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.
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.
Dear Dr. Ma,
Please help me! I will eat, but I know I’m not hungry, yet I still crave more food. It’s become a problem. My friends tell me I’m a food addict. What can I do?
You are not alone! 90% of the American public eat for every reason you can think of, but not out of actual, real hunger. We eat for an end-of-the-workday reward, social pressures, time with our friends and family, for holidays and celebrations, when it’s an overcast and depressing day, missing a loved one, childhood seasonal memories, tension and stress, anger or happiness, I’m lonely, at the movies, on a date, stuffing my emotions, or for no reason at all. You name it—we eat for it.
Is there a way off this roller coaster ride? The answer is yes! As you said, it’s become a problem, more than likely affecting your health, which in turn, affects your whole life, from work to play, relationships, and most importantly, how you feel about yourself. Your friends have told you that you’re a food addict. Let’s look at the flip side of this coin.
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.
Dear Dr. Ma, I was told I need more minerals, but the tablets recommended constipate me. What are my options? — Susan
Great question! I was just reading the other day a statement that struck me funny: “If we could get all our minerals from the earth’s crust, we would have eaten it away to nothing.” Yet, as you are experiencing, our bodies don’t digest and process minerals straight. All plants, whether growing in the sea or on land, are made to do this job for us. Simply put, the roots pull the minerals out of the soil, we eat the plants, and receive the benefits of easily digested, assimilated, utilized, and eliminated minerals. Whole-food minerals, or balanced mineral salts, as they are called in the body, are needed in every interaction and process in our body’s systems.
Maya Angelou once said, “I have found that, among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver.” How true! This season, liberate your soul and nurture the souls of others by giving them healing aromas!
Essential oils can be added to any Christmas craft, from homemade candles to home-baked goods. Imagine the feeling your friends and family will get as they smell the aromas that escape when they open their gift boxes. Here are a few ideas:
Gather dried leaves and flower petals. Place in a large glass jar. Add a couple of drops of your favorite oils. Close the lid and shake. Store overnight. Sew little fabric pillows out of a sheer fabric. Fill them with the potpourri. Seal and trim with ribbons and bows.
Not sure which oils to add? Look for essential-oil blends, too, as they work well, and have been specially formulated to evoke a special mood or feeling (usually expressed in the blend name). Here is a short list of popular and common oils that can be used, along with the feelings they invoke:
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.
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]
“What?” you say, “How can food be mood? That’s rude!” Well, ask yourself this question: “Do I crave different foods depending on my mood?” Most of us would answer, “Oh, yeah.” So how does that work? Let me remind you that we are sunlight-activated, chemical/hormonal, and electrical beings!
The chemistry of food interacts with our body’s chemistry, its thoughts and feelings. Emotions activate different hormones. When you eat a banana, you don’t become the banana—the banana becomes you. This is the job of the liver. Keep in mind that food is much more than nutrients, fiber and protein—all the things we normally hear about. It provides life- and light-giving energy. I like the feeling of being light on my feet. I choose to eat a heavy meal when I’m ready to roll over and have a siesta! My grandson used to call it a food coma.