Chinese Medicine Shows Food You Eat Improves Your Health

I was in high school when my mother’s breast cancer came back. The second time, there were no Western doctors. Instead, my mother went back to her Asian roots, and one day, both my mother and father packed their bags and flew to Boston to work with Michio Kushi and his school of Macrobiotics.

That was the first time I discovered something other than Western medicine to heal. It had a profound effect on me. My mother moved from HER2, stage three breast cancer, to complete remission through the simple use of food and lived another forty years. It was magic. I wanted to learn the hidden magic of food.

The hidden magic of food would come, but not for a long time. I read books and frequented whole food grocery stores. Nothing made sense. The books lacked the why, and without the why I was never able to eat to improve my health.

And then, when I was ready, the opportunity presented itself.

My acupuncturist told me about the school she went to for Chinese Medicine (Chinese Medicine has five pillars: acupuncture, herbs, nutrition, Qi Gong, Tuina.).

Sometimes, I know with absolute certainty the path I need to follow. That was one of those times. I knew I had to go to that school. I knew I would finally learn the hidden magic of food that had captured my heart as a young girl when food healed my mother of stage three breast cancer.

The education gave me the why. Finally, I understood the difference between Qi, Blood, and Yin or the importance of temperature and flavor. That understanding enabled me to start selecting foods for changes in my health.

I was exhausted. I ate foods to increase energy or Qi. I ate Pork, green peppers, basmati rice which helps improve Qi. When I was feeling sluggish or had brain fog, I chose foods like chicken because it helps remove the fog. I added onions and garlic because they get things moving. I found foods that helped strengthen my stomach.

And then I realized if I knew what foods did, that was the why I had been searching for in my youth. When I learned what foods did in the body, I could mix food for my conditions. It wasn’t like I ate many things. If I looked at my eating habits, thirty foods made up eighty percent of my diet. So, I pulled apart my diet and learned what influence these foods had on my body.

I was feeling cold. Lamb is hot and creates warmth in the body. Add cinnamon or ginger because both of these herbs increase heat in the body. But there is a difference. Ginger has the added benefit of helping with nausea and upset stomach. In Chinese Medicine, they say ginger removes toxins from the body. Michio Kushi prescribed mom a ginger and carrot compress daily on her cancer to help remove the lump from her body.

Feeling in Balance. Balancing energy meditation outdoors. Self-care wellbeing practice

Today, as I get older, I find it’s harder to follow diets, and my health has become more finicky. It’s easy to throw myself out of balance, and I have to gently nudge myself back in balance. Any massive movements that I tolerated in my youth cause more harm than good today. Food is that gentle nudge.

Chinese Medicine taught me the why of foods. Although I needed all the theory and education to find the why, once I had the why, that was all I needed to start using Chinese Dietetics in my everyday life.

To learn more about Chinese Dietetics, check out my Youtube playlist, “Chinese Medicine, How to Eat For Your Health.” Or, you can contact the office to schedule time to work with me and understand how you can modify your current eating habits to support your health, call 360-841-7558.

The Science Behind 3 Powerful Supplements You Can Take to Quickly Stop Joint Pain

I went on a search for joint pain supplements after being sidetracked by Glucosamine. You can read all about that in my article, “Glucosamine, a wolf in sheep’s clothing.”   Here are three powerful supplements that help eliminate joint pain without side effects. All of the supplements surprised me at their effectiveness. Two of them completely eliminated my symptoms, and one of them substantially reduced the symptoms. 

Let’s start out with one people don’t think about: vitamin C. What got me hooked on vitamin C is my family history of rheumatoid arthritis. I think I’m the only one in the family who doesn’t have the rheumatoid arthritis nodules on my fingers. Yet, I was starting to get these nodules. Concerned and not feeling really positive about potential finger joint arthritis, I began researching what I could do to help reverse them. 

