Archives for People Health category

People food for thought Part 23;Cofee and Tea

 For many, a cup of coffee is a staple drink for the morning and night time.

 I am a big fan of coffee,as well as British tea, and Japanese tea. My husband is a more of coffee lover than a tea lover,and he gets whole green coffee beans from retailer and roast the beans as needed.

 I was surprised how much difference in the taste you will notice with the self roasted coffee beans compared with pre packaged whole coffee beans.

 Over the years, we got to taste various kinds of coffee beans, and learned a little bit of each beans and I found it interesting to learn about them.

Roasted coffee (left), whole green coffee beans (right)..

 Our favorite place to get the green whole bean coffee beans is called “Sweet Maria’s” in CA,USA and we get beans at bulk once in a while.

 What we like about them is that, not only they have wide variety of coffee beans to chose from to explore the various kinds of taste of the coffee, but also they travel to the coffee farms to check the quality on their own, and pick the one they like.

 It seems that they are very knowledgeable about all kinds of coffee beans and we enjoy their coffee beans a lot.

 There are many packaged roasted whole coffee beans on the market but, some have distinctive burned after taste, and some are not simply not as good as home roasted coffee beans.

 You will be surprised how different the home roasted coffee beans will taste.

 Try roast your own coffee and you will like it!

 At this moment, I am expecting, and I am not drinking coffee at all but, I enjoy the smell of fresh ground coffee beans, and freshly brewed coffee when my  husband is making his own cup of coffee.

 It is the nice smell to start the day.

 Anyway, recently, I came across an interesting news article on coffee and tea.

 I have heard of cup of coffee is good for heart health, but did you know a cup of coffee has more benefit than that? Did you know why coffee is considered good drink for the heart health?

Coffee for heat health..

 According to article written by Dennis Thompson, a small study from Japan suggests that the caffeine might help the small blood vessel works better,which ease the strain in the heart.

 A cup of caffeinated coffee caused 30% increase of blood flow in the small blood vessel compared to decaffeinated coffee.

 These vessels regulates the blood flow through circulatory system, and the body tissue.

 Therefore, opening blood flow and reducing the inflammations, the researchers think that the caffeine may help creating the favorable condition for the heart health.

 To read the full article by Dennis Thompson,please click here.

Coffee reduce risk of diabetes..

 According to the article written by registered dietitian Jennifer Motl for Free Lance Newspaper, a cup of coffee may reduce the risk of diabetes by 8% and when person drinks 6 cups a day, it reduced the risk of diabetes by 33%.

 She writes that it is according to analysis of 2 studies, and a millions of coffee drinkers and it was published in Diabetes Care Journal.

 American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that both regular and decaffeinated coffee reduce people’s chance of developing the diabetes as well.

 The study was 20 years long, involved 100.000 doctors and nurses.

 Each cup of coffee lowered the chance of getting diabetes by 4%-8%.

 Another caffeinated drink “tea” lowered the risk of getting diabetes by 5% by each cup consumed.

 The best way consumed these coffee or tea is said to be black or with a bit of milk,not sweetened by sweetened creamer.

 One other interesting thing the article mentioned is that, specific Japanese tea helps allergy.

 Tea for allergy..

 According to Japanese scientist published the studies showing that specific type of Japanese green tea ” Benifuuki tea” helped allergy sufferers and reduced sneezing,and fewer reaction to cedar pollens.

 Tea for strong bones..

 Another study about tea revealed that the drinking a cup of tea may enhance the bone density,which probably due to fluoride in the tea.

 However, despite the benefit of consuming caffeine, there is a limit you can take a day.

 Average person should limit the caffeine intake up to 400mg per day (2-3 cups a day;8 oz cup x 2 to 3), and pregnant women should limit the caffeine intake up to 200 mg per day.

 Since caffeine is linked to miscarriage or birth defect, I am not having any cup of coffee. I really miss my coffee though.

 Whether you drink a cup of tea or coffee, it is better drink than sugary sodas that has all negative effects on your health.

 Coffee vs Tea..

 Which do you like to have?

 To read the full article by Jennifer Motl for Free Lance Newspaper,please click here.

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Feb 23, 2014 | Comments are off | People Health

People food for thought Part 22;Collard Green

 In the previous entry titled “People food for thought Part XXV:Color of vegetables/fruits and health benefit“, I wrote that according to the
article written by Mary Squillace, registered dietitian Vandana Sheth
for academy of nutrition and dietetics has mentioned that we get
different nutrients from different foods and eating variety of foods in
different colors is easiest ways to ensure we are getting full range of

 Among them, as for color “Green”,according
to research done in 2011 published in Cell, Emerald color in the
vegetables such as broccoli,bok choy (cruciferous family vegetables)
will help you support immune system.

 Protein in those vegetables helps immune cells that line and protect the gut and the skin function properly.

 With green color vegetables, darker the color is, the better nutrient you will get.

 As examples, Spinach,Kale,Collard green were listed there.

 In this entry, I would like to focus on the Collard Green and its health benefit.

 I notice that recent years, many green vegetables base snack such as kale chips seems to be big among celebrities and I see many talking about them on TV shows.

 I personally never had collard green yet, but I have eaten kale many times. I like using them in the stew, soup,stir fry type of dishes,fried rice and I also like to use in the tomato base side dish.

Collard green;the nutritious gem..

 According to the article written by registered dietitian “Jennifer Motl”, Collard Green are very rich in nutrient that protect eyesight,as well as reducing cholesterol level, and risk of cancer.

 They are rich in antioxidants such as “carotenoids”,”lutein”, and “zeaxanthin” that reduce the eye disease called age related macular degeneration.

