One of my all-time favorite fruits is the coconut. The Pacific Islanders believe that it is the cure for all illness, which is why the palm tree (from which coconuts are grown) is known as “The Tree of Life.” Coconut oil is thought to possess healing properties above and beyond that of any other dietary oils.Add a comment
t was the summer of 1988 and I was visiting my new brother-in-law's parents' house. They were from California.
We sat outside in their background in the warm weather when Mrs. Arlett brought out some taco chips along with a dish of home-made salsa. I had never heard of salsa sauce before but I did love those nachos. Anyways, I gave a taco chip a dip and took a little bite. I will never forget that day in which those incredible flavors sat upon my tongue, then lit up my mouth and soul like patio lanterns, haha! Yes good food can have amazing effects even on a person's psyche. What did these incredible flavors mean? It would be many years until I actually pieced it together in a meaningful way.
For years salsa was a staple snack in my life with delicious Mexican food. But I usually bought Salsa from the stores. The funny thing is I actually worked at a great Mexican restaurant in my hometown and made fresh salsa often. I loved it there, but when I made it at home for some reason it just didn't taste perfect and my taste buds were broken-hearted you could say. And so, I didn't make salsa again for several years. Actually, the next time I finally thought to start making it was back in Korea since we lived in a relatively isolated city. I couldn't help but notice that Korean food actually had a lot of things in common with Mexican food. The main similarity being the mutual love of spicy green/red peppers. I had also spent time in Mexico and could taste the similarities.
I was in my 30's at this time and I had really started to get sick of store bought Salsas that seemed to be full of disgusting preservatives and vinegars. I shriek just thinking of it now. My stomach always felt bad after eating that stuff too.
So living in Cheongju, South Korea, was a pretty good time to remember how to make salsa. I had a lot more cooking "common-sense" by that time as well. Now that I've more or less mastered this recipe I feel I have to share it because it's still one of the most delicious things I've ever eaten and I consider it one of the "divine recipes" in my life. I'm guessing the combination of things like tomatoes, garlic and onions have got to be so healthy for the body that a powerful holistic mind-body reaction takes place and your soul jumps up and says "Yes!"
Well here it is. It's so simple that anybody could make it in only two minutes. But the difference I think is extraordinary, as wide as the grand canyon in terms of flavor-fulfillment.
Ok here we go: James' Simple Salsa
- Take a small tin of pickled jalapenos, drain and put into blender. (6.7 fl oz).
- Place 2 to 4 peeled garlic cloves into blender. (fresh garlic is so healthy).
- Peel and place half an onion into blender. (Maybe a third for less spicy).
- Put about a teaspoon of cumin and red pepper flakes into blender. (Add a little cayenne or paprika if you want).
- Squeeze in half a lime or lemon.
- Add one tin of mostly drained Stewed Tomatoes (28 fl oz). (From a jar is ideal or home-made even better).
- Add a few sprigs of cilantro or parsley or green onions. (I love the cilantro these days now that I've acquired the test).
- Sprinkle in some salt and pepper to your taste satisfaction.
- Hit blend button. Slower speeds to give a bit of chunkiness to it. (Make sure the garlic and onions are blended well though. That's why I put them in first).
Now eat it! And tell me if that doesn't taste better! Experiment with the recipe.
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Poor human health and obesity are devastating our societies in so many ways that it's critical to get this information out immediately. The crazy thing about this all is that simple awareness and knowledge can prevent most of these terrible health tragedies. This is quite personal for me because I lost both a brother and a sister to the Canadian Medical System. But that's another story. I'm afraid there are just too many corporate stake holders out there that don't want you to find true health and so the wrong messages are everywhere. As a Psychology graduate, however, I'm far more concerned about the overall "mind-body" effects that are taking place. You know our body, mind and soul are the only true temples that are worth caring for and the mind-body connection is much deeper than people realize because by being in sync with these two fundamental elements you are giving yourself the chance to reach your true self and potential. When you've become unhealthy and over-weight, inside your psyche, your ego will be making quick lies here and there, a game of "sleight of hand". You will be deceiving yourself on various levels to compensate for the unhealthy state of affairs. These lies will come out in negative ways in your life and in your family I believe.
So my point here is try to pick up on the wisdom of these three excellent health books and see if that can't help transform your life. It worked for me in about six months. I've always been interested in healthy living, but frustrated many times before. These excellent books, however, helped to create "meaningful change" that's what the goal is all about. This is your new age. This is your future self speaking to you from a voice of wisdom. Also check out my articles on "How I became healthy" to hear about the exercises that played an equal part in my positive change and growth.
