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Born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Daniel has lived in Toronto, Canada for 28 years. He’s a loving father, practicing dentist, divorcee and a well traveled “citizen of the world”. Having had extensive experience with online dating, travel and life in the Philippines, Daniel will tell it like it is and will no doubt open some eyes. He is currently engaged to a Chinese lady that he met on CLM and will very soon get married. However, he's seen a dark side too. Get ready for the good, the bad and the ugly.
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Lucubrating About Food and Health    

By Daniel Chermont
5019 Views | 12 Comments | 6/2/2013 4:32:22 PM

First and most important, I am elated to share the good news with all fellow members of CLM and ALM. Angela, my lovely Chinese wife to be, is fully recovered of her respiratory problem (it was probably a virus) and I am actually packing up my stuff to be heading to Beijing on June 3rd. God willing, everything will be fine and we will very soon be getting married. I will share the news and pictures of us celebrating our Chinese marriage with all of you.

I was planning to write a couple of articles about food and health and for my surprise a fellow blogger wrote an excellent, as usual, article about food, eating habits, its consequences and impact on our overall health.

I liked Achelle Vinzon’s article about the excess use of oil and MSG in the Chinese Cuisine and I posted a comment, which I am repeating here:

Ladies and gentlemen, Lassies and Lads, let us not start WW III over this. Ms Vinzons is entitled to her opinion and I really do not think that crossed her mind for a split second to offend either China or the Chinese people. I guess her comments were made with the best intentions at heart and should be read under that light. Please let us calm down and try to learn with each other. There is NO perfect country, there is NO perfect person and of course, there is NO diet or cuisine that is either perfect or 100% healthy. If you guys asked me, I would say that in Europe, for example, the Greek are probably the ones that have the simplest and healthiest diet. In my country, Brazil, in some regions people are more health conscious than others. However, in some places though they use tons of salt and a lot of pork fat. No wonder these are exactly the places with higher incidence of certain types of Cancer and cardiovascular diseases ....

It happened to us the same that happened to Achelle’s country (the Philippines) and Cuba. More than any other countries invaded by the Spaniards the Phils and Cuba unfortunately assimilated the Spanish cuisine. Brazil was invaded by the Portuguese, most from the North (Minho) which have a cuisine similar to the Spaniards’, lots of pork, pork fat and also salty foods.

It is amazing how a country like the Philippines, which is an Archipelago, with tons of delicious, fresh and tasty fruits and vegetables and also the best fishing grounds of the world (specially General Santos, the Tuna capital of the world and Cebu, a seafood lover's paradise) has "national dishes" as pork Adobo (a pork stew) and "Lechon" (roasted pig). It is about culture, tradition.

I also worry about the health of the Chinese people and peoples from all nations, we are ALL brothers and sisters. We should stick together and by learning from each other we will ALL benefit.

One question comes to mind, if pork fat etc is so bad for us, how come our grandparents, great grandparents etc, would live close to 100 years? I guess the answer is simple. We face different conditions in our planet these days. We have to face acid rain, the rivers, oceans, seas and lakes are polluted (including by heavy metals and all kinds of inorganic hazards), we have to deal with air pollution, stress at work, stress in the families, the ozone layer is getting thinner and thinner as we speak, so, combine all of this and that is why we are facing so many crazy unknown diseases and the offices of psychologists and psychiatrists are full.

In fairness, I found some of the comments Ms Vinzons did on her own people really hard. She did not spare them because they were her fellow citizens. When I criticize Brazil or Canada I also speak out and denounce what I perceive as being wrong, but in the name of improvement, not just negative criticism per se.

Please, let us cool down. Long live Great China and the great Chinese people. Peace on Earth!!!!! In fights, there are never winners, we ALL lose ..... God bless you all.

There are only three things we really need to survive: air, water and food, everything else is a bonus, even love is privilege. One of my hobbies is cooking and I really feel that eating is not just a necessity it should also be a pleasure.

