Monthly Archives: May 2014

A Battle In The Garden

I am wimpy when it comes to horror movies. I don’t like watching them at all. Just a thought of watching them gives me a chill through my spine. If I ever watched frightening movies like, “Friday the 13th” or “Texas Chain saw Massacre”, I would most likely wet my pants, cry like a baby and hide under the blanket just like a frightened child during a thunder storm. Any images that provoke the thought of violent killing make me sick to my stomach. As a matter of fact, as I type the first paragraph of this article, I am already feeling nauseous and I will probably vomit all over my laptop very soon.

So you can safely say that I am a gentle, peaceful, Buddhist-monk-like being who avoids any fighting, conflict, or argument. If someone dangerously cut in front of me while driving, I would just sit back and breath deeply and focus more on enjoyable things like listening to the sound of my own voice as I sing loud in the car. I might even close my eyes (not recommended while driving) for a few second to meditate to calm my mind. Since chasing the driver and holding him at gun point is out of question and not my style, I might let myself indulge in the thought of making his life miserable by pouring a pound of sugar into his gas tank, which by the way causes sticky mess inside and completely ruin the engine. I admit that I could be mean-spirited sometimes, but living peaceful and mindful life without any act or thought of violence is my priority.

So I was totally devastated when I realized that hundreds of friendly earthworms were being murdered by my own hand. It was like 1994 Rwandan Genocide all over again, but this time it was happening in my front yard.

A healthy earth worm.

A healthy earth worm.

If you are long time reader of our newsletter, you might remember one of my articles in the past, “A Confession Of A Middle Aged Man – I am sorry I will never do it again.” In that I described how I completely destroyed my front yard lawn by spraying notorious weed killer, “Round Up”. It successfully killed everything. Everything, except for weeds. My lawn burned immediately and turned into golden brown. It was a disaster. Fast forward 1 year, after long winter rains and complaints from my wife and kids. I finally decided remove the old ugly dead lawn full of weeds with a shovel 1 square feet at a time.

To my surprise, there was fairy rich healthy soil beneath much of the areas where lawns had been relatively healthy compared to the areas severely affected by weeds. I had to dig deep though in order to get most of roots (both from weeds and lawn) out.

Truth is that thick layer of soil was being pulled out of the ground because of it was stuck in the dense root system. So each time I dug, a big 8-10 inch-deep hole was created. In order to fill the hole I had to shake the soil out of sod, which was almost impossible to do because of the sod’s weight and dense roots. So I put the sod upside down and started hitting the soil out of the roots really hard with a shovel. That’s when I turned into a cold-blooded mass murderer of earthworms. At first, I didn’t know what was happening because I was so busy trying to fill the hole. Then all of a sudden, I realized I was chopping earthworms en masse with a brutal force. I became an evil psycho killer in the movie “Seattle Garden Shovel Massacre.” Later I learned they are able to regenerate their body after decapitation, so I shrugged it off and moved on.


I may have disturbed the earthworm kingdom and killed some of the them in the process, but I learned something important. Their sacrifice didn’t go wasted. The first thing I discovered is that lawn thrives in the area where rich healthy soil is abundant. Many earthworms can be found in the healthy soil. But weeds have a tough time growing. Healthy soil usually is very dark and said to have pH level between 6.5 and 7.0. Anything above 7.0 is considered alkaline and anything below is acidic. So it should be slightly acidic to neutral. On the other hand, I noticed that weeds were rampant in the area where the soil is light in color and rather dry and sandy. It was even worse in the area where I applied ‘Weed killer’ last year. As a matter of fact, there was about 3 inches of pure white, crumbly, dried-clay-like layer under the carpet of thick weeds. It seemed completely lifeless. No earthworms dare to explore into the white layer.

Yet, I noticed weeds really thrive in that kind of environment where acidity is really high. So having a soil with balanced pH level (closed to neutral) is the key to maintaining thick healthy beautiful lawn.

It is eerily similar to the health of human body. The blood of healthy human have the pH level between 7.35 to 7.45 which is slightly alkaline. The human body is said to be free of cancer if the pH level stays in this range. When the body becomes too acidic, it creates an ideal environment where diseases thrives. But you should never confuse blood pH level with the pH level of your stool, which tends to be more acidic (between 4 and 7). I once knew a naturopathic doctor who was obsessed with an alkaline diet. She ate only the foods with high alkalinity. She carried around the pH test strip everywhere she went and checked her stool with a strip every time. If the result was not alkaline, she would eat more alkaline food. She pushed it to the extreme.

The concept of ‘BALANCE’ or “yin & yang” never entered her mind. She believed that she has to be really, really alkaline in order to be disease free. I heard she died a few years later.

The lawn will die if the soil is too acidic, but it will also become prone to diseases if the soil is too alkaline. The human body works the same way. If the body is too acidic, high in toxicity, inflamed from over-nourishment (main causes of yang diseases) cancer and other diseases thrives. But if you become too alkaline, cold, under-nourished you become too weak to fight diseases.

Healthy weeds!

Healthy weeds!

