WHY YOGHURT IS A WOMAN’S BEST FRIEND

 

At one point in their life,a woman will get her first yeast infection and she will go rushing to her doctor,scared , confused and itchy.

Yeast infections  are fungal infections,pretty common among women and are caused by the organism Candida albicans and affect the skin and mucous membranes of a woman’s  vagina ,they could also affect your oral cavity as well.If you are a mother and have breastfed your baby,you maybe familiar with oral thrush,these two conditions are caused by the same fungus.

Candida albicans is commonly found in our mouth,digestive tract,vagina , skin  as well and is usually harmless.The reason for the harmless existence of this fungus is because good bacteria is also present and this ensures  a  perfect balance is   maintained between  the candida albicans and the good bacteria .

However some certain conditions do occur which affect this balance and the result is that  there is overgrowth of the candida albicans which then results in  a yeast infection.

The conditions that favour an increase of the candida albicans could  be  illness or  if someone is on  medication like  antibiotics .

Antibiotics kill both the good and bad bacteria and the death of the good bacteria causes an increase in the amount of the candida albicans.

The main symptoms of a yeast infection  are  itching of the vulva and area around the vagina and there  may also be  discharge.

Left untreated it is  possible for the infection to be passed on to her partner or it may end up in a woman’s blood stream which then makes it very difficult to treat.

Normal treatment for yeast infections is a topical cream or oral antifungal medication.

Something  you might want to do to ward of yeast infections  whether you are on medication or as part of living healthy  is  take natural yoghurt.

Natural yoghurt contains lactobacillus acidophilus, “a good bacteria ”  which is   present in your intestines as well as the  mouth,vagina  and helps provide the good bacteria your body needs  to  keep yeast infections at bay.

There is no set rule on the amount of yoghurt to take while on a dose of antibiotics  but a serving or two a day  of natural yoghurt  while you are on medication is a good idea.

(A serving of yoghurt is a bout 175 grammes or 3/4 of a cup.)

There is a lot of anecdotal advice on how to treat yeast infections but it is always advisable to seek the advice of a medical professional  first .

 

6 WAYS TO MANAGE YOUR SUGAR CRAVINGS

 

Eath produces the food your body needs! (1)

The last post I did on why sugar is not good for your body  elicited a lot of interest and questions from people on whether there are ways to manage sugar cravings in a healthy manner.

Before I explore ways of how to manage sugar cravings I thought I should mention a hard and cold truth about sugar .

Sugar has no nutritional value whatsoever,yes it does sweeten some foods and drinks  the craving for sugar is derived from the pleasure it triggers through the release of dopamine into our brain.

Sugar has no proteins,vitamins or minerals that the human being would need in order to  be healthy .

The danger with the added sugar we take in  is that it plays havoc with our metabolism and it also contributes to a lot of the lifestyle diseases we see on the rise.Everything from obesity,heart disease,tooth decay are related to consuming more sugar than our body needs.

Sugar gives you nothing but empty calories and consuming foods high in sugar and fats leads to nutritional deficiencies  as well as it affects the consumption of other healthy foods.This deficiency on certain nutrients then leads to deficiencies that compromise our health and leave our immunity exposed.

The way to stave your sugar craving is to look for healthy alternatives to sugar that give you more than the sugar high and are high in nutritional value.

1.Take a fruit and leave out the sugar in your hot beverages.

Instead of having your tea with sugar,leave it out and instead have a fruit with your breakfast.Not a fruit smoothie because fruits have sugar in them in the form of fructose and over consumption of sugar in the form of fructose is unhealthy as all excess fructose will get turned by your body into fat.

2.Make your snack choices healthy ones.

To stave off the hunger pangs when you are feeling low on sugar at 3 pm Monday afternoon,take a fruit instead of the afternoon mug of tea.

Note:Intake of fruits should be limited to about 2-3 in a day.

