Posted on

Teas With Red Dates

Packed with vitamins and minerals, amino acids and flavonols, red Chinese dates – help maintain a steady flow of blood through the body, and encourage the healthy development of bones, muscles, skin, hair, enzymes, hormones, and neurotransmitters. Ongoing studies continue to recommend red dates as a fruit with the potential to treat and even prevent allergies and several types of cancers.

Seventy to 80 times higher in Vitamin C than grapes and apples, red dates also abound with Vitamin A, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, protein, calcium, phosphorus, iron and magnesium. This vitamin-packed punch makes red dates great for people who are recovering from serious diseases. Making it even better for the sickly, red dates are said to stimulate the production of white blood cells, which improves immunity, and decrease the levels of cholesterol in your bloodstream, which helps protect the liver. Like acai berries and other antioxidant foods, they’re even believed to suppress cancer cells. Red dates can also guard against more common ailments. Because of their high levels of Vitamin C, dates convert excessive cholesterol into bile acid, which helps prevent gallstones.

There are also different kinds of dates – the difference is in the colour. da zao 大棗 are black in color and hong zao 紅棗 are smaller and red in color. Both are from the same kind of fruit. When the fruit are blanched slightly in boiling water, and dried under the sun, they are called hong zao 紅棗. When the fruit are blanched in boiling water and baked until the skin becomes black and shiny, they are called da zao. (Black)

Red Dates -

An easy recipe to make tea with red dates is as follows:
(Adapted from


3-4 dried dates
1 teaspoon honey
1 cup of water


1. Rinse the dates. Boil 1 cup of water. When the water is boiled, add the dates and water into a cup. Let it rest for 3-4 minutes.

2. Add honey and stir well.

3. Enjoy!

Posted on

Right Brain May Help Predict Recovery Of Language In Stroke

Left and Right Brain Infographic

Left vs right brain is a debate that’s talked about frequently. Apparently, who you are is influenced by which part of the brain is more dominant in your body. Different subjects require different parts of your brain – for example, subjects like Mathematics would require more of your left brain, while subjects like creative writing would use your right brain more often.

When you have an ischemic stroke, the oxygen-rich blood supply to part of your brain is reduced. With a hemorrhagic stroke, there isbleeding in the brain.

After about 4 minutes without blood and oxygen, brain cells become damaged and may die. The body tries to restore blood and oxygen to the cells by enlarging other blood vessels (arteries) near the area.

If blood supply isn’t restored, permanent damage usually occurs. The body parts controlled by those damaged cells cannot function.

In TCM however, there are four agents of stroke – Wind, Fire, Phlegm and Stasis. The internal organs most likely to be weakened by these factors are the kidney and spleen, causing deficiencies of Chi, Blood, and Yin. Deficiencies of Chi, Blood, or Yin permit the body to be overwhelmed by the pathological factors of Wind, Phlegm, Fire, and Stasis, resulting in such stroke-related patterns as Liver Yang Rising, Stasis of Chi or Blood, Phlegm combining with Fire, Liver Wind, or Wind in the Meridians.

Wind In TCM

Wind Direction

Name of Wind

Internally Affects

Externally Affects

Its Qi Causes


great feathery wind





scheming wind





hard wind





breaking wind

small intestine

arm major yang channel

blockage in channel


great hard wind


bones, shoulder, back muscles



unfortunate wind

large intestine

sides of ribs, armpits, lower bones, limb joints

[not stated in text]


children’s wind


thick muscles



feathery wind


muscles, flesh

body weight

Regardless of the cause, a fascinating discovery has been made, that the structure of the right brain can predict the recovery of language in stroke.

Results showed that patients with aphasia (the impaired ability to understand speech) and better results in speech-fluency tests were more likely to have higher structural integrity than the control group in three areas of the brain.

The three areas were the right middle temporal gyrus, the right inferior frontal and the right precentral gyrus. The gyri (Or gyrus) are the “bumps” that can be seen on the surface of the brain. The folding created by the sulci and gyri increases the amount of cerebral cortex that can fit in the skull.

The correlation scores between the amount of injury to the left hemisphere and speech-fluency scores improved when the right hemisphere information was added to the analysis.

Thus, this study reveals that a well-wired right brain actively supports speech recovery.

