Category Archives: Tips

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
sensitivity.

#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
~Shaila

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?

Cheers,

Shaila

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!

Love,

Juli

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

What You Didn’t Know About The Way You Eat May Be The Cause Of Your Digestive Problem

Digestive disorders are extremely common, not only in the United States, but also in any parts of the world where modern Western way of living dominates. Unless you have your own farm (by the way, that’s one of my dreams), grow your own vegetables and fruits, raise your own livestock, our access to high quality 100% organic foods are very limited. If you are lucky enough, you may have a resource to acquire high quality food on the daily basis without worrying about your bank account. But your busy lifestyle may prevent you from preparing and eating the kind of food you should be eating. This is why many people end up dining out more than they should, or eating store-bought processed foods. It has become normal part of daily life to eat the food on the run or consuming food while you are working. And not surprisingly, a stressful lifestyle causes you to crave for richer, saltier and sweeter unhealthy foods. I must admit, I am certainly guilty of this problem.

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, the way or the spirit in which food is eaten is very important. While eating, you must focus on the activity of eating without any distraction. Worrying and stressing will cause the harm to your body. You should also take your time and really enjoy your meal. Too much talking can disrupt digestion. For example, my kids tend to talk too much, asking me so many question while I am trying to eat. I found myself very stressed and not enjoying the food at all. It may sound counter-intuitive, but I believe eating alone slowly in silence is so much better for your digestion than busy talking or being distracted by others. So, I trained my kids not to even bother me while I eat after long day of work. I usually get bombarded with their stories and questions afterwards, but that’s okay.

Returning right back to stressful work or physical activities will greatly inhibit the digestive process. Again, I am very much guilty of this crime. I’ve struggled so many years. And I’ve definitely noticed my digestion has become very weak over the years because of eating while at work or stressing right after eating (or maybe I am just getting old.) My solution is to skip a lunch. No eating at work. Period. But, to be honest that’s not working out quite well either. It seems that “Stress” somehow gives you permission to do whatever is harmful to your digestive system – like eating junk snacks while working, or drinking alcohol after work (to release stress). I guess you already know what I am talking about here. We all know it’s bad for you, but can’t seem to control or break this habitual pattern.

Traditional Chinese Medicine views the chronic digestive disorder as the result of food stagnation. The word ‘Dampness’ is often used to describe the food stagnation. Feeling of fullness in the stomach, bad breath, acid reflux, belching are the symptom of this Dampness in the digestive system. One of many causes of Dampness (food stagnation) is the diet mainly consists of Cold foods. Eating raw foods like salad or fruits is a typical example. Many patients here at Hen Sen Herbs claims that they eat very healthy because they eat nothing but salads and other raw foods. They believe that raw food contains much more live enzymes to aid digestion, which true, and no argument there. However, what they do not understand is that our digestive system is like ‘Fire’ that cooks the food to break down into small bits our body can convert into energy. Just imagine a pot full of cold foods (inside of your tummy) being cooked by Fire (energy to breakdown foods). It will take a lot longer and a lot more energy to breakdown foods into small digestible pieces. So, consuming Cold foods is like a pouring water into Fire. It immediately puts strain on your digestive system and causes food stagnation. If your body is young and strong – full of Fire, or living in the very warm climate, your body can handle Cold foods without a problem. But, if your health is less than ideal, or living in the cold climate, you should definitely avoid Cold foods altogether. Watermelon is the typical example. It should be consumed when your body is overheated during very hot weather. Cooling property of the watermelon effectively cool off your body. However, if you do this when the weather is cold, the Fire (digestive system)will be put out immediately. It will result in harming your digestive system, and you will be more susceptible to the common illness. Worrying about eating more enzyme rich foods is understandable. But if you are harming your digestive system with Cold foods (not to mention drinking Cold beverages), your body’s ability to produce enzymes is greatly compromised. So, your focus should be first to protect and reduce the strain on your digestive system with warm easily digestible foods so that it can function at an optimal level. In order to compensate for the loss of enzyme from cooking, fermented food should be always be added to your regular diet. Look at any traditional diet of countries with highest longevity. Fermented foods are always a staple of their diet. Even a hamburger come with tiny slice of fermented food tucked in between the buns: the Pickle. Unfortunately, the amount of fermented foods that average Americans consume is way too low, and typical American foods are too acidic or hard to digest.

