No Acupuncture Happy Hour Today 9/30 and "Smart Choices" foods

Please note, there will be no Acupuncture Happy Hour today. Will resume next week 10/7.

In the meantime, I wanted to share an article that came out today in the LA Times that warns consumers of the marketing ploy food companies are now employing to have consumers purchase "Smart Choices" labeled foods.

Many of my patients come in confused as to what pertains a healthy diet. What with the conflicting information and marketing ploys out there to get consumers to purchase healthy foods - including this "Smart Choice" labels, no wonder! What I always tell my patients is to eat foods that come from the earth and that has been barely processed. But don't all foods come from the earth at one point? they ask. Sure, but from eating a tomato or an apple or a lean cut of meat, compared to eating Froot Loops, Twinkies, and fast food burgers, which one do you think has the lesser amount of work done on the food? Which one requires just washing, cutting and eating (or in the case of meats, cooked, then eaten)? The first three foods. The latter three foods came from a natural food source, sure, but then they were processed using all kinds of chemicals, additives, flavorings, colorings and god knows what else, to be sold to the consumer. It's a far cry from what it originally looked like when it came from the earth. Eat foods your grandmother would recognize, instead. And unless you have a digestive disease like Celiac disease or diabetes, I always like to tell my patients to eat anything - but everything in moderation. Focus on a variety of vegetables, but meats are good for the body, fish keeps the blood smooth and flowing, and carbohydrates of the complex kind (like whole wheat, quinoa, amaranth, etc.) provide the burst of energy we need. The rest - alcohol, caffeine, sugar/desserts, dairy - those are fine as long as it's occasional. I tell my patients, If you've been eating a really good, clean, healthy diet, reward yourself one night with a gorgeous red wine or a sumptuous chocolate cake! Eating shouldn't be about punishment, calorie-counting, or starvation. Eating is nourishment for the body and soul, and we want to eat foods that promote longevity, vitality and stamina.

So to use Michael Polan's mantra, Eat Food, Mostly Plants, Not Too Much.

If you are interested in improving your dietary habits and/or wanting to see how well your organs and body systems are functioning, I provide nutrition counseling and assessment at Iyashi Wellness. In addition to filling out a questionnaire, during the assessment, I take my patients through several quick tests to evaluate what nutrients their organs and body systems may be lacking. Based on this assessment, I prescribe whole-food based nutritional supplements from Standard Process. Because Standard Process' supplements are high quality, whole-food based using mostly organic ingredients, the body is able to better absorb the supplements nourish the body as opposed to the synthetically created supplements that are commonly available in the market. Please contact me if you are interested in a consultation or nutrition assessment at or 310.770.9560.

Summer eating and reading

We had a wedding to go up north to this past weekend, and we took advantage of the trip by splurging in restaurants that use local, seasonal, high quality ingredients: Manresa in Los Gatos, CA and Chez Panisse in Berkeley, CA. Chez Panisse chef Alice Waters started the whole trend of cooking using seasonal, local, fresh ingredients, and as the originator of this wonderful trend, their food was indeed delicious. I had a beet with avocado salad and for my entree, albacore tuna with fingerling potatoes, artichokes, and spinach. The avocado was so creamy, rich and ripe! The moment I bit into a fingerling potato, it transported me back to Colombia, where part of my family is from. The potatoes in South America are a whole 'nother level of deliciousness one rarely finds here in the US. Potatoes originated in South America, and accordingly, there are hundreds and hundreds of varieties found only in the southern continent. But I digress here. Both the avocado and potato were so good, it didn't need any condiments. The essence of the vegetable was so pronounced, the flavor so alive, I just sat there enjoying each bite of the avocado and potato, not wanting it to end. The same went for the food we ate in Manresa.

When a vegetable is grown according to the season, organically, and locally, the taste, texture, color, and aroma is 100 times more delicious and intoxicating than a conventionally grown, genetically modified, agro-business manufacturing process. Organic, seasonal produce grows in accordance with the cyclical rhythms of nature, optimizing the essence of the produce grown during each season. It doesn't fight with nature, but works with nature. Or better put, nature supports seasonal produce with all of its Mother-Earth goodness to be the best, most delicious produce it can be.

I would like to encourage people to start shopping, if they haven't already, at their local farmer's markets for multiple reasons:

  1. The organic produce is infinitely tastier than those found in chain markets.
  2. The meats and fish found in farmers market are also infinitely tastier than those found in chain markets. They are also usually grass-fed, wild-caught and local.
  3. We are supporting the "green" nature of shopping at a farmer's market. The farmers are local, requiring much less travelling to get to the markets than produce grown in a foreign country and shipped or aired across oceans to reach us. The carbon footprint of local produce is much smaller, thereby we would be supporting the reduction in global warming. By practicing organic, earth-gentle and -respectful farming methods, we would be supporting the health and longevity of our ecosystem.
  4. We are supporting local businesses, i.e. farmers that toil the land in our backyard, so to speak. And living in a state where our deficit stands in the billions, we could spend our money more effectively by supporting local businesses.
  5. Shopping in farmers markets fosters building of communities, getting to know your neighbors and local farmers. In the high-paced, high-tech world that we live in today, we often forget to interact with one another in a more human level, alienating us more and more from one another. And without human interaction, we are more prone to depression. Want to learn a sure fire way to beat the blues? Go to a farmers market under a big blue sky and see all the lively produce, people, cooked foods and entertainment!! You will leave the market feeling infinitely better!
  6. It's good for you. Because I am a healthcare provider, I have to of course talk about the health benefits of eating a produce-heavy diet, and especially the benefits of organic produce. We are what we eat. By eating organic produce, we are ingesting food that actually nourishes us, not poisons us. Most Americans eat a carb-heavy diet, and if not, a protein-heavy diet with vegetable-heavy diet being the least of choice for many people. When we shift from a carb- or protein-heavy diet to a vegetable-heavy diet, the symptoms people were experiencing: discomforts, aches and pains, fatigue, bloating, constipation, headaches, PMS, high cholesterol, etc. begin to lessen or all together disappear. People also begin to notice becoming gradually averse to junk/unhealthy food as the shift to a healthier lifestyle takes hold. Imagine feeling physically, emotionally and mentally lighter, balanced and sharp, sleeping better, having regular bowel movements, skin clearing up, improved libido, and overall more energy?

So check out your farmers market and take advantage of mother nature's bounty! The fruits and produce in season right now are:

  • watermelon
  • cantaloupe
  • grapes
  • squashes
  • zucchinis
  • egg plants
  • bell peppers

A book I highly recommend that talks about eating with the seasons, choosing a vegetable-heavy diet, and how to find organic resources in and around your home and nationally is called "In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto." Written by Michael Pollan, he explains in details why it behooves us to eat like our grandparents, tips on how to shop healthily at local chain markets, and how to perceive eating and food from an empowered, liberated state = eating with joy and to enjoy, not calorie counting and with guilt.

Viva eating!!