The Facts About Food Intolerance

Probably one of the most annoying things in this world is food intolerance. Unlike food allergies, which can be identified with testing, food intolerance is a hit and miss proposition that can drive the sufferer crazy. We’re going to give you the facts and the truth about food intolerance and tell you how it can be handled.

The first myth that needs to be dispelled is that people who are intolerant to certain foods are allergic to those foods. Food allergies are not the same as having an intolerance to certain foods. The symptoms may be very similar, which is why food intolerance is so difficult to pin point, but the causes are quite different.

With a food allergy, your body is actually allergic to the food in question and the reaction is that of your immune system itself fighting back, very similar to if you were allergic to pollen. The sneezing is your body fighting back against the pollen in the air. With a food intolerance, the immune system does not come into play. Your body does not believe that it is being invaded by a foreign body. However, your organs, usually your stomach and intestine which is where food is digested and eliminated, will react to certain ingredients in the food in question simply because it is intolerant to that particular food.

Food intolerance usually occurs because your body stops producing certain chemicals or enzymes that aid in the digestion of that particular food. This happens to quite a number of us as we get older. This is why so many people are lactose intolerant, as the enzyme created to properly digest lactose actually decreases in production as of the age of 2. It isn’t until we are much older, however, that we start to develop symptoms, which are sometimes quite severe.

The only way to tell if you are allergic or intolerant to certain foods is to take a food allergy test. This can be given by a regular allergist. If the test comes up negative on the foods tested, and they test quite a number of different foods, then what you are suffering from is an intolerance and not an allergy.

If it is determined that you are intolerant, how do you find what foods you are intolerant of? This, unfortunately, is the hard part. The only way to do this, since there are no clinical tests, is to systematically eliminate foods from your diet and see what the effects are. Personally, I found that I was intolerant to anything with high fructose corn syrup. This was easy for me to spot. I started drinking a fruit punch that I had never drank before. I got terrible indigestion from it. I stopped drinking it and the indigestion stopped. I then looked at the ingredients, where I discovered the only thing I didn’t normally have in any of my other foods. Since that time, simply eliminating foods with high fructose corn syrup, I have not had any indigestion.

Is it easy to find what foods you are intolerant of? No, it’s not. It’s especially hard if you eat a lot of different foods. However, most reactions occur after about 30 minutes to an hour after eating. So if you eat breakfast and you’re fine but then an hour after lunch you’re not feeling so well, it is most likely something you ate at lunch that is the culprit. Simply eat the same lunch the next day, except eliminate one of the items. Eventually you will find what is bothering you. The most common forms of intolerance are lactose and wheat. This should give you something to work with.

Six Best Culinary Herbs for Cooking

Freshly picked culinary herbs add flavour to food and many are delicious additions to salads. Edible herb flowers such as pot marigold, nasturtium and rosemary can also be added to the salad bowl. Many culinary herbs are rich in vitamins and minerals and when freshly picked and eaten raw they can form part of a well-balanced diet. Raw herbs can also be used to add flavour to oils and vinegars for cooking and for salads.

Parsley

Parsley leaves gives a fresh flavour to sauces and salads, when added just before serving. The stems and leaves of parsley can also be used in bouquet garni. Parsley tastes particularly good with pasta dishes, omelettes, vegetables, fish and any meat or poultry.

Parsley is one of the most widely known and used of the culinary herbs. There are two main types of parsley – curly leaf and flat leaf – and both are excellent for culinary purposes. Both of these herbs are a rich source of vitamins and minerals and they can be used to enhance the flavour of cooked dishes and green salads.

Basil

Basil goes with almost any dish but it has a special affinity with tomatoes and is a favourite in Italian cooking.

Sweet basil with its soft green leaves and creamy white or purple tinted flowers is the most popular type of basil. This culinary herb can be used in sauces and salads and to enhance the flavour of cooked dishes such as soups and stews. Perhaps the greatest basil dish is pesto sauce, eaten with spaghetti. This combination makes a wonderfully delicious meal.

There are many other types of basil. Purple ruffle, dark opal and Greek basil are three of the other more unusual varieties, all with differing flavours.

Mint

Spearmint and peppermint are two members of the mint family most widely known and used as culinary herbs. There are many varieties of mint, some with distinct scents and flavours and some can be used for a variety of culinary purposes, such as in sweet and savoury dishes, in salads and for herb tea.

Spearmint is a favourite for mint sauce to accompany lamb and tastes particularly good with dishes such as soups, stews, plain meats, fish and lemon-based deserts.

Peppermint is also popular as a culinary herb flavouring. This herb is most commonly used as flavouring for sweets and chocolates etc. and is also used to flavour cordials. Fresh peppermint leaves can be used to make peppermint tea and the leaves can be added to fresh green salads.

