Jun 162016

To nurture one’s life and health is mainly accomplished by cultivating one’s mind. If the mind is calm and clear, the spirit is in a pure and healthy world. If the spirit is in a healthy world, how can illness enter you?
— Liang Wen Ke (Qing Dynasty)

Reference: Qi Journal, Summer 2016, page 7.

Jun 092015

Seeing that Integrative Medicine is making great crossroads into the American healthcare system, I decided to write an article discussing this. It was published in Lotus Guide, April/May/June 2015 issue.

I also cover this warning: “Americans: Do NOT Assume OTC Drugs Are Safe!”

2015: Current State of Integrative Medicine in the U.S.

Thanks to John Weeks, of the Integrator Blog whose great posts gave me the inspiration for this for article too (see references in article)!

Jun 252014

Dr. Maoshing Ni, or Dr. Mao as he is affectionately known, is a 38th-generation doctor of Chinese medicine and co-founder of Yo San University, a college of Traditional Chinese Medicine in southern California. He is considered ‘an authority on Taoist anti-aging medicine’ and has written many books on this topic. I think my favorite books are “Secrets of Longevity” for its common-sense wisdom in an easy-to-read format (which I have referenced many times for my patients’ use), “Second Spring“, another easy reference about treating menopausal symptoms naturally,” and his latest book, “Secrets of Longevity Cookbook” (I wrote a review of this cookbook that can be found here). Dr. Mao has become more famous in recent years due to his appearances on the Dr. Oz show – kudos to him for bringing Chinese Medicine to the masses, I say!!

I also now carry some of Dr. Mao’s wellness products, see my previous blog post.

For more information about Dr. Mao and Chinese Medicine, see his websites:
Ask Dr. Mao
Tao of Wellness

Sep 192013

Heavenly Herbs and Acupuncture Newsletter:

Autumn – A Time to Nourish

Referenced in this newsletter is a “Chinese Medicine and Food Therapy Lecture Series” talk that I will give on September 26, 2013. Those lecture notes will be posted on my blog soon thereafter (and will be referenced here)!

Here’s a pdf version of this newsletter (but unfortunately, links do not work):
Autumn – A Time to Nourish

May 222013

Heavenly Herbs and Acupuncture Newsletter:

Spring – A Time for Renewal

Referenced in this newsletter is a “Chinese Medicine and Food Therapy Lecture Series” I started in April 2013. I gave a lecture entitled “Spring – Time to Tame the Liver!”©. Lecture notes will be posted on my blog soon (and will be referenced here)!

Here’s a pdf version of this newsletter (but unfortunately, links do not work):
Spring – A Time for Renewal

This newsletter includes a few book reviews also.

Mar 132013

Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) is the world standard of herbal medicine and these guidelines are used, amongt testing for heavy metals, pesticides and bacteria, by Evergreen Herbs, a family-run business with 3 generations of Chinese herbal scholars bringing quality medicine to practitioners and patients alike. Keep in mind also that most herbs are coming from Taiwan, so why the quality is so high. Evergreen Herbs and Herb Safety

The formulas are fantastic and bring my patients much healing! The pharmacology tomes written by John Chen and Tina Chen are a boom to phytomedicine worldwide and research is the basis of this materia medica. Order book: Chinese Medical Herbology and Pharmacology from Evergreen Herbs or Amazon.

Mar 132013

Look at all the research showing Traditional Asian Medicine is an important medicine that works – the 8 branches of this medicine are Acupuncture, Chinese Herbal Medicine, Tai Chi and Qi Gong, Tui Na Massage and other manual therapies (cupping, gua sha), Dietary Therapy, Astrology and Caligraphy!!!! (And I think I am somehow missing Feng Shui but it may fit into the Astrology branch.) The last two are very important, unique arts, and therefore, medicinal themselves!) All are represented here: Qi Journal and Traditonal Chinese Medicine Research

Feb 142013

(52) – “percentage of Americans who think figuring out their income taxes is easier than Knowing how to eat healthy. Go figure.”1

I don’t know what to say other then this is definitely pathetic! What and/or where do people think food comes from? It is just strange that generally Americans are out of touch with the earth and its gardens, and the bounty of it all, which sustains them. It is not only Taoist ‘to be at one with the earth’, to live within its greatness, it is plain necessary, so how can it be ignored, or more to this point, how can it be hard to eat healthy by eating the food from the earth’s gardens and animal abundance?

