Thursday, March 27, 2014

Recipe: Gluten-Free Blueberry Cupcakes

I did an allergy test on my daughter because she has eczema on her right palm that doesn't go away for many months. The test showed that she is sensitive to gluten and chicken and our naturopath advised that she stays chicken and gluten-free and see if her eczema will improve. So thus this gluten-free blueberry cupcakes. I learned that coconut flour is gluten-free and that is what I use for this recipe. It's also grain-free and dairy-free. The best part is you only need very minimal baking tools, which makes cleaning easy.


1/2 cup coconut flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup of coconut oil
1/3 cup of honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 eggs, beaten
1 cup blueberries


1. Sift coconut flour and whisk all dry ingredients together.
2. Add in all the wet ingredients to the dry mix. Whisk well. If your coconut oil is solid, you need to melt it first. 
3. Add in blueberries.
4. Bake at 190 Celcius for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cupcakes comes out clean and dry.

I personally found the cupcakes too coconut-y. Along with the fact that I drink a spoonful of coconut oil a day, cook with coconut oil, and apply coconut oil on my daughter's hair every single day, I prefer to eat something non-coconut. But... my daughter likes the cupcakes. So that's what matters most! :)

Bon appétit!

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

Friday, March 21, 2014

The Food Industry

It's an unfortunate reality how our understanding of healthy food and living has been negatively influenced by the food industry, pharmaceutical companies, media, politics, and corporate pressure. 

The margarine manufacturers spend billions of dollars to market it as a health substitute for butter. The pharmaceutical company happily supports it so that they can sell its cholesterol-lowering drugs.
- The oil industry convinced the population that vegetable oil is better than animal fats so they can justify the use of these inexpensive, rancid vegetable oil to make all kinds of processed foods
- The soft drink industry promotes diet sodas as healthier alternatives to regular sodas
- The soy industry marketed soy as the miracle health food that is now a key ingredient in diet plans.

And unfortunately, they have done it successfully. 

When my 11-month old baby caught fever and cough, her pediatrician prescribed a medicine that contains an ingredient that is banned for consumption for children under two years old. I was glad I did a little research on the medicine before I gave it to her (and no, I didn't give her any) and tried to heal her naturally using a combination of essential oils, homeopathic, and herbal remedies. Then something occurred to me, we eat what we eat because our doctors and dietitians recommend it and we believe them because, well, they are doctors after all and supposedly they had studied nutrition, know about what is best for us, and know what they are doing, right? It's true that some doctors genuinely care about our health, but there are some others who care more about making money. I know that some doctors get a commission for prescribing and selling us medicines, which means that their decisions are influenced by the pharmaceutical companies. Pharmaceutical companies fund medical researches and in order for scientists to get continual funding, their research has to support the interest of their funders (the pharmaceutical companies) so they can make even more money. Food regulators, whose job is to ensure public health and food safety, are lobbied by the agricultural industry and get medical research that is funded from the pharmaceutical companies. I've also read that universities have their funding cut off because their research is not in the interests of their funders (the food industry or pharmaceutical companies). Thus it's very hard for the public to know the truth. All that we are left with is what the food industry wants us to believe, so we buy their products and they keep making money. Here is a funny and educational video that summarizes what I wrote above. 

"No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other." - Matthew 6:24

I believe this verse is applicable not only between God and money, but also to this issue. Food regulators like USDA has a very tough job. While their existence is to protect public health, unfortunately they also need to be politically supportive of the (financial) interests of the food industry. Thus, it is impossible to avoid any conflict of interests.

In a nutshell, I learn that I cannot believe everything I hear or read. It's better to stick to the basics. Eat natural whole foods. Do our own research, make ourselves knowledgeable, and equip ourselves so that we can make wise decisions about our health and live life according to how God intends us to live.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Definition of Real and Traditional Foods

Once upon a time, living healthy was not such a complex subject. People hunted and fished for food, reared their own chicken and ate the eggs whenever they hatched, ate vegetables grown in their backyard, picked fresh fruits from the trees in season, and drank raw milk from healthy cows. There was no such thing as organic or non-organic. There was no such thing as pasture-fed or grain-fed animals. There was no such thing as wild or farmed fish. There was no such thing as vitamin pills. People were strong, healthy, and free of modern day diseases. They had perfect eyesight, strong teeth and bone structure. That was the only way of life. The terms "organic," "pasture-fed," and "wild" in our modern days were once the norm. They were supposed to live that way, just as God had created and intended them to be. They cooked meat over fire, not microwavable frozen food, ate fresh fruits and vegetables, not juice. They ate food in its most original form, natural, and unadulterated. Nothing was artificially added or changed and food was not in cans, bottles, cartons, or plastic packaging. They ate real food.

