Thursday, April 6, 2017

Herbs and Spices for Vegetarian Diet 香草香料与素食

Herbs and Spices can
improve digestive functions
End of year 2016, Tzuchi of Kuala Lumpur organised an event to promote health and vegetariansm. I was requested to provide information on the roles of herbs and spices in a vegetarian diet:
2016年岁末吉隆坡慈济人医会办了一场健康与素食的推广。其中一个环节谈及素食与香草香料在素食中的角色,于是受邀提相关供资料浅述:

(1)
In general, a vegetarian diet is inclined to dampen digestive fire (due to plant's  innate alkaloid, phytates,  oxalates and many other digestion-inhibitive phytochemicals)
素食一般比较'凉胃'(生物碱,植酸,草酸等抑制消化的植物化学物之故)

Therefore,  in a vegetarian diet,  it's important to apply adequate amount of stomach-warming (digestion/apetite improving) herbs and spices.
所以适量加入'温胃'/提胃火(增进消化能力/食欲)的香草香料在素食里是非常重要的。

Traditional Indian culture knows the best about herbs and spices for resolving digestive issues among the vegetarians.
印度料理自古就懂得食用香草香料来解决素食肠胃消化问题。

Common herbs and spices for increasing digestive fire include
常用来温胃/提胃火的有
。姜 ginger
。小茴香 cumin
。大茴香 fennel
。豆蔻 nutmeg
。桂皮 cinnamon
。胡椒 black pepper
。九层塔 basil
。香茅 lemongrass
。芫荽籽 corriander seed
。丁香 clove
。辣椒 chilli
。酸柑 lime

(2)
Herbs and spices also contains a myriad of phytonutrients which are also capable of
香料香草含有很多植物营养素,也能
~抗菌抗寄生虫 wading off fungus/germs and parasites
~防腐让食物更耐久 preserving food for shelf life extension

E.g. 如:
。紫苏 shiso
。丁香 clove
。辣椒 chilli
。蓝姜 galangal

-- however, abuse of these herbs and spices may harm the body
-- 但是过量食用也会伤害身体

(3)
Antioxidants which are abundant in herbs and spices may also neutralise free radicals, tame inflammation, reduce metabolic burden (often known as 'alkaline' effects)
香草香料中的抗氧化剂也能中和游离基,消炎,减轻新陈代谢负担(俗称碱化血液)

E.g. 如:
。黄姜 turmeric
。班兰 pandan
。香茅 lemongrass
。艾草 mugwort
。七彩菊 ulam rajah

Herbs and spices usually have overlapped functions.
一般上香草香料都有重叠功用。

Those that are listed above are just some significant  examples.  Many of them could serve 2-3 functions at the same time.
列出来的例子只是比较明显的例子而已。许多的香草香料同时会有2-3种功用。

In a nut shell, herbs and spices harbours these major functions:
简言之,香草香料主要功用:

(1)Improve digestion/apetite
温胃/提胃火/增进消化能力

~these herbs and spices are usually in the form of seeds and roots, and gives warming feeling after consumption
~此类香草香料多半是种子类或根类。进食后有温热的感觉。

(2)Anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-parasites, preservative 抗菌、寄生虫、防腐

~these herbs and spices often are hot and pungent
~此类香草香料有很辛辣、很呛的味道。

(3)Anti-oxidative/alkalising (reduction of metabolic burden)抗氧化/碱化血液(即是减轻新陈代谢负担)

~these herbs and spices are mostly leaves and fruits, with obvious astringency.
~此类香草香料多半是叶类、果类,一般带苦涩味。


Blessings!
祝福大家!
Kee Yew 黄其铫

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

The Secret of Salad Sauce 沙拉酱的秘密

There are 3 essential tastes
in salad to make it complete. 
At The Veg School, I often share in
Veg Nutrition Course, the secret of salad sauce. This is an important gastronomy lesson,  and I made a point to get students to create their own salad sauces,  by the principle I teach in class.
在素食学校的素食营养学课程里,曾经跟同学们分享沙拉酱的奥密,还要让同学们回家按沙拉酱的原则,研发创意沙拉酱。