Fire Energy required for digestion.

Fire Energy required for digestion.

There are so many other factors you should consider when it comes to maintaining a healthy strong digestive system. With so much information is available online, and it can be very confusing. And, many of them are misleading. So, be very careful. If you really want to learn about your health and digestion., go find someone who is 100 years old or older, and study how he eats, sleeps, exercises and everything about his lifestyle. I bet you will learn so much more about digestion and health overall than just reading research papers. If you can’t find such a person, next closest person you can depend on is experienced Chinese herbalist who have acquired wealth of historical knowledge complied by past great herbalists over many centuries. You need someone who understand the truth about human health. The truth that withstand the test of time. In other words, what was good for human health centuries ago should still be true today, and will be true centuries from now. So, stop chasing current fad diet or reading scientific researches that deals with only small aspect of human health. Good luck.

P.S. If you are too lazy to cook healthy meals or actually dread eating healthy food. Make sure to take Taifu Plus regularly. It will help break down nasty hard to digest junk out of your system. Less strain on your digestive system, better it is for your overall health!

Digestive disorders are extremely common, not only in the United States, but also in any parts of the world where modern Western way of living dominates. Unless you have your own farm (by the way, that’s one of my dreams), grow your own vegetables and fruits, raise your own livestock, our access to high quality 100% organic foods are very limited. If you are lucky enough, you may have a resource to acquire high quality food on the daily basis without worrying about your bank account. But your busy lifestyle may prevent you from preparing and eating the kind of food you should be eating. This is why many people end up dining out more than they should, or eating store-bought processed foods. It has become normal part of daily life to eat the food on the run or consuming food while you are working. And not surprisingly, a stressful lifestyle causes you to crave for richer, saltier and sweeter unhealthy foods. I must admit, I am certainly guilty of this problem.

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, the way or the spirit in which food is eaten is very important. While eating, you must focus on the activity of eating without any distraction. Worrying and stressing will cause the harm to your body. You should also take your time and really enjoy your meal. Too much talking can disrupt digestion. For example, my kids tend to talk too much, asking me so many question while I am trying to eat. I found myself very stressed and not enjoying the food at all. It may sound counter-intuitive, but I believe eating alone slowly in silence is so much better for your digestion than busy talking or being distracted by others. So, I trained my kids not to even bother me while I eat after long day of work. I usually get bombarded with their stories and questions afterwards, but that’s okay.

Taifu Plus for digestive aid.

Taifu Plus for digestive aid.

Returning right back to stressful work or physical activities will greatly inhibit the digestive process. Again, I am very much guilty of this crime. I’ve struggled so many years. And I’ve definitely noticed my digestion has become very weak over the years because of eating while at work or stressing right after eating (or maybe I am just getting old.) My solution is to skip a lunch. No eating at work. Period. But, to be honest that’s not working out quite well either. It seems that “Stress” somehow gives you permission to do whatever is harmful to your digestive system – like eating junk snacks while working, or drinking alcohol after work (to release stress). I guess you already know what I am talking about here. We all know it’s bad for you, but can’t seem to control or break this habitual pattern.

