Monday, 30 April 2012

Life = Driving in KV (Part 3 - The Top Ten Most Stupid Statements That Drivers Say)

Before you proceed to read this post, do click on the links below as these three posts are connected.

Life = Driving in KV (Part 1)

Life = Driving in KV (Part 2)

1. 'Why did you step on the brakes??!!!'
And this was said by the person who smashed into the car in front. In a situation where the cars were stuck in a bumper-to-bumper traffic jam.

2. 'Why did you not go??!!!'
This was said by a person who smashed into the car in front. In a situation where the traffic volume was at its highest at the round-a-bout. Thus, the the person who got smashed could not 'GO' as the 'smash-ee' claimed.

3. 'I thought your car was moving! Are you sure it didn't move?'
This was said by the person who smashed into the car in front. In a situation where traffic was at a stand-still.

4. 'Can we not go to that workshop to repair your car? I know a FAR cheaper one!'
This was said by the person who smashed into the car in front.

5. 'Oh, you mean the cross over the U-Turn logo means I can't U-Turn?'

6. 'But I DID signal! I signaled left and turned right!'

7. 'You should not have stepped on the brakes at all! If you didn't step on the brakes, this accident would not have happened at all!'

8. 'You should have avoided me!'
This was said after a collision that was caused by a reversing car on a busy highway!

9. 'Are you sure that my car banged into yours? Not your car banged into mine?'
WOW! I did not know that the law of inertia could be broken! You must be Isaac Newton the second!

10. 'If your car wasn't in front of mine, this accident would not have happened!'

'Google is working on self-driving cars, and they seem to work. People are so bad at driving cars that computers don't have to be that good to be much better.' - Marc Andreesen

'Have you noticed that anybody driving slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a maniac?' - George Carlin

'I had to stop driving my car for awhile... the tires got dizzy.' - Steven Wright

'You know, somebody actually complimented me on my driving today. They left a little note on the windscreen. It said, 'Parking FINE!' - Tommy Cooper

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Salicylate Part 4 - Cross Sensitivity

Definition of cross sensitivity:

A sensitivity to one substance that predisposes an individual to sensitivity to other substances that are related in chemical structure. Cross sensitivity with allergic reactions may develop between antibiotics of similar chemical structures.

The Penicillin and Cephalosporin antibiotics are cousins. Some people who are allergic to Penicillin may react to antibiotics from the Cephalosporin group.

Thus, it is the same where natural compounds in food are concerned.

People who are sensitive to salicylates, may develop sensitivity to natural benzoates and natural gallates. 

Food that contain natural benzoates are cinnamon, tea and berries.

Food that contain natural gallates are tea leaves, sumac, witch hazel, and oak bark. 

* However, food chemical intolerant individuals appear to react to a diverse range of plant derived aromatic chemicals, not merely to salicylates. This is called cross-reactivity and occurs when chemicals are similar enough in structure that they fire the same receptors in the body. What this range of chemicals have in common is that they exhibit the ability to interfere with arachidonic acid metabolism and prostaglandin production, and a tendency to increase inflammatory leukotriene production through the inhibition of cyclooxygenase (COX) I/II and/or the induction of lipoxygenase (LOX). Many of these chemicals also suppress the production of inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS). The group includes relatively strong COX II inhibitors like salicylates, and also weaker COX I/II inhibitors from a broad range of polyphenols and flavinoids. Even some carotinoids are weak COX II inhibitors that may affect those with extreme sensitivities (however vitamin A in the form of all-trans retinoic acid actually induces COX II enzymes). While salicylates act as selective COX II inhibitors, some polyphenols also inhibit COX I, an enzyme whose activity is required by the whole digestive system for normal function and protection. Other polyphenols simultaneously suppress COX I/II and LOX production. Though LOX induction is problematic and leukotrienes are involved in a number of food chemical intolerance syndromes such as asthma and eczema, COX inhibition in and of itself appears to be problematic too, as prostaglandins are responsible for regulating autonomic neurotransmitters and interact with dopamine in the brain.
Polyphenols that intolerant individuals probably also react to include the following COX inhibitors (not an exhaustive list):
  • Anthocyanidins
    • Cyanidin (cherries, berries)
    • Proanthocyanidins (chocolate, broad beans, nuts, wine)
    • Delphinidin (berries, wine)
  • Flavinoids
    • Hesperetin (citrus fruits, peppermint)
    • Naringenin (citrus fruits)
    • Apigenin (parsley, peppermint, thyme, salad vegetables)
    • Luteolin (thyme, parsley, peppermint, peppers, rosemary, citrus, leafy green vegetables)
    • Isorhamnetin (parsley, dill, chives, onions) Kaempferol (capers, dill, kale)
    • Myricetin (parsley, berries, broadbeans, tea, citrus)
    • Quercetin (capers, dill, buckwheat, cocoa, onions, peppers, berries)
    • Rutin (grapes, buckwheat)
  • Gallates and catechins
    • Catechin (broadbeans, fruits)
    • Epigallocatechin (broadbeans, tea)
    • Epicatechin (broadbeans, fruit, tea, wine)
    • Theaflavin (tea, buckwheat)
    • Gallates (tea)
  • Other polyphenols
    • Curcumin (turmeric)
    • Tannins (tea, coffee, wine, fruits, wild rice)
  • Carotinoids
    • Beta and alpha carotene
    • Lutein/zeaxanthin
  • Glycoalkaloids (nightshades e.g. potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, capsicum, tobacco)
    • Solanine
    • Chaconine