To end off, learn about the nutritional values of foods normally consumed in order to pinpoint which vitamins or minerals might be missing. To be healthy and active, the brain also needs exercises that help stimulate the right hemisphere of the brain and activate deeper thought processes. Exercises like yoga and knitting can help stimulate the right brain as well.

Posted on

Having Purpose Can Improve Heart Health

Here’s opening up this post with loaded questions that, as you will find out later, can impact heart health:
What do you aim to achieve in life? What drives you in life? What are you living for?

A recent study conducted by Mount Sinai St Luke’s – Roosevelt Hospital revealed that a “sense of meaning or feeling that life is worth living” can improve your heart health significantly.

So this “sense of meaning or feeling that life is worth living” can mean differently for many people. It could mean completing 20 marathons in a year, baking with your family every week, or just hanging out with your pet dog in the living room.

Whatever task someone chooses to pursue, merely having the drive is beneficial.

Say yes to heart health

This is not the first study to link a sense of purpose with both physical and psychological benefits:

  • A 2009 study of 1,238 elderly people found that those with a sense of purpose lived longer.
  • A 2010 study of 900 older adults found that those with a greater sense of purpose were much less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Survey data often links a sense of purpose in life with increased happiness.

If you didn’t set any New Year’s resolutions for this year, don’t fret. Today is as good a day as any to make plans to change your life around.

Finding purpose doesn’t necessarily mean one has to start with something big like climbing Mount Everest. Purpose can be found in the smallest of things – what contribution would you like to make to your workplace? What difference would you want to leave upon your friends? What difference can you make in your neighbourhood?

TCM has a few views on the heart and heart health:

1. The heart is the ruler of the five organ networks. It commands the movements of the four extremities, it circulates the qi and the blood, it roams the realms of the material and the immaterial, and it is in tune with the gateways of every action. Therefore, coveting to govern the flow of energy on earth without possessing a heart would be like aspiring to tune gongs and drums without ears, or like trying to read a piece of fancy literature without eyes.

2. The heart is the emperor of the human body. Its subordinate officers are in charge of the nine orifices and their related functions. As long as the heart remains on its rightful path, the nine orifices will follow along and function properly. If the heart’s desires become abundant, however, the eyes will lose their sense of color, and the ears will lose their sense of sound. Thus it is said: ‘Keep your heart empty-this is the art of the heart through which the orifices can be mastered.’

Deviation above will necessarily cause malfunction below. Do not race your heart like a horse, or you will exhaust its energy. Do not fly your heart like a bird, or you will injure its wings. Never frantically move things around just for the sake of seeing what will happen. If you move things around you dislocate them from their proper place. If you will be calm and patient, everything will come to you by itself.

3. If the quality of heart blood is unblemished, the myriad of fine vessels in the face will be well supplied, and the person will present with a rosy and lustrous complexion. Chinese medicine, therefore, has traditionally regarded the face as a mirror of the condition of the heart. Again, the Neijing points out: “If the qi of the shaoyin hand (heart) network becomes obstructed, the blood vessels will cease to function. If the vessels cease to function, the blood will not move. If the blood does not move, the skin and body hair will lack nourishment. Thus the face will turn grey like lacquer and the blood will perish.”

The essential “looking” aspect of the four-fold system of Chinese diagnosis refers primarily to the observation of the face. Since the conditions of both blood and shen reflect here, the face can tell much about the general state of a person’s physical and emotional state. The Neijing’s “superior doctor”-also called shen (different character)-thus knows about the condition of a patient by looking at the face alone.

Perhaps taking care of your heart health doesn’t have so much to do with taking in fancy medicine or supplements. It could be as simple as making goals, sticking to it and believing why.

Posted on

Teatoxes – What About It?

Teatox sounds a lot like detox, something the world has been doing for a long while and something that which its benefits and disadvantages have also been discussed for equally long.

If you do a quick Google search, you will see a hundred posts on detoxing, its benefits and how to get started.

Here’s one for example, to help you tell the difference between a juice and a blended smoothie, all to aid in your ~detoxing~ journey.

Teatoxes Juice And Smoothies

It’s hard to properly sing the benefits of detoxing. Our organs – the liver and kidney do their job of “detoxing” the body well enough. One of the reasons you go to the toilet is to get rid of toxins, did you know? (Yes, you did!)

