Wednesday, 20 February 2019

THINK DIRTY!

I found this app and thought that it was very apt for people like me!

It's called 'THINK DIRTY'.

It lists down the ingredients of beauty products and their information on whether they are safe to be used or not.



You can scan the barcode of the products you have in your house and compare it with the list that they have in their database.


This product is a no-no. 

Nellie's laundry soda is clean!

Friday, 15 February 2019

TMX Sourdough Bread



(I used the TMX baguette recipe for this.)

Ingredients:
1. 330gm water
2. +/-500gm high protein bread flour
3. 150gm sourdough starter
4. Salt

------------------------------------------

1. Place water into TMX jug and set 2min/37C/speed 2.

2. Add the flour, salt and sourdough starter and knead for 3 mins.

3. Place the dough into a bowl and let it rise.

4. Once it has risen, punch it back down and place it in the fridge for 24 hours.

5. Line a baking tray with baking paper.

6. Take out the dough from the fridge and knock the dough back down and place it on the baking tray. Allow it to rise for another 2 hours. Using a sharp knife, cut some lines on the top of the dough.

7. Preheat oven at 250C.

8. Bake for approximately 35mins or until golden brown.

9. Allow to cool.

Bon appetit!




Sunday, 10 February 2019

Sourdough Starter

Ingredients:

1. Ground wheat (100gm)
2. Kefir grains and kefir water (150gm)

----------------------------------------

I bought organic winter wheat groats and used the TMX to grind them.


I then added 100gm of this to the 150gm of kefir water and kefir grains to start the sourdough starter.



It multiplied at such rapid speed that I had to place the jar in the fridge as I couldn't keep up.

Once it expands, remove half in this jar and add another 100gm wheat and 150gm of kefir water again. (You can keep the amount you have removed in another jar. You can use it for pancakes or bread.)

Repeat this process for about a week or two.

Your sourdough starter will be ready to be used.


Tuesday, 5 February 2019

Year of the Oink

Once upon a time, there was a pig who went by the name of Oink. Oink was chubby, pinkish and piggish just like any other pig. Oink had a big heart (and tummy) and was well-liked and loved by almost everyone on the Farm except for one animal. It was the Red Hen.

Red Hen could not stand the sight of Oink as to her, he was filthy, fat and had no class whatsoever. She was mean-spirited, smug, bitchy and bossy as she felt that she was the epitome of perfection. Red Hen thought very highly of herself. She constantly pruned and preened herself. She saw herself as the perfect picture of class! Everyone else was below her.

Red Hen refused to let her little chicks play with Oink in the mud even though they adored him. She told them that they do not mix with the lower caste. Furthermore, Oink was unclean. 

Years went by and Oink became chubbier, pinker and BIGGER. Red Hen became, well, bitchier.

Every year, each animal would take turns to host the barn festival. This year was Oink’s turn.

The animals hung up the banner at the barn which said ‘The Year of the Oink!’ There were lots of food and games. Laughter filled the air. The atmosphere was joyous and warm. 


Suddenly a gust of cold wind blew in. At the door of the barn, stood an emaciated looking creature. It then collapsed.

All of the animals rushed to it (except for Red Hen of course). It was so sickly and thin that no one could recognise it. Oink then realised that it was Alfie! He was Oink’s cousin from another farm many, many miles away. With whatever strength that was left, Alfie told them that he had come to warn them of the drought that had come so suddenly. Then came the long-famine. Almost all the farm animals where Alfie lived had died. 


Alfie then died.

A sense of doom blanketed over the party.

Red Hen cackled so hard that she turned purple. Drought?! They had rain! Their land was ripe and flourishing. 


Red Hen laughed at the look of despair on the faces of the animals. She believed that she was Miss Lucky and no bad thing could happen to her. She brought luck to everyone! What nonsense had Alfie talked about? Besides, he was Oink’s cousin. The low caste creatures. Who knows he could have lied to get free food from them! 

