Gimme Five!


I brought this book in Vivo City several months ago. There was a booth selling books with great discount and I found this book. The intention of getting this book is not because I have problem giving my child fruits and vegetables. It was the creative recipes inside the book caught my attention.

After reading it, it does give me a deeper insight of how we can be creative with fruits and vegetables.

I am lucky that Yvette loves vegetables and fruits. When she eats, she will pick the vegetable from the bowl of rice or porridge and have a “bite” of them first. With this sign from her, it indeed gave me a booster to keep giving her fruits and vegetable. In fact, her lunch is usually made up of vegetable instead of meat and fish. And a cup of fruit juice if we are out.

Many parents say the most difficult part of implementing the five-a-day recommendation is knowing what constitutes a portion.

This book recommended for adults, a portion is 80g or 3 oz of any given fruit or vegetable, for children the recommended amount is a portion equals the amount a child can fit in one hand. So as the child grows, so does the portion size.

And what doesn’t count as a portion?

Fruit and vegetable either because their starch content is too high or their fruit and vegetable content is too low, the following items do not count as a portion:

  • Potatoes, yams and sweet potatoes.
  • Fruit drinks, squashes or fruit-flavoured drinks
  • Fruit yogurts
  • Jams and marmalades
  • Ketchup and the tomato sauce in baked beans.

This book shares the top ten tips on how to introduce fruits and vegetable to our children too. (These are the most popular suggestions given by parents.)

  1. Blend fresh fruits – and even vegetables – into smoothies and shakes.
  2. Make it fun: give a meal a theme and take time with presentation.
  3. Liquidize vegetables and lentils or beans in a tomato pasta sauce.
  4. Involve your children in the weekly shop.
  5. Make up a big vegetable and bean soup and blend until smooth.
  6. Get children involved in preparing and cooking a meal.
  7. Raw vegetables – usually served as crudités – are often more popular than cooked.
  8. Transform fruit into ice-creams, mousses and fools.
  9. Add extra veg. to the most popular kid’s meals such as burgers, pizza, mashed potatoes or pies.
  10. Start the day well: a glass of fresh fruit juice and cereal tapped with chopped fruit for breakfast will make it easier to achieve the recommended daily five.

I have not made use of the recipes in this book mainly because Yvette is contented just with “plain” vegetable and fruits. I will recommend parents who have difficulty in giving your child vegetable and fruit to read this book. And lastly, don’t give up in giving our child vegetables and fruit, just keep trying.


Disease-Proof Your Child – Feeding Kids Right by Joel Fuhrman, M.D


This book was recommended by my gyane during my last annual check-up. And I spent about 4 days reading them during my “me-time” at night.

I view gyane as someone who has taken best interest in my health, my baby and my wellness. I believe his knowledge in taking care of our health had far exceeded mine too. And lastly, there is no harm spending time reading this book to increase my knowledge over how to safe guard my child’s health. As parent, I only want what is best for my child.

This book offer me a far insight on how we can eat healthy, getting the right nutrient without eating fish, meat and dairy product. If you swear by drinking milk is good for our health, then please don’t read this entry and don’t read his book. He is a great believer of eating fruit, vegetable, nuts, seeds, and whole grain. Keep our meal 90% at home is what he is sharing in this book. And after reading this article, Eat wisely to lower your risk from Today paper, I swear by this book can offer me and my family.

Everything written in this book is worthwhile for me to share with everyone. But I can’t duplicate what he had written in this book. I will be caught in infringement of copyright act. I would suggest you to grab a copy from the national library or buy a copy if you can afford to.

Meanwhile, I will extract some of the interesting facts he had shared in this book here.

Chapter 1: Understand Superior Nutrition

Are milk and cheese needed for calcium?

When you eat a healthy diet rich in natural foods, fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts and seeds, it is impossible not to obtain sufficient calcium. Of course, when our calories come mostly from oil, flour, and animal muscle parts (which have no calcium), instead of unrefined plant foods, it can appear that without dairy the diet would be too low in calcium. But the minute we removed the processed junk food, sugar, and oil from the diet, and instead encourage the consumption of natural foods such as nuts seeds, fruits, and vegetable, we get the healthy fats we need, and we also get plenty of calcium.