Nuts and seeds also make very healthy snack choices nuts  provide essential vitamins from the B group,Vitamin E and minerals like potassium,calcium and magnesium and they will leave you fuller for longer as they slowly get broken down and sugar gets released into your body in amounts your body can use.

3.Take note of your calories

Take your calories from whole grains,starchy root vegetables like sweet potatoes,grains,cereals and not from baked foods .When you make healthier choices about where you will get your calories from,these sources of carbohydrates as highlighted are also sources of other micro nutrients  that your body needs.

As you grow older your body needs less calories and what your body needed when you were 20 will change as you head towards your 30’s and 40’s when you become less active and your body’s metabolism slows down.

4.Take water

Sometimes the hunger pangs we think we have that force us to reach out for something sweet may actually be a sign from our body  that we a dehydrated.Pick up that glass of water instead of a doughnut ,a cookie or a fruit drink.

5.Make your  food choices healthy choices.

Instead of eating three large meals during the day,stagger your meals through out the day in small portions and make sure they are made up of foods from all  the major food groups,cereals/grains,milk and dairy,fruits and vegetables,nuts and seeds.By taking your foods from the natural sources you are ensuring your body is able to metabolize the food in such a manner that stabilizes your blood sugars through out the day rather than experiencing the highs and the dramatic falls that come with consumption of processed foods which are high in sugar and fat.

6.Get to exercise

If you are struggling with your sugar craving,getting physically active will help you mange those cravings as it forces you make more healthier food choices,take in more water and you will definitely have to take in more than sugar for  your muscles to get working and to be physically fit.

Exercising will force you to be more conscious of your food choices and it will lead you to healthier ones.

 

Managing your sugar cravings is not easy but it can be done if you know how sugar affects your body and brain you will make healthier food choices.To find out how your body and brain are affected you may want to read the previous post.

If you find this information useful or you would like me to address something you are interested in knowing more of,please let us know in the comments section.

 

 

 

TURN UP THE HEAT ON YOUR METABOLISM

Metabolism

“What do you do when you metabolism is slow and you want to increase it ?”

One of the surest way to increase your metabolism is through exercise.

Burn more calories by burning  (pun intended) the soles off your gym shoes is a sure fire way to lose weight.

A slow metabolism may be due to lack of physical activity,genes or hyperthyroidism  which is when your thyroid gland does not produce enough of the thyroid hormone and your metabolism slows down.

The thyroid gland is located at the base of your neck and produces the thyroid hormone which helps regulate your metabolism which is the way your body uses energy.

Th thyroid gland uses iodine from your diet to produce its two main hormones that are important for some very important bodily functions like;

  • Body temperature
  • Cholesterol levels
  • Breathing
  • Body temperature
  • Body weight
  • Menstrual cycle …

The two hormones produced by the thyroid are T3 (Triiodothyronineand) T4 (Thyroxine).

The levels of these two hormones in your body should neither be too high nor too low as they regulate how fast or slow your metabolism is.

These two hormones also work together with insulin which is the hormone that tells the body cells to take up the glucose to be used as energy fuel.

See how a slow metabolism affects your weight ?

If you have no underlying medical conditions, becoming more physically active is a great way to boost your metabolism and now thanks to science there are foods that together with regular physical exercise can help increase your metabolism.

Increasing your metabolism means that you burn more calories as you turn your food into energy that keeps your heart beating, your breathing constant ,your body temperature just right   as well as making sure your body functions as it should.All these things are using up energy which comes from the food you eat.

Thanks to one of the blog’s readers Susan,  who asked about how she could increase her metabolism.I thought about all the other readers who without any underlying medical reason may be having the same question and are wondering how to speed up their metabolism.then I should mention and here.

Exercise should be the first point of callas a means to increasing your metabolism but mother nature does provide means and ways with which we can help her along .

It is worth repeating that while our metabolism is affected by our genes and gender , exercising and eating right will go some way in helping us burn some extra more and who would not want that.