 The research done by UCLA, when you compare who ate collard green at least once a week vs people who did not eat collard green showed that the people who ate the collard green at least once a week cut their risk of cancer (glaucoma)  by 57%.

 Jennifer writes that frost makes the flavor sweeten, spring is usually the good time to taste the green without tasting much bitterness.

 When you look into vitamins/minerals 1/2 cup of cooked collard green can offer,she states that it has 150% of daily value of Vitamin A,29% of Vitamin C, 500% of vitamin K,22% of folate, 13% calcium, daily value.

How to cook the green..

 Jennifer mentions that traditionally, collard green are cooked for a couple of hours in broth and ham hocks or bacon in southern cooking.Then, vinegar is added and served with cornbread.

 However, she states it is not only time consuming but it is high in sodium.

 Here are some of my favorite ways to enjoy many leafy green vegetables.

 The first dish’s idea is based on “Latatouille”, but cooked in the skillet to cook up the quick delicious sides.

 I like to use many vegetables such as squash,zucchini,garbanzo beans, tomatoes, green like spinach,kale etc.. I have not tried this with Collard green but I think it would go well with this dish too.

 I did not have Ratatouille dish picture on its own,but I had the picture from the time I made spicy garbanzo bean with bits of hot Italian sausage without other vegetables. How they are made is almost the same.

 It just did not have vegetables and instead it got spicy hot Italian sausage in it. But you can see what it would look like when it is done.

Yassy’s Quick Ratatouille

Ingredients for Yassy’s Quick Ratatouille:

1/2 zucchini 1/2″ thick bite size pieces
1 clove garlic chopped
1/2 can (14 oz can) garbanzo bean drained
Morton’s natures seasons
1/4C Red port wine
Extra virgin olive oil
1C-1,5C crushed tomato
1 tbs white sugar
dash of dried oregano
handful of green chopped
chopped fresh basil leaves

1. In the skillet, drizzle extra virgin olive oil

2. Chop 1 clove of garlic and add it to the skillet and let it come to fragrant

** If you like spicier Ratatouille, after garlic is added to the skillet,add hot Italian sausage removed from the casing, small bits each onto the skillet.It will add the zing to the dish

3. To that, add 1/2 zucchini chopped to 1/2″ thick bite size pieces, half the can of garbanzo bean drained, and season it with Morton’s Natures Seasons and stir

4. When zucchini started to soften, add 1/4C red port wine and stir

5. Add 1C to 1.5C crushed tomato sauce and add 1 tbs or so of white sugar to balance out the acidity to your taste.

6. Season it with dried oregano and stir

7. Add chopped green such as kale, collard green,or spinach,stir and turn down the heat to simmer and let it cook through

8. Serve it on the plate and sprinkle chopped fresh basil and a dash of ground Parmesan cheese

** I find that you can make a little big batch of this and plate it on the plate and top it with seared scallops to serve is also good one to enjoy scallops and various vegetables.

 My husband is not a big fan of zucchini but when I cook this way,he eats it fine.

 Besides this, very quick way to make sides using only green is that, boil them in the water,squeeze out as much water as possible and then either add that to scramble egg, or simply add dash of soy sauce and garnish with toasted sesame seed and serve it with hot steamy rice.

 The second one that are not so obvious way to cook the green in the dish is to use the leafy gree vegetables in the fried rice.

 You can include many vegetables that you have in your fridge,and they are quick and easy versatile dish and you can play it around with it.

 Here is my Fried rice just made this week using bok choy.As noted above bok choy is also nutritious leafy green vegetables and you can use it in other than noodle dish or stir fry Chinese dishes.

 Of course, you can add in leftover chopped ribs or ground beef or cut up chicken tender etc.. You can make your own Fried rice the way you like it

Vegetable Fried rice..

Ingredients for Vegetable Fried rice;

sweet onion chopped
about 8 strings of green beans chopped fine into 1/4″
1/8 red pepper
1/8 green pepper chopped
1 bok choy 2 stem parts chopped fine
and all the leaves chopped rough
1/2 vine tomato seed removed,chopped

Extra virgin olive oil
Morton’s Natures Seasons
2 eggs
18 oz cooked white rice
2 capful of sake
Kikkoman Extra Fancy Soy sauce (Not the soy sauce made in USA,but imported from Japan)
Sesame oil

<Vegetable fried rice>

To the skillet, drizzle Extra virgin Olive Oil, and when it gets heated
up, add 1/2 sweet onion chopped, about 8 strings of green beans chopped fine into 1/4″ pieces, 1/8 red pepper
chopped, 1/8 green pepper chopped, 1 bok choy 2 stem parts chopped fine and all the leaves chopped rough, 1/2 vine tomato seed removed,chopped and stir.

2. Season it with Morton’s Natures Seasons,and when onions gets translucent, and other vegetables in the skillet got soften up, add 1/16C of whole corn kernels, and stir

3. Make the empty space in the center of the skillet by moving all the vegetables to the side of the skillet and crack 2 eggs in the skillet and poke the yolk and stir the eggs and make the scramble egg in the center of the skillet

4. When eggs are cooked to not runny but nice scramble egg texture, stir it with vegetables and add cooked white rice*
(18 oz ), and break the rice down with wooden spoon and cook the
rice,vegetables and eggs.

** I recommend Kokuho rose rice

5. When you see no big lumps of rice in
the skillet and mixed well with vegetables and eggs, add about 2 capful of sake* and stir

** Recommend Gekkeikan brand sake.You can find it at local grocery store’s prepared sushi section.

6. Pour bit of soy sauce at a time to your taste and stir and taste it.

** For the great tasting fried rice.Good soy sauce is the key to the dish.

Use the Extra Fancy Whole Bean Soy sauce by Kikkoman Japan, imported from Japan if you can get them at your local Asian store.

