You are viewing diethack's blog MyFitnessPal is a 100% Free Calorie Counter and Diet Plan
Hey, I am a med student who likes to write. Each week I provide a handful of tips that will help you in your quest to become healthier.

How to Actually Cook Food

Written: 11/12/2007 | Join the discussion (0)

Are you sure you are using the correct cooking method to cook your foods? Do you even know the difference? Find out below.
  1. Braising
    It is a cooking method usually used for meat and tough vegetables. First the ingredients are browned, and then slowly cooked in a tightly covered pot with some cooking liquid over low heat for a long period of time. The cooking liquid can be water, wine or stock.

    • The ingredients should be cut uniformly; same size.

    • If you don't like bones, no need to struggle to remove them while chopping them. Just cook it with the bone. It will be easier to separate the flesh and the bone after cooking.

    • Always turn off the heat before all the cooking fluid is over. The remaining fluid will be absorbed by the ingredients making them juicier and meltingly tender.

    • Braising vegetables and fruits takes less time. It takes less than 30 minutes for vegetables and fruits to cook. So add them midway while cooking your meat.

    • If you like some sauce to your curry, then uncover the cooking ware for the last 30-15 minutes. The excess fluid will evaporate leaving quite a thick sauce.

    Suitable for: Meat, chicken, fish, vegetables (cauliflower, cabbage, beet, sweet potatoes, potatoes, carrots, etc) and fruits (pineapples, pears, apples).

  2. Grilling and broiling
    Both techniques use intense direct heat to cook foods. The cook needs to be very cautious to avoid burning. They provide a similar charring and caramelization that give food that distinct flavor.

    • Try remove the maximum of grease from the meat you are going to cook. Fats that drip on the hot heating element or charcoal produce cancer causing emissions.
    • .
    • It is very difficult to remove all the fats from your meat. In this case just wrap your meat in aluminum foil before grilling.

    • If you don't appreciate red meat, cut the meat in thin slices. They will be thoroughly and homogenously cooked faster.

    • A good marinade will give a good flavor to your food. Use lemon juice, herbs and spices and allow your meat to marinate for at least 2 hours.

    • If you are grilling chicken, it is best to remove its skin.

    • Never let your food unattended when grilling or broiling. The food cooks so fast that it can be spoilt by burning for the slightest delay on your behalf.

    • Always do grilling in open spaces or in well ventilated areas.

    • The food often catches fire. Do not throw water directly. The grease may splash and burn you as well as your surrounding. I usually use a mixture of beer and soda to extinguish the fire. Or you can simply turn off the heater if you are using electrical grills or broilers.

    • Always keep a fire extinguisher nearby in case things get out of control.

    Suitable for: Sliced ham, bacon, fish, calf's liver and all tender meat in general.

  3. Poaching
    Poaching is the process of gently simmering food in liquid, generally water, stock or wine. In poaching the cooking liquid maintains a constant temperature. It is a fast method of cooking tender food and the food is moved as little as possible minimizing the effect of break up or fall apart.

    • Avoid a too high temperature to prevent agitation of the liquid. The liquid should not form bubbles inside.

    • Make sure to have enough liquid in the pan for both deep and shallow poaching.

    • Poaching keeps flavors of food well and does not add fats/oils.

    Suitable for : Eggs in water, fish in white wine, poultry in stock, fruit in red wine, duck in fat.

  4. Baking
    Baking is more known to be used for dessert and bread. It is similar to roasting except that the temperature is much lower.

    • It does not require fat. A small amount can be added for taste.

    • To prevent the food from drying, baste it from time to time.

    Suitable for: Seafood, poultry, lean meat, and vegetables and fruits

  5. Roasting
    Roasting is a cooking method that utilizes dry heat, whether an open flame, oven, or other heat sources. Roasting usually causes caramelization of the surface of the food, which is considered a flavor enhancement.

    • Marinate the meat or chicken to be roasted. Use spices and herbs as well as lemon juice.

    • So that the marinate penetrates the meat better, prick it or make cut across it. Allow to stand for a minimum of 2 hours.

    • Do not add any fat. The fat from the meat is more than enough.

    • Place the food on a tray to collect the excess fat during the cooking process.

    • Turn the meat twice or thrice for a homogenous cooking.

    Suitable for: Meats and most root and bulb vegetables.

  6. Sautéing
    Sautéing is one of the easiest and quickest methods of cooking. It is a technique of browning foods quickly over high heat in a small amount of hot fat.

    • The fat is very hot so that the food browns well and doesn't absorb the fat.

    • The pan is low sided and large enough to hold the food without crowding so that the food browns quickly rather than stewing in its own juices.

    • The food to be cooked is completely dry to prevent it from stewing (this parts is particularly important when sautéing foods that have been marinated).

    • It is recommended to use a thick pan. a thin pan will not dissipate a uniform heat thus burning the food in the middle of the pan.

    • Use a high temperature in the beginning and while coming to the end, gradually lower it. This will help to produce consistent sauce in case you are preparing one.

    • Use butter rather than oil. It will give your food the best taste and a wonderful golden crust. But precautions must be taken as butter burns more easily.

    Suitable for: Meat, potatoes , onions, bacons.

  7. Stir-frying
    Do you like Asian foods? Stir-frying is an Asian technique for cooking meat and vegetables quickly, so that they retain texture and flavor. Stir-frying typically involves a quick sauté over high heat, occasionally followed by a brief steam in a flavored sauce.

    • A marinade for the meat or seafood before the stir-frying helps to enhance the flavor and seal in the moisture. Cornstarch is often called for, along with a small amount of liquid like soy sauce or rice wine

    • To enjoy the health benefits of stir frying, you need to quickly remove the food from the heater. The food especially the vegetables will preserve most of their nutritive contents.