1From “This & That” of Relish Magazine (, p. 2, Feb. 2013 issue

May 082012

Heavenly Herbs and Acupuncture Newsletter:

Spring: A Time for Cleansing and New Personal Care Products?

This newsletter includes a few book reviews also.

Jan 202012

    A Short History of Medicine

Doctor, I have an earache

2000 B.C. “Here, eat this root.”
1000 B.C. “That root is heathen, say this prayer.”
1850 A.D. “That prayer is superstition, drink this potion.”
1940 A.D. “That pill is ineffective, take this antibiotic.:
2000 A.D. “That antibiotic is artificial. Here, eat this root.”

Jan 202012

One of the first duties of the physician is to educate the masses not to take medicine.
Sir William Osler (1859-1919), ‘best-known physician in the English-speaking world at the turn of the century’

(One of my favorite quotes – have displayed it in the office for years!)

Dec 072011

Wheat Belly
By William Davis, M.D.
Rodale, Inc., 292 pp., $25.99

Published August, 2011

This book should convince us all to eliminate wheat from our diet. It is an UNHEALTHY WHOLE GRAIN! Although the author is guilty of a little hyperbole here and there, the cardiologist author makes an excellent case that consumption of wheat is the main cause of obesity and diabetes in the U.S. Hyberbole aside, the author presents scientific data explaining his thesis along with case histories and other anecdotal evidence explaining how many health conditions are resolved once wheat consumption is halted.

Modern wheat is a result of hybridization that occurred starting in the 1940’s. By 1980, all world production was using the new high-yield strains. It is a “Faustian bargain” of “trading abundance for health”.1 Modern strains of wheat have a higher quantity of genes, “purposeful modifications” to “confer baking and aesthetic characteristics of flour”, resulting in more gluten proteins.2 Additionally, there are many other nongluten proteins and enzymes, which can potentially cause allergic reactions and trigger asthma and skin rashes.3 Note that since 2003, international guidelines have been developed to subject this type of gene modification to food safety testing. As the author frankly writes, our modern wheat “made its way into the human food supply with nary a question surrounding its suitability for human consumption”!4

Conventional wisdom, as taught by the American Diabetes Association, dieticians and the USDA tells us to eat whole grains and complex carbohydrates instead of “simple carbohydrates in the form of candy and soft drinks”, but whole wheat is as bad or worse, than those! Wheat has a severe effect on our blood glucose levels. This modified complex carbohydrate is mainly composed of an enzyme that is rapidly converted to glucose, which results in increasing blood sugar rapidly.5 The author tells us “whole wheat bread increases blood sugar to a higher level than sucrose”6, or “wheat products elevate blood sugar levels more than virtually any other carbohydrate, from beans to candy bars”7 as posed in an inquiring statement on the book’s back jacket “Did you know that eating two slices of whole wheat bread can increase blood sugar more than 2 tablespoons of pure sugar can?” (emphasis mine)

The traditional gauge on how the body responds to eating carbohydrates is called the ‘Glycemic Index’ (GI). It is a measure of how the blood sugar rises after eating carbs, and “few foods have as high a GI as foods made from wheat8. This high rise in blood sugar results in rapid weight gain, (the author’s term of) ‘Wheat Belly’ and obesity. This weight gain tends to be primarily around the abdomen, resulting in visceral fat. Visceral fat cells cause an inflammatory reaction in our bodies. This inflammatory cascade leads to wide array of health problems, especially diabetes and cardiovascular disease. (It is worth noting that in Chinese Medicine, it has long been said that grains cause inflammation also.) Besides inflammation, a process called glycation also occurs.9 Glycation especially damages the cartilage in joints but also causes many health conditions associated with diabetes, or in effect, aging. There is a way to measure the level of glycation in the body. It is by a simple blood test used to measure how well the blood glucose has been controlled in the past two to three months (all diabetics should already be familiar with it): Hemoglobin A1C or HbA1C. The higher your HbA1C, the more glycation is occurring to damage your body (see ‘accelerated aging’ list in summary below) – this is then basically a way to measure of how fast you are aging.10

