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Taiwanese-style Rice with Stewed Pork Belly

Ingredients

640 g pork belly with skin
8 slices of ginger, crushed
4 stalks green onion, chopped
400 g cooked rice
400 g boiled Shanghai bok choy
1/4 cup chopped shallot
1 tbsp chopped ginger
1 tbsp chopped garlic

Sauce

3 cups water
3 tbsp Shaoxing wine
1/2 cup dark soy sauce
1/4 cup rock sugar
4 star anise
2 tsp sesame oil

Method

  1. Scrape clean hair on the skin of the pork. Rinse and blanch in boiling water wit ginger and green onion for 15 minutes.
  2. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a wok, saute shallot, ginger and garlic until fragrant. Add sauce ingredients and pork belly. Bring to a boil. Turn own heat, cover and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes until the pork is tender.
  3. Slice pork into bite-size pieces.
  4. Divide cooked rice on serving dishes. Arrange pork and Shanghai bok choy on top of rice. Add sauce and serve.

Makes 4 to 5 servings.

Source: Rice and Noodles

In Pictures: Raw Vegan Cakes

What Are Chia Seeds?

When you hear “chia” your first thought may be of the green fur or hair of Chia Pets, collectible clay figurines. But did you know that chia seeds also can be a healthful addition to your diet?

Chia seeds come from the desert plant Salvia hispanica, a member of the mint family. Salvia hispanica seed often is sold under its common name “chia” as well as several trademarked names. Its origin is believed to be in Central America where the seed was a staple in the ancient Aztec diet. The seeds of a related plant, Salvia columbariae (golden chia), were used primarily by Native Americans in the southwestern United States.

Chia seeds have recently gained attention as an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acid. They also are an excellent source of fiber at 10 grams per ounce (about 2 tablespoons), and contain protein and minerals including iron, calcium, magnesium and zinc.

Emerging research suggests that including chia seeds as part of a healthy diet may help improve cardiovascular risk factors such as lowering cholesterol, triglycerides and blood pressure. However, there are not many published studies on the health benefits of consuming chia seeds and much of the available information is based on animal studies or human studies with a small number of research participants.

How to Eat Chia Seeds

Chia seeds can be eaten raw or prepared in a number of dishes. Sprinkle ground or whole chia seeds on cereal, rice, yogurt or vegetables. In Mexico, a dish called chia fresco is made by soaking chia seeds in fruit juice or water. Chia seeds are very absorbent and develop a gelatinous texture when soaked in water making it easy to mix them into cooked cereal or other dishes.

The seeds are not the only important part of the chia plant; the sprouts also are edible. Try adding them to salads, sandwiches and other dishes.

Source: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

Study: Self-monitoring of Blood Sugar Had No Effect on Long-term Glucose Levels in Those Not Taking Insulin

Steven Reinberg wrote . . . . . .

People with type 2 diabetes who aren’t taking insulin don’t necessarily need to check their blood sugar levels, a new study contends.

Many of these patients use “finger prick” blood sugar monitors, but “testing blood sugar didn’t have any impact on their blood sugar,” said study author Dr. Laura Young, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of North Carolina.

“The best way to control blood sugar is to take your medication the way your doctor asks you to and to take good care of yourself,” she said. “The key is really taking your medications.”

Monitoring might be helpful when starting a new medication or changing doses, Young said.

“But if someone is on insulin, they absolutely need to be tested regularly,” she said. Insulin predisposes people to have blood sugar that’s too low, a condition called hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia can cause dizziness and weakness and, if not treated, lead to coma, Young said.

“Patients should have a conversation with their doctor about whether or not they should be checking blood sugar,” she said.

For the study, Young and her colleagues randomly assigned 450 patients with type 2 diabetes who weren’t taking insulin to monitor their blood sugar once a day with a typical blood sugar meter, once a day with a monitor that gave them a feedback message, or to not monitor blood sugar at all.

The participants in the study were from 15 primary care practices in North Carolina. Their average age was 61, and they’d had diabetes for an average of eight years. About three-quarters were monitoring their blood sugar at the start of the study.

After a year, the researchers found no differences between the groups in how well their blood sugar was controlled or in their quality of life.

It’s possible that these results were skewed by people who dropped out of the trial. An improvement in blood sugar seen in hemoglobin A1c levels was seen in the early months of the trial, but wasn’t significant at the end of the trial, the researchers reported. Hemoglobin A1c is a blood test (usually done at the doctor’s office) that provides an average of about two to three months of blood sugar levels.

One diabetes expert agreed that routine blood sugar checks may not be necessary for these patients.

“The value of self-monitoring of blood sugar levels in patients not treated with insulin is minimal,” said Dr. Joel Zonszein, director of the Clinical Diabetes Center at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City.

“In my practice, I advocate that every patient with diabetes needs to have a monitor, needs to know how to check blood sugars, and needs to check blood sugars from time to time, when they are sick and when treatment is changed,” he said.

Zonszein agreed that the main reason to check blood sugar is not to see if it’s too high, but to check if it’s too low.

This is especially true for patients taking sulfonylureas, such as chlorpropamide (Diabinese), he said.

“These agents can cause hypoglycemia, and low blood sugar is something we want to diagnose and treat. Those patients on hypoglycemic agents such as sulfonylureas need to monitor more often, as they can have a low blood sugar and not even know about it,” Zonszein said.

The majority of his type 2 diabetes patients are treated with metformin and one of the newer medications, such as a liraglutide (Victoza) or canagliflozin (Invokana) or combinations of those drugs.

“These patients tend to have a normal A1c and they rarely need to check their blood sugars, as these agents don’t cause significant hypoglycemia,” he said.

In other studies, frequent blood sugar monitoring has been found to not be beneficial, and might also lead to depression, Zonszein said.

“The authors proved what I have been telling my patients,” he said. “Monitoring blood sugar is somewhat painful and very costly, and when it is done, it has to have a reason.”

The findings were published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, to coincide with a presentation of the study at the American Diabetes Association’s annual meeting, in San Diego.

Source: HealthDay


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