    • Cut your food in small pieces. This will allow you to use a larger variety of ingredients and yet in smaller portions. Different types of food imply a range of health benefiting nutrients.

    • You can use the same dish to do all your food since it is a very quick method

    • Since we use a variety of ingredients, we can prepare a balanced diet very quickly by including cuts of meat or seafood paired with large quantities of inexpensive rice, pasta and vegetables.

    Suitable for: Fried rice, riz Cantonai, meat, sea foods and almost every vegetables.

  8. Steaming
    At last, my favorite technique. Steaming consists of cooking food by placing it in a perforated basket placed over a recipient of boiling water.

    • Cover the perforated basket to allow a uniform and high temperature around the food being cooked.

    • This technique requires a very low temperature to work properly. It preserves the nutritive value and integrity of the food.

    • There are less risks of burns compared to techniques where higher temperatures are used.

    • It requires no fat at all and uses only water.

    Suitable for: Rice, leafy vegetables and to heat precooked foods.

Cooking technique is as important as choosing the components of a balanced diet. Choosing the correct food but not cooking it correctly can do as much or even more harm than selecting the wrong food.

- Harry

Are Your Kids Eating Junk? Develop Healthy Eating Habits In Your Children

Written: 11/12/2007 | Join the discussion (0)

The other day I watched a very informative documentary "Vive La Cantine!" (Long live the Canteen!). There was a chef and a dietitian who went to 2 canteens in France to see the condition in which children, about 8 years old, were served food. It was really appalling.

What do you think your children are served at school? The children were served chips and other "junk foods" (powder and water for soup!) on a daily basis. They shunned any vegetables placed on their plates despite genuine efforts made by the cooks at the canteens to make them food from fresh vegetables. Wastage of food is an enormous issue in these canteens.

Also I received an email from a reader who had a similar problem.
Hello, Yan. I was just wondering if you could help me...
I'm 14 and I always wanted to eat more vegetables, but I have this image in my brain that its taste suck. was wondering if you had any particular tip to get that image out of my brain and make the vegetables more tasty.

Thank you,
This email gave me food for thought because this is a very grave issue when children at this tender age, still in a stage of active physical growth, do not eat vegetables. This article will be focused mostly on vegetables because these are the main foods which are a problem for children.
  • Educate your children about the different types of vegetables
    Try the following experiment. Take some junk foods like chips, burgers, nuggets, etc... and add a few vegetables like beet, spinach, watercress, celery, or choose any other vegetables from this list of culinary vegetables and ask your kid the names of each food item. I'll bet you that your child will know ALL the junk foods and will fail to know the names of about 30% of the vegetables you'll place in front of him/her. Educating their children about the basics of healthy eating is an area where most parents fail. So the first thing I'll recommend is to familiarize your kids with the different vegetables there are, their tastes, their textures, their colors, their flavors in food. Let them actually experience the joy of fresh vegetables and hopefully this will help them get rid of the bad image vegetables ingrained in children's minds.

  • Stop rewarding your kids
    Most parents try to bribe their children into eating vegetables by coaxing them with rewards. This kind of behavior will instill the idea that vegetables are something that they are forced to eat for a reward. If there are no rewards, your children won't bother eating the vegetables. Believe me kids do think like that. (I used to when I was a kid.) If you are doing this, you must STOP it now because you will only be fooling yourself and your kids for a "short period". How long do you think you can bribe your kids to eat vegetables. If you want your kids to gain healthy eating habits for the rest of his/her life, you must start by explaining to them why eating vegetables are good for them. They won't be able to understand this at first but be inflexible (not forceful). Explain each time that kids must eat vegetables to stay healthy and smart.

  • Stop punishing your kids
    Like the rewarding kids, there are some parents who go to extreme measures in order to make their children finish their meals. These experiences will make the children create an aversion for vegetables. Don't shove the vegetables down his/her throat but rather be patient and take the time to explain to your children that vegetables will do their health good.

  • Actually cook them food
    Most parents actually buy foods for their kids or just microwave something they put together like the "powder and water to make soup" food. First of all, outside food does not equal home cooked food. You have no control of the ingredients used to make the food, basic stuff like salt, sugar, oil. No, you must not put your kids on a diet but it doesn't hurt to have a control on health enemies like this especially as the rates of obese kids are escalating. Also, most of the instantaneous foods which take just a few minutes to cook are actually junk foods. Let your kids taste a real carrot soup with real carrots in it instead of just powder and water. If you are like me and don't have enough time on your hands, just wake up one hour earlier to cook food and get your spouse to help you if you are married. The following site on 101 Simple Meals Ready in 10 Minutes or Less will be of use to you. You may also want to cook in large quantities and freeze the food. Next time you want to serve the foods, just heat them. If you do not know how to cook, it's never late to learn. You can learn the basics of cooking at Cooking 101.

  • Limit the pocket money
    Kids today have too much money and not enough control. Teaching kids how to manage money is one of the biggest challenges facing any parent. If you can teach your child the difference between needs and wants, how to budget and how to save, your child will know more than many adults. Limit their pocket money so that they don't buy candy or a chocolate bar every time they are hungry. Prepare them a healthy lunch meal instead of giving them money to buy food to eat.

  • Limit the chocolate, biscuits and other junk stuffs
    Look at this typical school day of the child of my friend. Her mom sends her to school with a healthy lunch meal... but also adds some biscuits to the meal and a chocolate bar. At 10 00, the kid gets hungry. He eats the chocolate bar and the biscuits. At lunch time, he is not hungry enough and so eat only a few mouthfuls of his food and leaves about 3/4 of the food like that. At home, about 4 pm, he starts feeling very hungry. Unfortunately for him, food is not ready at this time. His mother has not even started cooking food at this time. So what does the poor mother do? She feeds her kid with lots of biscuits again to allay the hunger. Come dinner time and the kid only nibbles at his meal, leaving almost all his meal like that. And the mother wonders what is wrong with her son and why he is not eating.