A summary of the consequences of inflammation and glycation resulting from the consumption of wheat:
• Accelerated aging – cataracts, wrinkles, kidney disease, dementia, arthritis, atherosclerosis11
• Diabetes – both Type 1 (especially associated with Celiac Disease) and Type 2 – insulin resistance12
• Cardiovascular disease – hypertension from excess visceral fat, ‘high cholesterol’ (hyperlipidemia), atherosclerosis13
• Osteoarthritis and osteoporosis – destruction of bone and cartilage tissue14
• Rheumatoid arthritis – aggravation of joint inflammation in this autoimmune disorder (i.e., probably not causative of onset of disease)15
• Skin diseases – acne, eczema, psoriasis, vitiligo, oral ulcers and many others16
• Gastrointestinal diseases – IBS, acid reflex17 (causative effect not proven in research, but anecdotal evidence suggests possibly curative for some)
• Asthma – exacerbation of symptoms18 (anecdotal evidence also)
• (Last but not least) Celiac Disease – an autoimmune reaction from eating gluten that causes intestinal damage and a very wide range of health conditions

Another important concept to understand is that the gluten in wheat also has an addictive effect! This occurs because gluten is broken down by the digestive process into certain amino acids that cross the blood-brain barrier. These cause the release of ‘exogenous morphine-like compounds’, called exorphins, in the brain. Because of this additive effect, consuming wheat makes us crave it more, therefore it is a appetite stimulant! Note that other grains that do not contain gluten do not have these same neurological effects of addictive behavior or appetite stimulation.

Another new concept discussed in this book that is “beginning to gain ground in the medical community” is that diabetes is a disease of ‘carbohydrate intolerance’19. Research has shown repeatedly, in both humans and animals, that sharply reducing carbohydrates “reverses insulin resistance, … and visceral fat” (emphasis mine).20 The author summarizes this by saying:

    “Virtual elimination of carbohydrates, including the ‘dominant’ carbohydrate of ‘healthy’ diets, wheat, not only improves blood sugar control, but can erase the need for insulin and diabetes medications in adult (Type 2) diabetics – otherwise known as a cure”.21

Now that it is more clear why the consumption of wheat is not healthy and that consumption of it causes a ‘wheat belly’, it can be recognized that elimination of eating it is the key to weight loss and will also help a myriad of health problems. Weight loss is immediate once wheat is removed from the diet, especially when it is not replaced with other carbohydrates! But be aware to not replace wheat with other carbohydrates including gluten-free substitutes though, since they are made from various starches that are just more high glycemic index carbs.

Where to go from here?
Wheat elimination may initially seem to be burdensome, but as the author comments, and I concur, it does makes life easier in the long run22. As someone who eliminated wheat over 3 years ago for my own health challenges (I am far from being a purist – I still eat wheat very occasionally), I can attest to the ease of which one can eliminate wheat when doing so helps one feel better, and having a ‘side effect’ of losing weight even without that being a top priority, and also being given the possibility to even reverse a health problem! When focused with this agenda, it is easier to narrow down your accepted food choices to wheat-free foods, and generally speaking, eliminate the types of processed foods that we shouldn’t be consuming much of anyhow!! But yes, it is a bit of a challenge initially, I admit. But again, eliminating wheat immediately helps one eliminate many poor food choices! When one goes out to eat – all those deep-fried, breaded entrees in both American and Chinese restaurants (from chicken-fried steak to sweet-and-sour pork), all the sandwiches made of bread and cured ‘lunchmeats’ (which also shouldn’t be consumed anyhow), and all the bread options for breakfast (bagels, pastries, ‘healthy’ muffins, etc.) aren’t even choices one desires any longer. And grocery shopping actually is easier also – heading only to the aisles on the sides of the market – purchasing meats and fish, dairy and produce.