The secret and principle of tasty salad sauce is actually very simple, as illustrated below:
个中的奥密和原则其实很简单,那不外是:
Sour. Sweet. Salty.
酸。甜。咸。

Basically, as soon as, Sour, Sweet and Salty ingredients are mixed together, the prototype of salad sauce is created.
基本上只要把含有酸甜咸口味的材料混合变成糊状,沙拉酱的雏形便形成了。

Recently,  a student created a salad sauce without the salty component and swore that it tastes good.
近来有位同学研发沙拉酱时,省略了咸味成份,誓言口味依然很好味道。

I explained that, the Sour.Sweet.Salty combination is required to serve a very important function, that is to neutralise alkaloids in raw veggies.
殊不知沙拉酱,必须酸、甜、咸俱全,才能发挥到一个很重要的作用,那就是中和生蔬菜的生物碱。

Alkaloids are toxins found inevitably in all raw veggies,  as they are part of the inborn defence system of the plants.
生物碱是生食蔬菜难免的一种天然毒素(植物与生俱来的自卫武器)。

If one were to consume raw veggies on its own, and find it revolting,  then likely it's an issue of alkaloid.
如果光只是吃生蔬菜会觉得难以下咽,那就是生物碱在作怪。

This is when salt and acids in salad sauce, are needed, to neutralise the alkaloids. And,  the sugar content is to help mask the astringent taste of the raw veggies.
这时就得靠沙拉酱的盐份和酸来中和生物碱。而糖份是用来掩饰生物碱的涩味的。

If one of the 3 tastes is missing in a salad sauce,  the alkaloid neutralisation function will be toned down. This will be especially  obvious when it goes with a very astringent veggie (eg  spinach,  bitterguord). Therefore,  it is best to design a salad sauce with 3 tastes, so that it suits widest range of veggies :)
沙拉酱酸甜咸缺一,功力会减退。如果所配的生菜特别涩的话(例如菠菜、苦瓜),这个沙拉酱可能没办法过关。所以设计沙拉酱,最好能酸甜咸俱全,才能配搭多种不同的沙拉 :)

Next time,  when you have salad,  try pick a sauce with one taste missing,  and feel if there is anything not quite right on the tongue?  
下回吃沙拉时,试试选一个酸甜咸缺一的酱,看看舌头会不会有点不满足的感觉?

Bon Apetito,
Kee Yew
黄其铫 分享

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Why Some Vegetarians Have Higher Risk of Heart Attack


A catchy title as it seems,
but it's true.

The reason somehow lies in
the genes shaped by tradition and
the imbalance nutrients intake in modern days;
not the fault of a vegetarian meal.

Latest research* reveals that some
70% South Asians/Indians,
53% Africans,
29% East Asians and
17% Europeans
have evolved to bear an "improved" version of gene FADS2 that has increased efficiency in synthesizing long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFA) which is a group of important metabolites in our body.

The high percentages among
South Asians and Africans,
are possibly due to
selective pressure induced by LCPUFA-deficient diet (eg vegetarian diet),
consistently across many generations,
from evolutionary biology perspective.

In other words,
according to scientists,
the improved FADS2 is to compensate the inaccessibility of food source LCPUFA among population which traditionally adopt vegetarian diet.

In modern living,
where omega 6 (a precursor of LCPUFA) is seriously overdosed as ubiquitously found in all cooking oils,
FADS2 produces huge amount of Long Chain Omega 6,
which is pro-inflammatory,
posing high risk of cardiovascular diseases, cancers and other chronic illness.

For any individual with the "improved" FADS2 (more likely among Indians and Africans, be them vegetarian or not),
the risk is even higher.

In view of that, one, especially individual from traditionally vegetarian populations, should pay attention to:

i. reducing intake of cooking oil (which is generally high in Omega 6)

ii. increasing intake of omega3 rich food e.g. flaxseeds, chiaseeds (which lower the production of LCO6)

iii. increasing intake of antioxidants, e.g. veggies and fruits, to prevent onset of inflammation. (LCO6 promotes inflammation only after free radicals induce the onset of inflammation.)

iv. reducing unnecessary intake of fried/grilled foods, heavily processed foods that bring about free radicals.