Soda, pop, soft drinks

Vitamin C is an anti-oxidant and is excellent for immune support. But, did you know it can also help with joint pain? Joint pain can come from high uric acid levels in the blood. Typically, your kidneys will remove uric acid from the body. Protein and high fructose corn syrup breakdown in the body into purines, and purines form uric acid in the body. To see more how high fructose corn syrup impacts the body, check out this article.

High intakes of protein or high fructose corn syrup can form more uric acid than the kidneys can remove. The excess uric acid can be deposited in the joints causing inflammation and pain. Vitamin C helps reduce uric acid levels in the blood and can reduce the joint pain and swelling due to uric acid levels in the blood.

The second way Vitamin C can reduce joint pain is through the synthesis of collagen in the body. This vitamin is critical to the synthesis of collagen in the body, and the only way we can get Vitamin C is through consumption. The body does not make vitamin C. 

Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body. Collagen is especially plentiful in cartilage, tendons, and bone. The first signs of a deficiency in vitamin C are skin manifestations such a bruising and slow wound healing. These symptoms are due to a reduction in collagen synthesis. 

The second supplement which can help reduce joint pain is Omega 3’s. Omega 3’s are another supplement well known for their anti-inflammatory effects and ability to raise high-density lipoproteins (HDL’s), the good cholesterol. 

Studies of Omega 3 supplementation indicated an ability to slow disease progression in arthritis or chronic, long-term joint pain. 

There are three types of Omega 3’s. DHA and EPA come from cold-water fish, and ALA comes from seeds and nuts. Research indicates DHA and EPA Omega 3’s may suppress the protein responsible for the arthritis inflammation response in individuals. 

The last supplement to help with joint pain is hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid is one of the three commonly used supplements for joint pain. The other two are Glucosamine and MSM. Glucosamine has potential side effects, which will preclude its use in some individuals. I’ve never had much success with MSM. Because MSM is a methyl-donor, it seems this supplement would be beneficial in individuals needing a methyl-donor. Hyaluronic acid appears to be helpful in all users. 

This supplement is highly correlated with the quality of the supplement. Quality is the truth of all supplements. Yet, I found hyaluronic acid to be even more demanding in its requirement for quality. I had taken many hyaluronic acid supplements and found little benefit. 

My sister had recommended a product called Lubrisyn.  Check out their website for research and testimonials. My sister and her clients swore by it. My sister was a horse person. If you know anything about horse people, horse people find their pharmacy in their tack room. A horse person’s adage is, “If it works for my horse, its gonna work for me.” Lubrisyn had started out as a product for horses. The product was highly successful, and the company formulated the product for humans.

I tried Lubrisyn and was surprised at its effectiveness. I’ve ridden horses my whole life. The most common complaint in riders is their feet. Every long-term, horse rider gets foot pain. That strange stiff walk horse riders have is because their feet hurt. The pain probably comes from those narrow stirrups placing so much pressure on the balls of the feet.  

After a month of taking this supplement, I was able to run across concrete with no pain. I couldn’t remember the last time I had been able to do that, and it was amazing to be able to run across concrete again. 

There you have it. Here are three killer supplements that you can take to reduce or eliminate joint pain. 


Effect of Oral Vitamin C Supplementation on Serum Uric Acid: A Meta-analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials

Find Out What Foods Chinese Medicine Says to Eat Weekly to Restore Your Gut Health

I don’t know about you, but I’m always looking for recipes I can use to improve my health and especially my gut health. Things got serious with my gut health two years ago. Age, irreverent eating, and lifestyle had sucker punched me. I had to start implementing my background in Chinese Nutrition on myself.

I’m not a great chief or even a mediocre chef. But, I do have great taste buds and love a creative flair to food. So, I cruise the web, restaurants, and cookbooks for recipes that knock it out of the park from a Chinese Nutrition perspective, try them out, and make them low effort and tasty.  

