Monthly Archives: April 2014

Black Vinegar Health Benefits

I love chu kiok chou (pig’s trotters cooked with black vinegar). Chu Kiok Chou is a Chinese dish where pig’s trotters are cooked with black vinegar. It is a popular dish for Chinese women in confinement after child birth. The confinement ladies whom I hired to care for my babies and me would throw in some black beans, hard boiled eggs and lots of ginger into the pot of chu kiok chou. I was never fed up of having chu kiok chou during my confinement. As I am typing this post, I am already craving for it!

Picture of pig’s trotters in black vinegar aka chu kiok chou obtained from Google images.

I know some of you worry that eating too much chu kiok chou will cause gastric, tummy upset or other abdominal problems. Some of you worry that black vinegar is not healthy. I did a google search on black vinegar and to my surprise, found out that black vinegar is a health tonic, similar to apple cider vinegar. Some find it similar to balsamic vinegar.

Black Vinegar Health Benefits

Popular in China and Japan as a health tonic or drink, black rice vinegar is reputed to have an array of health benefits, similar to apple cider vinegar and other vinegars. Black vinegar has a deep color and a full, rich flavor, making it a tasty ingredient for dipping sauces and braised dishes. The vinegar can also be used as a fat- and cholesterol-free alternative to balsamic vinegar. Black rice vinegar is most often made from unpolished rice, millet, wheat or sorghum.

Cholesterol Reduction
Black rice vinegars have long been used in China and Japan as natural treatments for the heart and blood vessels. Black vinegar contains acetic acid, an organic acid that may help your body reduce glucose or sugar levels in your blood. As a result, black vinegar can have a long-term, preventative effect with an array of cardiovascular diseases, including high blood pressure, artery disease, heart disease and stroke.

Energy Production
Black vinegar contains high levels of citric acid, which is essential for the metabolic processes that help your body convert food into energy. Citric acid, in fact, helps to boost your body’s energy production over and above normal levels. Many body systems benefit from the increased energy, including your digestion and immune system.

Cancer Prevention
Black rice vinegar contains high levels of antioxidants, which may help to reduce your risk of some types of cancer.

Health Promotion
Black rice vinegar contains many essential amino acids, which your body uses for everything from repairing muscle tissue to growing your nails. The amino acids contained in black vinegar may help to balance your body’s pH, both neutralizing lactic acid and alkalizing the blood, as well as to heal everyday ailments ranging from congestion to constipation.

Promotes weight loss
Drinking black vinegar every day is said to be a great way to get thin. Many studies support that incorporating vinegar in one’s diet leads to improved health with emphasis in weight loss, fat burn and skin care.

As with all health food and drinks, moderation is the key. Everything taken in excess is bad for your body. Drinking too much water is also bad for you. The same goes with black vinegar. Drinking an excess of black vinegar may put a strain on your stomach. I like to drink my black vinegar broth with eggs and lean pork along with other dishes. Personally, I find that if I drink too much vinegar (black vinegar and apple cider vinegar), it causes me to have gastric. One time, Cass had diarrhea after over-eating pig’s trotters in black vinegar.  So remember, eat your black vinegar in moderation.

 

 

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Healthy Fruit Smoothie + Baked Sandwich For Lunch

It’s been a while since I last whirled out some refreshing and healthy fruit smoothies for my girls.  Since there were quite a bit of fruits in the fridge, I swirled up some refreshing fruit smoothies for the girls for their lunch last week.

On the left is orange, apple, passion fruit and chia seed smoothie for Alycia.

On the right is the same concoction with the addition of strawberry flavored yoghurt milk for Cass. Funnily, yoghurt milk seems to have a pretty good effect in moving Cass’ bowels.  She’s a very constipated child and I’m glad that I have found a pretty cheap and yummy ‘laxative’ for her, which she can drink 2-3 times a day.

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That’s the girls’ appetizer for lunch.

Next, the main course is baked crispy sandwich with egg mayo + sweet corn kernels.  The sandwich was baked for 15 minutes in the oven.  I found out by chance that by using a fork to press on the 4 edges of the sandwich, the sides will be sealed, thus preventing the filling from spilling out.

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But Cass prefers to open up the sandwich to eat the bread separately as her bottom tooth is now shaky and it hurts her to bite on hard food.

