Monthly Archives: December 2009

Is Cow’s Milk Healthy Or Endangering Your Health?

I have always believed that milk – cow’s milk in particular, is a very nutritious and wholesome food for people of all ages. That’s until I read about the hazards of consuming milk, that milk is one of the causes of cancer, that cow’s milk is laced with the harmful antibiotics and drugs injected on the cow and all that jazz that milk is no longer a superior food. I used to feed my 2 older girls milk 3x a day but it has now been reduced to only once a day. As for Baby C, I am still breastfeeding her and supplementing her with non-dairy milk (Pediasure).

Today, many of the problems parents have with their babies are linked to new parenting and feeding techniques that have been implemented during the recent century. Colic, for instance, is far more common in the U.S. than in many other places around the world. Two chief causes for its rise are the stress suffered by babies being regularly separated from their mothers, and the common difficulties babies have tolerating the large cow’s milk proteins in infant formulas and breastfeeding mothers’ diets.

Cow’s milk is a foreign substance that has pervaded every corner of our diets—starting with artificial infant feeds, but finding its way into mother’s breastmilk through the foods she eats as well. As it turns out, health problems such as childhood diabetes, obesity, bowel disease, osteoporosis, heart disease, cataracts, colic, ear infections, hyperactivity, and cancer, on the rise in both children and adults, are strongly linked to infant feeding choices. While there are literally thousands of research studies, each revealing at least one of milk’s hazards, the dairy industry goes to great lengths to stifle any damaging rumors. Blanket statements, such as, “There is simply no scientific research to back up these claims,” are easily made. With a long and successful history of dairy promotion, these are readily accepted by the public.

More people need to go to the real research and learn the truth for themselves. They should be very suspicious of these foreign foods being pushed on their children. They should question motives as well as possible outcomes. Although some of the dangers of cow’s milk consumption relate more to adults than to children, parents’ actions form the basis for lifelong dairy-consuming habits in their children.The harmful components of cow’s milk include all the major parts of it, as well as some more minor elements.

Lactose is a sugar meant for babies, but it’s generally harmful to adults. The proteins in cow’s milk are different from human milk proteins and cause problems of digestion, intolerance, impaired absorption of other nutrients, and autoimmune reactions. Few of the proteins meant for baby cows are found naturally in human mother’s milk, and none are found in any natural adult human food. Even the high protein content in cow’s milk creates problems. Human babies need the saturated fats and cholesterol in mother’s milk. Bovine milk fat is not appropriately composed for human babies and is only deleterious to the health of children and adults.

Cow hormones are not meant for humans, and older children and adults are not meant to consume hormones. And, cows have been selectively bred over time to create high levels of these hormones—those being the cows that grow the fastest and produce the greatest amount of milk. Cows also concentrate pesticides and pollutants into their milk fat, from their high dietary food and water requirements. The high amount of drugs now given to cows adds to this chemical soup. But we need milk to build strong bones, don’t we? Actually, heavy milk consumption leads to increased osteoporosis.

The highly promoted idea that milk builds strong bones refers to the prevention of osteoporosis—this is the reason for strengthening bones. Decades of effort to demonstrate that high calcium diets chiefly derived from dairy products build strong bones have failed to prove any such correlation. In fact, the opposite seems to be true. It appears that high calcium intake before puberty, and especially in young childhood, may have some slight positive effect on bones, but this diet is not the answer. A balanced intake of all the bone minerals, along with adequate vitamin A, C, and D, is what is truly needed. A balanced intake of minerals cannot occur when the diet emphasizes dairy. Dairy’s high calcium causes relative deficiencies in magnesium and other bone-building minerals, and its high phosphorus and animal protein reduces calcium availability.

Physical activity has the greatest benefit—the body efficiently uses what is available to build strong bones when it senses the need. Human milk and vegetable sources are superior to dairy for calcium and other nutrients in many ways. There are fewer nutritional or other health advantages to giving cow’s milk to children than is generally believed, while there are certainly many risks. Almost every day another health research finding is made about whole grains, soy, a serving of vegetables, two fruits per day, cashews, legumes, fish, or some other food, other than milk that is, and their connection to a reduced risk of heart disease, breast cancer, stroke, diabetes, or other disease. This is because cow’s milk and its derivatives today make up one-third of the adult diet, and half to two-thirds of caloric intake in children, thus replacing so much other important, nutritious food needed in the diet. This leads to insufficient intake of important vitamins, several minerals, and healthy fiber and vegetable oils.

