Blue Strawberry

Nutrition, Food Science, Cooking….

Pineapples, Bromelain and Induced Labor…

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In a coffee shop…
Sitting with my cousin “Pineapple”…

“Pineapple”
I’m pregnant…

“Blue Strawberry”
Oh that’s great… what month???

“Pineapple”
2 months… I always feel like eating juicy fruits and sweets… but I heard that pineapples are bad… is it true??? Is it safe to eat pineapples during pregnancy???

Pineapples are fruits that are rich in vitamins (mainly VC), minerals, and fibers; they support the digestive system, and act as diuretics. They can be eaten raw, processed, canned, and used in cooking as fruit pieces or as juices…

Raw pineapples contain an enzyme named Bromelain, this enzyme breaks down protein. That’s why raw pineapples are widely used in meat marinades to soften and tenderize meats…

On the other hand, raw pineapples can affect the preparation of protein foods such as gelatin-based foods like Jello. That’s why when preparing Jello, it’s always recommended to use canned/processed pineapples; because canning and processing degrade the Bromelain enzyme making it ineffective…

Pineapples are delicious, healthy and nutritious…

But is it SAFE during Pregnancy???

Due to the presence of the Bromelain enzyme, consumption of LARGE amounts (~ 6-7 fruits) of RAW pineapples/pineapple juices during pregnancy can lead to diarrhea, and may possibly soften the cervix, leading to uterine contractions that in turn induce labor. Thus, it’s advisable to eat a moderate amount of pineapples during pregnancy, especially during early stages…

Pineapples have small amounts of Bromelain that can be safe in moderate amounts. In some cases; pineapples are used as a remedy, specifically in late labored women to induce the labor…

Limit the intake especially during your first months but, keep in mind, the DOSE differentiates between a remedy and a poison…

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Children… Eczema… and Diet

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Yesterday night I received an email from “Eggplant”…

“Eggplant”

Dear Blue Strawberry…
Hope this email finds you well…
I have two children and they both have eczema…
Do you have any food/nutrition recommendations related to eczema???
I’m a bit worried…

“Blue Strawberry”

Well… first I need to know if your children have any food allergies… however for now it’s good to know that…

Most children with eczema do not have any reactions to food. Though, in some children, food allergies
may prompt some skin reactions.

The diet for eczema varies depending on the sensitivity of the child towards certain foods.
For example, milk may prompt eczema in some children, while it is safe for other children.
Thus, the diets vary from one child to another.

For me to plan a food related eczema diet, the first important step, is to identify the type
of foods that might affect the eczema.

I’ll give you a list of items that MIGHT trigger some reactions:

Milk and dairy product: Milk, cheeses, yogurt, chocolate that contains cow’s milk…
Wheat based products and cereals: Bread, crackers, donuts, pancakes, barley, oats and rye…
Nuts: Peanuts, walnuts, cashews, hazelnuts and pistachios…
Seafood: Shellfish, salmon, tuna, lobster, mussels, crabs…
Acidic fruits: Orange, lemon, strawberries, plumps, blueberries, prunes and tomatoes…
Eggs and soy products
Food colorings and food additives: Sodium benzoate, glutamate, tartrazine…

I can’t surely detect what is relevant to your children; nevertheless I insist that you get back
to your children doctor… and upon the doctor’s prescriptions, tests etc… we can move forward to the next step…

Did you know??? Lobsters, Crabs and Shrimps…

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Lobsters, Crabs and Shrimps… All turn into Red and Orange when Cooked …

Lobsters, crabs, and shrimp have a variety of different colors present in their shells.
The red color is due to a pigment called “Astaxanthina”.

This pigment lies under the caratenoid family. Caratenoids, are pigments that produce
a reddish orange color (in shells and outer skins like in carrots).

Within the shells of lobsters, crabs and shrimps etc… this pigment is entrapped by protein chains.

The outer layers, of such shells, appear naturally dark colored (black, brown, green etc…).
Yet when they are cooked, the protein chains surrounding the pigment get degraded (denatured)
and so the astaxanthina gets released.

This pigment is naturally heat stable; consequently under heating conditions (cooking)
it doesn’t degrade and remains present within the shells.

As a result, after cooking (boiling) the lobsters, crab and shrimps all appear reddish in color….

