Monthly Archives: December 2013

The Best Gift You Can Give The People You Love

Take care of yourself during this special season.

Take care of yourself during this special season.

The holidays bring up a lot of different emotions in people. I know some who love to start listening to Christmas music during Thanksgiving, and others who are offended by all the Christmas marketing interrupting their daily lives. No matter what your beliefs are during the Holiday Season, the best gift you can give the people you love is to be healthy yourself.

It might sound selfish or impossible to achieve depending on where you are right now in your life. But, it’s like the moral of the Airplane emergency response routine. You know, the one the stewards on every airplane in American have to recite every single flight?

You must first put on your own oxygen mask before helping your neighbor sitting next to you.

The same applies to your health. If you’re a parent or a friend, the best gift you can give the ones you love is a healthy self. That way you have the freedom to participate in their lives, to play, to celebrate and enjoy their company.

But, how you may ask? Good question, especially now that we’re entering the cold, dark season here in the Pacific Northwest where it’s cold and rainy outside. And, on top of it, we enter the holidays with parties, family gatherings, the need to decorate, shop, prepare and think of many details until we drop exhausted into bed.

The key is to never stop nourishing yourself. Eat well, sleep well and remember that cutting corners on your health will stop you some day.

Here are 3 key ways to help you give the best gift of a healthy you during the holidays:

1. Learn to say no. Don’t have time to work out because of another holiday event your friend invited you to? Say no, thank you, I can’t make it. Have a relative who asks you to provide one more thing for the family dinner? If that means you’ll only get a half nights sleep because you’re up all night cooking, say no.

2. Indulge safely. Do you go to the same holiday party every year? And, you know there will be Aunt Trudy’s famous chocolate cake? Remember that one thing you love to indulge in and make that your treat for the day. Don’t eat too much chocolate candies and sugar cooking before the meal, and enjoy the cake for dessert. Choose your indulgence and take care of yourself beforehand and afterwards with wise choices and herbs to help your body with digestion. Just like with drinking, too much sugar or partying can wipe you out the next day.

3. Feed Your Soul. We all have something that fills us with joy. Make time to do something you love every week. Think of it as a workout for your soul.

Wishing you a joy filled end of the year!

Warmly, Holli Margell, Editor

Juli’s Solstice Thoughts: How to help your body during this season

This year on December 21st plan to celebrate the first day of winter and the longest night of the year, the Winter Solstice. After the Winter Solstice, days will become longer and longer. The Traditional Chinese believe the Yang, or muscular, positive things will become stronger and stronger after this day, so it should be celebrated.

In the Winter season, our body becomes more Yang, which means that we will tend to eat lot more rare meats and less vegetable and fruits. More Yang creates inflammation, heart disease and other hot diseases. These can include High Blood Pressure, arteriosclerosis, fevers , headaches, etc. Create a balance of yin and yang by eating more cooked vegetables, altering our attitudes and controlling our emotions.

Remember the herbs that you can take to prepare yourself for celebration feasts, and take care of yourself before a belly ache and illness comes. Take the AE for inflammation and Taifu Plus with Pu-erh Tea, by doing so it makes a more cheerful digestive tract. Your digestion will be ready to process any celebration foods (and always remember that moderation is key).

And, let’s talk about celebration drinks too. As you drink, your pallet wants more salty foods. In return, that will raise our blood pressure. This causes a chance of danger as it can cause a heart attack or stroke. If you face gets too red and you have an alcohol flush or you get rosacea (caused by dilation of capillaries), your body is trying to flush out the alcohol. It’s a sign that you need to stop drinking.

Just like with your digestion and treats, taking AE_for high blood pressure and drinking Tie Guan Yin tea will help your body process the alcohol.

AE was developed to remove excess of yang and heat in the body. _It works to clear up the whole system and allow blood to nourish your skin and other organs to function properly.