Everyone told Red Hen to shut up and to show some respect.

Red Hen snorted. No one could tell her what to do. 

She strutted out of the barn and clucked at the top of her voice that nothing bad could happen to her. She was untouchable!

The days then started to become dry. Rain became scarce. Slowly, the land became barren. Drought set in. Dry winds brought news from other farms that the long-famine had struck.

The animals were feeling jittery. They had never experience a famine before. What would they do if the land that they lived on could no longer feed them? The food in the barn house would slowly but surely run out. Gloom and despair began to set in.

Red Hen blamed Oink’s cousin Alfie. She blamed Oink too. If it had been the Year of the Chicken, this wouldn’t have happened. Oink had brought upon this curse. He was the cursed one.

The long-famine came, and things were bearable until one day. Father Farmer had a bad fall. He was bedridden and the help that he had hired stole the food that he had stored and ran away.

Father Farmer became weaker and weaker. Without Father Farmer, all the animals knew that they would die.

What should do they do?

Oink looked at everyone. All of them had begun to show signs of starvation. Red Hen even took to eating whatever she could scavenge from the ground. She even snatched whatever her chicks found right from their beaks. She took anything from anyone whenever she could. So much for good luck.

Oink thought deep and hard for a week. He then made up his mind. He went to see Father Farmer for one last time. He nuzzled his head on Father Farmer’s hand. Father Farmer was so gaunt looking. He could barely move. He had not eaten in a while now. Oink licked Father Farmer’s hand and face. Father Farmer gave him a faint smile. Oink then left.

Oink started the machine. The machine roared to life. Oink took one last look around the barn and the farm and then he walked into the machine.

5 years later...

The farm survived the long-famine. And that was because of Oink’s sacrifice. His whole chubby body fed the farm. Father Farmer sold some parts of Oink in exchange for hay, grass and grains. The rest of Oink was frozen. Father Farmer regained his strength and became well. On the first anniversary of Oink's death, he miraculously found an underground well on his land which was at the location of Oink’s pig pen.

Every 12 years, on the day of Oink's ultimate sacrifice, Father Farmer would have a big feast and celebrate with spectacular fireworks show in remembrance of what Oink did for them.

What happened to the Red Hen? She was now old but she was still as mean-spirited, smug, bossy and bitchy as ever. One day while she was pruning and preening herself as usual, she heard a peculiar sound. Curiosity got the best of her. She hopped up her chicken coup to try to pinpoint the source of the sound when she tripped, slipped off the roof and hit her head on the ground. Her chicks didn’t bother about her. They stepped all over her head and body. Mrs Duck just waddled away. The horses just continued neighing. The farm dogs did not even blink at her direction. As she lay there dying, a snake slithered in, bit her and pulled her out into the woods.

What was that peculiar sound? It was the squealing of a dozen piglets!




*Happy Chinese New Year everyone!*

*picture taken from HERE


Wednesday, 30 January 2019

Thermomix Saffron Chicken


Ingredients:

1. 500gm of chicken breasts (cut into strips) (seasoned with sea-salt, cornstarch, pepper (optional) and some cooking oil)
2. Some saffron strands (washed)
3. Sunflower oil (or any cooking oil which you can tolerate)
4. Chives (chopped finely)
5. 3 tablespoons of hot water

--------------------------------------

1. Pour some cooking oil and add the washed saffron strands into the TMX jug and set 15mins/100C/reverse spoon.

2. After one minute, add the chicken strips through the hole in the lid.

3. Cover the lid with the MC.

4. After 5 minutes, pour the 3 tablespoons of hot water onto the lid. It will slowly drip into the TMX jug through the slight gap of the MC and lid.

5. 1 minute before it is done, remove the MC and pour the chopped chives into the TMX jug.

6. Once the 15 mins are over, check if the chicken strips are throughly cooked. You can add another 5 minutes if they are not.

