• 28Sep

    Many people have never seen, eaten or heard of the umbra fruit. This fruit is called ‘sar lei’ in Cantonese or buah kedondong in Malay.  Umbra is sometimes used in fruit rojak, where the fruit will be dipped with thick rojak sauce (made of shrimp paste).   These days, some restaurants and coffee shops sell freshly blended umbra juice.  A steamboat restaurant where we regularly patronize sells freshly blended umbra juice with ‘suen mui’ (dried sour plums).  The thirst quencher is sugar-free and is really refreshing especially when you are having a hot steamboat meal or on a sizzling day.  It costs a whopping RM3.50 a glass and a glass is usually not enough to satiate you.  According to the restaurant owner, the umbra juice is good for lowering blood pressure and cholesterol.

    My mil bought a big bag of umbra from the wet market the other day. She had intended to bring them overseas but had forgotten all about them when she left. No one else in the family liked this sour fruit so I had to force myself to eat them – so much that my teeth felt sensitive after days of munching them, as a result of the high acid from the fruit corroding my teeth enamel! In the end, the remaining fruits turned black and all went into the bin!

    Permalink Filed under: Fruits 4 Comments
  • 26Sep

    Did you know that by adding foods that burn fat to your diet, you can lose weight without working too hard, thus achieve a slimmer physique?

    Here’s a list of the various foods that burn fat and why they’re supposed to work:

    Foods that Contain Vitamin C
    Because the body requires vitamin C to burn fat, eating foods that are high in vitamin C is said to help metabolize fat faster and make losing weight less difficult. You might want to try eating more oranges, pineapple, grapefruit, lemons, limes, green peppers, red, peppers, etc. These foods that burn fat are tasty and have few calories too to help increase the health in your diet.

    Foods High in Fiber
    Fibre is a fat burning food
    When you eat more fiber, your stomach thinks that it’s fuller than it actually is. And while this isn’t quite like foods than burn fat, it lessens the amount of overall calories that you can ingest, which leads to fat loss.

    You’ll want to choose foods like complex carbohydrates, beans, carrots, etc. when you’re looking for high fiber foods. Even just adding a high fiber cereal in the morning can help boost your fat loss efforts.

    Green Tea
    While tea doesn’t really fall into foods that can assist in fat burning, it certainly can help you find a slimmer new you. Because green tea contains caffeine, it’s a natural stimulant that can help your body burn more calories while at rest – meaning that you can burn fat without doing a thing.

    But it also includes ECCG compounds that are also supposed to help boost your metabolism as well. You can find green tea supplements as well as normal tea bags in your local grocery store.

    Dairy Foods
    Dairy Products can assist in fat burning
    According to new research, it seems that dairy products are the latest foods that burn fat. Studies have shown that dairy suppresses a fat producing hormone called calcitrol. By drinking two to three glasses of low fat milk each day or eating a few servings of low fat cheese or yogurt, you can help to suppress that hormone and make fat burning a breeze.

    Hot and Spicy Foods
    When you eat foods like jalapenos or hot peppers, you stoke the fat burning fires in your body. What happens is that a chemical is released into your body that increases your metabolism, if only for a short while.

    By eating more spicy foods that burn fat, you can have tasty meals without the added guilt. Just add a little Tabasco sauce to your eggs in the morning or to your soup at night for all the kick your body needs.

    Drink Plenty of Water
    Water can assist in fat burning
    Water helps to rid the body of toxins and chemicals that make be slowing down your overall metabolism.

    By drinking six to eight glasses of water a day, you can make sure that your digestion is running smoothly and that anything that shouldn’t be in your body is eliminated.

    This water intake will also help you feel full longer, which allows you to eat less and lose more weight. Many times our hunger is really just thirst in disguise.

    High Protein Foods
    Protein – While you might already think this because of the Atkins Diet, protein is thought to help increase your metabolism. Eating protein rich foods that burn fat will help you give your diet an edge. All you need to do is choose low fat protein items (and this includes soy-based items if you’re vegetarian) for each meal of the day.

    Foods that burn fat are tasty and easy to add to your daily diet. With a little diet renovation, you can create a daily eating plan that’s working for you, instead of against you.

