Tag Archives: natural

Your Kidneys and Traditional Chinese Medicine

In our April 2017 newsletter, I spoke of the five major detoxification organs which include: the liver, kidney, lungs, intestine and skin. I focused mainly on the skin and the Lungs. It recognizes the link between the skin and lungs as an overreaction to allergens.

In Traditional Chinese medicine, the liver and kidneys are the organs that “age” us. For this reason, almost all longevity herbs used in Chinese medicine are liver and kidney tonics. Without a clean, efficient liver and healthy kidneys, toxins and waste products are not filtered out of the blood, which then becomes heavier and more sluggish. This causes poor circulation and reduced oxygen and nutrient carrying capacity. As a result, tissues fed by the blood are undernourished which leads to spleen

deficiency. This month, I want to share with you about how to take better care of your Live and Kidneys.

Liver detoxification methods:

A) Eat a lot of organic vegetables and fresh local fruits every day. It’s suggested four cups of cooked vegetables and 2 cups of fruits. To prevent any female menstrual concerns it s not allowed to have any cold or raw fruits or cold drinks 2 weeks prior or during it’s menstruation. During the two weeks prior to the mensuration is Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS). Women beware.

B) Take bitter teas with DL Pills to stimulate liver bile (Liver Flush) and to decongest the liver. The liver and the kidneys do a great job of filtering out the bad stuff and getting rid of it through our feces(poop) and urine(pee). The more it stinks the more toxic it is inside. Our newest pill #2 is meant to stabilize the liver yang (fire). It is used primarily if the eyes energy is weak, redness or swelling around the eyes. Another symptom of liver congestions is pain in the right side below the rib cage or any acid or indigestion. Liver fire also creates cravings and for women it is used for PMS (2 weeks prior to period). As you flush it is best to eat the rice congee with ginger as an intestinal cleanser in the morning. The fiber excretes the bile with stools to be eliminated. Otherwise, the toxins stay in the large intestine for too long and sticks to the intestinal wall. Bitter teas are usually prescribed, and it is recommended to take quarterly, each quarter of the year for 2 weeks. Especially if you tend to enjoy your alcohol or are regular restaurant eater.

Kidney detoxification method:

The method of promoting kidney detoxification is very simple, as long as every day you drink 6-8 8 ounce cups of clean water, the toxins from urine can be discharged. It is recommended to use a better water filter that removes fluoride, chlorine, heavy metals and more. Unfortunately, with our often busy life style, drinking clean water is not a needed life habit, rarely people drink enough water.

The signs of Kidney deficiency includes weakness and soreness of lower back, weakness in knees and legs, pain in heels, losing hair, bad teeth, tinnitus, Spermatorrhes, impotence, irregular menses, dizziness, blurred vision and premature aging and frequent urination or lack of urination. The word deficient is lack of or laboring. What can it be? Therefore we must watch what we eat or drink and know what herbs to take. Any time a deficiency is there it has caused an effect to our internal ecosystem.

There is so much conflicting information about food and diet that it becomes nearly impossible to know what the ‘best food’ to eat really is, or if certain foods are ‘good’ for you or ‘bad’ for you. In Chinese medicine, there are not ‘good’ foods or ‘bad’ foods; there are appropriate foods for each individual and inappropriate food for a specific individual, just as there are appropriate herbs for each individual depending on what their health needs are.

The woman who tells her age is either too young to have anything to lose or too old to have anything to gain.

Our health is a reflection of how we take care of ourselves. It is a lot of work but it is worth it.
Love, Juli

You Are What’s Important To You

Your health is a reflection of how you take care of yourself. When I got married to Kaz, he made a funny joke that, “I better not get fat.” In return, he better not become bald (please don’t tell my husband). I kept mind of it, I love myself, and the chances that I will get fat isn’t a worry. I knew that if I became fat, it was because I didn’t take care of myself, I didn’t eat right. Growing up, we only ate at home. Eating out was unheard of, and having a snack meant eating fruit or vegetables. That was my upbringing and although here and there I do eat out and snack on junk food, it isn’t a bad habit. I learned to stop and do my best to stick with our Bland Diet Sheet. Is food important to you? I think the new sensational food fads are over rated. You will constantly hear of new findings in science about diets, and diet interventions. I don’t believe in special diets like the protein diets or all fruit diets or even juicing. If weight is the problem, stop eating bad and create a balanced meal. Start changing your life style. Science has nothing to do with our eating habits, it is our own discipline. And when you don’t feel well do something about it.