There’s a reason we fall for the marketing of detoxification – we seem hardwired to believe we need it, perhaps related to our susceptibility to ideas of sympathetic magic. Purification rituals date back to the earliest reaches of recorded history. The idea that we’re somehow poisoning ourselves and we need to atone for our sins seems to be a part of human nature, which may explain why it’s still a part of most of the world’s religions.

And now,

If you can’t stomach the green juices in most cleanses, there’s a new way to detox: teatox. These plans take tea—one of the world’s most popular beverages—and spruce it up with a variety of ingredients, promising results such as weight loss, detoxification, and increased energy, just as other detoxes claim.

And while there’s some evidence that drinking flavonoid-rich tea protects your heart, skin, brain, and bones; helps you manage stress and maintain weight; and fends off cancer and type 2 diabetes, there’s no published research to show teatoxes are safe or effective for weight loss or anything else. But since they are considered dietary supplements rather than foods, the companies behind them don’t need to prove any of the claims listed on the labels.

A teatox is simple.  Dieters simply drink several cups of herbal tea during the day, in addition to eating food. The idea is that drinking warm tea will help keep you full between meals and keep snacking at bay.

But does it work?

“Detoxing with tea may well produce initial, albeit temporary weight loss,” said Tanya Zuckerbrot, a registered dietitian and founder of the F-Factor Diet, her clinical practice in New York City that provides nutritional counseling. “Similar to any liquid diet, a tea detox or teatox works by restricting calories so that you consume fewer calories than you burn in a day.”

Zuckerbrot also advised that weight reduction is most likely due to loss of water, not fat; hence the lost weight may be regained once the tea detox ends. Supplementing a healthy diet that’s high in fiber and lean proteins with teas (such as green tea, black tea) can support our natural detoxifying processes, but it’s no magic bullet.

There are many teatoxes out there. We have Skinnymint, Naked Me Tea, and many others.

But many of these teatoxes contain laxatives that will be harmful to your body if taken for more than 2 weeks.

The natural remedies in place of teatoxes are aplenty –

Food that are friendly to your intestines:

  • Spinach
  • Banana
  • Apple
  • Apricot
  • Almond
  • Prune
  • Pear
  • Peach
  • Honey
  • Walnut
  • Pine Nut
  • Soy Products
  • Beet
  • Okra
  • Cauliflower
  • Carrot

    And some Chinese herbs that are friendly to your digestive tract……………

    • Marshmallow Root
    • Licorice Root
    • Psyllium Seed
    • Fenugreek Seed
    • Flax Seed
    • Comfrey Root
    • Hops
    • Iceland Moss
    • Oats
    • Irish Moss
    • Quince Seed
    • Slippery Elm

So teatoxes aren’t really needed….. right?

Posted on

What Race Are You Running?

Do themes of how we live life reflect how the world is like – running in a competition, stressful, quick-paced rush to the finish line, whatever the finish line may be?

Is the finish line clinching that *dream* job after graduation? Is it finally being able to start a family? Is it being able to buy a house or a car debt-free?

Two common examples that embody these questions are: Horse Race and Rat Race.

The “Rat Race” Experience

Expending exhausting efforts running around, but ultimately achieving nothing meaningful is the “rat race.” This phrase is used with regard to work, particularly when excessive and competitive. Put simply, if one’s perception is that he or she works frustratingly much, one is in “the rat race.”

This terminology implies that people experience work as a seemingly endless pursuit with little reward or purpose, both boring and meaningless. The increased image of work as a “rat race” in modern times has led many to seek better alternatives and a more harmonious work-life balance. Long hours, unpaid overtime, stress, time commuting, and less time for family and friends have led to a disgruntled workforce. Yet, nowadays, economic constraints force people to continue to work and endure these pressures, so we keep running.

Rat Race Running

The “Horse Race” Event

Experiencing life as a horse race implies several things: competition, ambition, gambling, and chance. Competing to win occurs from the school yard, the classroom, the workplace, through the political arena.

The added lure of randomness looms in the background to whet one’s appetite for potential success—a prize, the enticement of gambling and chance. There’s always something to win, something to aim for.

Using nonhuman, animal analogies to describe human experiences dehumanizes people. It reflects a de-”person”-alization of one’s life and is a perilous step before experiencing the self as an animated “device” —robotic in nature and mechanical in function.