* taken from

It has always been my belief to take everything I read with a pinch of salt. Before I came across these interesting facts on the Internet, I was already experiencing the 'sick' sensation whenever I came across certain smells. And some of those smells are not synthetic chemicals. 

Some of the smells from the list above that bother me are wine, citrus fruit (especially oranges), coffee and (occasionally capsicum). I was thinking that maybe the reason that I am not bothered by some of the smells above is that because they differ slightly in their chemical structures? I am not sure. 

Maybe any of you who have the same ailment as I do could share about what makes you sick and what are the things that you can tolerate? And if you have any good articles/websites, please feel free to share.

Friday, 27 April 2012

Container Garden - An Update

Siu Pak Choy harvest!
Red Spinach!
A beautiful and colorful fly! The Long Legged Fly!

Stink Bug!

The mature Orange Dog caterpillar!
Look at the bottom part of the caterpillar and you will see it breathing!
Zucchini! Below is the first fruit!

Young Capsicum plant!
Cherry tomato flower buds! Fruits will be coming out soon!
Time to tear the Okra plants down. The worms are having a feast!
Parsley grown from cuttings! I DID it!! HAHA!! Well, how now Miss MCS? 
For those of you who are wondering what I am talking about, here is the link to MCS' blog post about Saint Evelyn who could not grow parsley.

Garlic chives grown from garlic bulbs.
Just look at the beautiful babies! 
I just discovered that I have been having composting machines in my pots and I did not even realize it.
This was one of the corn on a cob which I buried in my pot for composting. 2 weeks later, the whole thing has disintegrated and it is due to the GRUBS eating them! Look at the grubs all over the cob! Amazing! I have free composting machines. These grubs are the beetle bugs and not the Garden Soldier Fly grubs. 
 I checked another pot in which I buried 2 rotting lemons and one has completely disappeared! AMAZING!

More compost for the 'composting machines'!
Nai Pak seedlings. This veggie is my favourite!
Pink and Violet coloured Vinca and Periwinkle grown from seeds.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Salicylate Part 3 - Phenolic Acid

In my previous blog, I wrote that Salicylic Acid is a monohydroxybenzoic acid. This means that it is a type of phenolic acid and a beta hydroxy acid. To see my previous post click here.


Phenol, which is the parent compound of phenolic compounds is used as a disinfectant and for chemical synthesis. Phenolics are a class of chemical compounds consisting of a hydroxyl functional group (-OH) attached to an aromatic hydrocarbon group. The simplest of the class is phenol (C6H5OH). Some phenols are germicidal and are used in formulating disinfectants. Others possess estrogenic or endocrine disrupting activity. (click here)

Phenolic Compounds

Phenolic compounds are a large and diverse group of molecules which includes many different families of aromatic secondary metabolites in plants. These phenolics are the most abundant secondary metabolites in plants and can be classified into non-soluble compounds such as condensed tannins, lignins, cell-wall bound cell-wall bound hydroxycinammic acids, and soluble compounds such as phenolic acids, phenylpropanoids, flavonoids and quinones. All these groups are involved in many processes in plants and animals. (click here)

Phenolic Acid

Phenolic acid is a plant metabolite which is widely spread throughout the plant kingdom. Phenolic acid is essential for the growth and reproduction of plants. It is produced as a response for defending injured plants against pathogens. 