    In order to avoid this from happening to your children, you must limit the junk food you give your son/daughter and to prepare a size meal he/she will actually be able to eat at lunch. If you give him too much or too little, this will delay his eating time and create a disturbance in his eating pattern.

  • Give your kids healthy snacks
    Instead of giving him two chocolates, two candies, or one chocolate and biscuit, why not treat him to a chocolate and an apple or a yogurt and some biscuit. Kids must eat sweets but also healthy foods. So create a combination of sweets and healthy foods and each time he wants a chocolate, give him an apple dipped in some chocolate or a chocolate cake with oranges in it. He will like it and also eat healthily at the same time.

  • Hide the vegetables in the dishes
    Despite your various attempts and you find your kid still not enjoying the vegetable you have cooked for him, then it is time for you to resort to some guerrilla tactics. You must try to hide the vegetables in the dishes you prepare for him. You can puree vegetables for pasta sauces or you put the vegetables on a pizza. You can also make shakes and smoothies from fresh vegetables. There are many sneaky ways to prepare dishes with vegetables which are not so apparent. If you are discovered by your kids, you may be accused of "cheating" but at least you are sacrificing yourself for the goods of your children.

  • Encourage family meals
    Children get some motivation and actually love the family atmosphere where everybody sits around the table for a meal. Even if you are busy all day, at least take some time to enjoy a meal with your children. Learn to know what and what they are not eating. Encourage them to eat by telling them how such a vegetable will benefit their health.

  • Make them watch educational cartoons on food and nutrition
    Children are easily influenced by what they watch on tv. The proof a cartoon from Ireland known as Food Dudes is already getting children hooked on vegetables. The Food Dudes are 4 preteens called Razz, Rocco, Charlie and Tom who fight against the evil Junk Punks (General Junk and his sidekicks) who are depriving the world of fruits and veggies! The teens get their superpowers by consuming healthful foods like raspberries (Razz), broccoli (Rocco), carrots (Charlie) and tomatoes (Tom).

  • Be a model to your children
    And last but not least, be a model to your kids. Avoid bad eating habits in front of your children as children are very intelligent persons and they can learn very quickly to emulate your eating habits. Also if you’re practicing healthy eating habits, it’s a lot easier to convince children to do the same.
Kids are very smart nowadays. You will lose many battles at first but you will win the war eventually if you stick to the above guidelines. Use your imagination and if you know of some other ways to encourage children to eat, please share it with other fellow readers in the same situation as yourself.- Gyanish

16 Tips to Get Rid of Smelly Feet

Written: 11/10/2007 | Join the discussion (0)

Who has never been the victim or more embarassing the "cause" of smelly feet at one time in his/her life? Smelly feet, known more scientifically as Bromhydrosis, can be very embarrassing and uncomfortable to family members, friends and especially to oneself. It is not a disease and can be treated in most cases by maintaining good feet hygiene.

What causes malodorous feet?

Each foot has over 250,000 sweat glands. Sweat is secreted by the body for cooling purposes. But certain people tend to sweat excessively, especially in the feet. This condition is known as hyperhydrosis. Actually, it is not hyperhydrosis which causes the odors. The dampness caused by the sweat and darkness around the foot skin produce a fertile environment that causes bacteria to go into a feeding frenzy. Their waste products produce a pungent confined sweat smell which is not friendly to the human nose.

The more you sweat, the more likely your feet will emit foul odors. This explains why everyone does not smell from the feet. It is the amount of sweat which stagnates around the foot that is important.

Other causes of smelly feet include obesity, menopause, excessive anxiety and some psychiatric disorders.

How to fight smelly feet?
  1. Wash your feet with antibacterial soap and cold water everyday.

  2. Dry your feet with a dry and rough towel without forgetting the spaces between the toes. This is where most bacteria accumulate.

  3. Trim your nail and brush them well especially the lateral portion where the nail enters into the skin.

  4. Use thick and light colored socks made from absorbent material like cotton.

  5. Avoid socks and foot wears manufactured from synthetic material like nylon or plastic. They cannot absorb sweat.

  6. Change your socks daily or twice in a day depending on the amount you sweat.

  7. Never wear shoes without socks.

  8. Wear shoes that allow air to circulate around the feet. Trainers shoes and shoes made from canvas and leather allow the feet to breathe.

  9. If these shoes do not work out for you, then wear sneakers or sandals whenever possible. Limit the use of shoes for special occasions only.

  10. Never wear the same shoes twice in a row. Aerate them for at least 24 hours.

  11. Use changeable insole. This will limit bacterial accumulation in your shoes.

  12. Dust your feet with baby powder or foot powder. This will absorb extra sweat and give your skin a smooth texture.

  13. Avoid restrictive footwear like boots. Your feet cannot breathe inside them.

  14. Apply anti sweat lotion. This will limit sweat secretion.

  15. Once a week do a footbath. Use a foot stone or a rough brush to remove dead skin cells.

  16. Soaking your feet in strong black tea for 30 minutes a day for a week can help. The tannic acid in the tea kills the bacteria and closes the pores, keeping your feet dry longer.
If none of these tips work, then the best thing is to visit a doctor for treatments. They include the surgical method to section the nerve controlling the sweat glands or the use of electrolysis.


When the foot is exposed for long periods of time in damped environments, its skin becomes fragile and weak. People wearing tight shoes or improper foot wears can cause tearing and wearing of the skin. This leaves the internal structures exposed. Bacteria can cause inflammation.

