Changing My Relationship with Food

For the past two weeks I have been following the Whole 30 diet. It has been tasty & fun. I have been photographing my meals & will add recipes. At first I was counting the days, now it feels this is a 360 return to normal

The changes I am feeling are: guilt-free eating; sustained energy; and BETTER sleep – yay!

I hope these photos and recipes will inspire others to “reset” with the WHOLE 30 diet.

Organic Egg & Inside-Out Burrito

Organic Egg & Inside-Out Burrito

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Chocolate Zucchini Bread for Obama

Tasty & inviting on the outside but still nutritious & healthy.

This bread was baked in honour of Obama’s Election today. Chocolate Zucchini bread is brown on the outside and green on the inside!

So tasty and inviting; yet nutritious and healthy at the same time! Eat it for breakfast; but don’t forget to call it chocolate cake with your children…

– kids freak when you hide veggies in anything!

This recipe was slightly influenced by the fact that my pantry was missing a few things (i.e., oil).

However, one thing that was very present, was a delicious Zucchini from Homegrown Foods in Hong Kong!

zucchini from the gardens of Hong Kong @ Homegrown Foods

Preheat Oven to 350/180

Mix wet ingredients together:

2 cups grated zucchini (one large zucchini!)

3 eggs

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

add enough yoghurt to make 1 cup

1 tsp vanilla extract

3 Tbsp honey

2 Tbsp molasses

Whisk dry ingredients together thoroughly:

1 cup sugar

2  cups white flour

3/4 cup whole wheat flour

sift together first & add:

1/2 cup cocoa powder

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp sea salt

½  tsp cinnamon

dash of cayenne

Gently mix wet with dry until JUST mixed.

Finally, fold in 1/3 cup chocolate chips

Add to a pre-buttered loaf pan

Bake until a knife/toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Cool for 10 minutes in the pan; invert and cool completely. We couldn’t wait and it was crumbly after only five minutes. Cool it and it slices so fine!

My Cantonese Class enjoyed some slices = “Ceoi juk gwaa” gou

modified from The Frugal Girl

Bun Festival on Cheng Chau

This year I made the trip out to Cheng Chau for the Bun Festival. It was a part of a tour… Very touristy of me. We took a “junk boat” to the island. It was a glorious morning – followed by incredible rain in the afternoon. We sat out on the deck and had the wind in our faces and blowing our hair in the wind. It was lovely.

The island of Cheng Chau does not have any cars. People travel using bicycle or walking. Everyone was gearing up for the Bun Festival and we found the village decorated with flags and lanterns to celebrate both Buddha’s birthday & the Bun Festival. Very auspicious year.

We visited the temple as well and had our fortunes told. One friend was in a boat all alone – cold & lonely. Mnn… Definately time to make a change for the better.

My future career adventures brought quite a bit brighter than my friend’s reading… Although the tree in the garden once was beautiful, all the leaves and fruit would fall to the ground. Soon the tree would grow ever more beautiful with plenty of flowers and fruit. I’ll take one tree-of-life any day!

What festivals are you celebrating.

Bloom wherever you are pl…

Bloom wherever you are planted by peacelovefabulous

Most seeds when planted will sprout. Even dried chickpeas and lentils will sprout when they are watered. The blooming of one seed often takes more time and special care. But once the blossom appears, great beauty appears.

This quote from Rachel of http://peacelovefabulous.wordpress.com/ is a metaphor for the fabulousness of our human mind. Each of us has such interesting ideas and dreams – when one of these ideas is shared, it is like a flower in bloom for the rest of us to enjoy!

When a plant blooms, the plant expends energy to create beauty. Often this bloom will turn into a vegetable or a fruit from a tree. Some flowers bloom only once every 10 years: like the popping Karvy flower. Other flowers, such as the Rafflesia have no particular flowering season; have no roots, leaves or stem; take over two years to come to bloom; and then only bloom for three days. Or the giant flower Titan Arum which takes 15 years to bloom and has only bloomed 100 times in cultivation http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7sy5noDtG04

As humans we too have different blooming seasons, times for cultivation and support networks. What excites me is seeing other people doing what makes them bloom. I love helping to cultivate peoples dreams – giving them inspiration, setting up a meeting with people I know; buying their kickstarter; donating to their project.