Cancer-preventing antioxidants in foods are missing in this milk diet as well. While one form of antioxidant vitamin A is added to milk (but not all dairy products), it is likely counteracted by the pesticide and drug residues. The full complement of vitamin A and associated enzymes, found in vegetables and other foods, are required for cancer prevention. Many, many more kinds of antioxidants are found in vegetables, legumes, fruits, and grains. No other animal in the animal kingdom drinks milk beyond childhood. No other animal suffers from osteoporosis, except the occasional pet raised on human meals. If there remains a desire to provide milk to a child who has no diarrhea, rashes, or other intolerance reactions, organic (organic—not raw) non-fat milk would be the best choice.

In raw (unpasteurized) milk there can be many potentially dangerous microorganisms, in addition to the leukemia virus. In organic milk there are fewer antibiotic residues, no added hormones, and cows are given better feeds. Non-fat means less chemical residue and no artery-damaging saturated fat. Children can obtain fat in the form of non-hydrogenated (especially monosaturated) vegetable oils, be it in potato chips or cashews. Goat’s milk is considered by many to be superior in many ways, and today low-fat versions are available. Much less documented information is available about goat’s milk, but it appears that the proteins are less problematic for digestion, although allergic intolerance to these can also occur.

Lactose and hormones would remain an issue although, to date, goats apparently are not injected with extra growth hormone. Although it was apparent from day one that formula was a health risk for infants, back when it was first promoted, cow’s milk for older children appeared to be a nutritional manna. And with one or two glasses a day from a healthy, range-fed animal, it likely nearly was. Since this time, however, the quality of dairy has drastically reduced while its consumption has exploded… with a little advertising help. The evidence suggesting that the early faith in milk was misplaced has been building up for decades. The dairy industry has had to take increasingly extreme efforts to keep this information out of public awareness.

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Potatoes – Healthy or Unhealthy?

I have always wondered if potatoes are healthy. I’ve read so much about how unhealthy and fattening potatoes are in diet websites and books. But some people extol the health benefits of potatoes and eat them in adoration. So who do you believe in?

I got this interesting article on potatoes from http://nutrition.about.com:

Potatoes are good for you as long as you prepare them in a healthy manner. Boiled and baked potatoes are good for you, French fries and potato chips are not. Potatoes got a bad reputation due to the popularity of low-carb diets because they are high in starchy carbohydrates and low in protein. That doesn’t mean that potatoes are bad for you, though. Eat the skin, skip the toppings!

Potatoes are a good source of vitamins, minerals and fiber, especially if you eat the skin. One medium plain potato has about 150 calories so you have to keep that in mind if you are watching your weight! . Potatoes are often served with high-calorie and high-fat toppings like butter, sour cream or gravy that may add a lot more calories and unhealthy fats.

French Fries Are Not Healthy – For Several Reasons
Besides having extra fat added to them, potatoes that are fried as chips or French fries may contain acrylamide. This is a toxic substance that forms in starchy foods when they are processed or cooked at high temperatures. Acrylamide has been shown to cause cancer in lab animals, but we don’t know exactly what levels of acrylamide exposures are dangerous for humans. Frying and baking at high temperatures for a long time result in the highest levels of acrylamide, however, those levels may be reduced when potatoes are boiled first or treated with antioxidant solutions.

What About Potatoes with a Green Tint?
Potatoes may also contain another chemical called solanine. When potatoes have a green tint to their skin, they may actually have a sun-burn. Potato tubers grow underground and if they are exposed to light, they develop a green tint due to chlorophyll production which normally happens in the stems and the leaves, but not in the tubers. The chlorophyll is harmless, but the light exposure also causes the potatoes to develop a higher level of an irritating chemical call solanine. This causes the potatoes to taste bitter and some who people claim to be sensitive to solanine believe they may feel increased arthritis type pain.  While the association between arthritis pain and solanine from dietary sources remains unproven, research does show that solanine may adversely affect the cells that make up the lining of the intestines and could possibly irritate inflammatory bowel disorders. To avoid solanine, don’t buy potatoes that have green skin and store them in a dark place in your pantry or kitchen.

To keep your potatoes low in calories and healthy, try these ideas:
1.  Serve boiled potatoes with salsa or some broccoli and sprinkle about one ounce of shredded cheese on top.
2.  Make mashed potatoes with low-fat sour cream, skim milk and chives.
3.  Potatoes cooked in the microwave do not contain acrylamides.
4.  Add potato slices (with skins) to soups and stews.