To raise healthy children we need to reduce dairy fat and substitute more fats and more calcium from raw nuts and seeds, tofu, and vegetables. Today, both soy milk and orange juice are fortified with calcium and vitamin D. you do not have to be concerned about your children consuming too little calcium if you remove or reduce diary.

Our body absorbs the calcium differently from different foods and absorbs calcium most efficiently from vegetables. Only about 32% of the calcium in milk is absorbed, while 54% of calcium in bok choy is absorbed.

100 calories of Calcium Percentage and Amount absorbed
Skim milk 334 mg 32 % 107 mg
Kale 449 mg 59 % 265 mg
Bok Choy 787 mg 54 % 435 mg
Broccoli 189 mg 53 % 100 mg

 Calcium content of Common Foods

Foods Amount Calcium
Almonds – raw ½ cup 180 mg
Broccoli 1 cup 180 mg
Milk (whole) 1 cup 291 mg
Navy beans 1 cup 140 mg
Orange (2) 120 mg
Raisins ½ cup 60 mg
Sesame seeds ¼ cup 350 mg
Soybeans 1 cup 261 mg
Spinach 1 cup 244 mg
Tofu 1 cup 300 mg

When you eat less animal protein and less salt, you do not lose as much calcium in the urine and therefore need less calcium. Excess animal protein and sodium promote excessive calcium loss in the urine, increasing calcium requirements. When you eat a diet predominating in natural foods the way nature designed them, you do not have to worry about getting extra calcium. In fact, more natural plant foods added to the diet (fruits and vegetables) have been shown to have a powerful effect on increasing bone density and bone health. There are factors in these plants other than calcium that have beneficial effects on our bones. You and your child can achieve nutritional excellence utilizing a variety of natural foods while reducing dependence on dairy, and especially cheese and butter.

Chapter 2: Preventing and Treating Childhood Illness Nutritionally

Dietary Guideline for Children with Allergies and Asthma

  • A high-nutrient, vegetable-nut-fruit-based diet
  • One Tbsp of ground flax seeds daily
  • At least one ounce of raw walnuts daily, with the addition of other raw nuts
  • DHA supplements, 100-400 mg daily
  • Multivitamin without vitamin A or isolated beta-carotene
  • No process foods, dairy fat, or trans fat
  • Little or no oils; essential fats are supplied from raw nuts and seeds and DHA supplementation
  • Avoidance of known allergens

“A child is mostly eating solid food after one year of age, but it is a good idea to continue with some breast-feeding even if just twice a day until the second birthday. After weaning from the breast, the same qualities that make a healthy adult diet, a diet rich in fruits, vegetable, beans, nuts, and seeds, make the best diet for children.”

Chapter 3: Understanding the causes of Cancer and Other Illness

Besides the heightened exposure to chemicals and pesticides are used on some plant foods responsible for the majority of the plant-food-related dietary risk. These foods with the most pesticide residue are: strawberries, peaches, raspberries, blackberries, grapes, cherries, apples, and celery. Imported produce is also more likely to contain higher levels of pesticides.


  • After peeling and discarding the skin of bananas, mangoes, pineapples, and melons, wash your hands with soap before touching, serving, or eating them.
  • Peel and discard skin of potatoes and carrots, unless organic.
  • Peel cucumbers, apples, peaches, and pears, unless organic.
  • Trim all fat and skin from poultry or other animal foods.
  • Avoid eating fruits imported from other countries, unless they have skins that can be removed and discarded.
  • Do not eat non-organic strawberries or feed them to children. Use frozen organic when fresh organic are not available or too expensive.

