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I had a fantastic lunch today – Thai Crispy Chicken and only after I’m about to finish the dish, I realised why the dish was so delicious: lard. loads of lard.

Lard! Some of you may cringe to know that I actually enjoy eating lard especially the deep fried ones. Well, before you condemn lard (or me, for that matter), it may be of interest to know that lard is actually a rather misunderstood fat.

In the blind pursuit of healthy food, many people had put a stop on cooking and eating anything with lard, prefering instead to stick to butter, margarine and vegetable shortening, simply because they were told that it was the healthier choice. But is it really?

Animal fat, being saturated fat, is said to be bad for the bloodstream and arteries. That, I do not deny. However, there is also another form of bad fat that is often overlooked – the trans fat. Whenever you eat anything that contains partially hardened vegetable oil, you are eating trans fatty acids. These unwholesome trans fats shoot extra LDL cholesterol (the bad kind) into your arteries while batting away the other, good cholesterols.

In this ‘anti-lard’ times, food such as french fries are often cooked in a “partially hardened vegetable shortening” cooking oil rather than saturated animal fat. This is despite the fact that potato deep-fried in a good lard may be cooked in less time at a higher temperature, thereby leaving less total fat imbedded in the finished, more thoroughly cooked, less soggy, less rancid food product. The fat in French fries cooked with “partially hydrogenated vegetable shortening can be as much as 46 per cent trans fat! (Old-fashioned lard had zero per cent trans-fat.)

In case you havent got it, trans fats are very bad. very bad indeed. Worst than saturated fat which might actually be healthy (if taken moderately) according to this site.

But I’m digressing. Enough about trans fat. Back to the good old lard.

It may be surprising to note that lard contains just 40 percent saturated fat. Before you protest that 40% is alot, it may be good to compare this figure to butter which has nearly 60%. The level of monounsaturated fat (the “good” fat) in lard is at a very respectable 45 percent, which is comparable to double butter’s paltry 23 or so percent.

Not only is lard healthier than butter, it is also a whole lot better than butter (or vegetable oil for that matter) when it comes to cooking finger-licking good food. Nothing can beat lard in making the best pie crust, the type that flakes so wonderfully under a fork. You’ve got to try it to believe it.

But, before you scramble to include plenty of lard in your diet, remember, too much of a good thing is still BAD! ^^

Read more about why trans fat is bad and lard is better: [link1] ; [link2] ; [link3] ; [link4]

the author anticipates the return of lard on her dinner table… slurp!

Have you used talcium powder recently? Perhaps on yourself? Or perhaps, on your new born baby?

Today’s trivia will be about Talcium powder. That innocent looking, white, wonderful powder which I myself often like to use especially in the hot hot weather of Singapore where I’m from.

As you all probably have guessed, Talcium powder is made of Talc. But what exactly is talc?

This, my friends, is what Talc looks like:
Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Yes, talc is actually a mineral. For those chemistry buffs, the chemical formula of talc is H2Mg3(SiO3)4.

Besides talcium powder, talc is also used as a lubricant, and as a filler in paper manufacture. Besides that, most tailor’s chalk is made of talc. Even then, the most well known use of talc is probably as baby powder for preventing nappy rashes on babies.

It’s common, widespread usage hides a worrying issue. Apparently, scientific studies conducted has been suggesting that talc is likely to be carcinogenic. In fact, it has been shown that routine application of talcium powder to the genital area is linked with a three-to-fourfold increase in the development of ovarian cancer.

Not only that, because the texture of talcium powder is very fine, it can be inhaled easily. When this happens, the powder in the lungs could lead to illnesses such as pneumonia and inflammation of the airways. In fact, too much aspiration could cause a baby’s death. Yes. It is that serious!

Though these findings are still in their preliminary stages and have yet to be conclusive, many doctors are already advicing parents against using talcium powder. I’m sure most parents would rather take caution about such matters and avoid using talcium.

However, talcium powder is such a convenient way of protecting a baby from diaper rashes and to soften their skin that it wouldn’t be easy finding a satisfactory alternative that people would use in its place.

It has been suggested that cornstarch and lotions are plausible alternatives to talcium powder. There are of course commercial powders available that are talc-free. Perhaps, if you are still using talcium powder, it’s time to consider switching to a talc-free powder for the sake of your health.

As what chinese say, 宁可信其有, 不可信其无。(roughly translated: It’s better to believe it, rather than to dismiss it)

I, for one, will have to quit my habit of dousing myself in talcium powder everytime the weather gets too hot. =p

Links on the health issue concerning Talc: [link1] ; [link2] ; [link3] ; [link4]
General information on talc: [link]

I promised myself if I could finish my work for today I’ll do a little blogging so here’s another trivia for you readers!

Unfortunately for male readers, this trivia shall be yet another female related trivia. =p

We all know (or at least tt’s what i presume) female humans menstruate. What I want to know is whether other female mammals also menstruate. After some research, I came to some amazing revelations! Before I move on to those, the answer to the first question is: yes and no. Some female mammals menstruate while others don’t. Read on, I’ll explain myself.

Firstly, according to this website along with many other websites:

Only humans, apes and some monkeys menstruate. Other mammals like dogs and cats sometimes will bleed a little when they are in heat, which is when they ovulate and mate, but they do not have menstrual cycles. Having a menstrual cycle means you do not go into heat. Because of this, humans can mate whenever they want, and have babies at any time of the year.

So evidently there are animals that do menstruate. But then comes a problem: I’m wondering, if animals do menstruate, then they wouldn’t they bleed? And leaving a trail of blood while traversing around isn’t very discreet, right? Wouldn’t they get found out by predators easily? So how?

This is where the interesting bit starts.

Apparently,

“ovulation need not be accompanied by often painful and prolonged menstruation; no haemorrhage or rupture of blood-vessels is natural and normal. [link]

After consulting several websites, I realised that the menstrual bleeding that many women faces arent really a natural or healthy thing! In fact, a woman can experience no bleeding at all and be perfectly healthy and be able to give birth!

This particular website is very enlightening.

Here’s what the article says:

During the days before a woman ovulates, the lining of the womb – the endometrium – thickens in preparation for a possible conception. If the egg released at ovulation passes through the womb unfertilized, the thickened endometrial tissues are not needed – and in a truly healthy woman, as in animals in their wild state, those tissues are mostly reabsorbed. What remains is expelled over a short period of time as a slight mucus discharge.

The author claims that

It has also been long observed that not only do some apparently healthy women, even in our culture, never menstruate, but that non-menstruating women can be fertile and have healthy children. That is, ovulation does not require menstruation.

In fact, coming to the first conclusion that only humans, apes and some monkeys menstruate, it should be noted that

“animals in the wild, with the exception of certain apes, pass through periodic seasons of ‘heat’ without any noticeable discharge of blood, whereas domesticated animals do menstruate, as a result of confinement, overfeeding, and sexual overactivity.” [link]

Amazingly, menstrual bleeding is actually a hemorrhage and thus not a natural condition. It occurs because of our modern diets which are not suited for our bodies.

The human body is actually constitutionally adapted to a diet of raw fruits, vegetables and nuts. Only with proper diet and right living will women be healthy and cease to bleed. The same thing applies for animals, because we feed them with high protein food, they menstruate, otherwise, their wild counterparts do not menstruate.

Another article here explains how the hemorrhage in women occurs.

******

Interesting! I was rather surprised that the norm that women menstruate was not really normal. Instead, it is an unhealthy condition brought about by our lifestyles and diets. Hemorrhage! oh dear.

I wonder why no one really tell us this. That bleeding every month is not a natural thing to be doing. Perhaps no one really knew…. But now you and I do!