Gadget: Vertical In-door Garden for Micro-veggies

EcoQube Frame

The EcoQube Frame grows micro-veggies fast, easy and affordably. Just add water and insert the seed pads, the micro-veggies will be ready in 10 days.

Watch video to see how it works (2:32 minutes) . . . . .

Couscous with Spicy Beans and Vegetables


1 lb couscous
1 tsp salt
4 tbsp margarine
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
l tbsp tomato puree
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
8 oz cauliflower florets
8 oz baby carrots, trimmed
1 red pepper, seeded and diced
6 tomatoes
8 oz courgettes, thickly sliced
14 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
3 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
salt and freshly ground black pepper
fresh coriander sprigs, to garnish


  1. Heat 2 tbsp of the oil in a large pan, add the onion and garlic and cook until soft.
  2. Stir in the tomato puree, turmeric, cayenne, ground coriander and cumin. Cook, stirring, for 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add the cauliflower, carrots and red pepper, with enough water to come half-way up the vegetables. Bring to the boil, then lower the heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Plunge the tomatoes into boiling water for 30 seconds, then refresh in cold water. Peel away the skins and chop the flesh.
  5. Add the sliced courgettes, chickpeas and tomatoes to the other vegetables and cook for a further 10 minutes.
  6. Stir in the chopped fresh coriander and season with salt and pepper. Keep hot.
  7. To cook the couscous, bring 2 cups water to the boil in a large saucepan. Add the remaining oil and the salt. Remove from the heat and add the couscous, stirring. Allow to swell for 2 minutes. Add the margarine and heat through gently, stirring to separate the grains.
  8. Turn the couscous out onto a warm serving dish and spoon the vegetables on top, pouring over any liquid. Garnish with fresh coriander sprigs and serve hot.

Makes 6 servings.

Source: Essential Vegetarian

Meatless in Singapore

Abigail Ng WY wrote . . . . .

A global initiative encouraging people to give up meat one day a week has been gaining momentum in Singapore.

The campaign, called Meatless Monday, began in 2003 in the United States before taking root in countries such as Australia and Belgium.

Singapore is getting in on the action too. In the past year, Kampung Senang, a charity and education foundation, launched Green and Healthy Monday, while Khoo Teck Puat Hospital (KTPH) and Yale-NUS College have also started promoting meat-free initiatives.

Several Facebook pages encouraging people to abstain from meat one day a week have popped up, though none are affiliated with the global campaign.

The motivations behind each campaign differ but organisers recognise the benefits of reducing animal protein intake or even cutting out egg and dairy products.

A research paper by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in the US found that a vegetarian diet may provide health benefits for the prevention and treatment of Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and obesity.

Singaporeans love their meat, with each person wolfing down an average of 77kg of meat in 2015, according to the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority. This is much higher than the global average of 41.3kg.

Going meatless also helps the environment. The meat industry generates high amounts of greenhouse gases, while 1kg of beef takes 15,000 litres of water to produce. This is nearly seven times the amount it takes to produce rice.

At Yale-NUS, the meatless initiative was spearheaded by the Yale- NUS Association for the Protection of Animals from Cruelty.

Its president Darrel Chang, 22, said it hoped to raise awareness of problems in factory farms. An environmental group and the college’s South Asian society have also come on board for the push.

Starting this month, each of the college’s three dining halls has been serving a fully vegetarian lunch once a week.

Mr Chang said his group tried to introduce the idea a few years ago but was unsuccessful. However, it now has the support of the new dean of students, who joined last year. Mr Chang said the new dean hoped the institution could make an impact and one way was by cutting its carbon footprint.

President of the student government Saza Faradilla, 21, describes herself as “quite omnivorous” but she chooses to have lunch at whichever dining hall is serving meatless meals for the day.

“The food is very different and healthy,” she said. “I expected it not to be good but it turned out to be very good. It’s guilt-free, so everyone wins.”

Another student, Jessica Teng, 21, said the movement helps to expose students to the vegetarian diet.

“It’s so easy. We have the salad bar and other good vegetarian options in school,” she said.

When The Straits Times visited Yale-NUS, there were dishes such as pumpkin curry, kungpow tau kwa (tofu in a spicy sauce) and roasted cauliflower and eggplant.