The soy sauce I use is called ” Extra fancy whole bean soy sauce” from Kikkoman Japan:it is imported from Japan and is sold at Asian stores. It is big plastic bottle. You can see the soy sauce I use in the picture below.

This is made from GMO free soy.

Extra Fancy Whole bean soy sauce from Japan.

 When I first came to the states, soy sauce is one of those things that tasted so funky to me even if familiar brand “kikkoman” although it was via kikkoman USA,instead of kikkoman Japan.

  Later, I found out that
the ingredients are different. The one I get from Asian store has 4
ingredients in the label:water,soybean,wheat,and salt. Other soy sauce
even kikkoman USA product  has more than 4 ingredients..Chinese brand’s
soy sauce has caramel coloring. Here is good site to talk about how soy sauce can be made differently.

 I have never used the website personally, but I found one online store called “EFood Depot” and they have the soy sauce that I like;Extra Fancy Whole bean soy sauce from Kikkoman Japan.

 You can find the soy sauce at EFood Depot here.

7.When everything is good, drizzle touch of sesame oil and stir and serve


Makes: 3 adult servings

 If you like Fried rice, you can find 6 version of fried rice recipes in the previous blog entries  (Fried rice,Omelet and rice,Chicken and rice, and Rice pancake, Double Pork Asian BBQ Fried rice, BBQ Fried rice, Basic Fried Rice with Thai Spring roll,Beef Tacos Fried Rice,Zesty BBQ Fried rice

 What are your favorite way to enjoy greens?

 To read full article written by Jennifer Motl.please click here.

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Dec 29, 2013 | Comments are off | People Health

People food for thought Part XXIII;Benefits of yogurt and D.I.Y. Yogurt

 When you hear the word “Yogurt”, you would imagine that yogurt is one of healthy food products you can get at the grocery store.

When you watch TV, you would see a couple of different kinds of yogurt commercials from flavored yogurt to yogurt that claims to contains many strains of friendly gut bacteria in them.

Our stumpy little dog “Palette” loves frozen yogurt treats I make for her, she thinks that the yogurt is super yummy food in the world.

You can see frozen yogurt cool down treats recipes with Palette’s treat diary series here.

There are commercially made frozen dog treats for dogs or ready to freeze smoothie yogurt cups.

Dogs may like them but have you looked at the ingredients in them?

For example, commercially made frozen dog treats you can get at grocery store contains…

“Water, Whey, Soy Flour, Coconut Oil, Dried Whey Product, Whey Protein,
Soy Lecithin, Polysorbate 60, Calcium Carbonate, Choline Chloride,
Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Sulfate, Manganese Sulfate, Microcrystalline
Cellulose, Magnesium Oxide, Silicon Dioxide, Mono And Diglycerides,
Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement, Cellulose Gum, Niacin
Supplement, Copper Sulfate, Polysorbate 80, Calcium Pantothenate,
Riboflavin Supplement, Potassium Iodide, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin
D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid.

There are 31 ingredients to make one!

Ready to make smoothie cup has shorter ingredients list but, ingredients are either “Apple puree, banana puree, water, pear puree, natural peppermint extract, ascorbic acid (Vitamin C)” or “Apple puree, banana puree, water, natural peanut butter flavor, ascorbic acid (Vitamin C)”.

Compared to the frozen dog treats,ingredients are more recognizable items and shorter and it is better but, I would prefer to see “Peanut butter” for the peanut butter flavored smoothie treats rather than “peanut butter flavor“.

And I would prefer just fruits and water and nothing else if I were to make smoothie treats using only ingredients used for the actual smoothie treats.

I see many people add honey, peanut butter etc.. for homemade frozen yogurt treats for dogs and some people use yogurt with vanilla flavored one but,I personally prefer to use the plain unsweetened yogurt and, I don’t see the point to sweeten up the yogurt with honey or peanut butter because whatever you will be putting them has enough flavor dogs like.

I also have seen the frozen yogurt recipe that has banana,peanut butter,honey and yogurt.Peanut butter has sugar in them and honey is sweetener and banana by itself is sweet enough and I have to wonder how much more they want to sweet things up for their dogs?

One particular recipe I came across using honey,peanut butter,banana,and yogurt came out to 782kcal with entire recipe and recipe instructs you to pour these into 4 oz disposable cup,which means probably comes out to about 8-10 cups.

If it was for 10 cups worth recipe, one cup (one treat cup) is about 78 kcal! Even if you pour them into ice cube tray and make them into smaller cubes,it probably better when it comes to kcal consumed but it runs around 24 kcal per ice cube size treats.

My version of frozen yogurt treats you can find at Palette’s diary series has less sugary ingredients and much lower kcal per ice cube size treats.

For them, all food they consume does not have to be sweetened up,or flavored up.

That being said,if you make your own cool down treats, they are much cheaper,not fortified with any vitamins/minerals,and you can be creative with what flavor you will make for your dogs and, it will be fun.

Also,since they are made from fresh food,ingredients list will be much shorter and simpler treats,and they will be much more nutritious, much more low in calories although it depends on what ingredients were used to make them.

Those are what Palette will be looking forward to getting after daily walk and bathing time. She literally drool over the treats and enjoys every bite of it.

I love to try all kinds of new fruits or food and, recently, I tried out star fruits and, I liked it. It tasted like apple/pear all in one bite and, I let Palette taste it and she liked it so, I let her enjoy some of star fruits in the form of frozen yogurt treats

YUM!! I love frozen star fruits celery yogurt treats!

Now, you find all kinds of yogurt at grocery stores, and they are good for you but only if you choose the right one.

