Tag Archives: health

Every End is a New Beginning

While it might be sad news for some, the fact that this blog domain name is expiring soon should not be bad for everyone.  Since I don’t really monetize this blog, I can’t afford to keep it going.

But as this blog name fades away within days, I plan on changing my approach to helping people and helping myself.  First of all, I will stop working for free.  The knowledge contained in this blog is enough to write a good book, and it’s all quality information.

Also, I’d like to get out more and teach students in a face to face type encounter.  Being sedentary and sitting infront of a computer (even for a short time) is not healthy or fun.

I hope those we enjoy my work should keep following my career in writing, art, and music.  Taoism encourages the creative arts, diet and exercise, and the practice of Tai Chi, Qi Gong, and Kung fu.  Taoist medicine is about empirical observation and the stored knowledge of hundreds of generations of Chinese people.

I’m sure anyone can benefit from my teachings, in whatever form it takes.  I am simply trying to make some good out of my education and experience.  Thanks.

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Fancy Feast

Not everybody around the world lives in such abundance like here in America.  In poor countries, your lucky to eat anything.  You don’t get to be picky.  The point is, we should be grateful for what we have and not overthink nutrition.

Don’t be too picky when selecting food and don’t spend too much.  No matter how advanced the human race gets, vegetables will always be man’s main food stuff.

There is an observable trend in the West that people are trying to be healthier.  But remember, at the end of the day, its all about calories in and calories out.

Also, people in the USA tend to overdo animal foods like meat and milk.  Previous generations didn’t gorge themselves day in and day out.  They also did natural farming and gardening before the invention of the term, ‘organic’.

There is no reason to eat ‘health food’ because it’s just too complicated.  Eat less often and less in between meals, and your body will recuperate.  That’s the reality of the situation.

Jumping on the Bandwagon

After a long time of oscillating between low carb dieting and some form of veganism, I have decided that the vegan diet makes more sense than gaining and losing weight on Atkins, Paleo, or Ketogenic.

Don’t get me wrong, there are good animal foods to eat, but there is an inverse relationship between animal foods in the diet and overall health.  The more plant based you are, the better off you are.

The problem with my journey to veganism is that I wasn’t doing it right.  Most vegans don’t eat a lot of vegetables.  They eat mostly grain.  Fructarians eat mostly fruit and seed like they did in the Garden of Eden.

Beans and vegetables don’t taste that good and to make them more palatable, you have to add salt, fat, and condiments.  Fruit is fine the way it is, and whole grains like brown rice and quinoa give you strength.

I am still not completely vegan, I eat eggs everyday and sometimes even a bit of chicken, but most of my diet is essentially fruit and brown rice.  Remember, it is more healthy to be underfed than overfed.  When you are eating very few calories, your body can make up for the deficiencies with air and water.  When you eat too much, you become sluggish and the extra food in the intestines putrifies and makes your body toxic.

There are a lot of advantages to being plant-based.  Number one, the food is cheaper, because high protein foods are expensive.  Secondly, its more hygenic and convenient because meat has to be cooked before it goes bad.  This is a big hassle.

It’s best to be an opportunist with food.  This is the way man was in previous civilizations.  Most of their diet was plant food and on rare times and holidays they slaughtered animals and ate meat.  Still, even with the convenience of animal food everywhere, one’s diet should be mostly whole grains and produce.  Human biology hasn’t changed that much since ancient times, only industrial methods of agriculture and the corrupt media have.

So as you make your way through this world, just remember, both science and religion agree that the original man was an eater of fruit and seed and not just protein and starch.

On the come-back trail…

I haven’t posted in a couple of months or so because I kind of ran out of things to say and new things to offer.  But now that I am back in the game, I might as well share what insights I have attained.

First of all, it is not so important to be strict with your diet.  Ultimately, it’s about calories in and calories out.  The easiest way to reduce calories is to reduce sugar.

I noticed over this passed time that perfect diet is not really necessary.  As long as you are watching portion size and timing of meals, it’s not really necessary to bother people with your dietary restrictions.