When we are in a restaurant, no matter how fancy or how simple it is, we have no way of knowing or controlling what is going on behind the wall which separates the dining room and the kitchen. That is why they say in Brazil, “never pick a fight with a barber, the cook, your wife, your lawyer or your doctor, they can do more harm to you than anybody or anything else”.

I had the privilege to eat in excellent restaurants in many countries and also in simple ones that gave me the same satisfaction, but I love to eat at home and cook for my friends and family. A Chef friend of mine once said “the best cooks are the mothers, because they cook with love”. Nothing could be more true.

I had also the chance to eat food prepared by Brazilian natives in the Amazon Forest (their habitat), simple food with very fresh produce, fish, game, fruits and herbs, cooked in a very primitive way and Gosh it was simply delicious.

Food should provide us with our nutritional necessities, but also please our eyes, noses, taste buds and feed our soul, it should be fun, it should be a joyous experience. To begin with, food should be simple, the more you add into a dish you are preparing, the more you confuse your taste buds and at the end you can not even distinguish the herbs and spices anymore. I learned this with a Chef from Sicily which was also trained as a pastry chef in France.

A good example is the “pizza”, a food which I believe many people in the world love. The story goes that a baker from Naples one day decided to stretch thin some dough, put a bit of sauce and few drops of olive oil (some say that there was not even cheese involved in the original one) and baked it. It was the birth of one of foods that makes us think of Italy right away.

These days they make pizza with dozens of toppings, all kinds of cheeses (from mozzarella and buffalo mozzarella to bocconcini, fontina, Danish blue, emmentaler, provolone, gorgonzola etc) and the toppings go from the humble pepperoni to even porcini mushrooms marinated in wine and caviar!!!

As we all know, the richest cuisines in the world are the Chinese and the Turkish. The Turks, because when the Ottoman Empire spread all over, they took with them their culture, habits, music, arts, architecture, foods, spices etc to the countries they conquered and also took back home new things, new spices and new techniques they learned from the peoples they conquered.

In China, they have a dozen different cuisines because of the immense size of the country and a very diverse population. Even though the Han are the majority, the statistics say 80%, the other 20% (Gosh, this represents more than the population of the US, Canada and North Korea combined) is formed by completely different groups, with their own cuisines, folklore etc. Simply put, it is mind boggling. So, to talk about “Chinese cuisine” seems to be very simplistic when in reality there are hundreds and hundreds of dishes prepared in every conceivable way.

I saw pictures of some dishes that were prepared in China as they would be for an Imperial banquet and t was really amazing, a work of art, simply spectacular, just beautiful. No wonder they were prepared for Emperors and the lucky one ones invited to those unique culinary events.

In Toronto we have a very large concentration of Asian persons and the largest group is of course Chinese. Our Chinatown is the 3rd largest in the world, behind San Francisco and Vancouver.

I am very fond of Chinese cuisine and quite frankly, most of the dishes I eat on Chinese restaurants are either steamed or boiled. Very seldom I see or eat fried (specially deep fried) food. I see in most restaurants signs “NO MSG”.

The traditional Cantonese “stir frying” technique calls for high temperature, usually provided by a 16.000 BTUs gas burner but I feel we should use a lower temperature, the oil should NEVER go above 375 Fahrenheit, because any oil will smoke, degrade and become unhealthy. So the ideal would be to start with a good oil, just a table spoon of it , at the right temperature and stir fry very quickly to keep the veggies crispy.

Salt, MSG, should NEVER be added. Monosodium Glutamate is not healthy, it even triggers migraine in some people. Do you want to use a “taste enhancer”? Use fresh lemon juice, lemon peel and fresh herbs instead! Lemon juice is great on fruit salads too, enhances the taste of the fruits and prevent fruits like apples and pears to get “brownish” and unpleasant to the eye. Lemon juice is also an excellent beef tenderizer since you have ascorbic acid that makes the beef fibers tender. It is also an excellent and natural food preservative. DO NOT put salt in the beef when you marinate or cook, it will make it though. When you marinate something, use just a few drops of coconut oil, the herbs and spices you like and “rub” in the beef and let it stay in the fridge overnight. The oil will make the marinate “stick” to the beef.