You maybe tempted to reach out to fruits flavored yogurt or yogurt that has chocolates pack comes with them or maybe jam on bottom.

However, as you have read in the previous entry titled “People food for thought Part II:Hidden sugars in food“,yogurt has natural
sugar “Lactose”, and plain yogurt has natural sugar around 12 grams.
Flavored yogurt can have 35 grams of sugar in the label.

Therefore, you may reach out to the flavored yogurt and thinking it is good for you but, if you look closer to the label, it is actually very sugary snack of the day.

Back to the dog treats topic, if you used french vanilla yogurt for example, 1 Cup of French vanilla flavored yogurt contains 29 grams of sugar, and if you use plain yogurt, one cup contains only 12 grams of sugar in them.

You can see the flavored yogurt like French vanilla yogurt has almost 2.5 times more sugar and,if you were adding extra sweetener such as peanut butter, honey etc.., then,the yogurt treats will be quite sugary.

Of course, dogs would love sugary yogurt treats made with flavored yogurt but, just because they like the treats does not necessary means they are good one to give them.

Recently, I came across interesting newspaper article on yogurt written by Jennifer Motl and, I thought I would share it with you.

According to the article, there are some studies done on the relationship between yogurt and people health and here are some of the examples that shows yogurt is good for your health.

Benefits of yogurt..

** Women who ate most yogurt had half the risk of diabetes compared to those who avoided yogurt in a study of 82.000 Americans.

** Eating yogurt 6 weeks everyday caused “bad cholesterol LDL” level dropped 7% in Italian study

** Children who ate more yogurt had fewer dental problems in Dutch study

** Those who ate most yogurt had 35% fewer case of colon cancer than those who avoided yogurt

What kinds of yogurt you should pick to eat?

There are many kinds of yogurt at dairy aisle. What kinds of yogurt you should choose? Here are some tips from the newspaper article written by Jennifer Motl.

Greek yogurt has been “Hot item” these days. Greek yogurt is thicker yogurt than regular yogurt and it has almost like cream cheese consistency if you will.

According to Jennifer, these Greek yogurt is milder and less sour because whey is removed. Also, they have twice the protein of regular yogurt; up to 15 grams of protein per cup and it equal to the protein you would consume if you eat 2 eggs.

Yogurt is basically fermented milk products with friendly gut bacteria, and to make Greek yogurt, yogurt is strained to drain sour whey in the regular yogurt.

The reason why Greek yogurt is more expensive than regular yogurt is because it requires more milk to make same amount of yogurt to regular yogurt,and it costs more.

One other thing she has mentioned in her article was about frozen yogurt products for human. She wrote that frozen yogurt products are least healthful and it has more sugar than regular yogurt and some brands have no friendly gut bacteria in them.

Therefore, I had a look at the website of grocery store we often go to and, interesting thing I found is that,there are no plain frozen yogurt products and everything is flavored up.

I have picked vanilla flavored one to look up the sugar amount in them and it was 19 grams of sugar in half cup so, if you make it to 1 cup to compare, frozen yogurt has 38 grams of sugar in one cup!

Not only ingredients are lengthy than unfrozen yogurt,but also frozen yogurt contains lots of sugar in them.

Jennifer recommends to buy a tub of plain yogurt and add fresh/frozen/dried fruits to enjoy your flavor and add a touch of honey if you need to sweetened up.

She writes it is good for cereal and,I agree with that. I eat toast for breakfast but I used to eat plain unflavored cereal top with yogurt mixed with puree strawberry on top.

It was tasty.

If yogurt is the staple food items in your fridge, instead of buying yogurt tub every time it runs out,why not making on your own?

Incidentally, Jennifer’s article was with slow cooker yogurt recipe and, I had to try out to see what it will be like. It looked easy to make and here are recipe you can try on your own.

Since her recipe was big volume, I had to scaled it down to good enough amount to keep one at a time. I also tweaked some instruction after browsing through yogurt making tips.

To read full article written by Jennifer Motl,please click here.

Homemade yogurt recipe..

Homemade Yogurt with strawberry..


4 C Whole Milk

3 tbs Plain whole milk yogurt (for source of friendly bacteria)


1. Pour milk into slow-cooker set to “Low”,and cover with lid

2. Wait for about 3 hours until temperature reach to 185F

** Use thermometer to take temperature of the milk

** Do not open lid frequently since every time you open lid, temperature will drop

** 185F temperature is the temperature you will start seeing froth on milk

3. Unplug the slow-cooker,and cool it to 110F

** Will take about 2 hours to reach the temperature

** 110F is the temperature where yogurt culture being reproduce

4. Skim off the film on top of the milk if any

5. Ladle 1/2C warm milk from slow-cooker into measuring cup and add 3 tbs of plain whole milk yogurt (I like stonyfield organic Plain whole milk yogurt with cream on top)

6. Mix it well

7. Pour the yogurt-milk mixture back into the slow-cooker

8. Take the inner ceramic bowl out from the slow-cooker and wrap them with big towel to keep them warm and set it in the oven with light on (Oven is not on,just light is on),and oven door closed

** It is good idea to put a big note that says “Do not use oven” on top of the oven so family member will know what is going on, and not accidentally turns the oven on

9. Wait for 7 hours

10. Stir well and put it into sealed container and keep the container at back of the shelf in the fridge over night

** Back of the shelf is the coldest area in the fridge and it is best to keep there

11. Next morning, you can enjoy your homemade yogurt

The yogurt I made came out touch thinner than store bought yogurt but good thing is, it was not as tangy as store bought one so I really did not need any sugar to add to enjoy them.

I just pour it over fresh fruits and enjoyed freshly made Yogurt.

