Category Archives: Tips

What Else Could Get Rid of a Cold In 3 Days?

Have you been feeling sick beyond belief? Who has time to sit and be miserable with the cold and flu? Seeing that we will be experiencing another three weeks of more freezing cold winter weather, it is a great idea to help prepare yourself with a remedy that can kick that nasty cold and make you feel better in less than three days.

Our tea regimen is guaranteed to help clear a sore throat, ease that stuffy nose feeling, relieve headaches from sinus congestion, and hydrate your body when you are experiencing a fever.
Gum Wall Tea and Lok Wo Cha are the perfect combination of herbs to help with the cold and flu symptoms and leave you feeling so much better.

Follow these instructions to help create this perfect cold fighting tea!

1. Pour 3 cups of water into a small saucepan and bring to a boil and add 1 box of the Gum Wall Tea and 1 box of the Lok Wo Cha

2. Cook on low-medium heat for 15 minutes with the lid on (very crucial part, this makes a difference on how the tea will taste…I know from experience so trust me on this.)

3. After 15 minutes just let the tea steep for an extra 5 minutes

4. Strain into 2 separate cups; drink 1 cup in the morning and 1 cup at night.
5. Add 1 slice of fresh
ginger root if you are feeling any nausea or fever for good measure.

Repeat these steps for 3 days and watch as you start to feel better! Seriously it is so simple and you’ll be glad your tried it.

Stay warm, eat light, and take good care of yourself!

What To Eat When It’s Cold Outside

The holidays are the most joyous times of the year. Get into the holiday spirit in a big way and round up family and friends to go to events and be very active. Spend time in creating healthy foods like simple vegetable dishes, cultural foods that your grandparents made, make it memorable. Often the holiday seasons brings stress, emotional turmoil, rich foods, and late nights. All of these can affect your health and well-being. Let’s make a good change.

In the cold winter months, people desire to eat more food. This increases gastric acid and poses a threat to the gastric mucosa. Chronic stomach problems like ulcers and even stomach bleeding. The rule of thumb is to only eat 70% full and no later than 6pm. Give your stomach at least 3-4 hours to digest before bedtime. Generally, the digestive system enters an active stage in winter and that’s why dietary reinforcements are usually more effective than in other seasons, stomach problems also often occur due to cold air, eating unsafe foods like hot pots, and stimulating spicy foods.

Also, cold food should be avoided to reduce stimulation of gastric fluids, especially at breakfast. As most of the organs are still in a state of sleep, eating cold foods may result in contraction and poor blood circulation in the digestive system, leading to indigestion. There goes your cup of orange juice in the morning!

Warm or relatively hot foods, however, can help stimulate blood circulation and wake up the organs. Wearing a belly belt, or covering the stomach, can also help protect the stomach from the cold. Warming fruit with hot water, or briefly boiling it, before eating is a good alternative if you must eat it. Generally, the antioxidant like polyphenol in fruit won’t be damaged at 100 degrees Celsius. Boiled fruits will effectively nourish organs, move bowels and promote digestion, as well as reduce possible stimulation in the stomach.

And since immunity decreases with cold temperatures, we should also be aware of infectious digestive ailments with typical symptoms like diarrhea and vomiting. Uncooked foods are the first group recommended to be crossed off the menu.

As for patients with chronic stomach problems like inflammation or ulcers, it is essential to quit smoking, drinking and eating other stimulating foods as well as avoid bad moods and fatigue. It is also advised to take precautionary herbs to stop relapses of stomach problems.

Stay hydrated. Water helps your body cleanse toxins and fight germs. With furnaces blasting, lots of party foods, and alcohol, your personal water table needs all the help it can get. Remember, caffinated beverages and alcoholic drinks actually take water out of your system.

If you stay cautious of what you eat and how you prepare foods, learn to read ingredients, you will have much better intestinal health. You are what you eat. Eat wisely and drink smart.

Enjoy this holiday with good health,

Why Can’t I Just Eat What I Want?

Autumn is a time where long summer days are getting shorter, the weather is getting colder, and the leaves on the trees are changing to all kinds of beautiful colors. Autumn is the season of transition. For kids, they transition from the freedoms of summer to going back to school; everyone is getting ready for winter while the birds transition from North to South. As this time of transition comes upon us, every year I take this time to reflect on myself and the past year that I have experienced.