Food is highly important for our own existence. For survival needs, people everywhere could eat the same food, to be measured only in calories, fats, carbohydrates, proteins, and vitamins. But people of different backgrounds or cultures eat very differently. You might say that different cultures have different food choices. (The word choice is used here not necessarily in an active sense, granting the possibility that some choices could be imposed rather than selected.) We see how food habits change and seek to explore the reasons and consequences. You are what you eat! What may work well for one may be bad for others.

The Chinese diet has a long, complicated history, based on thousands of years of Chinese medicine. Chinese culture is based on the philosophy of “yin” and “yang”, as well as the “Five Elements.” From medicine, and martial arts, to dance, and cooking Chinese culture is built on a foundation of balance, harmony, contrast, and adapting to change.

Part of that balance can be implemented with food. Each organ is tied to an element and a taste. For example, bitter is tied to the heart and fire. Sweet: spleen/earth, sour: liver/wood, spicy: lungs/metal, salty: kidneys/water.) In building a healthy meal, all five of these tastes should be incorporated. That is said to keep the body in balance, which in turn protects it from disease.


Surviving The Summer Heat To Keep Your Skin Young

Older generations pass on to us the wisdom they have learned throughout the years of their life. Since summer has started, I wanted to share some advice my grandma shared with me when I was young. How to keep youth and beauty:

Avoid The Sun

A suntan does not prevent skin damage— it is skin damage.

One of the most important tips that many Chinese women follow is avoiding the sun. This helps keep our skin from developing wrinkles and staying pale. Carrying around umbrellas, hats and wearing very thin jackets to make sure we aren’t exposed to the sun’s rays as much as possible. It’s well known that the sun’s rays (UVA and UVB) damage the skin and can cause wrinkles.

Keep It Natural With Herbal Medicines & Teas

Herbal medicine is a huge part of our lifestyle to stay healthy and increase immunity; likewise, tea is also a major aspect of our routines. In Hong Kong there are Herbal Medicine Tea shops, the teas are prepared in fountain dispensaries but since living in the states grandma would prepare the teas. Prunella Herbal tea has been well known as the heal all tea, it clears the liver heat, clears the acne. Even when summer is hot, teas are also served including the beneficial green tea which has antioxidant properties and stimulates one’s metabolism.

Eat More Fruits & Vegetables (& Less Meat)

Diet consisting of mostly fresh fruits and vegetables is a huge part of a Chinese woman’s life. The preparation of fresh vegetables are cooked with little to no oil or fats, and fruits that are in season as desserts. Grandma preferred to serve minimal amounts of spicy foods, as she says that the heat can cause pimples, and sugary foods to avoid gaining weight. Heat foods are chips and dried crackers, roasted nuts and seeds, once you start eating them, it is hard to stop.
The choice to eat less meat is more complex than simply keeping a figure. Meat is expensive in China, so many view it as a luxury than an everyday food.

Exercise Is Gentle, But Important

This may be an obvious healthy beauty tip, but for Chinese women, it is very important to keep active. Walking after meals to help digestion and stay fit or get massages.

Enjoy Spas and Massages

Everyone seems to get massages in China. People go together with friends, or even alone. Getting massages is not seen as a luxury, but as a way to stay healthy and young. Chinese believe that routine massages will ensure proper blood flow and keep them sturdy and fit. Every week I have a deep tissue massage and cupping session, it helps me flush out toxins from my body, so that my skin is clean and hydrated. Enjoying a massage, spa, or having your spouse (exchange program) can also lower one’s stress level, which can be a reason people may have bad health or troubled skin.

Start Young

Many of the techniques my grandma taught me to avoid the sun was also being taught to my children. Chinese begin to protect their children while they are young. This ensures that they will grow with healthy, undamaged skin instead of trying to fix it when they are older. It never hurts to think about how a child might benefit from these teachings.

Although my grandma is no longer with me, I still treasure all the great memories with all the care and love she has given me. The love is so deep that it makes me strong, and the need to pass on all that she has taught me to you.