Natural Substances with Phenolic Acids

1. Propolis
The pharmacologically active molecules in the propolis are flavonoids and phenolic acids and their esters. These components have multiple effects on bacteria, fungi and viruses. In addition, propolis and its components have anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory activities.

2. Coffee
Coffee is very rich in bound phenolic acids such as caffeic acid, ferulic acid and p-coumaric acid.

3. Purple corn maize

4. Quince

5. Aloe Ferox

6. Berries

7. Spices
Spices significantly contribute to the flavor, taste, and medicinal properties of food because of phenolics. Most spices contain phenolic acids such as tannic, gallic, caffeic, cinnamic, chlorogenic, ferulic and vanillic acids. A high amount of tannic and gallic acids are found in black mustard and clove. Caffeic, chlorogenic and ferulic acids are found in a good amount in cumin. Vanillic and cinnamic acids are found in onion seeds.

8. Dark Plum

9. Cherry

10. Apple (Valkea Kuulas)

11. Green & Black Teas

12. Horse Gram Beans

13.  Mushroom (Basidiomycetes species)

14. Chillli Peppers
Capsaicin which is the pungent compound. 

15. Herbs

16. Dried Fruits

17. Strong Smells/Aroma

18. Red Wine

Some Phenolic Compounds

BHT (Butylated Hydroxytoluene) - A fat-soluble antioxidant and food additive
Cresol - Found in coal tar and creosote
Estradiol - Estrogen (hormones)
4-Nonylphenol - A breakdown product of detergents and nonoxynol-9
Orthophenyl Phenol - A fungicide used for waxing citrus fruits
Porpofol - An anesthetic
Raspbery Ketone - A compound with an intense raspberry smell
Thymol - An antiseptic used in mouthwashes
Xylenol - Used in antiseptics and disinfectants

For a full list of phenolic compounds click here.

Monday, 23 April 2012

Salicylate Part 2 - Salicylate in Everyday Products

Salicylic Acid is sometimes labeled as beta hydroxy acid (BHA). It can be obtained from the bark of willow trees.

In 1989, Salicylic Acid was also isolated from the perennial herb Meadowsweet by German researchers.

There are some researchers who believe that salicylate is an essential micronutrient in the human diet. They call it the 'Vitamin S'.

Salicylic Acid is a monohydroxybenzoic acid. It is a type of phenolic acid and a beta hydroxy acid. Phenolic acid is a class of compounds grouped together due to their similar chemical structure. In the world of cosmetics and beauty products, salicylic acid is labelled as beta hydroxy acid.

The chemical structure of Salicylic acid
Salicylic Acid is used in plants' organic synthesis and it functions as a plant hormone. The salts and esters of Salicylic Acid are known as salicylates.

Below is a list of the salts of Salicylic Acid:

1. Calcium Salicylate
2. Magnesium Salicylate
3. MEA-Salicylate
4. Potassium Salicylate
5. Sodium Salicylate
6. TEA-Salicylate

Below is a list of the esters of Salicylic Acid:

1. Butyloctyl Salicylate
2. C12-15 Alkyl Salicylate
3. Capryolyl Salicylic Acid
4. Hexyldecyl Salicylate
5. Isocetyl Salicylate
6. Isodecyl Salicylate
7. Ethylhexyl Salicylate
8. Methyl Salicylate
9. Myristyl Salicylate
10. Tridecyl Salicylate

Salicylic Acid, its salts and esters have many functions and these ingredients may be used in moisturizers, skin cleansing products, shampoo, skin care, hair care, suntan and sunscreen products, mouthwashes and dentifrices.

Here are some of the uses of Salicylic Acid, its salts and esters.