The only two really heinous food groups are dairy and grain, and yet, there are exceptions.  People literally could live off of bread and cheese, and in some countries around the world, they actually do.  But a real healthy diet includes a lot of protein and a lot of fiber and is low in sugar.

Also, I’ve noticed that it’s not easy to eat protein foods all day and never eat anything sweet or starchy.  Carbs should be part of your diet, it’s just choosing the best carbs is the trick.

Vegetables is man’s primary foodstuff, and on a low carb diet, it’s easy to neglect them.  Also, high quality cooking fats are important.  Olive oil and butter come to mind.

So as I continue my health and recovery journey, I will try to strike a balance between exercise and a doable version of the low carb (or Bi-Gu) diet.  Grain really is the first junk food, and health increases when you stop eating starchy grains.

Where have I been?

I haven’t been posting anything in the past month or so because I’ve been concentrating on my music.  As each new song gets written, I feel my musical ability gets stronger.  I also feel I’m running out of things to write about in the field of nutrition.

In my own personal wellness journey, I’ve come to the realization that self acceptance is important.  Your health isn’t always determined by the number on the scale.  Also, I realize I am not a kid anymore so I don’t need to look like a youth.

 

The Origins of Traditional Chinese Medicine

Traditional Chinese Medicine used to be called, ‘Taoist Medicine’ but they changed the name to avoid any religious or spiritual connotations to the science of it.  Really, it all comes from The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine.  Huang Di as the Chinese call him was a Taoist adept and sought immortality.  In the first chapter somewhere it says, ‘to live forever, one must eat a diet free of grains,’ or something to that effect.

Chinese Medicine is Taoist Medicine, and although no one ever succeeded in becoming immortal, besides in folk legend, many have led better lives with greater health and vitality.  That is the promise of TCM and the wholistic lifestyle, a longer life with less pain and illness.

The first thing in changing your life so that you increase longevity is not just to reduce carbohydrate, but to reduce grains like wheat, rice, and corn.  These foods are just empty filler and feed cancer and raise blood sugar.  There are benign starches, like quinoa and sweet potato and beans, but that’s a different story.

Nutrition is the beginning.  Changing your life for the better also includes external exercise, internal exercise, meditation, psychology, rest, hygiene, etc…

The Taoist masters wanted to live a long time.  I do too, because I’m not banking on the afterlife.  The more wholistic health knowledge you have the better off you are.  And the first thing in turning your life around is changing your diet.  That is why the subject of this blog is Taoist Nutrition.

Home Cooked Food

To me, there is nothing better than the satisfaction you get from cooking and eating your own dinner.  Cavemen did the same thing thousands of years ago, and it still rings true to modern man.

One of the big reasons home cooked food is better than restaurant food is that when you make food yourself, you know exactly what ingredients are going into it.  The biggest difference between home cooked food and restaurant merchandise is the quality of the cooking fat.  The quality of the cooking fat can make or break the healthiness of a meal.

In restaurants, they use cheap fats and vegetable oils in order to maximize profit margins.  You can practically smell the soybean oil when you walk into a typical Chinese restaurant.  And who knows what they use in a diner or fast food joint.  Really, capitalism ruins everyone’s day.

The best cooking fats to use at home include ghee or butter, olive oil, coconut oil, and there are other lesser known oils that go rancid very quickly.  Refined vegetable oil is crap and a big influence in many diseases.

The reason we like fatty foods is because fat is sweet and contains the most amount of calories per gram.  A successful hunter or shepard naturally wanted the food with the most nutritional and caloric density, because in olden times food was scarce and people weren’t confused about what to get at the grocery store.

But back to home cooked food.  Not only can you use a higher quality cooking fat when you prepare your own food, but you can use higher quality ingredients, or even give or take layers of preparation.  Frozen vegetables and canned beans are a big time saver.

In the end, cooking quality food may be no cheaper than buying shoddy restaurant food, but the non fiscal advantages are a distinct improvement.  When you cook and eat better, you get the satisfaction of preparing your own food.  Also, you eat healthier food, which when repeated over and over again, will save your health and save you money on medical bills as you get older.   Another example is that you set a good example for your offspring, who will take on the eating habits of their parents which they’ve learned in youth.

