Month: December 2013

Day 25: Vitamin A for Acne (prevention) – Dangerous Deficiencies pt2

Vitamin A for Acne (prevention).

Vitamin A is a deficiency that seems to predominantly effects the eyes. Not enough of it and you’ll go blind. A deficiency has also been linked with infant mortality rates. Infants that are deficient are more likely to be stillborn, born blind or severely lacking in immune system. VitA also assists with the creation of tooth enamel, prevents hair loss and supports healthy urinary function.

Children who suffer from it can even die from measles, extreme diarrhea or respiratory infection. Even a slight deficiency can affect them in the development of bones and their overall growth.

Poor people, particularly those in third world countries, have the most trouble with this vitamin. It has been linked with deficiencies in iron and zinc.

The symptoms are lack of vision, skin health, tooth issues, scalp issues and hair loss, urinary tract issues and infections and gene transcription (meaning VitA is an anti-inflamatory). Aka, say goodbye to acne. In first world countries mostly a lack of night vision, in third world countries complete lack of eyesight. Infact it has become such an epidemic that, if the internet is telling me true, a strong focus was put on fixing this issue with the 3rd world countries. It’s reading things like this that can really make you understand and appreciate how lucky it is to have been born in a country where things just seem so easy and we don’t even realise quite how much we have been taking them for granted.

So where to get it? Other than supplements, VitA can be found naturally in dark leafy greens and lettuce, carrots, sweet potatoes, dried herbs, paprika, red pepper, cayenne, chilli powder, apricots, pumpkin, brocolli, spinach and cantaloup, to name a few.

Aside from nutritional intake,other reasons your body may deficient are fat malabsorption, and liver issues. The liver holds and regulates 80-90% of a persons vitamin A, so if you suspect you may put your liver though it’s paces a bit then it may be worth checking.

For my woman readers, and any male readers who have women in their lives (so, everyone) you should know this: even in first world countries, when a woman becomes pregnant she can easily become VitA deficient, affecting her health and the babies. This becomes most significant at the third trimester, so ensure you or your spouse/sister/friend/other is prepared or at least knowledgeable on the topic by then.

As a grown woman in a first world country with money spare (not much, but enough to not be superpoor), I’m not feeling overly worried about this one. Keeping up is simple enough naturally and, should I get pregnant, I’ll likely chose to add the supplement by 3rd semester. Just for good measure.

I was going to do 2 deficiencies today, but it’s NYE, ‘aint nobody got time for that. Cannot wait for the fireworks 😀 I do hope Gandalf does it this year…

To a beginning marked by an end, to 2014,

Summer Tay.


Day 24: Dangerous Deficiencies – Vitamin B12 (pt1)

As someone who has never given a hoot about my health before, things like watching my fat, calorie and sugar intake has never been to my taste (pun intended). And who do you know who counts their vitamins? We humans tend to eat almost anything we want to eat, at approximately the time we want to eat it.

With my head firmly planted under a rock, I have remained relatively ignorant of the side effects of vegan diets. Now seems like a good time to change that. So this week I am going to focus my energies and this blog on the deficiencies associated with the vegan diet and how to avoid them.

Significant deficiencies include: vitamin B12, calcium, iron, omega 3 & 6, iodine, zinc, vitamin D, vitamin A, protein, and even, the c word. Brace yourselves for I am about to use it. Carbohydrates. Yes, even they are required to some extent as part of a healthy diet.

Today we start with the one that all the internet seemed to agree was the biggest baddie of the bunch: VitaminB12.

VitaminB12, I know nothing about you. According to the web, vegans outrank carnivores in this deficiency, with one website claiming 1 in 3 being low in the vitamin (vegans), as opposed to 1 in 20 (carnivores). Another website claims a whopping 80% of vegans are severely deficient. Why is this vitamin important? It helps create your red blood cells which carry the oxygen to your brain and body which in turn affects your ability to think, move and heal and not get injured in the first place. With B12 your body becomes less pervious to pain and bruising. Beginning to think the Princess who slept on the pea was vegan.

So what are the symptoms of a lack in VitB12?

  • Cancer.
  • Mental Illness.
  • Severe fatigue and anemia.
  • Cell formation (ability to heal)
  • Healthy immune system
  • Alzymers
  • Deterioration of nervous system (lack of muscle, inability to move or move well).
  • Severe mood swings and inability to handle situations
  • Deterioration of mental, physical and emotional well being.
  • Health of gums and mouth
  • Poor memory and lack of concentration
  • Respritory problems / shortness of breath
  • Sleeping problems

There are a lot of symptoms out there. The list is endless. With every new page I visit more issues are added. This vitamin scares me.

