Fruits and veggies for pregancy

As my pregnancy continues, I am fighting against my huge appetite. While trying to follow healthy diet as much as I can including a lot of vegetables, grains, meat, fish, and fruits, I wonder how much and what of fruits and veggies as a pregnant woman. I love fruits and can keep eating fruits even right after regular meals!

Fruits and veggies contain full of fibers, minerals, and rich nutrients. Pregnant women can and should have fruits as your snack, such as a slice of cantaloupe and a bowl of strawberries. Having these fruits with protein such as cottage cheese can boost your sustainable energy.

So, how much is enough for your baby and yourself during pregnancy? According to the article, pregnant women should aim to have 2 cups of fruit and 2 1/2 to 3 cups of veggies a day. For example, here is what counts as a cup:

  • 1 cup raw or cooked veggies
  • 2 cups raw leafy greens
  • 1 cup raw, canned, or frozen fruit
  • 2 small bananas or 1 large one
  • 1/2 cups dried fruit
  • 1 medium to large piece of fruit
  • 1 cup 100% fruit juice, veggie juice, or fruit-veggie juice

For some of you, it sounds like too much to consume a day but I am confident I can eat more than 2 cups of fruits and veggies per day.

10 excellent foods for pregnancy

I am currently 6-month pregnant. Whenever I talk to my mom and other ladies in my mom's generation who experienced pregnancy, I am told, "you should eat for two!"

I do appreciate advice and suggestions from experienced moms anytime. Well, if I follow their advice and actually eat for my baby and myself, I would have gained too much pregnancy weight! I try to control how much I eat and what I eat, especially throughout pregnancy period. BUT I get so hungry so soon after eating a meal. Should I actually eat for two just like what experienced and kind moms suggest?

Probably, it is not only me but some pregnant women would be so confused about what to follow for a baby's nutrition and growth.

The article published by Baby Center (I read their articles every single day) suggests 10 nutritious ingredients you can use for everyday cooking. These 10 foods are very handy and you can find them probably anytime in your refrigerator.

  1. Eggs
  2. Salmon
  3. Beans
  4. Sweet potatoes
  5. Whole grains
  6. Walnuts
  7. Greek yogurt
  8. Dark green , leafy veggies
  9. Lean meat
  10. Colorful fruits and veggies

1. Eggs

Eggs contains 12 vitamins and minerals, and one egg is just about 90 calories only. Eggs has choline which helps a baby's growth and brain health.

2. Salmon

I do love salmon! Salmon can be cooked in any way from Japanese to Italian. Not to mention, salmon is full of omega-3 fats which are perfect for a baby's development. According to the yakuzen theory, salmon can be beneficial to anemia, dry skin, stomach, poor energy, etc.

3. Beans

Any kind of beans can do: lentils, black beans, pinto beans, adzuki beans, chickpeas, etc. Tofu or other alternatives made from beans can count. Beans gives you the great amount of fiber and protein. For example, the yakuzen theory proposes black beans can work for swollen legs (which many pregnant women are suffered from!), adzuki beans for itchiness and redness (probably works for pregnancy stretch marks), and chickbeans for constipation, anemia (yes, many pregnant women do experience hese symptoms, too!).

4. Sweet potatoes

Sweet potatoes contains carotenoids like carrots which can give you vitamin A, vitamin C, and fiber. Excessive intake of vitamin A may be dangerous (animal liver, milk, etc.) but carotenoids are completely different one. The yakuzen theory can tell you sweet potatoes can get rid of excess water from your body, constipation, and high blood pressure.

5. Whole grains

Whole grains are essential in pregnancy because they contain fiber and vitamin E. Popcorn, whole grain bread, quinoa, etc. are whole grains. Whole grains are superfood which can be easily obtain and cooked in many ways.

6. Walnuts

Walnuts are the great source for plant-based omega-3, protein, and fiber. Although walnuts are high-calorie ingredient, they contain good fat. As they are so easy to grab and so handy when going out, they can be on-the-go snack. The yakuzen theory suggests that walnuts work for lower back pain, frequent urination, constipation, cough, dry skin, etc.

7. Greek yogurt

In Japan, green yogurt has been very popular lately. Very rich and thick texture makes me feel like I eat cream cheese or cheesecake! This super food, of course, is a great source of calcium for a baby's growth, especially the development of bones.

8. Dark leafy veggies

There are a lot of green leafy veggies; spinach, kale, lettuce, cabbage, cucumber, broccoli, etc. They contain nutrients including vitamins A and C, and folate! Pregnant women cannot ignore folate which works perfectly for a baby's overall development.

9. Lean meats

My grandmother was a vegetarian. Her eating habit affected what I eat in the past. Now, I eat balanced-meals for my little baby. Well, meat is a great source of protein. I rather like to eat fishes but try to cook lean meats more than once a week.

10. Colorful fruits and veggies

Colorful fruits and veggies are great for eyes and health. Each color group offers different vitamins and minerals. 

