Vitality anyone? Begin new….for the new year!!!

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Happy Chinese New Year to all!!!

Yes indeed, 2012 is a great year to clean house, inside and out; I cannot just sit  and wait for things to develop, I have to make things happen for the world to change.

I think it’s Gandhi who said:” Be the change you wish to see in the world”

Liliane and I opted for change, back in December, with a spiritual fast at the TREE  OF LIFE   in Arizona, a great way to detox the body, learn a few new things, get vitality and clarity of mind.(more on that later)

But first a lot of  NEW and exciting projects to start the new year!!!  

Make sure to link to our web site and see the NEW things we are offering:

I have started to work with Living Foods (yummy lasagna and falafels,pates, crackers etc….) and am making it all available for you; this comes from our experience at the Tree of Life and the discovery of what healthy, vibrant Live foods can do for you. You will simply love it all!

  • Also NEW: we are offering a combination, at discount, of nutritional consultation followed with a 3 hour cooking class, the whole thing tailored to your specific needs,
  • Also NEW, in addition to that, you can get 5 one-hour private yoga classes designed to help you develop your own home practice. For those who do not know, I have been trained in the Iyengar tradition of hata yoga, and operated a yoga studio in Sylva for 10 years.
  • Also in the making with more details to come: a three day introduction to spiritual fasting for those interested in deep internal change;  a monthly Living food dinner at our house to help you make the right dietary changes and supporting those changes with community support.
  • Also in the very near future:  the AMA (Asheville Macrobiotic Alliance) will be offering some lectures and cooking classes to further support healthy changes and transitioning to a vegan diet. For new and seasoned practitioners as well.
  • Do not forget about my services to you as a Personal Chef: I am keeping the same amazing discount prices, a great deal  for those who do not have enough time to cook healthy organic food, who want support in their daily life or are planning a party etc… Guaranteed to be a bargain and cheaper even than buying things on the go at health food store. And, of course, no comparison when it comes to freshness and tailoring to your needs. Again check my web site. for details…
  • Remember that the AMA is starting its now popular monthly book club again, in February. Join and call Marcia Reisman and Erica Rand at 258 305 89 490 for all the juicy details!!!…
  • And if that’s not enough, Jane Stanchich is running workshops and seminars every week at Jubilee, all designed to empower you and guide  towards better heath and well being…
  • Final touch and not the least: come and share your wonderful culinary creations with us at our monthly macrobiotic potluck: delicious,  plenty of food and fun for $5.00. Can you beat that?

I hope I did not forget anything: who says nothing is happening in Asheville?      It’s not all about  beer!!!…

Okay, what is a spiritual fast?

Well, when we signed up , that was back in November, for a two- week fast at the spiritual community of the Tree Of Life we had no clue — or not much– what we were up to; We just had a  hunch  that it was what we needed over the Holidays to set up our new year with clarity, energy,and a healthy start…

We tried to stay calm, as you now how it goes with too many expectations! But we could not help been excited about the adventure, the unknown and the possibilities that awaited us over there in Patagonia, which is near Tucson….

I, myself do not remember ever being able to go for one day without eating, and being as thin as I am, it seemed quite daunting to expect to stop eating for 14 days!!!

Well I made it for 10 days, and I only stopped because it was suggested to me . The staff there is very supportive and helpful with all your detox symptoms, and you are guided with great care along with daily green juices to achieve your quest without too much trouble….

I was happy to stop after 10 days so I could get more chances to taste the delicious vegan Living Food served at the Tree…. The vitality of the staff there is amazing!!!            Vitality! that’s the magic word in our days of too much stress, too much poor nutrition, too much exposition too pollutants of all kinds etc…

Do you know that our food chain is so depleted in nutrients,  that even if we have a great organic diet, we are still  depleted and tired most of the time; Do you know that even if you took all the right supplements, your body might be so  saturated that it would still not be able to absorb the nutrients properly? do you know that you absorb only about 25% of the nutrition that is left in the food you are eating ?  do you know that there are not many ( if any) places on hearth were you are not  affected by exposure to pollution, depleted nutrition, and lack of access to vital air and vegetables; do you know that because of conventional farming, and the use of pesticides and toxic additive the quality of our top soil is getting worse every day…

I’ll stop here for the gloom and doom ;  But  you understand why  I said that we cannot sit around waiting for things to change!!!!

Regular fasting is a great way to give your body and mind a chance to rest and clean out some or most of the  “compost” (term used at the Tree to define the accumulations of toxicity,mucus and fermentation accumulated over time) stocked in your intestines. Do you know that just after a week or two of fasting you are able to absorb 70 to 85% of the nutrition that you put in your body!!!

Fasting is a way of life at the Tree, and every time you do it, you increase your awareness, and become more attuned to your body’s need. It’s easy to believe that fasting is about losing too much or not enough weight, curing your sickness, going out hungry for days at a time, increasing or losing your stamina….. We all have our ideas about what a fast is, and I had my own agenda; Nothing ‘s wrong with that but I was not prepared to face something!!!….

After making it successfully thru 10 days without eating, I did not expect to have to make it another 10 days to come back from the fast. You see, I thought I would be able to enjoy  the food there, after a couple days.  But the reality is: the stomach as become much smaller than your appetite, and any excess, your body will make you pay for it!!!

I do not want to go into details, but it was a good lesson for me and I will be more ready next time .  I understand now fully that as many days you fast, you have at least the same amount of days to break the fast…. As soon as I started eating again all my old eating habits resurfaced in my mind, I want more of this, I want more of that…They did warn us at the Tree that the way you break the fast is actually as if not more important than the fast itself in terms of lasting results.

This is probably one of the more profound experience we’ve ever had, Liliane and I. We are very enthusiastic and excited about the future…. We have been eating mostly living foods since our return, and without suggesting that it is the only way to eat, we both think that more living food principles can only benefit any healthy lifestyle. Incorporating it is very beneficial to vitality and the preparation is creative, different, fun and delicious!!!…

Liliane does not like to call it raw, because there is actually quite a bit of cooking: marinating, soaking, dehydrating and blending are  involved, which are all forms of cooking or transforming…. so Living Food or low temperature cooking is more appropriate. The important idea is not to destroy the enzymes and to keep as much nutrients as you can while preparing your meal.