In case the above write up is too technical,
here are a few important take home messages:

. depending on one's ethnicity, one may bear improved FADS2 gene, rendering higher susceptibility to inflammatory diseases, caused by haywired dietary fat intake pattern, commonly seen in modern civilization.

. non-carrier of the improved FADS2, is still subject to inflammatory diseases, if imbalanced fat intake is not rectified.

.going on a vegetarian meal does not put one on the risk of inflammatory diseases, if omega6 is not overdosed.


*Original scientific publication:
[http://m.mbe.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2016/03/09/molbev.msw049.full.pdf]


Blessings,
Kee Yew


{Learning Holistic Wellness for Wisdom and Compassion}

Friday, November 27, 2015

The Yin and Yang of Food (5)

The Sun and The Moon
have equal shares for the year,
but not for a specific hour. 
Previously,
we indicated, in ideal situation, 
we would like equal strength of 
Yin and Yang food.

While, indeed,
the world is a balanced outcome of 
the Yin and Yang equilibrium;
the distribution of Yin and Yang elements 
dynamically fluctuates spatially and temporally.

In other words,
given a broad enough space and a long enough time frame;
the net effect 
between both counterbalancing Yin and Yang forces
is indeed zero.
But,
the Yin or Yang status sampled at any given spot and moment
often   
is not balanced.

For example,
The North and The South hemisphere 
get the equal total amount of sunshine every year.
But in July,
a northern city like Beijing will get a lot more sunshine
than a southern city like Sydney.
Yang and Yin may not be equal
given any random spot.

Or

During mid Autumn day,
the number of sunshine hours 
is equal to the number of nightshade hours. 
But at a specific time e.g. 11am-1pm,
one will only see the Sun (Yang)
but not the Moon (Yin) at all.
The Sun and The Moon may not get a fair share of time 
given any random hour.

The above examples tell us that
at a random place during a random time
we may not expect a Yin and Yang balance.

Because of that,
we need to have awareness on where and when we are
to assess which of Yin or Yang element predominates,
so as to shed guidance 
on the proportion of Yin or Yang food that we eat.

The presence of the Sun (abundance of heat/life force),
offers our body an opportunity 
to aggregate energies for Life Force Building

The absence of the Sun (lack of heat/life force)
offers our body an opportunity 
to expulse energies for Interference Elimination.

In the  morning,
when the Sun has only just risen,
the environment is still very lack of heat
due to the night long absence of the Sun.
Our body then is under an extremely Yin condition 
after a night long detox.

While some healers suggest
taking the opportunity to extend the detoxification hours,
via detoxifying foods (Yin foods) 
such as juices, green smoothies and huge amount of water (>1L) 
to heighten the intensity of detoxification;
it's only advisable to do so for a short period of time
to achieve a cleansing effect, 
perhaps to adjust an overly congested system. 

Pro-longed period of Yin food consumption 
in the morning when the body is already very Yin, 
will tilt the bodily system off the balance.
Hence, it's suggested to take 
warm and grains/roots-based breakfast (Yang food)
to counterbalance the Yin body in the morning.

The corresponding notion applies for dinner time.
After long day of sunshine and hard work, 
our body will have overloaded with heat.
To help release the excessive Yang energies, 
it's advisable 
to consume higher proportion of Yin food (e.g. leafy veggies, fruits) and
to drink more water in the evening.
Releasing excessive Yang energies accumulated during the day,
will also help one sleep earlier and better.

For some people who are weak/sick,
healers may not allow Yin food for the end of the day, 
that is because these people 
could not conserve enough heat and energy during the day.
Prescribing a Yin-inclined dinner
may not sustain them through the Yin hours during the night,
causing severe imbalance.
-- Again, this is a context dependent case. 

