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Food as Medicine

By SeeFoon Chan-Koppen

Joyce Tan is one serious researcher. When she decided to leave her very stressful job to set up her own organic shop, she searched far and wide to find products that are unique to Ipoh.

“I didn’t want to end up with yet another ‘wannabe’ organic shop selling the usual health foods. I am pre-diabetic and I believe that I can use food as medicine instead of resorting to drugs. I therefore use my own dietary needs as one of the yardsticks for stocking products. I also want to bring some of the more innovative foods for sustaining wellness as well as helping people regain their health after medical intervention,” said Joyce emphatically.

As a result, JT Organic And Diabetic Food opposite Hospital Fatimah in Ipoh Garden, has an interesting range of products for diabetics as well as for people like myself who just want to stay healthy. And they even have baby food and other organic products catering to children and even teenagers, like their organic popcorn!

These are still early days as the shop has only been opened for three weeks when I visited them. Already the shop is stocked with a plethora of great products and from a flyer given to me by Joyce, many other exciting items are yet to come.

Being the coffee addict that I am, I headed straight for the organic coffee, buying myself a packet of the Mt. Hagen Bio Espresso which comes in 6 flavours: Espresso, Mocha, Cappuccino, Dinkel, Malz & Black. Prices range from RM32.80 for 250g Espresso to RM21.50 for 100g of Dinkel (wheat) and Malz (grain). I found the Espresso which I bought to be rich and flavourful as was the Love Earth Sugar Free Natural Black Coffee with Bamboo Salt with 15 sachets at RM14.90. This latter purchase is perfect for me when I travel as I often find the coffee in other places not up to my stringent tastes.

Other treasures which I uncovered are their Wonder Chocolates, a range of organic dark chocolate sweetened with coconut palm nectar which is guranteed low glycaemic for those worried about their blood sugar. Coming from Oregon USA, they are made without soy, dairy, GMOs, cane sugar, and refined sugar. Wonder Chocolates come in 4 flavours ranging from 61% -73% cacao. I bought (how could I resist?) the Sea Salt with Sweet Nibs, and on opening, found it irresistible and finished the whole packet in one sitting! The chocolate was smooth and creamy with the sea salt element lingering on the palate as an endearing aftertaste. Well worth the RM15 each.

JT Organic is a veritable Aladdin’s Cave of healthy treasures. They carry a range of organic nut/soy/grain/oat milks RM17.90; nut butters from Peanut (creamy and crunchy) RM24.90 to almond, brazil, cashew, walnut RM35; natural popcorn with cheese, caramel and chocolate flavours RM8.90; an extensive range of organic gluten free corn flakes and other cereal RM18.90-RM24.90; oodles of gluten free snacks and biscuits for the nibblers amongst us and a wonderful rice selection running the gamut from organic Black Rice which is reputed to be full of nutrients, 500g for RM8.90  to 10-grain RM11.90 and 5-grain RM10.90 to Basmati to Japanese Calrose to Red and Brown.

Noodles are aplenty here at JT Organic. From the Earth Organic Millet Wonton Mee which was sold out as this is their bestseller to the Binchotan Soba, Wholemeal Misoya, Organic Ramen, Misua, Misoya, all their noodles are vegan. RM7.90 for a 250g packet.

Then there is the B Glucan powder from oats which has been found to lower cholesterol and similarly the Beetroot Millet Milk powder both RM69.90. Other powders include Multi Grains, Walnut/Hazelnut, Black Sesame and Black Bean, Brown Rice and Herbs, Almond, and Chinese Yam and Red Coix (commonly known as Job’s Tears) RM36.90 for 500g.

JT Organic also carries organic coconut palm sugar, touted to be low glycaemic (GI 35), high nutrient, non-GMO, gluten free and Kosher which is probably the best sugar substitute for baking and other needs. 240g RM21.90; 454g RM40.90.

An unusual product which is not readily available in Ipoh, is Maca powder, grown and harvested high in the Andes Mountains of Peru which is touted to increase energy, strength, endurance, bone density and provide osteoporosis support. Maca is a well known adaptogen known to be chock full of vitamins and minerals and all the good stuff that helps the body to cope with stress better. At RM122 per pack for either the Red or the Black Maca powder, it is not cheap but well worth the expense considering that it is a wonder food and one 227g packet should last at least a month at the maximum dosage and two at the lower recommendation.

The list of goodies at JT Organic is endless for those wishing to eat healthily. What I am looking forward to is the arrival of their protein cakes, noodles, breads and pizzas. A first in Malaysia, these are made from 100% plant protein with 0% refined flour. I can’t wait to sink my teeth into these guilt free items.

JT Organic And Diabetic Food
135B (Ground Floor), Jalan Dato Lau Pak Khuan, Ipoh Garden, 31400 Ipoh.
Joyce Tan: 05 547 8008
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See Foon

SeeFoon Chan-Koppen has been writing a food column called Musings on Food in the Ipoh Echo since 2009. It is widely read both in print as well as online which receives more than 1 million hits a month. Her forte is in communications, having honed her skills after graduating from the University of Singapore where she worked for the Straits Times Group and was a food critic for the New Nation. Her knowledge of food and cooking come from more than 30 years in the hotel industry based in Singapore, Tokyo, Hong Kong and subsequently Kuala Lumpur. During this time, she has travelled all over the world and eaten at the best and worst restaurants. She is totally intimate with the subtleties and nuances of most cuisines of the world having been involved in opening over 50 hotels throughout the Asia/Pacific region and China where she helped to conceptualize Food and Beverage themes and critiqued on food quality. SeeFoon calls herself a global citizen and now chooses the serenity and friendliness of Ipoh to the bright lights of the many cities she has lived in. She also loves the food in Ipoh and is passionate about telling the world about it.

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