Happy Chinese New Year, everyone!
Hope you are having a good start in the Year of Horse. For those of you who are curious, Chinese New Year, or Chinese Spring Festival, is the most important holiday in China. Like Christmas in the US, Chinese New Year is a time where all family members gather, send a lot of love and wishes to one another and, last but not least, receive money carried in red envelops, which symbolizes luck, happiness and fortune. In each household, all kinds of flowers and colorful lights are common decorations to enrich the joyful atmosphere. And, people, especially little kids, will happily dress up in newly bought clothes to welcome the New Year. Oh, here is the caveat: if you are single and you say to people: “Gong Hee Fot Choy” (Chinese for “wish you a lot of fortune”), you are likely to receive a red envelop ; )
Photo from Kenny Louie
Hope you enjoy the “cultural lesson” I have prepared for you. With that, let’s jump onto news I picked for you from last week!
Just when the world is busily discussing the benefits of quinoa, there is another kind of super grain slowly entering the spotlight. Always looking around to try new things, I found this article interesting because it introduces me to what is trendy in the super grain world. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome: teff! Teff is a type of nutrient-packed ancient super grain produced in Ethiopia and has been “increasingly finding its way into health-food shops and supermarkets in Europe and America”, according to The Gardian. It is rich in calcium, iron, protein and fiber, and is gluten-free as well. Why is it good for the skin? Fiber-rich teff will be able to stabilize blood sugar levels. And since fluctuation of blood sugar levels can cause acne breakouts, balancing blood sugar level by consuming teff offers a way to avoid breakouts.
Interestingly, immediately after saving the first article, I found this article from The Huffington Post introducing 4 more types of grains that we could start experimenting with, if you are also into exploring more new options. Besides teff, here are four more new super grains that help us expand our food vocabulary as well: freekeh (low on the glycemic-index and high in fiber), kamut (rich in zinc, magnesium, iron, protein and fatty acids), fonio (low on glycemic-index and gluten-free) and lupin (high in fiber and protein and gluten-free). As “low on glycemic-index”, “zinc”, “fiber” and “magnesium” are all synonyms of clear skin, it always doesn’t hurt to keep an eye for more beautifying alternatives.
Chipotle is now expanding its voice louder online by releasing a new online series, “Farmed and Dangerous”, on Hulu on February 17 (yes, it’s coming soon!) with four 30-minute episode that “point a satirical lens at the food industry”, according to The Huffington Post. The ultimate goal is simple but profound, which is to make us realize that there is more than what we think in foods, and that we should become savvier in deciding food choices. What we eat will directly have an impact on our body and ultimately affect how we look on the skin. That’s why we need to dig into the stories behind the foods we buy and consume. Today, I really feel that becoming a healthy eater also means being a savvy consumer.
Here is the trailer of the online series:
PepsiCo has quietly gotten rid of the word “Natural” in some of its products and instead is using “Simply”, claiming that this is an approach to update marketing and packaging strategies. But there is another explanation for this, which is that the company has received a number of lawsuits. The company was consequently made to retreat from “All Natural”, to “Natural”, to now “Simply”. What is also interesting is that retreating from “Natural” or “All Natural” seems to have become a movement, as there are a number of other companies have recently also been sued for improper labeling as well.
The take-away message here? As how to label is still loosely regulated by the government, we should try looking into a breakdown of the ingredients more closely. In cases when we believe there may be some hidden ingredients which are not shown on the package, simply use our common sense to decide if the food is as good as it claims to be.
In December last year, the Irish Farmer’s Journal launched a contest collecting self-shots from farmers posing with their livestock (check out the 10 winning selfie photos). Technology has enabled farmers to communicate with each other and to connect with consumers like us as well. Maybe I should also start following some farmers? : )
Winning Photo at “Selfie on the farm” Competition
Rouxbe, a membership-based online platform that teaches the foundational cooking principles of plant-based cuisine, launched on January 20. The program teaches students how to cook using whole and unprocessed ingredients, fresh herbs and spices. This looks enticing as it offers a step-by-step guide to teach newbies to start from scratch about knowledge more than what a traditional cookbook will offer. For example, it teaches how to use kitchen essentials (such as how to use knives) and breaks down the food to “why” levels (such as why one should gold the onions).
Here is a good deal. I have discovered that they offer a free trail in the program where you will have access to over 70 tutorials. Even though I am not affiliated with the membership-based program, I think it is not a bad idea to simply sign up for a free trial and have a peek inside. Hopefully that is enough to get you motivated to start cooking at home and feel the joy as well.
Thanks for stopping by. That’s all for my sharing today. Have you heard of any of the five trendy super grains I mentioned above? If yes, which one(s) have you tried? If no, which one will you start first? I would love to learn more from you!