Monthly Archives: July 2015

Surviving the Hot Summer 2015

We are having a unexpected hot summer! It is a little too hot for my taste and very dangerous as well. A few weeks ago my niece and a friend (both13 years old), went unsupervised to a outdoor pool during peek heat (10am-4pm) for a few hours, and not drinking enough fluid ended with a heat stroke. She ran a fever and luckily the fever broke in a day and there wasn’t a need of hospitalization.

The preventive measures for heat stroke include drinking plenty of cool liquids and avoiding excessive heat and humidity. Treatment requires rapid physical cooling of the body. I believe that we all need to be educated so that severe damage can be prevented as well as enjoying the summer days.

The precaution while enjoying the warm weather is to be in shaded area and cooling temperature between peek heat of 10am – 4pm. But in Seattle weather, I think its best to be protected until 7-8pm. The strong heat creates the worry of skin cancer, heat stroke, sunburn, but dehydration can create major casualty especially for the kids and elderly. To prevent dehydration is drinking at least 8 glasses of water.  I was once told that using sun block is effective for 30% protection, and the best protection is sun clothing and shade which provides 90%.

Lets have a fun and safe summer!



The Reason Why Boy George & Culture Club Should Go Into Pickle Business

Active Culture Club

Active Culture Club

In 1982, the British band, Culture Club, lead by flamboyant Boy George released their first album “Kissing To Be Clever” in UK. The third single “Do You Really Want To Hurt Me?” was a huge international hit. They became the first band since the Beatles to have 3 songs from debut albums listed in the Top 10 in Bill Board’s Hot 100. Their second album “Color By Numbers” was also a huge international success, with the single “Karma Chameleon” hitting number 1 in chart in numerous countries.

I must have been around 12 years old when I first heard Culture Club. Growing up in Japan, I was not quite interested in foreign pop rock at all. However, a tidal wave of British pop music was hard to ignore even for a child whose only interest was to play outside with his friends. But, I simply could not resist it when I heard Boy George sing,  “Karma, karma, karma, karma, karma chameleon….You come and go…you come and go….” Seriously, who could have resisted it? It was such a great sing-along song even for someone like me who didn’t know a word of English at the time.

Unfortunately, as with most of the rock stars, he and his band became a victim of drug addiction. Not only did the band lose their way musically, they actually lost one of the members because of heroin overdose. After peaking in popularity around 1986, Culture Club was never able to duplicate the same level of success. They even made several attempt to reunite and tour without much success up until recently. It is very likely Boy George and Culture Club would never ever be in the spotlight again.

But I think I found the way to help Boy George and Culture Club regain the same level of popularity as before. And possibly help him make a lot of money along the way. If Boy George ever asked me what he could do to become as successful as before, I would tell him to:

Sell Pickles, And Sell A Lot Of Them!!

Why picckles? Glad you asked. All pickles and Boy George have something in common. Pickles contain or are at least made with live Cultures. And Boy George was lead singer in Culture Club. They both have a word “Culture”.  Do you see where I am going with this? It is not one of my silly jokes. It is a pretty serious marketing plan. A plan to make him and Culture Club a household name again, really!. What I am trying to say is that even though the band is not popular musically anymore, the name “Culture Club” is still alivenand well. So he should take advantage it. The name “Culture Club” was once a household name worldwide. And still a lot of people instantly recognize the name. So why not use it?  It’s a perfect name for pickles. Especially the pickles with live CULTURES, get it? It is simple, but I think it would be very effective.

So he should simply call his line of products “Culture Club”. Yes, the exact same name as his band. His band is no longer active, so maybe his products should be called “Active Culture Club.” The word “Active” is quite important here when it comes to differentiating his products from others inferior pickle products. Wanna know why? Many of the pickles you see on the shelf of supermarkets are dead. What I mean by “DEAD” is the they don’t actually contains Active or Live Cultures anymore. All the beneficial bacteria (cultures) are killed through pasteurization process. Nothing wrong with pasteurized pickles with no active culture, but you would not be adding beneficial bacteria to your digestive system when you eat it, (more on that later) So I would suggest Boy George focus on selling only pickles with Live Active Culture. And all of his pickles will be sold through the brand name “Active Culture Club”.  And his face is still very much recognizable all over the world,  so he should slap his face right on the jar of pickles and other products for instant recognition and familiarity. After all, people love to buy products with a familiar face, just like every Newman’s Own products has Paul Newman’s face on it. It works, even though he has been dead for quite some time. I guarantee his pickles will be a instant hit among those who understand the value of active live cultures.

So what the heck is Live Culture? Live cultures, also called active cultures, refer to the microorganisms typically found in foods such as yogurt, sauerkraut, and dill pickles. These beneficial microorganisms (bacteria) naturally present on the surface of the cabbage and, in fact all fruits and vegetables.  Most pickles are made by a process called lacto-fermentation. For example, when salted cabbage releases liquid (brine),  the bacteria begin to convert sugars in the cabbage into lactic acid which acts as a natural preservative that inhibits the growth of harmful bacteria. They say these bacteria actually increases the nutrient content and digestibility of vegetables, and also increases immune system functionality. And I find it very true though I have no way of scientifically prove it. My digestion has been so much better, and in fact  ever since I made a habit of eating sauerkraut with live culture (not pasteurized one) my allergy condition has improved dramatically too.

So folks, please make sure to eat the one that has not been pasteurized. Why the heck do they even pasteurize it, killing all the beneficial bacteria in the process? The answer is quite simple. As long as bacteria is present, and as long as there is enough sugar for the bacteria to feed on, it gives off gas as a byproduct of fermentation process. It is simply impossible to contain the gas in a jar without causing any bulge in the lid.

There are two ways to make sure you are eating the right kind of pickles (with live culture).

First one of course is to make your own pickles. I have not done it myself yet, but it seems very easy to make. Also they say it is very hard to mess up. As long as you don’t pasteurize it through canning process in an attempt to preserve if for a long period of time, you are good to go.

Second option is to buy the ones with live culture. This could be a little challenging depending on where you live. One day my wife came home with sauerkraut that she bought at local farmer’s market. And it was exactly the kind of sauerkraft I had been looking for. The first thing I noticed immediately was a bulging lis with a label saying “LIVE CULTURE, Natural Fermentation may cause lids to bulge – KEEP REFRIGERATED”. The lid was literally bulging and looked as if it was about to explode. It was a godsend since I didn’t want to go through the trouble of making it myself. The name of the product is called “Britt’s Caraway Kraut” made by Britt’s Pickle in Seattle. They have variety of other pickles. Unfortunately, their pickles are only available in natural food stores in Northwest region, including Whole Foods. I found another brand called “Farmhouse Culture Kraut”. Their sauerkraut also still contains live culture and are packed in breathable pouch; so it releases the gas caused by the fermentation process, so it will never explode.  Looks like they are available at Whole Foods nationwide. So far they are only 2 brands I trust (and easily available)so far. You should definitely try their pickles to see how your digestion improve. I will remain a loyal customer of both brand of pickles until, Boy George & Culture Club take my advise and start selling the line of pickle products worldwide.    

Kaz Isogai