We are all a part of one giant farm of ideas and interests. The more we bloom the more we share our produce with our fellow beings. So, people, get blooming! Wherever you are!

Twitter How-Tos for Newbies

As a newbie to Twitter and “tweeting” I thought I would share my top ten tips on proper “tweetiquette” for writing Tweets:

  1. Keep it real, be honest & be positive
  2. Keep your tweets short, to allow others to retweet & add their own message
  3. Create catchy intro & add a link, e.g.,
  4. Pick a topic you are passionate about & use # “a hashtag” to intro your topic & become the “go-to” person for that topic
  5. Sarcasm is only interesting to a point – you need to be sincere
  6. Lingo: we “tweet” (the action), but we do not “twitter” (the Platform)
  7. Using @ – also known as a “handle” – sends a direct message; include a “.” before the @ to make message public
  8. Observe proper retweeting – RT: or Name: before quote and @: @ if 2nd degree retweet
  9. Ask before you tweet – would I want to know/see this about someone else?
  10. Respond, to: follows, messages, posts. Go make some friends!

You Are Loved Campain

You Are Loved Campain

Yesterday my eight-year old son asked me why did I twitter? What was the purpose? This boy is meant for thoughts far greater than mine. (Apparently infinity is the number just before one?) As I walked down my mountain along the Morning Trail I had to start thinking as I do. I tried to come up with an reason in answer to my child’s question, WHY?
Playing the why game over and over in my head?
Mom, why do you twitter?
Because I want to say something to the world
Why do you want to say something?
Because I have interesting ideas that I want to share with the world
Why do you have interesting ideas?
Because I am always thinking about how the world is and why we interact with each other and other non-human beings.
Why do you think about “interacting”?
Because I love being around other beings and feeling their energy and learning from them.
Why do you love learning?
That is what life is all about for me. It is about learning from other people and discovering what they are thinking.
Why discover?
Discovering allows me to expand my own concepts of the world (of infinity) and questions about why we are here. Why I am here.
Why “expand”?
Because it is FUN!
Now, that I can understand, mum ; why didn’t you just say that in the first place?
YOU ARE LOVED

Day Seven & Day Eight

Day Seven

This was a day of rain. The rain came down the mountain as a cloud of mist. The dragon is coming down the mountain for new year!

We were all inspired to walk up the mountain. We put on our layers and quickly were surprised by the heat of day. The mountain walk was quiet and serene. We pushed our way up to the peak. Really not so bad compared to our first attempts when we initially arrived in Hong Kong.

We asked each other if we thought we were ambitious. Do you work on things, despite how hard it seems at first? Do you keep pushing yourself until you improve? Music, math, Mandarin, etc. Yes, replied my son. Look, he said indicating the raincoat draped over his arm. The raincoat was supposed to be covering his body, not his forearm.

Day Eight

You are ambitious. You were one of our top members. That’s why I enjoy talking to you.

I don’t feel ambitious; at least I don’t feel ambitious about the future. I feel like I am one of those people who want to live in the past. Like Owen Wilson’s character in Woody Allen film, Midnight in Paris.

Nostalgia is denial – denial of the painful present… the name for this denial is golden age thinking – the erroneous notion that a different time period is better than the one one is living in – it’s a flaw in the romantic imagination of those people who find it difficult to cope with the present.

I wish that my kids walked to the local school house with their pet dog. They would meet up with other friends on the way. They would eat lunch on the lawn in summer time. On a beautiful spring afternoon, the teacher’s would cancel lessons and have a picnic and a game of soccer instead.

I wish that my kids came home for a hot lunch of thick chicken soup and home-made bread.

I wish that I got my milk from my goats in the yard. And that I sold goat’s milk cheese and goat’s milk soap.

I wish that I made all my children’s’ clothing. And in the summer I would make jam from the wild blackberries growing on the edge of our property. All of our friends would get together and do canning and pickling when the harvest season arrived.

What am I doing living in a city that has no green? I thought I was an urbanite, but this city takes it all to the extreme.

I am burnt out. I have nothing left to give. I need to rebuild. I need to restore my “self”. I know what I want. I want peace and quiet. I want nature. I want to be outside – not on a cement path – on the ground. Do you know that I never touch the ground in Hong Kong? There is no ground. I am ungrounded. I have lost it all. I am having a nervous breakdown.

