oops!! The toothpick from one of the wraps came off and I could not join both ends back as the baked wraps had turned crispy and was easily breakable.  Alycia loved it anyway.  Taste is all that matters, not the appearance :D


A simple  yet yummy lunch for the girls on a day when I was just too busy to crank up the stove…



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Wood Pulp In Pre-Shredded Cheese

Sherilyn had a one-day break from school on Tuesday as it was the resitting day of the UPSR Math and Science test papers for Primary 6 students.

Since she had finished her homework, I got her around to help me to grate cheese.  Of the 3 girls, Sherilyn loves cooking the most.   For someone who has problem waking up early in the morning and completing her homework,  but the moment I shout out to her for help in the kitchen, she will dart right into the kitchen to lend a helping hand!  Cooking is also one of the ways to train her to shed off her clumsiness.  I allow her to use knifes and to fire up the stove.

For the life of me, I never ever like to grate cheese.  I prefer to use pre-shredded cheese as it is so much convenient and faster to add into your food.  Pre-shredded used to be a permanent fixture in my fridge but not until I found out about the health risks of eating pre-shredded cheese.

Sherilyn at work…




If you are just as clueless as I was, then this information may rock your world. Pre-shredded cheese is covered in a chemical that the industry calls cellulose to keep it from clumping together. Have you ever noticed that white powdery stuff on your shredded cheese? Yeah. It’s not cheese dust. Cellulose is commonly made from WOOD PULP *gulp*!!   I think sometimes it is even listed as anti-caking agent.

I am sure that by now, after reading this piece of information on pre-shredded cheese, you will be more inclined to get block cheese and spend a little of your time grating it. By getting block cheese, you:

1) avoid unnecessary food additives
2) save your money. Block cheese is cheaper than pre-grated cheese
3) It is tastier too and
4) from my experience, block cheese lasts longer than its pre-grated counterpart. Have you ever noticed that pre-grated cheese gets moldy really quickly even when kept in the fridge?

Now don’t you just get cheesed off knowing that you have been eating wood pulp in your pre-grated cheese all these while?!


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Health Freak Mommy’s Breakfast

My breakfast for today and yesterday as well :)

Oats squares with yoghurt milk, ground hazelnut, toasted almond slices, pumpkin seeds and a dollop of Steffi’s sugar-free peanut butter.


2 lava eggs, seasoned with organic soy sauce and pepper. I used free-range chicken eggs.


I am trying to steer away from bread and any product that consists of yeast.  I have another yeast infection attack again, sigh!  This always happens whenever I have finished a course of antibiotics.  This year is one of the worst years for me, health wise. This is the reason why I am so anti-drugs, especially antibiotics.  But I had no choice when I had a swollen gum -  pre and post tooth extraction a few months back.  I desperately succumbed to not one but two courses of antibiotics :(   With a vaginal yeast infection under attack, your choice of food is really limited.  The only low carb and yeast-free breakfast that I can think of are eggs, nuts, yoghurt, yoghurt milk and low-sugar cereals.

Can you stomach unexciting breakfast like this?


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Bakuteh With Kudzu Root

The other morning when I was at the butcher to get some pork ribs to make bakuteh, the butcher who is ever full of handy tips told me to get a wedge of ‘fun kot’ (kudzu root) to boil it with the bakuteh herbs and meat.   The kudzu root will impart natural sweetness and flavor to the pot of bakuteh.  And this root that is full of medicinal properties will also help to expel ‘heatiness’ caused by the bakuteh herbs.

Picture of ‘fun kot’ (kudzu root)



I listened to Keong, the butcher and he was so right!  My pot of bakuteh soup was more flavorful and ‘thick’.  And the next day, my kids and I did not feel ‘heaty’.  I am so thankful to Keong for his handy tip!  I did not even need to add oyster sauce, salt and thick black sauce to add flavor to the broth.  All I added was about 1 tablespoon of organic soy sauce and 1/2 tablespoon of organic blackstrap molasses to darken the broth.



My bakuteh composed of 2 sachets of bakuteh herbs, a head of garlic, pork ribs, dried flower mushrooms, golden needle mushrooms, puffed tofu and hard boiled eggs.


I used Snow Deer brand of bakuteh herbs – one of the best thus far!