Book#1: Eat to live by Dr. Fuhrman
This book was very fascinating to read and Dr. Fuhrman is hilarious to watch him talking about the facts and falsehoods regarding nutrition. I was blown away on his statistics concerning the unhealthiness of eating too much meat. Research shows that societies that consume the most meat, any variety, suffer the most deaths due to heart disease and cancer. Those societies are our own, American, Canadian. Countries that ate more vegetable based diets were the least likely to suffer from those diseases. Countries like Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand. Check out the chart in his book for better details. This is just what I remember off hand. Dr. Fuhrman points out that food should be ranked according to the levels of nutrients that they contain. The huge misconception is based upon the ideas of vitamins. Vitamins are only a small part of the picture. Recent studies have shown thousands of phyto-nutrients that are more important for our bodies than the basic vitamins. These are usually found in fresh vegetables and fruits. To me it really made sense because for years I've always tried to put into words the essence of that "just picked freshness" flavor. My grandma introduced me to veggies at a young age from her garden. They were delicious because they were fresh and straight from the garden. Or fresh picked apples, they must be loaded with "phyto-nutrients" directly from the sun! Another shocking thing I could hardly believe was the fact that vegetables contained proteins. I couldn't even fathom that. But don't you think that has something to do with mainstream media marketing? Dr. Fuhrman points out that broccoli has more protein than steak, provided you eat an equal portion based on equal caloric content! Of course that means eating a lot of broccoli or other veggies, but that's good and filling and super-healthy! Kale is another top veggy on the new "Nutrient Based" scale. Meat products barely rank above rice! It's hard to believe, but very profound and the very information that I was seeking for a long time.
Here's a funny video I made last summer 2014 when I became more aware of "Phyto-nutrients".
Book#2 Wheat Belly, by Dr. William Davis
This excellent book tells the long story of how wheat has been modified to the point that it no longer represents Mother Nature's beautiful creation and what it has been trans-mutated into is now no better than a toxic poison for our bodies. And that goes for all the products made from wheat. So it's time cut back on your breads and your pastas. Switch to beans, mother nature's perfect food. Remember Dr. Davis' hilarious slogan: "Lose the wheat and lose the weight!"
Book#3: The 30 Day Heart Tune-Up by Dr. Steven Masley
Here's another great book which will tell you how to instantly reverse your heart condition. You can see all of these books in a video version on PBS Channel. Dr. Masley nearly cries when he talks about a family member needlessly dying because of his poor diet decisions and the results of his unnecessary "heart procedures". I think he accidentally got a dreadful stroke while in a coronary bypass procedure.
Anyways, I hope you enjoy these books. I enjoy Dr. Fuhrman's the most, followed by Dr. Masley's and then Dr. Davis' book. The important take home message here is you can prevent so many horrible health conditions just by making better food and diet choices. Healthy foods are delicious. You just need to know what they are. I am posting a lot of my favorite healthy foods in this section of my website because it's critical for mind/body health, which leads to higher awareness and enlightenment I believe.
Just a simple idea of how I make my food these days:
I love Mexican beans. I'll post that recipe later or you can search it on the net. I'll make a nice salad full of green peppers, onions, lettuce and whatever, and I'll lay it on a bed of beans, possibly some rice too. Though not too much rice. Next I'll thrown on a few good scoops of home-made salsa, which I just love. It's basically a healthy Mexican salad. In fact the beans you can often substitute for the meat products you might have normally eaten. (Bean Tacos/Burritos). Even if you cut back dramatically on the meat consumption and throw in more beans, you'll be doing a world of good for yourself. To me bean sprouts are also like "healthy noodles". So frequently I'll make into a Thai Style of food with delicious, fresh coconut mixed in with curries and possibly some roasted seeds or nuts. I love this taste direction too. Use the coconut oil for further flavor enhancement.
Even if you took just half of your regular meal and plopped some beans, salad and salsa on top, that would be a nice improvement and a step in the right direction. We've been so manipulated into thinking we need all those meats for the protein. Meats are good for flavouring soups or sauces, but you don't need to eat much of it. Feast mostly on the veggies and sauce like I do with my curry chicken.Add a comment
Hello once again. I've got a funny story for you. But first let me ask?
How do we overcome those horrible fast food urges, which are plaguing our every waking moment on TV, on internet, on our devices, in our mailboxes, at our schools, etc? The influences are virtually everywhere imaginable, right? So how do we do it?
Well it certainly helps if you have some delicious back up food plan. I have a great one, which I want to share with you: Mexican Beans.