So where to get some of this vitamin B12 goodness? Many websites have said mushrooms, nori – the seaweed not The Hobbit character –, tofu and spirulina have it and vegans should get their fill from these. More recent (and more reputable) websites keep saying something different. Turns out there are such things as “anti-b12 agents” which are present that actually make eating these foods useless, if not harmful, to your B12 levels. To understand this better, I am personally recommending reading what the professionals have to say about trying to get vitamin B12 from plants:

An important thing to note about the cure is, (and this is where it gets really good), approximately 30-40% of the population cannot process B12 from natural sources – even from meat. Websites kept having different data, but this was the general range. Reasons for this issue range from a lack of a protein called ‘intrinsic factor’, to bowel disease and liver problems, to name a few. Everyone can however process it from tablet form. I’m just going to take on the supplements.

To check if you are deficient, ask your doctor for a blood test and an MMA and a homocysteine test. Most doctors rely solely on a blood test, which are inconclusive.

I hope this hasn’t been too long or too scary for you. I for one got a little tiny bit freaked out at how much detriment one vitamin deficiency can do, and at the same time, is so difficult to get – the only sure way being supplements (to my humble opinion, amatuer researchered knowledge).

Also, in the unlikely event you are like me and find no official B12 tablets at the supermarket in any brand (even though I KNOW they exist, I have seen them before, my friends even have some, I’m not going crazy I swear), you may find that certain other tablets include it as well. I found it in my iron tablets for a start.

Have a happy sleep (by taking your V-B12) 🙂

Summer Tay.

P.S. If you really want to know more about this vitamin and it’s affects and issues, I would strongly suggest looking up the terms MMA, homocysteine test and anti V-B12 agents with V-B12 in the search bar. There is a lot of information out there about this vitamin that is worth reading that I have not added here due to my a)not being a professional health or food scientist and b) limiting my word count for you as much as I dare on this important health factor.

Day 23: Dijon Tempeh / Roast Vegies (recipe)

Made a meal that had me sinking into my chair with joyous ecstasy.

Part 1 – Dijon Tempeh
rice oil, 2 cloves garlic, 3/4 block tempeh, 250 grams mushrooms, 2 roma tomatoes, lemon juice, soya sauce, french dijon mustard

Part 2 – Square Bake
onion, zucchini, eggplant, red and green capsicums, carrot, celery, parsley &/or mixed herbs

Step 1: Pre-heat your oven to 200 degrees celcius, then prepare a baking tray. Cut all of the vegetables from part two into small cubes. Place cut vegetables on baking tray, then sprinkle herbs over the top. Place in oven and cook until vegetables are golden.

Step 2:
Slice the Tempeh into 3 from the side on, then 4 times from the top. Cut mushrooms and tomato as desired. I cut the mushrooms into slivers then cut in half, and tomatoes into eights.

Step 3: Prepare fry pan with and garlic and set to highest temperature. Place tempeh with the garlic and cook for 5 minutes. Add mushrooms. Cook until mushrooms are almost finished cooking (almost golden brown) then add tomato. Stir ingredients together.

Step 4: Add desired amount of lemon juice to pan and mix it in, then add desired amount of soya sauce and mix, then add dijon mustard and give the ingredients a good toss.

Step 5: Once the baked vegetables are golden brown and the tempeh has mixed and cooked to your liking, remove from cookers and serve.

I personally would keep the two separate. They both taste amazing, but are better eaten baked veg first then finish with dijon tempeh.

1: Will be making this again, with brown rice next time, and mixing more of the vegies together in the fry pan with the dijon tempeh. You may prefer the recipe that way. Will use the baking all the vegetables together idea as a separate meal and maybe find a good topping for that.

2: The part 1 was originally dijon chicken, but since trying to go vegan got replaced with tempeh. Chicken soaks the mustard sauce into itself, a quality I had assumed Tempeh would emulate. As expected the tempeh soaked the flavour into it, but the sauce itself remained and was quite thick due to my going overboard as chicken would have required. Point being,  a little bit of mustard will go a long way with Tempeh, so use only a small amount as required.

3: What is Tempeh you ask? Well, it is a soy based item similar to tofu, but better. Better? Better how you ask? ‘Tis better because it is less processed than tofu, and has a higher protein content. It is also harder to the touch, making it much easier to prepare it for meal. It has a slight taste of it’s own, unlike tofu. Dare I say it seems to soak up the flavours around it much better than tofu does. Most of all, it’s texture. It’s texture is more chewy and generally more pleasurable to the mouth, at least for me anyways. *May also be bias since tempeh is Indonesian and so is my sister-in-law.