In conclusion, 
although we will have equal proportions of Yin and Yang foods daily,
because of the oscillating Yin and Yang hours everyday,
we couldn't help but to segregate 
higher proportion Yang food for the morning,
higher proportion Yin food for the evening.

Hope this series so far has benefited readers
in appreciating the basic concepts of Yin and Yang.

To close this series on Yin and Yang of Food,
a gentle reminder for readers:
Be aware of the space and time we are in,
Be mindful about the rhythm of the universe and our body
Be disciplined with the corresponding ratios of Yin and Yang food that we eat.

May the forces be with you!
Kee Yew :D
pureland2012-at-gmail.com 
#Yin Yang
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.
.

{Learning Holistic Wellness for Wisdom and Compassion}

Thursday, November 26, 2015

The Yin and Yang of Food (4)

Veg Pyramid which is based on
Yin and Yang balance
In modern nutritional science,
people talk about balancing their diet
by calculating the amount of
carbohydrates, proteins, fats,
minerals, vitamins, fibres and water intake.

While such calculations are scientifically founded,
it's not comprehensive enough
to offer insight into the mutual interaction
among the nutrients.

In Yin and Yang perspectives,
foods are understood
in term of their roles and functions.

From there, we know what foods
are mutually antagonistic or synergistic
(opposing behavior or supportive behavior)
and therefore categorized into Yin and Yang.

In The Veg School's advance course
"Life Force Management",
we talk about two opposing functions of foods:

1. Life Force Building (a.k.a. tonic)
~ foods that directly enhance the coordination of life,
involving the inward aggregation of energies, in general.
~ We could label these foods being Yang,
in the specific context of life coordination.
~ Generally, root, underground stem and seed parts of plants
offers such a function,
due to their life sustaining roles in the plant.

2. Interference Elimination (a.k.a. detoxifying)
~ foods that defend the sustaining of life from being interfered,
involving the outward expulsion of energies, in general.
~ We could label these foods being Yin,
in the same context of life coordination.
~ General, above-ground stem, leaf, flower and fruit parts of plants
offers such a function,
due to their life long combat against heat, UV, germs and pests.

In normal/ideal situation,
we should take foods with equal strength of
Life Force Building and
Interference Elimination functions.
- because both are equally important to sustaining life.

Therefore, by ancient Chinese wisdom,
we are advised to balance our diet via:

40% whole grains (moderately Yang)
30% vegetables of all 6 plant parts (moderately Yin)
15% fruits (strongly Yin)
10% legumes (strongly Yang)
5%   nuts and seed (strongly Yang)
[see http://thevegschool.net/Veg-Pyramid.pdf for more details]

Upsetting the ratios above,
may attract health problems like:
## system clogging (e.g. atherosclerosis) 
-- an outcome of over nourishment or lack of detoxification, 
-- overwhelmed by Yang energies
-- commonly seen among people who eats too much meat or oily food; 
   neglecting fruits and veggies in overall diet

## system dis-coordination (e.g. hormonal imbalance) 
-- an outcome of under nourishment or over detoxification, 
-- predominated by Yin energies
-- commonly seen among people who go on dietetic control or 
   overly frequent detoxification;
   consuming too much fruits and leafy veggies; 
   avoiding grains and nuts.

Now, we may start to realize,
knowing the Yin and Yang of food
is different from
practising it in daily life.

Practising Yin and Yang
requires discipline to abide to the ratios,
on top of awareness and mindfulness. 

Next, we discuss about some simple techniques 
to adjust our dietetic pattern
according to the Yin/Yang oscillation throughout a day :)

Happy reading,
Kee Yew
pureland2012-at-gmail.com
#Yin Yang
.
.
.
{Learning Holistic Wellness for Wisdom and Compassion}

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The Yin and Yang of Food (3)

Mindfulness and Awareness
are pre-requisites to
applying Yin and Yang concepts
We now understand that
Yin and Yang labeling
is dynamic and context dependent.

Also,
Yin and Yang
are manifested at different degrees
depending on the mix ratio of the Yin and Yang elements within.

In view of those complicated concepts,
for most of us,
accurate Yin and Yang labeling is not an easy task.