Traditional Chinese Medicine views the chronic digestive disorder as the result of food stagnation. The word ‘Dampness’ is often used to describe the food stagnation. Feeling of fullness in the stomach, bad breath, acid reflux, belching are the symptom of this Dampness in the digestive system. One of many causes of Dampness (food stagnation) is the diet mainly consists of Cold foods. Eating raw foods like salad or fruits is a typical example. Many patients here at Hen Sen Herbs claims that they eat very healthy because they eat nothing but salads and other raw foods. They believe that raw food contains much more live enzymes to aid digestion, which true, and no argument there. However, what they do not understand is that our digestive system is like ‘Fire’ that cooks the food to break down into small bits our body can convert into energy. Just imagine a pot full of cold foods (inside of your tummy) being cooked by Fire (energy to breakdown foods). It will take a lot longer and a lot more energy to breakdown foods into small digestible pieces. So, consuming Cold foods is like a pouring water into Fire. It immediately puts strain on your digestive system and causes food stagnation. If your body is young and strong – full of Fire, or living in the very warm climate, your body can handle Cold foods without a problem. But, if your health is less than ideal, or living in the cold climate, you should definitely avoid Cold foods altogether. Watermelon is the typical example. It should be consumed when your body is overheated during very hot weather. Cooling property of the watermelon effectively cool off your body. However, if you do this when the weather is cold, the Fire (digestive system)will be put out immediately. It will result in harming your digestive system, and you will be more susceptible to the common illness. Worrying about eating more enzyme rich foods is understandable. But if you are harming your digestive system with Cold foods (not to mention drinking Cold beverages), your body’s ability to produce enzymes is greatly compromised. So, your focus should be first to protect and reduce the strain on your digestive system with warm easily digestible foods so that it can function at an optimal level. In order to compensate for the loss of enzyme from cooking, fermented food should be always be added to your regular diet. Look at any traditional diet of countries with highest longevity. Fermented foods are always a staple of their diet. Even a hamburger come with tiny slice of fermented food tucked in between the buns: the Pickle. Unfortunately, the amount of fermented foods that average Americans consume is way too low, and typical American foods are too acidic or hard to digest.

There are so many other factors you should consider when it comes to maintaining a healthy strong digestive system. With so much information is available online, and it can be very confusing. And, many of them are misleading. So, be very careful. If you really want to learn about your health and digestion., go find someone who is 100 years old or older, and study how he eats, sleeps, exercises and everything about his lifestyle. I bet you will learn so much more about digestion and health overall than just reading research papers. If you can’t find such a person, next closest person you can depend on is experienced Chinese herbalist who have acquired wealth of historical knowledge complied by past great herbalists over many centuries. You need someone who understand the truth about human health. The truth that withstand the test of time. In other words, what was good for human health centuries ago should still be true today, and will be true centuries from now. So, stop chasing current fad diet or reading scientific researches that deals with only small aspect of human health. Good luck.

P.S. If you are too lazy to cook healthy meals or actually dread eating healthy food. Make sure to take Taifu Plus regularly. It will help break down nasty hard to digest junk out of your system. Less strain on your digestive system, better it is for your overall health!

Digestive disorders are extremely common, not only in the United States, but also in any parts of the world where modern Western way of living dominates. Unless you have your own farm (by the way, that’s one of my dreams), grow your own vegetables and fruits, raise your own livestock, our access to high quality 100% organic foods are very limited. If you are lucky enough, you may have a resource to acquire high quality food on the daily basis without worrying about your bank account. But your busy lifestyle may prevent you from preparing and eating the kind of food you should be eating. This is why many people end up dining out more than they should, or eating store-bought processed foods. It has become normal part of daily life to eat the food on the run or consuming food while you are working. And not surprisingly, a stressful lifestyle causes you to crave for richer, saltier and sweeter unhealthy foods. I must admit, I am certainly guilty of this problem.

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, the way or the spirit in which food is eaten is very important. While eating, you must focus on the activity of eating without any distraction. Worrying and stressing will cause the harm to your body. You should also take your time and really enjoy your meal. Too much talking can disrupt digestion. For example, my kids tend to talk too much, asking me so many question while I am trying to eat. I found myself very stressed and not enjoying the food at all. It may sound counter-intuitive, but I believe eating alone slowly in silence is so much better for your digestion than busy talking or being distracted by others. So, I trained my kids not to even bother me while I eat after long day of work. I usually get bombarded with their stories and questions afterwards, but that’s okay.

Returning right back to stressful work or physical activities will greatly inhibit the digestive process. Again, I am very much guilty of this crime. I’ve struggled so many years. And I’ve definitely noticed my digestion has become very weak over the years because of eating while at work or stressing right after eating (or maybe I am just getting old.) My solution is to skip a lunch. No eating at work. Period. But, to be honest that’s not working out quite well either. It seems that “Stress” somehow gives you permission to do whatever is harmful to your digestive system – like eating junk snacks while working, or drinking alcohol after work (to release stress). I guess you already know what I am talking about here. We all know it’s bad for you, but can’t seem to control or break this habitual pattern.

