Tuesday, 4 August 2015

M is for Microbiome

Whether you like it or not, we humans are home to tens of trillions of microbes.

Microbiota

A microbiota is *"the ecological community of commensal, symbiotic and pathogenic microorganisms that literally share our body space".

*taken from HERE

**Our human body contains over ten times more microbial cells than human cells! 

**taken from HERE

The microbes are made up of bacteria, fungi and protozoa.

The picture below shows the diversity of the microbes that live in and on us!

*picture taken from HERE

Their Function in Our Human Body

The microbes live in our gut, mouth, skin, and other mucosal surfaces of our bodies. Today, scientists have discovered that these microbes benefit us by digesting food, preventing disease-causing-pathogens from invading our body, synthesizing essential nutrients and vitamins and also responsible for sending certain signals to the brain!

Beneficial & Non-Beneficial Foods

Optimizing the gut flora by ingesting fermented food is the best choice one can make. Lassi, kefir, sauerkraut. natto, kimchi, yoghurt and miso are superb fermented foods to have.

Probiotics is another good source to optimizing the gut flora.

Antibiotics, on the other hand will destroy the microbes in our gut. It will not only destroy the bad guys, the good guys will be eradicated too. Consumption of animals that are fed with antibiotics are also known to to destroy the gut flora.

Sugar, as well as processed food are also detrimental to the gut flora. High consumption of sugar can alter the atmosphere of the microbiome by causing a high amount of yeast/fungal.

Human Microbiome Project

The Human Microbiome Project (HMP) was a project by the United States National Institutes of Health. Their goal was to identify and characterise the microorganisms which are found in healthy and diseased bodies.

It is still a very little understood subject.

But there have been some interesting discoveries.

  • Microbes contribute more genes responsible for human survival than human's own genes. It is estimated that bacterial protein-coding genes are 360 times more abundant than human genes.
  • Microbial metabolic activities, such as the digestion of fast are not always provided by the same bacterial species. 
  • Components of the human micro biome changes over time, affected by the patient's diseased state and medication. However, the micro biome eventually returns to a state of equilibrium. The composition of the bacterial types has changed though. ***
***taken from HERE

Click HERE to read more about our microbes.

Also click on The Human Microbiome for more information.


Do take the time to watch the YouTube video about our microbiome.


Saturday, 1 August 2015

Gluten-Free Apple Crumble

Ingredients:

1. 6 Red Delicious apples (skin removed, cored and sliced into thin wedges)
2. 1 1/2 cups of gluten-free flour (I used brown rice flour)
3. 1 cup of finely chopped cashew nuts
4. 6 tablespoons of butter (softened at room temperature)

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1. Place the apple wedges at the bottom of mini single aluminum muffin tins.

2. Then sprinkle the finely chopped cashew nuts on top of the apple wedges.

3. Preheat the oven to 180C.

4. In a mixing bowl, combine the flour and butter. Mix them until they resemble fine bread crumbs.

5. Spread the crumble all over the apple and cashews.

6. Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until the top is golden brown.

7. Serve warm. (You can freeze the extras and reheat them in the oven just before you eat.)

Bon appétit!



Wednesday, 29 July 2015

The Glorious Heavens - Part 23






'Every day is a good day to be alive,
Whether the sun is shining or not.' - Marty Robbins

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Chayote Pork Bone Broth


Ingredients:

1. 1kg of pork bones
2. 2 medium sized chayote (skin peeled and sliced into half)
3. Filtered water
4. Sea-salt

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1. Fill a large pot with the pork bones and chayote.

2. Fill it up with water until all ingredients are submerged.

3. Bring the water to a boil.

4. Then allow to simmer for two hours.

5. Add sea-salt to taste.

6. Serve hot.

Bon appétit!


Thursday, 23 July 2015

A Pick-Me-Up Meal!


Ingredients:

1. 200gm of brown-rice beehoon
2. 1 1/2 tablespoons of fried garlic and oil
3. 1 poached egg
4. Tamari sauce

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1. Soak the beehoon in water until softened.