But weren’t humans made to feel and connect? That we aren’t animals meant to labour till death?

Some can answer, “Oh well, what to do?”

But it doesn’t have to be this way. Money isn’t everything though it can buy a lot of things. At the end of the day, what will make a happier memory? Working till 1am in the office every night, or building up relationships, picking up new interests and living an enriched life all in all?

Running A Race Is Tiring

Feeling worn out? We have some soups to fight the fatigue/tiredness.TCM aims to treat the source of fatigue, not merely the symptoms of it. Anyone can consume an extra cup of coffee or (worse yet) gulp down energy drinks each day. Not only will that approach notsolve your fatigue issues, over the long run, it will make them worse. Approaches like acupuncture,mindfulness, dietary changes, and qigong practices, on the other hand, may put your fatigue to rest for good.

Posted on

Buying Herbal Supplements – Things To Note

You know all the benefits a herbal supplement can bring you, and if you simply look left, right or center, you will see a myriad of health supplements, and you might not really know what to make of it.

Other recent research presented at the conference CleanUp 2015 found that herbal and Ayurvedic medicines contain heavy metals, including arsenic, cadmium, and mercury. That’s a problem, since long-term exposure to these to these toxins has been shown to cause problems like organ damage and even cancer. Here in Singapore, health supplements are not subjected to pre-market approval by the Health Sciences Authority, and can be imported and sold without a license.

Before you pull out your wallet and buy that bottle claiming to “lower your cholesterol” and “increase your Vitamin D”, take note of these things!

  1. Vitamin and Mineral overdosing
    Large doses of the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K can create issues, and even normal doses may interfere with certain prescription medications. Adverse effects can also occur with too much calcium or iron. As we all know, too much of a good thing is bad.

    Here is a good example of how one can overdose on calcium without knowing it:

    An older woman concerned about osteoporosis might eat Whole Grain Total cereal for breakfast (approximately 1,000 milligrams of calcium per serving), with a half-cup of skim milk (150 milligrams of calcium), and take a calcium supplement (500 milligrams) in addition to a One-A-Day Menopause Formula multivitamin (300 milligrams). The upper limit of calcium for this woman is 2,000 milligrams, so she’d only be 50 milligrams short of the daily maximum with more meals yet to be consumed that day.

    Important Things To Take Note When Buying Herbal Supplements

  2. Claims That Might Not Be True
    Be extra cautious around herbal supplements that claim to boost energy levels or help you lose weight. These tend to contain ingredients, like caffeine or bitter orange, that have been shown to create heart palpitations and other issues.
  3. Dubious Ingredients That Should Be Skipped
    In addition to number 2, these four have been linked to serious side effects, and aren’t worth the risk. If you see these ingredients in your herbal supplements, pay extra caution.1. Kava. It has been reported to cause liver damage.
    2. Bitter orange. It contains the chemical syndephrine, which has been linked to heart attacks and strokes in healthy people when taken alone or combined with caffeine.
    3. Contaminated L-tryptophan. It’s associated with neurotoxic reactions.
    4. Chromium. When overused, it’s been linked to anemia—even kidney failure.

It’s not that herbal supplements are all that bad, but with everything else, they should be taken in moderation and with caution and only professional research and recommendation from a healthcare professional.

Posted on

Guide To Natural Health For The Whole Body

Learn how to improve how you feel with natural health remedies. Jump right in, we’ve got everything you ought to know.

Eyes, Brain And Head Natural Health

Brain, head, eyes

Brain: If you’re feeling more than just the Monday blues (But Tuesday blues, Wednesday blues and all blues all day), you’d be pleased to find that acupuncture, Chinese herbs, Tai Chi, and yoga are known depression-fighters; For fatigue with depression, try acetyl-L-carnitine (an amino acid derivative). Take 500 milligrams two or three times a day.

Head: Biofeedback, a relaxation technique that sends brain-wave info to the user via headphones and fingertip electrodes, can prevent migraines. Magnesium supplements or herbs such as butterbur or feverfew may also help headache sufferers.

Eyes: Keep your vision sharp with bilberries, which are packed with antioxidants—even more than their blueberry cousins. Billberries sound a little bit like what we’d read in an Enid Blyton book, but it’s time to take them more seriously now.