Source: http://www.babycenter.com/101_the-10-best-foods-for-pregnancy_10392775.bc

 

Relationship between healthy food and age-related cognitive decline

The research from Colorado State University revealed that the following tips can slow your cognitive decline and aging, actually.

  1. Eat you vegetables, especially green leafy veggies.
  2. Eat blueberries and walnuts.
  3. East fish once a week.

How simple these tips are! According to the research, these ingredients supports brain health including memory and processing as you get older. In addition to the eating habit, the increase of fruits and veggies intake, exercise, etc. can also educe age-related risks.

Age-related risks including Alzheimer's disease, dementia, cognitive impairment, etc. are fearful as we age. There is an effective diet developed by Martha Clare Morris from Rush University. Her method is called MIND diet. The MIND diet stands for Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay. The MIND diet proposes to stick with eating Mediterranean food and watching your high blood pressure. 

The MIND diet suggests 10 brain healthy ingredients: green leafy veggies, other veggies, nuts, berries, beans, whole grains, fish, poultry, olive oil, and red wine. On the other hand, there are 5 brain unhealthy ingredients which you should control the intake or avoid: red meat, butter and stick margarine, cheese, sweet pastries, and fried or fast food.

After reading the article, I tried to recall what I usually eat. I believe yakuzen and follow what it suggest me to eat. So, I guess I am almost all right with what the MIND diet proposes. As I noticed, you may also notice there are a lot of common rules between healthy food particularly the MIND diet here and yakuzen theory. Healthy food can fight against getting old with a lots of healthy issues which everyone fears about. Eating healthy can slow your age-related cognitive decline! This is such a great idea for me or you who like to be healthy eaters because eating what you love connects to making you healthy and live longer. 

Source:  http://source.colostate.edu/healthy-food-interventions-may-slow-cognitive-decline

Yakuzen trend introduced by The Japan Times

Even before I started blogging, The Japan Times introduced what yakuzen really is and how much it has got popularity not only in Japan but the world, in its article

Around 2012, I recalled restaurants serving quality and authentic yakuzen, mainly in Tokyo area. The article introduced Oriental Recipe Cafe in Harajyuku, Tokyo. As you may know, Harajyuku is the most popular place for tourists and local teenagers. At that time, I was curious to see why they opened yakuzen restaurant which youngsters may not even be interedted in, in Harajyuku. On the other hand, it can be said Japanese teenagers are the most concsious population to sense what is in the trend. They are health conscious, beauty conscious, and healthy diet conscious. They should know what is going on in foodies world! Now, this restaurant runs stable business and is filled with many repeated customers.

Let's look at their menu. They serve lunch and dinner as well as light snacks.

Salad:

  • Oriental salad with shrimp and singer
  • Coriander green salad
  • Quinoa and radish salad, etc.

Appetizer

  • Yakuzen nuts
  • Seasonal vegetable pickles
  • Chicken with black sesame sauce
  • Vegetable chips with yakuzen salt
  • Fried chicken with yakuzen salt, etc.

Main dish

  • Spicy shrimp
  • Chicken and basil dish
  • Quinoa and shrimp with mayonnaise sauce
  • Spicy tofu
  • Yakuzen chicken with nuts
  • Yakuzen curry, etc.

Everything sound so healthy and yum! I would love to visit this restaurant when visiting Tokyo next time. They also serve a great variety of Chinese herbal teas and today's dessert.

Letters of note

I have been reading Shaun's blog, "Letters of Note". I don't think his blog shouldn't be called a blog because the way he puts the collections of all sorts of letters from all over the world is just brilliant, not as a blog but a book.

I appreciate his idea of collecting beautiful letters. Letters he chooses are sometimes touching and leading my tears, inviting my laughs, and making me say, "thank you for introducing beautiful stories behind letters." Letters flew between lovers, between parents and children, between colleagues, between friends, between teachers and students, and between fans and celebrities.

Each letter is a good length to read on the way to work for me. He also runs "Lists of Note" with the same concept as "Letter of Note". I hope you will find it great.

P.S. My favorite screenwriter, Nora Ephron, passed away in June, 2012. Shaun also featured her in his "Lists of Note" about her last book when she mentioned about what she won't miss and what she will miss.

This post inspired me to write about what I won't miss and what I will miss:

What I won't miss:

  • humid summer
  • mosquito bites
  • heavy traffic
  • crowded train
  • insects in general
  • driving a car
  • exercise
  • internet
  • all sorts of technology

What I will miss

  • my mom
  • my siblings
  • my grandparents
  • my dog
  • ice cream
  • green tea
  • fall
  • winter
  • snow
  • book
  • smell of book
  • coffee
  • walking on the beach
  • walking in the park
  • watching the moon
  • walking with my dog
  • endless chat
  • cooking
  • laugh
  • fresh breeze
  • the person/the people i love

It seems I have more what I will miss than what I won't miss. What a finding.