Thyme

Thyme can be used to improve the flavour of most dishes. Both the fresh and dried leaves of this herb are used for cooking. Fresh thyme leaves are useful in many savoury dishes.

Thyme has a rich flavour which makes it an ideal accompaniment to roast meats and tastes good in slowly cooked dishes such as stews and soups. The finely chopped fresh leaves may be added to new potatoes or salad.

Thyme is regarded as one of the great culinary herbs and is widely used in European cooking. This herb is an evergreen perennial it is recognisable by its mauve flowers and small leaves.

Turkish Coffee FAQ

Turkish coffee is the oldest way of making coffee. This is a short article answering frequently asked questions about Turkish coffee. You can also post your question as a comment and I’ll do my best to answer it.

Questions are in bold.

What kind of coffee must I use for Turkish coffee?

Turkish coffee nowadays is usually made of Latin American blends. Usually the blends contain two kinds of coffee: Arabica and Robusta. Except for the Latin American coffees the blends may also include coffees from Asia or Africa. Some of the best coffees for Turkish blends come from Brazil, Ethiopia and Yemen.

Should I use a coffee particularly made for Turkish coffee or can I use any blend?

Turkish blends are created in a special way to be optimized for Turkish coffee making. Most people that drink the popular Turkish coffee brands are used to a special characteristic taste. This doesn’t mean that you cannot use another coffee blend to make Turkish coffee. For example you can use an espresso blend. The only requirement is that it must be ground very fine like powder. If it isn’t ground fine enough there will be no foam on top of the coffee after you make it and the taste will be weak.

So, in other words you can experiment with any blend you want if you grind it fine enough for Turkish coffee. The taste will be different than the usual though.

Is it healthy?

Turkish coffee is as healthy as any regular coffee. Actually according to some some researches a quantity of two small Turkish coffee cups (demitasse cups) can be beneficial for the heart. If you exceed this amount then it may become bad for your health like any other coffee. Bear in mind that Turkish coffee is made almost as quickly as instant coffee but it’s far better for your health.

What is this thick thing on top of Turkish coffee? Is it like espresso?

When you make Turkish coffee properly you will notice on top a layer of dark, thick and homogeneous foam. This is also known as kaimaki in Greece. If the coffee doesn’t have kaimaki then something is definitely wrong with the coffee making:

  • small quantity of coffee used
  • not properly heated
  • ground coarser than required
  • very stale coffee

In some Eastern countries it is an insult to serve Turkish coffee without this special foam on top.

Kaimaki foam is looks similar to the espresso crema but it very different in terms of physical properties. The espresso crema is formed not only due to heat but also because of high pressure so it’s quite different.

Do I need any special expensive equipment for Turkish coffee?

Making Turkish coffee is very easy and very fast. All you need is a small coffee pot and a heat source. You can use a small stainless steel pot and your electric stove top but it’s preferable to use a traditional copper or brass Turkish pot. Regarding the heat source it’s better to use low fire to make the coffee. A gas burner or an alcohol burner is my favorite heat source for home use.

What size coffee pot do I need?

This is a question that creates a lot of misunderstandings. Basically it depends on how much coffee you are going to make each time.

First, what you need to know is that you will need a coffee pot that holds approximately double the amount of coffee. This is because coffee must have enough room in the pot to foam up and furthermore because of the so-called “oven effect”.

Let me explain…

Traditional Turkish coffee pots have an hourglass shape. This special shape creates an oven-like effect when making Turkish coffee. The oven-effect is highly desirable for better taste. The only requirement for this “oven-effect” is to fill the pot till the point where the pot diameter is smaller. Usually this means a half-full pot.

So, If you want to make two demitasse cups, for you and your friend, you will need a 4 demitasse-cup size coffee pot.

Please note that sizing differs among manufacturers. So instead of looking for a 4-cup size coffee pot look for a coffee pot that holds 4*60ml which equals 240ml. 60ml or approximately 2oz is the size of a demitasse cup.

What about a coffee pot for just one cup?

In this case you will need a coffee pot that holds 2*60ml=120ml coffee.

What about one normal cup?

One normal cup is approximately 250ml so you will need a 500ml pot.

These numbers are not exact. They are just guides to help you. Most of the times buying a bit smaller coffee pot will also be adequate.

Can I grind Turkish coffee with my coffee grinder?

Turkish coffee is ground at the most fine grind setting. Most grinders for home use are incapable of grinding so fine. If you have a blade grinder consider upgrading to a burr grinder. This doesn’t mean that every burr grinder can grind Turkish coffee. So if you are in the market in research of a burr grinder make sure it has a Turkish coffee setting. Some burr grinders don’t have a Turkish coffee setting but they can be modified very easily to grind fine enough for this coffee. This information can be easily found if you make a couple of searches in a search engine.

