Why did I start this blog? I have been having episodes of inflammation in my hands and fingers, feet and toes, and joints for some time now. I’ve consulted the doctor and have had tests done. It’s not rheumatoid arthritis and my uric acid is normal (tho at times borderline normal). In an effort to determine which food triggers the inflammation, I have been systematically eliminating certain foods from my diet and then bringing them back. After several years, I have now come to the conclusion that I seem to be reacting to animal protein in general (like some sort of allergic reaction). Different animal proteins affect me to different degrees; some cause inflammation faster than others. So I have decided to reduce my intake of meat. No, I am not going vegetarian; maybe semi-vegetarian if there is such a thing. I will be adding interesting and not too difficult recipes here as I find them. I will also include arthritis management tips that have worked for me.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Peperomia pellucida (pansit-pansitan)

Peperomia pellucida is an annual, shallow-rooted herb, usually growing to a height of about 15 to 45 cm. The plant flowers year-round and is characterized by succulent stems, shiny, heart-shaped, fleshy leaves and tiny, dot-like seeds attached to several fruiting spikes. It has a mustard-like odor when crushed. It grows in clumps and thrives in loose, humid soils in various shaded, damp habitats and a tropical to subtropical climate; it may be found all over Asia and the Americas.

Peperomia pellucida has been used as a food item as well as a medicinal herb; the entire plant is edible, both cooked and raw (good for salads). Ethnomedicinal uses for the plant vary; P. pellucida has been used for treating abdominal pain, abscesses, acne, boils, colic, fatigue, gout, headache, renal disorders, and rheumatic joint pain. In the Philippines, P. pellucida is also known as pansit-pansitan or ulasimang bato; it is one of the 10 herbal medicines approved by the Philippines’ Department of Health. A decoction of the plant (boil 1 ½ cups of the herb with 2 cups of water for 15-20 min) is used to decrease uric acid levels (as a remedy for rheumatism and gout) and to treat renal problems. It is also used topically for skin disorders such as acne and boils.

I found several clumps growing in my garden while I was weeding (yes they grow as weeds) and thought I’d make some herbal tea. It tasted fine by itself but you could probably add some honey if it suits you.

Though the plant is available the whole year round, if you find them growing abundantly in your garden, you may want to dry them for longer storage. You may even want to give them as gifts this coming holiday season.

References: Food Recap, Wikipedia

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


Soybeans are considered to be a source of complete protein; it contains significant amounts of all the essential amino acids needed by the human body. Soy beans are a good source of protein for people who want to reduce their consumption of meat. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced that foods containing soy protein may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. This is based on their determination that 25 grams of soy protein per day, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease by reducing blood cholesterol levels. Foods made with whole soybean may also qualify for the health claim if they contain no fat in addition to that present in the whole soybean. These would include soyfoods such as tofu, soymilk, soy-based burgers, tempeh, and soynuts. There are some recipes in this blog using tofu.

Soybeans on Foodista

Crispy Fried Tofu


1 cup flour
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp salt · dash pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp dried basil (optional)
1 cup soy sauce
1 pound firm or extra firm tofu, pressed
oil for frying


Slice the tofu into 1 1/2 inch thick strips or 1-inch cubes.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, nutritional yeast, salt, pepper, garlic and basil.

Place the soy sauce in a separate small bowl. Dip the tofu in the soy sauce, and then in the flour mixture. Fry in oil until golden brown.

Tofu on Foodista

Grilled Tofu with Chimichurri Sauce


2 cups lightly packed chopped parsley
4 garlic cloves, halved
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/2 tsp chili pepper flakes
2 tbsp shallot or onion, minced
1/4 cup of vegetable or olive oil
3 tbsp sherry wine vinegar or red wine vinegar
3 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp granulated garlic
1/2 tsp smoked paprika or Hungarian paprika
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 pound extra-firm tofu
Olive oil


To prepare the chimichurri sauce, place the parsley, garlic cloves, salt, pepper, chili, shallot or onion, 1/4 cup olive oil, sherry vinegar and lemon juice ingredients in a blender or food processor and pulse until well chopped, but not pureed. Set aside.

To prepare the rub, combine the garlic, paprika and cumin; mix well. Set aside.

Cut the tofu in half lengthwise to make two "steaks" abut 3/4-inch thick. Brush lightly with olive oil. Press the rub into both sides of the tofu steaks.

Place tofu in a grill pan coated with oil or directly on the cooking grate over direct heat. Cook for 3-4 minutes. Turn the tofu steak with a pair of tongs and a flat spatula if necessary. Sear the second side and continue grilling until done, about 3-5 minutes.

