25 July 2015

Mary Mallon a.k.a Typhoid Mary

Typhoid Mary is Mary Mallon, the first person identified as an asymptomatic carrier of the pathogen associated with typhoid fever, thus the nickname "typhoid Mary". 
She was thought to have infected several people.

Her occupation as a cook made it so.

Wherever she works there was always an outbreak of typhoid fever. 
When she was arrested, she denied being the cause of the illness but she was quarantined for 3 decades.

At the time when she was given a chance to be free, 
she was given a job as a laundress and made to promise to be more hygienic
 to avoid infecting others and never to employ herself as a cook.

But soon after a few weeks of her release news of typhoid fever incidents have been traced. 
She was searched for and quarantined again.

24 July 2015

Philip Verheyen: A Surgeon Who Had His Amputated Leg Preserved

Philip Verheyen was a Belgian surgeon who wanted to become a priest but due to an illness that resulted in the amputation of his leg he left the clergy to become an anatomist. Upon his amputation, he insisted to have his amputated leg preserved for future study. It is thought that his strong religious views made him deeply suspicious of burying one part of his body before the remainder was ready for the same fate. So, he dissected his own leg instead and studied it. 

I think, "phantom limb" is likely associated with him.

I encountered this information when my husband was reviewing some medical facts. So, here he is, the anatomist who has a phantom limb...Philip Verheyen!

22 July 2015

Bitter-Gourd: Not So Bitter Anymore

Bitter-gourd, as the name suggests, tastes bitter, hence, gained countless "unlikes" among people. Many avoid this vegetable exactly because of that bitterness. Many even suggest to pour salt on it, squeeze, and discard the juice. This, obviously, removes the most nutrients that it contains so, for me,  there's no point in eating it. 
On the other hand, some say to not mix or stir it often while cooking. 
I tried this one but failed. Still bitter!
Though there was one time when it didn't taste that bitter. A different variety?
Maybe! I have not had it in a long time.
How about adding sugar?
No way!

I really tried a few ways to cook bitter gourd and it always ended in the 'unwanted' list -a list of vegetables that you will only have for their nutritional value.

In Philippines, adding eggs or bagoong/uyap/alamang (krill, it is, I think) to sliced bitter-gourd is the most common way of cooking it along with garlic, onion, and tomatoes.
I liked it, then.
Will still like it.
But, since I decided to leave the hens and fishes alone, knowing the hens will certainly not like me taking her eggs and the fishes to be out of water,
I got determined to find a non-violent way of cooking bitter-gourd.

I tried grilling/roasting it. Then, vinegar and salt were sprinkled on it.
Quite fine!

I also tried the usual garlic-onion, tomato combination but sauteed in coconut oil with turmeric and pepper powder. 
Quite okay! I did this method quite a few times.

But, this method has to change. It's not really so memorable that you would want to have it again and again!

Until one day when I finally followed my husband's long-standing suggestion. And I guess I nailed the best way to cook it. Well, not that I have hunted down the entire internet archives in search for the best bitter-gourd recipe! Lol!

Adding grated coconuts to it!

So, I tried it...finally!

The results?

Well, never in my entire bitter-gourd dish making did I expect to have nailed the best way to make it!
It was outstanding!
I really enjoyed my lunch with bitter-gourd for the first time!

So, without further adieu, here's to
the Bitter-Gourd: Not So Bitter Anymore recipe!

What are needed?

1. Bitter-gourd, fresh, 3 medium size, washed, cut into halves and thin pieces
2. Garlic, 3 heads, peeled, crushed or/and chopped into small pieces (keep aside for 20 minutes before using to activate the enzyme in it for maximum health benefits)
3. Onions, 2 medium size, cut into long thin pieces
4. Tomatoes, 3 medium size, chopped into small cubes
5. Coconut, fresh, 1/2, grated (I chopped into small pieces then grated/blended using a chutney jar. You can use less of it, too. Just check how you like it)

6. Coconut oil, 2-3 tbsp. (other vegetable oil is also fine)
7. Salt to taste
8. Lemon juice
9. Mustard seeds, 1 tsp. (can be made without this, but I made mine with it)

How to do it?

1. Heat oil in a pan. Add mustard seeds to crackle. 
2. Add in onions and salt. Mix till translucent. Add garlic and saute' till garlic gives a nice aromatic smell.

3. Add in tomatoes and cook till they get mashed. Add more oil if necessary. Wait till oil separates from the mixture, which is very important.

~see to it that the tomatoes are mashed enough you
get to see oil separates from the mixture~
4. Add bitter-gourd. Mix well and cook till soft. Do not cover. Also check the saltiness.