I use ONLY two oils on my cooking: organic virgin, cold pressed baby coconut oil (from Jamaica or Thailand), and organic extra virgin premium olive oil, cold pressed, from Greece. These oils have extremely low acidity.

I NEVER use any type of animal fat, as lard, butter etc or hydrogenated oils. These are the things that clog our coronaries (arteries of the heart).

So, let us discuss few points. If people asked me if I was in the situation of Robinson Crusoe, what I wanted to have with me in my solitary island, I would say:

1 A traditional hand made (hammered, with uneven walls) heavy cast iron Chinese wok, with double handles (round bottom if you cook with gas burners or flat bottom if you use an electric stove). I would like a wok with a dome. It is the most versatile cooking ware I think a person could own. It is good for 99% of the cooking tasks. I compared it to EVERYTHING that exists in the market, from heavy gauge aluminum to soap stone, from surgical 18/10 stainless steel with double layered aluminum bottom and even professional cookware with three layers, one layer of aluminum all the way (to avoid “hot spots” and provide even heat distribution) totally surrounded, encapsulated by stainless steel 18/10 and even copper cookware (good only for sauteing, preparing delicate sauces from the French cuisine or melting chocolate in low temperature, I prefer “Bain Marie”). For me, there is nothing I have ever seen so far that beats the old and reliable iron Wok.

Another great virtue of iron cast cooking utensils is exactly that if you chose to work with high temperatures as you get from a 16 thousand BTUs gas burner, you can do so without any oil or using very little oil. Use just a bit, a table spoon will do and just in the first minute or so of the cooking process. NEVER use animal fat (pork fat, butter, milk cream), stay away from those.

The idea behind cooking with high temperature is to “seal” the vegetables, beef, chicken, whatever you are cooking, to avoid the juices to dry out and you end up with something dry like a leather shoe insole in your mouth. I personally also use slow cookers, pressure cookers, etc. I use the best of both worlds, East and West and I use the oven too, depending on what I am cooking and the dish I am preparing. But as I said, all things considered, my old iron Wok is still the star in my kitchen.

2. A flat metal spatula. When you are “stir frying”, you will always scrape the bottom of the wok and get as a bonus free Iron ions, so important in our diet. You will not get anemic for lack of Iron... When you are “stir frying” do not add salt or extra oil. Add instead few drops of low sodium organic soya sauce and few drops of water, lemon juice, freshly chopped herbs, garlic, ginger, whatever you enjoy! The whole thing should be very fast, so have all your ingredients readily available. The whole process should take no longer than 3/4 minutes. You can also get your veggies crispy if you steam them for just 3 or 4 minutes. It is a good idea to put few drops of lemon juice on the veggies when you are steaming them. Don’t kill your food and its nutrients, DO NOT overcook.

3. The best possible “Chef’s Knife”. The ideal would be a 10/12 inches Henkels surgical steel 18/10 from Solingen, Germany (with proper care will last you a life time, mine is 40 years old and I use it every day), or a 10 /12 inch Ceramic Chef’s knife (they make excellent ones in China, Italy and France). Never use your Chef’s knife to cut things with a low PH (acid), it will make your knife dull (unless you are using a ceramic one). Get also a good honing iron to keep the cutting edge of your knife aligned and in top condition.

I would also like to have a small peeling knife, a heavy steel Chinese cleaver (the blade at least 5 inches wide so you can chop and scoop), a screen to put on top of the wok to steam vegetables and a serrated knife to slice (or dice) citric fruits and tomatoes (most are acid, unless you are using plum tomatoes from Calabria, Italy, since they have very low acidity and are the ideal for salads and sauces). Use fresh and ripe tomatoes. DO NOT put them in the fridge, buy fresh and use them right away. Tomatoes will grow mold in the fridge ...

I cook my rice the Brazilian way and I use 3/4 water and 1/4 coconut milk and a bit of tomato paste, spinach juice or saffron to give it a bit of color. Later I will share with you guys the way we do.