If fungus enters these bruises, athelete foot occurs. Athlete's foot is a common fungal infection that affects many people at some time in their lives. The condition easily spreads in public places such as communal showers, locker rooms and fitness centers.

Athlete's foot usually affects the spaces between your toes, but it can spread to your toenails and the soles and sides of your feet. Often, athlete's foot responds well to over-the-counter treatments you can apply to your skin. More severe cases may require prescription medications.

The first step towards treating smelly feet remains foot hygiene and proper foot wears.

- Harry

Initiation to Yoga : Make Your Life a Haven of Peace With Simple Yoga Techniques

Written: 11/08/2007 | Join the discussion (0)

Note: This article contains 1 video and may take some time to load. If you are reading this through an RSS reader or by email and cannot find the video, please click on Initiation to Yoga. If you are not reading this through rss, then please consider subscribing to Diethack. :)

In this world of chaos and rush, many people find themselves stranded after a hard day of work, including myself. Getting rid of the tension accumulated during the day is a very difficult chore. One practise which have saved me countless times from stress is Yoga, more commonly Hatha Yoga. A discipline which comes from India, Yoga has been gaining steady popularity across the globe during the last decade. Although it is shunned by the medical community, I personally have found it to be very appeasing to both the body and the mind. Mental relief, tension breakdown, healthy heart and other virtues make yoga one of the best discipline to maintain a balanced life.

There is not one Yoga but various types of yogas which have different technical approaches. I'm no yoga instructor or guru and what I'll show, is knowledge I've gleamed from two years of documentation on the net and in books.

Hatha yoga, which combines asanas (Hindi word for postures) and pranayama (master of one's breath) is the common form of Yoga in the occident, basically because it is the accessible one. It is more dynamic than other forms I know and helps the body gain vitality.

In search of union

The term "yoga" comes from an ancient hindi word "yuj" meaning union. Hatha yoga is a discipline which consists of
  • moral values
  • rules of life
  • practise of postures or asanas
  • mastering breathing techniques
  • concentration
  • meditation
Yoga Techniques

A session of Hatha Yoga has a very defined time table:
  • Initial Relaxation
  • Preparation of mind and body
  • Postures(asanas)
  • Breathing Technique (Pranayama)
  • Meditation
  • Final Relaxation

Fixed postures (asanas) are the most visible and popular parts of doing yoga but the other parts have their importance as well. The principle is simple. You must stay as long as you can without any forced efforts on your part in a posture to allow your energy to flow everywhere in your body and deep inside your muscles and organs. The practice is more complex though because a posture can sometimes demand some mental effort and a certain suppleness of your body. But this comes automatically with practise.

The "shavasana" or the posture of a corpse, by which a session of yoga starts and finishes with, is the posture of relaxation. It is essential to get rid of mental and physical tension. Here is a video showing you how to do it:

Breathing in Hatha Yoga

Floor exercises are very important if you are suffering from backpain. Here is how to do it:

Floor Exercises in Hatha Yoga

After a session of yoga you can focus your energy with this yoga posture.

Focusing Energy in Hatha Yoga

You can find other such great videos at Expert Village - Hatha Yoga Courses by Marcelle Lee.


If ever you don't have time for practising yoga for a long period of time, this yoga technique will suffice largely for you. Suryanamaskar which literally translates to "Salute to the sun" was done traditionally when the Sun is just at the point of rising above the horizon, that is, early morning; although this is not essential. It consists of 12 sequences which work all parts of your body and take only about 1 minute to complete.

Other great yoga resources online are Yoga Wizard and Yoga Basics.

8 Health Problems You May Encounter With Your Laptop and How to Solve Them

Written: 11/08/2007 | Join the discussion (0)

Laptops due to their lightness, mobility and new facilities like WiFi, which allow people to use internet almost everywhere, have become an integral part of many people's life especially youngsters. Everyone will agree that there is no harm in having a laptop. But the problem is that people strain their eyes in very unhealthy and unsuitable postures for long hours. Youngsters use most of their leisure time on their laptops watching movies, surfing or even working.

Posture is not the only problem with the use of laptops. High performance laptops, which are more and more available on the market, seduce everyone. Nevertheless, they generate much more heat than the usual desktop computer.

  1. Laptops and children

    Problem: The BBC is reporting that laptop with WiFi antennas should not be placed near the laps of children until the research on health problems caused by them become clearer. Such antennas are similar to mobile phone antennas, except that they are less powerful. Prof Challis pointed that children are more sensitive to UV than an adult. He noted that since children are not allowed to use mobile phones for their own safety, the same applies for laptops.

    Solution: Children can use desktop computers since the emissions from the antenna will affect them less as they are situated in the tower which is further from their lap.

  2. Laptops and infertility

    Problem: It is known among researchers that a rise in temperature by 1 degree Celsius in the sac surrounding the testicles, known as the scrotum, leads to a decrease of synthesis of normal healthy sperm by 40%. A study carried out by a group of researchers from the State University of New York at Stony Brook revealed that for a person who uses his laptop on the laps, the median temperature rise in the scrotum is around 2.6 to 2.8 degrees Celsius.

    Further research is needed to find if there is a correlation between infertility and using a laptop on the lap. But there is surely a decrease in the number of normal sperm cells or sperm count.

    Solution: Place the laptop on a surface instead of your lap when you are using it. Or you can buy stands for laptop.

  3. Laptops and burns

    Problem: The heat from the laptop on the lap also causes skin and groin burns. To protect themselves from burns, certain people place a pillow between their lap and laptop. This can turn out to be more dangerous as the air vent of the laptop are blocked. The fans work faster but only to circulate a heated air that cannot escape. There are high risks that your laptop plastic back cover melts and causes more serious burns.