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Discoloration Of Skin

The skin on both my palms and soles of my feet have a slight tinge of yellowish, orangy color.  It is most obvious when I stretch my palms and feet. I think this is most likely caused by the beta carotene from the oranges and papaya that I eat. I eat an orange a day, sometimes two.  On some days, I eat papayas. I am a fruit lover and there’s not a single day that I don’t eat fruits.   On top of oranges and papayas, I also pop a Vitamin ACE tab everyday.  

Several years ago, I used to make carrot juice once a week with my juicer.  I would mix them with oranges, beet roots and apples.   After several months of consuming carrot + orange + beet root + green apple juice, there was a tinge of yellow color on my face.  I freaked out when my friend commented that I looked awful with the tinge of yellow color on my face.  I went cold turkey and stopped eating carrots.  Up until today, I still try to avoid eating carrots, though I love them, especially raw ones.  I also love pumpkins, but still try to go easy on them. Now, the yellowish tinge is no longer seen on my face.

Here’s an interesting article by Dr Andrew Weil, M.D.:

Without a doubt your habitual carrot consumption is the cause of your yellowing skin. The same fat-soluble pigments (carotenoids) that account for the deep orange color of carrots are responsible. In general, carotenoids are beneficial to health and can protect the skin from sun damage. For example, lycopene, a carotenoid which is responsible for the red color of tomatoes, and the green pigments in spinach, broccoli, and other green vegetables will all make your skin slightly less sensitive to the sun. (In April 2008, British researchers reported that consuming lycopene-rich tomato paste reduced sun damage by 33 percent).

The yellow or orange color you notice on your palms (called carotenemia) is often seen in infants when they start to eat solid foods and get too many that contain beta carotene – usually from carrots, pumpkin and other yellow and orange vegetables. The color change is harmless but has to be distinguished from jaundice, which also causes yellow or orange skin. Eating too much beta carotene doesn’t cause the whites of the eyes to yellow, while jaundice does, but if skin color changes in an infant, it’s best to see a pediatrician to make sure that the problem is just too many carrots or too much pumpkin.

Your color change is not at all dangerous and will fade quickly when you reduce your consumption of carrots. I suggest that you do just that – not because the carotene has turned your skin yellow, but because it’s important to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables. The greater the variety of natural colors in your diet, the better off you’ll be nutritionally. Carrots all the time sounds a bit monotonous, enjoy a rainbow of produce!

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Pain In The Neck And Shoulders

Ever since I started my online store, I’ve been sitting in front of my computer for long hours. It’s been more than a year I last sat for more than 5 hours in a day in front of the computer.  Most of the time, Baby is on my lap, latched on to her fix!    As a result, I am now having serious pain in the neck and shoulders.  It does not help that I am now on holiday at my parents’ in Ipoh and my fitball is in KL.   Today the pain is exceptionally nagging and I have started to do some neck exercise to alleviate the discomfort. The neck exercise is indeed helpful and can provide a little relief instantly.

Here’s some information on neck and shoulder pain along with some neck exercises which I obtained from www.hubpages.com/hub/stiff-neck-shoulder:

Neck and shoulder pain can be caused by something as simple as sleeping the wrong way, or as serious as a herniated disk – and one can be just as agonizing as the other! To be safe, always take things gently when trying to loosen and stretch the area, to ensure you don’t make any injuries worse.

If you know the pain is the result of injury, you should start with an ice pack. The aim is to stop inflammation in its tracks – otherwise it will be even more painful tomorrow! Once the injury has settled down, or if you know the pain is muscle spasm, then a heat pack will work better.  However, heat can make inflammation worse – so if there’s the slightest chance there’s an underlying injury, don’t risk it no matter how tempting that soothing heat may sound! 

Shoulder pain is often not really in the shoulder at all – it’s what is called “referred pain” from the neck.  So if your problem is shoulder pain, it’s worth trying some of the neck exercises as well, to see if they help.

Basic Neck StretchesBegin with the gentlest neck stretch. Lie down on the bed. Now slide the back of your head away from your shoulders – think about lengthening the back of your neck. Your head will tilt forward slightly and your chin will tuck into your neck. Pull your chin in as far as you can and press the back of your neck into the mattress for 10 seconds, then relax. Do 3 sets of 10. You may want to be alone when you do this exercise – if you do it right, it will make you look like you have a really attractive double chin (if not several)!