The major transitions in my life for this past year have been mainly health oriented. The dictionary term for transition is the process or a period of changing from one state or condition to another. This statement can be manifested into multiple meanings and different situations. Most recently the biggest transition for me was, changing my diet.

For patients that have come to our office, when you have your initial consultation, at the end, you are usually given a suggested Bland Diet that explains about the foods that can cause an inflammatory response in the body as well as suggesting to avoid processed foods, and cook from home. It is also separated into different food categories and each category has a list of foods that are okay to eat and not okay. When I explain what the Bland Diet I get a lot of people thinking, “ Oh God, this means I can’t eat anything now doesn’t it?” Although this Diet may seem intimidating, I will show you the reasoning and tools to help you transition from Bland to Blandtastic! (alright, that sounded better in my head).

When I first began the Bland Diet (yes, I gave up and had to retry more than once), I was too gung-hoe about the whole thing. I went straight to eating salads, raw veggies, and a couple times, nearly starved myself because I was so lost on what to eat. I had purged my pantry, and then restocked it with the same crappy junk foods (mostly cookies and other sweets) and then filled it with healthy stuff, (which I am getting better at these days). The best thing about the Bland Diet sheet is that you do have a list of foods that are okay and not okay, which is really helpful. On the other hand, though it tends to be a little bit of a cliff hanger because it is open for interpretation as to how to prepare foods and how to create your own recipes “great so I have this list, now what?”.

For many health conditions, diet is the leading cause of negative symptoms. Therefore it is crucial to take under consideration that a change of diet is needed to make yourself feel better. Some of the content we advise in the Bland Diet is staying away from processed food. Mono Sodium Glutamate or MSG for short is a food additive that is spiked in many processed foods, the best thing is, this toxic salt makes you want to eat more, as if we don’t have that problem already! And while we are at it, what does GMO even mean? Well GMO stands for Genetically Modified Organisms. The American food industry is so lazy that we don’t want to even grow food the way its suppose to be grown anymore, so we clone crops and mix and match other crops’ DNA (like mixing DNA of a banana and putting it in a potato) so that pests like bugs won’t “contaminate” the food, sounds great right? Nope. We don’t have to worry about bugs getting into our food supplies.

Although GMO gene splicing does its job for keeping bugs away it also creates a toxic chemical reaction for our bodies. Even pesticides don’t want any part of this chemical bath. If you could imagine that animals, bugs, and bacteria don’t want to eat it…then why should we?

When it comes to spicy and sweet foods, we would rather have you look at more local food and limiting your sugar. Depending on your climate, there are foods you can eat and foods that just don’t make sense to eat. For example, in Washington state we are notorious for being the most rainy state. Most tropical fruits such as papaya, mangos and pineapple are cooling fruits that come from tropical hot places (like East Asia or South America), will decrease your temperature. In order to maintain a normal temperature to keep you warm during this cold season, it doesn’t make sense to eat these fruits that will decrease your temperature which will result in you getting a cold or flu. Spicy foods, make you sweat and perspire, and in countries like India when its hot most of the year, or Thailand, you need to sweat to keep yourself cool and balance the system, here in Washington, not so much. Eat the foods that are in season to maintain this balance.

On the topic of fruit, although it is so delicious to eat, its a good idea to know how much sugar each fruit contains. You should also know that eating fruit at night before bedtime disrupts the digestive system and causes imbalance in the body. Its as if you had some sort of energy drink and you are attempting to go to sleep, usually doesn’t work out very well, the sugar gets metabolized into energy making you want to burn that energy.

America is well known for its over consumption of meat. Ribs, burgers, nuggets, steaks, wings of all different kinds of animals are all rich in purine, and high in cholesterol. Not only that but red meat specifically is hard for the stomach to digest. It takes around 2 days for meat to fully digest in your stomach and intestines which can cause a back up in your intestinal pluming.

When looking at the bland diet, it can be hard to brain storm recipes or meals that accommodate to the Bland Diet and that fully satisfy your taste buds. But In the information age we live in, there are so many resources to look into that can encourage you to look at recipes that pertain to the bland diet. For example, Zucchini is on the OK list, you can find a recipe to make zucchini soup! Sweet potatoes are OK, make mashed sweet potatoes. Paleo/ Vegan/ Vegetarian dishes are always best to look up and if you like meat, be sure to buy organic farm raised animal meat, like chickens and add to the Paleo/ Vegan/ Vegetarian dish., Pinterest, cook books are great resources for recipes and inspiration. Make a list of all the food that you like from the Bland Diet and mix and match.