What happens today? What was once the norm, it no longer is. We eat fried food, fast food, canned food, convenience food, junk food, dairy products from animals raised in unnatural conditions, crops grown in pesticide-filled farms, genetically modified food, artificial food, fake food. Margarine for butter, egg beaters for real eggs, lemonade mix for fresh lemons, and vitamin pills for naturally-occurring vitamins from real food.

Dr. Weston A. Price, the author of this amazing book, Nutrition and Physical Degenerationtraveled the world studying the diets of non-industrialized people. As a dentist, he wanted to find out how diets affected health problems, including tooth decay, crowded and crooked teeth, tuberculosis, arthritis, growth problems, and fatigue that arose from the modern diet based on sugar, white flour, and vegetable oils. He explained that without vitamins A and D (which are catalyst to mineral absorption and protein utilization), you cannot absorb minerals, no matter how abundant they may be in your food. Traditional food, as he explained, is the foundation of strong and healthy bodies.

What is Traditional Food?

"Traditional foods are those whole and ancient foods that have been eaten for centuries and even millenia. They are the foods that your great-great-great-great-great grandmother and grandfather would have eaten. They are simple, naturally grown or raised, nutrient-dense, thoughtfully prepared." (source)

Traditional Food (vs. Modern Diet)

- Foods from fertile soil (vs. foods from depleted soil)
- Animal fats (vs. vegetable oils)
- Animals on pasture (vs. animals in confinement)
- Raw and/or fermented dairy products (vs. pasteurized and homogenized)
- Soaked/fermented grains and legumes (vs. refined grains)
- Bone broth (vs. MSG and artificial flavorings)
- Natural sweeteners (vs. refined sweeteners)
- Lacto-fermented vegetables (vs. canned vegetables)
- Lacto-fermented beverages (vs. soft drinks)
- Unrefined salt (vs. refined salt)
- Natural vitamins in food (vs. synthetic vitamins added)
- Traditional cooking (vs. microwave)
- Traditional seeds/open pollination (vs. hybrid seeds, GMO seeds)

That means, traditional food is eating whole, unprocessed foods, meat and eggs from pasture-fed animals, wild seafoodfull-fat milk from pasture-fed cows (raw or fermented), homemade bone broth, use animal fats and traditional vegetable oils only (such as extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, and palm oil, eat organic fresh fruits and vegetables, eat soaked whole grains, legumes, and nuts, include enzyme-enhanced lacto-fermented vegetables, fruits, beverages, and condiments, use unrefined salt, herbs and spices, natural sweeteners, and consume only natural, food-based supplements. Eating traditional food will maximize nutrients while modern diets minimize nutrients. 

If you are interested to learn more about traditional food, you can start your learning at The Weston A. Price Foundation website.

What areas of real food do you find it the hardest to include in your diet? And what areas of modern diet do you find hardest to give up?

Disclosure: This post includes an affiliate link.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Recipe: Salmon and Hijiki Seaweed Pasta

The first time I cooked with hijiki seaweed, I fell in love. Actually, I love anything with seaweed because not only it serves as a flavor enhancer (yes, it's a natural MSG), it also supplies iodine, which is very important for our thyroid. So, here it is - a Japanese-inspired pasta dish that is healthy and easy to make: salmon and hijiki seaweed pasta.


Whole wheat pasta
A few cloves of garlic, slice thinly
Half an onion, slice thinly
1 tbsp pastured butter
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp hijiki dried seaweed
1 cup fresh salmon
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp mirin
2 tbsp sugar (I use sucanat)
Salt and pepper


1. Boil pasta according to manufacturer's instructions. Set aside.
2. As the pasta is boiling, soak the hijiki seaweed in water to soften (about 10-15 minutes). Drain and set aside.
3. Marinate salmon with soy sauce, mirin, and sugar.
4. Heat butter and olive oil. Add garlic and onion and sautee until fragrant. Add salmon and continue sauteeing until salmon is cooked.
5. Add pasta and seaweed into the pan. Mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Bon appétit!