Dear Dr. Ma,
Every year at this time, I get tired of eating salads and I want something… different. It always happens in Autumn, but I know salads are supposed to be good for me. What do you suggest? — Janet
Have you ever considered that your body is asking for something different… because its needs are different? Yep, that’s right. It’s telling you in the only way it can. The leaves are falling (or have fallen). With the changing of the season, so does your daily routine, including your intake of food and drink. All animals adjust their seasonal eating based on what’s available in their environment, and we are no different. This is normal.
Always eating the same foods year-round, just out of habit, or maybe because they’re your favorites, isn’t always the best for you. It’s to your benefit to consume produce that’s grown in your area (climate zone), and change it up as the weather changes.
I first became aware of pH many years ago when I worked as a hair designer. In order to design haircuts optimally, I used products with formulas that had a similar pH to hair. This made a dramatic improvement in my work and in the appearance of my clients. I made many changes in my business based on this understanding of acid and alkaline.
What is pH?
A pH of 7.0 at 25C is defined as neutral because the concentration of H30+ (hydronium ions) equals the concentration of 0H- (hydroxide anions) in pure water. The measurement runs on a scale from 0 to 14. Acidity is on the lower end of the scale from 0 to 7. Alkalinity is the upper end of the scale from 7 to 14. Acidity creates an expanding energy whereas alkalinity creates a contracting energy.
The Danish chemist Søren P. L. Sørensen invented the pH scale in 1909. His original work was with beer. He learned how to prevent mold while fermenting beer by controlling the acidity and alkalinity.
Henry John Heinz, founder of the Heinz Ketchup company, ran similar experiments. He encountered mold problems while making tomato sauce to bottle and sell. When he made changes to make the sauce more acidic, the mold problem was solved. He created a product that made him a millionaire at the turn of the 20th century!
Dear Dr. Ma,
My name is Shawn. I’m in my mid-thirties and I wake up with stiffness, even pain, in my hands. I work as a carpenter and handyman. What can I do for this?
What we fuel our bodies with on a daily basis affects the repair/ rebuild/repeat process of our cells while we sleep at night, so as to be able to work in our waking hours. By the time we hit our thirties, these processes slow down with the accumulation of waste from the years gone by. Simply put, a change in your eating and drinking habits is necessary.
Look at it this way: a flow-through eating system moves everything along—blood, lymph, and the food in your gut. A sticky diet clogs everything up. (Constipation is one sign that you’re clogged up!) Roger Bezanis coined the above terms (and drew up these illustrations) to make it easier for people to understand.
Flow-through means whole foods: raw, fresh fruits, veggies, greens—anything out of the garden and orchard, that is unprocessed by heat—whereby the blood platelets/cells are free-flowing and can do their job well. With a sticky diet, the blood cells start sticking together, causing inflammation and a toxic build-up in and around the cells and creating an environment that is a “garbage landfill” of pain, sickness, and dis-ease.
When shopping for fruits and vegetables, have you ever been disappointed with the taste? Have you ever wondered what happened to the delicious taste that you remember from days in the past of a cucumber, a zucchini or tomato?
THE IMPACT OF FARMING ON FOOD
The organic farmers can tell you why things have changed. For commercially raised food, natural principles of soil restoration are not followed.
If the soil is in an area where certain nutrients are not in the soil, it takes a lot of labor to improve the soil with compost. The essential pH and nutrients are needed to create the most wonderful alchemy to provide a vital plant and subsequent food vitality. If crops are not rested or rotated, the earth is not restored for the following seasons.
We need the various vitamins, minerals, major, minor and trace compounds and essential oils that are found in root vegetables, leafy greens, herbs, fruits, sea vegetables and seeds that are grown in rich, fertile soils. However, depleted soil is not the only way plants are depleted in the modern world. Improper cooking techniques, high temperatures, microwaves, and not chewing properly also cause deficiencies in the human body.
Dear Dr. Ma,
How do I help myself to have a healthy liver?
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Like all our organs, we need our livers to be healthy, to function properly, and to work well for our whole lifetime. The best way to do this is to give them a time of rest! Then they can repair, rebuild, and repeat this process on a regular basis.
Your liver has many functions. One primary function has to do with digestion. This tells you that if you’re always eating and digesting food (without a rest), you are working your liver to death!
Many people give their liver a rest during springtime by fasting or cleansing it. I say, better yet, do this daily instead of once or twice a year. Professor of Genetics at Harvard Medical School, Dr. David Sinclair, agrees. His lifelong work is in the science of aging at all stages of life. He is co-director of the Center for the Biology of Aging, which maximizes wellness and longevity. Dr. Sinclair developed what he now calls “Time-Restricted Feeding.”