The disadvantages are that it takes time and effort to cook, but really, is anything worthwhile easy?  Once you empower yourself with knowledge of nutrition and cooking, and you have the right tools of the trade, I see no reason why not to prepare your own food.  That restaurant/diner/deli/fast food stuff is poison and it’s only benefit is that buying ready made food is convenient.

So ultimately, you can choose between health, satisfaction, and doing the right thing, or convenience and cost.

Living in Harmony

The way to last a long time is to not wear out.  And you do that by doing whats required of you at the right time.  Do a little bit every day, that is the Taoist way.  Excess leads to disease and disaster.

Benjamin Franklin once wrote, ‘if you would be happy, you would do what you should, not what you want.’  That means do what is right for you to do, not necessarily what is most indulgent or gratifying.  I myself like to neglect exercise and eat too much, and in the short run this feels good, but in the end it will bear bitter fruit.

To be happy, think about how the present moment will influence the future.  Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy.  If you work harder now, the future will be easier, and if you are lazy now, the future will be very difficult.

A lot of the diseases we suffer from are diseases of neglect.  Falling into a good routine or habit is actually a good thing.  Wake up the same time every morning, eat at the same times every day, do your job with zeal, and spend quality time at home during the proper times.  Don’t become obsessed with one particular thing.

One of my problems are, and you may notice this if you read my blog, is that I obsess about the perfect diet too much.  And the causality is quite clear.  Diet is the one thing I seem to have complete control over in my life, and food gives me great pleasure.  But obsessing about which foods to eat is pointless in the end, and a grave waste of time.  As long as you have enough to eat you are doing fine.  I’m not thin but i’m not morbidly obese either.  I can sit, stand, and walk, and praise Jah.

So when it comes to being physically healthy, and living in harmony, examine your own habits.  Diet and exercise is a big part of it.  This is something you have control over.  Don’t blame genetics, environment, or chance completely, take responsibility for your state of health.

When you have an illness, there are only two possible outcomes, either you will cure yourself of the disease, or you will die from it.  Sometimes just learning to be healthy and living with whatever problems you have is good enough.

Comparing Different Starches

I learned a long time ago that every part of the world lives off of a different grain or staple (a source of starch eaten every day).  In TCM literature, it says, ‘of the five grains, the bean is the most nutritious.’  Beans are a humble food that provide a lot of protein, fiber, and starch.  They are a powerhouse of nutrition.

A lot of people around the world live off of rice, the majority white rice, the minority eat brown rice.  While it is popular and it does sustain life, it is rather high glycemic and not particularly dense in nutrition.

I once read in an old book, ‘the main foodstuff of the African is the sweet potato.’  This tuber is a good source of starch, and you could easily eat them everyday to good result.

Wheat products, like bread and pasta, are a big problem.  While the middle east and Europe have been living off bread for centuries upon centuries, it is not the best crop or staple.  Gluten, the protein found in wheat is allergenic to many, and the wheat itself absorbs a lot of toxins from the environment.

Corn is special.  Some call it a grain while others call it a starchy vegetable.  While not being particularly dense in nutrition, it is a good source of starch and fiber, and it was the mainstay of the native american diet.

Quinoa is a pseudo-grain that is really a flower seed.  It is a lot like brown rice, except it has more fiber and twice the protein content.  It used to be grown in Bolivia and Peru, where it was called ‘the mother grain’.  The protein in quinoa is just as good as any animal protein, balanced in all 8 essential amino acids, and it’s increasing popularity is not without merit.

Potatoes also grow in abundant varieties in the mountains of Peru.  There are over 80 varieties there.  While one does best to avoid idaho russet potatoes, since they are a nightshade, there are other varieties which are much healthier.  Red potato is my favorite.  Yukon Gold is good too.