2. Drain the water and set the beehoon aside.

3. Fill a saucepan with water and bring it to a boil.

4. Add the beehoon and allow to cook for about one minute.

5. Scoop up the beehoon into a bowl.

6. Add the fried garlic, the oil and the Tamari sauce and mix thoroughly.

7. Add an egg to the boiling water. Scoop it up once it is cooked.

8. Serve immediately.

Bon appétit!

Monday, 20 July 2015

Steamed Tofu with Prawns


Ingredients:

1. 1 box of tofu (about 300gm)
2. 6 medium sized prawns (seasoned with sea-salt)
3. 2 tablespoons of fried garlic and garlic oil
4. Tamari sauce

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1. Place tofu on dish.

2. Arrange the prawns on the top of the tofu.

3. Steam for about 4 minutes or until prawns are thoroughly cooked.

4. Pour the fried garlic, garlic oil and tamari sauce over the tofu and prawns.

5. Serve hot with rice.

Bon appétit!




Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Claypot Bittergourd Chicken


Ingredients:

1. 1 medium-sized bitter gourd (washed thoroughly and cut into small chunks)
2. 1 antibiotic-free/free-range chicken (cut into 10 parts)
3. Sea-salt
4. Sunflower oil
5. 1/2 clove of garlic (outer layer removed)
6. 2 tablespoons of Tamari sauce
7. 1 1/2 cup of chicken broth

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1. Heat a clay pot on medium high.

2. Drizzle some sunflower oil once the clay pot is heated up.

3. Add the garlic and stir-fry until slightly browned and a wonderful garlic aroma wafts through the air.

4. Add the bitter gourd, chicken, chicken broth, Tamari sauce and sea-salt and bring the dish to a boil.

5. Change the heat to low-heat.

6. Simmer for about 1/2 hour to 45 minutes.

7. Serve hot with rice.

Bon appétit!


Saturday, 11 July 2015

Chilli Chicken


IMPORTANT NOTE: This dish is very high in salicylates!


Ingredients:

1. 5 red chilli pepper (seeds removed)
2. 1 garlic clove (skin removed)
3. 10 shallots (skin removed)
4. 6 large old potatoes (skin peeled and cut into chunks)
5. 8 drumsticks (with skin) (seasoned with sea-salt)
6. Sea-salt
7. 2 cups of chicken broth
8. Sunflower oil

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1. Blend the red chilli pepper, garlic and shallots together until they form a paste. Set aside.

2. Heat a wok on high heat.

3. Drizzle some sunflower oil.

4. Once the oil is heated up, add the potatoes and cook until browned. Scoop up and set aside.

5. Heat a clay pot on medium heat.

6. Drizzle some sunflower oil.

7. Then add the blended paste and stir it continuously until a fragrant aroma wafts from the mixture and it has turned into a darker shade of colour.

8. Add the drumsticks, cooked potatoes and chicken broth.

9. Turn to low heat and allow to simmer for about an hour.

10. Scoop up onto serving dish and serve hot with rice.

Bon appétit!

PS: I could only take about two spoonful of this dish. This is a major GERD trigger for me. Two spoonful is better than none!


Sunday, 5 July 2015

The Journey in Healing the Gut (3)

It's been a an uphill battle to heal the digestive system. Reflux is a stubborn goat who does not let up and is like a spoilt-child who insists on having her way.

I am still in the ring with reflux and I have currently lost round 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and very soon will head to being knocked out.

I did try to add on a new probiotics (in order to strengthen the gut) on top of the existing one which I have been consuming for 6 1/2 years now (LACTO GG). I did not react to it (such good news).

But I woke up the next morning, with such excruciating, crippling and debilitating pain in my shoulders and neck. I know that whenever I consume sugar, I will pay HELL for it. I kept going through my food list to check whether I had sugar. I did not eat sugar at all. Not even a grain of it. I was afraid that I could have accidentally ingested it but no, I did not.