As the holiday season gets closer, food can be the bane of your digestive system. Be sure to watch your portion sizes, enjoy good tasting food, and try making food as a gift versus buying from the store, it adds that from the heart quality to this holiday season. Have a Happy Thanksgiving, make this transitional season enlightening.



Life Advice From Juli For Living Through Stress

Sometimes you meet someone who says something that helps you in more ways than one. Like when a teacher from school told you how to solve a problem, or a grandparent who taught you about proper manners. As I get ready to celebrate my birthday, I’m fondly thinking of the lessons I have learned this past year as well as what I’ve learned over time.

This past year, my health has been well, but life still has stressful moments and challenges, and it is Juli’s advice that keeps ringing true during times of stress:

“It is what it is.” Juliana told me when I asked her why my health ended up a certain way.

You see, even though my health has improved, there are always things that come up and cause me stress in my life. And, those words, “It is what it is,” helps me to focus on the fact that I can’t change my circumstances or why things don’t turn out a certain way. All I can really do is to focus on how I respond to them or what I can do with my own actions.

How many of us experience stress while driving in traffic? How would knowing why it’s happening help us? All we can do about traffic is to be patient, and perhaps turn up the music or radio to focus on something to pass the extra time on the road.

Another thing that Juli has taught me is to pay attention to my mood. If I’m feeling angry, sad, or tired, those are like traffic lights I need to notice. If I ignore those signs too long, a source of stress could make me sick. Depending on the type of stress or causes, I can work out more, sleep more, or make sure I’m eating nourishing foods that do not put extra stress on the body. And, you know what happens when you take care of your body when it is showing you it’s stressed out? It starts to be able to handle the stress better.

While I cannot say that you won’t ever experience stress, I can say that if you take care of yourself as soon as possible, you’ll be able to handle it better. And, I’ve learned this the hard way, through experiences and Juli’s persistent reminders. No one likes being told to get more sleep or eat more vegetables, but the reason she gives us this advice is because it works.

Wishing you wellness,


Crush Your Candy Cravings Part 2

Continued from Part 1 here.

In last month’s article, I spoke about how sugar affects our digestive system and how it plays a huge part on addiction and cravings. This month we dive deeper into what sugar can do to the liver and what Juli’s new pills can do. Interestingly enough sugar isn’t the only culprit that can cause digestive problems. Along with unhealthy comfort food, stress and transitioning periods such as the seasons’ weather, or for women, that special time of the month, can cause a chain of effects where the liver becomes compromised and discomfort arises in the intestines creating these bloating and digestive issues.

The human body is so intricately connected; one disharmony can affect the whole body. The liver is the organ of emotions in Traditional Chinese Medicine. The liver’s main job is to filter the blood coming from the digestive tract, before passing it to the rest of the body. The liver also detoxifies chemicals and metabolizes drugs and sugar. As it does so, the liver secretes bile that ends up back in the intestines. The gallbladder sits under the liver, along with parts of the pancreas and intestines. The liver and these organs work together to digest, absorb, and process food.

The liver is responsible for the free and smooth flow of Qi (life force), which has a deep relationship with a person’s emotional state. Anger and other related emotions such as resentment, unfulfilled desires, frustration, etc. are attributed to the liver. Conversely, anger, repressed emotions, etc. affect the llver organ itself, and disrupt the smooth flow of Qi in the body which is how stress comes into play.

When the blood in the liver does not freely flow, stagnation of blood occurs, and affects the emotional state as described before. Over a long period of time, stagnation impairs circulation of the blood. When stagnation occurs tightness in specific areas of the body such as the chest, breasts in women, hypochondriac region, epigastric region, or throat will be more prominant. Along with the tightness other symptoms like frequent sighing, pain and swelling of the breasts, tension in the stomach, the sensation of a lump in the throat may also occur.

The main problem with sugar, and processed fructose in particular, is the fact that your liver has a very limited capacity to metabolize it, less than 9 grams of sugar is the livers full capacity.
When sugar is metabolized in the liver, it breaks down into fructose and one of the end products is triglyceridea a form of fat.

Triglycerides can build up in liver cells and damage liver function. Triglycerides released into the bloodstream can contribute to the growth of fat-filled plaque inside artery walls. This is one of the main causes of obesity.
Now this clotting travels into the intestines and causes a blockage. This can cause symptoms of constipation, bloati

ng, gas, and all sorts of unwanted things. Juli’s new formulation of pills is made to target these specifically and much more.

