Sunday, April 6, 2014

Parents Must Read: How and Why to Introduce Allergens to your Infants

Parents Must Read: 
In the last decade, prevailing beliefs about timing the introduction of highly allergenic foods to babies have undergone a sea change.
For decades, parents were advised to delay introducing allergenic foods until 12 months (cow's milk dairy), 24 months (eggs) or even 36 months of age (fish, tree nuts, peanuts). Then, in 2008, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) retracted its previous guidelines on the matter, acknowledging that there was insufficient evidence to support delayed introduction of allergens as a strategy to reduce the risk of food allergy. But beyond that, the organization did not offer specifics as to whether there was an ideal window during infancy to introduce these foods, nor did it comment on whether delaying introduction of foods might actually increase risk of developing food allergies.
As a result, pediatricians and parents have been in limbo since 2008, lacking clear guidelines as to whether early or delayed food introduction could help prevent babies from developing food allergies. As more observational research on solid food introduction and risk of food allergy became available, the body of evidence began to point in a relatively consistent direction: Early introduction of common food allergens seemed associated with a lower risk of developing food allergies compared to delayed introduction. Some pediatricians found these studies compelling enough to start advising parents to stop delaying the introduction of allergens past 12 months. But lacking sufficient evidence that met the "gold standard" of scientific research—randomized, controlled trials—other pediatricians continued to feel it was prudent to follow the delayed introduction approach until better evidence was available or official guidelines were issued.
This past January, however, the American Academy of Asthma, Allergy and Immunology (AAAAI) released a new set of recommendations on infant feeding practices to help prevent food allergy. The recommendations are based on the available observational research to date, and are the first guidelines to state that delaying introduction of foods like wheat, cow's milk dairy, eggs, fish and nuts may actually result in an increased risk of food allergy or eczema.
The AAAAI recommendations state that once an infant over 4 months old has tolerated a few non-allergenic solid foods (think common early solids like rice cereal, oatmeal, sweet potatoes, carrots, bananas, apples or pears), parents can proceed with introducing other more allergenic foods without delay, ideally at home rather than in day care or a restaurant. As with introducing all new solids, only one new food should be introduced every three to five days to help isolate triggers of any allergic reaction.
Importantly, the guidelines also note that exclusive breast-feeding for at least four months may be protective against cow's milk allergy in infants. Lastly, they found no significant protective benefit against food allergy when mothers avoided allergenic foods like dairy, egg and peanuts during pregnancy or lactation.
Ultimately, how to introduce allergens is a personal decision you'll make in consultation with your pediatrician. If your infant already has eczema or signs of a food allergy—or if a sibling has a peanut allergy—your pediatrician may refer you to a pediatric allergist for testing and individualised guidance.
I've learnt this piece of information in fact from Dr Chen during one of her Live! With Dr Chen Chapters last year! Again, It's proven that we are always up to date with health information from Dr Chen's seminar! =)
Upcoming Dr Chen's Health Seminar on 13-April-14, click the below link for details:
Warm Regards, 

Where do Vitamin Supplements come from?

Where do vitamin supplements come from?

When people think of drugs, most think “artificial.” When people think of vitamin supplements, most think “natural.”

But both drugs and vitamin supplements can be artificial or natural. Many vitamin supplements produced today are artificial. Meanwhile, the world of “natural” isn’t all hopscotch tournaments and fairy dances. Poison hemlock, hallucinogenic mushrooms, rhubarb leaves and sprouted kidney beans are all natural – and potentially deadly.

There are six categories of nutrients used in the manufacturing of vitamin supplements.

1. Natural source

These include nutrients from vegetable, animal or mineral sources. But before making it into the supplement bottle, they undergo significant processing and refining. Examples include vitamin D from fish liver oils, vitamin E from vegetable oils, and natural beta-carotene.

When a vitamin is marked “natural”, it only has to include 10% of actual natural plant-derived ingredients. The other 90% could be synthetic.

For example:

2. Nature-identical synthetic

This includes nutrients completely manufactured in a lab with the molecular structure identical to the same nutrients occurring in nature. Manufacturers often prefer this process because of the cost and scarcity of natural resources. Most standard vitamin supplements on the market today are this type.

An example here would be vitamin C. Most vitamin C currently manufactured is synthetic, coming from China. Vitamin C is a weak acid. Many supplements use salt forms (sodium ascorbate, calcium ascorbate, magnesium ascorbate) to decrease acidity.