I want to share with you one of our very first favorite recipes. Breakfast can be daunting, as we often hear: ” what am I going to eat for breakfast now!!!”

RAWNOLA

Note: If you do not have a dehydrator, know that you can get a very good one for less than $200. I am waiting impatiently for my new EXCALIBUR …. In the meantime, I could not wait to get started on some of those new recipes, so I have been using my oven on the lowest temperature; it is not perfect, as the setting is still  a bit too high, but quite yummy, and we call it “slow cooking” perfect for living in the south…

Here is what I do: I make plenty as it saves very well ( several weeks) in your cupboard (not in your refrigerator.. that would make it stale).

  • In the morning soak 6 cups of mixed nuts and seeds of your choice in water:(almonds, walnuts, pecans, pumpkins, sunflowers, hazelnuts ETC…macadamias do not need to be soaked) I keep them in my freezer so they do not go rancid.
  • In the evening drain and pulse in your food processor to get little chunks ( you are not trying to make butter!)
  • Place in a large mixing bowl.
  • Clean and cut in chunks 3 apples and pulse also in the food processor to get small pieces ( you are not making apple juice)
  • Add to the bowl with 1 or 2 tsp of cinnamon, 1 tsp of vanilla, mix well with your hands, place on 2 large trays layered with parchment paper and place in your low temperature oven. Go to bed and wake up in the morning to the wonderful smell of rawnola!!!
  • Let  it cool  completely before putting up. Enjoy with your favorite seed milk or make your own if you have a super blender.
  • Add  only low glycemic fruit  such as berries if you desire fruit so as to avoid blood sugar spikes and lows.  Enjoy!

flu shot or not?

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flu shot or not?

I never questioned my mother as to why I had to be vaccinated. There was this and that to prevent this and that;  I did not look forward to them. Vaccines are a huge subject, and flu shots are among the latest kids on the bloc. The haunting question remains: do we really need them?

Going into my 55th birthday, I still get colds every once in a while. I used to think, when I was younger and not so much into “health” that having a cold was a sign of weakness, something to bury deep into my body and to never show up again, I mean never!!!…  I was not going to let that cold put me down! And I pushed and pushed toward a long and slow recovery, exhausting my immune system.

I would get sick again, of course going through the same process of not listening to the warnings. Eventually, going that road, you might consider a flu shot, as your body’s resistance gets exhausted, or you might take some other drugs and cold medicines to do the same thing, bury the cold deep into your body to never resurface again. Don’t we like to do that with all diseases, finding the miracle drug or the miracle cure;

Yet, while we are accustomed to take all kinds of drugs, we see that more and more people are dying of  diseases, cancers, heart attacks, flu etc… And we are becoming weaker, more dependent everyday on the new pills and vaccines that will solve all problems, so we do not have to change our ways!!!…

From birth, a lot of us  are taught not to express our emotions, our feelings. We keep  them inside well hidden and every time they show up, we bury them a little deeper, looking at it as a sign of weakness, shame.

Later on, we continue doing the same thing, accumulating layers and layers of repressed felling that will eventually define who we are. We treat sickness and disease the same way, burying and burying till they get us buried, never fully alive, never showing any sign of weakness.

We have learned through psychoanalysis that repressed fillings must come to the surface, be expressed fully before we can hope to live a normal happy life.

Energetically, Chinese Mededicine has treated diseases using the clever method of yin and yang, contraction and expansion to understand diseases, and the flu is not an exception…

Getting a cold is nothing more than an expression of the body wanting to clear itself of accumulated toxins, mucous, and excesses of all kinds. If we are in tune with our body and have a good strong immune system, we will facilitate this process by helping the phlegm to move upward  and out of the body.

From that perspective, resting is the first order of things, allowing the immune system to do its thing.  Then, we need to avoid foods that keep the energy down and stuck

So, for helping our body to heal from a cold, we need to avoid heavy foods like fried foods, grains or oils;  avoid drying foods like breads and crakers, mucous forming like dairy or refined sugar; contracting like very salt; cold like salads and raw.

We need to favor foods that are light, moistening and get the energy moving upward like miso soup (light on the miso!)  with vegetable broth and scallions, steamed greens. We might even do a short fast to help the process with plenty of herbal tea. We need to eat light, using pungent vegetables like onions, scallions, daikons, ginger….all the ones that open your nose. Mustard plaster on the chest is an old folk remedy for cough.

Fall fruit like apples and pears are also good. Cook them whole or make a juice from cooking the fruit. The commercial juices are usually too concentrated and sugary, so if you use the, cut them with 1/2 water.

You might also help with simple medicine like kuzu drinks, ginger bath, and chinese herbs to strengthen your immune system… But I will let Liliane tell you more about that.

soooo!… flu shots or not? well it all depends on  you, what kind of health you wish to achieve (both mental and physical).

I have made my choice. I no longer regard a cold as a sign of weakness but an opportunity to expand my awareness, clear my body of accumulated flegm, recharge and hopefully learn a thing or two about my buried emotions; and I know that the flu shot is not the solution.  I choose health over disease, expression over repression, liberty over dependence…..

RECIPES:

*SIMPLE MISO SOUP TO HELP ENERGY MOVING UP

-1 cup diced daikon (and carrots, optional)

-2 cups of water

-1 tsp of wakame

-1 or 2 tsp of miso ( I like a combo of white and rice miso, but feel free to experiment with others)

*Place the veggies, wakame and water in a pot, bring to a boil and simmer 10- 15 mn or till the vegetables are tender.s

Use some of the hot broth to dissolve the miso. Add back into the pot( do not bring back to a boil to make sure you keep the enzymes alive.

serve hot and sprinkle some scallions.

* You can add some ginger to that, or strain the vegetables and just drink the broth…

* STEAMED OR POACHED PEARS

place a whole ripe pear (washed) in a pot of boiling water or in a steam basket over boiling water.  Do not get the skin off  (they should preferably be organic and local). Let them cook till they are soft but not falling apart ( 10 to 15 mn). Check with the tip of a knife, it should be tender to the touch. Let cool just enough so that it does not burn your tongue and enjoy!! it should be sweet, soft and soothing to the throat and inflamed lungs and bronchi.

Be well and bon appetit!

Didier

Flu shot or no Flu Shot?…that is the question

This is a loaded question. We live more and more in fear of disease and viruses.

In the end, it is a personal choice and I do hope that the government or the general state of health lets it be a personal choice.