Chapter 4: Feeding Your Family for Superior Health


  • Stock your home with a variety of produce, especially fresh fruits, raw vegetables, raw nuts, and seeds. Incorporate bean burgers, vegetable/bean soups, and fruit-centered desserts.
  • Replace foods of animal origin with foods of plant origin. Limit poultry to once or twice a week and red meat to even less. Remove skin from poultry. Use the light meat only.
  • Remove sugar, salt, and white flour from the home, as well as all products with these added. Use only whole-grain beads and pasta. Use tomato sauce for pasta, not oil-based or cheese-based sauces. Try bean or lentil pasta instead of wheat flour pasta.
  • Minimize the use of vegetable oils, replacing them with dressings and sauces made with avocados and whole nuts and seeds. Make delicious desserts with nuts, seeds, and avocados to encourage the consumption of healthy fats.
  • Do not keep cheese and butter in the house. If eating dairy foods, select no-fat varieties and only eat small amounts. Replace dairy products with soy milk and nut milk fortified with calcium and vitamin D and B12. If utilizing dairy products in your homes, only use fat-free versions.
  • Avoid eating lobster, shrimp, mollusks, catfish, swordfish, bluefish, mackerel, pike, shark, tuna, and any fish caught in questionable waters. Limit other fish to once weekly.
  • Eliminate fried foods and barbecued foods, both of which expose you to high levels of carcinogenic compounds produced by these high-heat cooking methods.
  • Remove all sweet drinks, soda, and processed fruit juice from the house.
  • Make healthy snacks available; cherry tomatoes, raw nuts, carrots, fruit, chickpeas, corn, and raw string beans are great choices. (For toddlers below the age of two and a half, beware of the choking hazard of whole nuts and carrot.)

Chapter 5: Preparing Healthy Foods That Your Kids Will Love


  • Look for one without vitamin A – vitamin A intake leads to calcium loss in the urine and osteoporosis. We make all the vitamin A we need from the carotenes found in fruits and vegetable.
  • A children’s supplement should not have more than 2500 IU of beta-carotene, but even less is better. It is best to receive carotenes from food, not supplements. Studies looking at beta-carotene supplementation show a higher rate of both cancer and heart disease in those supplemented with a nigh dose of beta-carotene.
  • It should contain the full spectrum of minerals.
  • It should be free from artificial colors, flavors, and artificial sweeteners.
  • It must taste acceptable to your children, as it does no good if your child refuses to take it.

The author has included a set of recipes and 10 Days of suggested menu. I have shortlisted some to try.

Eat wisely to lower your risk

Eat wisely to lower your risk (source)


05:55 AM Aug 12, 2009

AS THE saying goes, you are what you eat. But what you eat – and how your food is prepared – can go a long way in helping to keep various forms of cancer at bay.

There is “enough evidence that vegetables are the least cancer-causing food” Dr William G Nelson, a leading cancer researcher at Johns Hopkins University, told Today in an interview recently.

“For fruits and vegetables, the colours are the antioxidants that seem to be protective – blue in blueberries, red in chillies …

“Cauliflower, broccoli, daikon (radish), bak choy, which are more common in Asian cuisine, have these protective substances in them,” he added.

Studies have also shown that condiments, such as wasabi and Chinese mustard, offered some form of protection against carcinogens in laboratory animals which had been fed with them.

While, as Dr Nelson put it, “there’s no downside to vegetables”, red meat is something that you may want to think twice before indulging in generous amounts.

“If you look at prostate cancer/breast cancer, colorectal cancer … the risks seem to be higher when people eat in particular, red meats,” said Dr Nelson, who is Marion I Knott Professor of Oncology and Director of the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Centre at Johns Hopkins.

Research has suggested a link between the way red meat is prepared and cancer.

“The risk seems to be higher when people eat in particular – red meats cooked to very high temperatures or over a flame”, Dr Nelson said.

This is because carcinogens are created in food at high temperatures. Some safer food preparation methods are baking and steaming, rather than pan-frying and charbroiling, he added.

“Eating things that are extremely hot … can increase the risk of cancer. You want to avoid eating scalding food; this increases the risk of oesophagus cancer,” said Dr Nelson, who was in Singapore last week to meet local cancer researchers.

Ultimately, the key to reducing the cancer risk may lie in a simple practice – whatever food you take, have it in moderate amounts.