The most popular form of synthetic vitamin C is ascorbic acid. Naturally occurring vitamin C is the same molecule as synthetic ascorbic acid. But in food, ascorbic acid is found within the vitamin C complex among other compounds. The ascorbic acid in supplements is often derived from corn starch, corn sugar, or rice starch, and is chemically dependent upon volatile acids.

The method for vitamin C synthesis using two-step fermentation was developed by China in the 1960s:
Ascorbic acid production All About Where Vitamin Supplements Come FromAscorbic acid production. From: Vandamme EJ. Production of vitamins, coenzymes and related biochemicals by biotechnological processes. J Chem Tech Biotechnol 1992;53:313-327.

Another example:

3. Strictly synthetic

centrum bottle All About Where Vitamin Supplements Come FromCentrum is strictly synthetic

These nutrients are manufactured in a lab and are different than the same nutrients found in nature. Synthetic vitamins can have the same chemical constituents, but still have a different shape (optical activity).
This is important because some of the enzymes in the human body only work properly with a vitamin of the correct shape.When we give the body concentrated forms of synthetic nutrients, it doesn’t always appear to have an appropriate delivery system.
Starting materials for strictly synthetic supplements can be anything from coal tar to petroleum to acetylene gas. These supplements are made in facilities via chemical manipulations with the goal of duplicating the structure of the isolated vitamin. Specific formulas for the process aren’t made available to the public (sorry, I tried).
An example is vitamin B1. Coal tar is a widely used foundational substance for this vitamin — typically a crystalline yellow coal tar (yes, this means it’s from coal, a fossil fuel). Hydrochloric acid is often added to allow precipitation. Then fermentation, heating, cooling, and other steps are completed until a final synthetic vitamin is created. It’s then dried and tested for purity before being shipped to distributors.
Now, to get a natural vitamin B1 supplement the process is quite different.
The food or botanical containing the desired vitamin is harvested and cleaned (let’s say wheat germ). It’s then placed in a vat to be mixed with water and filtered to create an extract and remove fibre (unlike in whole foods, where you want fibre). The post-filtration extract of the sourced food contains the nutrients found in the original whole food. It’s then dried and ready for packaging.

4. Food cultured

New Chapter Organics every man 188x300 All About Where Vitamin Supplements Come FromExample of a “whole food” labeled supplement

This involves the same process behind cultured foods like yogurt, kefir, miso, and sauerkraut. Nutrient supplements are often grown in yeast or algae. Culturing in and of itself creates nutrients and can make them more bioavailable.
Raw materials (minerals and some synthetic nutrients) are added to yeast/algae suspensions where they concentrate within cells. The yeast/algae are then harvested, ruptured, and made into a vitamin supplement. The theory here is that yeast/algae contain the nutrients they’re fed in a whole food complex.
Sometimes food cultured vitamins are combined with synthetic vitamins to increase potency (i.e., to bump up the milligram/microgram count on the label), since most have a low potency on their own. Remember, counting the milligrams of a synthetic vitamin might not be comparable to what’s found in whole foods.

5. Food based

One kind of food based supplement is made by enzymatically reacting synthetic and natural vitamins with extracts containing vegetable proteins and then making this into a supplement. This is not food cultured, because the nutrients are not grown into a whole food, as in the yeast/algae suspensions.
Manufacturers don’t often use concentrates or extracts derived from whole food sources because of low nutrient potency, fluctuating nutrient levels, limited shelf life. Nutrients are easily degraded by heat, pH changes, light, and oxygen.
RadianceC Powder 180x300 All About Where Vitamin Supplements Come FromFood based form of vitamin C

6. Bacterial fermentation

This includes nutrients produced by genetically altering bacteria. Genetically altered bacteria can produce nutrient by-products.
Examples include CoQ10, amino acids, ergocalciferol (vitamin D2), menaquinone (vitamin K2), riboflavin (fermentation of ribose), cyancobalamin (vitamin B12; this is exclusively obtained via fermentation processes, as the naturally occurring source of B12 is bacterial metabolic activity, think animal tissues/meat carrying bacteria), and melatonin.
For instance, vitamin D2 is made by artificially irradiating fungus. It’s not a naturally occurring form of vitamin D. The starting material is ergosterol, a type of plant sterol derived from fungal cell membranes. Ergosterol is turned into viosterol by ultraviolet light, and then converted into ergocalciferol (vitamin D2).