Next, still lying on the bed, roll your head from side to side. Don’t try to force it or control it, just let your head turn gently and rhythmically from one shoulder to the other. You could even play some music to keep time to! Keep this up as long as you can manage – you’ll find your range gradually increases, the longer you keep rolling.  If this is easy, you can do the “chin tuck” exercise sitting or standing in front of a mirror. Looking straight ahead, tuck your chin into your neck (there are those gorgeous double chins again) and push backwards, stretching the back of your neck. To make this stretch stronger, you can put both hands on your chin and push back. Don’t drop your head – if you keep looking in the mirror, it helps you hold the right posture.  These exercises can be done several times a day, whenever you remember.

You  can read the rest of the neck exercises by logging on to hubpages.com at the link given above.

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Grey patch on eye white

Remember my previous post pertaining to the black dot on Baby’s eye white?  I managed to capture a closer picture of another greyish patch on Baby’s right eye white.  Here it is:

Please double click on the image for a larger view.

The picture is a tad blur as I don’t have a high-end camera or a DSLR to capture clearer close-up pictures.

I have a small greyish patch on my right eye too. I guess Baby has inherited my DNA.

Does anyone have such a patch on their eye white too?

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Everyone Loves Cantaloupe

Cantaloupe is one of the fruits that my daughters love very much. They are sweet and when eaten chilled, they are really refreshing. This is how Alycia loves to eat her cantaloupe:

I’ve tried cutting the cantaloupe into easy-to-eat bite size but she prefers to eat it this way. And I hate the mess she creates on her hair and clothes when she eats her cantaloupe this way. I have to clip up both sides of her hair to prevent the hair from touching the sticky sweet juice.

Fruit For Thought:
Cantaloupe is full of health benefits and is extremely nutrient-packed, yet has very low calories.

This wonder fruit is highly concentrated with excellent levels of beta-carotene, folic acid, potassium, vitamin C and dietary fiber. It is also one of the very few fruits that has a high level of vitamin B complex,  B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), and B6 (pyridoxine).

Cantaloupe is rich in anti-oxidants that can help prevent cancer and heart diseases.

Health Benefits

The high amount of beta-carotene and vitamin C (anti-oxidant) in cantaloupe makes it an excellent fruit in helping to prevent many degenerative diseases.

Anti-coagulant: A unique compound in cantaloupe helps decrease the viscosity of the blood, hence preventing the abnormal formation of blood clots in the cardiovascular system.

Arteriosclerosis: Regularly consuming vitamin C retards the development of hardening of the arteries.

Cancer prevention: The high vitamin C content acts as a good anti-oxidant that protects cells from damages by free radicals. Regularly drinking juices high in anti-oxidants keep cancer at bay, especially against intestinal cancer and melanoma.

Cataracts: The natural vitamin A from beta-carotene in this juice lowers the risk of cataract and generally helps improve your vision too.

Cholesterol: Drinking juices high in anti-oxidant has been proven to fight the oxidative stress that is the main culprit in oxidizing the LDLs in the blood.

High blood pressure: Potassium in this cantaloupe helps excrete sodium, thus bringing down high blood pressure especially in those with salt-sensitive hypertension.

Immune system: The strong content of vitamin C stimulates white cells to fight infection, naturally building a good immune system.

Insomnia: A special compound in cantaloupe relieves the nerves and calm anxieties. A help for insomniacs.

Menstruation problems: For women, drink this wonder juice around the time of menstruation and it will help reduce heavy flow and clots.

Muscle Cramps: A deficiency in potassium can cause muscular cramps and greater susceptibility to injury. Drink cantaloupe juice to prevent these.

Pregnancy: The high content of folate (folic acid) prevents neural tube defects in infants.

Quit Smoking: The natural nutrients and minerals found in this juice provides a synergistic combination that helps the body recover from nicotine withdrawal of one who is trying to quit smoking. Smoking also quickly depletes the vitamin A in a smoker, but cantaloupe juice can help replace it with its beta-carotene.

Stress: When going through a stressful period, keep this musky melon on the side and drink its juice regularly. The potassium content helps to re-balance and normalize the heartbeat. This in turn sends oxygen to the brain and regulates the body’s water balance.

Water retention: Especially in pregnant women, cantaloupe juice helps your body excrete excess sodium, thus reducing water retention.

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Chinese Basil Leaves Omelette

My mil loves cooking chicken with Chinese basil leaves or kau chung thap  (“Nine-Storied Pagoda” in Cantonese). The minty flavor of the leaves, together with the flavorful taste of sliced ginger and Chinese cooking wine make the Sam Pei Zhi chicken dish (a Taiwanese chicken dish) really delicious.