Another solution are manual-operated Turkish coffee grinders. These grinders are much cheaper than burr grinders and because of their low speed coffee is ground gently without getting heated. In cheap burr grinders because of the small burr dimensions the rotating speed is higher. This way the friction is bigger and the heat generation is higher. More heat means more coffee taste destruction! So in other words small grinding speeds of manual grinders are better for your palate! The big drawback is that this sort of grinding can remind you of manual labor sometimes…

Is there any special way to serve Turkish coffee? Any special tradition?

If you have guests and you want to impress them with your coffee making mastery and your hospitality you can do some simple things. First use a big traditional looking serving tray and put some glasses of water for your guests. Water is used to clean the mouth before tasting the coffee. Prepare the coffees immediately before serving time so that they keep their kaimaki foam and their temperature. You can pair the coffee with some cookies or muffins.

For dessert after the coffee you can offer traditional Turkish delight or baklava. Your guests will be grateful!

If you have any questions about Turkish coffee please post your comments. Enjoy!

Melitta Coffee Pod Tutorial

As hectic as life can be from minute to minute and day to day, coffee lovers out there always seem to be able to find time for a refreshing cup of joe. Whether you are trying to jumpstart your day in the morning or searching for that late afternoon pick-me-up, coffee pods might just be the secret to conquering your hankering.

For the coffee or tea enthusiasts who are sick of the messy clean-up and tired of waiting for their coffee to brew at home or in the office, the Melitta One:One, may be the perfect solution.

What is the Melitta One:One?

The Melitta One:One java pod coffee maker is a single cup coffee maker that brews fresh, delicious coffee in under a minute. They are designed for use with Melitta coffee pods, which are individually packaged portions of freshly ground gourmet coffee or tea. The pod-filter design guarantees perfectly sized servings every time with no mess and no clean up.

If pod coffee brewing appeals to your tastebuds, but seems a bit foreign to you, here’s a tutorial to help you get started:

What do I need?

Not a whole heck of a lot! Obviously, you’ll need to purchase a Melitta pod brewer, which costs approximately $49.99 and can brew two sizes – the 5 oz. bold European-style coffee or the 8oz. traditional American style. The beauty of this pod brewer is that there is no measuring or mess involved. Once you fill up the 28-ounce metered tank with water, you can make up to 5 consecutive servings without refilling. The only other thing you will need to get started is a supply of coffee or tea pods, whichever your preference and, of course, an electrical outlet to plug the brewer in!

What can I brew?

The Melitta Coffee Pod brews just about anything, including light coffees like the Melitta One: Breakfast Blend; medium coffees like the Melitta One: Love at First Sip Pods; or dark coffees like the Melitta One: Buzzworthy Pods. The Pod also brews speciality flavored coffees like Crème Brulee, Pumpkin Spice or Southern Pecan. And for those coffee connoisseurs who love the taste, but hate the caffeine, you can always find decaf coffee pods such as the Melitta One: Skip the Buzz Pods.

Tea drinkers will also be pleased to know that they can enjoy their tea pod-style as well. Melitta One makes a variety of tea pod flavors such as green, raspberry and chai tea.

Expel Odor Onion in Hand

Garlic is one of the spices used to add flavor in savory dishes. However, savory flavor of garlic can leave the dreadful smell in the mouth if it is too much to eat it. In addition to the mouth, the smell of garlic will also stick in hand if you cut it with bare hands.

If not cleaned properly, the smell of garlic will stick long in the hand or your breath. To remove the smell of garlic, the follow way:

1. Garlic breath odor
Garlic odor on your breath can smell relieved by drinking milk, eating raw parsley or celery. Fatty drinks and foods that contain lots of water will help remove the smell of volatile compounds (volatile compounds) contained in garlic.

2. Hands smell onions
To remove the smell of garlic from your hands, rub hands garlicky smell with lemon slices, salt, or baking soda. In addition, you can also remove the smell of garlic using a variety of objects made of stainless steel, such as your kitchen faucet. Molecules are considered potent block of steel substance that can produce odors at hand. After being rubbed with a metal object, rinse your hands with water until clean.

The Raw Food Diet Philosophy

A raw food diet is simple. It consists of eating food in their natural state. The food is neither cooked nor adulterated in any way. By eating the bulk of your food in its natural state, you will enjoy a huge improvement in your health and vitality.