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Preventing Cracked And Dry Feet

Did I show you a picture of my very badly cracked and peeling feet? I can’t remember if I had posted pictures of the cracks on the sole of my feet.

As there were cracks on the sole of the feet, which were also flaky, dirt got inside very easily and once this happened, it would take forever to remove the dirt from under skin! Even with a foot file, the dirt cannot be removed as it is embedded under the skin. So even though my feet are clean, they would look black and dirty as the dirt is embedded underneath the skin. I was terribly embarrassed of my feet and disliked entering friends’ house as this would mean exposing my disgusting feet!  Even with an immaculate art nail on my toe nails, it cannot mask the unsightly feet.

About a month ago, I started wearing slippers indoors. Within 3 days, I could see dramatic improvement on my feet! The cracks are starting to close up now. My feet look clean and pinkish for once! And they are smooth too! With a once-weekly foot filing (with a stainless steel foot file that looks like a fruit and veggie scraper), wearing of indoor slippers and application of Melaleuca’s Renew Intensive Lotion, I feel like I have new feet now 😀

 

 

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A Treasure Box In The House

The girls’ art teacher’s house is decorated very tastefully. Stepping into her house gives you the feeling that you are stepping into a house built next to the sea. The dining table is a piece of sliced tree trunk from a giant rainforest tree, very nicely cut into a unique oblong shape with smooth edges. The chairs are slimmer tree trunks chopped into a height of about half a meter. Next to the dining area is an antique stainless steel trunk, or what the kids call ‘treasure box’ from under the sea. I think if I were to get one of those trunks from http://www.trunksdepot.com/ and place it in my living room, it will look out of place, unless I redecorate the entire living room.

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Adult teeth Erupting Behind Baby Teeth / Shark Teeth

Last week I got a shock when I was helping Cass to brush her teeth. For a few days already, Cass was telling me that she felt pain in her lower mouth, especially when she bit on hard food.

What do I know? Upon checking her lower teeth, I saw 2 teeth (or maybe 1) erupting from behind her baby teeth! And her baby teeth are still so firm and rooted solidly in the gums. That just pressed the panic button in me. A few days later, I brought Cass to see the dentist.

Upon checking Cass’ teeth, the dentist told me to leave it alone but to monitor it. If the baby tooth does not drop within 3 months, Cass is to be brought back to the dentist. For once, I am now hoping that Cass’ tooth will drop! So that there is space for the permanent tooth/teeth to cut out nicely.

What is permanent teeth erupting behind baby teeth?
The baby tooth will still be in the mouth and then the permanent tooth will erupt. This is most commonly seen in kids who are six years old and in the lower front teeth. The technical term for this is lingually erupting mandibular incisors. The other name that it is known by is shark teeth or simply permanent teeth erupting behind the baby teeth. This can also happen to the upper molars when the child is 11 years old.

Here’s a picture of shark teeth that I got from the internet and I am praying that this will NOT happen to Cass!

 

Conclusion
The thing to remember as a parent is that shark teeth are not abnormal. Almost 10% of children have it and the milk teeth will either fall on their own within some time. If they don’t fall even after some weeks, then intervention of a dentist is required. If the baby tooth falls out on its own then you are surely spared the hassles. If it does not then you need to consult a dentist who will recommend a solution. The baby tooth is pulled out in such situations. It is a simple thing and you need not worry needlessly about it. This will make enough room in your child’s mouth for the permanent teeth to emerge.

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Rosemary Grilled Chicken

I love grilling meats in the oven. It is so easy to dish out, has no splish splash of oil, has minimal washing  and it is time-saving. I leave the meat in the oven and I’ll get back to my other chores. Now that the MIL is away in Hawaii for over a month, the kids are having quite a bit of oven-grilled dishes again 🙂

Earlier this week, I grilled some chicken drumsticks and ribs with fresh rosemary, along with a little Lea & Perrin sauce, black pepper and Agave Nectar.  That was the first time I used fresh rosemary to grill chicken and the result was superb!  I never knew that fresh rosemary imparts such strong flavor to a dish.  The aroma of the fresh rosemary grilling alongside the chicken meat in the oven was heavenly!

Pre-grilled chicken…

 

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Half an hour later…

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Rosemary grilled chicken served with stir-fried organic baby pea sprouts, raw organic alfalfa and broccoli sprouts with goma dressing and Korean rice for the kids.  Simple, wholesome and chokefull of goodness!

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