Please try to ban these from your diet or use as little as possible:

1. SALT (NaCl) This is a real silent killer. When you use it, do so in very small quantities and use only sun dried sea salts which contain iodine.

2. ANIMAL FAT OF ANY KIND (butter, bacon, pork lard, milk cream etc) and heavily processed hydrogenated oils. Use ONLY coconut oil for stir frying and virgin olive oil for salads. NEVER use olive oil for frying anything, olive oil does not like heat. Keep in mind that one table spoon of olive oil equals 100 calories.... Be conservative....

3. Avoid dairy products. Drink soya milk, a good source of proteins (I make my own from organic soya, not “genetically modified” soya) or “rice milk” instead of cow milk. They are feeding hormones and antibiotics to the cows these days. If you eat a little piece of cheese once upon the blue moon, eat fresh, unpasteurized cheese made from low fat (1%) organic milk. Do not eat processed cheese.

4. SUGAR (have the natural occurring sugars from fruits instead, DO NOT use refined sugar). If you use a little bit of sugar now and then, use Demerara sugar (dark golden brown).

5. Stay clear from processed foods of any kind and that includes salad dressings, sausages, cold cuts and ALL out of the shelf sauces. Read the labels !!!!. Processed foods use a lot of nitrites and only-God-knows-what as preservatives and “taste enhancers”.

Have mercy on your heart, liver and kidneys. No wonder people are dying all over the world from “unknown” auto-immune diseases.

6. Avoid carbs and when you eat rice (eat only brown or red) or potatoes, make sure that they are organically grown.

7. Do not drink POP!!! Coca Cola is one of the worst venoms you can put in your mouth!!! It has ultra-refined sugar, phosphoric acid and It destroys the lining of your stomach, and your teeth. Coca Cola is good for cleaning ceramic tiles, the toilet and marble. Drink plain, clean, filtered water!!! Sometimes drink a fruit juice FRESHLY SQUEEZED. An orange juice for example, which is supposed to contain vitamin C (ascorbic acid), the vitamin will degrade (by oxidation) and is also sensitive to light, so if you don’t drink it fresh right away, you lose all the benefits.

8. A glass of red wine (I love Beaujolais) now and then at dinner is ok, but you can get even more benefits from 50 grams of DARK unsweetened chocolate. In my opinion, the British make the best dark chocolate in the world.

9. Take capsules of fish oils from deep cold water fish. The best are from fish from the Scandinavian countries... You can buy in Health Food stores or from reliable companies in the net.

10. Eat small portions. The traditional French Cuisine is very fattening, full of butter and creams, but the French eat very small portions, they do not stuff their faces with foods like other Europeans do. That explains why is so rare to see a fat French person.

11. Eat your fruits BEFORE the meals (as the Cubans do), not after as a desert. Papaya and pineapple contain enzymes (papain and bromelain) which are proven to help and speed up the digestion, which is highly desirable.

12. Instead of dessert, have a cup of the good Chinese Green Tea.

The traditional French cuisine is not a good example of healthy cuisine, but is delicious. When Paul Bocuse, one of the top Cordon Bleu French Chefs introduced his “La Nouvelle Cuisine Francaise”, it was revolutionary. He created superb dishes using fresh herbs and Gosh, it can not get any better than that. Not to mention the health benefits.

Things we should do.....

Use steaming as your main cooking process.

Buy organic food. If you eat chicken, buy free range chicken (and eggs) from farmers.

If you eat fish, buy Tilapia filets, boneless, skinless, from farm fishing operations or if you live by the ocean, buy “the catch of the day”. Be careful with shell fish, they are proteins with high molecular weight and if they are not REALLY fresh, they can kill you pretty good.....

Buy fresh and cook it as soon as possible. If you freeze, do not add salt and freeze on vacuum sealed packages.

Eat wholesome foods, rich in fibers.

Eat a lot of fruits and veggies. Eat (and feed your kids) veggies for snacks (e.g. carrot and celery sticks).

Eat berries and nuts, they are very good for you.

Avoid red meat, pork, dairy products and chicken eggs (sources of the bad cholesterol...)