With these new pills, currently called the #1 and #2, each has its one special power.

#1: These pills are designed to aid in the fluctuation of water weight for women experiencing their menstrual cycle. It aids in the bloating, and helps you pull through your cravings by stopping that negative feed back response to your brain making you want more sugar. It also helps clean your liver and helps promote a better menstrual cycle. The #1 is made for someone who has more of a

#2: Unlike the #1 the #2 pills are made for more serious conditions. These pills can be for anyone, including men, that has had a consistant weight problem and the #2 pills are much more stronger than the #1. The weight gain could be due to intestinal blockage, too much stagnent blood in the liver, consuming too much sugar and salt, and not being able to properly clean out the body. Like the #1 these pills will help to detoxify and clean out the liver while also stopping the addicting cravings from sugar and alcohol, while decreasing the bloating.

When we get that nagging sweet tooth, it is easier said than done to avoid these addicting sweets (I would know). Sometimes we just need a little support to get things up and going again, and to remind ourselves of the consequences sugar can cause for our bodies.

Sweets in moderation! Treating yourself is healthy too but not when your body is constantly having to metabolize sugar. If you do plan on having a sweet, make sure it is during a time where you can burn it off like during the day. Natural sugars (found in fruit) is a better alternative anyway. Make your liver happier and ask juli about our new pills!

Wishing you wellness

The Milky, Cheesy, Creamy Truth

For some people milk can be digestible, for others it isn’t, and for most, they believe that they can do the impossible. Let me start off by asking this question. How many mammals in the world consciously drink another mammal’s milk? The answer is 1. Humans are the only mammals in the world that are willing to drink another mammal’s milk. And not only that but we love milk so much that we are blind to the fact that we aren’t even suppose to be drinking it. Now you may argue that milk has calcium, protein, and other beneficial nutrients, even the FDA exclaims that we are suppose to be drinking 3 cups of this creamy goodness a day. Well one doctor went as far as to expose the true mask of the food pyramid and shed some light on the hidden mystery behind milk.

Milk comes in many different forms, butter milk, 1%, 2%, whole, and skim milk just to name a few. But do you know that milk can do you more harm than good? In fact, Walter Willett, M.D., Ph.D (the second-most-cited scientist in all of clinical medicine and the head of nutrition at Harvard’s School of Public Health) has a very strong view on how the food pyramid presents its information. Willett has done a vast amount of research on this topic, and found that the USDA’s pyramid recommendation of drinking 3 glasses of milk a day is wrong. So why is this bad? Well, for one thing, it’s not a recommendation that’s based on scienctific proof. Some of the “experts” ho helped create the pyramid actually work for the dairy industry, which makes the US Department of agriculture’s recommendations reflect industry interests,not science or our best interests. The fact that the USDA is looking out for the industries instead of our health is quite the red flag.

Looking deeper into this milk curdling truth, Willett further explains on the harmful effects milk can have on us. To begin with, milk doesn’t even reduce fractures! Despite what the popular belief is, eating dairy products has never been shown to reduce fracture risk. In fact, according to the Nurses’ Health Study dairy may increase risk of fractures by 50%! And interestingly enough, the less intake of dairy, can result in better bones. Countries with lowest rates of dairy and calcium consumption (like those in Africa and Asia) have the lowest rates of osteoporosis.

We’ve all heard it from someone or somewhere, milk comercials, doctors, nutritionists, your mother. “Drink your milk, you need calcium to get stronger bones!” they’d say. Well shockingly calcium isn’t as bone-protective as we thought. Studies of calcium supplementation have shown no benefit in reducing fracture risk. vitamin D appears to be much more important than calcium in preventing fractures. Not only that but calcium may raise cancer risk. Research shows that higher intakes of both calcium and dairy products may increase.
Plus, dairy consumption increases the body’s level of insulin, like growth factor-1 (LGF-1) which is a known cancer promoter.

Ever get a nagging stomach cramp or embarrassing gas after enjoying sweet, delectible ice cream, or from milk and cereal? Well not everyone can stomach dairy. About 75 percent of the world’s population is genetically unable to properly digest milk and other dairy products, a problem called lactose intolerance. In some countries such as India, China, and some countries in Africa, milk is culturally unconventional.

