Friday, September 24, 2010

Amino Acids Part IV

Venn Diagram of Amino Acids.Image via Wikipedia
As we learned before, in humans dietary proteins are broken down by digestion into amino acids, which serves as metabolic fuel for other functional roles in the body. The non essential amino acids are those who are made by our body.
But as most are made from essential amino acids, by lack thereoff, we also can sometimes have a lack of non essential amino acids. 
Non essential amino acids are:
*glycine which feed brain, anterior pituritary, gallbladder, muscles, stomach
*aline feeds the liver,
*cysteine nourishes blood, pancreas, lungs
*proline for a healthy skin
*glutamine for the gastrointestinal tract, stomach, brain
*tyrosine for the  thyroid
*tyrosine feeds the brain
*asparagine for the nervous system  It also plays an important role in the synthesis of ammonia. Asparagus is a main source.
*aspartic acid serves as an excitatory neurotransmitter in the brain and is an excitotoxin.
*glutamic acid  is involved in cognitive functions like learning and memory in the brain . Kombu is an  excellent source. 
*Serine is important in metabolism as it participates in the biosynthesis of purines and pyrimidines. It is also the precursor to several amino acids, including glycine, cysteine, and, in bacteria, tryptophan.
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Thursday, September 23, 2010

Amino Acids Part III

I  would like to write a seperate article about one of the foods that have all essential, and even some non essential amino acids: green blue algae.
If the body does not receive sufficient acids, certain body tissues are cannibalized, often causing such problems as  premature aging, memory loss, poor intellectual performance and even depression. Blue-green algae contain all of the essential amino acids as well as most of the non essential amino acids, making them a complete protein supplement.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Amino Acids Part II

Peptide bond formation.Image via Wikipedia

We start with the essential amino acids , as our body can not make them, we have to be sure that we have them with our intake of food.
They are arginine (required  for the young, but not for adults), histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine.

Arginine is needed for the function of the anterior pituritary for youngsters but also some adults can be helped by this amino acid, in case of poisening of the liver or erectile dysfunction.Arginine is found in high content in protein rich foods such as peanuts, walnuts, brazilnuts, cocunut, seafoods,  cereals (oats and wheat), and chocolate. Legumes such as soybean and chickpea are also rich natural sources of arginine.
Histidine feeds the blood, bones and gastrointestinal tract. Histamine is a substance typically produced from histidine,  so people with allergies should be special attentive to this amino acid. If they take too much, it can worsten their situation. It is mostly found in high proteine, aged food like old cheeses and dried or roasted meat, and also in some fermentated soy products.
Isoleucine feeds the muscles and is present in almonds, cashews, fish, lentils and most seeds.

Leucine also feeds the muscles , it is found in roasted peanuts with skin, raw salmon, nuts, almonds, chickpeas, raw sesame seed, raw flaxseed, asparagus etc.

Lysine feeds the heart, muscles and skin. People with herpes should eat food high in lysine and low in arginine, like papaya, sprouts, beets, advocados. tomatoes.Lysine can be found in mango, apricot, apples, dried pear, fat fish, turnips, celery etc.

Methionine nourishes the heart and liver, vegetables rich in methionine are spinach, green peas, corn (boiled) and all nuts, tofu and tempeh.

Phenylalanine feeds the brain, the liver, thyroid and hypothalamus. We find it in cocoa powder, brown bread and all things made with whole wheat flour ( chapati, noodles etc..)
Aspartame contains 40 % of phenylalanine . PKU patiens should restrict their intake of this amino acid, so should avoud aspartame. As aspartame is a checmical, it should be avoided by everyone.

Threonine feeds the liver, and it is one of the amino detoxifers. It helps prevent fatty buildup in the liver and is an important component of collagen. It is generally low in vegetarians.But leafy vegetables are high in threonine. It is also found in whole grains, pulses, nuts, apples, peaches and figs.

Tryprophan feeds the liver, blood and brain and can be found in nuts, bananas, soybeans and soy products, tuna, shellfish,roasted seeds of pumpkin, sesame and sunflower. Consumption of red or brown rice would also help to increase the tryptophan in the blood stream. 
This amino acid is very important for a good mood and a healthy sleep as it plays an important role in the production of both serotonin and melatonin.
If you suffer from bad mood or bad sleep, you can do 2 things:
- Consume foods high in tryptophan on an empty stomach as this aids absorption
- Take foods high in tryptophan on their own with no other proteins or amino acids.

Valine build up the muscles  Very high levels of valine can cause symptoms such as a crawling sensation on the skin, as well as hallucinations. Individuals with kidney or liver disease should be careful in consuming high intakes of amino acids without consulting their doctor. Valine should always be taken in balance with leucine and isoleucine.It can be found in seafood, roasted peanuts (with skin), sesame seeds and lentils.