Five functions & five tastes: yakuzen/medicinal food

If you kindly visit here, have you noticed that each post includes "function" and "taste" at the end of each post? I guess most of you who have noticed these terms would wonder what these mean. Here are what they represent.

As the list of five elements in the Go-Gyo List, otherwise known as yakuzen/medicinal food theory suggests, every single thing (food, season, emotion, organ, function, etc) exists around us can be categorized into five elements. This theory is a basis of yakuzen/medicinal food when we create menus for clients.

Here is the example. Let’s take the season. Generally, a year consists of four seasons: spring,summer,fall, and winter. However, in oriental medicine, long summer is also included to make the season divided into five, according to the list of five elements.

We talk about yakuzen food here so let’s dig the function of ingredients and the taste. Consuming ingredients in each season is the primary concept to live with yakuzen/medicinal food. But thinking of these two concepts is also the essential key to create yakuzen/medicinal food menus in order to get rid of particular symptoms a client has.

Function

What we eat is gifted from the nature and each edible ingredient is divided into the following functions: warm, heat, cold, cool, and plain.

The function of ingredients describes how an ingredient works on our health. Eating these ingredients gives us one of these five functions to keep our total balance. According to the list of five elements, every ingredient belongs to one of functions.

Ingredients that can warm our body, for instance, are pepper, ginger, chili pepper, and so on. Spinach, celery, eggplant, tomato, cucumber, daikon radish, and many more are ingredients that can cool down our body temperature.

And five functions of ingredients not only have functions to warm and cool down our body but the following functions, as well:

Warm/heat Ingredients

  • When our body is warmed up, organs also get warmed and functions of organs become very active.
  • Blood vessels that also get warmed work so well to convey blood.

  • Enhance qi in us and activate metabolism to produce energy source.

Cold/cool Ingredients

  •  Get rid of excessive heat in out body and also cleanse our blood.

  •  The great news is that these ingredients help us take out retained water in the body.

Plain Ingredients

  • Plain ingredients don’t belong to either warm/heat ingredients or cold/cool ingredients.
  • As they are peaceful ingredients which you don't have to pay extra attention to, you can consume every day.
  • About 70% of ingredients we eat belong to this category of plain ingredients.

Taste

When you think of our taste, how many tastes can you recognize? Sweet, sour, salty, bitter. And what else? Officially, according to yakuzen/medicinal food theory, the following tastes are five tastes: sour, bitter, sweet, spicy, and salty.

In general, when we think about sweet taste, for example, it means that we point out a taste of the cooked food we eat. However, in the taste category here, sweet means a taste of the ingredient itself.

Similar to the five functions of ingredients mentioned above, every ingredient can be categorized into one of five tastes. Some ingredients can have more than one functions, let’s say tomatoes.

Sour Taste

  • Tones up the body and muscle
  • Stops excessive sweat and bleeding
  • Prevents incontinence

Bitter Taste

  • Works as an anti-bacterial
  • Lowers a fever
  • Stops excessive sweating, asthma or severe cough
  • Excretes waste from the body system

Sweet Taste

  • Brings necessary energy into the body
  • Enhances digestion and adjust stomach function

Spicy Taste

  • Releases sweat and other unnecessary waste from the body
  • Enhances a circulation of qi and keeps us feeling happy
  • Purifies blood

Salty Taste

  • Softens lumps or stones
  • Prevents constipation

Being aware of five functions and five tastes takes us to the next level to how we create yakuzen/medicinal food recipes, how we combine ingredients to ease symptoms at moment, and how we can maximize what to eat.

It sounds like it can be annoying if we keep thinking about theories. I don’t believe we have to be strict with theories but we'd better to somewhat stick with theories to use ingredients as therapeutic treatment to get amazing results later on.

Concept of remedial spoon

"remedial spoon" is dedicated to food and food-related curiosities from a yakuzen/medicinal food/medicinal dish point of view.

My yakuzen service shares what yakuzen is, and how we can maximize our health and beauty by choosing and cooking right ingredients at right times for particular symptoms.

Yakuzen is not a special food. Almost anything edible can be medicinal food. The only difference between a regular diet and a medicinal food is this: medicinal food focuses on the way we combine, cook, and understand each ingredient's function when we consume. You probably don't need to see your doctors anymore if you believe food as medicine to keep being healthy and beautiful from inside and outside.

It's not just all about a theory. It's about rules to eat. Simply, it's just about ordinary food ingredients which have medicinal functions and hidden potentials to work as remedy to our body and mind.

Not only just eating but appreciating every ingredient is my policy when I face to food. Food is our natural remedy that can keep our total balance. Every ingredient has its function and a meaning of being taken into our body. They give us energy and work properly to build what we are.

As a yakuzen consultant, I would like my service, "remedial spoon," to be the place to share what I know and learn what I don't know from you.

I hope my service will leave some spoonful of hints here and there in your mind. Let's enjoy eating and being healthy and beautiful at the same time!