The concept of “yin & yang” is pretty simple when it comes to diet. When you eat too much of yang foods, including but not limited to meats, spices, artificial flavors, alcohol, coffee, sugar or anything that is hard to digest, your body become acidic, inflamed and create ideal environment for diseases. So you could, for example, balance it by fasting in which your body eliminates toxic waste and all the excess, and repair ailed organs. Fasting is a fairly fast process, but it is really tough. So you may choose to stick with a diet consist of foods that are more yin or easy to digest.

In general leafy vegetables and certain types of grains cooked properly without much seasoning falls under the “yin’” category. It may take time, but eventually your body will achieve perfect yin-yang balance in the process. One of the fastest and most effective ways to bring balance back to the body is to regularly drink a cup of herbal tea prescribed by a Traditional Chinese Herbalist. An experienced herbalist like Juliana can spot imbalance immediately, and prescribe a package of herbs to counter and cleanse excess toxicity out of the system in a very short period of time.

The time it takes to heal one’s body still largely depends on the his willingness to follow good diet and lifestyle suggested by the herbalist. Good diet consists of foods that are easy to digest. They are usually the least acidic and minimally stimulating or inflammatory. Good lifestyle means that you should avoid any destructive habits or stress and focus more on the activities such regular exercise, meditation or anything that will bring you happiness and peace of mind. So here is the equation you should always keep in mind:

Good Herbs + Good Diet + Good Lifestyle
= Fast Healing

Kaz Isogai

Mother’s Day And Allergies

May is the month of Mother’s Day and spring time. Mother nature is busy focusing on the life-giving and nurturing aspects of growth The change of season is the most beautiful time of the year, our gardens are now seeded and in a few weeks the signs of life sprout as our vegetables start to grow. Watch out, the trees are blooming, the grass is growing, and runny-nosed, swollen red eyed zombies are invading the planet!

It’s allergies, it is miserable and frustrating. Pollen, aches and pain have arrived again. In Chinese Medicine, allergies and eczema is connected to Asthma. Asthma is a chronic inflammation of the air passages. The patients become sensitive to allergens like chemical vapor, dust, dust mites, pollen, jute, etc. The allergy reaction causes wheezing, difficult in breathing, and coughing.

The traditional Chinese herbal formula, Xiao Chai Hu Tang, is one of the ten famous herbal formulas in cases of cold and flu with chills and fever. The formula is adjusted depending on symptoms, and are only given when the tongue is white and yellow fur. As a prevention, UPR and AE Pills are recommended. UPR is formulated for respiratory support, in the formula the herb Huang lian is for heat in the upper part of the body like red eyes and sores in the mouth. AE Pills are for clearing the skin and anti-allergenic.

As the inflammation of the air passages are left untreated, our main organs, the Lungs and Heart become distressed, then it is time to get the herbal tea prescription. Lastly, wash off the pollen then take an Epsom salt bath to open the pores.

Take this month to focus on our own life and making nurturing changes to your health. We must nurture ourselves as nature changes the season. To all the mothers we will love and respect, Happy Mother’s Day!


How I Lost 5 Pounds in 24 Hours

Now that spring is here, I see articles talking about how to detox the body and cleanse the system. My friends are sharing on Facebook about the latest diet they’re trying to get in shape for swimsuit season come summer. So, I was really disappointed when I stepped on the scale and found that I had gained 5 pounds during a 5-day trip to visit family in California.

I wasn’t quite sure where all the weight had come from since I tried my best to eat well and avoided too many treats. The only thing different for me was our circumstances for using the bathroom. I don’t know about you, but I have a hard time being comfortable pooping anywhere else but at home. And, I have to be literally physically relaxed to do it.

The Golden Gate Bridge from my trip to San Francisco.

The Golden Gate Bridge from my trip to San Francisco.

While on our trip, we were always busy, in a hurry and I was often very cold since I didn’t pack any long-sleeved shirts or many layers. And, while I tried my very best to eat well on the trip and avoided many treats, I didn’t eat as many vegetables as I do at home. So, my digestion was slower and I was feeling very sluggish by the end of the trip.

Once we got home, I finally felt the urge to poop. So, I wondered if I could correct it by getting my body what it needed to have good elimination. I started by drinking plenty of water, and eating lots of vegetables. I know this might sounds like a commercial, but honestly, I also took some of the Taifu Plus pills.

By the end of the day, I had lost 1 pound. The next day, I noticed my bloating seemed to calm down a bit. And, by the end of the day and after a few trips to the bathroom, I stepped on the scale to see 4 pounds gone!

As I was telling my husband about my sudden weight gain from our trip and then the sudden weight loss, he jokingly said, “So, you were full of poop!” It’s true.

What I learned from this is that my body needs consistent water and vegetable intake to have good elimination. It made me think about all of my friends who are trying new cleansing diets for a week to jump-start their swimsuit ready bodies.

Some of us need a bland diet and herbs to get started, and some of us just need to take good care of ourselves consistently no matter where we are or what time of the year it is.

Holli Margell, Editor