Hence, to avoid unfavourable consequences,
due to inaccurate labelling,
it's advisable not to discriminate food being Yin or Yang
-- unless there are awareness and mindfulness that empower us in
assessing the context clearly
and
seeing through the properties of food in depth.

While we are still struggling to
improve our awareness and mindfulness,
it's recommended that
we first learn to eat a diversified range of food,
without discrimination.

When we eat food without discrimination of Yin/Yang,
given broad range of food,
50% will naturally be Yin and 50% will be Yang.
In the end, the summed up effect of all these foods will be neutral.

For whatever minor imbalances we may have,
via innate homeostasis,
our body will be able to naturally reset the balance,
without the need/worry of deliberate intervention
with Yin or Yang food.

With that,
we greatly reduce the risk of
mislabeling the Yin and Yang of food.

In some sense, we don't necessarily need to be a Yin Yang expert
to adopt a healthy balanced diet :)

Trying to be one
sometimes may cause more harm than good,
especially,
when we are lacking of awareness and mindfulness.

Not discriminating Yin and Yang food
is actually the most prudent way to apply Yin and Yang concepts,
because we truly understand what Yin and Yang is.

In the next posts,
we will discuss on the balanced intake
of different food groups,
justified with awareness and mindfulness!!


For awareness,
Kee Yew
pureland2012-at-gmail.com
#Yin Yang
.
.
.
{Learning Holistic Wellness for Wisdom and Compassion}

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The Yin and Yang of Food (2)

Variable Yang feature due to
variable Yin and Yang mix ratio
Another widely misunderstood concept
about Yin and Yang is

Misinformation II
Homogeneous view of Yin and Yang
(Yin entity is purely Yin, Yang entity is purely Yang)

Yin or Yang is a composite outcome
i.e. A Yin or Yang entity is never made purely with Yin or Yang elements.
Within every entity, there is always a mixture of Yin and Yang elements.
Whether an entity is Yin or Yang depends on
which of Yin or Yang groups of elements within the entity, predominates.

For example,
An animal, whether female or male, secretes both female and male hormones.
This animal will be a female
when it secretes more female hormones than male hormones,
and
It will be a male
when it has more male hormones than female hormones.

A myriad of possible ratios
in between the Yin and Yang elements within any entity
creates a range of Yin and Yang entities
with variable intensity levels of Yin and Yang properties.

For example,
A man with high dosage of male hormones and strong male hormone receptors
will have very dense beard, defined muscle tone, less body fat.
Another man with very low dosage of male hormones or weak male hormone receptors
will generate an outcome of scarce facial hair, weaker muscle tone, more body fat.

Despite the varied dosage of male hormones within a man,
as long as male hormones predominate over female hormones,
he will still manifest the male features.
But the variable level of predominance leads to variable intensity of male features.

By this composite concept of Yin and Yang,
we know that
there are Yang entities that may incline to Yin manifestation,
there are Yin entities that may incline to Yang manifestation.

When it comes into food healing,
it's not always necessary to deploy a Yang food to counterbalance a Yin body constitution.
In some situations, given the necessity,
A Yin food can still be adopted to to balance a Yin body constitution,
if such Yin food has a strong Yang manifestation.

For example,
In general, a leafy herb is a Yin entity.
But, lemongrass which has a very pungent property
(likened to a Yang ginger root)
could be used to warm up our body to achieve a Yang effect temporarily.

Given the indications above,
we also know that
it's not always correct to balance a Yin body with a Yang food,
because there are situations where a Yang food may manifest strong Yin features
which may make the body severely off the balance!

Yin and Yang concept is definitely not a straight forward one.
When it comes to applying it in our daily life,
it's even more complicated.
If misinformed, it can even cause a lot of hazards.

In the next post, we will discuss about
some basic skills to integrate
the concept of Yin and Yang into our life,
with prudence.


Well regards,
Kee Yew
pureland2012-at-gmail.com


#Yin Yang
.
.
.
{Learning Holistic Wellness for Wisdom and Compassion}
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