How To Control Night Time Comfort Eating

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Mediterranean Diet – Can It Ward Off Depression?

delicious food and wine mediterranean dietThe health benefits of the Mediterranean diet are by now well recognized.

However, new research indicates that such a diet may do a lot more than simply looking after a person’s physical health.

Research has also shown that the Mediterranean diet can help people in relation to bouts of depression.


A 2015 study carried out at the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and reported on the LiveScience website involved 15,000 university graduates over a 10 year period.

The risk of depression for people who adhered to the Mediterranean diet was some 30 percent lower than for those who didn’t adhere to the diet.

The study indicated that people can eat everything in moderation, as long as they include lots of vegetables, fruit, fish and nuts, and avoid processed meats and fast food.

This study showed that a healthy diet is able to prevent the onset of depression in many cases.

Reduction of Symptoms

A more recent study, carried out at Deakin University in Australia has resulted in the recognition that the Mediterranean diet can also help those already suffering from major depression.

The Australian Broadcasting Commission has reported that participants showed a significant improvement of their mood and depressive symptoms after 12 weeks of healthy eating.

Professor Felice Jacka, director of Deakin University’s Food and Mood Centre, said the Mediterranean diet had been credited with improving cardiovascular health, reducing the risk of diabetes and increasing longevity.

“We already know that diet has a very potent impact on the biological aspects of our body that affect depression risks,” she said.

“The immune system, brain plasticity, and gut microbiota seem to be central not just to our physical health, but also our mental health.

“And diet, of course, is the main factor that affects the gut microbiota.”

While it’s not thought that diet alone is able to cure depression, nevertheless enjoying a Mediterranean-style diet can certainly help the sufferer to handle it much better.

What is a Mediterranean Diet?

The diet that was developed for participants in the Deakin University study ate the following:

Per day: six servings of vegetables, five servings of wholegrains, three servings of fruit, two servings of unsweetened dairy, one serving of raw unsalted nuts, three tablespoons of olive oil

Per week: three servings of lean red meat, two servings of chicken, up to six eggs, and at least two servings of fish

Extras: no more than three servings per week of sweets, refined cereal, fried food, fast food and soft drink. No more than two glasses of wine per day, only with dinner

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Foods to Bring Good Luck for the New Year

Foods to Bring Good LuckThe coming of the New Year awakens the hope that things will go well, and this often prompts people to do whatever they can to make this happen. Proof of this: in many houses all over the world, the New Year’s table will contain foods that are believed to attract good luck.


Because of their shape, noodles are customarily associated with long life. Thus, in several Asian countries, noodles are served on New Year. In Woman’s Day’s  10 Good Luck Foods for the New year, Bryn Mannino says:In China, Japan and other Asian countries, it’s customary to eat long noodles, signify longevity, on New Year’s Day. Since the noodles are never to be broken or shortened during the cooking process, the typical preparation for “Long-Life Noodles” is a stir-fry.” [Read more…]

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The Essential Cranberry Sauce for Thanksgiving

Cranberry sauceNo matter how plump or well roasted the turkey is, your feast will not be complete without a bowl of cranberry sauce, an essential side dish for Thanksgiving. Although cranberry sauce is a relatively recent addition to the traditional Thanksgiving table, it is an offering that has been embraced as a fitting and indispensible contrast to the turkey and its usual trimmings.

How Cranberry Entered the Thanksgiving Picture

Cranberries are native to North America, predating the presence of the first Pilgrims who came aboard the Mayflower. Their availability in the New World, however, did not mean it was present during the first Thanksgiving meal. In The History Behind 5 Thanksgiving Traditions Americans Love of The Blaze, Billy Hallowell says while these fruits cranberries were very present in America and easy to access, “…The Pilgrims likely weren’t devouring the commodity. Considering that sugar — a key component of cranberry sauce — was a luxury item when the first Thanksgiving unfolded, making the jam was expensive. [Read more…]

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Cocoa: The Drink for Royalty and You

CocoaAlthough chocolate was brought to the continent in the 1600s, Europe learned to love chocolate in the 1800s, after Fry and Sons started to market it with sugar. By this time, the food known as chocolate had gone through a long and colorful history.

Early Consumption of Chocolate

Artifacts show that chocolate may have been enjoyed as a drink as early as 1750 BC in Mesoamerica. This drink had a special place in ancient cultures. In Chocolate in Ancient Mayan and Aztec Societies, Kimberly Dyke of Classroom says, “…The ancient Aztec and Maya cultures used cacao as currency. The plant’s seeds that grew so readily in the lowlands were extremely valuable in the drier climates. They were also used as gifts and tributes to emperors and as offerings in religious ceremonies when transformed to liquid. Baskets of cacao, maize and feathers were traded in the market and used as a reference for measurement…” [Read more…]

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Tea Through the Ages


Photo Credit: Martin Moscosa

Experts have identified the Yunnan province of China as the birthplace of tea, and the earliest record of it describes the drink as a medicinal concoction used in the 3rd century during the Shang dynasty. From China, tea-drinking was spread to Vietnam, Korea and Japan.