See for yourself…

Before…

After…

An Old Artisan Dough Kneader…

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Isn’t it just beautiful…

Pumpkin… The Food Artist…

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As a child… he used to love playing with his food…

As he grew up… he was inspired to use food as an art
subject to create some amazing foodscapes and sculptures…

“Pumpkin” … a Food Artists…

Before… The Process… After…

Happy Mother’s Day… From the Chefs…

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Happy Mother’s Day to my mommy… and all the mothers in the world…

December… Byblos and Peanut Butter…

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On a cold December night… having a walk with my friend “Peanut Butter”… next to the wild boiling sea water of Byblos….

“Peanut Butter”
I was eating peanut butter…

“Blue Strawberry”
mmm… I hate peanut butter… unless it’s within a cake or a biscuit or anything…

“Peanut Butter”
Oh come on… I prepare peanut butter myself at home…

“Blue Strawberry”
At Home???? That’s interesting… so tell me…How do you actually do it at home????

Preparing Peanut Butter at Home:

Step1: Roast the peanuts
1.Spread the peanuts on a baking pan.
2.Bake the peanuts in an oven for around 10 minutes. Be careful not to burn them.
3.Cool

Step2: In a food processor
1.Pour the peanuts in a food processor with metal blades.
2.Cover the lid and turn on the processor.
3.The peanuts are now being chopped; a powdered mixture will be formed

Step3: Keep on processing
1.Keep on processing until a buttery mixture is formed
2.To get a desirable smooth peanut butter texture a longer processing period might be needed.

Step4: Taste
1.Add salt, sugar, honey etc. depending on your desired peanut butter taste.

Step5: Storage
1.Store in the fridge for around 2 days before consumption, so the mix turns into paste.

Nutrition and Health:

Peanut butter is rich in MUFA (mono-unsaturated fats) that are the good fats and the antioxidant Resveratrol. Thus, it helps protect against heart diseases, if consumed moderately. It is also rich in Vitamin B3, Proteins, Magnesium, Folic Acid, and Dietary Fiber.

Caution:

Some People are “Allergic” to peanuts, thus traces of peanut butter (peanuts) consumption would lead to:

1. Itching, swelling, of the skin, lips, tongue, and throat.
2. Shortness in breathing (the individual can suffocate).
3. Abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting.
4. Heart attack.
5. Loss of consciousness.

Star Fruit… Just Beautiful

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The Star Fruit, also known as “Carambola” mostly found in countries such as India, Sri Lanka, and Indonesia etc. When the fruit is cut in cross-section it looks like a five pointed star, that’s why it’s called “Star Fruit”.

It has a sour to sweet juicy taste; it’s green from the outside with a yellowish flesh and black brownish seeds in the center.

Nutrition and Health Benefits:

Star Fruit is rich in Vitamin C, Potassium, Dietary Fiber, Calcium; and is low in calories and sodium.

1.Vitamin C: antioxidant property that destroys free radicals preventing lipid oxidation (ex. can prevent cancer).
2.Potassium: helps prevent muscle cramps.
3.Dietary Fiber: prevent constipation.
4.Calcium: strengthens bones and teeth.
5.Calories: 1 cup of Star Fruit contains about 40 calories.

Caution:

Kidney failure, kidney stones, and kidney dialysis patients:

Star Fruit contains a considerable amount of oxalic acid. Oxalic Acid can be harmful to kidney failure, kidney stones, and kidney dialysis patients. Thus, if star fruit is consumed by such patients can lead to vomiting, nausea, impaired consciousness/mental confusion etc.
Moreover, it can also lead to hyperkalemia; which describes the high potassium electrolyte concentration in the blood; that in turn results in heart muscle weakness leading to abnormality of the heart beats….

Chatting… Wine… and Resveratrol…

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Chatting on a Saturday afternoon with my friend “Southern Comfort”….

Blue Strawberry:
2kh… finally I’m home… eatinggggggg…. What’s your favorite food????????

Southern Comfort:
My favorite food… I dunno….
I eat anything and almost everything… regardless if i’m hungry or not… :p
iza 3abele ekoul something, then i will eat it!!!