1. Calcium Salicylate
This is used as a preservative.

2. Magnesium Salicylate
Magnesium Salicylate is a common analgesic and NSAID. It is used to treat muscular pain. It is also used to treat headaches, general back pain and certain joint pains like arthritis.

3. MEA-Salicylate
MEA-Salicylate is used as a preservative in cosmetic products.

4. Potassium Salicylate
This is used as a cosmetic biocide. This means that it helps to cleanse the skin or to prevent ordour by destroying or inhibiting the growth of microorganisms.

5. Sodium Salicylate
This is used as a denaturant and as a preservative.

6. TEA-Salicylate & Ethylhexyl Salicylate
This is used as a sunscreen agent (absorbs, reflect or scatter UV rays) and an ultraviolet light absorber (protects cosmetic products from deterioration).

7. Butyloctyl Salicylate, C12-15 Alkyl Salicylate, Capryolyl Salicylic Acid, Hexyldecyl Salicylate, Isocetyl Salicylate, Isodecyl Salicylate & Tridecyl Salicylate
These are used as skin conditioning agents. They either act as lubricants on the skin surface which cause the skin to look smooth and soft. They also can help the skin stay hydrated by drawing moisture from the surrounding air. They also enhance the appearance of dry or damaged skin by reducing flaking and restoring suppleness. And they can slow down the loss of water from the skin by forming a barrier on the skin's surface.

8. Methyl Salicylate
This is used as an external analgesic. This is applied to the skin to relieve pain. This is also used as an ingredient to impart flavor or taste to a product. It is also used as a substance to impart an ordour to a product. Methyl Salicylate is one of several antiseptic ingredients in Listerine mouthwash by Johnson and Johnson company.

9. Salicylic Acid
This is used as an anti-acne agent, anti-dandruff agent, corn/callus/wart remover, skin exfoliant, hair conditioning agent, preservative for cosmetic products, and skin conditioning agent.

Many months ago, a lady wrote to me to share with me about her daughter who is also salicylate sensitive. And she is a chemist! Here is the link to her blog. Hopefully her blog can shed more light on salicylate sensitivity!

S is for Salicylate!

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Clay-Pot Rice Buns!

I thought of a new recipe this week. Thought I give it a try. And it was worth the try as it was so yummy, and delicious! I made buns that had clay-pot rice as fillings.

Here is the link for the salicylate-free clay pot rice.



1. Organic high-protein bread flour (500g)

2. Instant yeast (1 teaspoon)

3. A pinch of salt and brown sugar

4. A cup of warm water

5. 1/2 cup of sunflower oil


1. In a large bowl, pour the flour, yeast, salt, sugar, sunflower oil and water.

2. Mix them together until everything is well blended.

3. Knead the dough for 15 minutes and set aside for 2 hours for it to rise.

4. Cover the large bowl with a damp cloth.

5. After 2 hours, knock the dough down and knead again.

6. Cover with damp cloth and leave aside for another 45 minutes.

7. Knock the dough down again and divide the dough into 8 round balls.

8. Flatten each ball with a rolling pin.

9. Place 2 tablespoons of clay-pot rice, bring the edges together and seal the bun securely. (You do not want the fillings to spill out during baking time!)

10. Place buns in pre-heated oven (200C) and bake for 30 minutes or until buns are slightly browned.

11. Serve while warm.

Bon appétit!

Friday, 20 April 2012

Girl Alive

Once upon a time, there was a girl who went by the name Girl Alive. Why she chose that name for herself perplexed many. To many, she wasn't alive. Neither was she dead. She was sick. And full of shit according to many who saw her as a person who refused to believe that God could heal her if only she followed the rituals and religious methodologies.

Now she went through a lot of valleys where the shadows of Death loomed. And occasionally, Death itself showed up. Many times, she felt like giving up. Many times she was so frustrated and exhausted that the fight to stay alive for her child seemed to be worthless.  Many times she felt that she was a bull in the ring, going in circles never knowing where and when the matador would stab her and cause her to bleed and to die on the fighting grounds. And the cycle would repeat themselves all over again the next day.

So I saw the signs of her reaching another breaking point. And I waited.

