In Pictures: New Menu of Gelato Pique Cafe in Japan Features Character Rilakkuma

Chinese-style Spicy Shredded Beef


8 ounces rump or tenderloin of beef
1 tablespoon each light and dark soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine or medium-dry sherry
1 teaspoon dark brown soft sugar
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1-inch piece fresh ginger root, peeled and grated
1-2 carrots, cut into matchsticks
2-3 fresh or dried chilies, halved, seeded (optional) and chopped
salt and ground black pepper
fresh chives, to garnish


  1. With a sharp knife, slice the beef very thinly, then cut each slice into fine strips or shreds.
  2. Mix together the light and dark soy sauces with the rice wine or sherry and sugar in a bowl. Add the strips of beef and stir well to ensure they are evenly coated with the marinade.
  3. Heat a wok and add half the oil. When it is hot, stir-fry the onion and ginger for 3-4 minutes, then transfer to a plate.
  4. Add the carrot, stir-fry for 3-4 minutes until slightly softened, then transfer to a plate and keep warm.
  5. Heat the remaining oil in the wok, then quickly add the beef, with the marinade, followed by the chilies. Stir-fry over high heat for 2 minutes.
  6. Return the fried onion and ginger to the wok and stir-fry for 1 minute more. Season with salt and pepper to taste, cover and cook for 30 seconds. Spoon the meat into two warmed bowls and add the strips of carrots. Garnish with fresh chives and serve.

Makes 2 servings.

Source: Asian Cooking

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Opinion: Canadian Food Guide Falls Short for Aging Seniors

Heather Keller wrote . . . . . . . . .

“What do you think of the new Canada’s Food Guide?” is a question I have been asked a lot since Health Canada launched new guidance on how the country should eat. The guide recommends a plant-focused diet, but not to the exclusion of animal products — an approach consistent with the Mediterranean diet that has been studied extensively and shown to promote good health.

The guide is well designed for the healthy among us. That’s good news. But what about those living with chronic illness or frailty? Canada’s Food Guide has traditionally been used to plan menus for hospitals and care residences, despite the fact that it was not intended for this purpose.

When someone is frail, they have poor function in many areas of their life and are vulnerable to bad health outcomes; even a minor stress can result in a crisis. The new food guide is not specific enough to meet the essential dietary needs of aging seniors living with chronic illness or frailty.

What’s the difference?

As we get older, we start to lose our muscle mass because of our sedentary lifestyles and also because of what we eat. Muscles allow us to get out of a chair, pick up our grandchildren, balance so we don’t fall. It is now recognized that older adults need more protein, and specifically quality protein, than other age groups to maintain their muscle and prevent frailty.

So what is enough?

Experts recommend one to 1½ grams per kilogram of body weight per day. So, someone who weighs 80 kg (around 175 lbs.) should have 80 to 120 g of protein per day. But what do I mean by “quality protein”? This is protein that contains the essential amino acids that our body cannot make; it needs to come from what we eat.

Animal products, such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs and milk products, provide all of these essential amino acids in the right amounts, but not all plants do (an exception is soy). So if you avoid animal products, this means eating a variety of plant sources every day to get the right mix of essential amino acids. This takes education, planning and often cooking your own food; this can be challenging for older adults at risk for frailty, such as those living alone.

For older adults, getting enough of those essential amino acids without blowing their calorie requirements is also a challenge. Most plant sources are not as efficient as animal sources for attaining requirements; we need to eat more lentils, beans and nuts to get the protein we need.

Take the humble egg, with six grams of protein and 70 calories; the same amount of protein from peanut butter will double your calories. A chicken breast with no skin (three ounces) has around 30 grams of protein in under 200 calories. To get the same amount of protein from soy would mean more calories.

Also, some key nutrients known to mitigate frailty (calcium, vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids) are more often found naturally in animal products.

We know that menus in long-term care often miss the mark on almost half of necessary nutrients, in part because the 2007 Food Guide was used for planning. A dietitian is the best resource for guiding those who are sick in hospitals or frail in residences.