1.Do eat Breakfast

Sounds like a no brainer but you will be surprised by the number of people who do not take breakfast because they do not think it is important or even necessary.

By not eating breakfast you set your body into starvation mode and your metabolism slows and starts crawling at a snails pace to conserve energy.

(Yes,your body is that intelligent)

For breakfast try having foods that are slower to digest and leave you feeling fuller for longer so that you are not craving sugary things.

Try whole wheat bread with a vegetable omelette and a cup of tea or coffee with a fruit as a mid morning snack.

2.Do eat iron rich foods

Every month women  lose some amount of blood through their periods and blood contains the red blood cells that are  responsible for carrying oxygen into your body cells.

Remember the class 6 science lessons on the components of blood?

The red blood cells in your body contain Hemoglobin which  carry 70% of the iron in your body and hemoglobin is responsible for carrying oxygen from your lungs to your tissues.n.

If the levels of iron in your body are low,your muscles do not have enough oxygen,you start feeling lethargic and your  body activity slows down.

What to do ?

Eat foods that will  boost the level of iron in your body and aid in its functions.

Great sources of iron are of course  dark green leafy vegetables like broccoli , spinach,kales,peas and beans as well as lean cuts of meat and poultry.

3.Do take dairy

Dairy products like milk and yoghurt are great sources of calcium ,an adult needs about 1000mgs of calcium daily,pregnant and lactating women as well as those over 50 will need more .You can meet your daily requirement of calcium with your breakfast,having a serving of yoghurt and with your tea or coffee.

A glass of milk is equal to 300 mgs of calcium.

Calcium helps metabolize your fat more efficiently and if you are wary of dairy because of the fat it contains there are now brands of milk with a skim version that will give you the calcium without the fat.

4.Do cut back on alcohol

If you drink at least two glasses of wine in a sitting or 2 beers you slow down the process of fat burning by your body as much as 70 %.Instead of having the liver ,the organ in your body at the center of metabolism  turning  the food you take into nutrients that the body can use it instead turns to the  acetate in alcohol as a fuel source.

5.Do take more protein

When paired with exercise  intake of  protein as part of your daily meals will help increase your muscles and muscles burn more calories than fat.

Having protein in your meals will help curb hunger as well as help you maintain a healthy weight and your body does burn more calories by digesting it.

Great sources of protein are beans,eggs,milk,chicken,fish and peanut butter.

6.Do sleep for at least 8 hours

Sleep deprivation slows down your metabolism and makes your body more sluggish which means you are less likely to engage in any physical activity.A sluggish body equals a slowed metabolism.

Make sure you get at least 7- hours sleep daily and you will wake up hale and hearty ready to tackle the challenges of the day .You will see and find that you are more active after a good nights sleep than otherwise.

Lack of sleep has also been linked to the hunger hormone ghrelin which stimulates appetite,an increased food intake and fat storage.

 

Was  this helpful ? we would love to hear back from you.

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LIVING WITH A CHILD WITH FOOD ALLERGY

Image from foodallergyfun.com

Red,puffy watery eyes, incessant itching that is accompanied by lots of sneezingand coughing.

That is what my son gets when he comes in direct contact with raw eggs.

…and that is s why we always have an anti histamine in the house

Allergic reactions to foods among children are  increasingly becoming more common.

A food allergy is defined as a toxic clinical reaction to foods or food additives that involves the immune system.

Your immune system then develops a reactive response to protect the body from this “invader”.

Some common food that cause allergic reactions include :eggs,cow milk,wheat and gluten,cheese,nuts and fish especially egg fish though you could develop an allergic reaction to almost any food .

Children with food allergies need to be informed of them early enough so they know what they can and cannot eat.

We let my son know early enough that he cannot have eggs ,he also cannot have peanuts or peanut butter either.

By letting our children know early enough we can empower them to be aware of their food choices.

It is also a good idea to let the school your child attends know just incase they may need some special dietary considerations.

Always have anti allergy medicine close by or take your child to hospital for treatment.