There have been, in my opinion, some very troubling questions and associations between neurological disorders (Guillaim Barre Syndrome) and vaccines. It does not help that vaccine pharmaceutical companies are seeking to be exempt from lawsuits. What do we know at this point about the effects of vaccines year after year? we also know that, very often, the flu strains change so that the vaccines might not be effective. I remember the dismay of my mother a couple of years ago when she got the flu instead of her flu shot.

On the other hand, people have such weakened immune systems and some viruses are so virulent (Avian Flu), that it is easy to understand the fear, especially among elderly people, for those living or working in confined spaces like schools, prisons or nursing homes.

However, no matter what our choice is, wouldn’t it make sense to first find out why our systems are so weakened, why there is more and more resistance to antibiotics and new strains of viruses appearing? The danger with repeated vaccinations is that our immune systems get weaker and weaker and that we might get even more exposed to a different type of virus. Vaccination is not a guarantee that we will not get sick. Already, there are many questions about what the side effects of vaccines and, as time goes on, we might discover like we often do, ten years or twenty years later that the road taken is not a safe one.

Our immune system is directly related to the quality of our blood, to the oxygenation of our lungs and, therefore to our food and lifestyle. We need to strengthen our lung system, take care of our elimination so that toxins do not get trapped in our body.

The easy part is that the “culprits”, when it comes to disease, are always the same: dairy products (especially for lung), sugar, fried foods and meat that create fat, “Damp” conditions and excess mucous.

Brisk walks in the crisp autumn air are a great way to get our blood moving and get rid of excess.

In the fall, we need to do what the trees are doing: get rid of what is unnecessary, take more time for rest and meditation, go inward and center our energy. Good warm soups, good light spices like ginger and aromatic herbs to open our nose and help us breathe (aromatherapy is great in the fall! nothing like peppermint essential oil to clear a foggy head!)

There are many classes and events about health around town. There is a monthly macrobiotic potluck to help you discover and appreciate healthy food. There are also plenty of Chinese Medicine practitioners (I am one of them) and various modalitites to guide you on the way to health, recommend healing foods and herbal remedies for your condition and immune system, clear those nagging sinus problems and allergies that indicate a compromised immune system.

Fall is a great time to study and deepen your knowledge of your own body.

Vaccine or no vaccine…we need to take charge of our health. Nobody can do it for us. We need to listen to our bodies and help strengthen ourselves.

are our health food supermarket healthy?

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are our health food supermarket healthy?

Growing up in France, supermarkets were just starting to get really big, but we went to the “boulangerie” for our daily bread, the “boucherie” for meat, “patisserie”for pastries etc…Those shops were the heart of the town, district or neighbhorhood.

Shopping was different then. You knew your baker, or butcher; their children played with us and no names like “ORGANIC”, “FRESH”,”NATURAL” were necessary.  There was a trust that just came with the territory.

You did not think to read the labels to make sure that you were not been poisoned; You did not need a dictionary to read them, as very few things came with a label or package.

Cooking, eating together for every meal was the norm, not the exception. Eating out was an event, certainly not a convenience. Fruits and vegetables were mostly regional and did not come from far away countries. We stored for the winter, we ate with the seasons, littering was minimal, plastic had not taken over the world yet… zooooommm!!!…..  to the present, all of that seems soooo far away!

Supermarkets are the way of life, TV dinners our daily bread, processed food fills up our refrigerators, packaging has turned Mother Earth into a trashcan! Mad scientists have now replaced our cooks and kitchens. Children are raised not knowing what real food looks like. Seasonal does not stand for much as you can find anything, anytime, anywhere… You do not shop for food, but for a label. Convenience has turned into slavery, time has become money, food an afterthought…

Spinning! spinning! spinning! faster and faster…

Diabetes, cancers, heart attacks have become mainstream, while the industry is trying to make us believe we have never been so healthy and we’ve never had it so good.

It was not till after my 18th birthday that I became vegetarian. No one forced me, I was not sick, I didn’t even know about it beforehand … Over one summer, my world was turned around, and I discovered health food stores, brown rice, whole wheat bread, anything organic… At the time, I lived in Paris, with my parents. My Mom even called the doctor thinking I was going to die from not eating meat!!

My friends came to the health food store with me just as a curiosity. Everything there was new, and I trusted totally healthy!!! That was the 70′s!!!

Now health food stores have become health food supermarkets, they sell everything there, from conventional, to irradiated, processed… the whole thing mixed with organic (so they tell us),claims of freshness (I guess that is true as it comes out of the freezer) natural,naturally preserved ( the adjectives keep escalating!)

Chains of health food supermarkets have developed, not too different from conventional supermarkets. You can find everything there, but you cannot trust it without checking the labels, reading between the lines, the super savers, the claims of organic,whole etc… we all know that “Monsanto” is in there,hiding like a shadow, at the produce section, at the salad bar, at the buffet and all the aisles of the supermarket.

Why is that? whom can we trust? what to do? who’s fault is it?

We humans have a tendency to trust, to follow and not question too much. We are so busy making a living that we forget that making a life comes first.

We can easily blame others, start a war in the name of peace, accept most anything under the sun, as long as it is official ( USDA approved, NSF) Hey! as long as there is a governmental seal of approval, a doctor’s prescription, a scientist “New” discovery it must be okay!!!

So we don’t know anymore how to cook, grow a garden, what and when to eat, what is healthy and what is killing us. Diseases are normal. Obesity, diabetes etc… are blamed on our genes. Vegetables must be grown in the freezer section, ready packaged; Zip it thru the microwave, et Voilà!!!…

This cow, this fish must be happy to die for us!!! The meat killing industry must be right, the machine is in place to make us healthy, happy, whole….Brave New World is not the title of a futuristic book anymore. We have lived in Brave New World for a while now.

Out of balance, the world is out of balance. How are our health food stores different? We want convenience, fast, ready to eat… Society is only responding to the demand.

Is it possible now for a working family to sit together around the dining table? to eat the same food? to meet the neighbors? to create community?  Or are we destined to TV dinners, fast everything, working all the time, isolation, sickness, despair….

Sooo next time you stop at the health food store, go to the produce section instead of the frozen one. If it is december avoid the tempting strawberries, peaches etc… and go for the root vegetables, the collards and kale; look where it comes from, and choose something organic, local or in state if available. The less your vegetables travel the less taxing on the environment. You want a dessert, avoid sugar, artificial sweetener or coloring. Choose a natural sweetener or make your own if not available.