I want to share this recipe because it hit it out of the ballpark on all three categories. I found this on Youtube, and I wish I could remember the channel and the person because she knocked it out of the park when it came to developing healthy recipes. Maybe I’ll find that channel again someday.

I made a couple of modifications to make the recipe even more gut-friendly. I enjoy eating this once or twice a week. 

When I first saw this recipe, I thought it was going to have a horrible taste. I made the dish, and it is delicious. If you like a splashy, haute cusine taste sensation, this is going to be right up your alley.


Japanese breakfast
  • 1/4 cup cooked Basmati Rice
  • 1 tablespoon Kimchi
  • 2 oz of Natto
  • 1 egg poached
  • 1-2 teaspoon of Ponzu
  • 2 teaspoons of chives or scallions

To plate this dish, put the warm rice in the bowl first. Place the Natto and Kimchi on top of the rice. Spread the Ponzu over the ingredients. Top it off with the egg and sprinkle with chives or chopped scallions.

Kimchi – fermented cabbage

I’m not a big fan of Kimchi, but I was in Victoria B.C. They have taken vegan cuisine to a whole new level, and I ran across how this aged food choice is getting a facelift in the vegan cuisine isle. Brand new dishes topped with Kimchi were showing up. These were some of the most exciting, tastiest dishes I ate.

Kimchi is a fermented food and loaded with healthy bacteria for the gut. If you’ve taken probiotics before, this food is loaded with them. It’s thought to lower cholesterol, slow aging, reduce weight, and repair the digestion. Ever wake up with that sluggish feeling? This food will help lift your energy. 

Besides Kimchi, this dish has Basmati rice. Rice helps reduce the sensation of nausea or bloating. Rice also helps with gastritis and a poor appetite. For those suffering from fatigued, it delivers a more level and sustained energy boost. I make a big batch of rice with tumeric and some other spices so I don’t have to make it every day. 

Natto – fermented soybeans

After the rice comes Natto. Natto is fermented soybean. The soybean has a mild taste. I found two Natto suppliers here in the U.S. Rhapsody Natural Foods in Vermont and NYrture in New York. 

You can make your own Natto just like you can make your own Kimchi. If your not into that or don’t have time, order from one of these suppliers.

Like Kimchi, Natto is full of probiotics. Part of Natto’s claim to fame is the fermentation process makes Nattokinase, an expensive enzyme. Nattokinase made a huge splash a few years back with its ability to help dissolve blot clots. The research has Natto consumption linked to a reduction in Cardiovascular Disease including reducing blood pressure, reducing cholesterol, and dissolving blood clots.

The Kimchi, rice, and natto are topped with a poached egg. You can cook the egg any way you want. I like the poached egg because when I break it, the yolk mixes with all the other ingredients. What I like most about eggs is the yolk contains a ton of phosphorus. To learn the benefit of phosphorus check out this article

Lastly, chives or scallions are spread on top. These two foods are great at helping lift your mood and energy. To find out more about scallions and their function in the body check out this video ! Pour on the ponzu and you have your meal.

There you have it. A great dish that is easy to make. All the ingredients except the egg can be or are pre-made. You just have to warm up the rice, poach the egg and have a quick and easy breakfast that is super healthy for you. This breakfast supports each of the yin organs. Chinese Medicine identifies five organs as the yin organs or the Five Lights of Illumination  . Not only does it support each yin organs, but every food used in this breakfast supports gut health. 

This little dish is the essence of Chinese Herbal formulations – a super simple recipe that packs a considerable punch to the primary issue of gut health and strengthens each organ that could be weakened by poor gut health.  Love it!

When a High LDL Count Doesn’t Mean You Have High Cholesterol

By all traditional counts, I have high cholesterol and have always had high cholesterol. My counts have consistently topped the border of moderately elevated to high. I think my first cholesterol test was around 20 years old. Back then, my cholesterol was 232 mg/dL.

If you don’t remember what the categories and measurements are for cholesterol, here they are.