Sinuses, jaw, throat
Natural Health Tips For Sinuses, Jaw, Throat

Sinuses: Aromatherapy could help if you are prone to sinus infections. Think of all the oils that put you in a relaxed state, more specifically, oils from dill, bishop’s weed and cumin work as well, if not, better than antibiotics against 8 types of common bacterial infections. Plus a herbal combination called Kan Jang can make sinus infections and the common cold more tolerable and reduce recovery time! We can see you say “Wow!”

Jaw: Biofeedback paired with cognitive-behavioral-skills training (a mind-body type of therapy), can significantly reduce pain from temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder.

Throat: Fight germs and kill bacteria with a tea tree–oil gargle (11⁄2 tablespoons of pure tea tree oil to 1 cup of water). Swish and spit. (Don’t swallow.)

Breasts, tummy

Breasts: Flaxseed, which contains omega-3 fatty acids, reduces inflammation and tumor growth. Start with 1 tablespoon of ground organic golden flaxseed daily for a week, and work up to 4 tablespoons; drink lots of water to avoid constipation. Flaxseeds contain omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, zinc, iron, vitamin E, and calcium, among other vitamins and minerals, and are low in saturated fat. They have a low smoke point, so they can’t really be used in cooking, but you can use them in baking, in cereals  and in smoothies.

Tummy: Excuse you! Get rid of your burping and bloating with digestive-enzyme supplements that help your body process sugars, starches, proteins, and fats; they’re available in capsule form.

Mint (drink it in tea; leaves)  long been considered a tummy soother, too. And enteric-coated peppermint-oil capsules (the enteric protects your tummy lining—never ingest essential oils in liquid form) may ease irritable bowel syndrome.

Natural Health Burping

Pelvis, urinary tract, colon

Pelvis: That time of the month is here and your pesky cramps are making their timely visit. A hot water bottle and your favourite chocolate can help, but to relieve cramps naturally, try taking black cohosh, magnesium supplements, omega-3 fatty acids, or vitamins C, B, and B6—all of which are thought to ease pain; calendula oil (made from marigolds) applied topically may help, too. Castor oil packs placed on the abdomen may also decrease pain, reduce inflammation, and increase relaxation.

Urinary tract: Natural health tip! And it’s not an old wives’ tale: Cranberries, in juice or capsules, can keep bacteria from sticking to the bladder wall—and this can help fight urinary tract infections. The herb uva ursi (bearberry) might provide some relief, too; it contains a natural anti­biotic that soothes irritation and reduces inflammation caused by bladder infections.

Colon: Research in natural health shows that hypnotherapy improves irritable bowel syndrome in most patients who try it. And probiotics (good, helpful bacteria) specifically Lactobacillus GG or Bacillus coagulans (we aren’t laughing if you can’t pronounce it) can help maintain healthy gastrointestinal flora and restore balance after a bout of traveler’s diarrhea. In two words – More Probiotics!

Back, butt

Back: Hours and hours of sitting and straining has put its toll on your back. Magnet therapy for low back pain has been recommended but it is controversial. For proven results, try acupuncture—relieving chronic low-back pain is one of the things it does best, research shows. In fact, recent trials in Germany showed it to be almost twice as effective for chronic low-back pain as conventional therapy. Meditation reduces pain, too.

Check your posture – ideally, we should be sitting upright with two feet flat on the floor.

Butt: Heat therapy reduces muscle spasms and increases blood flow. Moist heat—heat packs, a microwaved damp towel, or soaking in a hot tub—penetrates deeper than dry heat. But be warned: Heat increases swelling, so don’t use heat packs after an injury, and of course, check the temperature, don’t burn yourself!

Nicki Minaj And Natural Health
Maybe Nicki Minaj’s famous tush uses one or two heat packs too.

Skin, hands, bones

Skin: One way to prevent or lessen wrinkles in the name of natural health is to build collagen, which becomes thinner as a woman’s hormone levels fall. Try natural progesterone cream (rubbed into the thin skin behind your knees or on your chest), foods rich in phytoestrogens (soy), and antioxidant supplements (vitamins C and E; glutathione; and pine bark or grape seed extracts).

Bones: Vitamin D has emerged as a potent way to strengthen bones, as research has shown that calcium is virtually useless without enough of it. For those who don’t get much sun (which produces D), try a daily supplement with 800 to 1,000 IU of vitamin D.

