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Adrenal Fatigue & Ashwaghanda

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Adrenal Fatigue & Ashwaghanda

Ok folks, I wanted to address a very common health concern apparent in our modern culture. Adrenal burnout or fatigue. I want to address it because I have personally been through the ups and downs that can shake the system. I lost hair, lost sleep and had rampant emotions, like feeling on a constant roller coaster. A cocktail of hormones were at play during this time in my life, and this only added to the detrimental effects of adrenal burnout.

In the vast and busy city of Hong Kong, we self medicate with coffee or caffeine drinks, cigarettes, alcohol and sugary substances, amongst other things (hint hint, white powder snorted up the nose for those DROP visitors). It is no wonder why our society is a ‘go go go’ culture. Also, healthier alternatives like matcha, green tea, ginseng and health boosting juices can only exacerbate the problem of burnout. These stimulants will only, over time contribute to something known as an energy deficit. If you borrow stored energy temporarily, you will eventually have to repay it in one way or another. As John Douillard MD states, “If you are tired, stimulating the body will only offer temporary, symptomatic relief at best.”

Look I love coffee, I really do, and I’m still drinking it currently, but there are serious side effects to misuse of it. The yogis believed the only way to take coffee is up the bum!!! And if you look at the very nature of what happens to the body when we drink it, the body contracts, like it’s trying to push it out of the veins. That’s why coffee as an enema, pushes substances out through the bowels… you get the idea.

I went for a reading in Ayurvedagram to find out my cholesterol was a whopping 300, that’s very high for my age of 36. I couldn't understand why I had such a large number, I eat relatively well , pretty much vegan and limit my meals to twice day, I exercise well doing walks, Muay Thai and yoga. I found out from the doctor that genetics and stress were contributors of high cholesterol. So perhaps my love for coffee was causing my adrenaline to spike and thus cause hair fall and high cholesterol. There is evidence suggesting that high caffeine intake causes the following; coronary heart disease, arterial hypertension, arterial stiffness, and you guessed it, high cholesterol amongst other factors.

So without giving up my coffee addiction right away, I explored other ways which could help me using adaptogen herbs to counteract the negative effects of this stimulant.

One medicine the doctor had me take is ‘ashwaghanda’. Tooted for giving the energy of a horse, it has gained popularity in the West due to its adaptogenic properties. In latin it translates to ‘“somnifera,” meaning “sleep-inducing,”. Studies have shown it boosts energy naturally without taking more out of the energy bank and it can support sleep at night and promote endurance during the day. It can also build lean muscle mass, so people like me who are very active can take it pre workout. There are many wonderful benefits to ashwaghanda ; it clear cystic acne and clears out ‘Ama’ toxins from the uterus. In addition, it is a major aphrodisiac and is great for increasing male sperm count.

Have a think about this before delving into your morning cup of Jo, and if you are anything like me, who refuses to give it up, think about taking ashwaghanda.

I wish you health and happiness, peace and joy.

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Kelly Support Group

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Kelly Support Group

Glad to have went to the Mother's Day event at the Peninsula in support of Kelly Support Group. 

KELY Support Group (KELY) is a non-government funded bilingual organisation which provides empathetic, non-judgmental, confidential and inclusive support to youth between the ages of 14 to 24 in Hong Kong.

Our programmes and services focus on drug and alcohol prevention and intervention and are specially designed to tackle the root causes of abuse, including boredom, peer pressure, lack of self-awareness, low self-esteem, poverty, unemployment, and discrimination.

Please visit the website for further details and see how you can make a difference;

http://www.kely.org/en/about.html

 

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Why I am SO OVER Quinoa, Refined Oils, Gluten Free Fads and Low Fat Crap!

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Why I am SO OVER Quinoa, Refined Oils, Gluten Free Fads and Low Fat Crap!

I was exposed to Quinoa over 9 years ago In New York, where quinoa was marketed as a high protein and amazing health grain, and above all gluten free. In fact it still is marketed like that!!! During that time I was able to introduce it into my diet with much ease. It was easy to cook, tasted good, and ‘wow’ , the amazing health benefits seemed too good to be true. Well that’s what I thought anyway. Whilst doing a total ‘western, superfoods overhaul’, I noticed my health was deteriorating in New York. I became fat, pimply, exhausted and angry all the time! On one hand I was learning about all these ‘so called’ healthy superfoods and on the other was suffering from a range of health and emotional disturbances. This didn’t quite add up. 

The more I ignored the traditional ancient wisdom I had learnt as a child,  the more I suffered. I delved deep into health and Ayurveda, and have been studying it for a good 9 years. Always learning more. Having a rich Indian heritage to fall back on I looked at traditional foods and saw that they were all-health nourishing. This is not based on journals or experiments, but on my own experience. The proof was in the pudding; my ancestors survived and flourished and I was determined to survive and flourish too. I began eating full fat oils like ghee and coconut oil. I began introducing ‘kitchari’ back into my diet (an ancient rice and lentil dish), I began incorporating pickled and fermented foods back into my diet, and guess what. I dropped all the weight and my moods were uplifted. (from eating more fatty foods.) It is so funny that now I do the opposite to what is marketed! 

Coming back to Hong Kong I’ve seen all these fads take shape, the newest ‘Gluten Free’ fad, which by no means is bad, but only really necessary if you have celiac disease or gluten intolerance. As an Ayurvedic Nutritional Therapist and Chef, I never put anyone on gluten free diet, unless they have celiac disease or gluten intolerance in one shape or another. The reason for this is because there are a lot of 'non-nutrient compounds', which are essential for the body that you fall short on when you avoid gluten. Yes I understand that our modern day wheat has GMO written all over it, but what about ancient grains like spelt, which can be just as delicious and organic and non modified? 