There are other lesser known staples out there.  But the reason I wrote this post is to remind people that complex carbohydrates, or starch as it is known in its pejorative term, are actually quite important, and one can’t live off of protein and vegetables for very long.  I know sugar restriction is useful for short term weight loss and reordering a bad diet into a healthy diet, but starch will always be the main source of fuel for the human body, and living off of ketone bodies for the rest of your life is not a good idea.

It’s an alarming trend to see Americans cling to low carb dieting without really understanding human history, physiology, nutrition, and the importance of the ecology.  There is a good way to do dieting and there is a wrong way.  Don’t look for quick fixes or slimness in a bottle or Paleo Pie.  They don’t exist.  Human nutrition hasn’t changed in thousands of years, yet science, agriculture, and the media want to lead you astray.

People living outside the West are suffering from food shortages, have no need for nutrition lessons, eat a lot more fiber, and have to walk to get anything for themselves.  The American man doesn’t realize how good he has it, and I hope those who read my blog gain something from my philosophy.

 

Philosophy, Religion, and Diet

In this era, anything goes.  But some people still adhere to dietary laws as entailed by their religious views.  Observant Jews don’t eat pork, shellfish, or meat and dairy together.  Muslims don’t eat pork or drink alcohol.  And most of the religious traditions of the Indian subcontinent advocate a lactovegetarian diet.

Veganism is growing in the USA.  The biggest reason people do it is because of sympathy for the animals and also environmental concerns.  Veganism is not a religion.   But if one examines history, it is the Ancient Hebrews who first considered vegetarianism a lifestyle choice.

Kosher vegetarianism is a very sane, moderate view of diet.  Meat symbolizes death and decay, while milk and dairy products symbolizes life and growth.  Fish and Eggs are considered Parve, or spiritually neutral.  A kosher vegetarian eats plant foods, dairy products, and is not against eating fish or egg.

In the east, amongst people like the Buddhists, Sikhs, Hindus, and Jains, lactovegetarian is reccomended.  Some Bengali vegetarians consider fish and seafood to be ‘fruit of the sea’ and therefore still eat it.

And amongst the Taoists, no food is taboo.  It’s about eating the right portions and proportions of food relative to each other.  Christians too say any food is clean to eat.

My view is to do what is best for yourself.  Don’t tell people about your eating habits and don’t bore them with your list of abstentions.  I like dairy products, so I’m not giving them up.  I do what is best for myself.

I believe meat, fish, and eggs was originally natural and good, but capitalism, consumerism, and overpopulation ruined everything.  Applying the factory line production method to agriculture was a grave mistake by humanity.  Animals are not machines, every animal, from insect, to cow, to dog, to monkey, to man has sentience.

In this era, it’s not hard to go to a supermarket and get anything you need, all year round.  I live in a part of the USA where there are few natural disasters.   Veganism and Vegetarianism is a vote for the environment, for animal rights, and reverses many diseases.  Only in this country is it easier to get restaurant food with animal foods in it than without.  I’ve decided to stop going to restaurants, unless its for a slice of pizza or vegetarian sushi.

I think kosher vegetarianism is the most sane way to go as far as diet.  Dairy is very nourishing, in some cases too nourishing, and fish and eggs should be an option for people who don’t have the time or inclination to prepare their own food.  The main thing is to eat what’s available and not obsess about diet.  But in this crazy society, even the nutrition textbooks are wrong, let alone the media and public perception.

At the end of the day, gaining or losing weight is about calories in and calories out.  But also at the end of the day, looks and weight don’t matter so much.  You don’t need the body of a bodybuilder to be healthy.  And a six pack of abs means nothing.  Judge your health by how you feel, how long you live, and the state of health you’re in.

As an aside, remember that years upon years of weight fluctuation on the atkins/paleo/ketogenic diet causes insulin resistance and liver derangement.  A doctor can’t invent a crash diet that violates everything we know about nutrition and get away with it.  Bodybuilders and boxers use the low carb approach before contest because it causes a rapid decrease in water weight.  Don’t think the atkins diet is a lifelong diet.  No one in Asia, Africa, or South America is adhering to this philosophy, because they have no obesity problem.  They eat a lot of fiber and walk a lot.