Last week, she cooked Chinese basil leaves omelette :

The kids didn’t quite like it because of the texture of the Chinese basil leaves (which can be pretty rough and hard to chew) but I love it.

Chinese basil leaves can also be used to make soup with fried anchovies and beaten eggs.

There are several varieties of basil grown in many regions of Asia. Most of the Asian basils have a clove-like flavor that is generally stronger than that of the Western basils. Basils are very popular in Thai cuisine. Vietnamese and Chinese also use fresh or dried basils in soups and other foods. In Taiwan, people add fresh Chinese basil leaves to thick soups. They also eat fried chicken with deep fried Chinese basil leaves.

Here’s a little interesting information on basil leaves extracted from http://www.healthcareandlife.com/ayurveda-life/heath-benefits-of-basil-leaves.html:

Do you know that basil leaves can do wonders for your health? Since ages, basil leaves have been known for their positivity. Basil leaves are the must have item for preventing the wide-spreading swine flu. Basil leaves helps in enhancing body’s immunity manifolds. You all will be glad to read that basil leaves are the most amazing miraculous herbs ever known. Here are ways in which basil leaves can do marvelous health effects to your body, have a look!

Basil leaves are highly rich in potassium, vitamin C and A, antioxidants, thus having antiseptic, anti-infective, anti-inflammatory and diuretic properties. Isn’t all this wonderful?

For treating yourself from seasonal fever, sneezing and cough ailment, you can prepare a concoction by boiling 20 basil leaves in 200 ml of water. Drink this warm concoction in morning for early relief.

The good news is that basil leaves are equally great for you heart’s health too. Drinking a glass of basil juice as the first thing in morning on daily basis helps in keeping your heart healthy and in great shape.

For treating the feeling of nausea and diarrhoea, make a basil juice by grinding 10-12 basil leaves with water. Strain it and then add a pinch of black pepper powder to it. Now, drink the juice for an early relief.

Basil leaves also helps in treating eye infections. For this, soak some basil leaves in water for a night. Next morning, strain the solution and wash your eyes with the same.

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Crazy Over Edible Fungus

Sherilyn my pernickety eater who does not fancy eating veggie and meat much surprised me about 2 years ago (when she was about 2.5 years old) when she showed keen interest in eating mushrooms and edible fungus. Well, I’d say not many 2.5 year olds would like the texture and taste of mushrooms and edible fungus like moke yue (wood ear fungus) and wan yue (cloud ear fungus) but my wierdo toddler was hooked on them.  Whenever there is a dish that has fresh mushrooms, wood ear fungus or cloud ear fungus cooked with it, she will surely polish off every mushy and jelly-like black stuff in the dish, so much that she’d puke them all out, during her younger days.  Now that she’s a little older, she has outgrown her puking phase.  I used to call her Spitty-Spat as she spat a lot during meal times and Miss Pukey Sherilyn as she puked super easily during meal times and at night (around 12 midnight and I thought it was jinx!)


My fussy eater helping herself to a plate piled up with wood ear fungus.   She singled out most of the fungus from the plate of stir-fried gourd dish with pork and fungus.

I’m glad that this brat loves mushrooms and fungus as they are packed with nutrients and disease-fighting properties. Here’s a little information on the black edible fungus (wood ear fungus and cloud ear fungus):

Its translucent brownish beige flesh is gelatinous but firm, crunchy and relatively tasteless. They absorb the liquid in which they are cooked and take on the taste of the other ingredients.

Also known as cloud ear, tree ear, wood fungus, mouse ear, and jelly mushroom. It grows rapidly on a variety of woods including mango and kapok. Wood ear is prized in Chinese cuisine for its crunchy texture. It is sweet in flavor, mild in nature and absorbs the seasonings it is cooked with.

Nutrition Information:
Wood ears are rich in protein. Each 100g contains 10.6 protein, 357 mg calcium, 201 mg phosphorus, 185 mg iron. It also contains carotene, vitamins B1 and B2, mannan, glucuronic acid, lecithin, and cephalin.

Health Benefits:
A very good blood tonic, contains 7 times as much iron as pig’s liver. It has a reputation in Chinese herbal medicine for increasing the fluidity of the blood and improving circulation. It is given to patients who suffer from atherosclerosis. Recent reports reveal that constant consumption of this fungus is also helpful for the prevention of tumors.

It is also low in calories and are therefore a useful food to include in weight-loss diets.

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