Doctorstv.com lists the symptoms to watch out for :

  1. Skin rash or hives
  2. Trouble breathing
  3. Wheezing
  4. Trouble swallowing
  5. Swelling on the lips,throat or any part of the body
  6. Diarrhoea
  7. Vomiting
  8. Coughing
  9. Red watery eyes
  10. Dizziness
  11. Fainting

Let your child know the importance of hand washing before mealtimes or snack time to prevent cross contamination.

Teach your child to say no to foods offered to them that they are allergic to,as that the only way to avoid food allergy.

A child or any person with food allergies also needs to avoid processed foods as much as possible as the preservatives and additives used may contribute to allergic reactions.

Some allergies may go away with time but some especially nut allergies you live with them for life.

Incase you suspect your child has a food allergy please visit a food allergy specialist.

 

 

EGG FREE PUMPKIN CUPCAKES

My son and eggs do not mix well.

After planting 2 seeds of pumpkin  that months later brought fourth 8 really huge  pumpkins,i was left twiddling my thumbs on what to do with the rest of them .

Then i had one of  those now of my now rare light bulb moments……i decided to try my hand at making cupcakes packed with lots of vitamin  A and flavor to boot that he would not react to. what

I tinkered with a carrot cake  recipe i had and i replaced the butter  with sunflower oil which gives them a crumbly crust but a very moist inside……yummy.

Here is the recipe……

Photo credits:Broccoli Crazy!
Photo credits:Broccoli Crazy!

Ingredients

150 grammes cooked pumpkin well mashed

150 grammes flour

1/2 cup milk

1/3 cup sun flower oil

3 tablespoons grated white chocolate

2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon vanilla extract/essence

 

Instructions

1. Pre- heat your oven to 150 degrees Celsius. Line a 12  section cupcake tray with liners.

2.In a medium sized bowl  sized bowl sift your ingredients,add your wet ingredients and using a hand mixer with whisk attachment,mix for 2-3 minutes till  combined.

3.Using an ice cream scoop,spoon  mixture into cupcake liners.It should be enough for all 12 of them.

4.Pop into the oven for 25- 30 minutes,you will know they are done when toothpick  inserted into the center of the cakes comes out with moist crumbs.

5.Remove from the oven,leave to cool for 15 minutes then remove them from tray and serve.

Can be kept in an air tight container in the fridge for 2-3 days.

Photo credits:Broccoli Crazy!

 

CHOCOLATE MILK POPSICLES

For the longest time i have wanted  to make popsicle for the kids and when i saw  this 4 piece mold at Nakumatt,i grabbed it  and i prayed there would be some sun soon so that i could try making some.

I waited six weeks , finally last Saturday i did get to make some.

How to get your kids to drink more milk...make popsicles1
How to get your kids to drink more milk…make popsicles1

Ingredients

250 ml chocolate milk(you can make hot chocolate,wait for it to cool then  use it)

Method

1.Fill the mold ,leave space of about a  centimeter from the top free to allow for expansion of the milk.

2.Freeze for 4-6 hours.

3.To remove the molds ,boil some water,dip the mold in hot water for 30 seconds,twists the  tops off,and remove from the mould.

4.Enjoy.

Try different flavors like strawberry and vanilla and roll the popsicles in shaved chocolate or toasted coconut for some extra kick.

AWARD WINNING KENYAN CHEESE.

Kalloumi from the Brown’s Cheese range

30 minutes drive from Nairobi,a place where you get to  enjoy gourmet cheese,sumptuous lunch,a beer or two ,the kids get to milk real cows and have ice cream in a pristine scenic environment ..sounds unbelievable..?

Then you have not been to the Brown’s cheese farm in Limuru .

In October of last year,I posted an article about cheese which you can find here.

By then I had not heard about the Brown’s ,which is a pity because they have been making cheese for as long as I have been around.

Kenyans aren’t exactly cheese connoisseurs but it is amazing that the Brown’s have been able to turn a passion for cheese into something that is so truly phenomenal.