And remember the health of your mind and heart. Positive things become stronger and stronger. Listen to your own body and pay attention to its needs as well as having a deeper understanding of yourself and your interactions with others. Winter is a time of gentle celebration where nutritious and warming food and family connection is promoted. Take a moment to STOP, slow down and celebrate the enjoyment of life.


Orange Miso Balsamic Vinaigrette Salad Dressing Recipe – It’s Fast, Easy, Fresh & Delicious

You Would Never Consider Buying A Dressing From A Store Again!

Every once in a while, I come across great salad dressing in a restaurant where a chef takes a great pride in his food. In the case of an Italian restaurant (my favorite food), the quality of the bread and salad (dressing) would tell you how good (or bad) the rest of the meals on the menu are. If the bread is of the low quality, I would immediately set low expectation for the rest of the meal so that I wouldn’t be disappointed. I might even order a cheap glass of wine before the main dish is served and get drunk to ease the pain of eating bad food – just kidding! Salad (and dressing) can also be a good indicator of the food quality… though I don’t necessarily set a low expectation for the rest of dining experience.

I may sound like a snobby critic, but it’s is true most of the cases that quality of the bread and salad equal to the quality of the service and the rest of the food in the restaurant. If it’s hard enough to find a good salad (and dressing) in the restaurant, it is almost impossible to find a decent salad dressing from a grocery store.

In the past, I’ve wasted my precious stock ingredients in my kitchen many times, just somehow trying to transform nasty tasting store bought dressing into some sort of edible form. The results were alway disaster. It’s always a good idea to start something new from scratch than trying to fix something that’s already bad. So I never buy salad dressing from the store anymore, and this is why I developed this dressing recipe. Remember this is my family secret recipe. I am sharing only with you, because I can no longer bear the thought of you spending hundreds of dollars for a horrible dressing. I want you to save money and stay healthy eating good salad with quality dressing. So please respect the recipe by using only the highest quality ingredients.

Recipe: Orange Miso Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing

Here is the list of the ingredients:

• 1/8 cup Balsamic Vinegar
• 1/2 cup of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
• 2 tablespoon of Fresh squeezed Orange juice
• 1/4 tsp of Kosher salt
• 1/4 tsp of Italian seasoning
• Pinch of Freshly ground pepper
• 1/2 tsp of Honey
• 1 tsp of Miso
• Pinch of finely grated ginger
• 1/4 tsp of Organic soy sauce
• 1 tsp of mayo

Fresh Grated Ginger

Fresh Grated Ginger

There are two ways to do this recipe. The first one is the fastest, the easiest and the laziest way to make it. All you need to do is throw all the listed ingredients into empty glass jar (from jam) and shake it for about a minute. That’s all. It’s good to go.

But if you want to learn the subtle difference that each ingredients makes and eventually want to develop your own dressing, here is how to do it:

Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar in a 3:1 ratio.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar in a 3:1 ratio.

1. Put Balsamic Vinegar, Olive Oil, Orange juice and Salt in the jar and shake it well. This first step will help you understand that the golden ratio between oil and vinegar (acid) is 3:1 for any type of dressing.
In this recipe I am using more olive oil to compensate for the extra acid (orange juice). As long as you are using high quality balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil, it should already taste much better than most of the dressing sold out there.

Shake well before using.

Shake well before using.

2. Once you have good tasting basic dressing, the rest of the ingredients are pretty much optional, meaning that you can add or subtract, increase or decrease the amount of each ingredient as you like it (later). But first, in order to learn to think and cook like Pro, it is critical to learn the subtle difference each additional ingredient makes. So all you need to do is shake it really well every time a new ingredient is added and of course taste it. You will be amazed to see how each ingredient adds an extra layer of flavor and complexity to the overall taste of the dressing.

This recipe yields enough to serve the family of 4 or more. You can of course make double or quadruple the amount and save it in the refrigerator for later use. You may add stone ground mustard for extra kick or substitute orange juice with lemon for tangier taste. Be adventurous and create your own dressing. I guarantee that everybody will be asking for your dressing recipe at your next dinner party.

-Kaz Isogai