  • Good, total count under 200 mg/dL.
  • Moderately elevated total count 200-239 mg/dL.
  • High total count of over 240 mg/dL.
  • Really high is over 500 mg/dL.

In Chinese Medicine, there are all sorts of reasons for high cholesterol. What frustrates me is I seem to be able to treat everyone else’s high cholesterol but my own. My thoughts were, “What am I missing?”

I reduced my fat intake and moved to more protein and carbs. My cholesterol didn’t budge. I started overeating protein and found that it impacted my kidneys. So, I moved to vegetables and carbs and found I was able to gain weight and feel tired. Carbs just were never my friend.

Then my cholesterol levels went up. What? I wasn’t eating fat.

I even broke down and tried statins. Within 3 days, I was able to get every side effect that was considered “serious” and warranted immediately stopping statins. 

So now what? I pretty much had given up.

I ran across “Sugar: the Bitter Truth” with Robert H. Lustig, MD, UCSF Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Endocrinology. When it comes to health, there is not a one size fits all. With especially complicated issues, it can take multiple different perspectives. Although this lecture is from 2009, his research is relevant and identifies non-traditional methods of getting high cholesterol.

Around 11 minutes, Dr. Lustig talks about the 1982 campaign to reduce heart disease by eliminating fat. This was part of the hypothesis that fats caused LDL cholesterol levels to increase. Over the next decades, the US reduced consumption of fats, and the rate of heart disease and heart attacks increased.  

Here is where the research starts to get interesting. We don’t just have one type of LDL. We have two. One is called LDLa and is identified as large buoyant cholesterol that floats through the bloodstream. The other is called LDLb and is defined as small dense cholesterol that can tunnel its way into the arterial walls. 

I bet that just gave you a clue that not all LDL’s are bad. The large, fluffy LDLa is actually a good LDL. The small dense LDLb is the bad stuff. The small dense LDLb is heavy and sinks to the arterial walls where it can start plaques.

If LDL is not broken out into LDLa and LDLb on your blood draw, how can you tell how much bad cholesterol you have? Dr. Lustig points to the triglyceride level. A low triglyceride level indicates your LDLa is mainly the good guys. Woot! Things are looking good. Whereas, a high triglyceride level says your LDLs are primarily the bad guys. Boo, hiss, hiss. 

Couple this with a triglyceride to HDL (high-density lipoproteins) of less than 3, and you’re doing really well.

Dietary fats raise your LDLa levels (the good guys). What surprised me was dietary carbohydrates raised your LDLb levels (the bad guys)! You saw what I said earlier. I had finally switched over to carbohydrate and vegetable diet to try and address my health and that was a complete fail. Not only was I able to gain weight, but my cholesterol levels also started spiking. 

I remember as a teenager trying macrobiotics. My mom was on a stringent macrobiotic diet for cancer. To learn more, check out my book “Caregivers Survival Guide, how to eliminate stress in 30 minutes with Chinese Medicine and other useful tools” available on Amazon. After two weeks, she said she felt great. My sister did the diet. Two weeks later, she was feeling great. I did the diet. Two weeks later, I was feeling like crap and starting to gain weight. Three weeks later, I was even more exhausted and depressed. I was bloated and weighed more. I also was not feeling an end to the “detox” portion of the eating regime. 

I finally broke my eating regime and pounded down a pizza and a milkshake and felt great. I also started losing weight. The macrobiotic diet my mother was on was a limited high carbohydrate diet. It really didn’t work for me. I wonder if part of the reason the diet worked for my mother and sister was that they were both Blood Type B and I wasn’t. To learn more about blood types, check out “Blood Types and Your Risk of Covid-19.”  Sure, it looks at how blood types affect Covid-19, but it also shows more on blood type research and how to get more information on blood types, food, and disease. 

I had an idea that carbs were my nemesis. When I started consuming high fructose corn syrup in foods, drinks, and just about anything that is food, my health worsened.