With the perfect setting in the pristine highlands of Limuru, set at an altitude of seven thousand feet  the perfect setting for their farm the Brown’s are crafting   award-winning artisan cheese .

The farm runs on the principle of passion for creating additive free delicious and fresh cheese.

It makes a large selection  of artisan cheese that includes  mascarpone,gouda,provolone,cheese dips and even has goat milk cheese.

Cheese which is very versatile as a dish can be had in all courses of a meal from appetizer  to dessert and the Brown’s cheese range provides all that together with recipes and tips from their cheese monger on how to choose,serve,store and get the best from their cheese.

Give them a call on  0716 875 766 or send an email to  dstirling@brownscheese.com to book a date.

Their website is www.brownscheese.com.

MY RUBBED IN BUTTER AND SPRING ONION CHAPATI RECIPE

Chapati chapati..how many ways do i love thee…

I could go all Shakespearean and spew odes about chapati

This Asian delicacy tha is a favourite of mine is something I could eat all week.

In a forum that I am a member of,someone asked how she could make the perfect chapatis.

Everyone gave her ideas on how to make them but they forgot to give her the measurement of the ingredients she would use to make them.

Like cake making,chapati making is a precise art,once you get the measurements wrong nothing ever seems right after that.

In a bid to correct this I have written out my fool-proof chapati recipe that has everyone asking for more.You can find a another recipe chapati recipe where i mixed wheat flour with  gram flour here .

I need also to mention that to be great at making chapatis,you need patience and lots of practice,i will never forget how first chapatis  were as hard as biscuits with time I have become good at it.

Butter and spring onion chapatis

Ingredients

2 cups each white and brown flour plus an extra 1 cup for rolling out and needing

3 level tablespoons softened butter

1.5 cups warm water

2 tablespoonfuls of chopped spring onions

1 level tablespoon of sugar

1 level teaspoon salt

1 cup corn oil

Method

1.In a bowl sift flour,sugar and salt together then add your butter.Using clean fingers rub in the butter in the flour till it looks like fine breadcrumbs.

2.Add your chopped spring onions and using a fork mix them into the flour.

3.Make a well in the centre of your flour and add the warm water and working from the centre outwards mix in the flour till you have a soft lumpy dough.

4.Turn the dough onto a clean surface and working with clean hands use your palms to kneadt he flour turning it over  frequently and making sure to dust flour  your working  surface to prevent the dough from sticking.

5.Chapati flour does not need to be kneaded for too long just work it till you have a soft ,elastic dough that does not stick to your work surface.

6.Once your dough is read,shape it into a ball .Clean your bowl,dry it and return the dough to the bowl , drizzle a tablespoon and a half of your cooking oil onto the dough then roll your dough round the bowl to make sure every inch is covered with oil.

7.Cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel and set it aside for 20 to 30 minutes to give it time to rest.This is what gives your chapatis a soft texture as the gluten strands have had enough time to rest from all the kneading .

Rolling out

After 30 minutes get your round ball of dough and using a sharp kitchen knife divide the dough into 2 equal halves then quarter it,each quarter gives your about 4-5 balls each of dough.

Rollout  each ball of dough out to about 1/8 of an inch round ,drizzle about half a tablespoon each of good vegetable oil and spread it evenly all over your rolled out dough, using the back of a spoon or a pastry brush.

Roll your dough into a thin  cylindrical shape and then into a spiral and set aside,repeat this with each of your balls .

Cooking

Heat a heavy skillet over medium high heat,get each chapati ball and roll it out into 1/8 of an inch  round ,put it on the heavy skillet till you see bubbles on the surface then you know its time to turn,oil the cooked side then turn it over oil the second side,turn again and once it lightly browned your chapati is ready to be turned onto a flat platter and covered with a clean kitchen cloth.

Repeat this procedure with the rest of the balls of chapati.