Day two came and it got worse.

Day three came and I was literally in the bowels of Hades.

And then it struck me. The NEW PROBIOTICS!

I checked the ingredients and there wasn't any sugar.

And then I saw it.

Fructooligosaccharide. It had this as a pre-biotic.

I stopped this new probiotics immediately and the pain went away in two days. I got my shoulders and neck back. The relieve was heaven-sent.

So back to square one. How shall we tackle this reflux monster?

(...to be continued...)




Thursday, 2 July 2015

Recovery Process...

I was hungry 24/7 at every second. It came to a point where I was having cold sweat, severe shaking, tremors, plunging BP to the point of blacking out, blurring of vision and terrible nausea. Something was wrong with me. My calves became so swollen that they were rock hard and I had difficulty walking.

It got so bad one night that I went to the ER. 

The doctor who saw me the previous week when I was down with the bacterial infection became worried as cases like mine could lead to inflammation of the thyroid.

So I had blood tests for the thyroid and kidneys.

All blood tests came back negative.

The doctor said that I could be having post-illness syndrome. He told me to rest. But he told me to see my gastroenterologist if this continued.

I couldn't take it as the severe hunger pangs would just strike at anytime of the day. Having chicken porridge caused my BP to plunged to the point I could only lie down as the dizziness and fainting spells were horrible. I was feeling so down and desperate.

I saw Dr. Rockstar last Friday. 

Dr. Rockstar said the antibiotics had screw up my digestion. Everything became haywire and it could take up to one month for my system to return to normal. I am currently on pancreas enzymes. It's called Pancreatin. It's digestive enzymes. 

There have been 'pockets of relief' here and there. I have to eat even smaller meals and have more protein. 

The good news is I am able to take yoghurt (which my stomach couldn't digest) and also sprouted wheat bread (which was an experiment). This means that all this while I lacked the enzymes to digest certain foods.

It is certainly interesting to see how things are unfolding. I have a follow-up meeting with Dr. Rockstar next week. Let's see what he shall say then. 


Monday, 29 June 2015

Did You Know....

... That drying your fruits (dehydrating) causes massive loss of nutrients? 30 to 80% of its vitamins and antioxidant contents are GONE!

High heat during the drying process destroys the vitamins.

To read more, click on LINK.
Click HERE.

Friday, 26 June 2015

13 Months!

It was a stellar record. To me at least it was.

For 13 months I managed to fight every virus and bacteria germ that I came across.

I finally succumbed to a very nasty bacterial infection last week which saw my tonsils swell up twice their size. The pain was so excruciating. Not only that, I had ulcers in my throat. And the hacking cough that would not let up made the pain worse.

The infection was so bad that the doctors thought I had dengue as my platelet count dropped drastically.

Thank god it was only bacteria and not viral.

One week of antibiotics cleared the infection.

So it's now back to building the immune system and gut system up and maybe hopefully I can stay strong for TWO years now?? Hopefully.


Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Baked Stuffed Potato Skins with Fried Rice



Ingredients:

1. 10 medium sized old potatoes (wash outer layer with vegetable brush thoroughly and then dried thoroughly)
2. 200gm of minced chicken (seasoned with sea-salt)
3. 2 cups of cooked sushi rice
4. 1 medium sized carrot (outer layer peeled and sliced into thin sticks)
5. *1 medium sized broccoli (washed and florets cut into small parts) [If you are on low-salicylate diet, replace this with another vegetable of your choice which you are able to tolerate.]
6. Sea-salt
7. Sunflower oil
8. 2 cloves of garlic (sliced thinly)

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1. Preheat oven to 220C.

2. Prick all the potatoes with a fork. (If not they'll be atomic bombs in the oven!)

3. Place all the potatoes on a baking tray and bake for approximately 40 minutes or until the potatoes become tender and soft.