True enough, one day she barged into my office and screamed like a mad woman and banged her fists on my table and cried like a maniac. I was used to it. It happens everytime her fighting spirit maxed out.  Out of her mouth came profanities that would make a sailor blush. She wailed, she bawled, she screamed till she was hoarse. She turned my table upside down. She stomped on the broken glass shattering them further into a million pieces, cutting the soles of her shoes and piercing her feet. But she did not stop. The pain in the soles of her feet could not match the pain that was in her heart.  Finally, she was spent. And she collapsed on my couch with blood dripping onto my carpet.

After a lengthy period of silence, I asked her this question. 'Why are you alive?'

'Because I'm not dead!' she replied.

'And why is that?'

'How would I know?!'

'I am going to ask you again. Why are you alive?'

'BECAUSE I am not DEAD, you dimwit!'

'And why is that?'

'I don't know damn it! Why don't YOU freaking tell me?!'

'Why are you alive?'

'Because I am not dead!!!!!!!!!!'

'And why is that?'

She stormed out of the room and slammed the door so hard that my paintings fell of their hooks. I smiled to myself. She will be back.

Two weeks later, she barged into my room and had a face off with me and said, 'I am alive because I AM alive!'

'I am alive because I can smile, I can cry, I can laugh, I can love, I can be pissed.'

'I am alive because I can breathe till the air reaches the bowels of my stomach.'

'I am alive because I can taste the food that I eat though the taste of my food is only limited to sweet and salty.'

'I am alive because I can enjoy the wondrous facets of the firmaments.'

'I am alive because I can sleep, I can shit, I can pee, and I can scream and swear.'

'I am alive because I have two eyes that see, two ears that hear, a mouth that speaks what I think, a heart that beats life, hands that produces life, and legs that bring me to my destinations.'

'I am alive because I choose to be alive. I choose to thrive. I choose to fight. I choose to conquer. I choose to win this fight. I choose to die as Girl Alive.'

'I choose to be A.L.I.V.E. Abundantly Living In Volatile Environment! I choose to BE alive!'

'And by making that choice to be alive, my son too, can be alive.'

With that she sat down on the chair and stared deeply into my eyes. And I saw her soul. I saw the essence of her person. I saw the core of her being. She WAS alive. Because she chose to be. And with that I was satisfied.

And when she left my office that day, I knew that I would not see her again for a long period of time. Though she will go through many more valleys, many more storms, climb many more mountains, fall down over and over again, I know she will walk into my office again, some day. And I know she will, because she is Girl Alive.

How would I know, you asked?

Because I am the Man who bent down and wrote in the sand.

'... everyone dies. But not everyone lives.' - A. Sachs

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Salicylate Part 1 - Salicylate Sensitivity

What is salicylate?

What does salicylate do? What is its function?

Where is salicylate found?

What can it do to people who are salicylate sensitive?

I found myself asking all these questions after I had an anaphylactic attack due to an over-accumulation of salicylates in my system. It scared the shit out of me. My life was never going to be the same again. I could not tolerate even small amounts of it. And the worst part was that it exists in FOOD! Especially fruits and vegetables! My FAVOURITE! And synthetic salicylate is found in almost EVERY day-to-day products! How was I going to live my life?


Salicylates are chemicals which are found naturally in some plants, which are stored in the bark, leaves, roots, skins and seeds. Salicylate protects the plants against insect damage and disease which are caused by bacteria, fungus and viruses. Salicylate is often concentrated just under the skin of fruits and in outer leaves of vegetables. Salicylate is at its highest in unripened fruits. But the level decreases as the fruits ripen.

The History of Salicylate

Salicylic acid is an acid which is derived from the bark of the willow tree. The willow tree bark has been used since the early times (especially by the Native Americans) as a remedy for pain, inflammation and fever. The first documentation of the medicinal use of salicylic acid was by the ancient Greeks at about 500 BC.

The History of Aspirin

A German man, by the name of Johann Buchner who was working at the University of Munich was the first to distill from willow bark the substance he called 'salicin' after the Latin name for the willow tree, 'Salix alba'. In 1829, a French chemist, Henri LaRoux, perfected the extraction technique. And in 1853, Charles Gerhardt, invented aspirin, though it wasn't marketed until the Bayer company patented the formula in 1899 (click here for Aspirin's history)

Salicylate Today

Salicylic acid is a very popular treatment for acne and is used in chemical peels to improve the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, blemishes, to help keep pores clean and prevent acne and sun damage.