Traditional Chinese Medicine views the chronic digestive disorder as the result of food stagnation. The word ‘Dampness’ is often used to describe the food stagnation. Feeling of fullness in the stomach, bad breath, acid reflux, belching are the symptom of this Dampness in the digestive system. One of many causes of Dampness (food stagnation) is the diet mainly consists of Cold foods. Eating raw foods like salad or fruits is a typical example. Many patients here at Hen Sen Herbs claims that they eat very healthy because they eat nothing but salads and other raw foods. They believe that raw food contains much more live enzymes to aid digestion, which true, and no argument there. However, what they do not understand is that our digestive system is like ‘Fire’ that cooks the food to break down into small bits our body can convert into energy. Just imagine a pot full of cold foods (inside of your tummy) being cooked by Fire (energy to breakdown foods). It will take a lot longer and a lot more energy to breakdown foods into small digestible pieces. So, consuming Cold foods is like a pouring water into Fire. It immediately puts strain on your digestive system and causes food stagnation. If your body is young and strong – full of Fire, or living in the very warm climate, your body can handle Cold foods without a problem. But, if your health is less than ideal, or living in the cold climate, you should definitely avoid Cold foods altogether. Watermelon is the typical example. It should be consumed when your body is overheated during very hot weather. Cooling property of the watermelon effectively cool off your body. However, if you do this when the weather is cold, the Fire (digestive system)will be put out immediately. It will result in harming your digestive system, and you will be more susceptible to the common illness. Worrying about eating more enzyme rich foods is understandable. But if you are harming your digestive system with Cold foods (not to mention drinking Cold beverages), your body’s ability to produce enzymes is greatly compromised. So, your focus should be first to protect and reduce the strain on your digestive system with warm easily digestible foods so that it can function at an optimal level. In order to compensate for the loss of enzyme from cooking, fermented food should be always be added to your regular diet. Look at any traditional diet of countries with highest longevity. Fermented foods are always a staple of their diet. Even a hamburger come with tiny slice of fermented food tucked in between the buns: the Pickle. Unfortunately, the amount of fermented foods that average Americans consume is way too low, and typical American foods are too acidic or hard to digest.

There are so many other factors you should consider when it comes to maintaining a healthy strong digestive system. With so much information is available online, and it can be very confusing. And, many of them are misleading. So, be very careful. If you really want to learn about your health and digestion., go find someone who is 100 years old or older, and study how he eats, sleeps, exercises and everything about his lifestyle. I bet you will learn so much more about digestion and health overall than just reading research papers. If you can’t find such a person, next closest person you can depend on is experienced Chinese herbalist who have acquired wealth of historical knowledge complied by past great herbalists over many centuries. You need someone who understand the truth about human health. The truth that withstand the test of time. In other words, what was good for human health centuries ago should still be true today, and will be true centuries from now. So, stop chasing current fad diet or reading scientific researches that deals with only small aspect of human health. Good luck.

P.S. If you are too lazy to cook healthy meals or actually dread eating healthy food. Make sure to take Taifu Plus regularly. It will help break down nasty hard to digest junk out of your system. Less strain on your digestive system, better it is for your overall health!

– Kaz Isogai

How To Get The Most Out Of Your Day: One Day At A Time

Here we go again. The year 2014 is almost over. It is literally disappearing before my eyes just like an ice cream melting in the hot summer day in a 3-year-old girl’s hands. She loses most of the ice cream partially because it melts faster than she can eat it, but mostly because she is distracted by her surroundings, or even worse she drops the ice cream on the ground because she doesn’t pay attention at all to way she holds the cone. She tilts the cone. Ice cream falls off. A few seconds later she notices the ice cream is gone and bursts into tears. We all witness a incident like this all the time at the theme park in summer.

calendar

When it comes to the way we handle the time given in one particular year, we are no different from the little girl with an ice cream. We waste most of it. We don’t treat it like the most valuable thing in the world. We don’t keep track nor pay attention to it, so we don’t even know where the time went. It’s time down the drain with little accomplishment. I don’t know about you. Maybe you understand how precious the time is and discipline yourself to spend the time only on the things you love to do. But many of us are either busy running unimportant chores or sitting around and doing nothing. And by nothing, I mean watching TV or surfing the web or whatever for hours without any specific purpose or goals. And the worst part is we don’t even realize we lost the time. What can we do about this?

