Monthly Archives: September 2013

What The?

While waiting for Alycia to have her hair cut at a hair salon today, I saw a lady seated next to me having a hair rebonding done.  On the table in front of her was a plate of bite-size snacks, a cup of tea and a cup of water.  Moments later, the air in the hair salon was wafting with the familiar aromatic smell of coffee, you know the kind of coffee from coffee boutiques and hotels.  I turned to my side and saw the owner of the hair salon serving the lady with her hair being rebonded with a cup of latte, complete with foam and decor on the foam!  I turned back and saw a sophisticated coffee maker and tins of illy coffee powder.  It was illy coffee and not just any brand of coffee ok! What do you know?  Customers who go to this salon for expensive packages like hair rebonding or hair keratine costing hundreds if not thousands of bucks are served like queens! Hmmm, maybe I should have my hair rebonding done there too, so that I can be served like a queen too lol! Seriously, I have been wanting to do a hair rebonding since my last hair rebonding 7 years ago but just cannot find the time to do so.

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Cat beds

Many years ago, the SIL had a very beautiful Persian cat with greyish whitish fluffy soft fur. The cat required pretty high maintenance from food to grooming and vaccinations. It slept in a cage and on some days, it would be allowed to roam in the house. I wonder how the cat would know that it was not allowed to defecate inside the house. It would obediently only do its business in its cage, in the cat litter. What a smart cat it was. These days, cat lovers buy cat foam beds for their beloved feline friends. Some cats and dogs are even allowed to sleep with their owners on the bed! Though I am a dog lover, I would never allow my dog to sleep with me or my kids! No way Jose! Yeah, you can call me a clean freak ok.

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Agave Nectar

In our household, white sugar is not used.  White sugar has gained such bad reputation in recent years that more people are aware of its negativeness now. Recent studies and articles have suggested that white sugar feeds cancer cells and too much white sugar causes cancer.  In our household, we only use organic raw brown sugar (very scarcely used in cooking and always reduced in baking) and lately, I am starting to use Agave Nectar.

Being a PCOS sufferer since 2001, I have since cut down on white sugar and white flour products. PCOS sufferers have a disorder with insulin, a hormone that controls the change of sugar, starches and other food into energy for the body to use or store. Many women with PCOS have too much insulin in their bodies because they have problems using it. Excess insulin appears to increase production of androgen. High androgen levels can lead to acne, excessive hair growth, weight gain and infertility. I suffered from all these symptoms (except for excessive hair growth) at the height of my battle with PCOS 12 years ago.

I use Agave Nectar in many of my meat dishes. I also use it as a bread spread. Agave Nectar’s combination with butter on toast is delightfully yummy!  I find that the taste of Agave is somewhat similar to maple syrup and maltose.

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One of the most health-promoting properties of agave nectar is its favorable glycemic profile. Its sweetness comes primarily from a complex form of fructose called inulin. Fructose is the sugar that occurs naturally in fruits and vegetables. The carbohydrate in agave nectar has a low glycemic index, which provides sweetness without the unpleasant “sugar rush” and unhealthful blood sugar spike caused by many other sugars. Agave nectar is a delicious natural sweetener that can be used moderately – by dieters, some diabetics, and health conscious cooks – to replace high-glycemic and refined sugars.

Modern medical study has confirmed agave’s remedial properties. Agave nectar applied to the skin has been found effective against pyogenic (pus producing) bacteria such as Staph aureus. The tradition of adding salt to the nectar has been found to further boost its anti-microbial property. Agave nectar has also been proven effective against enteric (intestinal) bacteria.

Blue Agave (Agave tequilana)

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Apricot Pits

The other day, I bought a box of apricot pits / kennels from the supermarket. Thinking that the apricot pits would taste just as good as almonds, I was in for a major disappointment as the pits were bitter. There was no way I was going to eat the box of apricot pits, not even with something sweet like yoghurt or ice-cream. I wanted to bin the box of apricot pits but decided to Google more about it before wasting my money. What I gathered from my search was an eye-opener. Apricot pits contain a nutrient called vitamin B-17, amygdalin or laetrile. Proponents of this theory claim they can help reduce the risk of cancer, or even fight existing incidences of it. However, there is still a lack of clinical support for this theory. Armed with this info, I decided to keep the box of apricot pits and I know throw in a few pits onto my yoghurt.

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Purple Antioxidant-Packed Soup For The Soul

Nursing a bad strep throat, I cooked a big pot of ‘purple soup’ today.   My ‘purple soup’ consists of 1 huge beet root, half a head of organic purple cabbage, 6 carrots, a big chunk of lean pork and several chicken feet.

