Saturday, February 16, 2013


the tamarind fruit

Tamarind Soda
tamarind in brief
The tamarind is a long-lived, bushy tree with drooping branches and leaflets that close up at night.

 The fruit has a hard, brown shell and in it, contains a fleshy, juicy pulp which is brown or reddish-brown when ripened.
We call this ‘asam jawa’- tamarind is native to tropical Africa, abundant in  India and South Asia. 

The tamarind fruit is used extensively in cuisines around the world with some traditional medicinal uses and over ten health benefits.
I really like the name “tamarind” or ‘tamarene’ as known by the Maoris of Cook Island… sounds beautiful.

It's edible pulp is more palatable when ripened. The unripe hard green pulp is sour and acidic too.

The tamarind fruit has a sweet sour taste, high in acid, sugar acid, sugar, B vitamins, vitamin C, carotenes, calcium, fiber, potassium and magnesium.
culinary uses  
In Western cuisine, it is found in Worcestershire sauce and HP sauce.
In some other countries, it is used as in tamarinier jams and syrups and as snacks- either dried and salted, sweet, soft clusters or candied.

Or the tambran balls rolled with white granulated sugar and a blend of spices. 
Also used to make sour chilled drink and carbonated drink. 
Commonly for us in Southeast Asia, tamarind is used as a souring ingredient in food dishes. 
A salad dish of young tender tamarind leaves, boiled beans, topped with crushed peanuts and crispy fried onions, is served in rural Myanmar.

traditional medicinal uses  

In Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines and Javanese traditional medicine, tamarind leaves are used as a herbal infusion for malarial fever, the fruit juice as an antiseptic, and for scurvy and even cough cure. Throughout Southeast Asia, fruit of the tamarind is used a poultice applied to foreheads of fever sufferers.
In ayurvedic medicine, it is used for gastric and/or digestion problems, and in 
cardioprotective activity.
health benefits 
It is rich in antioxidants and this helps fight against cancers.
It also helps lower cholesterol and treat bile disorder.
Helps in digestion, acts as a mild laxative and can be gargled to ease sore throat.
Based on human study, tamarind intake may delay the progression of skeletal flourisis by enhancing excretion of fluoride. However, additional research is neededSkeletal fluorosis is a bone disease caused by excessive consumption of fluoride.

Drinking tamarind juice can help reduce this risk for diabetics and is of benefit in relation to blood sugar levels.
The juice is good for the skin, apply on the skin for that healthy glow.

tamarind- it’s side effects

Although generally safe, tamarind juice can have adverse effects on health. It can increase the absorption of aspirin and ibuprofen by the body and should be avoided by those taking these medicines. It may cause acidity in people who suffer from acid reflux.
Links here  and  here 

other uses

Tamarind concentrate can be used to remove tarnish from brass and copper.
Tamarind Soda 
5 tbsp heap tamarind pulp
Brown sugar to taste
2 tsp nutmeg powder
1 can carbonated drink ( sprite, 7up or lime flavored sparkling mineral water)
Mix tamarind paste with 5 cups of water, squeeze out juice from pulp. Strain away residue. Add in sugar and nutmeg powder.  Heat up, when boiled, let steep for 5 minutes. Leave to cool.
Keep chilled, when ready to serve, add in carbonated drink.

Friday, February 8, 2013


the deadly seven ingredients in grocery foods

We eat for good health, yet we are mostly eating food that promotes chronic diseases and may be death. 
Some of the ingredients found in food these days can be considered to be very toxic- such as MSG artificial flavors, artificial sweeteners, artificial colors, preservatives, trans fats and high fructose corn syrup. 
There are endless ingredients at the supermarket but not everything belongs in our body.
STEVIA FLOWERS- photo credit-wikimedia commons
grocery TIPS from the organic consumers association
Link here   -Excerpt from Mike Adams in Organic Consumers on:
the deadly seven
‘Deadly seven” is the name he refers to some food ingredients, as they can directly promote heart disease, migraines, obesity, outrageous food cravings, osteoporosis, diabetes, arthritis and even birth defects.
Says he,
Dear consumers,
The top three most dangerous ingredients I've found in my research are:

1) Sodium nitritea color fixer chemical that can cause cancer, found in processed meats like hot dogs, b
acon, sausage. Used to make meats appear red.
2) Hydrogenated oils - Used to make oils stay in the food, extending shelf life. Sometimes also called "plastic fat”-  they can cause heart disease, nutritional deficiencies, general deterioration of cellular health, and much more.
Found in cookies, crackers, margarine and many "manufactured" foods.

3) Excitotoxins a chemical food flavoring- such as aspartame and monosodium glutamate (MSG
.). These neurotoxic chemical additives directly harm nerve cells, over-exciting them to the point of cell death.
They're found in diet soda, canned soup, salad dressing, breakfast sausage and even many manufactured vegetarian foods. They're used to add flavor to over-processed, boring foods that have had the life cooked out of them.
cookies-preservatives, artificial flavor and color
Mike Adams's tell-all book, written on the subject: "Grocery Warning." Link here
Based on thousands of hours of research, this book exposes the truth that food companies will never admit to and the mainstream media will never print (because they receive advertising funds from food companies, of course!). Examples:
-Feeding children hot dogs increases their risk of brain cancer by 300%?
Colors using dead beetles? yuks!!
-Strawberry yogurt, fruit punch and other red-looking grocery products are often colored with dead, ground-up cochineal beetles? The ingredient is called "carmine," and it's made from insects.
-Food companies now "hide" MSG in safe-sounding ingredients like yeast extract or torula yeast? Other hidden sources of MSG include:
Autolyzed vegetable protein . Hydrolyzed vegetable protein

Metabolic disruptors prevent your body from healing

He said nearly all modern diseases are caused by what he termed as  "metabolic disruptors." They are found in common ingredients, such as white flour and sugar and they prevent your body from healing.  
Metabolic disruptors are used most commercially prepared foods, which means most products on your grocer's shelves contribute to poor health
The longer the ingredients label, the less healthy the food.
Read those ingredients list, if you discover chemical names that you can't pronounce, don't buy the food!- Mike Adams the Health Ranger.
anything artificial
has no business in the body
I believe it  is not too difficult to memorize these chemical names that can be very toxic for the body, when consumed so often or in quantities above safe levels.  Once we remember the names, we can shop wisely and not deadly, for ourselves and our family.

Say, if i cook something, using preserved and frozen ingredients with artificial colorings- my dish will contain three baddies inside. Then, if during cooking, i personally add in a dash of MSG, it means i now have a total of four baddies in one meal. Think again, think of yesterday’s meals, think further… 
Where i am, food outlets commonly use MSG. When they used in excess, i can tell, I will get a headache after eating.
Further details from various sources-
1-artificial colors- example, Sodium nitrite can lead to allergies. The artificial colors of blue 1 and 2, green 3, red 3 and yellow 6 have been linked to thyroid, adrenal, bladder, kidney and brain cancers.
2-artificial flavors-  MSG, the ultimate flavor enhancer. High levels can have serious effect on brain chemistry. May increase risks of chest pains, heart palpitations and headaches. MSG brand examples- Ac'cent, Aji-No-Moto, and Vetsin.
3-artificial sweeteners- names like aspartame, saccharin, sucralose, cyclamine and acesulfame potassium etc are harder on our metabolic systems than plain old sugar

-Aspartame- found in brands like Equal and NutraSweet

-Sucralosein brand name Splenda and Kirkland

-Saccharin- brand names such as Necta Sweet, Sugar Twin and Sweet andLow –banned in Canada and some other countries
-Stevia (Rebaudioside A)- brand names like PureVia, Sun Crystals and Truvia. It is the steviol glycoside, one component of the stevia plant that provides sweetness.
In 2012 FDA posted a note on their website regarding crude Stevia plant: "FDA has not permitted the use of whole-leaf Stevia or crude Stevia extracts because these substances have not been approved for use as a food additive.