    Solution: Firms are designing very comfortable and safe lap rests for your laptops. They can be searched through the internet.

  4. Laptops and wrist pains

    Problem: Excessive typing causes the wrist to press against the edge of the laptop's border which is sharp in certain models. This causes compression of nerves and blood vessels leading to wrist and finger pains due to insufficient circulation of blood to the extremities of the hand.

    Solution: Simple flexions and extensions of the wrist and fingers must be done frequently to promote blood circulation.

  5. Laptops associated to shoulder and neck pains

    Problem: Laptop keyboards lack inclinations and proper hand rests. The elbow remains suspended in the air, thus causing contraction on the muscles of the shoulders and that of the neck. Prolonged use leads to shoulder and neck pains.

    Solution: The best solution to this problem is getting back to the ancient more ergonomic external keyboard connected to the laptop.

  6. Problem: Often the height of the screen is not ergonomic. The muscles of the back and the neck are used to have a better view of the screen display.

    Solution: The laptop can be placed on a support which permits us to see the whole content of the screen extend and stretch the neck muscles.

  7. Laptops and the eyes

    Problem: The eyes need rests and the lenses inside them have to relax after stretching. When using laptops or computers in general, the muscles that control the lenses remain in a static position depending on the number of hours you stare at the screen.

    Solution: To protect the eyes from strains, frequent poses are recommended. It is advisable to watch distant objects so as to allow the muscles to relax.

  8. Problem: The brightness of the screen is also important. Too much brightness or light from another source reflecting on the screen into your eyes can be harmful to the retina. The retina is a collection of light sensitive cells that collects information and sends them to the brain to be processed into vision.

    Solution: To avoid this, choose a suitable brightness as well as switching on the lights to dampen the amount of light from the laptop screen.
Laptops in no case will harm us if used correctly. We just need to control the amount of hours we spend in front of it and respect the body postures and constraints.

- Harry

7 Simple Tips To Make Healthy Sandwiches

Written: 11/07/2007 | Join the discussion (0)

Instead of eating, I'm sure many of you like to do your shopping during your lunch time. I am an adept of what I term as a "continuous journey flow", that is working in one big time block without interruption. No I'm no productivity junkie or guru though I know a bit about time management and getting things done. But sometimes I love to eat healthy on the go while doing my work and for that the simplest and cheapest solution I've found is a sandwich. No I'm not talking about that greasy chicago hot dog Jay has been showing you how to make but a simple sandwich which will become an ally of your time and health.

By varying the composition of your sandwich and not forgetting the fruits as deserts, drinking water, milk or a homemade fruit juice and recalibrating the nutrients of your dinner, you can respect all nutritional conditions of a healthy meal with a sandwich.

  1. Playing on Variety

    • Vary your sandwich with ham, chicken, beef, tuna, eggs, cheese, etc.

    • When you are making a sandwich with meat, know that meat and butter are not great couples on a nutritional plan. So avoid pasting your meat sandwich with butter.

    • Ham and bacon contain less fats than sausages or steaks.

    • Choose whole wheat bread for your sandwich instead of plain white bread.

  2. Do not Forget the Salads!

    Every time you make a sandwich, always and I insist always, add some vegetables to it! It can be green salads or simply a few slices of tomatoes or cucumber. It all depends on what vegetables you like to eat. Do not add chips to your sandwich menu though!

  3. For the Taste

    Sprinkle some pepper on your sandwich for taste and avoid pasting all kinds of sauces, ketchup, mayonnaise or butter on it.

  4. Drink

    Choose water as a drink. If not you can either choose a juice or milk. Avoid soda, tea, or any energy drinks.

  5. Dessert

    Choose a fruit instead of a cake.

  6. Recalibrating your dinner

    For dinner, you need to recalibrate your meal by insisting on the following:

    • fruits and vegetables.

    • dairy products like a yogurt if you ate a cheese sandwich for lunch.

    • If you had a vegetarian sandwich for lunch, eat at least some meat, chicken or preferably fish for dinner. If you a vegan, the best course for you is to eat some pulses like lentils, soya or tofu.

  7. Integrate an exercise with your sandwich

    A sandwich gives you the liberty to go anywhere while eating. So never eat your sandwich on the spot unless you are doing a very important work. Take a walk with your sandwich to integrate a bit of exercises in your day.

Some Healthy Sandwich Recipes

Chicken Avocado by Mavis
What’s in it? Grilled/steamed Chicken breast meat (Shredded or sliced), Ripe avocado, Lettuce/tomatoes/cucumber (Optional), Pepper
What should we know? Mash avocado onto both sides of bread, place chicken and salads on one side, topped with pepper, cover with other half of bread. Best on toasted bread!
Bread Type: Whole Wheat

Ham N Egg by Carol
What’s in it? Bibb Lettuce, Ham, Egg Salad, Sweet Pickle, Brown Mustard
What should we know? Toasted bread seems to work the best. You can use sweet relish also, but it can change the consistency of the egg salad.
Bread Type? Whole Wheat

There is a cool site known as Sandwich Project where people submit their sandwich recipes. There are tons of healthy sandwich recipes there which I'm sure you'll find interesting.

Are You Having Eyesight Problems?

Written: 11/06/2007 | Join the discussion (0)

From the past three days I've been suffering from headaches especially after a few hours during my courses. It increases by the end of the day and all the ways to get rid of this headache did not work. Only some sleep could appease it and that for a few hours only. Today I woke up late and I managed to get a place in the back benches. And the problem was solved. I was having near eyesight problems. My glasses were not sufficient to correct sight defect. That was what my ophthalmologist told me today.