I should state that I spent a fair bit of time in Mexico studying their culture and the Spanish language. I worked in a great Mexican restaurant in my early years as well. My best friend's mother was also Mexican. So I really absorbed a lot. I loved their food style, especially the authentic stuff.
So getting to the story again. As I was becoming healthy this year physically and nutritionally, I discovered the art of making Mexican styled beans. But this was not before I had this comical, foretelling dream of my change in lifestyle. In this dream I was eating at some restaurant. But as I got up to leave at the checkout, I asked the very-large-restaurant-owner if he wouldn't mind keeping my home-made burritos in his fridge until the next time I visited. His mouth gaped open and his eyes bugged out. He reminded me of a funny muppet-character. But I think the point is clear, you can definitely overcome those "fast food", unhealthy food choices if you have a delicious package of burritos prepared in advance. I couldn't imagine eating them without my divine salsa recipe, however. Please check it out as well. You won't be sorry. And here's how to make those wonderful beans.
Of all the bean varieties out there, I find Pinto Beans and Black Beans the tastiest for making the Mexican Style. Here's how I do it.
Mexican Beans Recipe:
Soak a cup or two of beans in a pot with cold water two inches above your "bean level". Leave overnight.
Next, drain and fill with water again two inches above the beans. Heat to boil.
While the beans are heating, prepare about half an onion, three or four garlic cloves and throw them in.
Add a couple tablespoons of chili powder, or if you don't have chili powder you can make it.
It mostly contains paprika, a sprinkle of oregano, cumin and pepper. I will usually spice it up with cayenne and some red pepper flakes as well.
Once your beans are boiling, cover with lid and reduce to medium heat. Careful not to burn as water evaporates. Reduce again to minimum as a 40 minute timer runs out.
Near the end, season with your desired amount of salt and pepper and if it doesn't taste "Mexican" enough for you, add more cumin or chili powder.
That's about it. Just experiment a little bit at the end till you get it tasting right. I usually add a squeeze of lemon or lime too. Celery, a bit of tomato and green peppers also go well. You can actually make it taste nearly identical to beef chili without the beef at all! Enjoy! Take those beans and make your burritos or taco salads.
Flour tortillas are easy to make, but I try to avoid gluten this days after reading "The Wheat Belly" book. I plan to get a corn tortilla press, but until I do I have been mixing the corn masa flour with white flour. Then add a teaspoon of baking powder, a sprinkle of salt and a teaspoon of olive oil. Mix well and roll out your simple, but tasty tortillas! Cook them lightly on the frying pan without oil until they start to bubble. Don't over cook them. Just cook them lightly because they are nice to fry again with your beans and salsa inside later!
I really want to get this message to you ASAP. It's really of critical life importance. Of course it's common sense to many people already. But still a lot of folks simply don't know the dangers of prolonged inactivity and this especially applies to people who have to sit at a computer desk for long periods of time. I can actually recall the point in my life, in which desk activity started to cause a dreadful decline in my health.
It was about 2008 when I seriously got into the video arts. I had been enjoying it for sometime already, however, as I got into more advanced programs, I had to spend a lot of time learning and working on very complicated things. I found myself on a few occasions stretched out at my desk with legs twisted on my bed and cat sitting on my lap for long durations. Don't blame the cat, but the excessive coffee might have also been a factor. Anyways, as I returned to Canada I suddenly got diagnosed with a paralyzed diaphragm. Few years later, I got a dreadfully debilitating pinched nerve, which was so miserable I could barely stand it. Luckily healing came in a dream some weeks later and remarkably I started improve after that. Now I'm 99% healed from all ailments. But I need to get this serious warning out to everybody. Middle age will get you if you don't have a good attitude towards your health.
To be more specific about bad posture, I think I've had a tendency to stretch back and rest on my tailbone when I reached the point where I didn't enjoy sitting at my chair any longer. How about yourselves? Does this happen to you too? After a few days of heavy computer work, it was no surprise to discover my lower back "locked up again." I became acutely aware of this as I was doing a power yoga session today. I'm writing this story now, in fact, because of this "reminding experience". Thank God my lower back was released after 30 minutes of Yoga, which brings up the awesome point of this entire article:
Not only do I recommend that you stand-up while you're using the computer (check out the video below), but please try and get into Yoga, as it's one of the most beautiful, restorative body health systems ever created! I myself became a "Yoga-Nut" in this last year in particular and I strongly encourage it for everybody. It doesn't just heal your body, it gives you body wisdom and awareness just to name a few great points.