With malnutrition common in hospitalized patients, many of whom are older adults, this means we need to work toward a standard for health-care institutions that promotes recovery from illness and prevents more malnutrition and consequent frailty. The good news is that the Canadian Malnutrition Task Force with the Canadian Nutrition Society is working towards this goal.

As a Canadian Frailty Network investigator, I have been advocating for some time that dietary reference intakes, which provide specific recommendations by sex and age group for vitamins, minerals and protein, should be the starting point for hospital and residence menus to prevent deficiency and chronic diseases. So, do I like the new food guide? I do. I am, however, waiting for more information on how this guide can be adapted to vulnerable populations, including older adults living with frailty and those living in our health-care institutions.

Heather Keller is the Schlegel Research Chair in Nutrition and Aging and a professor in the department of kinesiology at the University of Waterloo. She is also a researcher with Canadian Frailty Network.

Source: Winnipeg Free Press

Adding High-quality Plant-based Foods to Diet Decreases Risk of Deaths from Heart Disease and Other Causes

As long as you don’t count French fries and soda as healthy choices, it’s never too late to increase your longevity and cut your risk of heart disease death by adding fruits and vegetables to your diet, according to preliminary research presented at the American Heart Association’s Epidemiology and Prevention | Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health Scientific Sessions 2019, a premier global exchange of the latest advances in population based cardiovascular science for researchers and clinicians.

“Not all plant-based diets are equal, but boosting the intake of high-quality plant-based foods over time lowers the risk of death even among people who started off with poor-quality diets,” said Megu Y. Baden, M.D., Ph.D., lead author of the study and postdoctoral research fellow in the department of nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston.

Previous studies have shown that eating a high-quality plant-based diet can reduce the risk of diabetes and heart disease, but this is the first to look at how positive or negative changes in diet may influence a person’s risk of dying – no matter where they started. In the current study, researchers developed three diet scales that took into account the overall consumption of plant-based foods, the consumption of healthful plant-based foods (such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables and nuts), and the consumption of lower-quality plant-based foods (such as fruit juices, refined grains, potatoes and sweets).

The study included 47,983 women (average age 64 years) participating in the Nurses’ Health Study and 25,737 men (average age 64 years) participating in the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study. None had a history of heart disease or cancer when they entered the study in 1998. Using dietary reports, participants were assessed on changes in their diet over the 12 years prior to entering the study.

Compared to those who had fairly stable diets, during a 12-year follow-up period (1998-2014) the researchers found that deaths from all causes were:

  • 8 percent lower in those with the biggest increase in an overall plant-based diet;
  • 10 percent lower in those with the biggest increase in a healthy plant-based diet;
  • 11 percent higher in those with the biggest increase in an unhealthy plant-based diet.

A 10-point increase in score on the healthy plant-based diet scale (which can be achieved for example by replacing 1 serving/day intake of refined grains with whole grains, increasing fruit intake by 1 serving/day and vegetable intake by 1 serving/day, and decreasing sugary beverage intake by 1 serving/day) was associated with a 10 percent lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease, while a 10-point increase in score on the unhealthy plant-based diet scale was associated with a 6 percent high risk of cardiovascular-disease death.

“Over a period of time, consuming more whole grains, fruits, vegetables, while decreasing your intake of refined grains, sweets and desserts, and animal foods such as animal fat meat, and miscellaneous animal-based foods, may lower your risk of death from heart disease and other causes,” Baden said.

Results were adjusted for several factors, including age, race, initial diet score, body mass index, weight change, family history of diabetes, heart attack, or cancer, heart disease risk factors, medications, menopausal status and hormone use, initial and changes in smoking and other lifestyle influences, and weight change. Because the study was not a randomized trial, it cannot prove a cause-and-effect relationship between the dietary changes and the risk of death. Although there is no reason to think that consuming high-quality plant foods would not be good for everyone, these results in health professionals who were predominantly of European ancestry might not be generalizable to other groups of people.

The most recent dietary guideline, by the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology, recommends that adults follow a dietary pattern that emphasizes vegetables, fruits, and whole grains; includes low-fat dairy products, poultry, fish, legumes, non-tropical vegetable oils, and nuts; and limits intake of saturated fats, sodium, sweets, sugar-sweetened beverages and red meats.

Source: American Heart Association

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