Eyesight or any other sight problems should not be taken lightly as complications may lead to total irreversible blindness. The most common symptom that must sound the alarm if you are suffering from eyes or vision problems is blurred visions often accompanied by headaches and a pain in the eye. Here a few eyesight problems which may help you if ever you get one and how to treat them:

  • Myopia or nearsightedness
    It is a vision condition in which near objects are seen clearly, but distant objects do not come into proper focus. Nearsightedness occurs if your eyeball is too long or the cornea has too much curvature, so the light entering your eye is not focused correctly.
    Treatment: Wearing of glasses or contact lens.

  • Hyperopia or farsightedness
    It is a vision condition in which distant objects are usually seen clearly, but close ones appear blurred. Farsightedness occurs if your eyeball is too short or the cornea has too little curvature, so light entering your eye is not focused correctly.
    Treatment: Wearing of glasses or contact lens.

  • Presbyopia
    This condition concerns mostly aged persons. The lens of the eye loses its ability to focus as it loses its elasticity. The condition is associated with aging and is progressive, that is, it tends to get worse.
    Treatment: Wearing of glasses or contact lens but they need to be changed regularly.

  • Glaucoma
    It is a condition when the liquid present in the eyes is not drained properly. This may results due to clogged or inefficient drainage of the fluid in the eyes. The excess pressure presses again the retina (captures light entering the eyes) and the optic nerves (transmits images captured by the retina to the brain). Untreated glaucoma leads to blindness. In glaucoma there is a terrible pain of the eyes which is experienced too. It is as if your eyes want to explode. This condition may occur gradually or suddenly. People suffering from diabetes are at higher risks of suffering from this disease.
    Treatment: Achieved by medications or surgery depending on severeness and stage of the disease.

  • Cataracts
    This is a condition where the proteins with transparency capability, degenerate and become opaque. At night, cataract sufferers find their vision diminished quite drastically. Foods rich in antioxidants are said to reduce cataracts. Cataracts are a leading cause of visual impairment among aging Americans.
    Treatment: Cataract extractions are the most common surgical procedure performed in the world.

Who to visit when we are having problems with the sight or the eye?

Opticians dispense eyeglasses, contact lenses, low-vision aids, other optical devices, and eyewear accessories..

Optometrists administer eye examinations, gives advice on visual problems and prescribes and fits glasses or contact lenses. In some states they prescribe eye drops to treat diseases.

Ophthalmologists are doctors specialized in the medical and surgical care of the eyes and visual system and in the prevention of eye disease and injury.

Note: It can be a good thing to ask your ophthalmologist to perform tests to determine if you suffer from colorblindness. This condition is the inability to see all colors or differentiate between different colors. The most common is the incapability to distinguish between red and green. Color blindness is a genetic problem and a treatment is yet to be found. For people who see only in black and white, there are very specialized light device, but they are very expensive. Color blindness is more frequent in men than women.. Doctors usually perform a more specialized test but you can use this Colour Vision Test to check if you have this problem or not.

Sight is very important for us in our daily life for everything. The only moment we don't use it is when we sleep. Never hesitate to check up your eyes one every one or two years even if you are not feeling any pain or unusual visions.

- Harry

How to Eat Healthy On a Small Budget

Written: 11/06/2007 | Join the discussion (1)

Being a medical student is not one of the most rewarding works. Most of the time the budget is tight and it is very difficult to make ends meet.

If you are like me and your financial situation is not one of the most favorable ones, here are a few tips on how to be vigilant on your nutrition if you want to stay healthy on a low budget:

  1. Optimize your shopping

    • Make a list prior to shopping. While shopping, stick to the list and do not be tempted to buy more than necessary. The list should contain only the necessary foods that you will be eating and which are to the limit of your budget. Do not write a long list of wants when you have very little money.

    • Be on the watch for promotions and sales. Some promotions are very interesting but beware of the expiration dates on the foods you buy because most of the times, it is the foods which are nearly expired which are for sale.

    • Compare the prices by kilograms and not by units. Most people (I was like this at one point) always look at the prices by unit. You must never take notice of these prices but look at the small printed price on the package of the foods which are usually price per kilogram (or ounce in the US)

    • Never buy food on an empty stomach. You will be tempted to buy more.

    • Always buy in a few quantities. Some people are tempted to buy more than they can possibly eat during sales and when the foods have reached their expiration dates, you have no other alternatives than to throw them away.

    • Buy generic. Generic foods are usually just as good as the originals and more essentially, they are cheaper!

    • Never shop in a hurry. I know time is limited for everybody but always take your time to compare prices per kilogram when you buy your food.

    • Shop at your local market: Most of the times, your local market is a cheaper alternative to your supermarket. One trick I usually do is to shop just before the market closes because this is where you can get the best bargains from the seller who is in a hurry to go home.

    • Always shop alone. I always shop alone so that I always stick to my shopping list and avoid the temptation to buy foods the other person will buy if I were accompanied by someone.

  2. Choice and preparation of food

    • Always cook your food: Prior to being a student in a foreign country, I never knew how to cook. When I started studying in France, I always ate in a restaurant. After two months, I started noticing that eating outside was draining my tight budget. So I learned how to cook for myself and I can certify that cooking for me has become a passion. I managed to cut my budget by 5 times by eating only at home. If you were like me and had no notion of cooking before, the following site will teach you the basics of cooking: Cooking 101. It is one of the most comprehensive sites on cooking I've found and it teaches you everything from how to boil water (Yes there is a science involved behind boiling water!) to how to rescue a cooking disaster. Also one of the most important reasons people give for not cooking at home besides laziness and not knowing how to cook, is time constraint. When I started cooking, I usually took two to three hours to cook. But I stuck to it. I usually cooked when I had some free time in the afternoon and during weekend. Now the maximum amount it takes me to cook a healthy meal is 30 to 45 minutes. So give it a try and you will find yourself starting to enjoy it.