Days Five & Six of the Winter Cleanse

 Day Five

This was a good day. No headaches. I had lots of energy and clarity. I was almost late for a meeting, but stayed calm and found solutions. One bout of anger with my kid – felt I wasn’t being given sympathy.

I did have a meeting where I felt I was dwelling too much on the past; it seems so inconsequential at this point. It is not the past that has asked me to make changes in my life, it is the present. The “me” that I am now asked for change. There is really only so long a person can remain in a situation where one feels she is not being given respect. Only a self-respecting woman would be able to leave that situation. I have left with a peaceful heart.

What adventures will the future bring? I am waiting and listening.

I did hear some interesting information; I’m thinking that I may soon have a long-term goal. I’m not quite ready to share this goal – it is also interesting for me to hold back information, usually I spill-the-beans in a mili-second.

 

Day Six

Patience gives the power to practice; practice gives the power that leads to perfection.

…Do I really want perfection anyways?

My patience is gone, literally. This day was filled with angry “impatiences”. I was tired of the repetitive questioning from my child. Fed-up with over-privileged children who do not take advantage of the opportunities available to them, but would prefer to sit on the couch and play Wii. And tired of being the target of analysis from the pseudo-psychologist that lives with me: like get a degree, doc! That would be his Twitter address, “pseudo-doc”. Can you tell I’m fed up?

Went to bed with a headache, but I woke up early Sunday and had a few moments of alone time to journal. Cooked pancakes for the family… (no I did not eat them…)

Winter Cleanse – Day Four

Winter Cleanse

Winter is a time of waiting – new life begins in the spring. Winter is a time to reflect on what we have achieved and to look forward towards to the new creations we will develop in the next season of our lives.

With the encouragement of my Naturopathic Doctor, I started a Winter Cleanse this past week. I decided to begin on a Full Moon day January 9th. As the moon wanes, she loses her light, thus this is the ultimate time for our human bodies to let go in the areas our lives that have been taking too much light: emotional and physical addictions – and re-focus.

Over the past three days I have been trying to wait, however, waiting is often quite active for me. Day One I did my cooking for the Winter Cleanse: Quinoa Patties, Madonna’s Soup, rice dish… The first day, the food tasted so “delishious”! It seemed so long since I’d eaten a home-made vegetarian stir-fry. With chewy brown rice and walnuts and seeds! Yum. I love Brazil nuts.

Later, I took a walk on our mountain on Day One! I didn’t remember this. Wow, I was courageous, as this is a good and strenuous walk – fresh air, green and surprisingly, quiet! Who knew, by going later in the day (11am) I would avoid the morning “crowd” of exercisers?

Day Two I saw one of my favourite patients (who am I kidding, I love you all) for my last practice day in my old office. The visit was charged with talk over new ventures and changes and advancing through the excitement of growing old. To prepare my feet for my journey of discovery, I had a lovely foot massage at Gau’s on D’aguilar (15th floor). And in the evening I attended a meeting of New Day. New Day supports several NGOs in Cambodia, working to improve the lives of women and girls in Cambodia.

Since our family Christmas in Cambodia I have felt an overwhelming need to bring some creative energy to the people. Yet, I want to do this without cultural bias. I want to find a way to encourage Khmer people to share with each other and with the world the beautiful energy of Cambodia. Many of the people I met in Cambodia were very sweet, just like their sweet-pitched voices.

Day Three I was exhausted and dragged myself around in the morning. Headachy and sore, I managed to have a fun afternoon with a class of eight and nine year olds. I watched and provided feedback on the creative film projects of this class of adorable and inquisitive children. Last evening at “Windows on the Workplace” organized by the AWA, I hob-knobbed it with some of the great female minds of Hong Kong. I was well-impressed: a fashion design expert; three MBA graduates; a polish HR expert; a PHd in Art History (Harvard and NYU degrees!); a former secret-agent (I’m not kidding!) and yours humbly truly. I learned I need to be humble and aggressive to succeed in the HK workplace…

Day Four – let’s see… Humility and aggression – sounds like a job for Martial Arts!

Estrogen Errors, Why Progesterone is Good for Women’s Health – Book Review

The Estrogen Errors” why progesterone is better for women’s health, by Susan Baxter and Jerilyn Prior, MD – A book review by Dr. Katherine Dale, ND

Medicine has moved towards a “focus on the paradigm of curing [the disease] rather than ‘caring’ [for the patient]” (p.112).

