Lifestyle

Cure for stomach pains = live frogs? | (non-frog) WHIDBEY RECIPES

When a couple in Ormond Beach, Fla. found a frog in their can of Pepsi, they were understandably upset. They had originally thought it was a mouse.

Personally, when I read the item about the frog, I can only say how happy I was that I don’t drink Pepsi.

I don’t, in fact, drink soda pop of any kind, with or without mice or frogs.

As it turns out, however, the Ormond Beach couple and I may be missing out on an unusual opportunity to improve our overall health, if we can stomach the remedy.

A man named Jiang, who lives in China, has been swallowing live tree frogs for 40 years, and claims it cured, and has helped him continue to avoid, severe intestinal complaints.

When he was 26 years old, Jiang suffered from chronic, debilitating intestinal pain, as well as constant coughing. Nothing helped until one doctor, obviously a practitioner of alternative medicine, suggested that he try eating live tree frogs. I have no clue as to why he suggested this but, after a month of eating live frogs, his stomach pains and coughing both were gone and now, 40 years later, the 66-year-old man continues to enjoy good health.

Over the years, according to the report I came upon while researching alternative medicines on the Internet, the man added live mice, baby rats and green frogs to his medicinal treatment, and continued to thrive. He is presumably still alive and well somewhere in the Jiangxi province of China.

I was unable to find out if he caught them all himself or bought them from a local supplier of alternative medicines.

In my bookcase there is a tome titled “Ancient Chinese Medicinal Cures,” a book I acquired several years ago when I was suddenly sidelined with polymyalgia rheumatica, a very aggravating form of arthritis. The immediate cure was prednisone, and it worked like magic.

The problem was that I disliked taking the prednisone, and was looking for an alternative method for preventing the flare-ups of the PMR, thus the book on Chinese cures, as well as several others dealing with alternative medicines.

Nowhere in any of my vast array of literature dealing with natural and/or alternative medicines have I come across eating live frogs as a cure for anything, although I have read that some African aborigines once ate poison frogs to give themselves immunity to the poison when shot with darts by enemies. Sort of like getting a flu shot with live vaccine to avoid getting the flu, right?

So, in conclusion, next time you pop the top on a can of soda and find more than you bargained for, don’t be too hasty to complain, or even sue. If it’s a frog, you should probably just take a big gulp, swallow hard and tell yourself you’re just taking your medicine.

RECIPES

No, I’m not going to give you a recipe for preparing frogs’ legs, although I do have a couple, and if you really want one, e-mail me and I’ll get it to you. Right now, however, let’s just deal with food remedies for things that might ail us.

We all know about chicken soup’s supposed effect on colds and flu, but there are others, such as these sweet-potato casseroles, full of omega-3, potassium, vitamins C and A, and plenty of fiber, tasty and comforting. No frog necessary.

SWEET POTATO CASSEROLES

1½ lbs. sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes

1/3 cup orange juice

3½ T. light butter, melted

2 T. fat-free half and half

½ t. pumpkin pie spice

1/8 t. each salt and black pepper

2 T. finely chopped walnuts

Place sweet potatoes in a saucepan and cover with water; bring to a boil. Cover and cook until very tender, about 10 min. Drain and place in a mixing bowl. Add orange juice, butter, half and half and spice. With electric mixer, beat until smooth. Add salt and pepper.

Divide mixture among 6 four-ounce ramekins and sprinkle 1 t. of the walnuts over the top of each. Bake in a preheated 400-degree oven 10-12 min., or until walnuts are lightly toasted and tops of potatoes are lightly browned. Serves 6.

The herb rosemary has long been used in many cultures to improve digestion and, more recently, found to stimulate the immune system.

I have it growing in my garden always, and use it almost daily as a seasoning. It goes well with almost any meat, but especially with lamb or pork.

HERBED PORK TENDERLOIN

1 pork tenderloin, (approx. 1 lb.), trimmed

1 t. olive oil

Pinch of ground red pepper, or red pepper flakes

Pinch garlic powder

Pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

¼ cup chopped Italian parsley

2 T. chopped fresh rosemary

Rub the tenderloin with the olive oil and sprinkle evenly with red pepper, garlic powder, salt and pepper.

Press the parsley and rosemary evenly over the roast, patting to make them stick. Transfer the loin to a small nonstick (or sprayed) baking pan. Tuck the tapered end of the loin under for even cooking and roast the loin for approximately 18-22 min. at 400 degrees, or until barely pink inside. (Remember, it’s OK to have pork cooked med. rare today). Let stand 10 min. before slicing. Serves 4.

CHOCOLAT POTS DE AMORE

6 oz. bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped (I use 72 percent at least, preferably higher)

1 large egg

3/4 cup whipping cream

Chop the chocolate in a food processor or blender until fine. Pour into a bowl.

Add the egg to the food processor or blender. In a glass measuring cup, heat the whipping cream in a microwave oven until it boils, 1 1/2-2 min.

With the processor or blender on high, slowly add the boiling cream to the egg in a thin steady stream. Check the temp. of the mixture with an instant-read thermometer; if it’s below 160 degrees, pour the mixture back into the glass measuring cup and reheat in the microwave at full power until it just reaches 160 degrees, stirring and checking at 15-second intervals.

Combine the hot cream mixture and chopped chocolate in the blender or food processor. Whirl until smooth, about 1 min. Pour the chocolate mixture into 4-5 ramekins and chill until softly set, about 30-45 min. Serve with a light sprinkle of shaved chocolate on top, if desired, or a fresh raspberry or two. Serves 4-5.

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