“If you’re eating that type of food three or four times a day, that’s not good for you,” said Dr Nelson, who is his early 50s.

Dr Nelson, whose focus of research is prostate cancer, noted that the disease is “at an epidemic level in the Western world”. And while it is “not as high in Asia”, it is increasing. “Overall, 70 to 80 per cent of cancer can be attributed to environmental lifestyle, which includes cigarette smoking and the next most common is diet,” he said.

As to the genetic element, Dr Nelson said the risk of “genetics hit around 40 per cent”. Studies have shown that Asian migrants to North America typically lose their gastric cancer risk within one generation. However, the very same group increase their risk to “Western world” cancers, such as prostate and colorectal cancer.

“The question is what did they do? It is not genetics in this case, a lot of it is lifestyle, and most people think it’s diet.”

Thus, a person who is “genetically susceptible” to cancer may have a greater risk of getting the disease due to his diet or lifestyle.

As such, “personalised treatment” for people with “personalised risk” may be the way of the future when it comes to treating cancer patients, Dr Nelson added.

Mind Your Body (16th July 2009)

Kids get Arthritis too

This article highlights the followings:

  1. Arthritis affects children too. (In Singapore there was a girl as young as 4 was diagnosed with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA))
  2. 300k of children in the US has some form of JA. No Singapore figures are available as no studies have been carried out. (0.1% of kids worldwide have juvenile arthritis.)
  3. The causes of JIA are unknown. Children below the age of 16, who complain of pain in the joints, should be checked for JIA.
  4. 7 types of JIA. Most common being Oligoarticular JIA, where fewer than five joints is involved. And in all forums of JIA< inflammation of the joints is a significant symptom.
  5. The good news is that, unlike adult forms of arthritis, childhood arthritis usually has good prognosis. However, early and aggressive treatment is necessary, especially for severe JIA, as arthritis in children can affect bone development and growth.
  6. Childhood arthritis can affect children of any age but it is extremely uncommon in early childhood. Most are affected during their late childhood or early teen years.
  7. Causes are still unknown but it is possibly related to the immune system attacking the body.
  8. Mild forms of JIA can be treated with physiotherapy and pain relief. More severe forms will need stronger medication, sometimes in the forum of weekly injections. And this may last a few years.
  9. Some may continue to have arthritis in the future and these patients are those whose blood tests are positive for Rheumatoid factor, have Juvenile Ankylosing Spondylitis (another type of juvenile arthritis) or systemic-onset JIA, which affects the whole body.
  10. One popular misconception about JIA is that children with this condition should not exercise.
  11. Children with JIA may benefit from taking supplements that contain calcium, iron and omega-3 fatty acids.

Mind Your Body (02nd July 2009)

This is one section of The Straits Times on every Thursday. This is something I will read and will not miss it even I have no time (Make time). This has provided me plenty of information about Medical and health issues. Almost all the articles published are from the experts such as doctors, medical researcher, nurses, etc.

This week, there are two topics that really interest me. Taming tantrums and Stop those night leaks (Bedwetting) and would like to share with everyone here. (I shan’t extract the whole article here but will share information that will be useful to me at least when I revisit this post again.)

Taming Tantrums

This article highlights the followings:

  1. Children can sense when their parents become frustrated and may respond with even more tantrums, so keeping cool is important.
  2. Infants younger than 12 months throw a tantrum, unlike toddlers; it is not to test your limits, so it is important to check what is bothering them and to alleviate their fear and anxiety.
    1. If babies are left alone, they may have sense of insecurity
    2. Babies signal their hunger, tiredness or emotions by throwing a tantrum too.
  3. Toddlers express their frustration at not being able to get what they want, even babies do so.

Doctors’ advice:

  1. Keep cool.
  2. Part of growing up.
  3. Limit-setting.
  4. Parent should try to figure out the reason and address the child’s needs – a process eased by regular parent-child interaction.
  5. Give the child sufficient attention.
  6. A hug.
  7. Try to distract them.
  8. Toddlers want autonomy, so giving them control over little things will help minimize tantrums.
  9. Give them choice.