Dear Dr. Ma,
I am so confused about what to eat or what NOT to eat. Please help!
Keep it simple! Eat the colors of the rainbow. Each color has something unique to feed your body, mentally and emotionally, as well as physically. What this looks like is all your whole-food fruits and vegetables and all the greens, with nuts, seeds and legumes (if your body can handle them).
Fresh is best. Dried is great. You can just rehydrate them to put the water back in. Frozen works. You can use any process without heat to seasonally preserve your food for year-round use. If it comes out of your garden, or can be sprouted on your windowsill, or comes from your neighbor’s bush or tree, it’s real food.
Aother autumn has made it to our doorstep, and with it clearer skies, and all the wonders of a changing season, along with its chores, and pumpkin everything! As we harvest our end-of-summer bounty, we ready our gardens for a long winter’s rest. These chores, like raking leaves, stacking firewood, and cleaning out the garden, are very healthy for your heart. Since everyone can benefit from a healthy heart, especially into our later years, I decided to look into it.
Simply put, here’s how it works: Our cells collectively make up organs; each organ has a meridian (energy pathway) that flows through it. Movement creates that energy and the heart meridian moves through the arms. So, moving the arms produces an energized and healthy heart—think swimming, dancing, power walking, sweeping, and Chi Gong. You get the idea.
Essential oils are no longer the missing link in modern medicine. More and more health practitioners, doctors, scientists, veterinarians, dentists, massage therapists, spas and health-conscious consumers of all ages understand the ancient science of aromatherapy for both people and animals. Now millions of people are applauding the power of essential oils. Millions more are being introduced to essential oils every year.
Therapeutic essential oils have powerful influences. The fragrance of an unadulterated essential oil can directly affect everything from your emotional state to your lifespan. An oil molecule functions like a lock and key, similar to an odor molecule fitting a specific receptor site. In 1996, an Italian scientist named Luca Turin theorized that the vibrational properties of molecules enable humans to distinguish smells. He suggests that the olfactory receptors sense the quantum vibration of each odorant’s atoms. Each olfactory receptor is tuned to different frequencies. This allows humans to perceive an almost limitless number of odors.
All fruits are sun-kissed, yet the citrus family comes in right at the top in terms of the needed hours of sunlight to grow an abundance of juicy fruits. Mostly eaten raw, we juice lemons, limes, oranges and grapefruits, and we zest the peels. Lemon juice is a wonderfully healthy replacement for vinegar in salad dressings. My mom’s and my favorite jam has always been orange marmalade, made from the sour-orange rind.
It wasn’t until I studied the use of food from other countries, in this case citrus, that I realized how much we throw away that other cultures find uses for. Years ago,
I learned that the pith (the chewy, white part under the skin) is a main source for rutin.
Rutin is a bioflavonoid that is found in apples, buckwheat, most citrus fruits, figs, and both black and green tea. It has powerful antioxidant properties. It also helps your body produce collagen and utilize vitamin C. It is included in more than 130 therapeutic, medicinal preparations, and by itself, offers a number of health benefits, such as: Helps blood circulation, prevents blood clots, lowers cholesterol, reduces arthritis pain, and even heals bruising. [Healthline.com]
If you’ve ever struggled with your weight, you’ve probably heard it all… Watch your calories! Eat low fat! Exercise! And probably even have tried some of the trending diets that have blown through like Atkins, South Beach, Mediterranean, or Keto. Any of this sound familiar? Let me ask you something, did it work? Did you feel great, and keep the weight off? Unfortunately, most people would say no.
May I offer some insight as to why this might be? The simple answer is that weight gain (or difficulty losing weight) is a symptom of deeper dysfunction within the body, it is not the primary problem to be dealt with. And none of those previously mentioned approaches address the root cause of that dysfunction. The body has this incredible capacity to make necessary adjustments to keep us alive.
If you choose Functional Medicine, then the focus will not be on treating your symptoms, but on what could be imbalanced in your body and what can bring it into balance (and in this, the symptoms may be relieved in a more lasting way). What do you have too much of? Bad food, gut inflammation, estrogen, toxins, stress, etc. What do you not have enough of? Thyroid hormone, vitamin D, self-care, progesterone, exercise, etc. Hippocrates, a few thousand years ago, said, “All disease begins in the gut.” He was onto something because this is where we frequently start.