I had always thought glucose and fructose were processed the same in the body. I can tell you, my nutrition classes, my biology classes, my health classes, none of them suggested these two types of sugars were different and processed differently in the body. I took a nutrition class as recently as 2012 at Washington State University. The course talked about glucose and fructose, stating these molecules had 4 calories per gram. Not much of anything else.

The thing is, glucose and fructose are not processed anywhere near the same in the body. When you consume glucose, 80% of glucose disseminates throughout the body for immediate use. 20% is stored in the liver as glycogen. The liver can store any amount of glycogen because it is non-toxic.

Fructose is processed similarly to how the body processes ethanol in the body, except that fructose, is not metabolized in the brain. The lack of the ability of the brain to use fructose is fascinating because the most significant energy source for the brain is glucose or sugar. Also, unlike glucose, where only 20% of the sugar goes to the liver, 100% of fructose transfers into the liver. Only the liver can metabolize fructose. Watch this video to learn how to detox your liver.

As fructose is getting metabolized in the body, the molecule goes through phosphorylation. Here a phosphoryl molecule is attached to the fructose. I bring this up for only one reason. Because so much more material is being pushed through the liver when you consume fructose, it runs into a resource problem with the phosphoryl molecules. 

When I was growing up, Malt-o-milk was made with lecithin. Lecithin has a phosphate group, and I use to crave lecithin. I would put tablespoons of this in my malt. I could eat it off the spoon. Even today, I like lecithin. Today, Malt-o-milk is not made with lecithin. 

But fructose doesn’t stop there. Whereas almost no glucose is converted to fat, a whopping 30% of the fructose is converted to fat. So, when fructose is not going off increasing your blood pressure, consuming your resources, causing insulin resistance, it’s getting transformed into fat and cholesterol. 

Dr. Lustig’s information was especially relevant because my triglycerides had always been low, and HDL had always been high. If his research is correct, then my cholesterol levels are proper. Even though my cholesterol falls in the moderately high range, because my triglyceride to HDL ration and the total level of triglycerides and HDL are in the right ranges, my LDL should be the good LDL. And, Dr. Lustig’s research outlines a potential reason for my increasing cholesterol levels. Excessive consumption of High Fructose Corn Syrup. 

In 2010 FDA approved statins for primary prevention of Cardio Vascular Disease (CVD). Since 2010 statins can be prescribed to every adult male over 50 years old and female over 60 years old as a preventative therapy whether the patient has high cholesterol or not. The profitability of statins increased, making it challenging to present research that takes a less than favorable light of statins. The efficacy of statins as treatment continues to depend on who you ask. 


For years we have heard, “Take a Glucosamine supplement for joint pain.”

It was something I would recommend because it seemed relatively safe. The only negative I had come across was that natural production of glucosamine stops upon supplementation. Natural glucosamine production in the body doesn’t start up again until about a month after stopping supplementation. To find “3 Powerful Supplements You can take to Quickly Stop Joint Pain” check out this article.

When I started taking a glucosamine sulfate supplement I thought it would be fine. Like many of us, I’m a bit casual with attention to my health. I’m much more committed to my clients’ health over mine. Yet, sometimes things happen and, I need to drop everything and try and figure out what is going on. I found myself free-range grazing through the chocolate candy jars in the office and gaining weight.

I couldn’t figure out why I was eating so much chocolate. I was gaining “belly fat” that is impossible to lose and is usually associated with an imbalance in sugar/glucose metabolism, hypoglycemia, or diabetes.

On my mother’s side, everyone has diabetes. Most of them have type II insulin injecting diabetes. In my immediate family only my sister and I have avoided the diabetic label. Well…almost.

About 20 years ago I was diagnosed diabetic. At that time, I changed a lot and used orthomolecular information to change my world. It took three years and my fasting blood glucose has been a consistent 99.0 until two years ago when it moved up to 100.