    • Eating healthy means having all the nutrients in correct proportions in your plate. So for each nutrient, there are always cheaper alternatives to the expensive ones. As an example, for protein, you can always eat eggs which are cheaper than meat or for calcium, milk is cheaper than cheese.

    • If you tend to eat the same food, the one you bought during a sale, vary the dishes by using spices to give the dishes flavor and color.

    • Never throw away leftover food from a dinner. You can keep it in hermetic boxes and use it for breakfast or brunch the next day.

    • If you are really unable to spare time for cooking, it is better to cook in large quantities at once and to keep the excess food in the fridge for your next meal.

  3. Fruits and Vegetables

    • Opt for the fruits and vegetables which are in season; cheaper, they are also more delicious to eat. Kiwi, Carrot, leek, cabbage, citrus fruits in winter, strawberries during spring, peach, melon, tomato, sweet pepper, zucchini in summer, pear and grape in autumn, apples and bananas all year long.

    • Markets provide cheaper and fresher fruits and vegetables than large supermarkets

    • To avoid losing fruits and vegetables which are too ripe or have been slightly damaged, better make jams, salads or soups from them.

    • Frozen fruits and vegetables can sometimes be nutritious as well as cheap. In addition, they are easy to prepare. Tinned foods are also at times better alternative.

  4. Meat, Fish, Eggs

    • The prices of meats and fish vary depending on their nature, locations of sale and the season of sale. Compare prices and verify that the meat which was cheap last week is still cheap this week before buying it.

    • Chickens, eggs and milk are nutritious and cheap foods. They can easily replace meat in your meals, which are usually more expensive.

    • In a dish, meat, fish or eggs are components of this dish and not the dominant one. Eat fish regularly: at least twice per week. Frozen fish are very affordable. Limit fish like fish fingers which use a cooking mode which are a bit "oily".

    • Meat, fish and eggs can be replaced by vegetables like pulses, lentils and beans. So it is not essential to eat meat, fish and eggs everyday. It is sometimes best to go vegetarian one or two days per week.

  5. Other components of a dish

    • Pasta and rice are very cheap and allow you to create dish which are nutritious and make you feel full.

    • Potatoes do not serve to make chips only but can be cooked in various ways: boiled potatoes, baked potatoes combined with a salad. Potatoes are very cheap.

    • Many people buy dried vegetables. They are cheap and contain a lot of fibers but they do not replace fresh vegetables. Instead of buying a lot of dried vegetables, better buy fewer fresh ones.

    • Do not forget bread which is very nutritious and easily affordable to everyone. Choose the ones which are whole wheat instead of the white ones.

  6. Drinks

    Drinks are very important to consider when planning your food budget. The only essential drink which you must consider and which is the "cheapest" is water. If you are like me and cannot afford to buy a lot of bottled water, buy a simple water filter. (I use a Brita filter which does the job very well.) Alcoholic drinks are very expensive and not very nutritious. Soda drinks also must be avoided but if you cannot resist one or two cokes from time to time, then better buy the light ones.

Ginseng - The Root of Life

Written: 11/04/2007 | Join the discussion (0)

The article on Ways to minimise the effects of a hangover was featured on Lifehacker. I mentioned about drinking ginseng as a quick-fix against hangover and many people wanted to know about this "magical plant" and its effects on health.

Termed as the "root of life" by the chinese, this plant is glorified by almost one-quarter of the world's population. It is from the plant family Panax, pan "all" and akos "heal", which literally means panacea, a remedy for all ills or difficulties. Ginseng comes from the chinese word "jen-shen" which means "man root" (referring to the root's characteristic forked shape, resembling the legs of a man). Abundant in ancient times, now you will rarely come across a cultivation of ginseng. It survives nowadays in extreme locations in the USA where it is very difficult to harvest it. Only specially trained men can go to these locations to collect the ginseng roots. In Asia, its culture is solidly garded by trained soldiers in confined territories. In Korea, the plantation of Ginseng is limited to an ancient city about 40 kilometers in diametre, entirely surrounded by walls. In China, where it used to grow in the wilderness, Ginseng plants have practically disappeared due to massive deforestation.

Types of ginseng

  • Wild Ginseng

    Wild ginseng is ginseng that is not cultivated. It is harvested from nature. Wild ginseng is relatively rare, and in many cases threatened or endangered.

  • Red Ginseng

    Red ginseng is Panax ginseng that has been heated, either through steaming or sun-drying.

  • White Ginseng

    Regular, non-heated ginseng is referred to as White ginseng.

Is it edible?

I really don't think there is any recipe for a ginseng dish. The most common use of ginseng I know is in soup and tea. Asians consider it as a medication and not as an ingredient for cooking and consume it as such. I know of some people though, who chew raw ginseng, particularly when it has been freshly uprooted because the roots still have a sweet taste.

To prepare a ginseng tea, you can just cut the ginseng into two thin slices, place it in a tea cup and then pour hot water on it. At first, drink the tea and then chew the ginseng slices (while you’ll drink your tea, these slices will soften in the hot water). Another revitalizing and strong ginseng tea can be prepared as follows: boil two tea ginseng bags in water (one cup) for about ten minutes. After that, squeeze the tea bags, add honey and some lemon juice into the tea.

And what does it heal?

  • Libido booster: Asians consider it as an excellent aphrodisiac, especially for men whose virility decreases with age.

  • Cardiac System Tonic: Chinese people claim that ginseng can stimulate your cardiovascular system, stomach and mental activity. They boast of gaining about a decade solely due to the consumption of ginseng.

  • Stimulates digestion: Ginseng has also been claimed to helps in the digestion process and elimination of excess gastric acid.