Now I’m not saying that everyone should load up on the cookies, cakes and biscuits, but what I am saying is that a preventative approach to health is far more sustainable than going with the latest health crazes of marketing. Eating foods enriched with vitamins, mineral etc. is worse than consuming the whole food as it comes from nature in its purest and most assimilable form. Taking out healthy fat and replacing it with skim or low fat versions is not how my ancestors lived, and it is not how I am going to live either. They flourished! 

In Hong Kong I see people searching for quinoa, California almonds and other superfoods which are not even indigenous to Hong Kong, China. Yes I understand that some Chinese crops are ridden with toxins and heavy metals, but at least consider the benefits of eating local or even regional. For example quinoa has been cultivated in the Andean region for over 7,000 years and was considered sacred by the Inca Empire. As the demand for quinoa continues to grow in western markets it robs the local farmers deserving consumption of their grain as they switch to more western based diets for higher profit. As the price increases for quinoa it is consumed less and less in Bolivia. Not to mention the thousands of miles it takes to reach our supermarket shelves. People, wake up, we have rice and millet!! Why do we as a culture seem to think that everything can be fixed by robbing another nations crops! Also, why do we suffer from the ‘grass is greener on the other side’ syndrome! It really upsets me when people think the grass is greener, when they have so much abundance and nutrition right at their doorstep! Eating local and seasonal can really be a preventative health approach, protect the environment and also help nations economically thrive. 

Mis-guided health advise is a form of harassment, end of. Food and health advise should be reasonable, sustainable and be based on actual experience rather than tested on lab rats! You don’t necessarily need to buy some products to make you healthy. True health is unique and can be achieved through a determination to listen to what our thriving ancestors have told us. But most importantly to what your body is telling you. 

The truth is that refined food items are highly toxic, even if they are marketed as being the most healthy food in the world. Trust me, a newer food will come along very soon. Yesterday its was Vitamin D today it is algae! Lets take Ghee for example (clarified butter). Ghee the golden liquid is so healthy and beautiful, yet at one point in time people in India were avoiding it and going for more refined clear vegetable oils or western versions of olive oils and canola. What happened? The hydrogenation of the refined oils made these oils far worse and less nourishing and our bodies have told us so. Also robbing India's natural resource of ancient wisdom. But we choose to ignore our bodies! The word refine makes people think that the item is better, but it is removing everything good in the item. 

So, after my rant I conclude that ‘Ancient Food Wisdom’ is worth preserving, and if you are lucky enough like myself to have access to the rich and abundant wisdom, delve deep and know that true health is your birthright!

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Ayurvedic Detox Rice Dish

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Ayurvedic Detox Rice Dish

Ayurvedic Detox Rice Dish 

Serves 2

 

Ingredients:

1 cup brown basmati rice, organic

1.5 tbsp ghee or canola oil

⅓ cup black mustard seeds

1 to 2 cinnamon sticks

4 cloves

salt to taste 

3 cup water (more for adding) 

 

Procedure:

Rinse rice.

In a pot dry roast rice slightly on medium high heat. (until pop corn smell emits).

Add oil to a separate pan and dry roast spices (add cinnamon stick, cloves and mustard seeds, as soon as they pop, add to rice with ghee or oil. Stir for 2 minutes than add water. Keep stirring to combine. Make sure the rice is fully cooked, this will take about 12 to 17 minutes, depending on the heat. Add salt and serve. 

* optional to add 1 cup chopped veggies at the last 5 minutes of cooking. 

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South East Asian Cooking Class

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South East Asian Cooking Class

The Art of Pho Class was a huge success. Here participants learnt all about depth of flavour and how toe extract maximum favour from the simplest of ingredients. The authentic chicken Pho is roasted, and spices are used to enhance and encourage those ethnic favours. 

Have a sneak peak at some of the images of the Art of Pho Class. 



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Friends of the Earth

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Friends of the Earth

Check it out. Did a talk for Friends of the Earth regarding a vegetarian diet and how to cook healthy vegetarian food and make it tasty according to the principles of Ayurveda. We are all unique, and so our eating styles should be according to our unique constitution. This is why generic diets or lifestyle changes seldom work. Ayurveda notes that each individual should listen to their genetic code and vikruti to determine the types of foods that will bring the body back into alignment. 

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Private Vegetarian Dining

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Private Vegetarian Dining

What a great evening, with private dining and a full vegetarian menu. We served up the following; 

Toasted Hemp with Goat’s Cheese and Balsamic Onions

Vegetarain Dumplings with Ginger 'Shoyu' Sauce

Homestyle Potatoes 

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Asparagus Soup with Truffled Cream and Eggplant Caviar

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Mushroom Wellington with Ayurvedic Spice & Red Wine Reduction, Green & Orange Salad with Pistachio Fig Dressing

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Vegan Masala Cashew Chocolate - Doughnuts with Lavender Infusion- 

Homemade Lemon/Lime Granita

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NOPA

Had a blast a NOPA. Here are some images from the cooking demo. Tune into our members area for more Ayurvedic Recipes and tips and tricks on getting to a fitter healthier you!!! 

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Feeding Hong Kong - rooftop garden

It was a great and successful event at the rooftop garden. Three students from HKU Space participated in this then. It was one of those events that was conducted on a very hot day, yet we all managed to pull off the feeding of 60 people

 

According to Gabriele, this event was to raise awareness on the need to have more rooftop gardens for Hong Kong to become a more sustainable and environmental place. 

 

These gardens can provide food where there is a need. It also educates children and adults alike on the benefits of planting rooftop gardens in urban areas.  This can be used as a carbon offsets tool. 

 

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If you would like to volunteer for the next event, please contact me at LTF@lovetruefood.com 

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