    Information extracted from 24hrfitness.co.uk/nutrition/foods-that-burn-fat.html

  • 25Sep

    I have been nuts over almonds ever since I went on a high protein-low carb diet 8 years ago, due to PCOS. Almonds are my all-time favorite snack, apart from walnuts, hazelnuts, cashew nuts, pine nuts, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds.  I love roasted almonds but they are not as healthy as raw almonds as the beneficial almond oil would have been destroyed in the heat during roasting.

    Almonds are one of the most nutritious nuts. One teeny ounce of almonds contains 12 percent of your daily allowance of protein. And there is absolutely no cholesterol. You’ll also get 35 percent of your daily allowance of vitamin E, that valuable antioxidant with so many cancer-fighting qualities. And most of the fat in almonds is monounsaturated, also known as the “good” fat.

    I bought a tub of ground almond the other day.  I would sprinkle it on my toasts, my eggs and on Baby’s eggs and porridge too.

    This little super nut is also loaded with minerals like magnesium, phosphorus, calcium, folic acid and zinc, as well as lots of healthy fiber.

    Of all the newly discovered benefits of almonds, one of the most exciting is the potential they may have to reduce cancer risks. Many of the nutrients found in almonds are believed to have positive effects on several different types of cancer. The monounsaturated fat in almonds may have a positive impact in the reduction of colon cancer. The phytochemicals in almonds can also inhibit tumor cell growth. A one-ounce serving of almonds provides more than 35 percent of your daily value of vitamin E. Many studies suggest this powerful antioxidant may protect against prostate and cervical cancers.

    Reduce Heart Attack Risk – A Loma Linda School of Public Health study showed those who consumed nuts five times a week had a 50% reduction in risk of heart attack.

    Lower Cholesterol –  almonds added to the diet have a favorable effect on blood cholesterol.

  • 23Sep

    My kind of biscuits are those that are multi-grained and multi-seeded, made from wholewheat, are low in sugar or sugar-free, free from sweet cream fillings and low in oil. Here are some of them:

    Fjord wholemeal rye flour crispbread with sesame seeds.

    Goes very well with cheese spread and cheeses.

    Iko range of health biscuits.

    And once in a while, I indulge in this :
    Loacker cream filled mini wafers. My favorite is the hazelnut flavor.

    What’s your favorite type of biscuits?

    Permalink Filed under: Snacks 5 Comments
  • 23Sep

    The other day, I noticed a small white horizontal line on one of Sherilyn’s fingernail. I wasn’t alarmed because once in a blue moon, I have it too. I have read somewhere that this could be a sign of a vitamin deficiency. Coincidentally, I also have a small white horizontal line on one of my fingers now (picture above). So I did a google search and this is what I found :

    Did you know you can tell a lot about a person by looking at their nails? Not just what their shade of polish is, or whether they do heavy housework or not by the nail length. We’re not just looking at cosmetics here, but rather at unpolished nails and seeing if they have anything to say about health.

    (As always, it is important to note that this is provided to be purely informative, and under no circumstances should one take this information and use it for self-diagnosis. If you are concerned or suspect you may have any condition, see your doctor immediately.)

    Nails are our protection for the nerves in our fingertips, while toenails protect toes from damage or injury. They are part of the skin layer and are made up of a protein called keratin.

    A healthy blood supply will create a peachy-pink nail bed. If there is a deficiency or physical problem within our bodies, the fingernails can show it.

    What are some of the problems that an show up on the nails, and what are the signs?

    Discolored nails: Diabetes, stress, allergies and simple illness can cause your nails to appear discolored. A greenish nail color, however, can be a sign of infection, either in the nail bed or in your system.

    Bluish nail beds can be a sign of lung trouble, such as emphysema or even asthma. A simple dark blue line in the nail can be a sign of skin cancer. Tiny black streaks can indicate a heart problem, while reddish-brown spots can indicate a deficiency of folic acid, protein or vitamin C.

    Yellowing nails are early signals of various internal disorders, such as diabetes, respiratory or liver problems. White lines in or across the nail can signal fever, liver or heart disease, kidney disorders or, more likely, a lack of iron or zinc in your diet.

    We see what the color of our nails has to say, but what about the shape, texture and overall condition?