7. Serve hot with rice.

Bon appetit!


Friday, 25 January 2019

Allergy Fact 13 - (Pollen Food Allergy Syndrome)

Even though peanuts and egg allergies are the first things which spring to mind when we talk about food allergy, fruits and vegetables are the top-food-causing allergies in adults.

It is known as pollen food syndrome (PFS) or oral allergy syndrome (OAS).

This is usually related to an allergy to pollen (usually birch). Though not always present, most people will also experience springtime hayfever. PFS is related to an allergy to pollen which is usually birch.

Plant foods such as apples contain similar proteins which are also found in pollens. When people with PFS consume such foods, an allergic reaction occurs caused by a cross-reaction. The symptoms are usually confined to the mouth and throat. Itching and local swelling are the usual reactions.

Foods in their raw form which can trigger PFS:

1. Fruits: Apple, pear, cherry, peach, plum, strawberry, kiwi
2. Vegetables: Carrot, celery, potato, tomato, beansprouts
3. Nuts: Hazelnuts, almonds, brazil nuts, walnuts

Apparently it is common for people with PFS to get itchy hands when handling raw fruits or vegetables (especially when peeling potatoes).

People with PFS are diagnosed based on:

1. Symptoms of hayfever (March - May).
2. Oral allergy reactions with fruits, vegetables, nuts or herbs.
3. Reactions to raw but not cooked fruits and vegetables (or reactions while peeling fruits and vegetables).
4. Reactions when biting, chewing OR swallowing. Or reactions less than five minutes after eating.
5. Symptoms of mild to moderate tingling, itching, soreness or angioedema (swelling) of the oropharynx (throat).

*Bear in mind that some may progress to anaphylaxis. It is advisable to carry Epi-Pens.

To read more about PFS, click on LINK.

Click HERE to read in detail about Oral Allergy Syndrome.

Click on LINK to read about PFS.

*picture taken from HERE


Sunday, 20 January 2019

Home-Made Cloth Panty Shields

I have a lot of baby nappies from Joel's baby days. Some were turned into rags. I decided to turn many of them into home-made panty liners/panty shields.

The cloth ones sold outside do not have the perfect length. It's either the right thickness but it will be too short. Once I find the perfect length, it'll turn out to be too thick.

I started to develope an allergy to even the organic disposable panty liners/panty shields. No matter the brand (even Natracare), it would cause an allergic reaction. It could be the glue or something in the pulp. I have no idea what it is.

Fed up of wasting money (buying and experimenting with other brands) and also of being inflicted with allergies, I decided to sew my own panty shields/liners using Joel's old baby nappies.

Fold a nappy into half.

Then fold it into half again. Then cut it into the length you desire. 

Sew around all the edges. Then attach the buttons. You would need to adjust the locations of the buttons (to the most comfortable positions) before you sew them on. 
My version of cloth panty shields/liners. 
You can even use these napkins as liners over reusable cloth sanitary pads when you have your period.


Tuesday, 1 January 2019

2019!

Wishing each and everyone of you a healthy 2019!


*picture taken from HERE

Sunday, 30 December 2018

Are You Woke?

As 2019 is literally just around the corner, I have a question for you. 

Are you woke?

You must be thinking, "Of course I am awake! I'm reading this!" Furthermore, the grammar nazi in you must be screaming. 

Let me ask you again.

Are you WOKE?

Woke? What the hell is woke?

In the Matrix movie, Neo was offered two pills by Morpheus, the rebel leader. Neo was asked to choose between the blue and the red pills. The red pill would free Neo from living in a controlled machine-generated world which was unreal. He would be set free but would live in the real but harsh and difficult world. But he would be living in the "truth of reality". The blue pill would lead him back to the perfect-dream-world which was comfortable and without want but fake which was stimulated by the Matrix. 

Most of us having watched The Matrix know that Neo chose the red pill. 

