• 28Sep

    When I was at a class party with Cass last weekend, the hubby brought the two older girls and the mil for dinner and shopping at a nearby mall. At the supermarket, #2 used her charm to get her doting grandmother to treat her to a pack of breakfast cereals consisting of 8 small boxes of colorful and frosted cereals, namely Lucky Charms, Golden Grahams, Fruity Cheerios, Honey Nut Cheerios, Frosted Cheerios, Cocoa Puffs, Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Trix. These so-called ‘healthy’ cereals are some of the banned items in my household. But the ever indulgent grandma obliged without asking further what grand daughter #2 was buying.

    In the car, I was horrified when  I saw the pack of 8-box cereals containing frosted and artificially dyed cereals.  What are they made of?  GMO corn I am certain of that.

    The marketing behind the breakfast cereal industry is massive. Grocery stores devote entire aisles to boxes upon boxes of endless varieties, most promoting some sort of health claim. Most are packaged in colorful boxes splashed with cartoons, gimmicks and games at the back of the boxes to entice young children.  I find it amazing that companies have successfully marketed boxes of highly processed grains drenched in sugar, artificial coloring, food additives and preservatives as a healthy breakfast option. Those junk don’t provide a healthy start to the day at all.

    The Dangers of Artificial Food Colors

    When #2 poured a box of Lucky Charms into a bowl to be eaten as dessert over lunch today, I was appalled by what I saw. I could not believe that she was popping neon colored so-called healthy cereals into her mouth. The stuff that she was eating was bright neon colored and laced with sugar. Double whammy!  I tried to convince her that she was putting poison into her body but she shoved the multi-colored marshmallow shapes (“marbits” – picture below) even faster into her mouth. I snapped at her and told her that this would be her first and last time putting such unLucky Charms into her body.  Later, I googled for ‘Hidden Dangers Of Eating Cereals’ and ‘Dangers of Artificial Food Coloring’ and read aloud to her.

    dessert MILK breakfast cereal charms lucky charms cereals luckycharms cataldolife.com

     

    The Ugly Side Of The Food Color Portrait

    Artificial dyes derived from petroleum are found in thousands of foods, in particular breakfast cereals, candy, snacks, beverages, vitamins, and other products aimed at children are colored with dyes. Even some fresh oranges are dipped in dye to brighten them and provide uniform color.

    Citrus Red 2, Red 3, Red 40, Yellow 5, Yellow 6, Blue 1, Blue 2 and Green 3, –which include some of the most commonly used artificial food colorings–have all been identified as being contaminated with potential cancer-causing chemicals, according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest. And Blue 1, Red 40, Yellow 5, and Yellow 6 are known to trigger reactions in those with allergies

     • Citrus Red 2: This product caused bladder tumors in animal studies and is banned for human consumption, except to color the skin of oranges. While it may appear to pose little threat, adding fresh orange zest to a recipe may mix in more than you bargained for.

    • Blue #1 (E133) and Blue #2 (E132): Banned in Norway, Finland, and France, studies have shown them to cause brain cancer and inhibit nerve-cell development. The colors are found in candy, cereal, soda drinks, sports drinks, and pet food.

    • Red #3 (E127) and Red #40 (E129): While Red #3 was banned [in the U.S.] in 1990 for topical use, it can still be sold on the market in our foods and beverages. That should make us all red in the face. Red #40 may contain the carcinogenic contaminant p-Cresidine and is thought to cause tumors of the immune system. In the UK, it is not recommended for children, and it is currently banned in many European nations. The dyes are found in fruit cocktails, maraschino cherries, grenadine, cherry pie mix, ice cream, candy, bakery products, and more.

    • Yellow #5 (aka Tartazine, E102): Banned in Norway and Austria, it contains the cancer-causing compounds benzidine and 4-aminobiphenyl. Six of the 11 studies on Yellow #5 showed that it caused genotoxicity, a deterioration of the cell’s genetic material with potential to mutate healthy DNA. It’s found in gelatin desserts, candy, pet food, and baked goods.

    • Yellow #6 (E110): Banned in Norway and Finland. Due to the same cancer-causing compounds as Yellow #5, it causes tumors in the kidneys and adrenal glands of laboratory animals. It’s found in American cheese, macaroni and cheese, candy, and carbonated beverages.

    Links to Cancer

    According to the consumer advocacy group Center for Science in the Public Interest, artificial food coloring and food dyes present many risks to consumers. A report published by the center notes that many commonly used artificial food colors have been found to cause damage to DNA, or genotoxicity, in more studies than they were found to be safe. But the research on artificial food coloring is limited to animal studies, including mice and rats. While bladder tumors and other forms of cancer were linked to certain artificial coloring in these studies, no human trials have found links between cancer and the dyes in humans. The center still contends they are dangerous to consumers and has urged many large manufacturers to discontinue their use.

    The FDA Says You’re Safe

    According to the FDA, the studies showing links between artificial food coloring and ADHD in children have been either inconsistent, inconclusive or hard to evaluate due to poor study design. The FDA also notes that any color additives that have been linked to cancer, in either animals or humans, are banned for use in the United States. Therefore, according to the FDA, all artificial food coloring currently used in the nation have been evaluated for safety using the best scientific research and found not to be cancer-causing in either animals and humans.