If all that isn’t enough to swear you off milk, there are a few other scientific findings worth mentioning. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently asked the UDSA to look into the scientific basis of the claims made in the “milk mustache” ads. Their panel of scientists stated the truth clearly. For one thing, milk doesn’t benefit sports performance. Secondly there’s no evidence that dairy is good for your bones or prevents osteoporosis. In fact, the animal protein it contains may help cause bone loss! Thirdly, it’s full of saturated fat and is linked to heart diseas. And lastley dairy definitely aggravates irritable bowel syndrome. If those symptoms don’t apply to you than maybe you’ll find that dairy may contribute to these more typical health problems, like: Allergies, Sinus problems, Ear infections, Type 1 diabetes,Chronic constipation, and Anemia children).

Digging further into an evolutionary point of view, milk is a athentic odyssey for humans. Until 10,000 years ago we didn’t domesticate animals and weren’t able to drink milk!If that doesn’t convince you then get this fact. The majority of humans naturally stop producing significant amounts of lactase (the enzyme needed to properly metabolize lactose, the sugarin milk) sometime between the ages of two and five (when they stop breast feeding). Interestingly enough, for most mammals, the normal condition is to stop producing the enzymes needed to properly digest and metabolize milk after they have been weaned. That means that by the time a human child becomes a todler they are no longer able to fully digest milk! So for most children they grow up with a unusual knack for milk and carry that on for the rest of their lives.

So now that I’ve scared you enough about the dangers of dairy, lets take a look at the alternatives. I have recently been studying the effects of milk on myself and boy let me tell you, it’s not easy getting rid of dairy since I have been consuming it for so long! I love my ice cream so much that it became an every day deal. A bowl of ice cream a day, will not keep the doctors away. Plus cheese is one of those things that I can’t get rid of. It’s like a second boyfriend to me. So what do you do?

I tried to push my boundaries for a week by cutting out ice cream, and milk completely from my diet, limiting my cheese intake, and trying out almond milk. Almond milk is a great alternative, its not heavy, very light on the stomach and has a great taste. But keep in mind, that since its an alternative, there will be more things added to it to make it more edible and to make it last longer on the shelf. So read the labels carefully.

Then there is soy milk. Soy milk is a stable emulsion (mixture) of oil, water and protein. The benefits soy milk offers is that it contains little digestible calcium because calcium is bound to the bean’s pulp, which is indigestible by humans. To counter this, manufacturers enrich their products with calcium carbonate. Unlike cow’s milk, soy milk has little saturated fat and no cholesterol.

Our bodies just weren’t made to digest milk on a regular basis. Lucky for us, nature up right provides us with the necessary nutrients we need through other means. Most scientists agree that it’s better for us to get calcium, potassium, protein, and fats from other food sources, like whole plant foods like vegetables, fruits, beans, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and seaweed anyway! So there you have it.

When you look at the grand scheme of things everything can be bad for you. But when you take the best out of ther worst it can leave you feeling a lot better about what you’re putting into your body. It’s better to be mindful and healthy so you can feel better rather than feeling worse. Although milk has become a staple product in many house holds, it can have a negative effect on your dietary system and other body functions. No matter how much it is advertized, dairy isn’t crucial for good health and can be indigestable. Test it out for yourself and go dairy-free for a couple days and see what it does for you. Still got milk?



With Deceiving Product Labels, Comes Hidden Surprises!

Due to the winter season, you are bound to get a cold at least once. Well that’s exactly what happened to me this month. But thanks to Gum Wall tea, drinking plenty of fluids, and staying well dressed for the weather, I was able to have a speedy recovery. And to top it all off, the best food to have when you are sick is a big bowl of soup. Mmm, I personally love tomato soup. So I thought, I’ll go to the nearest Trader Joe’s and get my self some comforting soup. After I ate this delicious meal I began to talk to Juli about my cold. She exclaims,” you know what it is, its those pre-made soups you’ve been eating”. In the back of my head I was thinking “Psh what? How could that be? It says Tomato Soup on the label and it came from Trader Joes! It’s bound to be healthy.”