In the 1500s, traders and Portuguese priests in China came to love the drink, and by the 17th century, the drink gained a following in Britain. To create a source of this drink other than China, the British brought tea to India where it was planted. The rest, as they say, is history.

The Drink that Launched a Thousand Ships

Everyone has heard the expressions, “Not for all the tea in China!”, “Not my cup of tea!”, and “tempest in a teapot”.  However, beyond spawning idiomatic expressions and figures of speech, tea was a central figure in many events throughout history. Among the first of these events were the First Opium War (1839–1842) and the Second Opium War (1856 -1860).   [Read more…]

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Indonesian Perkadel: A New Look at Potato Fritter


Photo Credit: Maurina Rara

Perkadel is an Indonesian dish that uses firm mashed potatoes as base, and it is frequently made with ground beef. It is one of the most popular street foods in Indonesia, but it is a tidbit you can make at home for a family meal or as part of your canapé tray. Perkadel, alternately called perkedel, begedil, and bergedel, is a popular dish not only in Indonesia but in Java and in Singapore as well.

The Roots of Perkadel

Perkedel Kentang is discussed in Indonesian Food, a website featuring Indonesia’s cuisine. The article partly explains where this dish originates from: “The name “Perkedel” is derived from Netherlands. It’s name “Frikadel”and in Indonesian name we called it “Perkedel”. The dish shows the influence of the Netherlands in the art of Indonesian cooking. In the history of the Indonesia, Netherlands was colonized my country (Indonesia). So this becomes fused with cuisine culinary Indonesia… 
“Original of Perkadel made from mincemeat and then fried, but in Indonesia Perkedel made with potatoes with a little mincemeat. And Now many kinds of Perkedel, some made of tofu, potatoes, Corn and tempeh…”

[Read more…]

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Thai Khao Pat – The Ultimate Fried Rice

Khao Pat

Photo Credit: Mikhail Esteves

Everyone knows what fried rice is, but until you’ve had a taste of Khao Pat, you cannot know just why all that carbo is so worth every “ooh” and “aah”. In a list of 50, khao pat, the Thai version of fried rice, was named the 24th most popular food in a survey that include 35,000 responses, and it certainly lives up to that esteemed position.

What Khao Pat is All About

Thai fried rice is a very popular dish in Thailand, but it is fast gaining a following all over the world. There are many types of khao pat, and you can choose whatever central ingredients you fancy. You can have khao phat mu, which has pork, or khao phat kai with chicken, khao phat goong which has shrimp, khao phat pu, which has crab, khao phat che which has veggies. You can also ask for mixed seafood, or beef, and some versions of this dish even contain pineapple, or basil, or nuts and raisins. [Read more…]

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Classic Tom Yam – The Soup with Thailand’s Aroma

Tom Yam

Photo Credit: ssour

Tom yam has been referred to as the “national aroma of Thailand”, and it is a hot and spicy combination of tangy lime, lemon grass, galangal (a close cousin of ginger), mushrooms, and chilies. Depending on the kind of tom yam you want, meats and seafood are used as central ingredients in this dish, but prawns are the exceedingly popular choice. To the uninitiated, a first taste of this soup is truly a culinary adventure, and a first sip usually elicits an involuntary indrawn breath from those who are used to Western fare.

The Different Kinds of Tom Yam

This dish is at the very heart of Thai traditional food, but it is also a staple soup in Cambodia, Laos, and some Malay territories; these were part of the Rattanakosin Kingdom, which began in the 18th century.

Some versions of seafood based tom yams feature the addition of coconut meat, or coconut milk, or both. If you want your dish to have the creamy flavor of coconut milk, ask for tom yam nam khon. [Read more…]

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Growing Your Own Herbs Within Reach

herbsThe mark of a true epicure is the use of only the best and the freshest ingredients, including herbs. Snipping a few sprigs or leaves of mint, basil, dill or some other appropriate herbs for food or drink give epicurean fanatics a different high. The extra step can make a dish/beverage acquire an exotic appeal, which you can see, taste and smell.

Sylvie of Gourmande in the Kitchen says, “The fresh grassiness of a sprinkle of chopped chives over soup, the robust earthy flavor of fresh thyme leaves on roasted vegetables, and the heady aroma of just-picked mint in your tea are just a few of  the reasons it’s easy to fall in love with cooking with fresh herbs.”

In her guest post for Simple Bites entitled How to Grow Your Own Indoor Culinary Herb Garden, Sylvie motivates the readers to grow their own herbs indoors. She writes, “Fresh herbs offer us good looks, great flavor, and intoxicating scents. Luckily, these rewards aren’t limited to those of us with a garden; just a few pots indoors can supply you with a variety of flavor-enhancing culinary herbs all year long.”

[Read more…]

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