Foods and Cultures Series of China

Arriving in the following months! I am going to bring you my presentations about  foods and cultures of China!

Here’s my master plan and topics I chose:

Different Chinese Cuisines/How Chinese People cook?/Special Manners?/ Rumors and Taboos in eating?/The links of foods and festivies/

and other things may interest you! So feel free to leave comments about what you wanna see or want me to talk about!


Vitamin D–Watch this Our for the Babies!

Breast milk can provide the best nutrients for the baby to prevent infections and cut the risk of future chronic diseases, like diabetes and obesity. However, due to the lack of exposure to sunlight and the nature of vitamin D concentration in human milk, children in exclusive breastfeeding have a higher possibility of being vitamin D deficiency.

Human gets vitamin D from sunlight and food. Vitamin D is vital for infants especially in the process of fast bone growth. Sufficient amount of vitamin D in blood helps the body absorb and use calcium from food, which builds up the bones. Though rare in US, children in severe deficient of vitamin D may develop rickets, in which children get soften bone and skeletal misshape such as bowed legs.

Due to the northern latitude of New England, our exposure to sunlight is limited, especially in winter when the day time is short. Even for those in lower latitude, if you don’t usually bring your baby outside, he or she still can’t get the vitamin D from sunlight. American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) currently recommends a daily intake of vitamin D of 400 IU/day for all infants. Since human milk’s concentration of vitamin D is less than 25 IU per liter, so infants who are exclusively breastfed need to get the compensation from vitamin D supplement drop.

Take home messages for parents and caregivers:

1.      If your baby is exclusively breastfed, make sure he or she gets vitamin D from supplement;

2.      Go outside with your baby to get some sunlight and touch the nature;

3.      Both parents and babies need vitamin D to keep healthy!

Save the Next Generation

Do you know?– in the United States, currently 1 in 3 children are overweight or obese.

Do you know?–childhood obesity is strongly correlated with adult obesity.

Do you know?–obesity in any age can affect your whole body functions, causing high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, stroke, and other life threatening diseases.

Obesity, is a very simple but also some complex condition: it’s simple because body weight gain is a result of exceed food intake versus physical activities expenditure; it’s complex because there are some many factors involving in deciding these two domains, like income, education, etc.

Obesity is like a tsunami–it destroys a person by affecting its health, it destroys the well-being of a family and it also can destroy a nation. Obesity epidemic had already cost huge spend of health care, quality of lives of individuals. We don’t want the next generation walk through the same path, so we need to change.Family members are the key stakeholders–they should be aware and put their priority on the children’s health.

To help shaping a healthy, balance eating habit of a kid, a notion should be kept in mind–it is a shared responsibility, “the parent or caregiver is responsible for WHAT, WHEN, and WHERE; the child is responsible for HOW MUCH and even WHETHER” (Ellyn Satter, RD). To become a good parent, it is worth to learn what is healthy for kids and take the time to make what the kids love. Kids don’t know much about foods, but they mimic their parents on eating habits; you should also be a role model, don’t say and do in different ways;eat everything, picky eater only raises picky eater. Children’s appetites, like adults’, vary from day to day and meal to meal, so don’t think they should eat a certain amount every day. It’s also important to remember food is food, don’t use them as a reward and don’t bargain, bribe, lecture, shame or threaten on food, make it a happy, family-shared comfortable experience each meal.


Technology brought great fun to childhood via TV and digital games–but this makes kids less likely to move. If you want your child get moving, make rules about screen time and be a exercise leader. Research shown that family member involvement can greatly increase children’s interest and therefore the actual time of physical activity. Institute of Medicine recommend at less 60 mins of physicial activities each day for children–this 60 mins don’t need to be consecutive–you can let you kid do 20 mins in the morning, 10 at noon, 20 in the afternoon, and 10 at night. That means regarding to physical activities, every minute counts. Seize every chance you and your kid can be active.

Food Chosen in No Choice

Often times, people in the food and nutrition realm are talking about food deserts–particular places where you can’t reach healthy, fresh food but only fast food. Those are places we are hoping to change, by gov investment and policy support along with merchants’ involvements.

Well, last night I come across a similar but a little bit different situation when I found myself couldn’t foods to eat. I was on a bus from Boston to NYC and the bus driver stopped at a small town and kindly gave us a dinner break (10 mins!) to grab some foods. He stopped right next to an Arby’s where there is no other restaurant or grocery store in 1 km. No choice–hearing my belly yelling I have to walk into a place in where I rarely was. Facing the unfarmiliar and full of nice sandwiche pictures broad, I chose sth $6.37 without noticing it’s a combo with ham, cheese, and curvy fries–of course a “small” cup of coke. Yep, I confess to some extend I enjoyed the food for the reason I think because it was the first time I ate fast food in 2 years–but my knowledge kept making me feel super guilty for the irresponsibility for my own health. Damn, I want to find out how evil they are:

Beyond my imagination, the sandwich and fries contain almost 1500 mg sodium–which means this meal filled up the low sodium recommendation for a whole day. I found this information on Arby’s website but what I can’t stand is that they don’t provide the DV% (daily value %: how much nutrients does the particular food supply as a porportion of how much that nutrient should a healthy person eat a day)–which means even though many people know there is 1500 mg sodium, they just can’t figure out that’s really a lot!


Now I totally understand how the people live in “food desert” feel when buying their foods–even though they gain nutrition knowledge from media everyday, even though they care about their health and their children’s, it is a shame of lacking a simple choice for them.

OK, stop complaining–stick back to my baby carrot and celery stick from this morning 🙂

Who Brought Us Cow Milk?

I have been thinking and googling for a couple of days on a couple of questions:

        Who was the first guy drank cow milk? When did that happen? What was the driven force?

The answer is: no one knows that so far! But whatever, I like to give my great honor to the cow milk discover man. He or she found an excellent, or to some point can’t be replaced, source of calcium and vitamin D for modern diet. There is no doubt that human civilization took place with dramatic changes of large discoveries, and with all the great changes human become more and more intelligent (to some extent we are over clear).

I have an imaginary scenario in my mind: before human began drinking cow milk, we depended on other foods (meat, veggies, grains), which can provide enough protein, fat, and sugar for our metabolic functions. Our ancestors might not get much vitamin D from the diet, but their bone were prone to be stronger–because they had a more active lifestyle with more sunlight exposure. Sunlight gave them the most vitamin D.

Well, some people have the idea that what their grandparent ate might be better than today’s common diet–since they can live healthily , we don’t need changes. Since human didn’t live with cow milk form the start, can our population live without cow milk now? Nope, unfortunately–since our life style had dramatic changes, we sit longer, we play less, we drive more, we walk less, we stay indoor more, we get less sunshine. Our bone and thus the whole body skeleton need the compensation from food.

Let’s drink the milk, exercise more, and go outside! Getting stronger bone helps you to enjoy your life–to be continue…

pic from:

Eat your Green Vegetables–To Enjoy the World!

There is an old probe from China says “Eye is the window of your soul.” That’s true and our eyes actually do a lot of things for us every day. For an average adult having a job, ideally he or she can get 8 hours sleep–and that is the only time your eye literally get rest. Our eyes are so precious. Every time I watched movies about blind people, I would imagined what my world will be if I lose my eye sight–I lose the beautiful landscape, I lose the ability to seeing my toots, and I lose my ability to live well.

Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of visual loss for people older than 60. Plus, so far there is no cure for this disease. It is a very common eye disease in older population. For people age from 80-89, 35% of them have AMD. This disease is caused by over exposure of oxidative stress since our eye has very high consumption of oxygen to keep functioning.

