Tuesday, August 05, 2014

The Herbalist Went Cooking

The Nutritionist's Instinct

I have been contemplating on the importance of carbohydrates lately and eating too much carbohydrates seems to have more detrimental effect than good. Subsequently, this good ol' herbalist went into the kitchen and whip himself a nice meal, complete with good carbs, a generous helping of proteins, and a dollop of beneficial fats.

The result? It is more than what we have imagined. It is a rather hearty meal and suitable for diabetics too. You should be the judge.

Portobello "Bun" Chicken Patties Burger
As seen on the left is our family's great creation, consisting of Portobello Mushroom as the "bun" and a generous helping of chicken breast patties (seasoned with rosemary, onion and garlic) while topped by leafy greens (romaine). Sides includes stir-fried mushrooms and capsicum as well as broiled-fried organic baby sweet potatoes.

As some of our family members could not tolerate milk, we have added a twist to the traditional cream of mushroom by substituting the dairy part with soy milk. With added protein as the thickener, this low-fat-dairy-free
Chicken Breast Patties

cream is a haven for those who like some good ol' creams but could not stomach the dairies.

Substituting the buns with portobello mushrooms might cause others to frown. In no way I am advocating those high protein and low carbohydrates diet to everyone. Everyone's body is unique and approach towards healthy diet should be customised towards an individual and not a catch-all.

However, this herbalist firmly believe that, though carbohydrates are important, partaking too much of carbohydrates are disastrous, not just for the waistline, but your cardiovascular health as well. This is especially true for those who have metabolic disorders such as diabetes, hyperlipidaemia, etc. Moreover, fibre intake among more 'affluent' populations tend to be minimal if not absent. Encouraging more people to partake fungi and greens would definitely increase the much-needed roughage our body sorely needs.

Wholegrain is filled with various B vitamins and E but those are carbohydrates nevertheless. Take them in moderation and specially true for diabetics (not more than 2 servings of carbohydrates per day). Then a meal should consist of more substantial vegetables such as leafy greens, cabbages, asparagus, cauliflower, broccolli, and capsicum.


Eating healthy is an important part of a wholistic living. However, it is also important to understand which diet is proper and which is not. Each and every individual should know their body better and let yourself be the teacher to your own food, instead of letting a stranger decides them for you. Nutritionists, such as myself, are only there to guide and not lead. Listen to your own body and you shall know better.

Interested to know your own body better? Drop us a line and start your journey of self-discovery.

Saturday, January 05, 2013

Of Creamy Stories and Rose Petals

This love affair of mine, of roses and creams, is not unbeknownst to many. The stories starts when I am contemplating on a cream which my two friends regarded as the 'panacea' of skin complaints (well almost). As usual, I reached for the label and, without surprise, horrified with what I've read. Filled with chemicals is one thing but imitating cold cream is a big no-no.

Feeling heroic, this apothecarist sets into action. Armed with the arsenal of cream making (beeswax and stuff), he has successfully recreated the cream so affectionately ascribed to Galen himself.

Aiyo, what is a cold cream???!!!

The first cold cream is formulated by Galen (aforementioned). The original recipe includes beeswax, olive oil, rose petals, and rose water. The cream is termed 'cold' because as the rosewater in the cream  evaporates, it will create a cooling sensation (it does not, however, makes you 'cool' nor 'hip').

On top of that, the original recipe lacks a fundamental ingredients which a pre-packed cream sorely needs: preservative. The original cream is designed by Galen (legend goes) to be used quickly, usually within a month or so. It is used as a cleanser and moisturiser at first and dearly requires a rinse with warm water after application to prevent the hand to be overly oily.

Taking these factors into account, I have created a lighter version of this affectionate recipe. Replacing olive oil with grapeseed oil makes it smoother and lighter while adding borax to the unguent makes it less susceptible to germs contamination. Borax is harvested naturally from mineral lakes and it is a mild emulsifier and preservative. No one wants contaminated creams and to make matter worse, spoilt cream does not necessarily smells off or looks bad.

The Modern Day Creams Dread

The modern version of the 'cold cream' is the very definition of cold in its best. Replacing the vegetable oil with mineral oil (and terming it nicely as Paraffinum liquidum) for the reason of rancidity is the biggest mistake of the pharmaceutical giants. Mineral oil is a by-product of petrol production and definitely cheap as well as abundant; not something you would want to smear on your skin really.

Natural plant oil, on the other hand, is absorbed by the skin and surely did not have such dubious reputation. Though it is more expensive, their effectiveness is guaranteed as human beings have been using it for centuries. Bear in mind cold cream has existed for almost two centuries since Galen and how long vegetable oils have existed? Perhaps since the dawn of neolithic, when agriculture began! Compare this to the mineral oil.

"Bear in mind cold cream has existed for almost two centuries since Galen and how long vegetable oils have existed?"

Aside from the mineral oil as base, the emulsifiers used to mix the oil and water are usually of petroleum origin as well. Plus the preservatives (usually paraben which has the yes-nay reputation to cause breast cancer), fragrance, and colouring, what you have is a jar of chemicals which do you temporary good but harmful side effects on the long run. We humans have never had paraffin before until recently.

This report confirms that aqueous cream do more harm than good (see http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/3244814.stm). Half of the children with eczema often gets irritated by paraffin cream which ironically used to moisturise them.

Another concerning report is published here (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1321559/Moisturiser-aqueous-cream-BP-cream-make-eczema-worse.html). Skin cream, which claim to help alleviate skin problems such as eczema, in actual fact, makes the problem worse as Sodium Laureth Sulphate is used as emulsifier.

Mayura's Galenical Cream; An Alternative

Following the footstep of the world's first physician, Galen, I have faithfully recreated the cream, with which the Greeks have used to keep their skin moist and supple. I have termed this Galenical Cream which is the cold cream once common to everyone who wants to keep their skin from the onslaught of the elements.

Free from chemicals, this gentle cream is handcrafted from the finest nature can offer. Unrefined Beeswax and select vegetable oil is used as base whereas the finest world-renowned Damascus Rosewater offers an unparalleled moisturising experience. Finely powdered rose petals exfoliates the skin gently while caressing your skin with the lovely smell of French rose.

If you would want to purchase this cream, feel free to drop by at my Facebook page, Mayura Apothecary where I put all of my ideas to use. All the products listed there reflects the philosophy I have enumerate in this blog, so feel free to buy!