In the book, The Estrogen Errors, Why Progesterone is Better for Women’s Health, Dr. Jerrilyn Prior and Susan Baxter present the “truth” behind the research on women’s health. They are taking a courageous risk to speak in opposition to the status quo that is presented by a conventional medical profession. Baxter and Prior have presented a detailed history of the discovery, use and ensuing miss-use of estrogen, the much-heralded elixir of femininity and youth. Dr. Jerilyn Prior is an endocrinologist researcher and lecturer at the Center for Menstrual Cycle and Ovulation Research (CEMCOR) at the University of British Columbia. Susan Baxter is a lecturer and writer in British Columbia. This collaboration combines Dr. Prior’s depth of research and Baxter breadth of knowledge of the health care profession. This is Dr. Prior’s second book on the topic of women’s hormone health, her first book Estrogen Storm was written for the layperson. Prior and Baxter present the research that shows the dangers of using estrogen and the direct benefits of using progesterone for women’s health for perimenopause symptoms; bone-loss; and preventing some cancers. Estrogen Errors is a comprehensive analysis of the research into the “estrogen debacle” presenting solid scientific evidence to support both medical industry professionals considering providing alternate treatment for female patients and for the informed and curious patient.

The evidence supporting progesterone use is often suppressed, due to the great advocacy power of the Medial Industry. Due to the powerful force of the health industry to define reality the estrogen debacle became a “reality”. The medical industry, including medical doctors, pharmaceutical companies, and research and development companies, has the power to: define and create disease from symptoms; develop the diagnostic tools to identify disease; and manufacture the medicines to cure the diseases. Thus the disease itself becomes animated providing opportunities for commerce through the manufacturing of pharmaceutical drugs; development and promotion of diagnostic testing; and advocacy campaigns to further fund research and development. The health industry is involved in disease mongering: creating, locating, and curing disease rather than caring for people. Women’s bodies and women’s health have been fodder for this mongering for years as our bodies have been medicalized and compromised for the benefit of business. 

The health industry has been focused on the use of estrogen for women’s health issues for over 40 years. Despite the history of estrogen errors with DES in the 1940s, estrogen use continued to be supported. In the 1990s the HERS studies found the estrogen had not been preventative for cardiovascular health but in fact resulted in net harm for the female subjects. The health industry continues to advocate for the use of estrogen. Dr. Robert Wilson wrote a book, in 1966, entitled “Feminine Forever”, wherein he explained to women that menopause caused an estrogen deficiency and resulted in “genital atrophy and castration”. These changes to a woman’s body stole away her femininity and her purpose in “modern society” (p.16).  This “purpose” was to act as a housewife and mother (p.17).  Dr. Wilson proposed the miraculous benefits of the use of estrogen for the treatment and cure of menopause. Thus Wilson established menopause as a disease that needed curing. Along with Dr. Wilson’s creation of a disease called menopause, he also promoted the pharmaceutical cure of estrogen for the ailment. The pharmaceutical business benefited for many years from the promotion of estrogen as a cure-all for women’s health. Eventually it was discovered that in the years leading up to the publishing of Feminine Forever, the Wilson’s Trust Foundation had received funds from three pharmaceutical companies who were manufacturers of the medical hormone estrogen. With the discovery of an inexpensive way to manufacture the hormone estrogen the pharmaceutical industry needed a market and Dr. Wilson provided the public advocacy required.  The trend towards estrogen use started by Wilson continued into the next century until 2002, when the results of study showed the problems with estrogen. The Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) study began as a study of 160,000 women between the ages of 59 and 79: two controlled placebo studies were studying estrogen use as compared to placebo. However, the study was stopped early, in 2002 due to an increase in the number of cases of breast cancer, blood clots and strokes found in the study participants who were prescribed estrogen. With the increased use of HRT, the rate of breast cancer diagnosis increased by 60-85% (p.154). In studies of infertile women with Anovulatory Androgen Excess (an excess of estrogen), the risks of cancers were 360 times the normal. The results are clear, women are not benefitting from estrogen – it causes harm.