    Despite the FDA’s stance, I am  playing safe and try to minimize the consumption of artificial food colors for myself and my family.

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  • 09Sep

    In my fridge next to the roselle kefir are bottles of fruit vinegar. These drinking vinegars have now claimed a permanent spot in my fridge.

    I am a pro-apple cider vinegar health freak for many years. For more than a decade now, the first drink of my day has been organic apple cider vinegar with Manuka honey or raw honey mixed with a teaspoon of psyllium husk. This will kick start my  system to work and move the bowels. Recently, I added Korean Hong Cho fruit vinegars.  At mid day, I drink a glass of Hong Cho fruit vinegar. I currently have 2 flavors in my fridge: black raspberry vinegar and blueberry vinegar. Cass drinks this fruit vinegar too. It’s the only fruit vinegar that she likes as she loves the slightly sweetened and tang of berries from the vinegar. She says it tastes like her favorite Japanese fruit jelly.  The promoter at the supermarket who introduced this vinegar to us told us that Hong Cho fruit vinegar is effective in preventing constipation.

     

    While it’s not a miracle elixir, vinegar can give your health a boost in many ways.

    Grain vinegars and fruit vinegars, both of which are fermented, possess a variety of beneficial physiological effects, including antibacterial and antioxidant properties and even some anticancer activities (particularly with Japanese black soybean vinegar), according to a 2016 review in the journal Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety.

    Recent studies also point to the potential of drinking vinegar to promote weight loss and to treat insulin sensitivities.

    Benefits of Vinegar

    Weight Loss
    Apple cider vinegar helps to burn fat, improves the functioning of the metabolism, leading to weight loss.

    Management of Diabetes
    The ability of vinegar to moderate insulin and glucose levels seems to offer some benefit for diabetics. A Swedish study, published in a 2005 issue of the” European Journal of Clinical Nutrition,” showed that when participants ate a simple carbohydrate meal based on white wheat bread, but supplemented it with vinegar, they experienced less of a spike in blood glucose and insulin levels than participants who ate just the bread meal.

    An animal study, reported by the “Pakistan Journal of Biological Sciences” in December 2008, indicated that apple cider vinegar ingestion may be of  “great value in managing the diabetic complications.”

    Reduces Glycemia
    Vinegar is also useful in reducing glycemia. Research has shown that its addition to a high glycemic meal has positive effects on the reduction of postprandial glycemia.

    Detoxification and Digestion
    The use of vinegar to promote cleansing dates back to Hippocrates, who recommended apple cider vinegar to cure joint pain, digestive distress and blood disorders.  Apple cider vinegar destroys harmful bacteria in the digestive tract—creating more efficient digestion and elimination of waste. He also noted that vinegar’s ability to break up fat helped improve the functioning of the liver and kidneys, whose primary role is to detoxify the body.

    Anti-aging Properties
    In many cultures, vinegar was thought to improve immunity and was associated with longer life and strength. Studies administering it to rats have shown quite encouraging results.

    Improves Acid-alkali Balance
    Taking two tablespoons of vinegar every day can help reduce high alkalinity in the blood. Alkalinity is increased by regular metabolism, which has to be balanced by an acid. It could be a good choice for this!

    Antimicrobial Properties
    Vinegar possesses antimicrobial properties. Tests on wood vinegar confirmed that wood vinegar was effective in controlling the growth of microbial cultures.

    Fun Facts
    Vinegar has been used as a food preservative for hundreds of years. Vinegar, due to its antibacterial properties, can effectively act as a good preservative for food by controlling microorganisms that generally attack food and cause decomposition.

    If drinking vinegars haven’t crossed your radar yet, they most definitely will soon as more and more drinking vinegar stalls and shops pop out at malls.

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  • 08Sep

    Pandan leaves are the love of my life!  I so heart these fragrant leaves. I love everything pandan – from pandan cakes to pandan kaya jam, pandan jelly, pandan chicken, pandan desserts, you name it, I love it. Sniffing pandan leaves and pandan powder can  lift up my mood instantly. The aroma de-stresses me.  Pandan leaves also repel my enemies – cockroaches and mozzies!  I have knots of pandan leaves in my car and in my kitchen drawers.  Pandan leaves are a wonderful natural air freshener.  If only we live in a landed property, I’ll take up half the garden and fill them with lots of pandan plants. I’ll surely be making pandan tea every day if I have access to fresh pandan leaves.  Currently I am using organic pandan powder to make pandan tea. I like mixing the pandan powder to ginger tea.

    Pandan, also called screw pine (Pandanus amarylfolius) contains isoprene esters, tannins, glycosides, alkaloids and richly scented essential oils.

    Uses of Pandan Leaves:

    Great for Anxiety and Stress – If a person has anxiety, drinking 2 or 3 cups of pandan tea will sooth away their stress.