No time to cook today, you want to stop at the daily or buffet? ask what kind of oil they use. Ask if they put sugar or coloring in the food, ask if the vegetables are organic, tell them that you care!!…

Go home, take the time to fix dinner, enjoy it knowing that you are giving your family the gift of health; invite a friend or a neighbor…. make a difference!!!

“ Really be the change that you wish to see in the world…”  GANDHI.

RECIPE: Butternut squash, sweet potato  mash

*4 to 6 cup of cut squash and potato (I leave the peels as it is very nourishing and soft, but you can peel them if you like) cut in big chunks the size of a ice cube.

*1 tsp of salt

*1/2 cup of water or apple juice if you want them sweeter

OPTIONAL:

*1/4 cup of toasted walnuts or pecans ( soaked for 2 to 4 hours first)

  • a pinch of nutmeg or cinnamon
  • 1 or 2 TBS of tahini
  • 1 or 2 TBS of olive oil

Place water, salt and squash in a pot on the stove. cover and bring to simmer.

cook for about 20 to 30 mn or till tender, add other seasoning and spices if you like, mash ( I like to leave some chunks in there). Serve topped with toasted nuts and chopped parsley or cilantro.

Make a feast and serve some brown rice  and steamed kale with that.

A little more fancy? vegetable fried rice goes well with it… tell me what you do different!

Bon Appetit

Didier.

The betrayal of our health food stores: what can we do?

It is sad indeed that our health food stores are following the corporate trend and have mostly let go of the initial vision that inspired the health food movement. As a macrobiotic student, I remember the stories of Aveline and Michio Kushi importing brown rice and bagging it in their kitchen for their students. Aveline Kushi was a pioneer and created Erewhon, the first health food company. One of Michio’s students created Whole Foods in Boston…It was the time of the small health food stores with bulk products, tofu and all these exotic new foods.

Recently we met an important CEO of one of our health food stores. He readily admitted that he was a regular meat and potato guy who did not anything about most of the products in his store. His role was marketing. Period.

So, yes, it is good that the movement and awareness have spread but I think we all need to be proactive and keep putting pressure on our health food stores to demand integrity. We need to ask them not to put sugar in the buffet food (a more and more common practice), not to use canola oil. Like Didier says above, let’s not be naïve as the industry is constantly in touch with the latest trends and tries to “trick” us into the brand new products, creating confusion with difficult to read labels and strange names. Erythritol…xylothol..lovely names for “safe” sugar?? latest kids on the block! using all the confusion about the various names for sugar: sucrose, dextrose etc (please refer to my article archived in Kwanyinacupuncture.com about the various sugars in the market.) Make sure you keep informed. It can be tiring but our health, the health of our children are at stake. Corporations do count on our confusion, tiredness and naïvete. Let’s hold our health food stores accountable. Let’s keep asking. Let’s keep leaving notes of protest. Let’s educate one another and refuse to buy the foods that do not meet our standards of health, compassion and integrity.

How about we start an Asheville-based petition with some very clear demands. What do you think? what should we include in such a petition? Any ideas?

Let’s not be passive…

Food for thought: a little story

This past summer, my nephew, Didier and myself went tubing in North Carolina. We got caught in a nasty storm and had to take refuge under a bridge. As we were waiting for the weather to clear up, we suddenly saw, on each side of the bridge, two men with big nets full of fish. They were dropping the fish into the stream. They did several trips like that so that the number of fish they poured into the river must have been in the hundreds. Big huge fishing nets full of them. I asked the men what they were doing, first naïvely thinking that they were putting back some of the fish they had caught. The sheer number quickly showed us that the story was different. The fish were all big and pretty much all the same size. So, I am sure you have guessed. They said they were “repopulating” the river. Basically they were dropping farm-raised fish into the stream….all along, from each bridge, fishermen were happily fishing their “wild fish”…no comment except “what a world”! Who is to blame? what do you think?

sugar blues!!!…

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sugar blues!!!…

Sugar is the topic of the month as you will see below from all of our upcoming events! well, anyway, it should be the topic of the millennium!….
The consumption of sugar has hit the roof, and so have diabetes and cancers of all kinds. You find sugar in everything and everywhere, not just desserts, just look around. A friend of mine, said recently that he was asking a cook at one of our health food stores recently : “why do you put sugar in everything?” The response was: “we just put a little bit”; “what is a little bit, I don’t want a little cancer or a little diabetes!!!”;
The bottom line is that there is a lack of awareness about sugar. We are more aware of problems leading to consumptions of meat and dairy than we are of sugar.
The truth is that we are sugar addicts!!! when we think of addictions, we think of cigarettes or alcohol, but those are also versions of sugar… Actually, the tobacco industry has added sugar to cigarettes to make sure people get hooked.
Sooo, what is one to do?
The first thing is to become informed; Lucky for you, the AMA (Asheville Macrobiotic Alliance) is tackling the subject head on. It started last week with the book club presentation of the wonderful book by William Dufty ” SUGAR BLUES”, first printed in 1976. It has never been more timely… and important in our sugar crazed society!!!! There used to be illustrations of our sugar consumption with one teaspoon. If we keep the same parameters, now the illustration has become a wheelbarrow!
Lino Stanchich, renowned macrobiotic teacher will give a lecture Tuesday september 20 at jubilee on sugar Addictions . Another important step!!
His wife Jane, will demonstrate some simple ways to substitute for sugar at our AMA Monthly potluck the last Sunday of this month, September 25.
My wife, Doctor Liliane Papin wrote a very detailed study last summer (info below) on her newsletter about sweeteners and their uses. You can log in to Kwan Yin Medicine from my blog. Her article is archived there in the section “archived articles”.
Here are a couple easy recipes to get you started on the right track: ( GLUTEN FREE- DAIRY FREE-SUGAR FREE…my wife sometimes says they are illusions of desserts!)
*MILLET PUDDING.
We got that idea from our good friend Evelyn Harboun who told us that she was replacing the rich “creme pâtissière” used for French fruit pies and pastries with a millet version. I have played with it and it is just wonderful, a favorite of many of my customers who want something both light, satisfying and naturally sweet!
• 2 cups rice or almond milk (look carefully at the containers since many of them have a little bit of sugar added). Make your own or buy a sugar-free one!
• ½ TBS of agar agar ( comes in flakes or tablets, get the flakes it is easier to use)
• ½ cup of rice syrup or malt (¼ cup maple syrup or coconut nectar) as they are generally sweeter. Of course you can adjust to your taste, remember all those products are still processed and have to be used sparingly!!!
• ½ TSP of coconut oil or tahini. Bring to simmer 1½ cup of the milk with the agar and stir for a couple mn to let the agar dissolve.
• Stir the millet flour with the remaining cold milk and add to the hot mix while stirring
• Keep on low heat till it thickens 2 to 5 mn , stir often so it does not burn.
• You can add the vanilla while cooking because if it is alcohol based it will have time to evaporate.
• Off the heat source, add the remaining ingredients, stir well, adjust sweetener if needed.
• Now I have those little ceramic individual serving cups that I use and I generally cover the millet with a berry sauce.
• Make sure to let it set before serving.
• You can use a large dish if you like, you can change the flavorings. Try coconut or lemon or orange flavor, raw cocoa or carob. Try it as a cream filler in a pie shell, an icing for a cake ( just pulse in food processor after it sets) I am sure you will find plenty of use and variations. Make sure to share with us on the blog!!!!

