The Placebo & Nocebo

During World War 2, nurses who run out of painkillers often inject injured soldiers with salt water. The “treatment” usually works and soldiers reportedly felt a lot less pain, if not for a while. Before you exclaim in blasphemy, the nurses were merely injecting a placebo effect on the soldiers. The psychological effect triggers neural response to your body, tricking it to block stress hormones which causes pain to the body. In other words, you can feel better simply by thinking that you are feeling better. Very often people who have the common flu symptoms “feel better” after a trip to the physician and a bout of antibiotics. Antibiotics do not kill viruses. But your confidence and mental strength can.

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It’s a wrap!

If you love Thai/Laotian food and vegetables, you’ll find a little piece of healthy heaven in this one. I used fresh lettuce for this but you can also use “rice paper”, which are essentially spring roll skins made with rice flour.
Prepare the following vegetables and plain rice noodles.

Prepare the dipping sauce by mixing fish sauce, lime juice, chopped chillies, minced garlic, coriander, sugar, water and chopped peanuts.

Wash the lettuce without breaking it. You need a whole piece like this.

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My right leg has been torturing me all of 2 weeks. First there was a bump, then a mysterious blue-black patch the size of North America below the ankles. Getting off the bed is a battle every morning and I sometimes wonder if my legs are going to fall off at the knees. Finally summoned up the courage to see a doctor yesterday, and got ticked off badly for going to see him only after so long. I am doctor-phobic. But that’s another story for another time. After the consult, I was sent limping to the nearest hospital for an X-ray.

At the registration counter of the Radiology department, I presented my doctor’s letter and sat opposite a Patient Service Associate:

PSA: So madam you are here for X-ray?
me: Err..yes…. (looks up at the sign above the reception to double confirm I am at Radiology dept)
PSA: So it says here you need to X-ray your right shin?
me: yeeess..I believe that’s what it says…..
PSA: Can you tell me where is your right shin now?
me: hahaha…that’s a good one! I thought it’s completely smashed too!
PSA: *confused look* (I am totally serious. Apparently so is she)
me: oh you mean..oh ok……the last I checked, my right shin is still below my right knee….like everyone else I believe….But I may be wrong?!?!

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Troubly Tubby

Being Asian it’s inevitable to hear people exclaim “so cute!” when one chances upon a chubby baby. Somehow this strange concept (at least to me) is applicable also to loved pets. Therefore the constant overfeeding and excessive treating, in turn, formulating the perfect equation to diseases, poor quality of life and shortened lifespan of these once adorable, healthy furry creatures.

By now, the general masses probably know that being overweight is a big contributor to many fatal ailments and diseases like heart problems. Likewise for pets, being obese creates a host of health problems for them. I’ve heard of dog owners who claim their dogs do not like walking. Walking to dogs is like swimming to fish, no dog will ever reject walking unless it’s too unfit, lethargic or ill (or in some cases, all three of the above).

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Greek-style pasta salad

Once upon a time I had a wonderful Swede for a boss. He is very cool. I will never forget the time when he wore a tee-shirt that says “My sausage is deadly” to the office. Bet your boss didn’t! Ha! Anyway, he married a gorgeous and kind exotica whom fed us many a great meals. She taught me this wonderful (and healthy) recipe and D-man and I have never gotten sick of it till now. I made it recently for some friends and realize that it’s a really easy and fool-proof dish to bring to a potluck.

Ingredients (serves 5-6 really big portions)
500gm Fusilli pasta
120gm Arrugula/rocket leaves
200gm cherry tomatoes*, halved
150gm Feta cheese, cubed
150gm sweet peas, cut each pea into 3 or 4
100gm pitted black olives, sliced
2 tbsp sundried tomato* paste (or more if you like)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Cook pasta, let cool. Then mix everything together. Adjust condiments to suit taste.

Now was that easy peasy or was that easy peasy?

Let me think that over and get back to you later.

*psst:  Tomatoes are one of those “happy foods”. They also contain lycopene which is a powerful antioxidant, and we all know antioxidants make you pretty and fights cancer cells.

Forget Me Not

My granny died in December 2007. She had dementia during her last years and nothing can describe our pain when she looked at us without knowing who we were anymore. She was still living in Malacca then and I did not get a chance to see her for the last time before she passed on.

This video reminded me very much about her. It felt like a stab to my heart.

I miss her.

Science have yet to prove anything that can prevent dementia, but some studies have indicated a lower incidence of dementia cases when an elderly group were participating in various leisure activities that involves exercising their bodies and minds. Also, a healthy diet and especially one that consists of essential Omega fatty acids seemingly improves cognitive functions in later life.

If you are guilty of not eating well and hiding from the nutrition police, it is never too late to start. All it takes is a little discipline and a lot of common sense. A general rule of thumb, anything that comes from a plant is not a plant. No, that large order of french fries does not substitute your 2 portions of vegetables. If you must eat meat, choose something that looks like its origins. That means no patties, nuggets, and all other “meat” products that has been processed to death.

No one can make you live healthily but yourself. However whatever little steps you take can benefit not just yourself but everyone who loves you.

Tomato & Basil Pasta Sauce

How much does supermarket pasta sauces cost these days?  I have no idea because I haven’t bought any in years. It is so easy to make delicious, mind blowing tomato pasta sauce that doesn’t cost the moon and the stars. I use fresh basil in this spaghetti sauce because D-man is a basil junkie and cannot ever get enough of it. We often have this sauce with spinach pasta and wild mushrooms (pictured below), but the possibilities are endlesssssssss….

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Emotional baggage

Here’s a hard fact for you. Though you probably would have suspect it was coming.
An American publication Obesity published a report in their July issue based on research done on 6,949 individuals with varying weight and relationship status. Brace yourself, hold on to your chairs tightly and don’t be afraid to wail after reading this.

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