A little hint, there are three veggies that will help you to burn that fat around the waste, “the spare tire” and the so called “love handles”: broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage (red or green).

Fresh garlic may not give you a good breath but is paramount to your health!!! Your heart will thank you! You will also sleep well, alone, but well.

Use the stairs to go up one or two floors. Go for a walk after dinner, smell the flowers!!!! Use a bike, not the car.

Anyways, there is so much about this subject. I read dozens and dozens of articles in the last 6 months and I feel I just scratched the surface. I really hope that Achelle, since this is her field, will teach us good eating habits.

I became vegan. This is a matter of personal choice. I do not use any animal products in my diet and Gosh, I feel so much better health wise these days. It is not a perfect diet though, none of them is. For example, the Vegan diet lacks Vitamin B12, so I have to take a vitamin supplement.

I am not saying that I will never eat a Belgium chocolate, a steak or fish fillet again. I will apply a simple rule to my diet, I will eat healthy 95% of the time, but I will eat a slice or two of pizza once or twice a month. I might even go to a fast food restaurant 3 or 4 times a year. We should not be radical. Life is about being sensible, to compromise, to balance things. Radicalism is never a good approach on anything since it borders the realm of mental illness.

Whatever you do, before starting ANY diet or ANY fitness program, consult your Doctor and a well trained professional Nutritionist. They will advise you which way to go. What works for one person, might not work for another, we are all unique. They will take everything into consideration, your weight, age, your heath status etc and design something suitable for you.

I really think the greatest mistake China ever did was to allow junk food restaurant chains as Mac Donald’s to set foot in the country. It seems that people are eating too much of this kind of stuff, specially the young. This is one of the motives why we are seeing juvenile diabetes, obesity, heart diseases etc, which were virtually unknown in China before. China unfortunately is copying the worst the West has to offer.

I will share something with you guys, which makes me very proud and feeling blessed by the Lord. My young son will be soon 18 and NEVER got sick and don’t have a single cavity in his teeth. I credit this to God and a healthy diet. When he was a toddler I used to give him a Vitamin supplement 100% extracted from fruits (made in Germany). The boy is 6,4”, very fit and strong as a horse.

That is all for today, I really feel we can all benefit from sharing information.

Bonne chance, bonne sante, mes amis, have a healthy and enjoyable life ......

Copyright owned jointly by Author and CyberCupid Co., Ltd. Breach of copyright will be prosecuted.
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#2013-06-04 16:57:01 by AchelleVinzons @AchelleVinzons

Great article, Daniel! Very extensive! And thank you for referencing my blog and re-posting your comment here. I am very interested to learn how to cook rice the Brazilian way, it sounds delicious from the ingredients you mentioned. I will definitely try that recipe! I suppose I can Google the recipe, but I'm still interested to know how you do it.

Congratulations to you and your future wife!

#2013-06-04 22:31:15 by sandy339 @sandy339

Congratulations Daniel
I am so curious to know what your wife to be looks like, really happy for you, Look forwards to your wedding and pics about that…(you are really a doctor, your advice about foods is too professional to me:-)

#2013-06-06 13:20:32 by destiny1 @destiny1

You're a good man, your wife is very lucky to China, she has your love physical rehabilitation faster and better. Look forward to your love story. Bless you always healthy and happy!

#2013-08-27 00:25:22 by goldsilhair99 @goldsilhair99

Daniel,
Somehow you got it wrong. The hand-made hammered wok (gao) is made from steel. In the past they were made from soft wrought iron. Cast iron woks are made of CAST-iron and are brittle. If you hit one with a hammer or drop it on the floor, it will fracture. The cast iron is only about 3 to 4mm thick. I have seen these woks for sale in Houston and they are all cracked. If you tap an iron wok with a metal object it should ring like a bell. If it doesn't it is broken or cracked.
The hammered steel wok is almost non-existent in China today. I bought mine and a few others for friends at a shop in Shanghai that was written about in a book titled "Breath of a Wok". In the book the author goes on a trek through Southern China to try to find someone who still makes woks the old way. She finds only one, in Shanghai. I live in Dalian and I have asked people from all over northern China and so far no one knows any place where you can purchase a hand-made wok or gao. Wok is a Cantonese term. If you use the word wok in northern China, anyplace north of Shanghai, no one knows what you are talking about. I have talked to people in their 70's and 80's and so far no one knows where a person can purchase a hand hammered wok. The typical response I get is why, when you can get a factory made stamped wok. The hand-made wok is more heat resistant and when properly seasoned will become non-stick. It builds up a black char coating on the inside to which eggs will not stick.