PEANUT BUTTER CHOCOLATE NIBS COOKIES

You all know my love for cookies!!! this is one of my favorite…
• 1 cup millet flour
• 2 cups almond meal2 cups gluten free oats (floured, use the food processor!)
• ¾ cup chocolate nibs
IN A SEPARATE BOWL: ( mix energetically with a whisk)
• 2 TBS of apple sauce
• ½ cup of safflower oil
• 1cup of unsalted, organic peanut butter
• 1 cup of rice syrup
• 2 tsp vanilla
• With a fork add wet ingredients to dry ingredients , then with your hands make a pliable dough that is soft and moist but does not stick to your fingers. (I often have to adjust and add a little more flour to get it right if too wet. If too dry I add a few drop of water or apple juice.
• Warm your oven to 375.
• Roll each cookie into a ball the size of a walnut, then flatten on a cookie sheet. Bake for 18 to 20 Mn. Take out of the oven, wait a few mn before placing on a cooling rack. I like to keep them in the refrigerator, as this will make about 3 dozen cookies. (I do not kid around when I make cookies!!!)… You can easily cut the recipe in half or double it, substitute any flour that you like. Meal your own almond if you want or sub with other nuts and seeds. If you do not like peanuts, sub with tahini or other nut butter. Variations are endless, have fun and….
Bon Appetit!! Didier

*The home pharmacy with Liliane
All right…where I pick up is the ending from the cookies and all kinds of good stuff is in case you have eaten too much! (kidding but even good stuff in excess can make you sick…a lesson we all learn at some point!)
In my Kwan Yin Chinese medicine practice I created an “emergency remedy” list for home or travel.
What to do for the headache or stomach ache, the constipation or diarrhea? What to do with the food poisoning after eating at a restaurant? how to treat or prevent the “tourista” symptoms that too often spoil a trip to Mexico or India?
The key as usual is preparation. So often, people tell me that they went to the pharmacy to get an over the counter medicine. Then, they might get a stomach ache from the aspirin or pain remedy or the rebound effect from sinus medication (“rebound” means the symptoms come back with a vengeance when you stop the remedy.) In a panic, they might go and get antibiotics and have to deal with their digestive and candida side effects.
Western medicine and medications have their place. However, there is so much we could avoid with some good old remedies kept at home or some herbal remedies taken in our suitcase when we travel. So much money we could save with good food, good rest, herbs and some patience. I mentioned in our last blog the Yunnan Bai Yao for trauma…well, together with Yunnan Bai Yao, I always take my little case of herbal remedies with me when I travel and many times, family members who made fun of my stash were the first ones to use them. A sore throat can ruin a trip…friends or family members made irritable by constipation can be a challenge! (no joke).
At home, there are certain foods you should have at all times because they are wonderful home remedies for a host of ailments.
1. Ginger (fresh and in powder): so useful for the beginnings of a cold, for upset stomach and for diarrhea.
2. Miso: great to renew intestinal flora. Great remedy for the beginnings of a cold (with some ginger and scallions)
3. Umeboshi plums: the Japanese food version of alka seltzer and much healthier and more gentle to your body. They come in many sizes and forms. I like the big juicy ones for mixing with liquids. I also like the little tablets you can suck on. Their salty taste comes as a surprise to many who think they are candies and typically make a strange face when they taste them. However, they are unsurpassed as remedies for stomach ache and burns, digestive headaches and to balance excess sugar. Very alkaline and full of enzymes, they balance any excess acidity. They may be taken as is or mixed with water
4. Kudzu: great for light fevers, for headaches, for beginnings of flu and colds, as an energy pick up and to balance sugar cravings (they are used as part of recovery programs from drugs and alcohol for their ability to balance sugar). A kudzu drink mixed with an umeboshi can save the day in case of a headache or in case of diarrhea. It will also help lessen the symptoms of colds and flu. Mixed with half apple juice and water, it is a nice remedy to stop a light fever in children.
5. Good quality sea salt: a must for detox, for gargling in case of a sore throat or as a compress.
6. Peppermint tea and essential oil: great help for clogged sinuses and for upset stomach.

By making sure you have these foods handy, you can solve quite a few problems quickly and easily without the desperate run to the pharmacy for the over the counter remedies and their harsh chemicals.