In my observations, not only did leaning back on my tailbone cause issues, but also sitting up straight and pressing down for too long on the upper thighs and lower buttocks seemed detrimental. As I stood up I could feel pain in that area. Just standing up and dancing around has brought a great joy to these parts of my body. This is my "toosh talking". Hahah. Releasing your body joints and muscles is like euphoria in your limbs.Add a comment
Hello again. I wanted to share my interesting stories and discoveries about getting healthy, which I've experienced in these last 12 months, with the hopes that I might be able to help some other struggling people. The time period is April 2014 to the present April 2015.
It's been a really great change for me and as I have learned I have actually grown as a person. So this is what you call "meaningful change". To be perfectly honest, there's nothing more wonderful then finding your True Self. This process brings about True Happiness and the Mind-Body Connection can never be underestimated. So I encourage you all to take a look at these points and discoveries carefully. I might also add that I am a psychology graduate from TRU and UBC.
I should start by saying that I was always interested in good health and fitness my entire adult life, though I could never really solve the problems of the right exercises and the right nutrition. In fact there were some years in which I was jogging for incredibly long durations, like two hours for instance and I still was stuck at certain weight levels, which I just couldn't break through. And to be honest, I hated jogging for such a long time. When your body feels good and you're well rested, I enjoy maybe a 20-30 minute jog, actually, but afterwards it gets rather boring for me. It seems like a waste of time.
So there I was, 12 months ago jogging at the Elementary School nearby with my two boys. I admit that I was in the worst shape in my life. Working the night shift in the previous year really didn't help either. I think I was also at my worst weight at something near 215, which was a lot for me, a guy with a height of 5 feet, 11 inches. The roller coaster ride of good health vs bad health was such a common theme in my life. So you can see, my previous weight loss attempts weren't "meaningful change". They were mad attempts at losing weight, without any wisdom or personal growth gained.
I was ambitious in the early spring weather here in beautiful Kelowna, BC, (in the heart of the Okanagan valley), and I was able to jog 3 laps around the soccer field for the initial workout. My boys and I would also do a short 15 minute "soccer juggling" game as well. I enjoy the soccer-ball-juggling as it seems like a good solo martial arts meditation, with a strong emphasis on balance.
We continued this routine for another 3 weeks, but I wasn't able to jog more than one lap in the following 3 weeks because I just felt either too sore or too exhausted. My respiratory system was pretty terrible and I just couldn't breath well enough to do more. It's so important to go slow and easy into exercise in your middle-age.
A Shocking Discovery
And then one evening at that same time period, I discovered something fascinating that really struck me. I had read an article that suggested doing a "Sprinting Workout" instead of the long, monotonous jogging workouts. I was suddenly turned on by the idea because I used to be a track and field sprinter in my youth. Could this be possible? Was I reading this information correctly? I read on and learned of marvellous research that proved that doing a Sprinting Workout (when tested against a traditional jogging cardio workout), produced much faster results. I was astonished to discover that the Sprinting Workout caused much faster weight loss and exercised the entire body core simultaneously given the enormous bursts of energy used for sprinting. I must say that something really clicked in my head upon hearing this information. This discovery just makes sense doesn't it? For thousands of years humans had to be fast to survive, whether it be running to catch food or running to avoid some kind of predator. You can obviously see that faster is better. The research also stated that test subjects doing the sprinting workout even improved their cardio conditioning more than the test subjects on the cardio routine! How unbelievable was that? With even further testing that showed a marked increase of the hormone testosterone in the sprinting group. If you're over the age of 19, you might have realized how difficult it is to form new muscles. So this is a real amazing piece of information.
Testing the Theory (50 meter sprints, 10 reps)
I was pretty anxious to test out this sprinting theory. So the next day I went out with my boys to the school, jogged one lap around the field and told them we were going to test a new theory, Sprinting. We lined up, set a 50 metre distance marker, and were off! Both my boys are very fast too! As I ran and got faster, I could feel a lot of resistance in my body. To be specific, my body felt painful and my muscles were sore. It was like the body was saying "Don't do this. You're not ready for it!" Well I did it anyways, and when we walked back to our starting place, all out of breath, I realized that I had ripped both of my thigh muscles! This was a very important lesson to learn. I wasn't able to sprint for 3 weeks after this time and I had to resume light jogging until enough healing took place. Three weeks later, nearly the same thing happened again. However, there was some learning slowly taking place in the back of my mind. As I learned to respect and listen to the body, I realized it was necessary to warm up the muscles very slowly to the point in which the body would say, "Ok you're now ready for a sprint!". The way I did this was by starting off with a slow 50 meter jog and for each run, I gradually increased speed! It was wonderful to learn about the nature of our muscles. About 6 or 7 runs later, the muscles became activated! The muscles started acting like the Disney movie "flubber". Jumping up and down felt good. And then finally the body said, "Yes you can sprint your hardest now!" It was a great moment but a difficult lesson to learn.