Hands: Lifting weights and doing breathing exercises may help warm up cold hands and feet. Your hands can spread germs to your skin, so make sure you wash your hands regularly.

You know better now how to utilise natural health to you body’s advantages!

Posted on

5 Health Claims That Might Be Untrue

Have you ever picked one item over the other at a grocery store just because of the health claim it says it can provide? Do you really understand what it means when a label says “fat-free” or “no sugar added”?

Here are 5 health claims we think should be clarified so you know exactly what it means, and a few ways food companies pretend your snacks are healthy.

1. All Natural
All natural, all good, yes? A food labeled natural may contain preservatives or be injected with sodium, in the case of raw chicken. Some natural products will have high fructose corn syrup and companies will argue that since it comes from corn, it’s healthy. But you know sugar, it doesn’t matter what source it comes from, too much sugar isn’t good for you.

Health Claims Can Be Misleading

2. Multi-Grain
This claim simply means that there is more than one grain in the product. None of the grains are required to be “whole grains”—so refined white flour counts. It is not a useful claim….but man it sounds healthy, doesn’t it? When shopping for healthy bread and crackers, look for the words “whole grain” or “100% whole wheat”. It’s not enough if it says “multigrain” or “made with whole grain”

3. No Sugar Added
If you’re concerned about calories and carbs (maybe because you have diabetes or are trying to prevent it), you may toss no sugar added products in your grocery cart.

But foods, including fruit, milk, cereals, and vegetables naturally contain sugar. So although these products may not have added sugar they still may contain natural sugars. And no sugar addedproducts still may contain added ingredients like maltodextrin, a carbohydrate.

Carbohydrates—which can be simple sugars or more complex starches—raise blood sugar, andno sugar added doesn’t mean a product is calorie- or carbohydrate-free

No Sugar Added Health Claims
4. Sugar Free
A little like “No Sugar Added”, the claim is true that these products don’t contain real sugar but they do contain many forms of artificial sweeteners which are controversial ingredients at best.
Sugar Free Health Claims

5. High Protein
Bulking up on protein will help you get into buff shape and melt away excess fat. Fact: Too much of anything, even if it’s healthy, isn’t always good. Too many calories overall, and you can kiss that buff shape goodbye; too much protein, and your kidneys can go into overdrive. When it comes to food products touting “high-protein,” the source of protein is often from a manipulated, processed form of an ingredient, like soy protein isolate. Most of us get more than enough protein in our diets, so stick with simple sources like fish, meat, eggs, dairy, nuts, whole soy beans (edamame), tofu, beans, and quinoa.

High Protein Health Claims
6. Fat Free
One of the more misleading health claims. When the dangers of saturated and trans fat became clear, the market was flooded with products that touted their fat-free status. The problem? They sometimes contained nearly as many calories as full-fat versions.

Just because it says it’s fat-free, doesn’t mean you get a free ride. Packages could say it’s fat free, but be loaded with sugar, and sugar-free products could be loaded with fat.

Fat Free Health Claims

Spend time educating yourself how to read food labels and health claims and you’ll be doing yourself a favour in the shopping aisles!

Posted on

6 Chinese Soup Making Techniques

In a recent blog post, we talked about making congee. If a bowl of warm, comfort-zone-inducing porridge does not appeal to you as much as a bowl of hot, soupy nourishment does, here are 7 techniques on how to make Chinese soup.

Chinese tonic or herbal soups are all about putting together various blends of natural ingredients which balance nutritional value and medicinal or therapeutic function, with taste or palatability.

Soup Making Technique #1. Double boil
Double steaming, sometimes called double boiling, is a Chinese cooking technique to prepare delicate food such as bird’s nest soup and shark fin soup. The food is covered with water and put in a covered ceramic jar and the jar is then steamed for several hours.

Soup Making Technique #2. Egg drop soup
Chinese Egg Drop Soup should be savory, soothing, a little warming heat from the white pepper. The eggs should be delicate, floating, whisper-thin silky strands.
Chinese Egg Drop Soup Making Technique
When you add an egg to soup, you are adding nutritional value to the soup as well.