The food remedies are not as easy to use when you travel by plane or travel to foreign countries where the unknown is part of the fun. This is where Chinese Medicine with its herbal component is superb! I cannot tell you the number of times herbal remedies have helped me, friends, family members or strangers. It has been found during the epidemics of bird’s flu in China for example that traditional herbal remedies and formulas were more effective than antibiotics and Western medicine remedies. For dysentery, there is huge research into Wormwood, an age-old remedy. However, Western medicine wants to make extracts of Wormwood and, therefore, much of the original balance and harmlessness are lost.
One of my clients recently went to Guatemala to work and was very worried because she was already suffering from diarrhea and digestive problems before leaving. She knew from experience that the stay over there had been hard on her digestive system before. She came for a few treatments and we managed to get her well before her departure. I gave her an herbal kit to take along both in prevention and treatment. When she came back, some 3 months later, she was happy to share that not only had she not gotten sick but that her herbal remedies had come in handy for several of her co-workers…She was proud that she had been able to help other people with her tiny pharmacy. I was proud too…r. From the tradition of China and the Orient…to the US…to South America…one ailing body and soul at a time…rings of love and care
Stop by or call if you would like a list of those herbal remedies. They come in pill and capsule form and are easy to take along. One of my favorite “good for all” remedies is Coptis…it has helped me many times as well as many others. A tiny little pill of it…bitter like hell if you let it linger too long on the tongue, so you have to learn to swallow quickly. What a beautiful powerful little remedy for bacterial and fungal infections, for high fever and those nasty “tourista” episodes that can ruin your trip and make you feel delirious. George Ohsawa, the founder of macrobiotics, experimented with that type of illness in Africa and made himself sick deliberately. However, he had his sweet wife, Lima, to care for him and prepare remedies for him. Lima was very knowledgeable and helped him. However, some speculated (Lima Ohsawa among them) that the remnants of that disease might have killed George Ohsawa in the end, re-awakened by his efforts to find a macrobiotic version of a “coke” drink. I sometimes wonder what might have happened if he had known or let himself have access to local African herbs or some traditional Chinese Medicine remedies. Chinese Medicine offers over two thousand years of recorded formulas, with careful case analysis, evaluation, generation after generation of doctors…compared to that history, Western medicine is quite young…a mere hundred years…less than that actually if you consider that Western medicine completely changed after WWII, coming into its own industrialized age of expert medicine…tests with machines, evaluations with machines…imaging, technology…ankle doctors and heart doctors…the body cut up into so many pieces, each one sent to a different specialist. Some incredible knowledge came out of that, such incredible precision and beauty into the understanding of the functioning of the body, its muscles, hormones, enzymes, blood cells. When it comes to treatment, though, so much trial and error, so much ignorance about health and what makes a body healthy.
I discovered that before WWII, actually, Chinese Medicine and Western Medicine shared more than I knew. Tongue and pulse diagnosis were part of the country doctor’s tools. Aconite, a long time favorite herb of Chinese Medicine, also belonged to the family doctor’s arsenal.
All right, I will stop here for tonight. I think you get my gist: be prepared…you know that Didier and I believe that Food is Medicine and Medicine is food. Herbs however, depending on their taste, belong to a kind of in-between world, some of them foods (dandelion), some of them a bit further. They used to be food. As we have gravitated toward sweeter and sweeter foods, somehow the strong herbs of long ago became relegated to a different category. Bitter taste might not be so pleasant especially to modern people used to sweet foods. Yet, there is no better taste to beat a fever and bring down excess heat!
Did I say I was stopping here for tonight? OK…
You know where to find us? 828-258-1413 (Kwan Yin Medicine), 828-301-2178 (Changing Seasons)…34 East Chestnut, Asheville (both if you are lucky)
Our websites are linked to this blog. Go visit them. Call or share this blog for questions, comments and your own insights!

traveling tips, trials and errors…

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Traveling is not easy. It includes many trials and errors. That is part of the challenge.

When we started camping we had been warned about those beautiful little creatures,that come during night or day and ravage your camps in search of food, the RACCOONS!!!

I have a long history with them, and I, for the most, like them; until of course…..

I think it was our second or third camping experience, and we thought that we knew how to keep them to steal our goods.  We had acquired a big cooler (we have two now) to keep our food cold for 24 hours and  away from the raccoons as well;  there was a latch on the thing and no one we thought could open it without human intelligence!!!

We had nurtured all the way from home a dozen perfectly ripe peaches. We  had even brought up with us our blender since our luxury camping included access to water and electricity, and were looking forward to juice them for breakfast the next morning….how proud and excited we were to be able to achieve that while camping!!   and we were sure no one in the camp was going to have such a marvelous breakfast….

The raccoons thought otherwise, and when we got up the next morning they had opened the cooler, and had a feast with the peaches and everything else that was in there, and what they did not like they made sure that we could not reuse ….

Now when we walk around early in the morning and we see a camp ravaged by raccoons, we laugh like experienced camper << here are some who are going to have a surprise when they get up, loook at that mess!!!>>.

Now we know to put everything back in the car , even when we leave for a short time, because we don’t know when they are going to decide to drop by, and invite themselves to a vegan feast!!!…

Here is a list of foods that works for us while camping:(after many trials and errors!!)

- bread (we always have a loaf of our favorite  sprouted bread with us): sandwiches are easy and do not require much time to make. We always make sandwiches for lunch and take them with us in our backpack, so we do not have to come back at the camp for lunch.

  • sprouts hold better than lettuce
  • vegeanaise and mustard are a must
  •  I always have some pesto and hummus, they are great on sandwiches
  • tempeh or tofu salad (we love it,but they are beans and spoil within a couple days so be careful with that.)
  • you can always have some veggie burger or other false meat from the health food store, it is not great but will work for a few days ( read the ingredients carefully , some are better than others)
  • some kind of pressed salad is nice because it holds very well. Liliane loves marinated cucumbers, so we take some with us, or we make grated carrot salad.
  • easy cooking grains: quinoa, millet,buckwheat,cracked oats or oat meal for breakfast, and a thermos to cook it (very easy to use while camping, saves on energy and keeps the food warm till the next meal)
  • toasted seeds for protein (we do not cook any beans, too much trouble !)
  • nori and dulse ( the easiest sea vegetables to use)
  • home made cookies!!!( I have to have some kind of healthy sweets to satisfy my craving)
  • Vegetables for the grill ( the easiest way to cook while camping) like corn, squash etc…those are our favorites, but feel free to try anything you like… we also put fruits on the grill,like apples, peaches…yummy…

These are just a few examples. I am sure that I forgot a few things, and you might have a few ideas about what to take that you would like to share with us.

RECIPES:

Again for us the motto  is practicality, no hustle, easy and nutritious as well. So I will share with you the two new things we’ve discover:

  • COOKING GRAINS IN A THERMOS

I read about it in an old book and it did not give any recipes, so I decided to try it out for a week before going camping and see how it worked.(I am glad I did) All it said on the book is bring water to a boil, put in the thermos over the grains and eat it for the next meal.