One of the things you can do to prevent this from happening is to plan your day at the very beginning of the day, preferably do it the night before, so that you know exactly what you are going to be doing from the get-go the next day. No wasting time. In my opinion it’s best to combine a planning with meditation. The reason is that it will give you a chance to reflect on your own life and find our what it is that you truly love to accomplish in your life, instead of just being stuck in a rut and doing only the things you have to do, or worse yet what others expect you to do.

My life is a typical example of this. I turned 44 in August, and I was shocked to realize that I am almost half way through my 40’s. Last I checked, I was still 40. “What happened? Where did my time go?” I thought to myself. It felt like I lost 4 years in one year. Losing 4 lb. in 1 week would be very exciting to many, but no one would be excited about losing time like I did. What I mean is that I don’t remember doing anything meaningful or just plain fun in the last 4 years. I have been just busy running around, and completely neglected to nourish my soul with the things I love to do like photography and baking bread. So, before you plan your day, it’s always good idea to look deep inside of you through meditation and ask yourself what truly makes you happy. Incorporate it into your daily schedule.

Simplified version of ideal planning should go something like this: Meditate 15 – 20 minutes at night in the quiet area and ask how you can make your life fulfilling. Then spend another 10 – 15 minutes to list all the things you should do or have to do. And go through the each item on the list and ask yourself if they are aligned with your passion, and more importantly to see if they are going to help you achieve the kind of your life you want. If so, go ahead and incorporate them into your daily plan. If not, they should not be included in your agenda, or have someone else do it.

planner

One thing I realized when it comes to planning and scheduling is that it is hard to list the things that you want to accomplish in the period of 10-15 minute. The harder you try, the more blank your mind becomes. Solution? Use your smart phone! Whenever I come up with an idea or a task during the day, I immediately enter into the calendar that is synced with my Google calender. I don’t initially allocate specific time for each tasks. So, when I look at the actual calendar at the end of the day, I have so many tasks overlapping in one hour time slot. I simply spread them out in appropriate time slots in Google Calendar on my computer. Next day, all I need to do is follow my calendar. It’s automatic. It’s like having a boss yelling and forcing you to get things done which is very effective for me.

If you carry around a traditional day planner, that’s even better! Something about writing on the paper with a pen makes each task much more meaningful and somehow registers in your brain much better than with an electronic device. Still, the concept is the same. So, get ahead and get in the habit of planning your day and get the most out of your life!!

Kaz Isogai

The Fastest And The Most Effective Way To Find A Cure For Your Chronic Illness

They say that the shortest and the fastest way to get from point A to point B is a straight line. Anyone can draw a straight line on a piece of paper or map trying to figure out the shortest distance between where you are and where you want to go. And we have no problem guessing how far you have to travel simply by measuring the length of the line on the map. If you use an online mapping service like Google map, it even tells you the estimated time to get to your destination. But in reality, it is not as simple as drawing a straight line on a piece of paper.

Unless you can fly like a bird, own a private helicopter ready to take off from your roof top, ride on the laser guided missile, or dig a straight underground tunnel, it is impossible to transport yourself in a straight line through a busy city landscape. So we travel by a car, on foot, on bicycle or any available means of transportation, and compromise to on the route which you think is faster and cheaper than the other options. But it is never the fastest or the shortest.

Life like a map, there are no straight lines.

Life like a map, there are no straight lines.

Some of you may commute on the public transportation simply because of economic reasons. You may walk half a mile to bus stop, wait for a while, get on the bus, pay a fee, make yourself through the crowd of obnoxious commuters who may make your life on the bus miserable. And you may even have to transfer several times to get to the final destination. Driving a car is another option. It comfortable and convenient compared to public transportation, but the price you pay can be higher due to extreme stress trying to navigate through a bad traffic in a shortest possible distance. Some hard core cyclists commute 20 – 25 miles each way on the bike in rain or shine purely for the purpose of the fitness. Not surprisingly, the time one spends in the rough weather can be really tough and long.