Yogurt making is very easy and economical.Try it yourself and see if you like them.

The recipe above makes 2 1/2 C yogurt.

Palette got to taste test freshly made yogurt and she was 7 paws up! She really loved them! Since I knew she liked strawberry, I put sliced strawberry in the yogurt and she licked to clean and came back to the bowl over and over again just to be sure there are no more yummy left out.

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Jan 24, 2012 | Comments are off | People Health

People food for thought Part XXII; High fructose Corn syrup

 In the previous entry titled “People food for thought Part II;Hidden sugar in food“, I wrote that I came across
article about the hidden sugar at Chicago tribune website written by Julie
Deardorff, and gave you a list of food that contains hidden sugar as examples.

According to Julie Deardorff article, American Heart
Association now have new guideline for sugar intake. For women, 25 grams
of added sugar is boarder line sugar amount, and for men, it is 37.5
grams of added sugar is border line for guideline.

Julie lists example in her article with Coca-cola. She writes, 12 ounce can of Coca-cola has 39grams of sugar already. That is above the guideline for both men and women, and many would be consuming more than 3 times of what American Heart Association recommends.

When you think about it, sugars are added to many products. The article says, if you read the food label and find “High Fructose Corn syrup” or “Cane juice” in top 3 ingredients, it has lots of added sugar in it and not a healthy choice.

You can read Julie Deardorff article on “how much sugar should you eat” here .

In the previous entry titled “People food for thought Part XVIII;Artificial sweetener“, I wrote about what artificial sweeteners are,what the definition of the claim “zero calorie” is, different kinds of artificial sweetener and its description and comparison with table sugar.

Here, I would like to write about popular ingredient you can find on the label of  many of processed food “High Fructose corn syrup”.

When you hear the name of the ingredient “High fructose corn syrup”, you would know that it is not a good ingredients to find in the food label because you would hear about it being bad in media.

High fructose syrup can be found in so many processed foods as sweetener from cookies,sodas, bread, pizza,cereal, lunch meat such as packaged ham, flavored yogurt, soup,fruit juice,condiments such as ketchup,salad dressing etc..

According to nutrition diva website article written by Monica Reinagel, it is found in highly processed, calorie dense food without a lot of nutrition value.

Especially, in the states, whole grain bread is pushed as great kinds of bread to have, but in reality, when you flip the products over to read the food labels, you would soon notice that there are long list of ingredients and often times, high fructose corn syrup can be found as one of the ingredients.

You can read more on whole grain in the previous entry titled “People food for thought Part IF;Whole Grain“.

With cereal, boxes comes with terms like “bran”, “healthy”,”whole grain” etc but in reality, they are very sugary food and, some of them come with artificial coloring and you would most likely find high fructose corn syrup in the ingredients list right away.

Same goes yogurt. Plain yogurt is very healthy because it got good bacteria acidophiles, and it is good source of calcium also but then, if you pick the flavored kind, it is sweetened up with high fructose corn syrup and naturally healthy food becomes not so healthy products with snap.

Since high fructose corn syrup can be found in many processed food, if you consume lots of processed food, you would be consuming a lot of sugar in the short period of time.

Therefore, if you were to reduce the amount of high fructose corn syrup in the diet, cooking with fresh food would lessen the amount of sugar consumed, and it makes sense to have less processed food on the table everyday.

According to the nutrition diva website article written by Monica Reinagel, refined sugar affects appetite and metabolism in a way to promote obesity.

Primary agent of this effects is fructose that you can find in concentrated sweetener.

What exactly is high fructose corn syrup?

High fructose corn syrup is,according to benefits of honey website, highly processed sweetener widely used in processed food,and beverages and they are made from white corn starch.

Glucose is taken out from it and,processed it further to retrieve the fructose.

They point out that high fructose corn syrup has long shelf life and blend well with food, and cheap so it became popular choice of sweetener in the processed food.

Therefore, processed food that contains high fructose corn syrup in the products is not only food itself is highly processed but also contains highly processed refined sugar as sweetener.

Monica at nutrition diva website states that high fructose corn syrup contains roughly the same amount of fructose as honey,cane sugar, and fruit juice concentrate and agave have higher fructose than high fructose corn syrup.

She also points out that just because high fructose corn syrup is swapped with other kind of sweetener such as cane syrup does not necessary means better,and the reason why high fructose corn syrup gets bad rep in the media is because high fructose corn syrup is widely used in many processed food, and it is the source of fructose (sugar).

We should look at intake of fructose (sugar) in the overall diet not singling out the high fructose corn syrup and pick the other item made with cane syrup etc.

Her example being coca cola made with high fructose corn syrup is not necessary be better with coca cola made with cane syrup or other sweetener.

So here it is. 12 oz can of coca cola ingredients are as following.

Carbonated water, high fructose corn syrup,caramel color,phosphoric acid,natural flavor, and caffeine

1 can is 140 kcal and contains 39 grams of sugar

Here is a ingredients list for Pepsi Throwback cola

Carbonated water,sugar,caramel color,phosphoric acid, caffeine and natural flavor

As you can see, two products ingredients are identical and just high fructose corn syrup is swapped with sugar.

1 can is 150 kcal and contains 40 grams of sugar

When you pick up the products made with real sugar, you may feel better inside, but in reality, it is not necessary be better and what you did was just picked up the items ingredient was swapped but provide roughly the same amount of fructose.

She also points out that when you eat fruits, you will be consuming fructose via form of whole foods. Since fruits are not processed food, you would be getting much less fructose compared to the amount of fructose you get via daily consumption of processed food such as sweets,sodas, sweetened beverage etc..

Here is an example. Lets say you ate 1 cup of raw sliced apple without skin. It will be 110 grams in weight (roughly about 4 oz wt).

