Green Smoothies in Taiwan

Now that we’ve settled down and are getting ready for our first week as staff at APHA I’m determined to get back to our healthy regime. It’s interesting how health is defined differently here in Taiwan. Typically, from what I’ve gathered, what it means is one eats more fruit and do some stretches here and there. 

Recently, there’s been some reports in Taiwan about processed foods and how they’re poisonous….sounds like old news in America, or is it just in certain circles?

I’ve went on a search for salad mixes, sadly not finding anything yet. My Taiwanese friends have informed me that raw spinach is rare here and when it’s available, it’s too expensive. I myself have ventured into organic food stores here and most of them are stocked with dry groceries such as powders and mixes. Fresh produce take up little real-estate in theses stores which confuses me. 

My plan is to check the traditional markets to see if someone grows organic spinach there. If not, it’s down to growing them myself. 

I’ve juiced a lot this past year, but now am venturing into smoothies. I feel that though less vegetable can go into a smoothie, it’ll be easier to prepare and fun to drink. I’ve found some great recipes on Oh She Glow’s page on Green Monster Juice! Check it out: http://greenmonstermovement.com/?page_id=39

If you have any tips on finding dark leafy greens or alternatives that are found in Taiwan, would appreciate the input! 

beating the cold & flu season like a pro

I’ve been stuck at home, resting for the past two days and am on my third day. To help pass the time and also share how I’m fighting this sickness with you all, I thought I’d do a post. Most of these techniques I’ve learned from other moms:

1. Emergen-C: a high dosage of good ol’ Vitamin C to help boost your immune system when you’re starting to feel sick. I keep these in my makeup bag. Found at most grocery stores and available in larger packs at Costco. 

2. Oil of Oregano: extracted from wild oregano plants, it fights micro-organisms in the human body that causes sicknesses. “It is known to be a potent antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, and antiparasitic oil that can reduce pain and inflammation and effectively fight off infections” (Home Remedies Web). Start taking it when you feel the first onsets of a cold or flu. It comes in both liquid and capsule form. I’ve only used the capsule form. Follow instructions on the  bottle on how much to take daily.  Oil of Oregano can be found in most health or nutrition stores such as Whole Foods. 

3. Oscillococciunum: No, I don’t know how to pronounce the word but Becky, my small group leader (mother of five, grandmother of fourteen) recommended this to me when Dustin was sick awhile ago. I’ve been taking this since I’ve gotten sick this time and it works! Derived from duck liver and heart, it’s a natural alternative to flu meds. Don’t worry, it doesn’t taste anything like duck liver and heart. It can be found in most health food stores such as Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods. It’s $9.99 for ten doses at TJ’s. This company also offers another product called ColdCalm for colds. Click here for a $1 off coupon!

4. Gargling salt/apple cider vinegar: If you have a sore throat or simply want to fight bacteria that’s kicking your butt, mix one Tablespoon of real apple cider vinegar (Bragg’s with The Mother) to 6 or 8 oz. of warm water. Gargle this mixture every hour. “The acid in the ACV is very helpful in soothing and minimizing the sore throat, and, if you swallow it, the extra potassium is also beneficial. Note: After using this remedy be sure to rinse your mouth with water to prevent the acid from eroding the enamel on your teeth” (health911). For salt, simply add 1 teaspoon of sea salt to the same amount of water, stir and gargle every hour. “This will increase the blood supply to the area by washing away mucus and dilating capillaries, thereby enabling better circulation of infection-fighting antibodies” (health911).  

5. Drink lots of liquids:

  • herbal/medicinal teas such as ones by Traditional Medicinals, 
  • honey, lemon and warm water
  • apple cider vinegar (1 Tablespoon or however strong/weak you want it), honey, warm water 

6. Rest if you can!

Hope these remedies help prevent long dragged out cold and flus! Stay healthy during this cold and flue season. 🙂 If you have your own natural remedies, please share it with the rest of us!

Recipe: Curried Sweet Potato Salad

So some of my friends have been trying to convince me to post recipes. Honestly, I feel a bit sheepish about it. I mean I’m no Pioneer Woman or Heidi Swanson and my photos are taken with my iPhone. 😛 no SLR and photoshop to make it all glammed up. But I still thought it would be fun since I love cooking and eating so much : ) hehe. 

So here’s my curried sweet potato salad recipe. I love the flavor of this dish! I mean what can be better than sweet potatoes and curry? On top of that, this recipe is fast and easy to whip up, not to mention affordable! So here goes. Let me know what you think when you do try it out. 

First, boil around 3lbs of sweet potatoes (around 6 fairly large ones) but don’t let them overcook. You’ll get mashed sweet potato instead of a potato salad if you do. 

The boiling time varies depending on the size you purchase. I just keep an eye on them and check every ten or so minutes with a fork to see how cooked they are. The fork should be able to poke into these little suckers fairly well with some resistance. I usually just get a 3lb bag from Trader Joe’s for $3.69. 

Drain the potatoes and let it cool in the fridge for at least an hour. Next peel the skin off and dice into 1/2 inch cubes. Place them in a large bowl. 

Cut up half of a red onion. You can use less if you don’t want everyone’s mouth to stink afterwards hehe. 

Next sprinkle two teaspoons of salt onto the onions.

Let it set in a colander for around 30 minutes, then squeeze them in order to allow excess moisture to drain out. Feel free to skip this step if you’re in a hurry. 

Dice up two stalks of celery (feel free to improvise. Apple would be good as well) and a bunch of cilantro. 

Mince one clove of garlic 

Squeeze the lemon to get some juice. Got this sweet gadget at Sur La Table. Love how it removes the seeds and also measures the juice in the container below. 

Put all the cut ingredients into the bowl with the sweet potatoes. 

Then measure out 1 Tablespoon of curry powder. Add it to the bowl of ingredients. 

measure out 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper and sprinkle it into the bowl as well 

Measure and add 1 cup of mayonnaise (or sour cream or vegenaise. I want to try to make my own mayonnaise one day)

Now stir the ingredients a few times to blend in the flavors but not too much so it turns to mush. Then chill it until you want to impress your friends! Enjoy! 


Curried Sweet Potato Salad 

Ingredients:

3 lb bag of sweet potatoes (around 6 fairly large ones)

1/2 red onion

2 teaspoons of salt

1 close garlic, minced

juice of one lemon

1 cup mayonnaise (sour cream, vegenaise, have your pick)

1 Tablespoon curry powder

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (around a small handful)

1/4 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper 

Directions:

  1. Boil the sweet potatoes until tender. Then drain and chill them for at least an hour. Next peel the potato skin off and dice them into 1/2 inch cubes. Place in a large bowl.
  2. Cut up half of a red onion. Then sprinkle 2 teaspoons of salt on top. Place in colander for excess moisture to drain out for 30 minutes.
  3. Dice up two stalks of celery (feel free to improvise. Apple would be good as well) and a bunch of cilantro. 
  4. Mince up the garlic 
  5. Squeeze the lemon for juice
  6. Squeeze out extra moisture from the onions then add it to the bowl along with all the other ingredients above. 
  7. Add 1 Tablespoon of curry powder, 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper and 1 Cup of mayonnaise.
  8. Mix it a few times, careful not the break up the sweet potatoes. Chill until ready to serve. Enjoy!