My kids will have ‘purple soup’ for dinner tonight together with oven-grilled fish. I ain’t going to sweat myself in the kitchen tonight. The bad strep throat is causing me a throbbing head too.

This was my lunch today and I could not be more satisfied with this bowl of goodness. Now, who  says that healthy food often tastes bland? This bowl of antioxidants-packed soup tasted so good and was full of sweetness from all the vegetables.

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Food For Thought:

1. Purple pigments in some fruits and vegetables provide antioxidant effects that may protect your brain.
Purple fruits and vegetables are grouped with blue foods in the blue-purple category, and all contain varying amounts of a category of compounds called anthocyanins. These give purple foods their deep, distinctive colors and also are responsible for their reputed health benefits, including potential protective properties for your brain.

2. Purple foods kill cancer
The resveratrol found in purple grapes, cranberries, blueberries, bilberries, and, of course, red wine and grape juice can inhibit the spread of colorectal cancer in animal studies. Other promising studies also show that resveratrol can induce cancer cell death in cases of prostate, breast, skin, liver, lung and blood cancers. The curcumin in turmeric seems to boost its anti-cancer activity so have a glass of pinot noir (the type of wine highest in resveratrol) next time you have curry.

3. Purple foods are ulcer-fighters
A 2011 study found that anthocyanins from blackberries reduced stomach ulcer formation in rats. Researchers believe this is because the antioxidants in blackberries prevent oxidation and boost the activity of other important antioxidants, such as glutathione, that are naturally present in the body.

4. Purple foods are good for your liver
Black rice, which has more anthocyanins per gram than blueberries, is a delicious antioxidant grain that has been found to reduce damage to the liver incurred by excessive alcohol intake.

5. Purple foods are good for the heart
Black currants can lower “bad” LDL cholesterol by up to 13 percent while raising “good” HDL cholesterol. Black currants and bilberries have more anthocyanins than blueberries. Wild raw berries have higher antioxidant content than fresh raw berries or frozen varieties.

6. Purple foods prevent urinary tract infections
Vegetables such as purple cauliflower, purple carrots and purple cabbage contain the same plant pigment, anthocyanin, that is responsible for the UTI-fighting power of cranberries. Lab studies show that anthocyanin compounds fight H. pylori, the bacteria that promotes stomach ulcers and urinary tract infections.

The above Food For Though information was extracted from several health websites.

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Eating Fish Skin : Healthy Or Hazardous?

This is probably a controversial issue. I used to love eating deep fried super crispy salmon skin. That’s until I read that salmon, and all big fish from deep seas are probably tainted with mercury. I discourage my kids from eating fish skin but sometimes I get lambasted for doing so! Oh well, it’s better to be safe than sorry. The big C is just too scary for me to deal with.

Food For Thought:
Both the skin and fat of fish collect toxins that accumulate in the waters of rivers, streams and oceans. These contaminants can also be found in the flesh of fish but not always at levels as concentrated as they are in the skin and fat. For that reason, eating the skin of the fish is not considered healthy. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) advises consumers to remove the skin, fat and internal organs before cooking fish that they’ve caught in the wild. (If you buy a whole fish at a market, it generally comes scaled and gutted.) However, the EPA warns that mercury is found throughout the tissue of fish, so removing the skin and fat won’t help you avoid that problem.

Mercury and PFOS cannot be removed through cooking or cleaning — they get into the flesh of the fish. However, you can reduce the amount of other contaminants like PCBs by removing fat when you clean and cook fish.

Food Safety Tips On Eating Fish From The Minnesota Department of Health:

Remove the skin, cut away the fat along the back, trim off the belly fat, cut away the fatty area along the side of the fish.

Remember the following tips when eating fish:

1. Eat smaller fish.

2. Eat more panfish (sunfish, crappies) and fewer predator fish (walleyes, northern pike, lake trout).

3. Trim skin and fat, especially belly fat. Also, eat fewer fatty fish such as carp, catfish, and lake trout. PCBs build up in fish fat.

What about you? Do you eat fish skin?

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Health Supplement Coupons

Health supplements are a great way to keep your body working the way you want it to. The internet has made it much easier to get access to health supplements, which are generally only sold at specialized stores. However, the reasons to shop online are only increasing with time.

The first reason to shop online is availability. Health shops aren’t found in smaller cities, and oftentimes there will only be one health shop to an area. This means that if you can’t find what you want at your local health shop, you’re out of luck.

The second reason is pricing. Prices tend to be higher in brick-and-mortar health shops for the same reason that availability is slim: because there are so few health stores, there is no competition to keep prices low among them.