BUTTER,BUTTER,BUTTER

Better English was an English grammar book we used in class 3  ..the year 19 something and it had some tongue twisters.

My favourite  at the time wa all about  Betty Botter and her butter.

It went something like this….

Butter..photo courtesy pinterest.com

 

Betty Botter bought some butter,
“But,” she said, “this butter’s bitter.
If I bake this bitter butter,
It will make my batter bitter.
But a bit of better butter –
That would make my batter better.”
So she bought a bit of butter,
Better than her bitter butter,
And she baked it in her batter,
And the batter was not bitter.
So ’twas better Betty Botter
Bought a bit of better butter.

Maybe this obsession with Betty may explain my love for butter despite what health experts say that its bad for your arteries.

I don’t use it everyday  because like all good things moderation is key  but when I  do..

It is great especially when working with wheat and for popcorn,gives popped corn  a really nice buttery taste.

And for toasted bread ,especially when you want to make garlic bread…..scrumptious.

In terms of nutritional value;a gramme of butter gives you about 7 calories .

It is rich in vitamins A and E,Riboflavin which is also known as B12 an is important for body growth and in red cell production,it also helps in releasing energy from carbohydrates.

It is also rich in minerals great for your bones and teeth  like calcium,phosphorus and potassium while also containing a good amount of sodium and small amounts of fluoride,zinc and magnesium.

The Kenyan dairy market has only two types of butter ;salted and unsalted butter.

Salted butter has a longer shelf life than unsalted.

If you intend to use butter in your cooking use the unsalted one.

When using butter for any recipe scoop as much as the recipe needs  and refrigerate the rest.

When  making bread,cookies,cake,flat bread/ chapati or any product that calls for rubbing  butter into the flour  make sure it’s at room temperature before adding it to your flour.The exception would be in certain  pastry recipes where it may call for using cold butter.

If you are not going to be using the butter too quickly freeze it as this will help it keep for longer.

When using butter for frying,never heat it over high heat as t burns very easily,moderately low heat is best.

When using butter with other oils like sunflower oil,first heat the pan add the oil then add your butter .

Butter can also be added to soups to give them a glossy silky smooth texture.

Here is how to make coriander or dhania butter that you can use on toasted bread/crostini.Only make as much as you can use at a time.

Ingredients

3 tablespoons butter at room temperature

1 finely chopped tablespoon of coriander

Method

In a small bowl using a fork thoroughly mix the butter and coriander together .

Spread it on fresh slices of bread and toast .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OATS

Oats have been cultivated for about 2000 years which is pretty young in grain years.

They were  a weed beforethey were domesticated.

They became very popular in Scotland and Ireland  as a food before their use spread to the rest of the world,interestingly in England oats were given to …livestock!

I was looking up ideas to help with breastfeeding when someone mentioned oats boost breast milk production and i decided to do some more research on their health benefits, to humans ofcourse.

Oats are great for breastfeeding moms as they boost milk production but they are also an awesome cereal for anyone looking to eat and live a healthier  life.

Immediately I went and got myself a pack of quick cooking oats which you can find in any supermarket

Here are the ones i got.

The oats…..

Cooking oatmeal porridge is fairly easy  and the pack I got had a recipe on its side ,after  modifying it to make a small bowl of oatmeal porridge, Emma was one well fed baby.

Read  some more about  the  benefits of oats here.

 

Oatmeal porridge

Ingredients

5  heaped tablespoonsfuls  of oatmeal(1/3 of a cup)

1 cup water

1/4 teaspoon salt

some milk/cream

sugar/honey to taste

Method

1.In a small saucepan on medium high heat  bring the cup of water to boil then add the quarter teaspoon of salt.

2.Once the water comes to a  boil add the oats and stir then let simmer for 5 minutes  on medium low heat.

3.Remove from heat and cover for a further 5 minutes then add cream or milk  and honey/sugar to taste.

Alternatively slices of fruits like bananas,a tablespoon of some dried fruits would be great too.

Bon appetito!

.