Stop those night leaks

This article highlights the followings:


  1. For unknown reasons, bedwetting is three times more prevalent among boys than girls. However, it is not a sign of underlying disease.
  2. Almost 20% of children aged five commonly bedwet. Bedwetting affects those aged five to 18 too but 15% in this age group can overcome it without treatment.
  3. 1% of the population still bedwet in adulthood.
  4. Studies have shown that constant bedwetting can affect the child’s psycho-social development, resulting in low self-esteem and poor social adjustment. It can also cause anxiety in parents and other family members, as well as deter healthy outdoor activities like travelling and school camps.
  5. Although the exact cause of bedwetting remains unknown, some doctors think it may be hereditary or due to a lack of bladder control and capacity, deep sleep, hormone deficiency or social factors. 44% chance of bedwetting if one parent had bedwet when young, and 68% if both parents were bedwetters.
  6. Children with bedwetting problems may have a lower level of the antidiuretic hormone (ADH), which suppresses the rate of urine production at night. (About 30% of children have it.)
  7. Stress from starting school and exams are also factors that may contribute to bedwetting .Psychological stress(for older children) includes the birth of a new sibling, parental divorce or separation, death in the family, problems at school or child abuse.
  8. Bedwetting does not stem from poor potty training, and in most cases, the problem will cease when the child grows older.
  9. Children aged 6 to 12, or even those in their teens, who are toilet-trained, may have a sudden onset of bedwetting too. This condition, known as secondary nocturnal enuresis, is defined as bedwetting that develops after at least six months of dryness. (8% of children develop secondary nocturnal enuresis by the age of 10.)


  1. Motivational therapy. Use star charts and reward systems for children aged 5 to 7 to reward them for dry nights.
  2. Bladder training. Encourage the child to delay daytime urination by doing stretching exercise. This may help child’s bladder to hold more urine at night.
  3. Enuresis alarm. A device comprises a moisture sensor and an alarm unit. The sensor is placed in the child’s underwear and when a few drops of urine fall onto the sensor, it triggers the alarm unit which emits sounds or vibrations which wake the child so he can go the bathroom. This is a conditioning process, the child will gradually learns to sense when his bladder is full and to wake up before he wets the bed.
  4. Medication for lack of ADH. Desmopressin, a medication which comes in a nose spray or pill, taken every night before bedtime. It cost $50 to more than $100 per month.

Tips for parents:

  1. Put a night light in the bathroom so that the child can easily make his way there at night.
  2. Cover mattress with a plastic sheet or use waterproof protector.
  3. Get the child to rinse his underwear and pyjamas. Let the child take responsibility over their act.
  4. Motivate the child to overcome the problem.
  5. Do not punish your child. Kids do not wet the bed to irritate you.

Nurturing Young Children

I have just finished reading this book, Nurturing Young Children (Editor Dr Khoo Kim Choo). I like to read and I do read a lot too (if time permit.  :D) Ever since I was pregnant, I started to read books related to pregnancy, baby care, baby proof the marriage, etc. However, due to my short memory syndrome, I am a regular contributor to NLB. (I always pay fine!  L)

 I will recommend all busy mums to read this book. A total of 116 pages. It can be easily finish in a day.  This book is written by Singaporean. It brings together the collective expertise and experience of early childhood educators, psychologist, child psychiatrist, social workers, trainers and curriculum developers. A very localized book in Singapore context.

The book informs, explains and offers guidelines to promote different aspects of children’s development.

·         Section 1 focuses on building the foundation for the child

·         Section 2 addresses the development of routine care

·         Section 3 deals with social skills

·         Section 4 looks at thinking

·         Section 5 shows that children learn easily if it is fun and the subject is made relevant to them

·         Section 6 examines some of the problem areas parents may encounter

I agree with the editor saying parents and those who work with young children may find this series of articles useful in supplementing their own core knowledge and skills in nurturing children.

Quick, grab a copy from nearest NLB!