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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Amino Acids Part I

General structure of L -amino acidsImage via Wikipedia
Amino acids are critical to life, and have a variety of roles in metabolism. One particularly important function is as the building blocks of proteins,  which are linear chains of amino acids. Every protein is chemically defined by this primary structure, its unique sequence of amino acid residues, which in turn define the three-dimensional structure of the protein. Just as the letters of the alphabet can be combined to form an almost endless variety of words, amino acids can be linked together in varying sequences to form a vast variety of proteins.
Amino acids are very important in nutrition.Humans can produce 10 of the 20 amino acids. 
The others must be supplied in the food. Failure to obtain enough of even 1 of the 10 essential amino acids, those that we cannot make, results in degradation of the body's proteins—muscle and so forth—to obtain the one amino acid that is needed. Unlike fat and starch, the human  body does not store excess amino acids for later use—the amino acids must be in the food every day.
The 10 amino acids that we can produce are alanine, asparagine, aspartic acid, cysteine, glutamic acid, glutamine, glycine, proline, serine and tyrosine. Tyrosine is produced from phenylalanine, so if the diet is deficient in phenylalanine, tyrosine will be required as well. The essential amino acids are arginine (required  for the young, but not for adults), histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine. These amino acids are required in the diet. Plants, of course, must be able to make all the amino acids. Humans, on the other hand, do not have all the enzymes required for the biosynthesis of all of the amino acids.
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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

And Sauerkraut, one more time

As I am pickling a lot of sauerkraut lately, pickle authority, Bill Hettig ( shared some of his secrets:
start the fermentation at 70 degrees fahrenheit (21 C), then take it down to 66 or 67 F (18-19) for 7 to 8 more days. That is because there are a variety of bacteria that rise and fall in those temp. His rule of thumb for kraut fermentation is a minimum of 4 days (shredded or finely sliced), and 1 additional day for each degree below 70F (21C). 
So if you had it at 66 degrees, it would be 4 + 4 = 8 days.
As my room temperature (with airconditioning) is 86F (30C) I have to find a way to cool it down: I think about putting my Perfect Pickler pots in a bucket with colder water for 4 days and then even more colder water for the next 6 days, before putting it into the refrigerator.
Over 2,500 years ago, the Chinese actually figured out the optimum temperature range for sauerkraut  71 to 64 degrees Fahrenheit  (21 to 17 C)
Thanks Bill, you did us all a big favour.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Agar Agar

Agar Agar, also known under the product name Kanten, is a vegan replacement for gelatin. Agar agar is processed from red algae into sheets, flakes and powder. The powder and flakes are easy to work with and are high in proteins and fiber. Use 1 teaspoon agar powder to thicken 1 cup of liquid. Click here for some recipes, but please do not forget, we cannot treat the sheets, flakes and powder the same way. The ratio is 1 to 3 (powder to flakes) so if your recipe tells you to use 3ts of flakes, you use 1ts of powder. For acid juices you will need more. It does not work with lemon juice or products with chocolate in it. It works wonderful for vegetable aspics.
If you live in Thailand, you can buy agar here.

Monday, September 6, 2010

This you should read

I do not like to only link to another site but indeed, this you should read:

Sauerkraut part 2

Now that I have a customer for my sauerkraut, I have to get the best white cabbage possible.
I phoned a few organic farms, the first told me to call back in December, but the second (Rangsit Organic Farm) could deliver at my place. So I ordered 30 lbs (15 kilogram) of white cabbage and they will bring it tomorrow at 6 am.
Normally the white cabbage costs 30 thb (1USD) for 2 lbs (1kg), but the organic ones cost 70 thb (2.2 USD) for 2 lbs, so I am very curious if I will be able to taste the difference.
I will not use my kitchen robot anymore, but I will use my sauerkraut cutter, that gives me much more pleasure.

Thursday, September 2, 2010


Polish Sauerkraut (Kiszona kapusta)Image via Wikipedia

2 months ago, a new restaurant opened on my street (Onnut) and it was managed by 2 Hungarians, the first foreign restaurant in the whole region. They offer foreign and thai food at reasonable prices: .They only employ local Onnut people, and all staff is very nice, so 1 month ago I started to go there, though they do not really make my kind of food, but I love the company. Very strange for me, but they really attract an international crowd, more international that I ever have seen in Bangkok. Eric, the drummer of the well know group Loso, comes there almost every day, but I meet people of every nationality there, and also 50 % of customers are Thai or Chinese Thai.One month ago, Ivan , one of the owners, told me it is very difficult to find good sauerkraut (กะหล่ำปลีดอง) so I told him I make sauerkraut for almost 20 years. He told me to deliver some samples and I did, and I did not hear from him for the next 3 weeks :PBut today I got an email: he wanted to talk about business so I went to see him and he asked me how many kilograms I can provide.I told him I make about 3 kg a month for personal consumption, and he told me that he needed at least 20 kg a month, as they just LOVED my sauerkraut , but I needed to use less "kraut" (herbs) and I know I use too much ginger, cloves and juniper berries, as for me it is a medicine, but for them they want to use it with other ingredients and then it is too strong. They say they want to take now 20 kg a month but I need to upgrade my "factory" to deliver much more in the future:D

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