The point I am trying to make here is that no matter what type of transportation you choose, it is impossible to travel in a straight line without obstruction. No matter what route you take, you still need to make many turns, make multiple stops at the traffic lights, possibly get stuck in a traffic, take a detour or share a ride with other tired irritable commuters in a tight space and the list goes on. In other words, there is always a price to pay in order to get to your final destination whether it is a emotional, physical, time or monetary.

Seeking a cure for the illness is just like trying to figure out the fastest way to commute from home to work in the busy city. There is usually substantial cost associated with it. Here is what I mean: Almost everyone who is afflicted with some kind chronic illness has gone through so many different types of treatment methods, diet systems, exercise programs, dietary supplements, emotional ups and downs and countless trials and errors, trying to find a cure for their ailment. Just when your health shows the sign of improvement, all of a sudden it takes an unexpected turn and your health starts to deteriorate again. You wonder why nothing is working and keep on trying something new and different.

Let me use my recent experience with hemorrhoid problem as an example to illustrate this. Some of you already know, from my past article, my journey trying to find a cure for the hemorrhoid. But bear with me for a little and pay attention to what I am trying to tell you because it is very important for anyone who is trying to find a cure for chronic illness. It is the closest thing to getting to the destination in a straight line. The fastest way – a straight line from point A to point B. No turns. No detours.

Over past several years, my stress level has almost quadrupled because of my extremely busy schedule in both personal and business life. I have been beaten up both physically and mentally without knowing how bad it has gotten. Last summer, I started develop some kind of chronic hemorrhoid condition. I admit I had a very minor issue with it in the past, but it was always easily treatable with good diet and herbs before. So, I approached the problem with the same attitude and method as before, yet this time it got progressively worse to the point of mental breakdown. Sometimes the pain was so severe I would have to lie in my bed face down, tears in my eyes, moaning and cursing as long as my body can tolerate the pain. The pain usually went away gradually after several hours of suffering. In some cases I had to depend on over the counter pain killer, which I really tried to stay away from so that I could at least sleep for 2-3 hours before the sunrise.

Occasionally the condition would get reasonably better to the point where at least the pain was not an issue. I could almost see the light at the end of the tunnel. I would tell myself, “ This is it. I can finally tame the beast.” Then all of a sudden, it would make a 180 degree turn and the hemorrhoid and pain would get hold of my life again. I kept my diet very well, tried many things including the herbs Juli prescribed and many other natural products. Nothing really helped. My mother in law even told me to use steroid based medication which of course I refused outright. I kept on looking for an answer outside as if someone else held magical cure for my hemorrhoid. I tried everything and looked everywhere…EXCEPT INSIDE OF ME.

One day, as I was reading a book, the idea suddenly came to me out of nowhere. It hit me like a ton of bricks on my head. I figured it out what was wrong with ME. I finally found the answer. It was like looking for a lost key for a longest time and end up finding it my own pocket. I had been so busy and stressed, and I have never spent a minute to have a private conversation with myself. I realized that I’ve been doing only the “I HAVE TO DO”, things and the, “I SHOULD DO”, “WHAT’S BEST FOR MY FAMILY” and none of the things “I LOVE TO DO”. I realized I have been very unhappy.

I have been pretending to be happy. Most importantly, I realized that I have been unknowingly building up a STRESS ticking bomb inside of me like a volcano that was about to erupt. My hemorrhoid was like a growing lava dome inside the volcano. The only thing that prevented it from exploding was a proper diet and the herbs Juli prepared for me.

I still have a long way to go before it is completely healed, and finding a time for the thing “I love to do” is not a easy task. But I know now that I can control the hemorrhoid simply by reducing the level of stress (growing lava dome) before it gets out of control. Engaging in fun exercise is one of the ways to reduce the stress. For me, playing soccer, swimming and playing tennis are some of my favorite activities.

They say that the level of stress can be measured by the level of hormone called cortisol in the body. There are many helpful articles out there about the relationship between stress and cortisol and what can be done to reduce it. So folks, if you are like me and have developed some kind of chronic ailment, please take your time to find activities or exercise that can help reduce the stress before it’s too late.

Oh, by the way, in case you are wondering how I finally realized what my real problem was, I will tell you the easiest way to do it, because your bottom-line cause of chronic illness may or may not be stress related.