You will be getting 53 kcal when you eat one cup of sliced apple, and sugar you get by eating that way is 11 grams.

Remember coca cola 12 oz can was 140 -150 kcal and roughly 40 grams of sugar?

That means, you must consume roughly 3 -4 cup of sliced apples (330 -440 grams/12 oz -16 oz wt) to get the  same amount of sugar to the soft drink.

You can see the nutrient profile of 1 cup of sliced raw apple at self nutritiondata website here.

I think her word is wise word because the goal should be cutting back sugar (fructose) itself not just high fructose corn syrup.

Now I looked coca cola/pepsi ingredients list, I wonder what exactly natural flavor is… It does not specify what it is and I am curious about it.

I think that choosing the right products with right ingredients can help reducing the amount of fructose consumed in our diet, but best way to cut back the fructose in our diet is to start cooking with fresh food.

You can see what you are eating and you can adjust the amount of sugar/salt etc and they are without fillers with great nutrition value.

To read full article at nutrition diva website by Monica Reinagel,please click here.

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Jan 02, 2012 | Comments are off | People Health

People food for thought Part XV; Herbs and spices

 When you think about herbs and spices, you would first imagine they are the flavor enhancer. They will give your dishes more depth and it also can add some characteristics to the plates.

A little bit of chopped dark green Italian parsley, chopped green onion, chiffonade dark basil leaves sprinkled over your dish pop/brighten up your dish.

Not only herbs and spices are kitchen essentials for your dishes, but also it can be used in other ways such as “non toxic cleaner”, “non toxic insect/flea/tick repellent” or “natural remedy for health” etc.

Many of the herbs and spices are known to have natural remedy property.

For example, ginger for nausea, cinnamon for upset stomach, dill/marjoram for digestive aid,thyme and rosemary for disinfectant property.

Also, oregano,peppermint,marjoram,cardamom etc are known to have antiseptic  property.

According to article written by Jordan Laio, herbs such as hyssop and rue were  considered disinfectants,and they were scattered around jails to keep disease in check.

Some herbs and spices are more than flavor enhancer for your dishes.

As you already have noticed, our stumpy Corgi “Palette” is on fresh food diet, a.k.a. raw food diet, and since the diet switch from processed food diet, I started paying more attention to overall health issues such as over-vaccination, monthly flea/tick treatment etc and I also started paying more attention to the use of toxic household cleaners.

You can read my experience of raw feeding for Palette with “raw feeding 911 series”. You can read the previous entry titled “Raw feeding 911 Part I” here.

You can read previous entry titled “Titer test for dogs” (vaccination entry) here.

You can see the recipe of non toxic flea/insect repellent spray that I use for Palette in the previous entry titled “People food for thought Part IX; Citrus fruits” here.

Our furry furriends are low to the ground and, they can potentially exposed to the toxic cleaners little by little via toxic cleaner vapor and, as their natural instinct, if you drop some food on the floor, they sure would go pick it up and lick the floor making sure nothing has left behind.

If he/she were licking the floor cleaned with toxic cleaner, they are licking some of the substance in the cleaner too.

If you have a furry friends that drink water from toilet,and if you do use toilet cleaner that contains chlorine, then it is possible that he/she is drinking the water with chlorine.

If your furry friends loves to lick the door/windows where you do use toxic cleaners that contains gycol ethers, he/she be licking some of the cleaner used for the windows too.

According to the article at dogster website, following are toxic household cleaners to your dogs.

** Boric acid commonly used in Ant killer/cleaner

** Ammonia commonly used in de-greasers for oven,glasses and stainless steel

** Chlorine commonly used for disinfectants;toilet bowl cleaners,automatic dish detergent

** Gycol ethers commonly used in glass cleaners,carpet cleaners,spot removers

** Formal dehyde sometimes used in soap, pet shampoo

To read the full article at dogster website,please click here.

Green non toxic cleaners…

According to penny at pennilessparenting website, followings are common ingredients used for her homemade non toxic house hold cleaners.

White Vinegar; kills mold,bacteria,fungi etc and act as water softener,deodorizer, and general cleaner

Borax;naturally found in mineral that disinfects and make other cleaners work more effectively

Baking soda;cleaning application such as de-greaser,whitener, and deodorizer and disinfectants

Salt; works as abrasives,grease/stain remover,and disinfectants

Citric acid; powdered form of acids found in the citrus fruits.Works as water softener,bleach,and remove lime deposits

Lemon juice;de-greaser,whitener,disinfectants

<Cleaning stoves with baking soda>

 When I clean oven/stove top, just like Penny suggest readers, I usually use mixture of water and baking soda. It removes greasy spots and it does good job cleaning the stove top.

I use the same method for oven cleaning too.

It actually was something that I leaned from my mother long time ago.

However, I noticed that Penny uses interesting method to clean the stove grates.Since we have electric stove, I cannot try and see how it does,but she suggest to soak it in vinegar a while and then rinse it with baking soda and water mixture  or dish soap.

<Cleaning windows>

Penny suggests to mix half a cup of vinegar and 2 cups of water and keep it in the spray bottle.

I do have similar mixture which I make 50-50 mixture of water and vinegar. I use them to clean Palette’s feeding mat and also use it to remove slimy feeling left in her feeding bowl where I sometimes pour an egg for her for meal and Palette lick it clean.

I found that if I pour the vinegar-water mixture a bit into the food bowl and scrub with sponge and then, add sprinkle of kosher salt and scrub more, slimy feeling left in the food bowl gets removed and I can run my finger and can hear the squeaking sound.

You can read Penny’s full article on homemade cleaner here.