    Nail shapes: Nails that tend to curl under at the tips can signify respiratory or heart problems, while nails that are raised at the base can also signal respiratory trouble. Square, wide nails can be a result of a hormonal disorder while flat, thin nails can be from insufficient vitamin B12.

    The texture of fingernails can tell as much about a persons general health as the color can. Below are some common texture abnormalities and what they can possibly indicate.

    Nail textures: Vertical ridges that appear on the nail can indicate disorders as simple as iron deficiency, poor absorption of vitamins and nutrients, overall poor health or they could indicate something as serious as kidney trouble. (So, you see why consulting your physician is so important.) These vertical ridges, as well as bumpy nails, can also suggest that one is prone to developing arthritis. Ridges running horizontally across the nail can indicate physical or mental stress.

    Nutrition plays an extremely important role in every function of our bodies, right down to the tips of our fingers and toes, literally. As well as signs of other possible disorders, nails can let us know how we add up when it comes to getting all of our required nutrients.

    Since nails are mainly made up of protein, they can immediately alert us to a lack of it in our diet. White lined bands across the nail beds can signal a protein dificiency. You can get protein from beans, oats, seeds, nuts, eggs and lean meats.

    Calcium is also important for healthy nails. Without it, the nails lose their strength and become brittle and dry. You can find calcium in green leafy vegetables, dairy products, sesame seeds or even a daily supplement.

    As mentioned before, ridges in the nails can be a result of vitamin deficiency, one of which is the B vitamins. Vitamin B is needed for strengthening, while vitamin B12 also strengthens while promoting normal nail growth and healthy coloring.

    Vitamin C is another necessary vitamin. Adequate intake can help prevent hang nails and swelling of nail tissue, and a frequent occurance of either of these symptoms is a good indication of a deficiency.

    Probably the most common sight on the nails is the “white spot”. Although it has been noted that white lines can be symptoms of a serious disorder, their presence is more than likely a result of iron or zinc deficiency. Before worrying about any severe disease, your first step should be to see your doctor and have him/her test your levels of iron and zinc. Zinc supplements are easily found in any pharmacy while additional iron intake needs to be monitored by your physician.

    The best way to assure yourself of healthy nails is to eat a well balanced diet. You’ll need plenty of protein as well as fresh fruits and vegetables. Sufficient water intake is also important, for as well as keeping the rest of you healthy it provides moisture for nails. If you feel you are still not getting enough essential vitamins and minerals it is recommended that you

    Information obtained from this website.

    Have you ever had those white spots on your fingernails? 

  • 19Sep

    This is Baby’s new favorite snack :

    Crispy rice puff with seaweed and sesame.  This was purchased from an organic shop.

    The ingredients of the crispy seaweed rice puff:

    Baby loves it so much she can chomp down 4-5 balls in one sitting. 

  • 17Sep

    This morning, my maid made me steaming mad again.  Baby had woken up early today.  Just as I was about to leave the house to jog, she woke up.  This time, I didn’t want to bring her along to jog as I wanted to buy some chicken meat at a nearby stall, so I left her in the playpen in the living room to watch TV with her 2 sisters.  Baby would be happy if she sees her 2 sisters around her.

    When I came back from my jog, I saw Baby licking on something white. I went closer and had a shock of my life.  She had a pencil in her mouth… with the pencil lead part inside her mouth.  I was absolutely horrified and quickly snatched the pencil from her.  I was even more horror-struck when I noticed that the pencil lead was missing!!  Baby had eaten the pencil lead.  The word LEAD and cancer, mental retardation, poisoning, kidney and liver failure and all disorders kept flooding my head that was boiling and about to erupt steam and lava on my maid.  As usual, my maid kept giving me a pack of lies –  that the pencil had no lead, that she had just given Baby the pencil, etc. etc…. lies that made me even more furious.  I checked the piece of paper that my maid had given Baby and my suspicion was confirmed – there were pencil scribbles on the paper but my maid further denied that the pencil had NO lead… and she further agitated us by saying “saya cuma bagi their main-main saja, bukan makan” (I only let her play with the pencil, not to eat).  What a ridiculous answer!

