Sunday, January 27, 2013

Zucchini Lasagna

Making Zucchini Lasagna
fresh basil leaves, fresh parsley, garlic cloves, lemon juice, olive oil, walnuts or almonds, sea salt
(blend ingredients to make a rich pesto sauce)
Basil leaves ready to be blended to a paste.
Layer zucchini and tomato slices, piles of spinach and pesto. Make 2-3 layers of these.
After layering the dish, add additional seasoning to the top like basil and parley and sea salt.
Bake for 45 or so minutes at 350F.
Wah-lah! Italian supper tonight!!!

These breadsticks are made from quinoa, millet and a little flax blended to a flour and then riced cauliflower and seasonings added along with extra garlic to make the "garlic bread sticks". My bro was ecstatic!!!
Close-up of the zucchini lasagna - very creamy!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Know What's in Your Food

This eye-opening article needs to be posted and shared with others. Meat, no matter the country, is being contaminated, sometimes willfully, sometimes neglectfully, and sometimes by ardent carelessness or governmental or economic design. I was really surprised by the comparison between Korean beef and American beef as there's been so much rap in the media since the Beef Riots in 2008 here in Seoul about American beef being contaminated, American beef taken from downer cows, American beef fed corn for fattening the cows but not flavoring them ... and Korea beef is trophied as being highly surperior, which is empirically believed in South Korea. Well, another myth has been busted, and in today's lethal drug-infested world, it's just better to be a happy vegetarian than a beefy antibiotic eater.

"Know What’s in Your Food"

By Lee Seung-hee

South Korea is one of the most health-conscious countries in the world. A TV show here, ``Vitamin," which aims to provide nutrition and disease related information, has gained popularity since 2003 and influenced the general population to be more concerned about nutrition and aware of chronic diseases deriving from diet.

``What to eat and what not to eat" is a common interest in everyday Korean life. Once a specific food or a nutrient gains the reputation for being healthy, it really gains in popularity. For example, ox tail soup is known to alleviate arthritis and beef blood soup is good for soothing menstrual cramps.

If a specific food or nutrient gains a negative reputation, it gets stigmatized. For example, it is known that salt is blamed for elevated blood pressure and animal fat for developing plaque in blood vessels.

However, do we know what's in our food besides the nutrients? Did you know that antibiotics are fed to livestock? Korean livestock farmers used 0.91 kilograms of antibiotics for every ton of livestock in 2002 compared to the United States' 0.14 kilograms, according to a report from the Korean Animal Welfare Association (KAWA). Livestock farmers in Korea spend more money than anyone else in the world on feeding antibiotics to their pigs and cows.

Wait. Antibiotics? Are we eating sick animals that have been treated by antibiotics? No. It's a precautionary measure, just in case they get sick. But if they are not sick, why are they being fed with the exact same antibiotics that are used for clinical purposes? It's because it is almost impossible for animals to survive in a crowded farm environment without the antibiotics.

KAWA reported that the unsanitary, enclosed and artificial environment requires farmers to administer various medicines. Therefore, farmers administer antibiotics regularly even when livestock are not ill to prevent animals from getting diseases, because if one pig gets sick it can easily spread to others in the farm, and eventually farmers will lose money. It is much more economical to use antibiotics than to deal with sick or dying farm animals.

Although this model is beneficial for farmers, is it beneficial for people who are eating meat that's been tainted with antibiotics? Farmers administer antibiotics in order to improve the immune system of the animals and to ensure their survival, but the overuse of antibiotics leads to humans' development of resistance to certain diseases.

One solution seems obvious ― could we just keep the animals in a clean, un-crowded environment? In 2000, the article ``Nutrition transition of South Korea," published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition by Popkin, B. et al. showed the total daily meat consumption of Koreans has increased from 6.6grams per person in 1969 to 67g in 1995, while daily consumption of cereal and grain products has decreased from 558.8g to 308.9g during the same period. Such a demand has prompted farmers to grow more livestock. Due to limited land for raising livestock, overcrowding animal farms has become a common and accepted practice.