Salicylic acid is also used as a treatment for skin conditions like psoriasis, warts and calluses. Because salicylic acid has anti-inflammatory properties, it can sooth the skin while exfoliating it.

Coming soon: Salicylate in Everyday Products

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

6 Epi-Pens in Sime Darby Medical Centre Subang Jaya!

There are SIX Epi-Pens physically in the Sime Darby Medical Centre in Subang Jaya!

Spread the word around.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

The Epi-Pen Practice

If you have family members (or even yourself) who are in the dark on how to use the Epi-Pen, you can practice by using an expired Epi-Pen on an orange!

Click on the video to view.


Because epinephrine is a strong vasoconstrictor, accidental injection into fingers, hands or feet may result in decrease 
or loss of blood flow to these areas.

This is the new Epi-Pen look:

Be careful of your fingers and hands if you do decide to practice on an orange!! You do need ALL 10 digits!!!! 

Monday, 16 April 2012

The Sensitive Issue

'Oh my GAWD! You are so SENSITIVE!!!!'

How many times have we heard that, said that or thought of that statement?

We say this when someone's feelings get hurt too easily. Someone whose 'emotional skin' that is paper thin. Someone whose 'emotional skin' that is not thick as an elephant's hide. Someone who takes every statement to be insulting. Even when it is not. And cries buckets and waterfall amount of tears when pricked by hurt the size of a needle. And some become vindictive and revengeful and lash out at others before they could produce another 'sensitive' statement.

For people like me, the word 'sensitive' concerns our health. It concerns our well-being. It concerns our life. It can be akin to the 'emotional sensitivity'. It is our body, our system that gets hurt instead.

The word 'sensitivity' in the medical world can be interpreted as an adverse physical reaction when exposed to triggers in a susceptible person. In other words, a 'sensitive person' or a 'hypersensitivity'. A few examples of the triggers that can create havoc in a sensitive person are salicylate, glutamate, aspartame, amines, food colourings, preservatives, and food dye.

A sensitivity involves no immune system response, BUT it can yield results which are similar to allergy-induced reactions. A hypersensitivity is a result of the inability of certain individuals to metabolically process the offending chemical in food substance.

People with IgE-mediated food allergy MUST avoid the offending triggers (food, dust... etc) altogether. Where else people with non-IgE-mediated food hypersensitivity can OFTEN eat SOME of the amount of offending food without developing symptoms. The threshold of each individual varies. Some can tolerate low amounts of the offending food, others cannot.

Sad to say, there are no tests today which are available for people with hypersensitivity. The only setting that is available is through food challenge studies in a controlled environment.

Food hypersensitivity can be diagnosed by using the elimination diet, followed by food challenges and gradual reintroduction of foods and food chemicals. It is VITAL that this is conducted by an allergist who is familiar with this procedure as the re-introduction of food and food chemicals could trigger an anaphylactic attack!

In the event of proper food elimination, proper intake of anti-histamines and other medications, the threshold or tolerance levels of individuals can improve. Again, it is vital to work with an allergist (and sometimes together with a dietitian) who are aware of hypersensitivity and the danger it poses and is equipped with the knowledge of this ailment.

So in future, if you come across people like me, but you cannot fathom or understand what we go through, put yourself in this situation. Think back during the time when you had a VERY high fever. And  your joints and limbs were aching from the raging fever. And someone comes and grabs you at the places you hurt most and you scream out in pain. And then that person retorts and say, 'Oh my GAWD! You are so SENSITIVE!!!!'

Sunday, 15 April 2012

The Glorious Heavens - Part 14

'Three things cannot be hidden long: the sun, the moon and the truth.' - Buddha

'Excuse me while I kiss the sky.' - Jimi Hendrix

 'I believe if we get out of people's way, the sky's the limit. The sky is the limit.' - Glenn Beck

'Music fathoms the sky.' - Charles Baudelaire

'Only from the heart can you touch the sky.' - Rumi

'Some painters transform the sun into a yellow spot, others transform a yellow spot into the sun.' - Pablo Picasso