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Showing posts from November, 2013

How to Read Nutritional Labels in Chinese

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One of the biggest road blocks in my adventure to figure out what I've been eating here in Taiwan is nutrition labels. The labels offer similar nutritional information as the USA but not identically, and not in the same order, in Traditional Chinese, and serving sizes are metric. There are a few conversations on the age-old Formosaboards that offer some non-helpful tips, and some tips that are totally wrong. No, 7-11 does not list nutritional information in English, *sigh. I also ran across this very detailed but also confusing pamphlet from Hong Kong.

The nutrition labels usually offer the following facts, and typically in this order:
熱量 (Re4 Liang4) Energy(units = 大卡 / da1 ka3 / Kcal)  蛋白質 (Dan4 Bai2 Zhi4) Protein (unit =  公克 / gong1ke4 / gram) 脂肪 (Zhi1 Fang2) Total Fat (unit =  公克 / gong1ke4 / gram)   飽和脂肪 (Bao3 He2 Zhi1 Fang2) Saturated Fat (unit =  公克 / gong1ke4 / gram)   反式脂肪 (Fan3 Shi4 Zhi1 Fang2) Trans Fat (still legal?) (unit =  公克 / gong1ke4 / gram) 碳水化合物 (Tan4 Shui3 Hu…

Taipei Aquaponics: Rooftop Urban Agriculture

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Chillaxia Aquaponic bones 
Taipei is a pretty green place. Figuratively, literally the mid-century ugly style Japanese buildings are softened by lush greenery sprouting in and around every crevice and surface. Its common to see patches of dirt cultivated into vegetable gardens. Until recently there was small farm across the street from Taipei 101 the world's second largest building in the smack center of Taipei's commercial area.

Recently I've been seeking the stories behind these gardens. I don't have a space to garden, but I thought I'd draw some inspiration from what is happening and share it for everyone to see. Facebook has been a remarkable resource in Taipei for locating groups. A post in Green Taiwan led me to learn about a woman named Tammy Turner with permaculture garden in Xindian, a large Aquaponic garden called Avata, and a gentleman named John building his own aquaponic system on his rooftop dubbed Chillaxia. I immediately requested a tour, and he hap…

Healthy Eating Taiwan, Pt. 1 Healthy at Home

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Eat healthy on $200 NTD a day 
Finding healthy food in Taiwan isn't much different than in America. Just like in America the healthiest food isn't the one jumping off the shelf in a bright colored box or advertised on the side of a bus. You have to seek it. Moving to an Asian country, especially Taiwan, creates a large language barrier. It take some time and I'm here to give a little guidance and inspiration.

What am I calling healthy? We could bounce ideas around for ages on that very subject. I am going to say a mostly "clean" diet of vegetables, fruit, lean proteins, complex carbohydrates is healthy. The foods here are mostly gluten-free, in case you are so disabled. I'm pointing out vegan and vegetarian options. Taiwan loves its pork and seafood, but due to a high buddhist population there are tons of options for vegetarians and vegans. Without even trying most of these foods are found locally. Living on a small island encourages that!

Food is remarkably …