The Raw Food Philosophy

More than just a weight loss plan or a fitness diet, this diet is a philosophy based on a lifestyle choice. It demands awareness of the live nutritional value of unprocessed food and provides numerous health benefits. They are low in saturated fats and sodium and high in antioxidants and magnesium, and low in sodium. They are almost free of harmful trans-fats. A raw food diet will detoxify your system. It will lead to natural weight loss.

Raw Foodists

Switching to a raw food diet will be much easier if you are vegan, or at least vegetarian. Those who choose this diet are referred to as raw foodists. This diet is popular with those seeking to be disease-free and full of energy. There are no useless calories, hence no weight gain. The diet also optimizes the nutrition in your food because cooking often kills essential vitamins and minerals in food. By not eating animal flesh or animal byproducts, there are no steroids and hormones to absorb. In addition, the body will quickly begin to flush out toxins with this diet.

Since the diet consists of nuts, seeds, vegetables and fruits, sometimes it is necessary to take dietary supplements like protein shakes. However, supplements are not necessary if the diet has been precisely calculated for the various macro and micronutrients the body needs to be healthy and strong.

Variety is added to the diet by making food combinations, using food dehydrators, processors, and blenders. For instance, you can make crackers by blending various raw foods into dehydrator. Chopping or blending it can alter the texture and taste of food.

Digestion is improved on a raw food diet because of the abundance of enzymes in the food. Cooking–microwave heating, frying, or baking–denatures enzymes and this makes it harder for the body to absorb the nutrients in the food. Besides enzymes, raw foodists also believe that certain beneficial microorganisms help break down the food in the body.

The general idea is that the higher the amount of uncooked food, the better the health results. It is not the same as a vegan diet because although no animal flesh or byproducts are eaten with that diet, most of the food is still cooked. In addition, this type of diet may, depending on the philosophy of the dieter, include animal products that are eaten in their raw state. Besides seeds, nuts, vegetables, and fruits, the diet may also have eggs, sashimi fish, carpaccio, and unpasteurized milk, cheese, and yogurt.

Discovering Organic Coffee

Many people have turned to organic fruits and vegetables (and even meats) in recent years, striving to live healthier, longer lives. You may be one of these people. But did you know that organic coffee is now available, too? If you can’t find it at your local health food store, then you can definitely find it online.

How Organic Coffee Differs From Traditional Coffee

The coffee plant has traditionally been grown in the company of shade trees and other food and cash crops. This approach made for healthier soil and prevented water contamination. Unfortunately, many coffee growers have abandoned this approach in favor of larger crops and hence larger profits. However, synthetic pesticides, herbicides and chemical fertilizers have become necessary to maintain these crops, and along with them the taste of the coffee has suffered, the soil has suffered, and no one knows the potential impact they may have on the future health of the coffee consumer.

In addition, the loss of the shade trees has had a direct impact on migratory song birds. While an obvious connection may not immediately come to mind, the relationship has actually been symbiotic. These birds used the shade trees as their habitat as they migrated, and as a result they provided a natural defense against many of the bugs and pests that can ruin a coffee crop. Without them, pesticides must be used to do the job.

Unlike the large, commercial coffee plantations, organic coffees are generally grown on small farms with plenty of shade cover. There are plenty of migratory birds to control insects, and pesticides are unnecessary. In fact, the United States requires that organic coffees be grown on shaded land and be completely chemical free for three consecutive years.

Tips For A Great Cup of Organic Coffee

Whole beans should be used within a week of purchase in order to enjoy the full flavor of the coffee.

Avoid vacuum-packed coffee, even organic vacuum-packed coffee. The process of vacuum packing cannot be done immediately after roasting. The coffee must sit for nearly a week before it can be vacuum-packed. This degrades much of the flavor.

Coffee beans should be stored in an airtight container, not on the shelf in the paper bag you brought them home with from the store. And in order to enjoy the full flavor of the coffee, you should grind only the amount you intend to use just before brewing.

Whole coffee beans that will be stored longer than a week should be placed in an airtight glass container that’s kept in the freezer.

As with any coffee blend, organic or not, grind the beans according to the brewing method you intend to use. Keep in mind that if you grind your beans too fine your coffee may end up bitter and muddy; if you don’t grind them enough, your coffee may end up flavorless.

Often overlooked, many people consider the most important step toward a good cup of coffee to be the proportion of water to coffee. Experts recommend 2 tablespoons for every 6 ounces of water.

Discovering The Joys Of Food and Travel

One of the best things about visiting new places the chance to combine sampling the local food and travel. One single country can offer an enormous variety of dishes. Indian cuisine is very sophisticated, though often we don’t know its diversity because the food in most Indian restaurants comes from the Punjabi region of northern India. The other great Indian styles of southern, eastern and western cookery are largely vegetarian, though some include lamb, chicken, fish and even goat. (more…)

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