Fortunately, the Korean FDA announced a ban on the seven most frequently-used antibiotics in animal feed. The swift action was spurred by worrisome results in 2008 showing that steady use of antibiotic feed can develop into antibiotic resistance. In addition, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry is planning on providing subsidies to environmentally-friendly farmers that don't use antibiotics. Selected farmers will be given cash over a period of three to five years in order to support their environmentally-friendly facilities.

This is a very progressive and advanced decision made by the Korean government at a time when the U.S. continues to struggle with its antibiotic usage in meat production. Such change is desirable, and we do see many antibiotic free meats in U.S. grocery stores.

Unfortunately, in 2008, major Korean grocery stores carried some eggs and chicken that were advertised to be antibiotic free but were found to contain the antibiotic Enrofloxacin. On top of this problem, these ``antibiotic-free" products are sold at 1.5 times the price of regular eggs and chicken. Such a discrepancy results in distrusting consumers, which may damage farmers who really do practice antibiotic free farming.

Even I was cynical about purchasing antibiotic free, organic and environmentally-friendly produce while I was in Korea because I was so skeptical from various news stories that showed untrustworthy, mostly corporate farmers breaking regulations. However, when I buy organic, free range, antibiotic free produce in America, I am confident that it is organic. This is mainly because I know the USDA has a strict certification process and ensures quality through vigorous follow-ups with certified farms.

Therefore, in order to set our tables with reliable and trustworthy foods, we the consumers should be more aware of such consequences and demand more structured and strict regulation among certified antibiotic-free farms.

``Knowing is not enough, we must apply. Willing is not enough, we must do," is a famous and appropriate quote by Johann Wolfgang van Goethe. Now that we know antibiotic usage in livestock can cause harm to humans, the government has ``applied" a ban on the use of some antibiotics in livestock farming and is ``willing" to protect people from potential antibiotic resistance. It is our turn to take another step to ensure these antibiotic-free farms and products meet regulations. Purchase meat from local antibiotic free farms near you, support trustworthy farmers and increase the demand of such products. Don't eat with fear but eat with philosophy ― just know what you're eating and what's in your food.

The writer is a nutritionist and a second-year doctoral student at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health studying Human Nutrition. Her research interest focuses on promoting healthy eating among the low-income urban population in U.S. She can be reached at

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Chickpea Hummus

Hummus is one of the most wonderful and simple dishes to complete a fresh-vegie meal! And so many hummus variations are possible to complement the vegies or chips or breads. One drawback of hummus, though, is that chickpeas can be very moldy, so my mom taught me a couple little tricks for eliminating some of that mold. The first is to carefully rinse and then soak the chickpeas overnight in clean water. Pour the discolored and potentially mold-polluted water off in the a.m. and then put in a slow-cooker covered with more fresh water and turn the cooker on high. One to one-and-a-half hours later, depending on the slow-cooker, the chickpeas will have warmed quite a lot and released more of their mold. Pour off that water, rinse the chickpeas and then put more water on and slow-cook them until they are done. It sounds complicated, but really the machinery is doing all the work. My mom and dad have found that they are less gassy when they cook their beans and chickpeas this way. And wowzer, it's true. I'm much less likely to feel any tightness in my throat after eating chickpeas prepared this way. 
Hummus variations!
The best hummus is made with hot chickpeas right out of the slow-cooker.

chickpeas, wedge of onion, garlic cloves, ginger chunk, cherry tomatoes, olive oil, sea salt
chickpeas, coconut oil (sweeter than olive oil), ginger, sea salt
BTW, the chips are Beanitos, a black bean chip and are wonderfully candida-friendly (remember moderation though!)

chickpeas, cumin, turmeric, olive oil or coconut oil, onion wedge, garlic cloves, sea salt
This hummus would be even better with avocado wedges on top!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Feasting on Spaghetti Squash