<Cleaning microwave>

As you can see in the previous entry titled “People food for thought Part IX;Citrus fruits“, I use cut of lemon to clean the microwave.

I cut the lemon in half,place it slice
side down onto microwave safe plate and microwave 20-30 seconds. Then,
wipe the microwave with warm lemon and wipe again with paper towel.

<All purpose orange cleaner>

Penny’s all purpose orange cleaner is interesting. It is mixture of vinegar,orange peel and water.

She suggest to put orange peels in a jar and pour vinegar in and let it sit for a few weeks. Then,take the orange infused vinegar into the spray bottle and dilute it with water making the solution 50-50.

She writes it can clean sink,mirrors,windows,floor,counter tops etc.

You can read her full article on orange cleaner here.

<sink scrub>

According to newspaper article written by Jordan Laio, you can make sink scrub by mixing 1/4 cup of mint leave and 1 cup of baking soda,1 tbs salt in blender.

To clean, sprinkle it a bit onto your sink, and add a little bit of water and scrub.

He also writes you can make herbal window cleaner by mixing 2 cups of lemon balm and half cup of vinegar.

You can read full article written by Jordan Laio on green cleaners here.

Now you can look the spice and herbs more than flavor enhancer

What are your green tips you can share with others?


Jun 14, 2011 | Comments are off | People Health

People food for thought Part VIII; Panko Bread crumbs

 In recent years, many celebrity chefs, food magazines started talking more about Japanese “Panko” bread crumbs, and Japanese style “Panko” bread crumbs are getting popular.

What is Japanese style “Panko” bread crumbs?

If you were not familiar with Japanese “Panko” bread crumbs, Japanese Panko bread crumbs are much coarse bread crumbs than western style bread crumbs, and it tends to be flaky appearance, and it makes much crispier coating when fried.

You can use Japanese style “Panko” bread crumbs for all kinds of protein source such as chicken,pork,shrimp etc..when deep frying them. Also, you can use them as substitute for bread soaked in milk to make a nice moist burger. Grated onion and bread/bread crumbs soaked in milk are the secret of making a nice,moist,burger.

In Japan, popular deep fried dish using “Panko” bread crumbs will be “Ton Katsu”. It is a pork cutlet dredged in the flour, and dipped in lightly beaten egg, and rolled on the “Panko” bread crumbs and deep fried.

Many people use pork chop for this, but for me, personally, it is a bit tough cut even if you pound the meat with meat mallet. So, what I normally would do to make “Ton katsu” is to use Pork tenderloin.

How to make “Ton Katsu”; breaded deep fried pork cutlet

1. Cut the Pork tenderloin to about 1/4″ thickness, pound them with meat mallet

2. Season the meat with Morton’s Nature’s season with blue cap

3. Dredge the pork tenderloin into flour, shake off the excess flour

4. Dip the flour coated pork tenderloin into lightly beaten egg

5. Roll the pork tenderloin that were dipped into lightly beaten egg onto Japanese style “Panko” bread crumbs

6. Deep fry them to golden

** When you deep frying food, it is helpful if you use candy thermometer to see the appropriate temperature for deep frying. In general at about 360F is good temperature for deep frying.

** Don’t put the food to fry when oil is not hot enough.It will make soggy,greasy food and not tasty.

Traditionally, if you order “Ton Katsu” at restaurant in Japan, “Ton Katsu” will be made with pork chop and much thicker,bigger, a little fattier, and a little chewier than my version of “Ton Katsu” and it usually comes with shredded green cabbage and hot steamy white rice and possibly a cup of Miso soup.

Sauce for the dish is usually called “Ton Katsu sauce” and it is a sauce made from Worcester sauce with hint of grated apple but depending on region, sauce can be different.

If you go to restaurant in Nagoya, Japan, which is a little western side of Japanese main island (famous for Nagoya Castle, Miso,Flat noodle called “Kishi men”), “Ton katsu” sauce is miso base.

When I make “Ton Katsu”, if not with rice, I make “katsu” burger. It is simply a deep fried pork cutlet (Ton Katsu) on the bun and I make the sauce using ketchup and Worcester sauce with ratio 2:3 (2 parts being ketchup, 3 parts being Worcester sauce) and mix well and use it as sauce. My husband loves the burger when I make them.

The Japanese style “Panko” brand crumbs I like to use are both products of Japan, imported to the states and it is Welpac brand or Sirakiku brand. You can get them at Asian stores or local grocery store international aisle.

I have tried other brands such as kikkoman USA, but it is made in the states and while ingredients to make them in minimal and similar, and coarse bread crumbs but it looks different, and I personally feel that others are easier to coat the food and make better deep fried foods.

By now, you may have noticed that I keep using the word “Japanese style” Panko bread crumbs. When I first come over to the states and, not knowing all bread crumbs were same, I have picked up the bread crumbs at regular aisle at the local grocery store.

I was surprised to see what I have found in the container. It was completely different texture, almost like sand in the container and it made quite different texture when I used them for recipes that I normally use “Japanese style” Panko bread crumbs for. It was not as crispier, not as lighter, and did not have the texture when I was familiar with when I bite into the food.

So, next time when I picked up the bread crumbs, I picked up the one that says “Japanese style” bread crumbs, but made in the states. As I stated above, similar coarse looking crumbs but it was not the same and I felt the one I was familiar with was coating the food better, and easier to coat the food with, because the crumbs in the bag was roundish bits, as opposed to flaky looks I was familiar with.

Since then, I make sure to get bread crumbs imported from Japan at Asian store or at the local grocery store because I like them better.

What are different between Japanese style “Panko bread crumbs and Western style bread crumbs?

Since the day I had culture shock with bread crumbs here in the states, I started looking what were the difference between the Japanese bread crumbs and western style bread crumbs.