    I quickly opened Baby’s mouth and checked her tongue and teeth. My suspicion was further confirmed. Baby’s teeth had black pencil marks on them but that id*ot kept defending herself….aargh. Hubby and I really wanted to slap that lady. I quickly wiped Baby’s mouth, tongue and teeth. I quickly checked her playpen and was hoping to find the pencil lead there but no, the pencil lead was no where to be found. I think it’s inside Baby’s stomach! I quickly SMSed Baby’s surgeon and asked for advice. I also quickly did a Google search on ‘toddler ate pencil lead what to do’. And this is what I found, which was quite comforting:

    During the first two or three years of life, your child is bound to go through a phase of putting things other than food into his mouth. He’ll chew on his toys, taste the sand in the playground, and sample the cat’s food if given the opportunity. As annoying as this can be for you, few of these things will cause him any serious harm, as long as you keep poisons and sharp objects out of his reach. Lead is one dangerous substance; however, that your child can consume without your knowledge.

    Contrary to popular belief, lead poisoning is not caused by chewing on a pencil or being stabbed with its point. The so-called “lead” in a pencil actually is harmless graphite, and there is no lead in the paint coating the outside. Lead poisoning is most often caused by eating lead contained in bits of old paint or in dirt that has been contaminated by lead, by breathing lead in the air, or by drinking water from pipes lined or soldered with lead.

    My surgeon replied my SMS and gave me a similar answer. I was much more relieved but still not totally at ease. I really don’t like the fact that my baby ate some kind of chemical.  Graphite is carbon and having my baby who had recently gone through 2 surgeries  ingesting carbon really ain’t a pleasant thing.

    I was at fault too today. I should not have left Baby with my maid, though the hubs was asleep in the bedroom. Knowing how careless, stubborn and ignorant she is, I should not have relied on her. Stupid me. I ought to have my head banged on the wall!  I have been telling her every day on end to never ever give Baby a pen or a pencil to play with, without any adult supervision.  I have also been drumming into her head as well as Aly and Sher’s that pencil lead is toxic and poisonous but my maid is just one stubborn lady.   Today’s incident had taught me a lesson. Never ever leave Baby with my maid alone again.

  • 15Sep

    This is Baby’s lunch yesterday :

    Organic veggie pasta in the shape of tiny flower pasta (made from spinach, beet root, durum wheat semolina and pure barley powder), chopped spinach, fried eggs, steamed fish with tomatoes and a drizzle of sesame seed oil. Also sprinkled a pinch of grated Parmesan cheese on her pasta for that cheesy taste.  Baby also gulped down a bowl of watercress – pork ribs soup.
    The verdict : she loved it!

    And this is Sherilyn’s lunch box yesterday – Star-fish lunch box consisting of cheese fish biscuits and fried eggs cut into star shapes, thus star-fish!

    Verdict : this small and slow eater polished off  everything in school!

    And I finished off the odds and ends… as usual.

  • 14Sep

    Cherry tomato is another veggie that Baby loves. There is always a packet of organic cherry tomatoes in our fridge. It’s a very healthy snack and my 3 gals and I love popping them into our mouths whenever we feel hungry in between meals.  My gals and I love anything that is cooked with tomatoes. Just last week, we have had many dishes cooked with tomatoes – pasta with tomatoes, onions and minced beef, fried chicken with tomatoes, Baby’s porridge with tomatoes, tomato omelette and beet root soup with tomatoes, sweet corn and carrots.  I plan to steam fish with tomatoes for Baby today!

    Giving her some veggie / snacks to feed herself during meal times is one sure way of getting Baby to sit still on her highchair.

    One is definitely not enough mummy, I want more, nice!

    Be very careful when you feed your toddler with cherry tomatoes.  They are small and slippery and are a high risk choking food.  Cut them into halves and let them eat under your watchful eyes.   Some kids are also allergic to tomatoes. So watch out for any signs of allergy.

  • 11Sep

    I’ve been having cracked heels for several years now. I’ve tried almost every cracked heel cream in the market including Vaseline petroleum jelly but none really works. Each time I show the hubs my cracked heel, he would suggest bringing me to see a skin specialist. But being a procrastinator, I have yet to make an effort to see a skin specialist. I’m the type who will only make a trip to the clinic/hospital if there are issues concerning life and death for me and my kids. My feet? It’s only hard skin, callouses and peeling / flaky skin, not much pain unless my itchy fingers start peeling the skin…. and I think I can bear with it coz who would stare at my heels anyway? LOL!