Love, Juli

No Reset Button For Carpal Tunnel

Since it’s creation in the early 60’s, video games have been seen as a common hobby for both kids and adults alike. Often branded as a hobby for “nerds” or nonathletic individuals, video games have grown into something more than a standard at home activity.

Competitive gaming (Esports) once seen as an underground community, has grown to a now multi million dollar industry and even has articles in ESPN branding video games as a now, legitimate sport. Sponsors such as Redbull, Gatorade, and even the phone company HTC now offer contracts to competitive gamers making this once childhood fantasy, a reality. As a competitive gamer myself I’m happy that Esports has grown to such heights. Even I know however, these companies won’t just sponsor anyone.

I follow and play a game know as Super Smash Brothers Melee. Since it’s existence in 2001, this game’s competitive community is now bigger than ever. With it’s fast paced movement and style, people always ask the question. “How can a player move that quickly?” When tested, top professionals such as Adam “Armada” Lindgren and Aziz “Hax$” Al-Yami can average up to 900 inputs per minute. What may look like common “button mashing” to the average viewer are actually precisely timed inputs to make the players character move so quickly and efficiently. Inputs are the amount of times a player taps a button to cause an action in the game. With each match lasting around three to four minutes and played in sets of 3 and 5, one can imagine the toll it can take on ones hands by moving so quickly. I mentioned earlier how the game has been played for over 15 years with new and old players still going strong. As for the older players however, the toll of using such quick reflexes for years, is finally catching up to them.

Hax$ first got onto the world’s radar in 2008 by placing 9th at his first major tournament. At just 14 years old, he proved to be a rising star placing within the top 8 at almost every tournament (Participants ranging from 300-1,000+). In January 2015 seven years after making his debut he was forced to take his first hiatus from the game due to a nagging hand injury. An injury that would later develop into Carpal Tunnel syndrome.

Carpal tunnel syndrome causes numbness, tingling, and other problems in your hands due to pressure within the nerves of your wrists. The name strives from the area that your tendons run through and connect to your wrists. There are many causes for it as it has links to arthritis, diabetes, and even pregnancy. Unfortunately for Hax$ he developed carpal tunnel due to the excessive and repetitive inputs from his fingers causing his carpal tunnel to swell up and make the tunnel tighter. Seeing it as just a nagging hand pain, Hax$ took a hiatus from the game to ice and rest his hands. Three months later he returned to the scene for no more than a handful of tournaments before he found the pain coming back. Concerned about the constant pain, Hax was then diagnosed with Carpal tunnel syndrome and spent over half a year icing his wrists, not touching the game at all, and even wearing a splint to help heal his tendons before they got worse and his nerves would develop long term damage. Finally after months of treatment Hax$ returned in April and got 3rd at his first National since his diagnosis proving he could still hang with the best. This also however may mark the end of the road for Hax$ as he announced that his hands were in so much pain during the tournament he has no choice but to get surgery. It was a success but we all question when and if he may return to full time competition again.

Hax$ isn’t the only one concerned with retirement from their profession. Players all around the Esports community have expressed concern about their own hand pains and there are even talks of having on sight doctors at tournaments. Much like the NFL’s concerns with concussion/brain damage from excessive head trauma, Esports competitors although just playing a game, are at more health risk than one might think. I fear the day I develop such injuries, but when and if I do, I’ll remember the story of Aziz “Hax$” Al-Yami and the precautions I shall take.

It’s always good whether you’re a gamer or not, to ice, stretch, and flex your tendons throughout the day. A simple exercise you can do to strengthen your hand is to wrap a rubber band around your finger tips and stretch each finger 5-10 times. Take breaks often, and take time to flex and extend your wrists. Make sure your hands stay in a neutral position when typing on a computer, also keep your hands fresh and loose and this will definitely be better for you in the long run. So remember, video games are fun for everyone, just remember to give your hands a break, they deserve it more than you know.


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?



Finding A Healthy Balance During Seasonal Changes

For thousands of years, Chinese philosophy has held that good health is a result of five elements, Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water, being in harmony. Getting in touch with the elements can help us find better balance, in our bodies and our lives, and help us feel more connected to the natural world.