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Organic Brown Rice Noodles With Minced Chicken In Blackstrap Molasses

Our healthy organic brown rice noodles for dinner yesterday…


The minced chicken meat and shimeji mushrooms were cooked with a head of garlic (minced in the blender), darkened and seasoned to taste with blackstrap molasses, organic soy sauce and pepper.  The blackstrap tastes pretty much the same as thick dark soy sauce and way healthier too.  The girls loved their oodles of noodles.  There was enough to keep a bowl for Sherilyn’s lunch today :)



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Finding The Right Specialist

Many people don’t think about medical care until they have a problem, but there is nothing more important than you health. It is important to seek medical care quickly when something is wrong, but you can avoid many health problems by maintaining a positive relationship with your primary care physician.

It is recommended that you see your doctor once each year for a physical even if you do not currently have any medical concerns. This allows the doctor to establish a baseline for your health. Many times, it will also help your physician discover small problems before they become major issues.

When you visit your primary care physician on a regular basis, he will gain a good understanding of your overall health. If you are experiencing symptoms that are outside his level of expertise, you will likely be referred to a specialist.

Visiting a specialist is an excellent way to gain insight regarding a particular area of your health, but it’s very important to choose the right specialist. Your primary care physician will likely recommend a specific specialist to you. However, you need to check and make sure the specialist is covered under your insurance plan before you make an appointment.

It’s also a good idea to do your research to see if the specialist will likely be a good fit. Fortunately, it’s easier than ever to research healthcare providers thanks to the Internet. Without even leaving your home, you can search for insurance information, patient reviews and more.

Many physicians now have websites for their practices. This is a great way to get to know them a little before your appointment. Websites vary by provider, but most include information about the doctor’s training, experience and education. You can also learn more about other doctors and staff members in the practice.

On the specialist’s website, you should be able to see which insurance providers are accepted. Many websites include the paperwork you will need to submit at your appointment. Print it out and complete in advance to minimize your wait time. Some sites even allow you to click and make an appointment instead of doing this over the phone.

Talking to your friends, family members and co-workers is another great way to find a specialist. Encourage them to provide honest feedback about doctors they have visited in the past. It’s important to learn about a doctor’s communication style and bedside manner to see if he will be a good fit for your personality and needs.


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Adding Blackstrap Molasses Into Chicken Dish

Homecooked dinner tonight,  4 Sept 2014.

1) Stir-fried cabbage and bok choy (both organic) with garlic (I used an entire head of garlic and pan fried the cloves of garlic uncut. I love munching on fried garlic cloves!)

2) Blanched ladies fingers, drizzled with Japanese sesame dressing.

3) Beef bone soup with carrot, sweet corn, tomato and big onion.

4) Braised chicken with soy sauce, star anise, pepper and blackstrap molasses



I am glad that I found another way to use the blackstrap molasses that I bought.  I added 2 tablespoons of blackstrap into the braised chicken  dish to give it a nice dark color.  This is to replace the use of thick dark sauce, which is not the healthiest of choice. In fact, I have always shunned the thick dark sauce (though I love having it in my dishes) as I have read before that it contains chemicals that are carcinogenic.   None of the girls could tell the new alien ingredient added into their food and they polished off the entire plate of chicken dish, ha!  Boy am I glad that I have found a healthy substitute for ‘hark yau’ aka thick dark sauce! :)

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Health & Safety Risk Assessments

The other day, we had lunch at this little eatery that serves pretty outstanding local food at very affordable prices. It was our first time dining at the eatery. I told the hubs that the eatery’s noodles and rice dishes reminded me of my dad’s cooking. We ordered three varieties of soup-based noodles, their nasi lemak, fried rice, black coffee jelly in Kopi Cham (Spreeze) and a mango smoothie ice-cream. We loved every item that we ordered. What we did not like most about this eatery is the customer service of the waiters, in particular one male worker. His face was as ‘black’ as the black coffee jelly that we had. Each time we asked him something or added an order, he would drag his feet to our table, with a face devoid of any smile and zest. While waiting for our takeout fried rice, I could see the kitchen staff working. The staff preparing food were not wearing any gloves. Even the workers handling cooked food for takeout were not wearing any disposable gloves or face mask. The owner sure needs some health & safety risk assessments done on their eatery and workers.   On the overall, I am pleased with what we ordered. And I think the owners of the eatery should give their staff a good pep talk on a regular basis too.


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