He then became woke.

He was enlightened. 

The scales fell off his mind.

He saw the lies and the fake reality he had been living in. Yes, it was comfortable. He had security within a confined environment. But he was living in blissful ignorance. Everything was an illusion. He was living in a fake world! 

What kind of life is that? Is that even living? Life is about having knowledge (many times by gleaning), the freedom to choose, experiencing the hardships so that we can become stronger and wiser and living in the truth. 

Living in a lie or living a lie is NOT living. 

As tomorrow is the last day of 2018, ask yourself this, "Am I woke?"

Are you WOKE?



*picture taken from HERE

Thursday, 20 December 2018

Saturday, 15 December 2018

Dysthymia

In almost every show after a person faces a devastating experience, they spiral into a depression so deep that it results in an unkempt appearance and house, half-eaten food strewn all over the place, not having bathed for days and weeks, non-stop crying and a stupor-like-Walking-Dead mannerism.

It is very rare that shows portray the highly-functioning depressed human. And in shows where they did portray the highly-functioning depressed human, the remark thrown at them would be this:

"But you don't look or act like you're depressed!"

Welcome to the world of dysthymia.

* "A person diagnosed with dysthymia would have been able to function in his day-to-day life, but never feel quite right. He would have reported feeling like he had been depressed all of his life or said he felt like he just barely managing to keep his head above water."

*taken from HERE

A person who has been diagnosed with dysthymia could have had a major depressive episode in his life. Once the major depressive episode was over, he would return to his chronic, low-level depression. The major depression episode when superimposed over dysthymia is called double depression.

Click on LINK to read about double depression.

**According to DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition), for a person to be diagnosed with dysthymia, he or she would be in a depressed mood most of the day, for more days than not, for at least two years with two or more persisting symptoms such as poor appetite or overeating, insomnia or hypersomnia, low energy or fatigue, low self-esteem, poor concentration or difficulty making decisions and feelings of hopelessness.

**taken from HERE

***11 Symptoms of Dysthymia

  1. Difficulty experiencing joy - Nothing brings you joy anymore.
  2. Relentless criticality of self and others - Can't turn off the negative wheel in the mind.
  3. Constant self-doubt
  4. Diminished energy - Getting through everyday feels like clawing up an icy mountain.
  5. Irritability or excessive anger
  6. Small things feels like huge things 
  7. Feelings of worry and guilt over past and future
  8. Relying on coping strategies more and MORE - In need of more and MORE extensive zone-out time to escape your life.
  9. Generalized sadness
  10. Seeking perfection - Striving for unrealistic demands to the point of beating yourself up when you fail.
  11. Inability to rest and slow down - Even after an exhausting day or days, you cannot rest or sit still. You must continue to work in any sense even in exhaustion. 
***taken from HERE

One who is suffering from dysthymia cannot just "will themselves out of it". Without getting the proper help, the symptoms will get worse. If one does not seek help to get treated, dysthymia can explode into major depression or major depressive episodes where it could cause harm to the physical health and also the psychological health. 

To understand more about dysthymia:







If you feel that this is you, do not hesitate or delay in getting professional help. You matter!



Monday, 10 December 2018

Thermomix Oat Milk

Ingredients:

1. 50gm organic rolled oats
2. 2.2 litres filtered water
3. 1/2 teaspoon of sea-salt
4. Coconut nectar OR maple syrup (use whichever which suits your needs)

----------------------------

1. Pour 50gm of rolled oats into a bowl and soak with water overnight in the fridge.


2. Pour away the water and rinse the oats (on the next day).

3. Fill the TMX jug with 500ml water and add the oats. Add the salt.

4. Place the lid (and MC) and set 30 seconds/speed 8.

5. Fill the TMX jug with water until the max level.

6. Set 13minutes/80C/speed 2.

7. Once it is done, pour the drink into glass bottles and allow to cool before keeping it in the fridge. You can add the sweetener to your drink before you drink it.