What you should know about vitamin supplements?

Full scale vitamin production started during the 1930s with widespread distribution after World War II. Now, about 1/3 of Americans use vitamin supplements.

Nutrients from food?

Most people are interested in vitamin supplements because they fear they don’t enough nutrients from food.
This is a worthwhile concern: nutrients can be lost from soil due to fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, irrigation, farming practices, and other causes. The USDA has reported that the nutrient content of vegetables has fallen since 1973. Of thevitamins we do ingest from whole food, absorption can range from 20 to 98%.

Do vitamin supplements prevent disease?

A 2002 study in JAMA concluded that adults would be better off taking a multivitamin supplement each day. The authors didn’t specify synthetic or natural. Other reviews have concluded that beyond treatment of deficiency, vitamin supplements don’t promote health or prevent cardiovascular disease and cancer.
Data indicates that vitamin supplements can actually lead to more cancer (specifically breast and prostate),cardiovascular disease, kidney damage (in those with diabetes), and fractures, while not helping prevent infections and sick days.
However, it’s important to remember that chances of certain chronic diseases can increase for those who are deficient in certain micronutrients.
The American Dietetic Association (ADA) recommends that the best nutritional strategy for optimal health and reducing the risk of chronic disease is to choose a wide variety of whole foods.

Other vitamin sources

Even if you aren’t popping vitamin supplements each day, if you consume fortified foods (think cereals, milks, breads, meal replacement shakes, etc.), it’s nearly impossible to avoid synthetic vitamins.
A report from the National Institutes of Health noted that individuals who consume high dose single nutrient supplements and fortified foods along with multivitamin/mineral supplements are at risk for undesirable effects.
Notice the synthetic vitamins added to Corn Flakes and Special K. Check out the ingredient listing.
Special K Corn Flakes nutrients All About Where Vitamin Supplements Come From
Added vitamins and minerals in Special K and Corn Flakes.


Hope thru the above information, we and our friends/ family can become a more well-informed consumers when we are choosing a supplement in the market.

We have to be aware and alert of the ingredients of the product we are getting as some ingredients may be a silent killer and harm our health unknowingly and bring side effects when we consume in the long term.

Choosing a right health food is also important. 

Wholesome plant food WITHOUT being fortified with any vitamin/ mineral supplements is of the most ideal choice to nourish our immune system. Don't load Our immune system with unwanted 'synthetic nutrition'.
We are what we eat. All of us taking health food in hope to get a better health thru convenience. So let's be wiser consumer!

Warm Regards, 

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Recipe #1: Healthy Aromantic Macaron Recipe (English)

Healthy Aromantic Macaron Recipe 

Yields about 18-20 filled macarons 


90 g icing sugar - fine grade. Recommended brands: SIS, Redman 
90g Super Fine Ground Almonds
33 g Egg Whites
90 g Fine Sugar
2 Teaspoon water 
33 g egg whites


1. Sieve together icing sugar and almonds with 33 g egg whites into a bowl to form a dough.

2. Boil the sugar and water in a pan to 118 degC, soft ball stage. 

3. Whisk 33 g egg whites at medium speed till white. 

4. Pour hot syrup from step 2 onto egg whites in the mixer.  Continue to whisk till cooled. 

5. Fold the meringue into almond mixture. Fold the whole mixture a few times more if it is too firm. 

6. Pipe batter into rounds of approximately 3-4 cm in a diameter using 10mm plain nozzle. Tap tray on the table to flatten the batter. 

7. Close oven door. Continue to bake a further 6 mins till the top is crisp and hard. 

8. Cook. Sandwich 2 pieces of macarons with the fillings below and chill.

9. Best savoured after 24 hr of filling. 

Chocolate Filling:


80 g Dark Chocolate 
80 g Whip Cream 
3 packs Aromantic Powder 


1.  Mix dark chocolate with whip cream using steam cooking method. 

2. Pour 3 packs of Aromantic Powder and stir evenly.

Aromantic Powder

3. Cool it in the fridge for 20 minutes and take out to be ready as filling.

Happy Baking!! =)

Why I Choose Aromantic Powder?
  • To get healthier source of Calcium and Amino Acids
  • Read more: