Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Gula melaka agar-agar

Palm sugar (commonly known as "gula melaka") was originally made from the sugary sap of the Palmyra palm or the date palm. Now it is also made from the sap of the sago and coconut palms and may be sold as "coconut sugar." The sugar is a golden brown paste, sold in tubes, blocks or tin cans. It may be light-colored or dark, soft and gooey or hard. As a lightly-processed product of cottage industry, it varies greatly from batch to batch.

Gula melaka is made by making several slits into the bud of a coconut tree and collecting the sap. Then, the sap is boiled until it thickens after which, in the traditional way, it is poured into bamboo tubes between 3-5 inches in length, and left to solidify to form cylindrical cake blocks. Alternatively it can be poured into glass jars or plastic bags. Gula melaka is used in some savory dishes but mainly in the local desserts and cakes of the Southeast Asian region.

Palm sugar is often used to sweeten savory food to balance out the salty flavor of fish. Its primary use in Thai cuisine is in sweets and desserts, and somewhat less often in curries and sauces.

(Source: Wikipedia)

I have made many types of agar-agar (jelly) over the years. I started out with the traditional type of agar-agar that locals are familiar with. In recent years, the Japanese have come up with a new type of "agar-agar" known as "konnyaku jelly" (which has a lighter texture and is more popular with children).

I found a recipe for gula melaka agar-agar from the internet. After some modifications by me, here is my recipe for gula melaka agar-agar.

This is a very easy recipe. I made the gula melaka agar-agar last night. This morning, I brought a container of the gula melaka agar-agar to the office and shared it amongst my colleagues.

Ingredients (milk layer)

1 tbsp agar-agar powder (white colour)
600 ml water
1/2 cup condensed milk
1/2 tsp almond essence

Ingredients (brown layer)

3 tbsp agar-agar powder (white colour)
1200 ml water
225g gula melaka
1/2 cup brown sugar

Method (milk layer)

1. Pour the water into a small pot and turn on the heat.

2. Whisk in the agar-agar.

3. Cook until the agar-agar is dissolved.

4. Add the almond essence and condensed milk and whisk thoroughly.

5. Pour in a 9" square cake pan and leave to cool.

6. When the mixture has cooled down, put the pan in the refrigerator and leave to set.

7. While the white layer is being set, proceed to make the brown layer.

Method (brown layer)

1. Boil all the ingredients together in a pot until dissolved.

2. Sieve the mixture using a fine sieve.

Method (assembly)

1. Cut the white layer into thin strips.

2. Place the white strips in a mould.

3. Pour in the brown layer. Make sure that the white strips are covered.

4. Leave to cool before putting the mould in the refrigerator to set.

5. When the mixture has set, unmould and serve.


If you are buying the agar-agar powder that is sold in satchets of 12g each, you will need 3 satchets. Simply combine the 3 satchets of the powder together and use a measuring spoon to measure 1 tbsp for the white layer. The rest of the powder can be used for the brown layer.

Monday, September 29, 2008

First ever night race for Formula One - Singapore

Formula One (commonly known as "F1") is the highest class of open wheeled auto racing defined by the Federation Internationale de l'Automobile, motorsport's world governing body. The "formula" in the name refers to a set of rules to which all participants and cars must conform. The F1 world championship season consists of a series of races, known as "Grands Prix", held usually on purpose-built circuits, and in a few cases on closed city streets, the most famous of which is the Monaco Grand Prix in Monte Carlo. The results of each race are combined to determine two annual World Championships, one for drivers and one for constructors.

The cars race at high speeds, up to 360 km/h (225 mph), and are capable of pulling up to 5 g-force in some corners. The performance of the cars is highly dependent on electronics, aerodynamics, suspension and tyres. The formula has seen many evolutions and changes through the history of the sport.

The inaugural Singapore Grand Prix, the first Formula One event under floodlights, was a huge success and produced one of the most fascinating races of the season. It was held on Sunday, 28 September 2008.

Before the race started, there was a running joke that last night, Lewis Hamilton did the "rain dance" in order to ensure downpour during the race. It is believed that Hamilton's strongest competitor, Felipe Massa (who finished first during the qualifying race on 27 September 2008) does not perform well in wet weather.

The visibility concerns proved unfounded, the predicted thunderstorms never came, and the drivers quickly discovered they could overtake.

What I enjoyed about watching the F1 race on television is the aerial view of the city skyline of Singapore at night. Such a beautiful view! It is similar to standing at the top of King's Park in Perth and overlook the city skyline of Perth at night. It just takes your breath away.

There was a safety car on standby during the race. I did not expect the safety car to be in use during the race. However, alas! There were several mishaps during the race. According to Da, it is not uncommon that little mishaps occur during a F1 race.

Initially, Massa was leading the race with Hamilton in a close second. However, when Massa made a pit-stop, due to technical error (or perhaps human error?), he drove off with the petrol nozzle still stuck to his car. We were stunned when the car sped off and one of the technicians was thrown aside. Fortunately, the experienced driver quickly brought the car to a stop and the technicians rushed forward to take out the nozzle. Unfortunately, this cost the team valuable points and Massa lost quite a bit of time.

Nelson Piquet Jr's car crashed against the barrier. Unfortunately, his car ended up on the side of the route where there was no exit, so he had to run across the road to the other side. We watched with bated breath as he made a quick dash across the road.

There were other mishaps as well. Some cars had engine trouble and the driver had to drop out of the race. Kimi Raikkonen's car also crashed into the barrier towards the end of the race. Such a pity for the defending champion!

Finally, the grand moment. It was down to the last lap. Fernando Alonso won! The Spaniard had an aggressive first stint, pitted as early as the 12th lap, and was thus perfectly placed when the safety car came out. He built up a huge lead, lost it when the second safety car deployment came on the 51st lap, then calmly opened it up again.

The happy driver drove one more round along the route (I was told by Da that it was the Champion's drive, similar to the winner's walk in a beauty pageant?). During the drive, he kept raising his fist in victory. When the car came to a final stop, he got up and received the standing ovation that he deserved. He was very consistent in his driving during the race and his experienced showed.

Alonso praised his car’s performance but the success owed as much to the man behind the wheel.

Nico Rosberg came in 2nd while Lewis Hamilton came in 3rd. Hamilton was unfortunate in this race in that the safety car and first pit stops worked the way they did and that he got trapped behind David Coulthard for so long. But on a day when neither Ferrari finished, six points for third place were very welcome, especially as he extended his title points lead to seven over Massa.

For the Ferrari team, they looked good in the early going with Massa leading and Raikkonen closing on Hamilton in second place. Then came Massa’s disastrous pit stop in which the onboard monitoring system told him it was safe to leave when the fuel hose was still attached, and another unsafe release in the path of Sutil earned him a drive-through penalty. Later he spun, finishing 13th as Hamilton opened his points lead over him from one to seven. Raikkonen was delayed in that first pit stop, but was fighting back strongly for fourth with Glock until he crashed on the 58th lap. Worse still, the red cars set the two fastest laps, but the team lost their lead in the Constructors’ world championship to McLaren.

I was not much of a F1 fan prior to this. However, I am so proud that Singapore has managed to successfully host the 1st ever night race in the history of F1 and look forward to next year's night race in Singapore again.

(1) Wikipedia
(2) FormulaOne website

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Formula One dinner

In honour of the inaugural Formula One night race held in Singapore on 28 September 2008, Da and I were invited to some friends' home for a "Formula One dinner".

We all had a great time!

Here are some photographs taken during the dinner.... bon appetit!

Steamed gyoza and nonya mixed vegetables:

popiah (the kind where you had to roll the popiah yourself):-

tau kwa pau that Da and I bought from East Coast:-

curry chicken - very "lemak":-

pork rib soup:-

bubur cha cha:-

And... the encore:-

Jesus is willing

We all know that Jesus shed blood and died for our sins, once forever.

However, do we know why He died on the Cross? It was to redeem us from the curse of the law.

It is the Cross that has made all the difference. All our works will never get us a place in heaven. Today, there is only one sin that is unpardonable. It is the sin of unbelief. All other sins have been forgiven by God forever.

We are redeemed from every sickness and disease.

Jesus redeemed us from the curse that came with sin.

We know the story of the woman who suffered from the bone problem for 18 years. Do you know the significance of the number of years that she had suffered? Yes, 18 is 6 + 6 + 6, the number of the devil! She was bent over and she could only see the sandals of people around her. In the Jewish synagogue, the women are separated from the men. Often, the women's section is on an upper level. Given the fact that the woman was bent over, how could Jesus have seen her when he was teaching in the synagogue? And yet, He saw her and He called her towards Him. He was full of compassion for her condition and He Healed her.

Sometimes, we think that the Lord does not see us or does not know what we are going through. This is farther from the truth. The Lord knows the challenges that we are facing. He is waiting for us to call out to Him to save us. He is so gracious that He will never impose His will on us. All we need to do is believe.

The more we run after Jesus, the more blessings will run after us.

The law disqualifies us. Jesus, by his death, has qualified us.

Jesus is willing. All we have to do is to believe.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Excursion and housewarming

Gosh! I feel as though I just went on a whirlwind tour around Singapore today!

My schedule was certainly very packed today. It is no wonder that I am totally exhausted now!

The day started off with breakfast with Da at the Amoy Street Food Centre. It seems that not many stalls are open for business on saturdays. Da ate chee cheong fun and glutinous rice while I had my usual breakfast beehoon. (tsk! I can visualise a certain girl shaking her head and admonishing me for selecting such an unhealthy breakfast.)

As we were early, Da and I had time to chat (usually we rush through our breakfast during the working week) before, yes, you guessed it, I realised that I was late for my next appointment. So mwah! mwah! Off I was to my next destination. I rushed to the MRT station and boarded the train to City Hall MRT station. I had a 9.30 am appointment at the beauty salon for another treatment for my water retention problem. Before I boarded the MRT train, I bought some pancakes from Jolli Pancake for the beauty salon girls. They are a friendly group of people and their lady boss is a very nice person. She and her husband are from Hong Kong but have lived in Singapore for many years. Her sister owns several beauty salon in Hong Kong. (If you need a referral for a facial or other body treatment, do let me know. I would be happy to recommend my beautician.)

After I left the beauty salon, I made my way to Ah Teng's Bakery at Raffles Hotel to meet Da. As BH had correctly guessed, it was "library book expiry day". Whenever we borrow books from our public library, the loan period is 3 weeks (except for magazines - the loan period for magazines is 2 weeks). It was time for me to return the library books that I had borrowed 3 weeks ago and borrow some more books.

Da's and my usual meeting place on "library book expiry day" is outside Ah Teng's Bakery at Raffles Hotel. This is because we would usually eat at one of the coffee shops along Purvis Street which is located between Raffles Hotel and the library.

As we walked through the hotel and exited the front entrance of the hotel, we saw some new Fiat cars parked at the entrance to the hotel. It seems that these are limited edition Fiat cars specially designed to commemorate the Formula 1 race in Singapore.

Da and I were undecided as to where to have our lunch, so we ended up at Chin Chin Eating House along Purvis Street. They sell Hainanese food.

As we had in mind to have our tea-time immediately after lunch (and before we went to the library), we decided to order 2 dishes only at Chin Chin. The last time that we were at Chin Chin, we were thinking of trying the Curry Fish Head at our next visit. However, considering the fact that we had a housewarming party to attend later in the evening, we settled for the claypot mutton stew and the stir-fried bittergourd with ginger. The meal came with 2 complimentary bowls of soup. We declined to order drinks as we had in mind to "pop over next door" for drinks....

Next door? Yes, you guessed it right. Next door is none other than Y Y Kafei Dian. They also sell Hainanese cuisine. Usually, Da and I would alternate between Y Y and Chin Chin whenever we have lunch along Purvis Street.

We chose a comfortable spot in Y Y where we could enjoy the breeze and also "people-watch". No prizes for guessing what we ordered. Yes, the usual - coffee, tea, doughnut and toasted bread bun with peanut butter. As I was busy taking photographs of the drinks and food, one of the waitresses approached me with a smile and asked me whether I was taking the photographs to be posted somewhere. I smiled vaguely and told her that the photographs will be posted on the internet. Satisfied, she smiled and walked away. Goodness me! She must have thought that I am a food reporter!

After the "tea time", we adjourned to OG Department Store at Albert Complex where I put my new OG card (thanks, GML!) to good use and bought 2 sets of bedsheet set for the friend whose housewarming we would be attending in the evening.

After we left OG Department Store and made our way to the National Library, we chanced upon what looked like a church. Upon closer inspection, indeed the building used to be a church but is now a Sculpture Square.

There are many lovely sculptures outside the building. I could not resist taking photographs of the sculptures.

As we were approaching the National Library, I whined to Da that I was thirsty. I think that there was a lot of monosodium glutamate in the food that we had for lunch. As such, we stopped by the McDonalds opposite Raffles Hotel (yes, you can tell that we have been going round in circles the whole afternoon) where we ordered a large coca-cola. My feet were tired so we tried to look for an empty table. Goodness me! The place was full of students! These students ordered, say, a drink each and then sit there the whole day purportedly discussing school projects. Their books were opened up at the table but they were clearly gossiping and chatting instead of studying. I do not understand how they can study with all that noise.

After a quick trip to the National Library where I left a very happy girl (with my arms full of novels) and we made our way to the housewarming. The place was very crowded! The new homeowner has many relatives and the relatives helped to cook the food that you see in the photograph below.

Everyone at the housewarming had a great time of eating, fellowship and bonding. Naturally, I was busy taking photographs of... the food! What else?

After the housewarming, Da and I adjourned to the home of the Three Musketeers to watch the Formula One qualifying race. It was exhilarating! During the practice rounds, Lewis Hamilton was first. Whoever won the qualifying race would get 1st placing in the actual race scheduled for tomorrow night.

It was a close fight between Massa and Hamilton. Generally, Massa was leading. However, at one point, Hamilton overtook Massa. I thought that Hamilton would win the qualifying race. However, Massa fought back and he won! I look forward to watching the actual race tomorrow night.

No entertainment time would be complete at The Three Musketeers' home without after dinner snacks to fatten everyone up. Tiki had brewed chrysanthemum tea with sugar and wolfberry - the drink was very refreshing.

We also ate some swiss rolls that I had ordered. I had given some at the housewarming and some went to The Three Musketeers. If the photograph below looks tempting, let me tell you what flavours I ordered - durian, mango, blueberry and coffee. Delicious!

On the English Premier League front, Manchester United was playing against Bolton.

Manchester United won the match 2-0. However, I was a bit skeptical about the 1st goal by Ronaldo. It was a penalty that was awarded to Manchester United when Ronaldo was tripped in the penalty box. I have no doubt that Ronaldo was tripped. However, I felt that he may have exaggerated the fall. Who knows? The fact is that the Red Devils won and got another 3 points. Yeah!

It was certainly an exhausting day. We made so many pits stops but we had so much fun!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Tampines escapade

I was intending to name this post "Cute Butt" but I changed my mind as I did not want to be clobbered by a certain member of the 4D Club.

It had been some time since the members of the 4D Club last gathered.

As LSD had received her variable bonus (so girl, was it a notable amount?), she arranged for the gathering this evening with the intention to give us a treat. Of course, I did not know about the bonus and treat until we were already seated at the Blue Urban Oasis Cafe Bar at Century Square. Had I known about this beforehand, perhaps I may have suggested Hanabi Restaurant (which sells ala-carte Japanese buffet). *giggle*

At the stroke of 6 pm today (or perhaps several strokes after 6 pm), BD left the office to meet SPD. They had arranged to meet LSD and me at Century Square. As I was unwell yesterday and only got back to work today, LSD graciously agreed to meet me at the Tanjong Pagar MRT station near my office and we would go to Century Square from there. (Actually, she had no choice because she finishes work before me and I was struggling today to clear work that had piled up yesterday.)

The Blue Urban Oasis Cafe Bar is located at 2 Century Square, Tampines Central 5 #01-16/17/18 Century Square, Singapore 529509. Their operating hours are as follows:-
Sundays to Thursdays : 11.00am - 12.00am
Fridays/Saturdays/Eve of Public Holidays : 11.00am - 2.00am

I managed to finish my work at about 6.45 pm today and I made my way quickly to the Tanjong Pagar MRT station to meet LSD. She had arrived there earlier and was waiting for my "grand entrance" (to quote her).

We boarded the east-bound MRT train. Goodness me! The journey seemed to be endless! I think that it was because there were no available seats and I was exhausted.

Finally, we arrived at the Tampines MRT station. We met up with BD and SPD (whose right arm was in a cast and sling as she had, if a certain taxi driver is to be believed, flung herself against that taxi driver's taxi on 21 September 2008). tsk! tsk! The ludicrous reasons some drivers will give to justify their drunken behaviour!

The Blue Urban Oasis Cafe Bar is a cafe bar right in the heart of Tampines (in the suburban part of Singapore). According to their website at http://www.blueurbanoasis.com/index.html, "Blue Urban Oasis is borne out of the concept for good lifestyle living with the heartlanders in the area(s) in mind. The unique points for such a cafe as this would be to provide the public masses the opportunity to enjoy good quality food and beverages only found in town to the heartlands. This would be accompanied with great services provided by the service staff coupled with hard to beat prices for affordability to everyone. This would all be married in the new concept interior of the outlet that anyone would never have seen before in a shopping mall. This outlet would cater to one and all such as from all ages and categories : Students, PMEB's, tourist, senior citizens and most importantly the core family unit and their friends. Blue Urban Oasis aims to provide a cosy chill out avenue for [their] valued friends in the heartlands and its [satellite] suburbs such as Pasir Ris, Simei, Tanah Merah, Bedok and Tampines, so as to allow enjoyment of the good life and living as they watch the day go by in style. To bring Orchard Road to the masses is [their] aim."

Fascinating concept. Although there was al fresco dining, we decided to be seated at a table in air-conditioning comfort. As we sat down, SPD remarked that there was a cute waiter who kept looking at LSD. From then on, during the entire dinner, we were busy teasing LSD about the attention showered on her by the waiter.

As we pondered over the menu, the waiter came to take our orders. Coincidentally, LSD and SPD both ordered the fish and chips:-

BD and I were both eyeing the chicken schnitzel:-

When the food arrived, LSD gave me a piece of her fish. In turn, I gave her 1/2 of my chicken schnitzel. She started to whine that it was unfair as she had 3 pieces of fish and only gave me 1 piece whereas I gave her 1/2 of my chicken schnitzel. As such, she cut 1/2 of her 1/2 of the chicken schnitzel (erm... that would therefore be er... 1/4 of the chicken schnitzel. Phew! My mathematics skills have not been lost yet). As she was about to pass me the 1/4 piece of chicken schnitzel, I took BD's plate and the 1/4 piece landed on his plate. heehee.....

I found the chicken schnitzel rather salty. I believe that this is largely due to the batter. From what I know, the chicken cutlet is dipped into an egg mixture (comprising egg, garlic, parsley, salt and pepper) and coated with a breadcrumb mixture (comprising breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese) before it is deep-fried.

Throughout the dinner, the waiter (whom we kept teasing LSD with) kept coming to our table. From our vantage point (ie. looking from the corner of our eye), we could see that the waiter kept giving attention and looks to LSD.

When the dinner was over, we decided to adjourn elsewhere for after-dinner drinks and we asked for the bill. While LSD was paying the bill, I took a paper napkin and wrote LSD's name and mobile number on the napkin, with the intention to casually leave the napkin on LSD's chair as we were leaving. Alas! LSD picked up the napkin and tucked it away in the pocket of her jeans. Don't be shy, girl! We were just trying to help you secure a date with the waiter.

We wandered to Tampines Mall but were unable to decide on a place to drink coffee. Finally, we went back to Century Square and ended up at Haagen-Dazs.

While we were waiting for our drinks/ice-cream, SPD took out her medication and started consuming them. Goodness me! I thought that she had many pills to swallow but she said that she had to take more pills than what she brought along.

Finally, our "Part 2" arrived. LSD had ordered the mocca whereas I had ordered the cafe latte.

The lovebirds ("hunny bunny" and his darling) decided to share an ice-cream. It was very lovey-dovey to watch BD feed SPD.

Now, where does the "cute butt" come in, you may ask? What does it mean when a guy tells you that he has a cute rear end? Is he trying to hit on you? Is he sending the signal to you that he is interested in you? This is very thought provoking and would require further in-depth consideration and discussion. If the guy throws down the gauntlet to a girl to separate fact from fiction, should the girl take up the challenge? Wait a minute... why has this part of the post become reflective? I am not even the party in question! Oops....

The 4 of us shared a taxi home from Century Square. After BD and SPD alighted, I was the next to alight. As I alighted from the taxi, I noticed 2 guys carrying pots of plants from a car. Subsequently, I received a text message from LSD to the effect that the guys appear to have the same sexual orientation. Girl, I am not sure about your observation as I was more fascinated by the plants. Why? There was a plant with yellow flowers on the floor. This is the plant that I tried to grow from plant cuttings that my uncle in Johor Bahru (Malaysia) gave me (when my family went to his place a few months ago) but I was not successful. I have been rather sore about that because the flowers are a lovely yellow. I have managed to transplant and grow orchids. I have so far not succeeded with transplanting and growing bougainvillea and desert rose but I have attempted again (a few days ago) with 2 pots of desert rose that I transplanted. Hopefully I will be successful this time around.

Anyway, I can almost feel the clobbering coming my way. Enough said.....

Thursday, September 25, 2008

An apple a day keeps the doctor away - Apple Cider Vinegar

(Caveat: This post is not a substitute for medical advice. Please consult your doctor if you have any medical problems.)

Over the centuries, vinegar has been used for countless purposes: making pickles, killing weeds, cleaning coffee makers, polishing armour and dressing salads. It is also an ancient folk remedy, touted to relieve just about any ailment you can think of.

In recent years, apple cider vinegar (“ACV”) has been singled out as an especially helpful health tonic. ACV is sold in both the condiment and the health supplement aisles of the supermarkets. While many of the folk medicine uses of vinegar are unproven (or were disproved), a few do have a medical research backing them up. Some small studies have hinted that ACV could help with several conditions, such as diabetes and obesity.

So what is ACV?

ACV is a type of vinegar made by the fermentation of apple cider. During this process, sugar in the apple cider is broken down by bacteria and yeast into alcohol and then into vinegar. ACV contains acetic acid (like other types of vinegar) and some lactic, citric and malic acids.

Unlike white vinegar, ACV is a light yellow-brown color and is often sold unfiltered and unpasteurized with a dark, cloudy sediment called “mother of vinegar” (consisting mainly of acetic acid bacteria) settled at the bottom of the bottle. When mature, ACV contains a web-like substance called “mother” which becomes visible when the ACV is held to the light. Only when fresh, organic apples are used to make the ACV, you can then benefit from its life-stimulating enzymes and minerals. Only raw organic ACV has the “mother of vinegar” that makes the vinegar so beneficial. The “mother” is made up living nutrients and bacteria. You can actually see it settled in the bottom of the bottle like sediment.

Clear vinegar has none of the benefits of raw organic ACV. There is nothing beneficial about commercial distilled vinegars except for pickling, cleaning and disinfection - they have no health value. They do not contain the health values of organic, raw apple cider vinegar with the “mother” still intact and viable. Distilled white vinegar and cider vinegar sold in supermarkets are considered "dead" vinegars with none of the enzymes and other live factors that make raw, unpasteurized vinegars so valuable. Distilling removes the beneficial "mother" from the vinegar, thereby, destroying the powerful enzymes and life giving minerals such as potassium, phosphorus, natural organic sodium, magnesium, sulphur, iron copper, natural organic fluorine, silicon, trace minerals, pectin and other powerful nutrients. Also destroyed are natural malic and tartaric acids, which are important in fighting body toxins and inhibiting unfriendly bacteria growth.

ACV is very popular, partly due to alleged beneficial health and beauty properties. Although other types of vinegar (such as white vinegar, balsamic vinegar, red wine vinegar and rice wine vinegar) are used mainly in cooking, ACV is used primarily for health purposes. Hippocrates was said to have used it as a health tonic and American soldiers are said to have used it to combat indigestion, pneumonia and scurvy.

Apple cider vinegar has shown to be an extremely valuable constituent in the body's biochemical operations and an essential building block in the construction of many complex substances in the body. Vinegar is low in calories and carbohydrates but does contain small amounts of calcium, phosphorus, iron and, of course, lots of potassium. A cup of ACV is 98.8% water, has 34 calories, a trace of protein, and no fat. Acetic acid, the principal constituent in vinegar, plays an important role in the release of energy from fats and carbohydrates. It is of primary importance in the body's metabolism.

ACV can help fight infection, simply by keeping fluids where they belong - in body cells, not in bacteria. Bacteria need moisture to thrive. As bacteria multiply, they will pull necessary fluids from healthy cells in order to flourish, particularly during times of stress when resistance is low. Stress is a major agent in causing a previously sub-clinical problem to break into a full-blown illness. If the process goes unchecked illness will occur. In order to defeat bacterial infections and illness it is important to keep moisture in the cells and prevent germs from depleting that moisture. If there is enough potassium in each body cell, it will draw moisture from the harmful bacteria, instead of the bacteria taking moisture from the body cells. Therefore by providing natural sources of potassium in the diet (fruit, berries, sprouts, edible leaves, edible roots, etc.) and including ACV to that diet the body cells are provided with the necessary moisture-attracting potassium. Many traditional medicines used to combat bacterial illness also work by depriving bacteria of moisture and thus keeping fluids inside the cells.

ACV destroys microorganisms, including bacteria, fungi, viruses and others, and prevents poisons from reaching the rest of the systems of the body. It has been proven to inhibit the growth of gram-negative bacilli, Pseudomonas, and Candida. The acid nature of vinegar makes the digestive tract environment unpleasant for germs and fungus. ACV has proven to be a natural treatment (and preventative) in simple cases of avian pediatric digestive disorders. It is believed that ACV will lower bloods natural alkalinity, bringing it closer to a natural healthy acid state. A naturally acidic digestive tract digestive, with the correct pH balance, will discourage bacteria and is less likely to grow yeast and fungus. ACV can assist the natural process of breaking food in the stomach. The acidic qualities of ACV will help break down protein, in the digestive system, for absorption into the bloodstream.

ACV has been used as a health aid for thousands of years. For many of us it is a common item on our grocery list. ACV is rich in vitamins and minerals as well as enzymes, amino acids, potash, propionic acid and apple pectin. It can lower cholesterol by flushing fats, thins blood to help control blood pressure and ACV fiber helps to control glucose in the blood. While we are told to stay away from vinegar if we have a yeast infection, organic ACV aids in stopping the infection.

ACV has a powerful detoxifying and purifying influence and has been known for its ability to neutralise harmful bacteria that may be found in foods. By taking a tablespoon of ACV in glass of water before a meal, it could prevent upset stomach or diarrhoea (BD – I heard that you are suffering from diarrhoea today – you may like to buy a bottle of organic ACV and drink 2 teaspoonful of ACV with some warm water and honey).

ACV is believed to be beneficial in the treatment of arthritis, bladder problems, metabolism, sore throats, gallstones, kidney stones, stiff joints, detoxifying the body, weight loss, and is taken regularly for all over good health.

The health benefits of ACV listed below are widely acclaimed and experienced by many, although many of the health benefits have not been scientifically confirmed.

(1) Diabetes - Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of ACV’s possible health benefits is its effect on blood glucose levels. Several small studies suggest that vinegar (both ACV and other types) may help to lower glucose levels. Other studies have found that ACV can lower the post-meal rise in glucose. The acetic acid in vinegar is thought to slow starch digestion and reduce the glycemic index (commonly known as “GI”) of starchy foods.

(2) Weight Loss – ACV has become popular as a “fat-burner” and as a natural appetite suppressant. There is even an apple cider vinegar diet, which involves taking one to three teaspoons of ACV or ACV pills before each meal. It is possible that ACV may affect satiety by lowering the GI of carbohydrates eaten at a meal.

(3) Alkaline Acid Balance - Some alternative practitioners suggest ACV as part of a diet to restore alkaline acid balance. The theory behind the alkaline diet is that our blood is slightly alkaline, with a normal pH level of between 7.35 and 7.45. Our diet should reflect this pH level and be slightly alkaline. All foods we eat, after being digested and metabolized, release either an acid or alkaline base (bicarbonate) into blood. The foods that people tend to over eat –- grains, meat, dairy products -- all produce acid.

(4) Dandruff - A home remedy for dandruff is to mix 1/4 cup ACV with 1/4 cup water. The vinegar solution is thought to restore the restore the pH balance of the scalp and discourage the overgrowth of malassezia furfur, the yeast-like fungus thought to trigger dandruff. The vinegar mixture is usually poured into a spray bottle and spritzed on the hair and scalp, avoiding the eye and ear area. A towel is then wrapped around the head and left on 15 minutes to an hour. After that, the vinegar can be washed from the hair. Alternative practitioners often recommend it once to twice a week for dandruff.

(5) High Cholesterol – A study found that rats fed acetic acid (the main ingredient in vinegar) had significantly lower total cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Large, human trials are needed to see if the same results occur in humans.

(6) Acid Reflux – ACV in water is a popular home remedy for acid reflux. It is based on a theory by some alternative medicine practitioners that heartburn and reflux are actually symptoms of insufficient stomach acid caused by aging, poor diet or overusing antacids or other medications. Alternative practitioners usually rely on laboratories that conduct alternative tests to assess stomach acidity prior to any treatment. Critics say that insufficient stomach acid, or hypochlorhydria, is not a common condition and that it is not a known cause of acid reflux or heartburn. ACV is not recommended as a home remedy for acid reflux or heartburn, because it may damage the delicate lining of the digestive tract and it could possibly worsen the problem. A person with acid reflux or heartburn should see a qualified health practitioner for a proper diagnosis and treatment.

(7) Acne – ACV is a home remedy for acne. A typical application is one part ACV to three parts water and the solution is dabbed onto the pimple. Although some people swear by it, caution should be used because there have been case reports of skin damage and burns from using full-strength vinegar on the face.

(8) Blood Pressure - Preliminary studies suggest that the acetic acid in vinegar may help to lower blood pressure. How it might work is unclear, although studies suggest that it may increase levels of nitric oxide, a compound in the body that relaxes blood vessels, or it might inhibit an enzyme called “angiotensin-converting enzyme” from producing angiotensin II, a hormone that causes blood vessels to constrict or narrow. A study found that people who ate oil and vinegar dressing on salads five to six times a week had lower rates of heart disease than people who did not. However, it is not clear whether the vinegar was the reason.

(9) Cancer – Some laboratory studies have found that vinegar may be able to kill cancer cells or slow their growth. Epidemiological studies of people have been confusing. One found that eating vinegar was associated with a decreased risk of esophageal cancer. Another associated it with an increased risk of bladder cancer.

(10) Premature ageing – When acid crystals harden in the joints and tissues of any animal, the joints become stiff and the tissues hardened. The meat becomes tough and tasteless. However, when the animals are given ACV regularly, the precipitated acid crystals enter into a solution and pass out of the body, thus making the body tissues healthier and tender. This applies to human flesh also. When body tissues hold all the precipitated acid crystals they can, the crystals then appear in the bursae and the joints of the body, resulting in arthritis and bursitis. 1 to 2 tsp of ACV with 1 to 2 tsp of raw honey in a glass of distilled water daily will help relieve the stiff aching and prematurely old joints.

Due to its acidity, ACV can be very harsh, even burning the throat. If taken straight (as opposed to usage in cooking), it should be diluted (e.g. with fruit juice) before drinking. Some people dilute it with warm water and add some honey. On the whole, the risks of taking occasional, small amounts of ACV seem low. But using ACV over the long term, or in larger amounts, may have risks. Some side effect and safety concerns are set out below:-

(1) Undiluted ACV, in liquid or pill form, may damage the esophagus and other parts of the digestive tract.

(2) ACV drinks may damage tooth enamel if sipped.

(3) One case report linked excessive ACV consumption with low blood potassium levels (hypokalemia) and low bone mineral density.

(4) People with osteoporosis, low potassium levels and those taking potassium-lowering medications should use caution.

(5) People with allergies to apples should avoid ACV.

(6) ACV tablets may become lodged in the throat or esophagus and cause serious damage to those tissues.

(7) Vinegar applied to the skin may cause burns and scarring.

(8) Excessive doses of ACV have been found to cause damage to the stomach, duodenum and liver in animals.

(9) Theoretically, prolonged use of ACV could lead to lower potassium levels, which could increase the risk of toxicity of cardiac glycoside drugs such as Lanoxin (digoxin), insulin, laxatives and diuretics such as Lasix (furosemide).

(10) As ACV may affect blood glucose and insulin levels, it could theoretically have an additive effect if combined with diabetes medications.

(11) ACV may also lower blood pressure, so it may have an additive effect if combined with high blood pressure medications.

At the end of the day, as in all other things that we consume, ACV should be taken in moderation.

You can also find ACV in tablet or capsule form. These are not recommended sources because they are a dried source and not living as the liquid is.

The easiest way to consume ACV is by making it as a drink known as “Honegar”. It is not necessary to add honey to ACV. However, the mixture of ACV and honey makes it a refreshing beverage.

250 ml water
1 to 2 tsp ACV
1 to 2 tsp honey

(a) Make sure that the water is warm enough to melt the honey but not too hot as it would destroy the healing properties in the honey.
(b) It would be preferable to buy organic ACV.
(c) Manuka honey contains high amounts of antioxidant.
(d) Always drink ACV diluted. Use a straw or rinse your mouth with water directly after drinking to avoid enamel erosion on teeth. You should always consult your doctor before making changes to your treatment or if you have concerns about your health.

You can also use the ACV to make salad dressings. Here is a simple recipe for a cucumber dressing:-

1 cup dairy sour cream
2 tbsp ACV
1 tsp granulated sugar
¾ tsp salt
1/2 cup diced peeled cucumber

1. Combine the ingredients.
2. Cover and chill to blend flavors.

1. Makes 1 ½ cups of dressing.
2. The cucumber dressing can be served over tomato and lettuce salads, sliced chicken or chilled salmon.

You can also make your own ACV. A recipe for homemade ACV is as follows:-

Fully ripe, worm-free, unbruised apples
1 square of yeast

1. Wash enough apples to end up with 19 litres of strained juice.
2. Quarter the apples, then crush them and strain the pulp through a piece of cloth.
3. Save the apple juice for the next step.
4. Remove 1 litre of the apple juice from the rest. Place a square of the yeast into the 1 litre of juice and mix thoroughly. Thereafter, stir the starter mix into the remaining litres of juice and mix well.
5. Place the yeast/apple juice mixture into several glass bowls or lid-less containers. Each bowl or container should be approximately three quarters full. Cover the tops with cloth so air can reach the mixtures. Then, set them where they can be left undisturbed out of the direct sunlight. The ideal location will have a temperature of 15 to 25 degrees celsius. Leave the mixture to ferment.
6. One time a day, you will need to use a plastic or wooden long-handled spoon to stir the yeast/apple juice mixture in each of the bowls or containers. It will take approximately 3 to 4 weeks for the mixture to properly ferment. After 3 weeks, taste test the mixtures to see whether the vinegar is strong enough.
7. When your ACV is ready, use several layers of small-holed cloth placed on top one another to strain the ACV.
8. Heat the ACV in a stainless steel pot on your stove top over a low to medium temperature and stir it occasionally till it reaches a temperature of 60 degrees celsius, Once it reaches that temperature, immediately remove it from your stove top.
9. Pour the ACV into clean bottles that have air-tight lids. Place the bottles into a hot water bath. Allow them to cool down. Then, store the ACV in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.

1. Fuji apples contain high amounts of fruit sugar.
2. Do not use metal utensils or containers when you are making or storing home-made ACV. The acid in the vinegar will react to the metal. Instead, use plastic or glass.
3. Using yeast to make homemade ACV will help hasten the fermentation process. Do not use the yeast that is for making bread. Instead, buy the yeast that is used to make wine.

(1) Wikipedia
(2) www.Health-Doc.com
(3) Associated Content
(4) Care2.com
(5) Organically New Zealand
(6) zimbio.com
(7) gourmetsleuth.com
(8) heinzvinegar.com
(9) about.com
(10) NewLife
(11) WebMD
(12) Earth Clinic
(13) celestialhealing.net
(14) Healthmad
(15) GHChealth

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