Next thing I knew, Juli and I were looking at the back label. She started reading the bad ingredients: Cream, Chicken Stock Concentrate, Butter, Modified Corn Starch, Unbleached Enriched Wheat Flour, Flavoring, Chicken Flavoring, Yeast Extract, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein (secret labeling for MSG) and worst of all Chicken Fat!!!  I was literally eating a bowl full of chicken fat and preservatives! But why? Why would you put these ingredients in Tomato Soup? Well in commercial grocery stores there are many things they do not tell you.
After looking up Trader Joe’s policies on labeling food, they secretly label certain ingredients to make it sound healthy when in actuality its still preservatives! For example Soy Protein is an added MSG preservative. You’d think calling it Soy Protein sounds healthy but its just disguised to persuade you to buy it. I found more information on Trader Joe’s which was really alarming considering that they’re whole campaign is promoting nutritional and healthy foods. I found a snippet of an article that stated this woman’s experience with trying to find out what was really in their food and how they label their products. Here she states “During my research, I found out there is no regular independent third party certifier verifying their products are non-GMO or non-MSG on a regular basis at Trader Joe’s. It is completely up to Trader Joe’s product supply team to regulate GMOs and MSGs from suppliers – not the Non-GMO Project or the USDA (for organics) that requires a high level of MSGs and GMOs. If there are complaints about a product, Trader Joe’s will conduct verification with a secret third party that they won’t disclose, but it’s completely up to the consumer to alert Trader Joe’s with a complaint. In fact, Trader Joe’s stated that their products “don’t allow for auditing using the Non-GMO Project because there is an additional cost associated with that.” A representative from Trader Joe’s went on to say, “We tend to not label our products a whole lot, and won’t until there is a government regulation to understand what non-GMO even means, we aren’t going to label products that don’t have specific FDA guidelines.” So this begs the question – what does non-GMO mean to Trader Joe’s? Are they making up their own definition because they claim they don’t have direction from a governmental official?” This is just one example of how grocery stores can mislead you into buying their pre-made or packaged products. And Trader Joe’s isn’t the only culprit!

When I was younger I use to work for a grocery store, and I noticed that many grocery store chains cut corners on not just how they label their products but as well as how they present their products and don’t follow the mandatory health regulations. Some examples of this includes how the meat department presents their food, and how some in store deli’s prepare their food. So how do these unseemly con artists do this?

For some meat departments, presentation and preservation is more important than good quality. One instance is some meat departments dye their meat with red dye to make them look “fresh”. Another instance is some grocer’s use red light bulbs to make the meat look more appealing. Many grocery stores buy their meat in bulk and upon receiving their meat from their distributor they freeze it and keep it in the freezer for months before using it. So, that delicious steak could possibly be 7 months old…ew. An interesting factor to also keep in mind is the processing equipment such as slicers, grinders, and other machines. Some health inspectors aren’t trained well enough to know the cleaning process for a machine and might not even know how to detect if its even clean or not. From an article I was reading one health inspector goes as far to explain, “They beat into our heads how to inspect restaurants. But there was very little training focused on grocery stores. They took us through a grocery store in one day and then turned us loose, even though the stores have all this processing equipment that’s tough to clean. And I have to admit, I’d look at some of these machines on my inspections and say, “Yep, looks good.” But I didn’t really know what I was looking for.” So even in some cases the equipment might not even be clean!

Taking a look at the Deli, you see a variety of different pasta’s, salads, sandwiches, etc…An interesting question to raise is how do they prepare all that food, and where do they get it? Since the incident with my tomato soup, it has peaked my curiosity, and I am more determined to ask questions about the food I want to purchase. I went to the store and walked up to the deli and was interested in a sun-dried tomato pasta. I asked the deli clerk what was in the pasta. She shrugged and answered,”I don’t know, we get it from out of state.”Shocked I asked which state they were getting this from and still she was uncertain of where it came from. So continuing my investigation I asked another deli clerk the same questions and he didn’t know either. Not even the manager knew. No one knew what was in the food or where it came from and here people are buying it? That disturbed me a little. Even though this was just one store, some deli’s recycle expired food from the produce section or shelved products that are about to expire and use that to make their food. Well with my experience it was obvious that they weren’t making the food from scratch so it was probably filled with preservatives. Not even the deli’s contain fresh food.
So how can we avoid being attacked left and right from fake, processed, and highly preserved food? There are a couple different solutions. One being to cook at home. I’ll be the first to admit, cooking isn’t my favorite thing in the world. You come home exhausted from your day and the last thing you want to do is make a meal and then the worst part is clean up. But the reward that comes from cooking is amazing! You know what’s being put into your food. You get to pick what goes in it and there aren’t any mysterious chemicals saturating your food! Not only that but if you plan ahead in the week of what you want to make for you meals, you can be prepared and won’t have to struggle last minute to find something to cook.