Cut each tofu steak in half to form 2 triangles. Serve topped with chimichurri sauce.

Makes four servings of grilled tofu.

Source: Grilled Tofu with Chimichurri Sauce

Tofu on Foodista

Tofu Scramble


1/2 yellow onion, diced
1/2 green bell pepper, diced
1 block tofu, drained and pressed
2 tbsp oil or margarine
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp dried parsley
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp turmeric (optional)


Slice the tofu into approximately one inch cubes. Then, using either your hands or a fork, crumble it slightly.

Sautee onion, pepper and crumbled tofu in oil for 3-5 minutes, stirring often. Add remaining ingredients, reduce heat to medium and allow to cook 5-7 more minutes, stirring frequently and adding more oil if needed.

Wrap in a warmed flour tortilla with a bit of salsa for a breakfast burrito or top with soy or dairy cheese. Serves two.

Tofu on Foodista

Vegetarian Tofu Chili Recipe


3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 14 oz package of firm or extra firm tofu, crumbled
1 onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
3 tbsp chili powdersalt and pepper to taste
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp cumin
1 14 oz can tomato sauce
1 28 oz can whole or diced tomatoes, with liquid
1 28 oz can kidney beans, drained3
tbsp sugar


In a large pot, sautee the tofu in the vegetable oil over medium high heat for about 3 minutes. Add the onions, green pepper, garlic, mushroms, chili powder, salt and pepper, cayenne and cumin. Cook until veggies are just barely tender, about 5 minutes.

Add the tomato sauce, whole or diced tomatoes, beans and sugar. Bring to a slow simmer. Cover and allow to cook for at least 45 minutes.


Makes 8 servings of homemade chili.

Tofu on Foodista

Tofu with Steak Sauce and Onions


1 package firm or extra firm tofu, well pressed
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, sliced
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp steak sauce
1/3 cup water
1 tbsp flour


Slice tofu into 5 or 6 strips about 1/2 inch thick.
Sautee onions in olive oil until they turn brown and begin to carmelize, then add tofu and allow to cook until lightly golden brown.
Add balsamic vinegar and steak sauce and stir to combine.
Next add the water and flour and whisk to combine.
Allow to cook until the sauce thickens.
Serve over rice if desired.

Source: Tofu with Steak Sauce and Onions

Tofu on Foodista

Sunday, July 25, 2010

How to have a PERF-ect day

I read an article from Reader’s Digest (July 2010 issue) and I thought I’d share with you these four things that you should monitor daily to make sure that you are living healthy.

Produce (fresh) – the amount of fruits and vegetables you ate that day

Exercise – whether you walked and were active

Relaxation – whether you got at least 15 minutes of laughter and fun time for yourself

Fiber – whether you got enough beans, grains, and other high-fiber foods

If you can say you did well on all four, your day has been extremely healthy.

(Needless to say, this doesn’t apply if you spent the rest of the day, say, drinking, smoking and eating chocolate).

Source: Reader's Digest July 2010 "10 Easy Ways to Be Your Own Doctor"

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Fish is good for you

They say that eating fish is good for you. To find out more about the health benefits of eating fish I decided to google it. Here are some of the things I found.

Fish is low in fat, high in protein and an excellent source of omega 3 fatty acids. Researchers worldwide have discovered that eating fish regularly – one or two serves weekly – may reduce the risk of diseases ranging from childhood asthma to prostate cancer. Healthy ways to enjoy fish include baked, poached, grilled and steamed.

Health benefits of eating fish

Regular consumption of fish can reduce the risk of various diseases and disorders. Selected research findings include:

• Asthma – children who eat fish may be less likely to develop asthma.

• Brain and eyes – fish rich in omega 3 fatty acids can contribute to the health of brain tissue and the retina (the back of the eye).

• Cardiovascular disease – eating fish every week reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke by reducing blood clots and inflammation, improving blood vessel elasticity, lowering blood pressure, lowering blood fats and boosting ‘good’ cholesterol.

• Dementia – elderly people who eat fish or seafood at least once a week may have a lower risk of developing dementia, including Alzheimer's disease.

• Depression – people who regularly eat fish have a lower incidence of depression (depression is linked to low levels of omega 3 fatty acids in the brain).

• Diabetes – fish may help people with diabetes manage their blood sugar levels.

• Eyesight – breastfed babies of mothers who eat fish have better eyesight, perhaps due to the omega 3 fatty acids transmitted in breast milk.

• Inflammatory conditions – regular fish consumption may relieve the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis and autoimmune disease.