Soup Making Technique #3. Quick Boil

Unlike simmering, quick boiling soups need a good soup base. Since it is cooked quickly, there is insufficient time for the ingredients to “impart” any flavour to the soup. So, instead of water, make sure you start with a good soup stock.

You will be surprised at how good a soup taste even if just a store-bought stock cube was added to flavor the soup. Water with seasonings like salt and pepper is not enough.

Soup Making Technique #4. Always Season As You Go
When making soup, it’s blending and stirring together different ingredients with different textures to form a cohesive whole. Taste a few sips every now and then while making the soup and season as you go, not just throw a chunk of salt at the end. By tasting constantly and adjusting accordingly, you can get a soup that’s got a taste just right.

Soup Making Technique #5. Thickening 
The use of cornstarch, potato starch or arrowroot to thicken soup and sauces is uniquely Chinese. The most well-known is the hot and sour soup, and the Westlake beef soup. A newer trick is to use rice instead of cream or milk for creamy soups. Good news for the lactose-intolerant.

Soup Making Technique #6. Blanching/Pre-Boil
Blanching or pre-boiling is a two step process in which food is plunged into boiling water, usually for only a minute or two, then quickly put into ice cold water to stop the cooking process.

How to blanch:

  1. Prepare an ice bath: put water and ice into a large bowl or into a clean sink.
  2. Heat a large pot of water to a rolling boil, about 1 gallon per pound of food to be blanched.
  3. Add salt to the water; the water should be very salty.
  4. Immerse the food into the boiling water for the specified amount of time.
  5. Remove food to the ice bath to cool quickly.
  6. Once cool, remove food from ice bath and pat dry.

Having a hot pot of soup simmering on the stove is such a comforting welcome, and equally as much fun as drinking the soup itself. In our next post, we will be sharing popular Chinese soup recipes and why Chinese soups can be healthy.

Posted on

5 Questions To Ask About Health Supplements

Health Supplements
In today’s world, you might be eating your standard recommended servings of whole bread, vegetables, fruits and meats, but still you could be lacking in nutrients. (Calorie dense food might not be nutrient dense!) So you are considering health supplements.

You could lack nutrients due to a few reasons:
Current commercial agriculture techniques leave the soil deficient in important minerals, causing the food grown in this soil to share the same mineral deficiencies.

Erratic eating habits, insufficient chewing of food, eating on the run, and stress contribute to poor digestion, making it difficult for our bodies to extract all the nutrients it needs from We all have genetic weaknesses, including higher needs of some nutrients, higher rates of depletion for certain nutrients, and an increased likelihood of genetic expression of some illnesses if vitamin or mineral deficiencies are present.

So it’s natural to want to consider the use of health supplements.

But don’t just jump in and buy the first supplement you see. Consider these questions first.

1. Does the company have a research department?
Research For Health Supplement

The answer you’re looking for is “yes.” You want to buy from a company that conducts thorough in-house research on its products and makes that research available to consumers.

2. In a mineral product, are the minerals chelated?
You want chelated minerals whenever you can get them. Chelated minerals are minerals that have been combined chemically with amino acids to form “complexes.” You will see products labeled as chelated boron, chelated calcium, chelated chromium, etc.

3. Will taking this dietary supplement interfere with any prescription medicine I am on?
It could, so be sure you check with your physician before you purchase and pop any supplements. Additionally, before starting a new medicine, inform your physician about existing supplements that you are on. Supplements can interfere with the proper metabolisation of medicine, and vice versa. Ask a medical professional the correct dosage for your current health conditions. It is highly recommended that you check with a certified medical practitioner or healthcare professional on the appropriate dosage.

4. How can I compare the same health supplements from different brands?

The prudency of the company, the quality of its raw material and the standard of manufacturing all play an important part in the quality of a supplement. This reflects how the company checks and tests the ingredients to ensure it complies with the list of agreed quality criteria — which is set by both the raw material manufacturer and the product manufacturer during the manufacturing process.

Check if the company provides good nutritional advice and after sales service. The health supplements companies should also provide for face to face support through certified Naturopaths and healthcare practitioners.

5. Are they customised for men? For women? For specific age groups?
Every person has different nutritional requirements. What your body needs for optimal health depends on your age, gender, diet, and any health conditions you may have.

As a result, a general multivitamin is not always the best option. Instead, you should consider meeting your body’s specific nutritional needs with customized vitamin supplements.