  • Cure hangover faster: Ginseng helps to speed up the process of decomposition of alcohol by the liver.

  • Diabetes treatment: Ginseng are used by diabetes for the treatment of Type II diabetes.

  • Increase brain power: Many students drink ginseng infusions to improve their capacity to think, study, concentrate, focus and memorize.

  • Slows the aging process: Ginseng can promote synthesis of protein, RNA, and DNA in tissues and organs such as the kidney, liver, bone marrow , and plasma.

  • Eliminate stress: Electric shock and other physical stress manipulations are known to cause antinociception, or an increase in the threshold of pain. The mechanisms of stress-induced antinociception are controlled by emotional factors such as anxiety and fear. Ginseng has been demonstrated to suppress the development of adaptation to psychological stress.

  • Improved physical stamina: Among the varied promises of Ginseng are those of an increased physical stamina and a higher quality of life.

  • Note of Caution: Although various studies have been conducted, there are no definite claims about the therapeutic effects of ginseng unless you take into accounts the claims of most asians people. As the asians are considered to have the longest life span on earth, then it is a safe claim to say that ginseng sure does your body good. But to stay on the safe side, only consume about 1000 mg to 3000 mg during a day.


    Asian Ginseng

    Spice Up Your Dishes and Health with Indian Cuisine

    Written: 11/03/2007 | Join the discussion (0)

    Being of Indian origin, it is so difficult to stay away from spicy and hot dishes that my parents used to cook for me. Though I am far from my homeland, I brought my spices and recipes with me.

    Spices, apart from giving a powerful aroma to your dishes, irresistible flavors and mouth watering taste, are attributed with health benefits. Studies show that elderly villagers in India appear to have the lowest rate of Alzheimer's disease in the world. Most spices contain far more antioxidants than fruits or vegetables.

    Here are the most used spices in Indian cuisine to add colors, flavors, aroma and a new taste to your usual cuisine.

    • Ginger
      Gingerol is the active ingredient in ginger. It appeases nausea, vomiting, motion sickness as well as morning sickness. Ginger contains antioxidants with cancer fighting attributes. Bacterial and fungal attacks are also parried by the good effects of ginger. Furthermore, it boosts the metabolism and the immune system.

      Use: Add freshly ground garlic paste to meat marinade or when cooking pulses or leafy vegetables.

    • Garlic
      Usually used with ginger, garlic provides different health benefits. on regular consumption, it lowers blood pressure and cholesterol levels. It also praised for its virtues to fight skin, colon and lung cancer and cardiovascular troubles. The inner root of garlic should be removed before use. Otherwise foul smell results on burping.

      Use: Use together with ginger paste in the same recipes.

    • Cinnamon
      It is the dried bark of laurel trees. It has an agreeably sweet, delicate and intense woody aroma. The taste is fragrant and warm. An excellent antidote against diarrhea, and stomach upset. It fights colds, cough and fever and stimulates the blood circulation. Studies have shown that cinnamon lowers high blood cholesterol, triglyceride and glucose levels — by as much as 10 to 30 percent.

      Use: Suited to both savory and sweet dishes, cinnamon lends itself just as well to a roasted leg of lamb from India as it does to a sweet and delicate rice pudding. Sprinkled on tea, it is consumed by tea lovers and diabetic patients.

    • Chili pepper powder
      Who doesn't like chilies? This powder brings fire to your tongue, tears to your eyes and even drains your runny nose. It helps lose weight, boost the immune system, clear congested airways, stop prostate cancer and acts as anti-inflammatory.

    • Coriander
      Coriander leaves have a sweet and characteristic smell. They heal migraines, protect against the Salmonella bacteria, urinary tract infections, prevent nausea and is an anti-inflammator They also help to relieve intestinal gas, lower blood sugar and bad cholesterol (LDL) and raises good cholesterol (HDL).

      Use: Coriander is used in both sweet and savory dishes. Essential ingredient of the curry powder mix, it is popular in minced meat dishes, sausages and stews.

    These are the most common food spices used in the Indian cuisine and which are also known to have therapeutic virtues. Here are some simple recipes to enjoy the flavours and benefits of spices. Below is a sweet dish you can serve as dessert.

    Sweet rice pudding also known as Kheer

    • 2 cups of rice (about 50-75g)

    • 1 litre of milk

    • Blanched almonds

    • Dry raisins

    • 1/4 tbs of cinnamon or cardamon powder

    • 4 tbsp of sugar (depends on taste of person)

    1. Soak the rice in water for 2 hours and overcook it lightly.

    2. Bring the milk to boil and add the rice to it.

    3. Add the sugar, dry raisins and the almonds followed by the cinnamon.

    4. Allow to cook till the dish become more consistent but ensuring it does not become too dry. Switch off the gas when you see that it is becoming difficult to stir.

    5. Serve hot

    For meat lovers, here is a mutton dish. You can use chicken or any other meat as a substitute for mutton.

    Mutton Chops

    • 500g mutton chops soaked in 1/2 cup of white vinegar for 1-2 hours

    • 2 medium tomatoes chopped in cubes

    • 2 pieces of ginger

    • 12 flakes of ginger

    • 1/2 tsp red chilly pepper powder

    • 2 cloves

    • 1/2 tbs cinnamon

    • 2 cardammons

    • 4 tbsp oil

    • 1 cup of yogurt

    • Salt and pepper to taste

    1. Grind the garlic and the ginger into a paste.

    2. Add it to mutton chops.

    3. Put 1/2 cup of water in a dish.

    4. Add the mutton chops and allow to cook till all the water evaporates.

    5. Add the remaining ingredients with the oil.

    6. Allow to fry till the mutton turms light brown and the tomatoes well mashed.

    7. Serve hot.

    ENJOY - From Harry