Lastly, you can find a great many deals online that won’t be found in-person. You can find supplement coupons at Paramount-Supplements.com, for instance. Coupons online tend to let you save a flat percentage off any purchase, and unlike in-store coupons off the web, they tend to apply to anything you might order. This makes ordering large quantities of supplements at a time an attractive and cost-effective option.

These are just a few of the most notable advantages to shopping online. Building a customer history with a given online retailer can also have benefits, and this is all to say nothing of the convenience of having things delivered to your door. Health supplements are a boon to any health-conscious individual, and the advent of online shopping is only making it easier to bring them home.

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Chickpeas (Garbanzo beans) Health Benefits

I boiled a big pot of chickpeas yesterday. I love chickpeas in all edible fashion — from boiled to toasted or fried, in humus, cooked in curries, dhals, in Indian snacks and much more. I also like chickpeas thrown into salads and this is just what I did yesterday, in our broccoli salad.

Chickpeas are also cheap and easily available. A RM2.50 packet of chickpeas yielded a big portion of boiled chickpeas, which I divided and stored into 5 containers, including 1 container which I gave to our part-time helper.

Snacking on my sea-salt flavored chickpeas is anytime healthier than munching on chips and other junks.  I kept 2 containers in the fridge for our salads and for snacking (to be utilized within a week) and stored 2 containers in the freezer.

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Food For Thought. Information extracted from several health websites:

Eating chickpeas provides you with a vegetarian-friendly source of protein, with each cup of cooked garbanzo beans containing 15 grams. Your body breaks down this protein into amino acids, and then uses them to maintain the health of your body’s tissues. Chickpeas are a source of incomplete protein, which means they do not contain every amino acid you need for good health. Make sure you combine them with other sources of protein, such as nuts, whole grains, dairy, eggs or meat to prevent an amino acid deficiency.

Garbanzos are a food you definitely want to keep on your “digestive support” list—especially if you are focusing on the colon. Between 65-75% of the fiber found in garbanzo beans is insoluble fiber, and this type of fiber remains undigested all the way down to the final segment of your large intestine (colon). Recent studies have shown that garbanzo bean fiber can be metabolized by bacteria in the colon to produce relatively large amounts of short chain fatty acids (SCFAs), including acetic, propionic, and butyric acid. These SCFAs provide fuel to the cells that line your intestinal wall. By supporting the energy needs of our intestinal cells, the SCFAs made from garbanzo fibers can help lower your risk of colon problems, including your risk of colon cancer.

Chickpeas also contain phytoestrogens which are weak plant versions of real oestrogen. There’s evidence that these may modulate the body’s own production of the hormone in a way that could lower the risk of breast cancer, protect against osteoporosis and minimise hot flushes in post-menopausal women.

Garbanzo beans also contain vitamins and minerals and significantly boost your intake of manganese and folate. The mineral manganese helps support bone development and wound healing and also helps carry out chemical reactions important to your metabolism. A 1-cup serving of chickpeas contains 1.7 milligrams of manganese, approximately 94 percent of the daily recommended intake for women, or 74 percent of the RDA for men, according to the Linus Pauling Institute. Folate, or vitamin B-9, aids in new cell growth and brain cell communication and protects against genetic mutations that contribute to cancer development. Eating a cup of chickpeas provides you with 282 micrograms of folate, or 71 percent of your daily folate requirements, according to the NYU Langone Medical Center.

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The Beautiful Side Of Ugly Crooked Teeth!

When I was a teenager, I used to hate my left upper snaggletooth. Some people call snaggletooth ‘vampire’s teeth’. In layman’s term, it is actually overlapping teeth. I hated the vampire’s tooth so much that at one point in time, I kept trying to pull the tooth off with my bare hand!

My perspective of the hideous vampire’s teeth went on a 360 degrees turn when I read from magazines that Japanese girls actually go under the knife to have a snaggletooth attached! There you go. Beauty is such a subjective thing. What you see as hideous can be wildly sexy and attractive to another! One man’s meat is another man’s poison.

In Japan, the snaggletooth procedure is called tsuke yaeba. Many think that yaeba make a woman look cute and youthful! Hmmm, this explains why I can still pass off as a teenager *wink* My hubs has two snaggleteeth. This also explains why he looks so youthful, though he is 42 this year!

Now, if you have a snaggletooth and really do think that it is making you look ugly, you can always have it removed by a good dentist, like the dentist montreal. Do not try to save by going to a dodgy dentist who charges you cheaply. When it comes to dental care, I only go to good ones, like those from the Centre Dentaire Montreal.

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