The only two grains that work like that are Quinoa and buckwheat, probably oat meal as well, but I did not try it.

I tried brown rice like that with no good result; I simmered the rice for 10 Mn before    putting it in the thermos; the bottom half was cooked perfectly, the top half was only half way cooked. I was going to try to put more water than the usual amount required for brown rice, but I decided it was not worth my time, feel free to try it.

For Millet I have to bring the water with the grain to a boil,before I put it in the thermos or it will not be cooked enough.

Same thing for cracked oats.

Generally, thermos are not that big, mine contains 24oz, and keep the heat for about 15 hours, not bad for traveling.

I can cook:

1cup of quinoa to 1 1/2  cup of water.

1/2 cup of millet to 3 cups of water

1cup of buckwheat to 2 cups of water

1 cup of cracked oats to 3cups of water

I use a funnel with a large opening to put my grains into the thermos, because the opening of the thermos is not very large and makes it hard to put in your grain after you clean it.

TOASTED SEEDS

This is great for a snack at home, or traveling anywhere (very nutritious and digestible) make sure to chew it well. I make it before leaving as it is easy to store in a jar

You can make your own blend (I use pumpkin and sunflower seeds). Experiment with walnuts, cashews etc… the trick is to let them soak for at least 4 hours( I do it over night) rinse well and place in a cast iron pan or other (I like cast iron better) on low heat, you do not want to burn the seeds. Just dry them very well, and lightly toast them.

They will stick to the pan at first, so keep stirring with a metal spatula. They will stop sticking after a while. You know they are done when, using a spoon, they do not stick to it anymore. At this point you can use a few drop of shoyu or rice syrup, and stir very well to coat all the seeds. Or leave them plain if you prefer. Or mix and match several batches.

Make a large amount (I make 2 cups at a time) because it will keep well in the cooler or your refrigerator.( great snack!!!)

Bon Appetit

Didier

PHARMACY PART with Liliane

Part of my camping prep job is preparing an herbal kit to take along with an assortment of Chinese Medicine formulas. Didier made fun of me a couple of times…I take things for stomach aches, diarrhea, sore throat, wounds…it seemed like a bit too much. Well…well…it did come in handy a couple of times and guess who was happy to use the remedies??? I’ll let you guess.

When you travel, unexpected things happen and part of the fun is the break in our routine and safe, comfortable, home place. Otherwise, why travel and bother?

Once, we were kayaking and stopping along the way on lovely beaches. While we were dragging the kayak, Didier stepped on a sharp oyster shell. Aouch…those can cut and Didier had indeed a deep cut into his foot. The salt water kept the cut from getting infected but his foot was painful.

One of the remedies I always take with us is YUNNAN BAI YAO…a traditional Chinese medicine remedy, actually patented by the Chinese government as its healing powers and history are well documented. One of its main herbs is pseudo-ginseng (San Qi), a blood mover that can stop hemorrhaging. It was a remedy that the Vietnamese carried with them to use when they were wounded in the jungle and had no access to  emergency medical care. They used it to stop bleeding from gun shots, broken bones etc. The powder may be used externally but the remedy can also be taken internally to accelerate the healing of tissues and relieve pain. I have used it several times over the years, for my mother once who had fallen on an escalator and had her back all black and blue. Everytime, Yunnan Bai Yao does its job. This time was no different. When back at camp, I put some powder on the wound and a bandage. I had Didier take the remedy a couple of times that evening and continued the next day. By the next day, Didier did not feel any pain. The cut was nicely and cleanly closed, Didier took off the bandage and that was it! of course, the fact that we do not include sugar, cheese or meat in our diet helps the healing as well. However, the rapidity of the healing with Yunnan Bai Yao is quite impressive, and it has never failed me or the people I tried to help.

Another remedy I always take along is peppermint and lavender essential oils. Peppermint is great for so many things, from lightly upset stomach to sore muscles or congested sinuses. Lavender, on the other hand, is a perfect remedy for burns (sunburns or burns from the grill or fire). They do not take much room and they smell delicious.

Next week, I’ll share a few more food and herbal remedies. Stay tuned!!!

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

*ORGANIC FEST, Saturday September 10th on pack square park, down town

10am to 8pm, celebrating everything organic!!!

*BEYOND THE BODY, the affective advantage of dance, at Jubilee, Tuesday sept.6th from 7pm to 9pm. more info at:  barbarton@charter.net

*FEELING GOOD WITH YOGA with Lilah schwartz, Jubilee september 13th., lightenupyoga.com

* SWEET FREEDOM FROM SUGAR ADDICTION,with lino Stanchich’ at Jubilee september 20th’ for info go to:greatlifeglobal.com

AMA EVENTS ( ASHEVILLE MACROBIOTIC ALLIANCE)

Announcing the creation of a new and exiting book club in Asheville!!!with Marcia Riesman and Erica Rand; start Monday September 12th at Battery Park Book Exchange at 7pm.

This will be aMonthly event. First book will be on Sugar addiction, “SUGAR BLUES” by William Dufty. Everything you need to know about sugar is in this book, I could not put it down, it reads like a novel… But it is not FICTION!!! You do not have to read the book to be there. for info or to reserve your spot call ERICA RAND at: 828 299 4950

 

travelling tips!!!..

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Good afternoon!!

I am sure you have followed the storm this weekend on the TV, or you’ve heard about it thru someone; My Mom called me at 6AM wondering if we were under the storm, and she lives in France!!!… We are all connected! We are traveling around the world faster and farther than ever before…. That brings us to this month’s topic: FOOD AND TRAVELING!

Like Liliane and me, you must have noticed that there is just not much to eat out there — at least healthy –  the fast food industries have colonized our highways, our airports, our planes, our cities, our towns, schools, hospitals ETC… they are running our nations to sickness, diseases and DEATH…. this is a BIG topic, but we will just concern ourselves for now about some of the solutions that we found for ourselves. We will start with camping this week.

I talked about the storm this past weekend because just a week ago we were camping on the coast of Georgia in a charming little town outside of Savannah named Tybee Island, just before the hurricane. We have a little 3 person tent, a canopy to protect us from mosquitoes and to cover our equipment.   We have been camping for three years and we have been lucky enough not to get any storm, until this time…  this was just a big storm and lasted just about a half hour. We do not have any picture from this, but at one point the wind and rain were falling so hard we thought everything was going to blow away and our vacation was going to be ruined. We were both holding on to the tarp so it would not blow away. We just had enough time to put everything on the table because a small river was forming under our feet…We made it, the sun came back, the river quickly dried out, within a couple days everything was back to normal and life was running as usual. One thing is sure is that we have witnessed one more time how terrifying mother nature can be and we have to be ready!!!… compared to what was to come, it was nothing!