Free-ranging the office chocolates has always been my early warning sign that my blood chemistry is off, and I need to do something about it. I implemented my daily vitamin and mineral supplement plan.

Taking supplements day-in and day-out is tedious. But, with a little effort, I can do it.

To help with the weight issue, I started changing my diet going more vegan and doing things that help the liver such as drinking sauerkraut juice (yuck, right?). I know this works. It’s worked in the past. To find an easy Liver Detox, check out this video.  This time, the only difference was I had added in a couple supplements to address the insane amount of stress that I had been under and a supplement for joint pain. That was my glucosamine supplement.

Everything still sounds like I’m on the right path. A month into taking the supplements, I start getting diarrhea. I started feeling exhausted. Then I start feeling bloated. I wasn’t losing weight. I was eating like a wraith and looking like a whale. My body aches were getting worse instead of better.

In Chinese Medicine, my symptoms were Spleen Organ/Channel symptoms congruent with metabolic syndrome and glucose issues in Western medicine. How could that be? I had changed my diet to about 70% vegan, had cut out most sugars, had added key foods to improve digestion and liver function, and started taking supplements. I felt like I was being punished for doing the right things.

I took a long hard look at my supplements. I didn’t have anything that could point to the glucosamine supplement, but it just seemed like the one causing issues. I reduced the amount of glucosamine by 50% and the diarrhea went away for about 5 days. Then it came back. The lack of weight loss and the weight increase encouraged me to hit the scientific research and see what I could find.

It turns out that most of the research had been done with glucosamine sulfate, the type of glucosamine I was taking. Not only could it cause diarrhea, in some susceptible individuals, it could cause diabetes! Really (frowning face…boo), how annoying is that?

The question for me was, “Who are these susceptible individuals”? How could I identify them? It couldn’t be all people with diabetes and it couldn’t be everyone with a strong diabetic history in their past because I would have heard about this sooner.

Diet was the first trigger. It turns out that glucosamine can cause weight gain or weight loss depending on your eating habits. In a high carb/low fat diet, it has the potential to cause weight gain. The exact type of diet I was eating was helping glucosamine turn me into a bloat monster. On the other side, if I was eating a high fat diet, it would help me lose weight.

The second trigger was insulin resistance or metabolic syndrome. It turns out that glucosamine can cause insulin resistance due to the ability of glucosamine to deplete ATP in the body (the body’s way of storing energy). Thus, the sensation of feeling exhausted all the time.

Can you believe that? A month of eating better than I have in years. Pushing myself through the endless sugar withdrawals, fat withdrawals all to be waylaid by a supplement. Really?

The truly funny part about this is the sugar withdrawals. Glucosamine is a sugar. So, those withdrawals were pretty much 24/7. From a Chinese Medical perspective, too much sugar in the blood causes phlegm which Chinese Medicine considers a thick fluid that has a difficult time going through the joint membranes causing more pain. In addition, sugar is the flavor of the spleen, but in excess overwhelms the spleen causing things like diarrhea, diabetes, fatigue, weight gain etc.

What does this mean? Well, it means that I’m starting over again and have kicked the glucosamine habit to the curb. Right now, all the research is with glucosamine sulfate and there is conversation that the other types of glucosamine do not have the same impact. So,back at step one and looking for powerful supplements to stop joint pain. Before I start…can I get a chocolate bar?

Marshall S, Nadeau O, Yamasaki K. Dynamic actions of glucose and glucosamine on hexosamine biosynthesis in isolated adipocytes: Differential effects on glucosamine 6-phosphate, UDP-N-acetylglucosamine and ATP levels. J Biol Chem 2004;279:35,313–35,319. 43.
Hresko RC, Heimberg H,Chi MM,Mueckler M. Glucosamine-induced insulin resistance in 3T3-L1 adipocytes is caused by depletion of intracellular ATP. J. Biol. Chem. 1998;273:20658–20668.