Steak has to be one of my favorite things… i really like pasta…
Vodka diet 7up, amaretto sour, marguerita…. wine…

Blue Strawberry:
mmmm… wine is not bad…

Let’s see… wine… wine… wine…. How about Red wine??? And it’s characteristic antioxidant…

Wine is one of the mostly consumed alcoholic beverages through out the world. Wine have shown high beneficial effects to health due to its antioxidants content.

Antioxidants are substances that reduce the damage caused by oxidation that in turn is caused by free radicals. Antioxidants are naturally produced by living cells of animal or plant origin. They are produced as part of the defensive mechanism preventing lipid oxidation and rancidity.

Lipid oxidation and rancidity are mainly related to the production of toxic substances named “Free Radicals” that degrade lipids (fats). Lipid Oxidation (within human cell): The degradation of lipids by those toxic reactive oxygen species pose several health concerns such as: cardiovascular disease, atherosclerosis, diabetes (glycation of end products), cancers etc… Rancidity (within food ): The degradation of the fat by those toxic reactive oxygen species leading to quality deterioration of foods.

One of the characteristic antioxidants in wine, mainly red wine, is Resveratrol. Resveratrol is mostly found in the skin and seeds of grapes that’s why it’s a major constituent of wines. Resveratrol from grapes is more highly concentrated when it has been processed into wine, it’s mainly found in red wine rather than white wine because red wine is fermented with the skin allowing the wine to absorb the resveratrol.

The biological attributes of resveratrol mainly include: antioxidant activity, anti-inflammatory activity, anti-platelets aggregation, anti-aging, anti-cancerous agent etc. Thus resveratrol may help prevent free radical damage over the human body and provide better support to the blood vessels; reduce the risk of heart disease, age-related illnesses like Alzheimer’s disease. Helps control arthritis and other autoimmune diseases, and reduces the risk of blood clotting.

Many studies have shown that resveratrol has a very important role in reducing highly reactive oxygen species, because it’s a free radical scavenger and because it promote the activity of several antioxidant enzymes. It is an antioxidants that plays an important role as a health protecting factor. It is now incorporated in pills as an effective supplement used for many healths related concerns.

In conclusion, Red wine’s potential health benefits are very promising in the presence of resveratrol antioxidant. Thus, moderate amounts of alcohol, including red wine, lowers the risk of several health concern. But, increased amounts of red wine, an alcohol, increases the risk of high blood pressure, high triglycerides, liver damage, obesity, certain types of cancer, and other problems; thus it’s best taken in moderation.

One Sweet Summer Afternoon…… How about “Breastfeeding”…..

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While I was sitting in my garden… enjoying the sweet afternoon on the seesaw… I received a phone call from a friend…

Blue Strawberry what’s up??? I need a favor… can you write a 300 word assay on a topic in your field that can be transformed into a workshop or something??? Several topics came up… Here it goes…How about “Breastfeeding”???

How to provide a Healthy Diet to your Infant from Birth to 12 months of age…

Nutrition care is essential for promoting health, growth, and development of a healthy infant.

To begin with, mothers should be aware that during the first year of life, the organ system of the infant is not yet fully mature thus; the capacity of the digestive system to metabolize and excrete foods is not completely developed. As a result, the infant is supposed to be supplied with the sufficient energy and macronutrients that promote optimal growth on condition the amounts do not exceed the infant’s digestive capacity.

Furthermore, during the first 6 month of life the only diet allowed is exclusive breastfeeding; where the infant is fed every 1.5 to 3hrs; 20 to 30 minutes on each breast. Water supplementation is unnecessary at this stage because mother’s milk water content is sufficient.

After the age of 6 month, age appropriate foods can be introduced with the continuation of breastfeeding. Vegetables are initially introduced followed by, fruits then by meats. Fish, wheat products and eggs are recommended after the age of 1.

Moreover, the mother ought to be informed that some dietary products causes colic (coffee), gases (onions, garlic, cauliflower, beans etc.), and altered mother’s milk taste and smell (spices, onions and garlic) if introduced in her diet within the period of breastfeeding.

Finally, after the age of 12 months the infant must be consuming a well balanced diet containing a variety of food items consisting of all food groups from carbohydrates, proteins, and fats with the maintenance of breastfeeding up to the age of 2 years.

So don’t forget… “Breast is Best”….