Once you follow this simple technique, you will learn how to talk to your inner self and find how to get from point A to point B, in a straight line. In other words, you will find the solution to your nagging persistent problem in the shortest period of time. No detours.

Here is how to do it:

Find a quite dark place where no one bother you.

Sit comfortably and close your eyes.
Focus on your breathing, nothing else for as long as you can (Preferably, more than 10 minutes).

Then listen to your body and find out what it is telling you.

It is an oversimplified version of a meditation technique. As a disclaimer, I am not an expert at all on this matter. It just so happens that it works for my own purpose which consist of two main goals: 1. To regain energy and rejuvenate the mind and the body, 2. To find my true self.

If you are beginner like me, don’t worry. Just close your eyes and focus on your breathing for 5 minutes. Do it everyday and see where it takes while you search for a good book on the subject or a true master of meditation. You will be amazed by the positive result you receive from this exercise.

– Kaz Isogai

The Healing Power Of Gratitude – An essay by Aysen Rose

I am grateful to be alive today. I’m grateful for the warm breeze and for the snap pea flowers blooming in my garden. I’m grateful that my family is healthy and happy and that we all love each other, even imperfectly. I’m grateful that I have food to eat. I’m grateful that I have a safe, comfortable shelter and I have a car to drive. I’m grateful that I have time and resources to teach my son how to drive. I’m grateful I have a job and I have friends who love and care about me. I’m grateful for the farmers who grow my food and the workers who pick it and pack it and ship it to my store. I’m grateful for the rainfall and the beauty of the bird song. I’m grateful for the air I breathe. It is freely made and freely given to me by the trees. My life is rich.

GardenFlower

In the hustle and bustle of daily life though, it is easy to forget this feeling of contentment and gratitude. In the scramble to make a living, be a single parent, meet all of my daily obligations and responsibilities it is very easy to focus on what I don’t have and all that is not perfect in my life. Living in the U.S., it’s easy to take fresh water from a tap for granted. It’s easy to try to work harder, drive faster and sleep less in search of the illusive “more”. Exhausted and depleted, it’s easy to sit on the couch and “binge watch” so I can have some “me” time to decompress from the stress. Un-managed stress has a huge cost. In my job as a health care practitioner I see the effects of stress every day. Increased pain in the body, heart disease, overeating, strokes, diminished immune systems, loss of time from work, and diminished sense of satisfaction and fulfillment with life. The simple, quick and powerful antidote to modern stress is to take a few moments every day and practice gratitude.

Science is now proving what wisdom traditions all over the world have known forever: Positive emotions such as love, compassion and gratitude are good for us, body and mind. The Institute of HeartMath have conducted ground breaking studies into the intelligence of the heart. Their discoveries include such facts as that the heart is a brain onto itself, full of the same neurons found in the brain. It’s not just a pump as previously thought but part of the endocrine system responding to and sending out hormones into the body. At the Institute they measured the effects of a single self-generated episode of love, compassion and gratitude and found that in 5-15 minutes of focusing on these emotions there is a boost in the immune system, immediate decrease in stress hormones, improved heart rate for longevity and increased mental clarity and efficiency which can last up to 6 hours (1). These positive emotions can be self-initiated at any moment in our lives. We don’t have to wait for outside circumstances to trigger a loving, compassionate or grateful state. We can experience the benefits of a slower heart rate and clearer thinking anytime and in their book, “The HeartMath Solution”, the researchers give several scientifically proven techniques.

Here is one of my favorite ways to tap into the power of gratitude. This is wonderful to do outside in the morning. You can try it with me now if you’d like: Take a deep breath in and slowly exhale, do this a few more times. As your breathing slows, bring your awareness to the area around your heart and continue to breathe in slowly and gently. Gently bring to your mind’s eye the things and people for which you are grateful. It can be small, ordinary things: a meal, a loving pet, a home, a garden, a job opportunity, trees, water, gas in the car, doing work you love, the beautiful sunshine. Once you start listing what you are grateful for, your list will grow. Let yourself do this for at least 5 minutes, and see what you notice. Writing down a gratitude is list also a great way to access the benefits of the healing power of gratitude.

Enjoy and thanks for reading!