• Prematurity – eating fish during pregnancy may help reduce the risk of delivering a premature baby.

Fish oil reduces risk of heart disease

Hundreds of studies have been done on fish or fish oils and their role in the prevention or treatment of heart disease. A review in the British Medical Journal recommends fish or fish oil supplements to prevent heart attacks, particularly in people with vascular disease. How omega-3 fats reduce heart disease is not known, but they are known to lower blood triglycerides and blood pressure, prevent clotting, are anti-inflammatory and reduce abnormal heart rhythms.

Source: Health benefits of eating fish

So here are some fish recipes that seem easy enough to prepare. Remember, the healthy ways of preparing fish are baking, poaching, grilling and steaming.

Fish Soft Tacos with Pico De Gallo-Black Bean Sauce


  • 6 ounces cooked fish, such as baked cod
  • 4 flour tortillas
  • 1/2 cup pico de gallo
  • 1 can black beans , drained
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Mixed stir fried vegetables, recipe below
  • Lime wedges


Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Heat fish and all 4 tortillas in a stack and wrapped in foil on a baking sheet for 8 to 10 minutes.

In a bowl, combine pico de gallo, beans, sour cream and cumin.

Arrange fish on tortillas and top with pico de gallo-black bean sauce and mixed stir fried vegetables. Serve with a lime wedge on the side.

Mixed Stir-Fried Vegetables

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 cup sliced red onion
  • 1 carrot, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced
  • 1 bunch asparagus, ends trimmed and spears cut into 2-inch pieces

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, carrot, bell peppers, and asparagus and saute 3 to 5 minutes, until soft.

Source: Fish Soft Tacos with Pico De Gallo-Black Bean Sauce

Pecan Alaska Salmon Bake


2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 tablespoon honey 1/4 cup fresh bread crumbs
1/4 cup finely chopped pecans or walnuts
2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley
4 (6-ounce) salmon fillets or steaks


Heat oven to 400°F.

Blend mustard, butter and honey in a small bowl set aside.

Mix bread crumbs, pecans and parsley in another small bowl set aside.

Season salmon to taste with salt and pepper. Place on a nonstick or vegetable spray-coated baking dish. Brush salmon with mustard-honey mixture. Pat bread crumbs onto top surface of salmon.

Bake for 10 minutes per inch of thickness or until salmon flakes easily with a fork.

Source: Pecan Alaska Salmon Bake

EJ's Favorite Fish Pouches for Mom


  • 4 (6-ounce) skinless fish fillets, such as snapper, black bass, or bronzino
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Emeril's Italian Essence, or other dried Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 medium vine-ripened tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Halved and pitted kalamata olives, optional


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Season the fish fillets on both sides lightly with salt and pepper.

On a work surface, lay out 6 (15-inch) square pieces of aluminum foil. Divide the onion and tomato slices evenly among the centers of the foil squares and season lightly with salt, pepper, and Italian Essence. Place 1 fish fillet over the top of each mound of vegetables and sprinkle the tops of the fillets with the Italian Essence. Divide the lemon slices among the fillets. Drizzle each fillet with 1 1/2 tablespoons of the olive oil, and sprinkle with kalamata olives, if desired. Fold foil pouches up carefully, sealing tightly on all edges, and place pouches on a large baking sheet. Bake the pouches until fillets are just cooked through and the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve immediately. Be careful to avoid the hot steam when opening the pouches.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Steamed Fish with Ginger


1 (1-inch) piece ginger, peeled and cut into matchsticks
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
6 scallions, sliced
4 (6-ounce) firm white fish fillets (such as striped bass or halibut)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
4 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
Pinch of sugar
1 to 2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
1/3 pound snow peas, trimmed2 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil


Set a large bamboo or metal steamer basket over a skillet of simmering water over medium heat.

Crush the ginger slices with the flat side of a knife. Place the garlic and half each of the ginger and scallions on a plate that will fit inside the steamer. Score the fish skin a few times with a knife; season with salt and pepper. Place the fish skin-side up on the plate, drizzle with 2 teaspoons sesame oil and sprinkle with the sugar. Put the plate in the steamer. Mix the soy sauce and rice wine and pour over the fish.

Cover and steam the fish until just cooked through, 6 to 12 minutes, depending on the thickness. Carefully remove the hot plate. Add the snow peas to the steamer, season with salt, cover and cook until bright green, 1 to 2 minutes.

Transfer the fish to a platter, spoon the juices on top and sprinkle with the remaining scallions. Heat the remaining 2 teaspoons sesame oil and the peanut oil in a skillet over high heat. Add the remaining ginger and cook until it begins to brown. Pour the hot oil over the fish.