4: Good source of Vitamin B12.

5: If you ever try doing this recipe with any type of tofu, let me know how that goes?

Sorry about the no picture part, but frankly the meal doesn’t look that pretty when you actually look at it, and the parts 1 and 2 look unusual together. The picture would do a massive injustice to the taste and may turn you off. Don’t be though, it is phenominal, if I may say so myself.

Happy cooking everyone 😀

Summer Tay.

Day 22: Fight for my love!

So far I have attempted making my own oat milk twice. The first time was with maple syrup and tasted acceptable and the second, made with shredded coconut, not so much. Things to remember are to blend the oats several times not just once, and to add a good portion of maple syrup. It also doesn’t hurt to have a better blender than a bullet. Something bigger and with speed control and the ability to hack making oat milk without sounding like an angry robot.

One thing I have come to very much dislike about recipes is that often they seem to have a notes section, and in this notes section, is something super important to the process of making it. I don’t know about other people, but once I get started it doesn’t really matter what is in the notes, I follow the method/process section to the T and never deviate or think to look anywhere else for direction. Not even the notes section. That said, I did at least take a long pause before adding the oats to the blender with the water it had soaked in for 20 minutes, as opposed to adding fresh water like I thought I ought. But the method said nothing of it, and the person stood by their very yummy looking creation, so I made it that way. Then wondered why it didn’t taste so good. Then read the notes. I’m an idiot.

On a whim the oven went on and a baking tray prepared for the leftover mixture of oat and coconut. Added some flour and some vanilla escense and wooden spooned it on the tray and into the oven till cooked. They also tasted bad, so I added sultanas to liven them up a bit. Nope, still bad. Still, Willa and Mable thought they were the bees knees. I love those gals.

Mable and Willa fight for my cookie!

An unfortunate realisation, video taping yourself cooking is rather difficult. Filming me doesn’t  fit under the duties of a best friend so I’ve been told, and I’m uncertain to ask a housemate. Still looking for a way to do a good enough job of it on my own. Couple that with my being new to video editing software. So for now that video idea has been put to the back burner. For now.

Once I get a blender I’ll give this oat milk shenanigans another try. Third times the charm?

Summer Tay.

Day 21: Incognito Mango

It was 99 cents, I had to bag it.

Image                                                                Camouflage

Tomorrow morning is going to be the best breakfast ever 😀

In sadder news, if anyone can identify the guy in the link below there is $100 reward involved. He went out of his way to kick a 6 month old puppy on Christmas because he doesn’t like dogs. Naturally police were about as useful as a politician after polling day. Hopefully someone can help this girl and her puppy out: . Wonder what happens to the guy if she ever finds him again…

I put way too much garlic in my dinner and I think I can taste the inferiority of the mushrooms. They were on special though. You know I cannot resist those sales.

Mango is Happiness. Mango is Love. Mango is Life. Mango.

Summer Tay.

Day 20: The day after Christmas.

What I expected to do today: drive wistfully through an overflowing carpark, squeeze way through avid boxing shoppers, buy a food processor and sweat.
What I actually did: Woke every hour in exhaustion in need of the bathroom, twisted and turned in pain, slept in bed, and froze. In the middle of an Aussie summer.

This at least explains how I managed to break the vegan aspect of my diet so soon. I didn’t even crave meat, didn’t even want it, yet somehow ended up eating it. I presumed at first it was purely for mums benefit and a last time thing (it was Christmas after all, she did go to a lot of effort), but now I suspect something else was also at play.

Once upon a time, for a few days of every month, I would only partake of 3 things: KFC chicken wings, Choc-caramel biscuits and coke – never pepsi. When those cravings hit, everyone knew what was coming next. Then the pain started happening before the cravings. The pain would prevent any ability to eat for several days, thus nullifying the cravings by the time I could eat again and leaving me and everyone else with no forwarning of the ordeal to come. That was until this month.

This month, when Aunt Flow arrived, I was stunned. At first i was happy – if Aunt Flows here, which means noone else is, yay! Then I was confused – she is here and I feels no pain, a Christmas miracle? Then it dawned on me, maybe the cravings are back. Maybe she makes me subconsciously think of meat? Maybe every month I’m going to have to be on guard that I don’t find myself mindlessly reaching for food I don’t truly want. Because that was the thing that got to me most today as I laid reeling from a mixture of guilt and eventual sickness, I didn’t actually want the meat, before, during and after eating it. It didn’t appeal, yet I had eaten (if but a small amount) of it. Why? Now I think I truly know why. Damn you Aunt Flow.