4. Cut off about a quarter of the potatoes and scoop out the insides while leaving the skin intact.

5. Set the potatoes aside.

6. Heat a wok on high heat.

7. Drizzle some sunflower oil onto the wok.

8. Throw in the thinly sliced garlic.

9. Stir fry until golden brown.

10. Add the minced chicken, carrot, broccoli,

11. Stir fry until all are cooked.

12. Add the rice and potatoes that were scooped up.

13. Mix everything thoroughly.

14. Scoop the rice mixture and fill up the potato skins.

15. Pre-heat oven at 200C.

16. Arrange them on a baking tray and bake for about 15 minutes.

17. Allow to slightly cool before serving.

Bon appétit!





Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Siew Yuk (Roasted Pork Belly)


Ingredients:

1. 1kg of pork belly
2. Sea-salt
3. *White pepper (optional)

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1. Wash the pork belly thoroughly and pat dry with paper towels.

2. Usually, a skin-pricking-tool is used. Unfortunately, I do not own one. So I had to use a very sharp fork. Prick the whole pork skin until it looks like some fork-stabbing-session. (At the end of the pricking session, my hands were numb and carpal tunnel was in full manifestation. Conclusion: Get the damn tool!) The tool looks like this:

*picture taken from HERE

3. Season with salt and grounded white pepper. (*White pepper is optional. For those who are on salicylate diet, do omit if you are unable to tolerate.)

4. Rub the seasoning(s) thoroughly until the whole pork belly is coated.

5. You can either place it in a freezer bag to allow it to be seasoned in the freezer for an extended period of time (to allow the seasoning to permeate the meat more thoroughly), OR you can blow dry it with a fan (if you are going to eat it on the same day). Some people dry their meat in the fridge.
Blowing the meat so that the skin dries up. This will ensure the skin to crackle and pop into a very crispy and crunchy texture.
6. Preheat the oven to 230C.

7. Bake for approximately 45 minutes.

8. Then set the oven on GRILL mode.

9. Grill for another 1/2 hour.

10. Remove from oven to cool.

11. Slice the slab of meat and ENJOY!!!!!!
To die for!!!!!!!!!!! YUMMY!!!
Bon appétit!


Thursday, 11 June 2015

The Braces Diet - Soft Rice With Fish & Spinach

Dish One:

Ingredients:

1. 1/2 cup of rice
2. 1 1/2 cups of filtered water
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1. Wash rice thoroughly.

2. Cook for about 20 minutes.

Dish Two:

1. 1 slice of red fish
2. Sea salt
3. Sunflower oil
4. Filtered water
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1. Season fish with sea-salt and sunflower oil.

2. Place in steaming dish.

3. Add about 3 tablespoons of water to the fish.

4. Steam for about 1/2 hour.

Dish Three:

1. 200gm of spinach (washed thoroughly).
2. Sea-salt
3. Sunflower oil
4. Filtered water

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1. Heat up a wok.

2. Drizzle some sunflower oil.

3. Add the spinach and some sea-salt. (Be careful when you add the spinach to the hot oil. The oil will sizzle and splash!)

4. Add 3 tablespoons of water.

5. Stir-fry until the spinach has softened.

***********
Before serving these three dishes to the person with braces, mash and break everything to minute pieces. It's like making food for a one-year-old child!

Bon appétit!




Monday, 8 June 2015

Yellow Eel ABC Soup


Ingredients:

1. 4 thick slices of yellow eel

This is how the eel looks like.
2. Carcass of one chicken
3. 3 large potatoes (skin peeled and cut into 4 parts)
4. 2 large carrots (skin peeled and cut into half)
5. Filtered water
6. Sea-salt

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1. Put all ingredients above in a large pot and fill it with the filtered water until everything is submerged.

2. Bring the water to a boil and then simmer for two hours.

3. Serve it hot.

*Note: The fish monger told me that this eel is good for people with skin problems. It has a lot of bones and is used for boiling soup. It was so sweet and delicious.