Monday, August 23, 2010

A Lil Diversion.....

Well this has nothing to do with food or soups but it has something to do with Orientalism and health and in a way, well-being.

I came upon this Oriental Tit Tar website when I went over (OK, OK, more like moseyed over) to a friend's blog. He had sprained his ankle so he went to see a Chinese Tit Tar.

How shall I translate Tit Tar?

It's a Cantonese word for the chiropractor who puts you right again.

It's very cool that this particular Tit Tar is smart enough to take hold of technology and use it for his own business.

After all, complementary medicine should be here as an option for people like you and me.

Particularly me as I love my Sin Seh (Chinese medicine man). Sure, the healing is not as fast as Western medicine. But asking for quick, fast relief isn't always the best way to cure the body.

So I like my medicine to work with my body to heal it, not work as a 'patch' and cover up the symptoms but not treat the root causes.

That is perhaps why I like going back to the basics - prevention through soups!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

This Is For The Eyes

While I've gone ahead and got my eyes iLASIK-ed, my dear husband is doing it the natural way. He says he can train his eyes to see better with a combination of eye exercises, nutrition and Bates pinhole glasses.

I'm OK with whatever he chooses to do. He supported me when I told him I needed to laser my eyes and get back my vision before I turn 40 in 4 years' time. Supported me as in financially, he paid for my vision correction surgery.

So of course I am supporting him in his endeavour.

He diligently does his eye exercises and of late, he can actually sit at our living room sofa and read the time on our Astro decoder (which is like 7 feet away!).

I'm really happy for him because it will be so good when he does not need to rely on his glasses anymore.

On this note, I told him I'd make him nutritious stuff to help him improve his eyesight.

Wolfberry in soups is one of those methods. Wolfberries are great for the eyes and as any Chinese mom will tell you, it is one of those herbs you have to have in your kitchen. My neighbour, Vern, told me she thinks her good eyesight comes from her snacking on dried wolfberries like raisins when she was a kid!

Aside wolfberries, we've been taking cod liver oil capsules too. Cod liver oil contains Vitamin A so that again is perfect for the eyes.

Another cool thing I discovered lately is beetroot. I never knew how to cook or eat this root vegetable but I sure loved its purple colour. In fact I like any fruit that's magenta-purple like berries, red dragon fruit and plums. So it's no wonder I have taken to heart the humble but powerful beetroot.

Making Juice Out of Beetroot

On days when I go to the wet market, I buy beetroot. A small one will do.

I peel it and slice it up. Put it in a blender with 1 small carrot (also diced up) and 2 tablespoons honey. Add two glasses of water and blend for 10 seconds or until everything's gone pulpy!

Add some ice and serve chilled.

This recipe makes 4 regular mugs of deliciously dark and purple beetroot juice.

I was thinking of getting a juicer initially but after a while, it's rather fun to have bits of beetroot fibre to chew as you drink this vitamin-packed juice. It'd be such a waste to throw out the pulp!

Besides helping to lower blood pressure and helping with constipation (and a host of other health problems), beetroot juice is a natural liver cleanser. I read that if something is good for your liver, it is good for the eyes because in TCM, apparently the eyes and the liver are connected. So if your liver's not feeling too well, you can be sure your eyes won't feel their best either.

Accordingly, beetroot contains the compounds, betaine and methionine, which support liver detoxification.

(Can I tell you that it's also an aphrodisiac? Yes, it is!)

So while I continue feeding my husband with all those stuff that's good for his eyes, you just might want to add beetroot to your shopping basket the next time you see this vegetable. Tastewise, it's like jicama that's tinged purple.

I find that adding carrots sweeten the beetroot juice evenly - some people can't stand its raw taste but hey it's good for you! (And carrots as anyone knows is superb for eye health!)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Remarkable Nut of Nuts

In this recipe, walnuts and dried red dates are combined to make a healthy and life-giving dessert. And with honey added, it packs a punch.

A truly simple dessert which is used to prevent the usual flu magnets - colds and coughs. It helps too with your kidneys and with bowel movement.

Walnuts are much revered in Chinese medicine, not least because the nut resembles the brain! Again, the Chinese believe that walnuts are good snacks for children as they help boost brain power which is true because of the high amounts of Omega 3 fats (good for the brain).

Walnuts are of course a good source of essential omega-3 fatty acids and in Roman times, considered the food of the gods.

Walnuts are a 'yang' tonic and useful for toning up weak kidneys. It also warms lung Qi while acting as a laxative, moistening the intestines (hence encouraging bowel movement if you are constipated).

Walnuts are called Hu Tao Ren (juglans regia) in Chinese medicine.

Walnut & Red Date Dessert

150 gm walnuts
150 gm dried red dates, remove pits
3 tbsp honey
5 cups water

Bring to boil all ingredients except honey. Simmer over low heat for 1 hour. Add honey just before serving. Remember to serve warm!

Some walnut trivia:

Did you know that walnuts soaked in vodka for a month can be used as an energizing tonic for strengthening your kidneys?

Aside these, walnuts pack a punch because they are great for people with hypertension. They contain relatively high levels of l-arginine, an essential amino acid which inside the body is converted into nitric oxide, a chemical that helps keep the inner walls of blood vessels smooth and allows blood vessels to relax.

It is a remarkable nut for its helpful cardio properties! Recommended eating is about a handful of walnuts about 3-4 times a week. Or just 4 walnuts a day is all you need.

And if you want to sleep well at night, eat walnuts!

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Spare Ribs with Herb Trio

This is an easy soup but it is a warming soup (good for women in confinement). I read that spare ribs or pork are neutral in nature. It is how you cook the soup and with what sort of herbs which turn the nature of the dish.

In this soup, you need only 3 herbs:

Chinese yam (which I've written about before) - 8 gm, rinsed, drained
Chinese angelica or Dong Quai - 8 gm, rinsed, drained
Wolfberries or Kei Chi - 2 tbsp, rinsed and drained

1 liter water
2 tsp salt
500 gm spare ribs, blanched in boling hot water

Combine all ingredients into a slow cooker. If you are using a slow cooker, the 1 liter water must be boiling hot. Cook on Automatic for 2 hours. Add salt at the end of the process. Serve hot (with or without rice).

Absolutely deliciousness in a pot! And hearty too.