On the positive side I can say it hurt much less this time – if it had I wouldn’t be capable of writing to you now. I heavily suspect I have the new diet to thank for it. I will have to be more careful and focused on what I’m eating and drinking come this time of month in order to not slip up, but when I do notice I need to put in extra effort to stay right, I’ll know what’s coming next, and be given time and the ability to prepare for it. Only one night of discomfort and much less discomfort than usual and I already feel normal again. If this is what it is going to be like from now on then this diet is amazing and I never want to go back to the old diet ever again.

I think the desire for non alcoholic apple cider will be the hardest part of each month. If I don’t dream of being in a bath of that stuff tonight I will be very surprised.

Summer Tay

Day 19: Christmas Day

The food was… different. I have never had oranges in a salad before. I don’t believe I ever will again. Mum also made a huge pork roast and made me feel obligated to eat it. And strawberry cheesecake. And who knew there was a chip dip with bacon in it? I know there is a big fandom for bacon out there but, seriously? Bacon as a dip is not yum. Woops, had forgotten to tell her I was going vegan. I was bad 😦 But no more! Drinking peppermint tea to get the foul taste out of my mouth. Aside from Christmas has been good, lots of kitcheny presents (chocolate which coincidentally turned out to be vegan, a big mug, and a kitchen glove for the stove and money) and a movie. Still no blender or food processor. There is always tomorrow though 😀

Next Christmas I’ll just supply most (all) of the foods. Or find another way than everyone bring a dish. Vegan BBQ anyone? Everyone pick a vegetable and bring a truck load of that. We’ll get to the park early, hog some BBQs, make some eats. Maybe even find some woodfire BBQs, maybe make some pizza with it, maybe have the yummiest Christmas ever. The more I think about it the more I love it. Damn I am a genius.

To Boxing Day Sales :D,

Summer Tay.

Day 17: Carnivore Converter / Apple Magic

He liked it! I have never heard his voice go from so constrained angry to such oh wow this awesome why have I never done this before, in my whole life. My Dad, the guy who couldn’t fathom a meal without meat, who swore this day would be a once off and never ever again, is now very happy to go to a particular vegan cafe any time. He would even recommend it to others. Magic Apple, you are pure magic.

I found the food nice. Had nothing on Mandala’s taste and the presentation was basic (hence no pic), but the prices at Magic Apple were much more palatable. It had free water, but not reverse osmosis’d, and it had an interesting menu with an eggplant parmigana (as in eggplant instead of chicken) and 5 different bread options for your burgers. Customer service was lovely, however, do be prepped to be up-sold. I would go back if I were in the Burleigh area, but I wouldn’t personally make the trip for it specifically. Their logo is cute.

If you want it check out their website:

Had to laugh at myself and at/with the young man who walked in not long after us, his mother dragged along much like my father had been behind me. She looked as cheesed and he as bemused as me and my beloved family member. I hope his vegan-quest was as successful as mine.

To such an awesomesauce day 😀

Summer Tay.

Day 16: Dads Christmas

Dad hates celebrating Christmas on Christmas day. Who knows why. Instead, he called and we agreed to celebrate tomorrow. Offered to shout lunch at Mandala. Then realised they don’t open for lunch on Mondays. Call him back and say we will have to go somewhere else and he sounded very relieved. “That’s good because that first place was vegan, which means most of their meals would be vegan and there wouldn’t be much there for me to eat. They wouldn’t have much of a selection that I could choose from”.


What he doesn’t know, and I never managed to correct him, is that the chinese I suggested instead is also vegan. Since the menu there uses words like chicken and beef without the word faux next to it I think there is a 50/50 chance he will notice the chicken does not look nor taste exactly like chicken. I’ll try again to explain to him what it means to be a vegan restaurant, but a part of me hopes he  just thinks it’s real chicken and eats it happily. Does that make me bad?

How do carnivores come to the conclusion that vegan food is not for them? It’s vegans cannot eat a carnivore diet, not carnivores cannot eat a vegan meal. There is no rule book stating carnivores simply must have meat in their meal or the meal isn’t good enough, but it seems like some sort of unwritten rule that a lot of them agree on. No meat = no eats. Carnivores are weird.

If this place isn’t open tomorrow, I have no idea where we will go. I hope he doesn’t insist on a carvery.

To tomorrow,

Summer Tay.