The only squash that are OK for people with candida are zucchini and spaghetti squash. Sometimes a person can eat yellow squash but for some reason, as it is a summer squash unlike zucchini, it has something (probably more starchy) that messes with people with actute candida. The other squashes are extremely starchy, which is too bad, because they're also full of vitamin A, which most people with candida need more of, myself included.
Spaghetti squash is recommended as a diet food, and for some, as a pasta replacement as its calorie per serving is much lower. The spaghetti squash, when baked, forks out of the shell in long strand-like spaghettis, hence its name. As for nutrition, it's not like other winter squash in nutrition but neither is it anywhere near as starchy. According to the US Dept of Agriculture (USDA) nutrient database, 1 cup of cooked spaghetti squash provides 42 calories, 0.4 grams of fat, 1 g of protein, 10 g  of carbohydrate (4 g as sugar - so stop at one cup!), and 2.2 g of fiber. 
Fixing Spaghetti Squash
Slice them open and dig out the seeds. Firm seeds can be set aside, cleaned, seasoned and then baked in pan for a snack later. Very tasty little buggers!
Put a 2-3 teaspoons of coconut oil in each squash half. Sprinkle the squash with your choice of seasonings.
My choice is definitely rosemary and thyme. I also like a little basil in them too.
At 350F bake them turned upside down in a pan for 1 hour or until tender.
Use a fork to pull the squash out in strands. I like using a spoon because it's faster and easier to scrape the shell, but the appearance is more like a bowl of squash rather than a bowl of spaghetti. You decide which is better for yourself.

A feast to behold!
finely chopped toss salad + socca + spaghetti squash + corn ears (not for me) = Paradise

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Is Your Food Safe?

Researchers estimate that each year about 30% of people in developed countries suffer from foodborne illness. In poorer countries, foodborne and waterborne diseases kill millions - mostly children - every year. "In the markets here (Nigeria), food items are exposed to flies, rain, wind, and dust," says Bola, a concerned father. "When I read or hear about food diseases, I feel scared. I want to protect my family."

Is it possible to protect your family from unsafe food? The Canadian Food Inspection Agency states, "If unsafe food gets into our grocery stores, it makes headlines. And rightly so. But unsafe food, which could lead to foodborne illness, can also happen from what we do - or don't do - in our own kitchens." So what can we do to protect our families from foodborne illness? Four ways are considered here.


♦ Plan your route
"Shop for non-perishable food first," advises the Food Safety Information Council in Australia. "Leave [items from the fridges and freezers to the end of your shopping." Also, if you are buying hot food, pick it up just before you return home."

♦ Favor fresh food
Try to purchase fresh food when possible, example, in many countries where an open market serves the people, shop early when fruits and vegetables are fresher. Also, shop local as fruits and vegetables did not have to picked green (unripe) in order to put them on a shelf many days later for you to pick over. Local markets cut back on transport time, and it is always a good idea to support your local farmers so that they will keep producing and making freshies available for you.

♦ Inspect your food
Ask yourself, "Is the skin on my produce intact? Is the meat free of unusual odors?" If the food is prewrapped, inspect the packaging. Damaged packages can allow poisonous bacteria to enter the food.
Chung Fai, who buys food at a supermarket in Hong Kong says, "It is also necessary to check the expiration date printed on packaged food." Why? Experts warn that even if 'expired' food looks, smells, and tastes good, it can still make you sick.

♦ Pack safely
If you use a reusable shopping bag or plastic bin, wash it out frequently with hot soapy water. Carry meat and fish in separate bins or bags so they do not contaminate other food.
Enrico and Loredana, a couple in Italy, shop locally. "That way, we don't have to transport food very far and risk spoilage." If it will take longer than 30 minutes to return home, put chilled or frozen foods into an insulated bag, or in some other way, make sure it is kept cool.


Just as a surgeon protects the patients by washing his/her hands, sterilizing the instruments, and maintaining a clean operating room, you can protect your family by keeping yourself, your kitchen and your food clean.
♦  Wash your hands
The Public Health Agency of Canada states that "hands spread an estimated 80% of common infectious diseases like the common cold and flu." So wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before eating, after using the toilet, and when you prepare a meal.

♦ Keep you kitchen clean
One study revealed that while the bathroom tended to be the cleanest place in the home, "the sites in the households that were contaminated with the most fecal bacteria were the sponge/dishcloths in the kitchen."  Therefore, change dishcloths frequently, and use hot soapy water or disinfectant to clean kitchen surfaces. 