Mustard-Roasted Fish


  • 4 (8-ounce) fish fillets such as red snapper
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 ounces creme fraiche
  • 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallots
  • 2 teaspoons drained capers


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. (You can also use an ovenproof baking dish.) Place the fish fillets skin side down on the sheet pan. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.

Combine the creme fraiche, 2 mustards, shallots, capers, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a small bowl. Spoon the sauce evenly over the fish fillets, making sure the fish is completely covered. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish, until it's barely done. (The fish will flake easily at the thickest part when it's done.) Be sure not to overcook it! Serve hot or at room temperature with the sauce from the pan spooned over the top.

Source: Mustard-Roasted Fish

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Herbal teas

Here are three herbal teas that I've tried that seemed to help lessen the frequency of flare-ups. I prepare the teas and keep them in the refrigerator and drink them throughout the day like I would drink water. I usually just drink them plain but you may want to add some honey for sweetness or a squeeze of lemon for extra flavor. I also included some information that I gathered about the plants.

Tanglad (Lemon grass)

Tanglad (Andropogon citratus DC.), also known as lemon grass or citronella, is a popular ingredient in herbal teas and herbal soaps. It is highly regarded as a flavoring to enhance the taste of food. It is traditionally used to help reduce blood pressure and improve circulation, in reducing fevers, to help in flatulence, for the relief of arthritic pain and rheumatism and as a sedative and anti-emetic. Studies have shown that lemon grass possesses antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-carcinogenic properties.

Tufted and perennial grass. Leaves grow to a length of up to 1 meter, about 1-1.5 cm wide, scabrous, flate, long-acuminate, and smooth. Panicles0 are 30-80 cm long, with noding branches and branchlets. Spikelets are linear-lanceolate and pointed, about 6 mm long.

Cultivated commercially for its fragrant leaves.

Chemical constituents and characteristics
Distillation yields lemon-grass oil, verbena and Indian Molissa oil. The oils are reddish-yellow with an intense odor and taste of lemons. Plant contains small amounts of methyl heptenone and terpenes (limonene and dipentene). Contains citral, an aldehyde found in lemon peel oil and other natural essential oils. Carminative, tonic, stimulant, diuretic, purgative, sudorific.

Parts utilized: Leaves

Folkloric Uses

For Diarrhea: Boil 10 leaves in 2 glasses of water for 10 minutes; add a tablespoon of sugar and one small piece of crushed ginger.

For adults: 1 cup, 3 times daily and after each loose bowel movement.

Children: (Babies) 1 tablespoon 3 times daily and after each loose bowel movement; 2-6 years, 1/4 cup 3 times daily and after each loose bowel movement; 7-12 years, 1/2 cup three times daily and after each loose bowel movement.

Suob: One of the 10 herbal ingredients in the decoction/bath in the post-partum ritual of suob.

Hot decoction of roots for toothaches. Roots also used as a diuretic.

The oil, mixed with equal amounts of coconut oil, is used as a liniment for back pains, rheumatic complains, neuralgia, sprains and other painful afflictions.

Decoction of leaves used as stomachic, diuretic, and refrigerant.

In Cuban folk medicine, used to lower blood pressure and as anti-inflammatory.

In Brazil, used as sedative, for gastrointestinal maladies, and as febrifuge.

In Malaya, used as a potion after childbirth.

In various folk medicinal use: oil used for cough, cold, hemoptysis, rheumatism, back pain, bladder problems

Culinary Uses

· Commonly used as a stuffing ingredient in pig spit-roasting to improve the flavor and decrease the grease-taste.

· Also used to flavor wines, sauces and spices.

· The roots have a ginger-like flavor and used as a condiment and adding fragrance to gogo hair-washes.

Other Uses

· Volatile oil, called Lemon grass oil, consists mainly of citral and used in perfume and toilet soap manufacture.

· In India, cultivated around houses to repel snakes.

· Scavon Vet Spray: Andropogon citratus is one of the ingredients in a spray used for parasitic mite, Demodex bovis, that causes demodectic mange in cattle.

· Recent uses and preparations: Stomach discomfort, toothache, sprain, vomiting and ringworm

Liniment: Boil equal amounts of chopped leaves and roots with freshly made coconut oil. Also use as insect repellant.
Infusion: Mix four ounces of the grass to one pint of boiling water.

· To keep away mosquitos, plant it around your house or place crushed leaves on your window sills.


· Antibacterial / Antifungal: Studies have shown antibacterial activity, comparable to penicillin.