#2013-08-27 06:37:03 by pourquoipasamour @pourquoipasamour

@goldsilhair99 Thanks for your comments and explanation. I am in Wenling now and will stay in China till the end of September, when I will go back to Canada to sponsor my wife. I got the same response you did, people tell me that such hand made woks don't exist anymore. Several years ago I watched some infomercials, an American businessman was selling these hand made iron woks and explaining the advantages etc. Since that time I dream to owe one. My wife helped me to try to find one to buy to no avail. The good news is that I manage to buy one made in a factory, which is excellent. I might say that I am very impressed with the quality of many Chinese made products, which unfortunately are not available outside China. Thanks once again for your kindness.

#2013-08-27 17:04:43 by pourquoipasamour @pourquoipasamour

@goldsilhair99 I forgot to mention something. The American guy promoting these "hand made woks" had apparently hired some people to make the woks for him. The main advantage according to him, was that since the walls of the wok were uneven, one could push aside what the/she was cooking to keep it warm and still cook another ingredient (the veggies for intance) in the centre of the wok. It made perfect sense for me. They had a 1800 number to order and I wrote it down. I procrastinated and when I decided to order, I was not able to find the paper where I wrote the number. Anyways, I tried to spot the infomercial again and it was gone. I remember that the guy also mentioned about using a dome to cover the wok, and you have another amazing feature, since you have a concave and a convex surface opposing each other you will create turbulence and voila, you have convection cooking!!!! I will try to get the name of a movie we watched in YOUKU and give it to you. It is about a Chinese chef . The guy cooks simply amazing fancy dishes from scratch (of course the hands on the dishes preparation belong to a Senior Master Chef, a Chinese "cordon bleu", the actor probably can only cook rice in a microwave ha ha) and the final result is mouth watering to say the least. I enjoyed seeing the Chinese Chef working, I love Chinese food. The director of such a movie is from Taiwan and is very famous he has won many awards. I will send to you the name of the movie later.

#2013-08-28 15:09:14 by pourquoipasamour @pourquoipasamour

@goldsilhair99 The name of the movie is "Drink and eat, men and women" and the director is Ang Lee. He has done many movies, he is a famous director originally from Taiwan but apparently he lives in the US. I watched four of his movies and I loved them all. Have fun, I hope you will like the moves as much as I did.

#2013-08-29 03:07:10 by pourquoipasamour @pourquoipasamour

@sandy339 Hi Sandy. Thank you for your kind words. I am still in China, I married Angela as soon as I got here and we have been already blessed, there is a Brazilian, German, French, Belgian and Chinese baby on the way heheheheheeh. We have not a preferred gender, girl or boy, will be a blessing from God, we will love our angel rain or shine. I wanted to spend some time in China to get a flavor of your wonderful country and your friendly people, before resuming writing articles for my blog. I advised John Abbot that I will send him 3 articles i the next few days and ask him to publish them, I hope you will enjoy.

#2013-08-29 03:11:41 by pourquoipasamour @pourquoipasamour

@destiny1 Hi destiny, sorry for the very late response and thank you for your kind words. I am already marred and we have a baby on the way. Please check my new articles I will ask John Abbot to publish next week. All the best, God bless you.

#2013-08-30 22:16:42 by sandy339 @sandy339

@pourquoipasamour

so happy for you Daniel, and congradulations!
your baby will be very beautiful for sure.( I heard that babies with mixed blood have better gene?)

and looking forwards to you blogs later on:-)

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