Link  here  Although stevia sounds like a miracle herb, some scientists are concerned that it may be a mutagen, meaning that it could cause cancer. 
Stevia has also been linked to reproductive malfunction. Some of these studies have been imperfectly performed, hence the need for more thorough analysis. 
Given the argument over this sweetener, it would appear that more controlled studies are needed.
-Acesulfame Potassium- found in brand Sunett
-Cyclamate – brand Assugrin- cyclamate is banned in the USA- may cause bladder cancer.
-Sorbitol/ Glucitol- side effects includes abdominal pain and intestinal difficulties.
4-trans fat- more like ‘the cholesterol-maker’. A risk for coronary heart disease. These fats also known as 'shortening' or 'hydrogenated', may help prolong the shelf life of most products  by raising levels of bad LDL cholesterol and lowering levels of "good" HDL cholesterol.
5-preservatives- example, Benzene is a known carcinogen that has been linked to serious thyroid damage.

Saturday, February 2, 2013


fish, greens and an egg
a one dish meal packed with highly nutritious ingredients.
this is eaten with hot rice for lunch.
a glass of green tea with lemon will be perfect.

Fish – 2 pieces- fry till done.  How cooked depends on you. Place on serving plate and add raw greens at the side… as above

Next and is a must, is to use the same oil for frying fish above, when cooking. It makes a world of difference

3 cloves garlic- minced
1 large onion- slice/ minced
1 red  and 1 green chili – slices
2 stalks curry leaves
1 slice asam gelugor / substitute with 1 tsp lemon  juice
1 tbsp soup powder
Salt and pepper
Veggies- 1 cup cut cauliflower and 1 medium tomato
1 hard boil egg
Raw greens of your choice for garnishing
Canola vegetable oil for frying
the healthy benefits
*Vegetable oil lowers cholesterol. So does garlic and onion.

*The soluble fiber in veggies drag the cholesterol out of the body. Best examples are egg plant, okra and beans.

*Fat soluble red lycopene  in tomato increases 4 times when cooked. It protects against oxidative damage and cancer-causing effects (prostate, pancreas, colorectal, lung). The body uses lycopene better when cooked with fat such as oil.

*Catechins anti oxidant in green tea helps reduce damage cause by bad cholesterol LDL.
*The ten benefits in eggs as listed below

ASAM GELUGOR- garcinia
cooking method
Using a little of the same fish oil, heat up and fry onion. Once golden, add in garlic, chili and curry leaves.

Stir for about 2 minutes, add in cauliflower and tomato as well asam gelugor, salt, pepper, soup powder and half cup water. Very flavorful already.
Cover pan with lid for 4 minutes.

Ensure cauliflower is cooked  al dente or crisp tender. Remove from pan and pour onto fish. Add egg on top.
Ready to serve, best eaten hot.

ten health BENEFITS  IN eggs
Athough egg yolk contains fat and cholesterol, the egg yolk  is also a major sorce of vitamins (A,D,E,K) and minerals. Egg yolk is one of the few foods naturally containing vitamin D.

Egg has many other health  benefits such as protein, also lutein and zezanthin which are great for the eyes (prevents macular degeneration and lowers  eye cataracts risks).
Choline in eggs is an important nutrient that helps regulate the brain, nervous system, and cardiovascular system. 
Women who consumed 6 eggs per week may help lower breast cancer risk by 44%.
It’s sulphur content promotes healthy hair and nails.
In fact, according to one study, regular consumption of eggs may help prevent blood clots, stroke and heart attacks.

the double egg yolk
Double egg yolks may be the result of a young hen's reproductive cycle not yet being synchronized. 
There are some hybrid breeds of hens which produce double-yolk eggs by default. 
Such eggs are produced in India. Eastern states known for that are West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh.  Link here and here