    During Baby’s 3-week stay in the hospital recently, my cracked heels’ condition improved and the skin was quite soft. During my stay in the hospital, I only wet my feet a couple of times a day, unlike now. My feet are wet all the time now coz I have 3 toddlers to mind and it’s impossible to keep my feet dry. I can only surmise now that if I keep my feet dry all the time, the skin would remain soft and not start to peel.

    Perhaps I should really make it a point to seek medical help for my feet coz they look gross and hideous, like a grandma’s feet, with dry and wrinkled skin….

    Macro shot of my upper foot and toe. Notice the unsightly flaky skin?

    Macro shot of the cracked heel…

    I did a Google search on home remedies for cracked heel and here’s what I found from www.home-remedies-for-you.com :

    -Apply any shortening or hydrogenated vegetable oil after washing the feet clean on dry and cracked areas of the feet. After applying a thick coat of shortening on the feet, wear a pair of thick socks. Leaving this application overnight can surely provide positive results in few days.

    -Apply the pulp of a ripe banana on the dry or cracked area of the heel. Leave it on for 10 minutes and rinse it clean.

    -Soak the feet in lemon juice for about 10minutes. Follow this therapy on a weekly basis until one finds a change.

    -A daily regime of cleaning and moisturizing is a good cure for dry or cracked heels. At the end of the day soak the feet in warm soapy water for about 15 minutes. Rinse feet and pat dry. Make a healing mixture comprising of: one teaspoon Vaseline and the juice of one lemon. Rub this mixture onto the cracked heels and other required areas of the feet till it is thoroughly absorbed. This can be done daily until visible results are obtained.

    -A regular application of a mixture of glycerin and rosewater is known to soothe and cure cracked heels.

    -Another result oriented solution is to melt paraffin wax and mix it well with little mustard oil. Apply on the dry or cracked area of the heels. Rinse it off in the morning. A continuous application for 10 to15 days can achieve desirable results.

    Diet for Cracked Heels

    Consume a diet rich in calcium, iron, zinc and omega-3 fats

    Cracked heels are caused by deficiency of vitamins, minerals, zinc and omega 3 fatty acids. Therefore it is essential to have a diet rich in vitamins, minerals and zinc. Omega-3 fatty acids are not naturally produced by the body, therefore it has to be ingested from food or supplements.

    Here is list of essential foods that one can include in a regular meal and help curb deficiencies that may cause cracked heels:

    -Vitamins (Vitamin E) rich foods include: vegetable oils, green vegetables, cereals, wheat germ, whole-grain products and nuts.
    -Minerals (Calcium and Iron) rich foods include :
    1) Calcium: milk, cheese, yogurt, goat’s milk, fortified soya milk, mineral water, ice cream, tinned fish, juices, cereals and broccoli are excellent sources of calcium. Dairy products such as milk and yogurt are also considered as one of the best sources of calcium.
    2) Iron: Meat, chicken and fish are good sources of iron. Iron is also available in cereals, eggs, vegetables and beans; however it is not as easily absorbed into the body as the iron from meat, chicken and fish.
    3) Zinc rich foods include: Oysters, chicken, crab, kidney beans, yogurt, brown rice, spaghetti.
    4) Omega-3 fatty acids are largely found in: Purslane herb, cold water fish, and flaxseed oil or flax seeds.
    Here are some simple suggestions towards caring for the feet effortlessly:

    -Keep feet clean and dirt free
    -Exercise the feet regularly
    -Alternate hot and cold water for a feet bath to soothe the feet
    -Moisturize and exfoliate the feet whenever possible
    -Avoid walking bare feet as much as possible

    I really think the above natural remedies and suggestions are way too burdensome for a super busy mummy like me. I’m constantly on my feet and hardly have the time to rest my feet. The only suggestion I can try is to apply a concoction of Vaseline + lemon juice on my feet and put on a pair of socks each night before I hit the sack.


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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!