5. Add grated coconut, mix, and cook for about 5-10 minutes (litle scorching on the sides is yummy).

6. Turn off stove and sprinkle lemon juice. Mix well and serve.

~Do not use ginger-garlic paste. It seems that they make the mixture a little wettish.
~I had it with cumin-turmeric brown rice and 1 piece of papad. It was divine!
~The next time we had it, we dropped the rice and eaten it with papad only. Delicious!
~Have it while still hot.
~I have never tried it with roti, chapati, or paratha. You can try! I will certainly try once and see if it's a good combination.
~I am now looking forward to having bitter-gourd using this recipe from now on.
~Bitter-gourd is Ampalaya in Tagalog language, Paliya in Cebuano language, and Karela in Hindi language

Do try it at home and this might just become one of your favorites -the unlikable that became the likable!


21 July 2015

How Did I Become Vegan?

I was born in the Philippines. 
I grew up there.
And knowing the Philippines when it comes to food....
most dishes always have flesh on them!
In fact, on most occasions, flesh is the dish!

So I was literally a "necrovore"!
From eggs to fish to meat to milk products.
(I wasn't into drinking plain milk then which was a good thing. It wasn't the age to be drinking milk anyway!)

That changed, a step higher, when I came to India.
I met this awesome guy online who spoke the word that I never ever heard before.
He WAS vegan (eating raw, uncooked foods) for 8 years when he was about 16. 
Then he slipped, he says, and he now kept wondering how did he lose his tracks for he was the guy in his family who freed their cows and unchained their dogs.
He wasn't just able to connect the dots at that time.
So he started drinking milk, eating eggs and products with milk such as bread.
He became vegetarian!

Then I came into the picture. It was 2007.
This awesome guy is now my husband.
When I arrived at their home, I eventually became vegetarian. 
I didn't struggle though. I didn't miss meat and all the "delicious" Pinoy meat delicacies. 
I knew what it is. We talked a lot about it.
I understood it, fully!

So it went on, vegetarianism, for another 7 years.
Along those years, countless documentaries were watched.
Earthlings was even watched a long time ago, and it didn't make a difference in our food choice
We were still consuming honey, curd, eggs, milk and milk products.

Then, in August 2014, with just a flip of a finger, my husband, in a firm statement, uttered, "We have to drop all animal products!"
My reaction was, "Okay!" without any question mark drawn on my face. "Let's do it!" 
I continued.

What prompted this abrupt decision? 
According to him, he had been thinking at night about the plight of those baby male chicks grounded alive because the egg industries don't want them!
He couldn't get better sleep after we watched that documentary.
And I clearly well remember how it was!

Hearing this, my mind suddenly went someplace...remembering all the horrendous things that are happening in factory farms. It's as if everything came pouring in fast, lining up, forming a vivid image.

Those mama cows whose undersides look almost always filled with milk where nipples are fit with pipes sucking milk.
That mastitis that ailing those mums! Ugh! They don't deserve such thing.
Those calves who were separated from their mothers because some idiots decided to "unwean" themselves and choose to drink cow's milk again.
Those tiny chicks who were just hatched getting segregated for sex identification and when found out they're males, they are grounded alive, suffocated to death
because they won't lay eggs in the future.
In other words, they are of NO USE to the egg industry. 
They won't fetch money!
Those hens kept in small cages, living in dark and literally sleeping on their own fecal matters.
Some are limping, many are so sick that if you have a sane thinking, one look and you'll realize the horror of their situation you will decide not to be part of such devilry.
The sight was unbearable!
Those raccoon, foxes, bobcats who were trapped, de-skinned alive and eventually were murdered for their skins so some "fashionistas" can wear something so-called fashionable.
Only a person without a sense of compassion can tolerate continuing supporting such evil treatment towards these innocent creatures.

All these sank in. And I clearly remembered how I was taught compassion and kindness.
Although I wandered away, I felt I still have them.

It felt like, finally, a bullet has hit my head.
The only difference with this bullet is that it didn't kill me!
It awakened me instead.
It unmasked the thick folds that were long covering my eyes.
Everything became clearer.

Right then, I knew, my eyes will never be blindfolded again.

All animals, like me, desire freedom to live free from any harmful threats that my kind poses to their own existence.

I have come to a deep realization that
~violence will never be part of me ever again.
~taking an innocent life is wrong.
~animal lives and my life are no different and both matter.
~animals feel they suffer, they rejoice, they love, they play, they mourn
(all these pretty sums up me -no difference between them and humans, is there?)
~my values are intact and I want it to stay that way, intact, unshakable.
~animals are my friends, earthlings who have equal rights to inhabit this home like me.

But what if I didn't meet my husband?
What if I married someone else?
Would I have become vegan on my own?
What do you think?

I'll address these questions soon....