Blue Strawberry

Nutrition, Food Science, Cooking….

Tag Archives: diet

Rosemary… known as “2ikleel el Jabal”…

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Today’s dish was Beef with Rosemary and Garlic…
mmm… it looked, smelled, and tasted delicious… Looking ever green with its small needle shaped leaves, rosemary was first sautéed with garlic and olive oil, and lastly seated on top of the dish for garnishing…

Rosemary… known as “2ikleel el Jabal” in my country…

Rosemary is a herb having evergreen needle-like leaves and a distinctive woody smell with a bitter and astringent taste. It is widely know in the Mediterranean region.

It is used as fresh or dried frequently in the traditional Mediterranean cuisine specifically in barbecuing.

It is added to oil bottles during storage to flavor the oil. It also helps retard rancidity (oxygen damage of oils that lead to change of odour, taste, and safety), thus improved oil’s shelf life.

Rosemary contains anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic, anti-fungal and anti-septic, disease preventing and health promoting compounds…

How to use:

Wash fresh leaves in cold running water or rinse for few minutes or use it dry; added it in the final steps of your cooking to preserve the distinctive fragrance and flavor…



Open Sesame…

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Sesame is a flowering plant… its seeds are rich in oil. The seeds are further processes to give sesame oil or stone grinded to give sesame paste know as Tahini…

Seeds, oils or pastes are greatly used in cooking… especially in the Lebanese cuisine…Seeds usually sprinkled on breads and pastries, while oils and tahini are usually used in appetizers such as the “Hommos” or in dishes such as the “Kebbe Karnabiyeh”…

Nutritional Benefits:

Sesame is rich in minerals (calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium…) and in vitamin E, thiamin, healthy proteins and dietary fibers. It contains some phyto-nutrients such as omega-6 fatty acids and flavonoid anti-oxidants and it’s also a rich source of poly-unsaturated fatty acids…

Sesame helps prevent high blood pressure, protect the liver from oxidative damage
(sesamin and sesamolin) and helps strengthen the heart and the nervous system (Vitamin E).

1 tablespoon of sesame (~10g) = 52 Calories.

Mango, Lunch and Picky Children…

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My colleague “Mango” invited me for lunch…

She has 3 little kids… 1.5 years… 3 years and 5 years of age…

The lunch was great… the food was delicious …
But, “Mango” was frustrated… continously shouting at her kids to eat their food…

You have picky children??? here it goes….

It’s normal to have your children picky with food…

Children between 1 and 3 years of age nudge at their food and this is normal due to growth and development reasons.

They may eat only fruits on Monday and only vegetables on Tuesday. Such eating habits are normal. Thus, it’s important to expect the child to eat well one day and eat nothing the next day.

Children from 1 to 3 years need approximately around 1000 – 1300 Kcal per day. But they might not eat this amount every day.

Accordingly, it is always recommended that children have a balanced diet over the week, not over a single day.

Here are some tips to encourage eating:

1) Give the food some playful names, names that the child is familiar with, for example:

Apples: Moons
Avocado: Boats
Banana: Wheels
Broccoli: Trees

2) Young children love dipping foods. Let them dip slices of apples, colored bell pepper pieces, carrots, broccoli in sauces
for examples:

Cream cheese
Fruit juice
Peanut butter
Pureed fruits or vegetables

3) Show them how to use a knife, a spoon etc. to spread cheese, labneh, peanut butter, fruit concentrates, vegetable concentrate onto toast, or bread; children love playing and spreading their food. The more they play with the unappealing food the more they’ll get to like it.

4) Let them help you prepare the food. Let them cut their sandwiches, vegetables, pizzas, fruits etc. into various shapes using children cookie cutters.

5) Plant a garden with your child: let the children help take care of the vegetables, fruits etc… wash and prepare them.

Important Remarks:

– Breakfast, lunch, and dinner have NO meaning to a child. If your Child wants to eat pizza in the morning or fruit and cereal in the evening let him/her go with it.
– Keep food servings small. A young child’s stomach is approximately the size of his fist.
– A hungry child is NOT a happy kid. Thus, be strict when possible, a hungry child will cry yet, when there’s nothing available he/she will end up eating (so don’t worry).
– A child taste preference depends on exposure. Children will prefer sweet tastes, salty taste, bitter taste etc. depending on what they were mostly exposed to during their first years of life. Thus try as much as possible to expose them to the healthy tastes and keep them away from the sweeties (Don’t add sugars/salts etc. to the food).
– Eat all together, children eat better when they see their parents eating.

Pineapples, Bromelain and Induced Labor…

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

I’m pregnant…

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

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…

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…



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.

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.


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.


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….

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”….

Hey sis… What’s Phosphorus??? The Lab Test…

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Yesterday my sister gave me a call…. she asked me about what’s phosphorus… what does the phosphorus lab test mean… and how is it related to the diet and health….

Well… let‘s see…

Phosphorus is a mineral.

It is found in about 80% of the body’s bones and teeth. It is a component of every cell and of some important metabolites such as DNA, RNA, ATP… and phospholipids. It is also important for the body’s PH regulation.

Phosphorus in the diet is interrelated to calcium and protein intakes… Foods that are good sources of proteins are also good sources of phosphorus.
It is basically found in the following foods: cheese, egg yolk, milk, meat, fish, poultry, whole grain cereals, nuts, legumes and soft drinks. Thus, one can’t reach phosphorus inadequacy if the intakes of calcium and protein are sufficient.

If phosphorus lab tests are low (which is usually rare), that means the person is in a state of hypophosphatemia, which might be associated with hypoparathyroidism (hypoparathyroidisim is an endocrine disorder in which the parathyroid glands, glands in the neck, do not produce enough parathyroid hormone (PTH)) or it is due to decreased dietary intake.

If phosphorus lab tests are high, that means the person is in a state of hyperphosphatemia that might be related to hyperparathyroidism (hyperparathyroidism is the excessive production of parathyroid hormone (PTH) by the parathyroid glands), or it is due to renal (kidney) malfunctioning or from a low calcium high phosphorus diet consumption.

Imbalance of calcium and phosphorus ratio within the dietary intake (low ratio) can lead to the thinning of the plates within the bones, all over the skeleton, that in turn leads to fractures…

Thus, in conclusion, it is very much important to have a regulated phosphorus intake and sufficient calcium intake from food… inhibiting bone loss for the long run….