But maintaining a meatless diet is more difficult outside of school because eating places often do not have good vegetarian options. “This is an important step to change the culture, but more needs to be done,” said Ms Teng.

Small Changes

KTPH became the first local hospital earlier this month to start a campaign to promote the meat-free diet. At a three-day roadshow, 340 people pledged to reduce their meat intake.

Nurses will also encourage inpatients to choose vegetarian meals.

KTPH dietitian Hedy Cheng said the hospital hopes people will start to make small changes in their diet.

Together with others in her department, she has also decided not to eat meat on Mondays.

Ms Cheng said: “It’s something achievable, but it challenges me. I do enjoy meat but this expands my choices of protein intake.”

Some restaurants here have also adopted the movement by offering discounts on Mondays.

Well Dressed Salad Bar and Cafe is offering a 50 per cent discount on selected meals and Eight Treasures Vegetarian Restaurant has a one- for-one offer for “sharks fin” soup. The fin is made of konnyaku jelly.

Both eateries are vegetarian and are managed by Eight Treasures Vegetarian Group.

And local bakery chain Cedele is offering customers $1 off their bill if they order meatless salads (with egg or cheese) or vegetarian salads.

Ms Tricia Lee, who is in her 40s, started a Facebook page, Meatless Mondays In Singapore, to localise the movement. “I wanted to share recipes and places to eat,” she said.

Meanwhile, Kampung Senang’s community partnership manager Vernon Sun said the social enterprise will be holding the second Green And Healthy festival in August this year. Last October, the festival attracted 6,000 visitors.

Mr Sun said: “We hope to continue promoting green and healthy living in Singapore.”

Source: The Straits Times

In Pictures: Character Foods of Pompompurin Cafe in Yokohama, Japan

The Restaurant

Less Salt, Fewer Nighttime Bathroom Trips?

Lowering your salt intake could mean fewer trips to the bathroom in the middle of the night, a new study suggests.

Most people over age 60, and many even younger, wake up to pee one or more times a night. This is called nocturia. This interruption of sleep can lead to problems such as stress, irritability or tiredness, which can affect quality of life.

There are several possible causes of nocturia, including — as this study found — the amount of salt in your diet.

“This is the first study to measure how salt intake affects the frequency of going to the bathroom, so we need to confirm the work with larger studies,” said study leader Tomohiro Matsuo, from Nagasaki University in Japan.

“Nighttime urination is a real problem for many people, especially as they get older. This work holds out the possibility that a simply dietary modification might significantly improve the quality of life for many people,” he said.

The study included more than 300 Japanese adults. They all had high salt intake and sleeping problems. They were given instructions and help to reduce their salt intake and followed for 12 weeks.

The American Heart Association recommends that people consume no more than 2,300 milligrams (2.3 grams) of sodium daily. That’s about a teaspoon of salt.

Ideally, the AHA says, people shouldn’t have more than 1,500 milligrams (1.5 grams) of sodium per day. Table salt is made up of about 40 percent sodium, according to the AHA.

More than 200 people in the study reduced their salt intake. They went from an average of 11 grams per day to 8 grams a day.

With that reduction in salt, the average number of nighttime trips to the bathroom to urinate fell from 2.3 to 1.4 times per night. The number of times people needed to urinate during the day also decreased.

The drop in nighttime bathroom visits also led to an improvement in quality of life, researchers said.

In comparison, the nearly 100 participants whose average salt intake rose – from 9.6 grams per night to 11 grams nightly — had an increase in nighttime trips to the bathroom, from 2.3 to 2.7 times a night, the study revealed.

The study was to be presented Sunday at the European Society of Urology annual meeting, in London. Findings presented at meetings are typically viewed as preliminary until they’ve been published in a peer-reviewed journal.

Dr. Marcus Drake is a professor at the University of Bristol in England and leader of the working group for the ESU Guidelines Office Initiative on Nocturia. “This is an important aspect of how patients potentially can help themselves to reduce the impact of frequent urination. Research generally focuses on reducing the amount of water a patient drinks, and the salt intake is generally not considered,” he said.

“Here we have a useful study showing how we need to consider all influences to get the best chance of improving the symptom,” Drake said in an ESU news release.

Source: HealthDay

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