Another solution to staying away from bad foods, is well, simple. READ THE LABEL! Read what is on the package. Granted that maybe the label isn’t 100% true but still take a look at what is in the food, for example if it has any form of sugar ending in “ose” (Sucrose, Dextrose, Fructose, Glucose, High-fructose corn syrup) then its probably bad for you. Also keep an eye out for words like Natural Flavor (if its natural why can’t they tell us what it is?), Dextrin, Fruit juice concentrate, Artificial Flavoring, Soy Protein, and Extract. The saying goes, “if you can’t read or pronounce anything on the label, don’t buy it.”
All in all stores are going to sell what they want to sell. It is our job to make sure we understand what’s going into our body. Start this New Year off right with your eyes wide open! Don’t be afraid to ask questions about the food you want, read the labels carefully, and it’s so much better to cook meals at home. Be happy, eat well, and most of all be healthy!

With Love,

Shaila Suleman

Kung Fu Stretches To Help You Get Through Your Day

Do you ever suffer from unbelievable back pain, joint or muscle aches, or even muscle tension? Being only 20 years old, I’ve had numerous jobs where the main point of the job is heavy lifting, standing all day, constant walking back and forth, or even sitting all day. My back, as I have come to find, has many years of stress put on it. The most tension has been embedded deep in my shoulder blades and mainly my lower back. Highly active jobs can really take a toll on your body, and after years of being in the workforce, I decided it’s about time I do something right for my body. So, I got my first professional massage.

It was magnificent at first. Laying on the long massage table, getting my back rubbed gently and listening to smooth jazz, then all of a sudden, “OW! OH, MY GOD!”  The masseuse takes her elbow and grinds it into my shoulder as if she was kneading the knot right out of me. After the all intensive body manipulation, it was time to bring on the cups! For those who don’t know what cupping is, cupping is a form of Chinese therapy in which heated glass cups are applied to the skin along the meridians of the body, creating suction as a way of circulating the blood flow in your body. On a side note, personally I like the after dots that come with this massage. Honestly, how many people do you know that wear polka-dots on their body? Not very many I bet! Anyway, the cupping was a way better experience than the body massage. My whole back was stretched by these small cups and each cup was on a specific pressure point, evaporating the toxins that have inhibited my body for so many years. When I was relaxed enough, I started breathing deeply and let out all that pain, but it got me thinking. What could I have done to prevent this pain? What can I do now that will help my body feel better so I won’t have to feel this pain again? The solution was simple. In fact it was so simple that it has been easily over-looked my whole life!

Stretching of course! It’s so easy and it has so many benefits. Just taking a little time away from your busy day is highly essential for your body. The constant go, go, go adds stress to all parts of your body, not just muscle pain. It causes a domino effect on your system because your whole body is linked together. For         example, when your back hurts, it sends stress signals to your brain, which makes you feel bad, so it affects your mode negatively which in turn, causes strain on your head.

Some have time for the gym and some don’t, but you don’t need a gym membership to stretch. The benefits of stretching include helping improve flexibility which increases your range of motion (remember the days when you use to do cart-wheels or touch your toes?). Stretching corrects posture by lengthening tight muscles that pull areas of the body away

from their intended position due to the extended amount of time on our computers; many of us have tight chest muscles which pull the shoulders and head forward, leaving us with hunched shoulders. Stretching has the potential to decrease injury by preparing muscles for work before activity. It increases blood and nutrient supply to muscles, thereby possibly reducing muscle soreness!

It even does wonders for your mind. In a short amount of time (10-15 minutes) of stretching calms the mind, provides a mental break, and gives your body a chance to recharge. It’s important to take time for yourself and let your mind relax. With all the different events that prolong through the day, that 10-15 minutes for yourself is vital.

Let’s try this relaxing exercise to help begin the stretching process. Take your hands and place them gently on your stomach (above the belly button, right below your chest). Now take a deep breath in for 4 counts (breathe in 1.2 .3 .4) and then breathe out for 4 counts (breathe out 1. 2. 3 .4). This should be really slow and your shoulders should feel relaxed and not tense at all. Do this 5 times. Now doesn’t that feel a whole lot better? Just doing this calms your heart rate and regulates your breathing which brings oxygen to your lungs. Now you are ready for some stretches! These stretches have been practiced by ancient Chinese farmers for centuries,  with kung fu martial arts, and in yoga.

Stretch 1: Exercising the Shoulders, Arms Lower Back

Forward Stretch

Forward Stretch

Starting Position: Find somewhere to balance yourself like the couch arm rest or your office desk, take one large step back away but to a point where you can still reach it. Spread your feet  shoulder lengths apart.