Before produce is sold, it may have been contaminated by unclean water, animals, fecal matter, or other raw food items. Therefore, even if you plan to peel fruits or vegies, rinse them thoroughly to remove harmful bacteria.

Separate raw meat
[For those who eat or use meat in their kitchen] To prevent the spread of bacteria, seal or securely wrap all raw meat, poultry, and seafood, and separate them from other food. Use a separate cutting board and knife for those foods, or wash your cutting board and knife thoroughly with soap and hot water before and after raw meat or seafood touches it.
 ♦ Rinse produce

A careless cook in ancient Israel gathered wild gourds although "he was familiar with them". He added the unfamiliar food to a stew, and the eaters, who feared the food may have been poisoned, cried out, "There is death in the pot." (2 Kings 4:38-41)

As the above example illustrates, food that is prepared carelessly warrants caution, as it can be harmful or even deadly. To prevent foodborne illness, therefore, learn to prepare and store food carefully.
♦ Do not thaw meat at room temperature
"Even though the center of the meat may still be frozen as it thaws on the counter," says the US Department of Agriculture, "the outer layer of the food could be in the 'danger zone', between 4C and 60C - temperatures at which bacteria multiply rapidly." Instead, thaw food inthe refrigerator, in a microwave, or under cold water in a package that will not leak.

♦ Cook thoroughly
According to the World Health Organization, "proper cooking kills almost all dangerous microorganisms." When cooking food, especially soups and stews, make sure that it reaches a temperature of at least 70C." Since it can be difficult to judge the internal temperature of some dishes, many cooks use a meat thermometer.

♦ Serve soon
Cooked food should not be left at room temperature for too long, so serve it soon, even immediately, to prevent spoilage. Keep cold food cold and hot food hot. You can keep hot meat in an oven set at approximately 93C.

♦ Handle extra food wisely
Serve food immediately and immediately after eating, store food that will be eaten soon in the fridge. Otherwise, packaging the food for better preservation and lower bacteria build-up for the freezer is a good idea.

Case study: Jeff, a healthy and energetic 38-yr-old man, took his family out to eat at a restaurant near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, US. A month later, Jeff died of acute liver failure. The culprit? Green onions in his meal - contaminated with hepatitis A.

Almost half of all money spent on food in one Western land is spent in restaurants. Yet, in that same land, restaurant food is associated with about half the foodborne disease outbreaks. True - if you choose to eat at a restaurant where someone else purchases the ingredients, prepares the food and cleans the kitchen, life is very convenient, but you can make some healthful decisions when eating out - where you decide to eat, what you eat, and how you pack any food that you take home.
♦ Look around you
Are tables, tablecloths, utensils, and servers clean and tidy? If not, go elsewhere. In some countries, health officials routinely inspect and grade restaurants for cleanliness, and they post their results for the public to read.

♦ Beware of doggie bags
The US Food and Drug Association advises, "If you won't be arriving home within 2 hours of being served (sooner if temperatures are above 32C), don't take the leftovers home with you." If you have leftovers, go directly home after your meal and store them in the refrigerator.
This information comes from 'Awake!" June 2012 issue.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Gingery Asian Stir Fry

Was feeling like something Asian, like a vegie stir-fry. The only problem with that is I can't have soy sauce - it's fermented. So I made my family a stir-fry with all the niceties and for myself, well, mostly vegies. I did, however, come up with a pretty nice sauce -- coconut oil, lots of ginger and garlic and that was where the flavor pack came from. Looks bland but has a gingery kick to it ... nice!
My gingery Asian stir-fry is to the left; to the right is an Southeast Asian stir-fry with yummy things I can't have ... yet.
Looks rather boring but that heavy ginger with coconut made it really yummy and zippy!

Everyone else had rice noodles with their stir-fry, but I skipped that and ate my zippy stir-fry with some lightly steamed asparagus, and a raw salsa-like salad. And for once I even drank with my meals - not good for digestion, but as I said, it was unusual. Some lovely fresh turnip greens were converted into a high vitamin smoothie. Yum! Sorry, no picts of that.