Earth is unique among the five elements. Earth is linked to times of change throughout the year: those few weeks between seasons in which autumn changes to winter, winter to spring and spring to summer. The Earth element is associated with the spleen, pancreas and stomach, the organs of digestion and nutrition. The stomach receives the food you eat and starts to break it down. The spleen and pancreas then distribute the nutrients throughout the body. The pancreas also regulates your blood-sugar levels.

Also pay attention to how you eat, not just what you eat. Eating calmly and slowly and having reasonably sized portions will let your stomach and spleen work best. A good rule of thumb is eating until 70% full, and try not to snack before the main meal to avoid over eating. After eating, take some time to relax and move the body, because movement aids the digestion, assimilation and distribution of nutrients. Thanksgiving is in season, we should take time to make sure everything pure and necessary is used and maximized, and that anything unnecessary or wasteful is eliminated.

I also wanted to touch base with the change from Autumn (Metal) to Winter (Water). Autumn is associated with the Lung and the Large Intestine which both deal with purification and elimination. The lungs take in oxygen and expel carbon dioxide through breathing. The large intestine absorbs water and completes the absorption of nutrients, minerals and vitamins. It also holds and eliminates waste.

Eating vegetables and whole grains is necessary for our bodies year-round. Because they serve as cleansers for the intestines, however, they have added significance in autumn. A balanced autumn diet consists of hearty, rich and warm foods, including meats, cooked nuts, fish and oils.

Sauerkraut (natural fermented probiotic) like other preserved foods, provides a source of nutrients during the winter and restores gut flora. Root vegetables, such as potatoes, carrots, garlic and onion, are particularly healthful metal foods. Ginger promotes good digestion and elimination. Do weight training to make good use of muscles, building from the protein you crave as winter comes.

You might also try practicing a form of breathing meditation for the health of your lungs. Prepare for the change of weather and store up on our cold and flu regimen. Focus on relaxation in the evening hours as you get ready for sleep.

Change is inevitable, but we must try to embrace this to thrive on this roller coaster of transition. Let’s have a ride of your life, and I will meet you on top!       

Love, Juli

The Connection Between Protein And Exercise

Last month my family took a trip to Sequim, WA for a tour to learn about Organic farming. Paul Gautschi shared his knowledge of raising healthy food, modeling mother nature. Paul made a great impression upon me with how he emphasized the importance of healthy eating and with the idea, we are what we eat. He gave us an opportunity  to ask him questions, and the best part was getting to taste all the vegetables and fruits.

Curious, I wanted to know his opinion about eating protein. But instead of answering my question, Paul answered me with a question. The question was if I have ever raced a horse? A race horse needs energy to race and will eat hay in order to exert extra energy. Then he further explained that protein is hard to digest, and if you don’t exercise to utilize the energy the protein is providing you then it just sits in your system.

I believe that in our sedentary lifestyle (known as lazy or couch potato) protein is very hard to digest.

I’d like to further emphasize the fact that if you are planning to loose weight, you need to have a high protein diet, because you need the extra energy. But for those who are less active will have a problem digesting protein. Create a balanced diet, 56 grams per day for sedentary man and 46 grams per day for women. Our crops is where all the best nutrient are.

Have I ever raced a horse? Of course I wouldn’t race a horse. In the history of China, horses and chariots were a vital part of China’s military force and horses represented power and nobility. In Feng Shui, a horse is used to symbolize movement and power.  Think about this question, if you think that you are lacking in protein then race a horse after you have eaten a steak or will you end up laying on the sofa, too full or bloated to move? Then should I eat grass like a horse? I prefer more vegetables myself.

We must remind ourselves that we are what we eat, what goes in must come out. The more protein you eat the more sluggish you become. Realizing that the holidays are around the corner, we bring out the best plates and serve the richest meals, we must end it with a bunch of Taifu Plus (Digestive aid) and might as well combine it with E15 for extra detox. Best wishes to our guts and please keep it nice and clean.

Love, Juli

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!



Surviving the Hot Summer 2015

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

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

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

Lets have a fun and safe summer!



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

Active Culture Club

Active Culture Club

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

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

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

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

Sell Pickles, And Sell A Lot Of Them!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kaz Isogai