    Great for Pain – Pandan leaves are wonderful for getting rid of pain of all kinds including arthritis, chest pains, earaches, and headaches. Drink a cup of pandan tea as needed for pain.

    Gum Pain – Chewing fresh or dried leaves pandan leaves is a great way to sooth away oral discomforts and gum pain.

    Natural Mosquito Repellant – Pandan extract in high concentrations can also be used to keep away mosquitos with skin application… and it’s not toxic compared to DEET and other agents which are very toxic.

    GI Cramps and Spams – Pandan leaves work wonders for of the GI tract and especially stomach cramps. Drink the tea as needed.

    Natural Mosquito Repellant –  Pandan extract in high concentrations can also be used to keep away mosquitos by way of topical application… and it’s not toxic compared to DEET and other agents which are toxic.

    Lowers Blood Pressure – Take 2 or 3 leaves and boil in 2 cups of water and reduce to one cup — drink this tea every AM and PM to lower blood pressure.

    Reduces Fevers – Pandan leaves also help to reduce fevers; drink the tea until fever subsides.

    Cancer – Pandan leaf tea can also help to prevent and heal certain types of cancer.  Several lab tests were done which showed that pandan has anti-proliferative properties against some cancers.

    Skin Fungus – Take fresh pandan leaves, extract the juice from the leaves and add the juice to a cup of salt water, and drink one cup a day for 3 days.

    Detoxing Agent – Pandan leaf tea is also great for detoxing the liver and the body in general.

    Mild Laxative for Children – Pandan tea is a mild and safe laxative for child

    Healing Dandruff – Take 4 or 5 dried pandan leaves and crush them into a powder and then add a little water to make a paste and massage into scalp; it works like a charm for some people.

    Heals Sunburns – Adding lots of pandan tea to a bath and soaking for a few minutes soothes away sunburns.

    Natural Cockroach Repellant – Taking the tea and spraying it around the house keeps cockroaches away.

    Natural Green Food Color – The longer pandan leaves are boiled the darker the green color. The resulting liquid is a natural food coloring that can be used for baking and cooking.

     

     

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  • 08Sep

    Good seafood always set the mood right in our family. My hubby is a big fan of seafood, especially crabs, prawns, cockles, abalone and all types of shell fish. Whenever we have a celebration, he almost always suggests having seafood. One time, he drove our girls out at 10 at night to the nearest seafood restaurant to get take-out sweet and sour crabs for supper just because he had been craving for crabs for days! Thereafter, father and 3 daughters sat in front of the TV and savored their sweet and sour crabs. Everyone was happy but not me as I had to clean up the stinky aftermath at midnight!

    Here’s a little food for thought. If you’ve always believed that crabs are unhealthy and cause havoc to your cholesterol level, it may not be quite the truth. Here’s why:

    1. Crabs are rich in chromium, which helps insulin to metabolize sugar, and thereby lowers the blood glucose levels in the body.

    2. Source of good cholesterol – While crab meat is considered low in saturated fat, the presence of chromium helps increase the level of HDL (good cholesterol) in your body, and thus reduces the risk of strokes, coronary and circulatory heart disease. In fact, crabs contain sterol, which restrict the absorption of other cholesterol eaten during a meal, thus cancelling out the harmful effects of other fats added to your meal. Now, isn’t this music to your ears?

    3. Crab is a great source of two beneficial long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA, which have anti-inflammatory properties. Research suggests they help lower blood pressure, protect against heart disease, improve cognitive function, and reduce conditions such as psoriasis and ulcerative colitis. Minerals in crab, such as copper, zinc and selenium, support the immune system.

    I am not a supporter of getting take-out crabs to be eaten at home. It’s too messy. Seafood with shells are messy, especially if they are accompanied with a sauce. I’d rather enjoy them at a restaurant and let the staff take care of the messy piles of stinky shells. I love good seafood restaurants where I can enjoy fresh seafood with great service, atmosphere and of course priced reasonably. One such restaurant is The Boiling Pots at Plano.

    Image may contain: food

    Image may contain: food

     

    Image may contain: drink, food and indoor

    At The Boiling Pot, you’ll surely seek the very best seafood experience possible with a fun atmosphere and clean establishment. The secret to this restaurant’s success is that they offer only the freshest and highest quality food available. Check them out today to give them a try!

     

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About Me

I am a WFHM with 3 beautiful girls - Alycia, Sherilyn and Cassandra. I quit the job that I love to stay home with my 3 angels as that's what I've always wanted to do. I am a health freak, fitness freak and a clean freak too. I love to eat and live healthily and I want my kids and hubby to do the same too. Apart from being obsessed with good health, I am obsessed with fashion! I own an online store that sells ladies and kids clothing. Check out my online store at Old & New Stuff For Sale

I always believe that your health is your wealth and if you have good health, that's the best gift you can ever ask for from God.

Do check out my other blogs Health Freak Mommy and Health Freak Mommy’s Journal too!

I have been writing product reviews, food reviews / restaurant reviews and product advertorials since 2007. Please email Shireen at shireenyong@gmail.com to inquire if you are interested to place an advertorial or review in this blog.

Thank you!

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