For the recipe of the Southeast Asian stir-fry that is not candida friendly, go here.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Fancy a Fungus?

More info on mushrooms being "from the gods"
In ancient Egypt the Pharaohs prized mushrooms as delicacies. They became the preserve of the royal family. The Romans called mushrooms food of the gods and served them only on special occasions. The ancient Greeks held mushroom feasts and believed that mushrooms empowered their warriors for battle. Today, however, mushrooms are not just for the elite; people are enjoying them all over the world and they are easily available in stores and produce stands. 

The following is an interview of an Australian and his wife from Sydney, Australia who drove to Mittagong a picturesque town in the southern highlands of New South Wales to search out Noel Arnold's mushroom farm and interview Noel on the cultivation of mushrooms.

Mushroom Cultivation

Noel is a microbiologist and mushroom expert, who studied mushroom cultivation in several countries before returning to Australia to grow them commercially. "Mushrooms are fungi, a family of organisms that includes mildews and molds," he explains. "Biologists formerly thought that fungi were plants, but we now know that they are very different from plants. For example, fungi do not make their food from photosynthesis as do nearly all plants. They can grow in the dark. Their bodies secrete powerful enzymes that convert organic material into basic nutrients, which they absorb as food. This unique digestive process also distinguishes fungi from animals. Since fungi are neither plants nor animals, biologists now classify them in a realm of their own - the fungi kingdom."

"In the wild, mature mushrooms release millions of tiny spores that mix with other mushroom spores and germinate. If the spores land in a cold, damp place with plenty of food, they can grow into new mushrooms. Commercial mushroom growers aim to replicate this process using controlled conditions to improve crop yields and quality."

Noel further explained about how different mushroom varieties require different growing conditions. For example, while white, or button, mushrooms, the world's most popular variety, grow best on pasteurized farm compost, other varieties flourish in bags of plant waste, bottles of cereal grains, whole wooden logs, or logs of compressed sawdust. Of the thousands of known mushroom species, only about 60 are commercially cultivated.

Noel allows his mushrooms to mature and fruit in an old abandoned railway tunnel near Mittagong. "It's cool, damp, and perfect for growing mushrooms," he states. There in the tunnel are an array of bags, pots, and bottles sprouting thousands of mushrooms of all shapes and sizes. Some evoke memories of blooming roses, others resemble fluted lilies or look like floral bouquets or squat umbrellas. In total, it was a splendid color display.

Tasty and Versatile

"Many people love the look of exotic mushrooms but may not know how to prepare them. Yet, they are easy to cook. Some people chop them up for stir-fries, soups and salads, or they cook them whole for a barbecue. Personally, I enjoy oyster mushrooms crumbed and fried in oil. And shiitake mushrooms have a rich, meaty flavor that tastes great in omelets."

Shiitake mushrooms
Edible mushrooms are highly nutritious and are a valuable source of fiber, protein, minerals and vitamins. Some 2,000 varieties are also known to have medicinal properties. According to one medical review, mushroom extracts have more than 100 medicinal uses, including combating cancer, hepatitis, AIDS, Alzheimer's disease, and high cholesterol.

It can be very dangerous to gather mushrooms in the wild, however. The death cap mushroom (Amanita phalloides), among others, closely resembles edible varieties yet is deadly. So follow the rules: NEVER eat mushrooms from the wild unless a mushroom expert identifies them as safe to eat.  
This article was taken (and slightly altered) from the Jehovah's Witness monthly magazine Awake! March 2012 issues, article entitled "Fancy a Fungus?" I post here on the article because the various forms of candida are in the fungi family and Noel gave some interesting commentary on the characteristics of the fungi: it grows in moist, dark places that has a food supply for supporting them (translated to mean, they feed off a host). They do not need photosynthesis to reproduce. Every mushroom likes feeds off a different environment, and in a different temperature controlled zone ... Valuable information for knowing the enemy and being better able to use countermeasures for eliminating it.