Biggest,easiest difference you can find right away is the texture; western style bread crumbs are sandy texture while Japanese “Panko” bread crumbs are more coarse,flaky appearance.

Other than the looks, did you know western style bread crumbs have much more sodium,much more calories, in the products?

Western style bread crumbs have 2-3 times more sodium in the products, and have about 1.5 times more calories than Japanese style “Panko” bread crumbs.

Also, western style bread crumbs have long list of ingredients (9 ingredients, and corn syrup is the second in the list) as opposed to short ingredients list of Japanese style bread crumbs imported from Japan (5 ingredients in the list).

 Therefore, while deep fried foods are not healthy choice of eating, day in, day out, if you have them occasionally, make a better choice by choosing the Japanese “Panko” bread crumbs made in Japan over the western style “Panko” bread crumbs.

If you like to make more healthier choice for bread crumbs, make it yourself. All you need is bread.

Interesting thing about homemade bread crumbs is that, how you make the bread crumbs described on the internet via people outside Japan is different from the way many Japanese families make them.

What are the difference?

How to make “Panko” bread crumbs at home; Western way

Below is the common method suggested to follow to make homemade bread crumbs via people outside Japan.

Often times, they suggest to use the Crusty French bread, and put them into food processor and pulse to make them smaller piece. Then, they suggest to bake in the oven.

How to make “Panko” bread crumbs at home; Japanese way

There are a couple of ways to make them. Many families in Japan use any kinds of bread, and often times, we use regular white bread. It does not have to be crusty bread like French bread because mostly you want white center part,not crust.

Also, most families in Japan do not bake bread crumbs in the oven to make the bread crumbs either. Many families make fresh frozen “Panko” bread crumbs. I think that reason is because by not baking in the oven, it gets less chance it gets burn before meat is thoroughly cooked in the oil, and ensure that “Panko” bread crumbs get uniform golden color when cooked.

<Method 1>

Freeze the bread, and grate them with grater. Store the homemade “Panko” bread crumbs in freezer.

<Method 2>

Lightly toast the bread but not to make the bread brown in color, just enough to feel dry/toasted on surface. Then, grate them with grater, or cut to small pieces and put them into food processor and pulse so that you would not make the crumbs too fine.

Store the homemade “Panko” bread crumbs in freezer.

<Method 3>

Leave the bread on counter top for about 2 days to get it stale, grate them with grater or cut to dice and pulse them in food processor.

Store the homemade “Panko” bread crumbs in freezer.

Since white bread has not much crust compared to French bread or any other Artisan bread, I do not worry much about cutting the crust off, as long as crust does not dominate the ratio of overall homemade “Panko” bread crumbs.

Below is the picture of my homemade “Panko” bread crumbs.

Homemade “Panko” bread crumbs..

Making your own bread crumbs is the healthiest way to enjoy the deep fried foods occasionally. It is because if you make one yourself, you get fresh bread crumbs all the time and ingredient is simply one ingredients, and easy to make, and it does not make many leftovers. Most of all, it is the tastiest way to enjoy the bread crumbs.

On the talk of bread crumbs, just recently, I found a dark chocolate bar made with toasted Panko  bread crumbs and sea salt.

The chocolate bar is made with Venezuelan dark chocolate (60% cacao), filled with toasted bread crumbs, and sea salt. It seems it is sold at about $6 in average. I thought it a little pricey compared to regular chocolate bar, but since it was interesting so, I gave it a try.

Panko Dark chocolate bar with sea salt..

Panko Dark chocolate bar with sea salt closer look..

As you can see in the picture, it has finely ground Panko bread crumbs.

The dark chocolate itself maybe one of the tastiest I have tried in the past. Very rich,creamy, with nice amount of bitterness, and I would give 5 stars. However, when you put a piece of chocolate bar into your mouth, it gives you a little bit of grainy texture and not so much of crunchy, coarse “Panko” bread crumbs I would expect “toasted Panko bread crumbs” to have.

If you finely ground corn flakes and mix with dark chocolate, pour into the mold, you maybe able to recreate the similar texture. This chocolate bar reminds me of chocolate covered corn flakes I used to eat back in Japan.

Compared to Bacon chocolate bar, saltiness for this bar is less and maybe easy to be accepted by many people.

For me, personally, it does not tastes much different to eat regular tasty dark chocolate other than you feel the grainy texture in the mouth with hint of saltiness in the background.

Considering the cost for this bar and taste, it was not so much of “wow” factor. The dark chocolate itself was very tasty though.

You can find the Panko bread crumbs chocolate bar at local grocery store or manufacturer website here.

Apparently, this chocolate bar was at Fancy Food show in NY,which Celebrity chef  Bobby Flay was reporting about for the “Early show”. The Fancy food show seems to be hold twice a year. If the location was close to you, it might be interesting show to check out.

You can watch the news coverage by Bobby Flay for the “Early show” here .

What interests me all the time is how people comes up with creative ideas; story behind the creation.

According to co-owner Michael, this chocolate bar was inspired by Chocolate Panini he had as a child; Slice French bread in half, place chocolate bar on top, and press them with Panini press.

I have to say, recent years, if you look up the chocolate bar sections at local grocery store, you can find more and more savory type of chocolate bar such as the one with bacon bits or the one with chili etc. And more odd ball snacks.

Our stumpy dog “Palette” enjoyed the “smell” of Panko chocolate with wet nose. Too bad chocolate is toxic for her (dogs). If it were made out of carob, she could have enjoyed them a lot although it does not mean that is good for them

Do you like savory chocolate bar or sweet chocolate bar?


Dec 07, 2010 | Comments are off | People Health