Ready.. that’s the key word also when it comes to food when you are traveling, camping or just going to visit your family across country.  We spend more time preparing our food supply than anything else when we go away. No matter how charming little Tybee is, there is nowhere for us to eat and we can barely buy any supply. More people get sick while traveling than they do staying home, because they are not prepared, and when you are hungry you would just eat about anything…An article from John Hopkins University recently highlighted how people who travel much get more sick than others (diabetes, heart problems etc.) and they attributed it in great part to the poor quality of food while traveling. (Da!)

Liliane: In my practice, so many people come back sick after traveling (same after holidays!) They do well, get better and heal from whatever…go on a trip and we have to start again! sooo…it is worth exploring and sharing tips and options!

Here are a few tips about our experience and what we like to take with us;

- We use 2 big coolers and a small one for day trips, it is tedious as you have to replace the ice once a day, we do it in the morning after breakfast,we have not found a dry solution yet as water leaks out of a double zip log bag, but it helps quite a lot.

- Make sure all your food is well packed in good waterproof containers or water will get into it and ruin it. Now the kind of camping we do is not wild camping, we have running water and electricity available to us as it makes life easier.  Even with all the equipment we have, grill, pots and pan, 2 burner gas stoves, cutting boards and knifes….everything is more difficult and takes longer to prepare, and we do not want to spend a lot of time cooking and preparing food. We would rather enjoy the beach or bicycling.   I always make sure we have 2,3 days supply of prepared food with us (roasted seeds, grain, quinoa, tofu or tempeh salad, pesto…some recipes to come!) so we do not have anything to cook for the first 2 days as it gives us a chance to get into a rhythm.

I always fix a dozen sushi rolls, that will be eaten on the road and the first day of camp. I know what you are going to say: “whoa! I’ve never made sushi, it’s too complicated!” but in reality it is very easy to make them, delicious, nutritious and the variety is endless. And they are as easy if not easier to eat than sandwiches.

QUICK RECIPE FOR SUSHI:

First you need rice, and any good  organic rice will do, short grain, long grain, brown, white, black, red etc… you do not need sushi rice but you can if you want, quinoa, millet, but our choice is mostly brown rice with hato mugi. It is truly a delicious combination, with just a hint of sweetness.

For 12 to15 rolls use 2 cups of brown rice to one cup of hato mugi, soak the rice over night, rinse and put in a pan with 6 fresh cups of water. you can cut the recipe if you want, but always use double amount of water. I never cook one cup of rice.
Bring to a boil, add a pinch of salt, cover, simmer for about 50 min. or till all water has evaporated.
Remove the pan from the heat, let sit for a half hour;
Place the rice in a bowl and stir till all the steam is gone (you can use a fan to help the process). Your rice should be tender and sticky.
Cover with a damp cloth and reserve till ready to use.
My favorite toppings are tempeh, avocado, carrots and raw sauerkraut. Make sure your vegetables are cut in thin strips so you can put more variety. Parboil the carrots or harder veggies for just a minute or so in boiling water.
When you are ready to roll, make sure you have everything on hand: rice, cut veggies, ume paste, tahini, mat, nori and a bowl of water with some dry towels. If some of those ingredients are foreign to you, stop by our little store and we will help you recognize what you need. Sushi mats are important, as you want your roll to be tight so nothing falls out when you eat it. (Joane Kushi runs regular wonderful classes on sushi making. I will keep you posted on her classes. You can also have me come to your house, invite some friends and we will have a sushi party!!!

The scary part– or at least the most intimidating — is the rolling, but this is how you do it:
Place your nori sheet shiny side down on the mat, wet your hand to grab the rice so it does not stick, and flatten it in the middle of your nori sheet. I leave plenty of space on each side, so when I roll it will not run out. I put a good half cup of rice per roll, maybe a little more as I like my rolls plump and juicy!
On top and in the middle of that I spread about 1-2 tsp of ume and tahini. (be careful ume is very salty)!
Place a small amount of each topping on top of each other.  Now dry your hands, fold the side in front of you over to the other side, covering the toppings so you can pull toward you to make it tight. Then continue rolling till you reach the end, making sure that you are not rolling the mat with it!!  Wet your nori on the outer edge to make it stick, ET VOILA!!!!
I generally roll them individually in plastic wrap and have them in an air tight container. Always nice and easy to eat when you are on the road. Some people keep them in a paper bag, so they can breathe and save longer if you do not have a cooler with you. I also roll noodles sometimes instead of rice. It is a little more messy, but quite delicious as well.
You can also make rice balls, they are easier than rolls to make; just cook your rice as above, cut your nori sheet into 4 squares (makes two balls), place a hand full of rice between your hands, shape it into a nice round ball, put an ume plum or pickle in the center, place it on top of one square of nori, fold the borders against the rice, place the other sheet on top of it in opposite way so they fit perfectly together when they are rolled. Gently shape into a ball. The nori should be sticking easily to the rice.

Next week we will continue our forum with more recipes and also Liliane ‘s traveling kit that we do not go anywhere without… give us your feedback, questions, share your experience and tips with others, join the community and remember that we are all connected!!!

Bon Appetit

Liliane et Didier

PS. If you want to see a demonstration of sushi making, there are several demos on the web. Just adapt the content as they either demonstrate with fish, with white rice or sugar. In the meantime, we are working on our own online demo videos. Stay tuned!

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

I will use this opportunity to introduce my new business, a Personal Chef Service, starting today!!!  Just click on Changing Seasons at the top of the page. All the info is there.

Welcome to Changing Seasons

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We are Dr. Liliane Papin (Ph.d, Lic.Ac., D.O.M.) and Didier Cuzange, vegan and macrobiotic chef.  We will be conducting discussions on nutrition, health, and herbology according to Chinese medicine. We will also offer cooking techniques and recipes, while personal stories and experiences will highlight the discussion with humor and wit.

We hope you will join us every Monday to learn, share, and deepen our understanding of health, prevention and right living.