After I had learned the techniques of sprinting and proper muscle warm-ups, my body really transformed for the better and I really dropped the pounds fast! I went from about 215 pounds to 185 by the summer time. There were times when I had a few minor rips in my leg muscles during the Spring, but by summer time, massive leg muscles had formed to easily handle the high level of performance. It was also near the start of summer that I thought I would give my "Power Yoga" workout another try. I think it was the wisdom of Yoga that helped me to gain insight into overall body health and nutrition. So I will stop here and continue the story in Part 2 with my insights about Yoga and Nutrition. I hope you had fun reading. I love these kind of stories myself. Feel free to ask questions by choosing "Contact" in my Main Menu or just by clicking here. There's nothing more great than helping people reach their true potential. I have always been that kind of teacher and it was always the purpose behind my Psychology major.Add a comment
Healthy Chocolate ice-cream? Yes you heard me correctly. What I've realized is healthy food can and does taste amazing if you know how to prepare it. Your taste buds will also really learn to appreciate good food as well!
The "healthy chocolate ice-cream" recipe is one of my favorites. I thought I invented it myself last year, but realize that many people around the world know this delicious secret already!
This is what you do:Add a comment
Citizens of the Internet, the time has come for the evolution of your taste buds. Am I serious? Yes I am. Of course, you can decide for yourself. But it certainly hasaffected my food-taste-evolution!
It was roughly six years ago from today that I discovered this magical recipe for curry chicken off the internet and something happened to me after eating it. Since that day I have made it every week for the past six years! So you could say it's really "grown on me." But, it didn't just grow on me, for even my child at age 9, if you can believe it, begged me for the recipe while I was exhausted one evening on the sofa. I called out the ingredients and he made it himself, very deliciously and perfect I must say!
And again, when we had two young Korean home-stay adults visit us one summer, we made it and I watched them jump right out of their skins to get another bowl. So what does that tell you?
Well here it is. I beg you to make it for yourself. You don't need much chicken at all. In fact, I'm turning somewhat vegetarian, so I use it mostly for flavouring. Here it goes.
Divine Curry Chicken
First Prepare Spices:
3 tbs of curry powder
1 tsp of paprika
1 tsp of cinnamon
2 bay leaves
1 tbs of grated ginger root
3 garlic cloves grated
Now, turn on your frying pan to medium heat and add 3 tbsp of coconut oil, olive oil or any oil you have for Buddha's sake!
Toss in half a chopped onion. Fry a minute 'till onions are a bit translucent.
Throw in your spices and fry for about 2 or 3 minutes. Watch the heat. Take off heat if it's too hot!
Add a can of coconut milk. Add your chicken. Maybe 2 or 3 chopped chicken breasts.
Add half container of plain yogourt.
Add 1 tbsp of tomato paste.
Cook and let simmer on medium to low heat for twenty minutes. Don't cover. But check that it doesn't stick to bottom.
After the 20 minutes, add half a squeezed lemon or lime and 1/2 tsp of cayenne powder.
Now mix it all up, add salt and pepper to your liking. The lemon is crucial. More than half a lemon isn't good however.
Congratulations if you get that done. You'll know what I'm talking about.
Now to make it more awesome, you can use a fresh coconut. Check out my coconut video here.
With fresh coconut meat you can blend maybe 1/3 or 1/2 of the coconut with 1.5 cups of milk. Ideally you could get raw milk. If you hate milk, you can use the coconut water instead.
I often skip the plain yogourt because I just don't have it most of the time. It still tastes fabulous. I'll add either milk or water.
Reflections on this recipe:
This recipe has been like pure ecstasy to me on many nights. From this dish I learned how amazing ginger root actually was, not to mention the garlic or the wonderful blend of spices. Curry contains a lot of amazing things like turmeric, coriander and cumin just to name a few. And what is it about half a squeezed lemon that just drives me wild?
I've tried to cut down on my rice consumption as well, but if you're using white rice, let me recommend "Calrose" rice. It's awesome. Get a rice cooker.
Happy eating. If you feel divinely inspired as I was, leave a message. No wonder this stuff comes from India. I think it inspires enlightenment.
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