For everybody else who still want to enjoy the beautiful world even when we are old, what can we do? –Don’t forget a golden truth: Prevention is better than cure. Though we can’t treat the illness so far, we can definitely prevent it. Fortunately, scientists found out the prevention can be easily done by something you have been encouraged to do for a long time–eat more of the green leafy vegetables!

Naitonal Institute of Health conducted a “Age-Related Eye Disease Study” to test certain the effect of certain nutrients for preventing AMD. They chose vitamin C and E, β-carotene, zinc, copper, lutein and zeaxanthin for the trial and found that all the nutrients can to some extent contribute to prevent the AMD, especially for lutein and zeaxanthin. The risk of getting AMD is 57% lower in the group who took lutein and zeaxanthin compared to the control group (not taking any extra nutrients).

Lutein and zeaxanthin are antioxidants naturally mainly found in green leafy vegetables. Basically, for vegetables, the more you eat, the more health benefits you can get. And here is a list of vegetables rich in lutein and zeaxanthin:

Well, before reading this article, you might have been encouraged to eat more cups of vegetable because it is good for your heart, your weight control, your blood pressure or other things. If you didn’t make up your mind to start to do so, treasure your ability to see all the beauties in the world and do something for it!

Get Rid of the Gas Mask!

Do you have any trouble in farting? Or has farting ever made you in trouble?

If you are a man who loves to eat broccoli, onion, eggs, and eat fast, and don’t exercise regularly, you are more likely to have experience the embarrassing torment—in a meeting, in an elevator or in your boss’s office!

Kids might think pop-stars or celebrities don’t fart, but that’s just something adorable innocence. Everybody farts, and healthy people fart every day. The gas is produced by bacteria in intestine with undigested foods and swallowed air; it is a combination of gases: nitrogen, oxygen, carbon dioxide, methane, and hydrogen sulfide. Most people produce about 1 to 4 pints gas from the gut per day and pass them 10 to 25 times a day (female farts less than man).

What causes excessive gas?

In general, certain foods, eating habits, and physical activity are the major causes for more gas. Some kinds of sugars (Raffinose, Fructose, and Lactose) can’t be digested if you lack of those enzymes in your small intestine. For example, people with lactose intolerance experience bloating and large amount of gas since the undigested lactose is produced (fermented) by bacteria. Most starches, including pasta, corn, wheat, which can’t be broken down thoroughly in small intestine, cause fermentation in large intestine with the help of gut bacteria.





Eating fast also causes excessive gas. Because you don’t chew the foods thoroughly, they couldn’t be digested easily; also, when eating fast you gulp a lot of air in your digest tract, which will exhale from your butt. Besides, physical inactivity also contributes to the gas indirectly. When the waste can’t expel regularly as you are sitting a lot, the gut bacteria have more time to ferment the undigested residues, which produces more gas.

Why sometimes the gas smells so bad?

Healthy fart doesn’t have much odor, which won’t cause too much problem since you can silently leak the gas out without anyone notice. What matters a lot is the stinky smell from the unusual fart. That is super embarrassing; trust me if you haven’t experience it ever, because I, uh, yeah, you know it.

The stinky smell comes from the sulfur of the foods you eat. The richer sulfur in the foods, the more stinky your gas likely to be. After fermented by the bacteria, sulfur is converted into hydrogen sulfide and that is the culprit of the smell.


What can come to rescue?

Since farting is a common problem, though there is no single panacea, physicians and scientists have developed lots of ways based on different causes (foods, eating habit, and exercise) to help you.

  • Cut portion or avoid foods that make you fart: look back to the foods when you experience extra gas, then try to eat less next time. For those who have intolerance for specific foods, for example those who are lactose intolerance, you have to avoid the foods;
  • Eat slowly and try smaller meals: chew thoroughly and swallow slowly can help you stomach and small intestine digest foods;
  • Let’s move: keep regular exercise in your calendar. It not only can increase your gut health and avoid excess gas, it also enhance help regulate body weight and prevent many diseases.