Not only are perimenopausal women being prescribed the wrong treatment protocol, often the diagnosis is incorrect as well. Menopause is define as starting “one year from the last menstrual period”, thus many medical doctors do not have a diagnosis for the time leading up to menopause. As well because the symptoms of perimenopause are “as unique as the woman experiencing it”, including: “insulin resistance, weight gain, and irrational food binges” medical practitioners often overlook the actual cause and treat women for other diseases (p.69). And because the diagnostic markers are so varied (FSH can be up or down and estrogen is often high rather than low) perimenopause has not been given the proper treatment and attention. The high ratio of estrogen to progesterone causes the symptoms, from vasomotor symptoms, such as hot flashes; to mood changes and anxiety; to aches and pains. Even the authors themselves profess that progesterone “reduced those disabling and onerous perimenopausal symptoms, as both authors discovered” (p. 23).  What medical doctors are not realising is women need progesterone during perimenopause.

Another need of women that is overlooked is for women to have the freedom from the continuous probing of our bodies and experimental treatments said to be for “preventative” purposes. Osteoporosis, originally consider a measurement of risk, is an example of a disease that was created, located and treated all at once. Originally used to prevent the build up of calcium on plumbing pipes, biophosphonates were found to prevent calcium removal from bones when ingested by humans. The popularity of osteoporosis as a disease rather than a risk factor also increased with the ability to observe bone mineral density (BMD). The designation of osteoporosis as a disease also provided an opportunity to increase the sale of medical diagnostic machinery. What is disturbing about the diagnosis of osteoporosis is that studies show that doctors disagree with each other 80% of the time when reading the same BMD tests (p.145). Although fractures are considered a huge risk factor for menopausal women, the studies show that it is in fact elderly women over the age of 80 living in nursing homes that are experiencing fractures. Thus the risk of fractures is minimal for women younger than 80. However, in a recent conversation with Dr. Prior she quoted research from CEMCOR that had found “progesterone plus estrogen increase BMD [bone mineral density] 24% more than estrogen alone (in a meta-analysis of RCTs) [Randomized Control Trials. Prior suggests a more valid method to decrease fractures should include regular vision checks, avoiding medication which causes dizziness and creating a safe, barrier-free environment in nursing homes. A second diagnostic test Baxter and Prior suggest that is used merely for the sake of giving function form is the mammogram, or the ability to observe breast tissue. In Estrogen Errors, Prior and Baxter quote 16 year studies that have found equal numbers of deaths occur from cancer whether or not a woman has opted to have mammograms.

The evidence is in, women’s bodies are a testing ground for the disease-mongers of the medical industry through: HRT use for menopause and the ensuing rise in breast cancer cases and deaths; DES use in the 1940s; ignoring and misdiagnosing women’s premenopausal symptoms; and the forcing of women into diagnostic testing (e.g., BMD and mammograms). The needs of women are considered as secondary to the profit-making needs of the health care industry. It is time for a revolution to occur. However, perhaps it is too soon for the people of the world to accept the revolutionary ideas of Dr. Prior and Ms. Baxter as “…medicine continues to be as slow as it ever was in terms of changing its practices, beliefs, and firmly held convictions”(p 168). Most of the world is caught up in the illusion of the health care profession as having the best interests of the patient in mind, when in reality it is a business that wants to continue to grow not only new cures, but also new diseases. I admire and respect Dr. Prior for continuously taking risks to expose the reality of the dangers of estrogen treatment. Dr. Jerilynn Prior and Susan Baxter are harbingers of the truth, trying to expose the estrogen debacle and the reality to those who are willing and ready to listen. Dr. Prior and Baxter have researched independently and have interpreted existing studies on women’s hormones and now they have found a new way to bring good health and happiness to women, through progesterone. This book presents many challenges which require the admittance of error and a losing of face for the medical profession. We cannot cure others when we are creating a false consciousness, with false words, ideas and beliefs. It is only with clarity and an acceptance of the truth that people can begin to move towards health and healing. I recommend the reading of this book for all medical doctors with female clients. The estrogen debacle has gone on too long; it is time to start helping women to help themselves. Throughout their book Prior and Baxter call for women to make informed choices and not to take “evidence – even good evidence – to necessarily mean “truth” (p.174). It is our responsibility as women, physicians and scientists to interpret the results and the studies and to keep the true purpose of healthcare in mind: caring for the patient. In my own dealings as a Naturopathic Doctor with my patients, and with all friends and family I continuously advocate for the use of progesterone. This book is a profession of the facts without anger or resentment; and a call for the profession of truth of the dangers of estrogen, to allow healing for all of us.