Try it without any added sweetener. It's as delicious too!

Bon appetit!

Wednesday, 5 December 2018

Thermomix Water Roux (Tangzhong)

There is a technique called the "Tangzhong method" which is used in Asian baking. By adding this "Tangzhong/water roux" to the dough, the bread/buns will be extra soft, lighter and fluffier.

The water roux starter is made up of water and flour. It is then cooked at 65 degrees until the starch starts to gelatinize.

Before I had my Thermomix, I made the water roux using the gas stove. It was tedious as I had to stir it continuosly in order for it to gelatinize. One must be alert to not burn this too!

Now with the TMX, making the water roux is a breeze!

Ingredients:

1. 100gm plain flour
2. 500gm water

--------------------------------

1. Place both ingredients into the TMX jug. Set 30mins/65C/speed 1. (I have done it at 70C too.)

2. Once it is done, pour the water roux into a container/bowl to allow it to cool. Use it as desired. I kept the extra in the fridge. Bear in mind if you keep it too long, it will turn grey-ish in colour. It has gone bad.


I did not want to waste this. I made bread dough with whatever that was left in the TMX jug.


Friday, 30 November 2018

An update for Epi-Pens

There was an update regarding certain Epi-Pens having problems of not being able to slide out easily of their carrier tube. For more information regarding this, please click on LINK.


Sunday, 25 November 2018

An Unforgettable Trip!

We went for a holiday to the beach about a month back. The six of us (my parents, my brother and the 3 of us) had looked forward to the break very much.

Sunset on the 1st day.

Grocery shopping was done on the second day. On the way to the mall downtown, I saw this:

The Tsunami Village Cafe!
Once we arrived at the mall, the 5 of them went for lunch. I decided to go for a walk around the mall as I had my lunch in the car. The supermarket and the bookshop are the two places that I usually head to whenever I go to malls.

I started to have a very bad backache and felt as though my brain was in a fog. I thought it was the usual monthly hormonal phase. I felt very cold too. Ever since the gynaecologist said that I've started to enter the peri-menopause stage, I have tried to walk more. Thus, I walked floor after floor to help ease the backache and foggy brain. This time there was no relief. And then I started to feel hot. I told my dad that this month must be the mother-of-all-periods.

We bought groceries and then we headed back to the condo.

The journey back to the condo took about half-an-hour. I started to feel severely nauseated. And then I felt feverish and ill. It was really odd. I've never fallen sick in this manner. Something was definitely not right.

The moment we got back, I tested my temperature. I was burning at 38.8C (101.8F)!

How can it be? I did not have any sorethroat or flu. I've never felt like this before. I decided to shower to bring the temperature down.

"OMG!" I exclaimed when I took my clothes off.

I had chicken pox!

Joel had passed the virus to me! He was down with it two weeks back. A classmate of his was down with it. And then Joel and a few of his classmates caught it.

Suddenly everything made sense.

A week before we left for this trip, I started to have really bad sleep. I had nightmares. I would jump up from my sleep with my heart racing with severe anxiety attacks. I had thought it was my salicylates bucket that had overflowed. My scalp then started to itch to the point I thought I had head lice. It then felt like my scalp was on fire. I thought that I had somehow developed some allergy to my normal shampoos. I attributed it to the peri-menopause. I used Pinetarsol to soothe the itch. I went to my pharmacist and bought Elomet lotion for the scalp. They gave temporary relief. But then the scalp-on-fire symptom would return.

And then I developed severe joint pains. I even went to the ER thinking I had somehow contracted dengue. The dengue test came back negative but the blood tests said that I had a viral infection. So they did a full blood picture test as my platelet count was low. The results were fine but showed that I had low platelet count and a low WBC reading. Again, it showed that I had a viral infection. But I did not have any sorethroat. No flu. The doctor told me to go home and rest and to drink plenty of water.