Movements: Bend forward reaching toward whatever your support is. Keep your head facing straight (look at a specific object and keep your focus on that), and really stretch those arms. You should also feel a stretching tension in your legs and lower back. After you stretch forward come back to the beginning position.  Do this stretch 10 times, but with each stretch take your time and really feel it. (see figure 1)

Stretch 2: Circling Single Arm

Starting Position: Take a left “bow step” with the left leg bent at the knee and the right leg stretched behind and place left hand on left knee. While the right arm hangs at the side. Or if you don’t want to look like a weirdo in the office/and or can’t bend too far, just stand up straight with your feet shoulder length apart and place your left hand on your hip.

Arm Stretch

Arm Stretch

Movements: Move right arm forward, upward and backward in a circular motion, counter clockwise. Then reverse the direction and go clockwise. Do each direction 10 times. Repeat these movements with the left arm but with your right foot bowed or with your right hand on your hip. Be sure to keep your arms straight and your shoulders relaxed. (see figure 2)

Stretch 3: Exercising Leg Pull

Knee stretch

Knee Stretch

Starting Position: Lean against the wall if you have to, this stretch is easy, place one hand against the wall and  simply lift one leg behind you and balance on the other. This stretch mainly focuses on your thighs.  Stretch for 1 minute. Do the same processes with the other leg (see figure 3)

Stretch 4: Exercising Leg Stretch

Starting Position: Stretch your leg out and place it on top of your nearest stable support (chair, table). Then stretch down to touch your toes, its not crucial to touch them if you can’t but eventually you will be able to. Do this stretch 10 times.

Front Leg Stretch

Front Leg Stretch

These are just a couple of basic stretches that will help your body immensely. Just keep in mind that with each stretch, you are doing your body a favor. These stretches won’t take too much time out of your day. Find a quite spot for yourself and stretch out that tension. Remember to breathe deeply, and while you stretch imagine pushing all that negative energy out of your body. Keep your body stress free and happy!

– Shaila Suleman

Why We Need To Eat More Fruits And Vegetables!

Are we eating enough vegetables and fruits? Fruits and vegetables are nutritious and delicious. They are packed with vitamins and minerals. As a balanced diet, it is suggested that adults eat 100-200 grams of fruits and 400-500 grams of vegetables every day. Fruits and veggies provide fiber that fills you up and keeps your digestive track happy. Fruits and veggies are nature’s treat. There are so many fruits and vegetables to choose from, what is the best for us?

Here in America, our biggest problem in balancing Yin and Yang is our diet. It is often referred to as the “Yang Diet” for it is composed of primarily foods and cooking methods which are yang qualities known as dry heat. As the stomach and intestines need moisture, our yang diet doesn’t include any. Too much Yang, results in a number of complications and perhaps eventually in a noticeable illness. As a result, an individual suffers from food blockage, stomach and intestinal pain, gas, a bloated stomach and so on. When the whole system becomes dry, skin dryness, psoriasis, dandruff, loss of hair and acne become just a few of the outcomes, which may result from too much heat in the system.

It is fundamental to health. We are what we eat. Our emotions, the change in season, climate and our sex may influence our health as well. Meaning, we have to create our health care, create a balanced diet, clearing negativity, keeping our earth clean and most important treat your body with respect and others as well.

Eating seasonally, so in warmer weather seasons you may have more fruits and vegetables, while in colder seasons more grains. Fruits that are grown locally, fresh and in room temperature, should avoid chilled fruits. The digestive system doesn’t function as well in summer as in other seasons and cold-temperature foods may reduce gastric juices, leading to poor appetite and indigestion. Some fruits should not be eaten on an empty stomach, including tomatoes, bananas, oranges, hawthorn and persimmon.

If you eat leafy green vegetables our brains function better, the thinking is clearer. The brain needs a fairly large supply of oxygen to function at its best. It is of utmost importance that our body receive enough oxygen, especially while curing any disease. Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, green vegetables and radish sprouts are all is cruciferous vegetables that bring about consistent types of changes in the gut bacteria that are known to metabolize glucosinolates, lignans and fiber. In fact, the ability to metabolize glucosinolates (and convert them into cancer-preventive isothiocyanates) may be a very important factor in prevention of certain cancers, especially cancers of the digestive tract.

It certainly takes time to prepare vegetables, but what a reward!



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