The day before we left for the trip, I had chest pains. I thought that I had pulled a muscle while I was packing.

It was the chicken pox virus that had been incubating inside me. Chicken pox did not cross my mind at all as I have had chicken pox when I was 19 or 20. But I had it really mild. At that point of time, I did not realise that I had chicken pox. I thought it was insect bites. That was how few blisters I had. I didn't have fever. I thought I just caught a cold. After that I had shingles. Again, it was a really small patch at the collar bone and I did not know I had shingles. I went to our family doctor for something totally unrelated and she told me I had shingles when she saw my neck.

She then asked me, "Did you have chicken pox recently?"

It was then that I only realised that I had chicken pox!

Thus, chicken pox never crossed my mind at all when I had all those symptoms. Night came and the fever spiked. And the chest pains came back with vengeance. I checked the hospitals which were nearby and decided on the one to go to. I'm glad that I listened to the voice in my heart. The doctor at the ER was very well versed with allergy. He said that at my age to have chicken pox is terrible as the symptoms will be 100 times worse. My face would swell up like a balloon. I would wish I was dead as the pain would be so unbearable. I would be literally covered in blisters from head to toe. I needed to have the anti-viral (Acyclovir) drug. As I've never had it before, I took one tablet in the ER and waited for an hour. I had no allergy reaction. I was prescribed 50 tablets of Acyclovir. By the time we went back to the condo, it was nearly 1 am.

This second round of chicken pox was so different from the first time. The fever did not break for 3 days. Even after standing under the shower for half-an-hour, the fever did not budge one bit. And I burned till 39.8C (103.6F).

*picture taken from HERE

The pain was horrible. I've never felt pain like this before. My cousin who had chicken pox in April, totally understood what I meant when I messaged him that I wanted to die from the pain. When he had the chicken pox, he was in so much pain too. I was moaning and groaning in pain. It felt as though my limbs were being wrenched out and then I was thrown under a steam roller which rolled over me over and over and over again. I asked every one of my family to kill me and to put me out of the misery and pain.

Usually people say that the chicken pox itch is terrible. My itch was minimal. But the pain was over the charts. And the nausea reminded me of the severe morning sickness I had when I was pregnant with Joel.


I was so glad that I had these two to use for my daily shower. It helped soothe the blisters.




Showering was a pain as there were blisters everywhere! I even had them on my gums, my tonsils, inside my ears, EYES and even the anus. They were everywhere. From top to bottom. But showering was a must. One must be hygienic as the blisters can get infected. I was so concerned about the blisters getting infected. I did not want to further burden my system with antibiotics. The doctor gave me a bottle of Calamine lotion. It helped a bit with the blisters. Developing encephalitis and pneumonia were also a main concern. 

I couldn't sleep. I was a wreck. My appetite was so poor. I was in so much pain. One blister was on the tip of my bottom lip to the point my mouth swelled up. I looked like those fish with fat lips. It was truly an unforgettable holiday!

Thank god for my family who took turns to take care of me. By the end of the holiday, I could stand a 400km ride back home. 

Even though it's been almost 4 weeks since the chicken pox episode, I am still exhausted and have not gotten my strength back yet. I tire easily and the pain still comes now and then. During the first week after the chicken pox episode, every evening I would feel very ill, feverish, nauseated, terrible pain in the body, cold, excruciating pain in the lymph node at the right side of the neck, skull pain and have severe anxiety attacks. It would come every evening at the same time without fail. It has gotten lesser in frequency now but this phase still comes on certain days. I've been sleeping a lot to recuperate. If I had not slept as much as I did, I don't think I would have recovered at all.  

The marks are still there. It will take awhile for them to go away. I am fine with the marks taking their time to go away. The only concern I have right now is boosting my immune system to tiptop condition again. 



*picture taken from HERE


*picture taken from HERE


*picture taken from HERE


*picture taken from HERE