To eat healthy consuming primarily whole, unprocessed foods, whether one follows the advice here and eliminates wheat or not, one must mainly prepare and cook foods at home anyhow. One way I recommend to incorporate more vegetables into the diet is to do stir-frys using olive oil. One can use Asian-based spices like ginger, seaweeds or tamari (wheat-free soy sauce) and rice wine, and/or typical garlic, onions, peppers (spicy or bell, or both) and mushrooms as a base. The next step is to use dark, green leafy veggies such as spinach, chard, kale, mustard greens or bok choy. From there, add the vegetables and spices you like. Add green beans, snow peas, broccoli, cauliflower, etc., etc. in any combination you prefer. One can make it more Italian flavored by using oregano, rosemary and basil, for example. Adding raw seeds and nuts gives one even more options: sunflower, sesame, hemp, and flax seeds, or slivered almonds, walnuts, cashews, etc. In winter, many options for vegetable-based soups are possible also. In warmer months or climates, one can make all kinds of veggie-based salads. (Raw veggies and salad greens have the general energetic property of being cold as taught in Chinese Medicine, and are therefore generally better suited for consumption in the hot seasons, like summer.) And egg scrambles or omelets are another great way to incorporate vegetables in your diet. Additionally, keep in mind that we now have access to foods from all different cultures, even if one lives where ethnic foods are not available, every food item imaginable is now available via the internet to give one even more possibilities to eat healthy if one opens their mind to it! Of course, snacking foods without wheat still abound: healthy chips or veggies and dips, cheese and wheat-free crackers, tempeh or tofu options, etc. – just eat them in moderation. Note also that one will get plenty of fiber eating a diet rich in vegetables and nuts also.23

SUMMARY – WHAT TO EAT (as outlined by Dr. Davis)

1. Consume unlimited quantities of:

√ Vegetables (except high-carb ones like potatoes and corn)
√ Raw nuts
√ Use oils such as extra-virgin olive oil, coconut oil and avocado oil
√ Small amounts of animal proteins, preferably grass-fed (and avoid cured meats entirely)24
√ Eat dairy items such as eggs and cheese (fermentation slows glycemic response compared to unfermented dairy)

2. Consume limited quantities of:

• Dairy products as milk, cottage cheese, yogurt and butter (since these tend to increase the release of insulin)
• Soy, limited quantities and preferably fermented (since all soy is possibly genetically modified)
• Fruit, limited quantities

Dr. Davis ends his book with a few yummy-sounding recipes (including desserts) such as: Hot Coconut Flaxseed Cereal, Flaxseed Wrap, Crab Cakes, Wheat-Free Pizza (with a cauliflower-based “dough”), and Carrot Cake (uses coconut flour).

In summary, to be very clear, consistent elevated blood sugar levels caused by the consumption of any processed foods such as sodas, candy and other sugar-loaded simple carbohydrates, including complex carbohydrates like other whole grains, will also cause the list of health problems shown here to be caused by wheat due to the same result of inflammation, glycation and visceral fat. Clearly, a diet needs to consist of a very low amount of these ‘food’ items. But the main point here is that we have been convinced that eating a certain whole grain is healthy, when in fact, it is definitely NOT! Additionally, “remember that the need for ‘healthy whole grains’ is pure fiction” and “forget everything you learned about ‘healthy whole grains’”!25 These statements are both strong and succinct, yet still strange to some even given the information here – so read the book to get more of the details, and maybe you will realize that this MD knows what he is talking about, and eventually, the ADA and dieticians will too!

My original blog posting about this book
Wheat Belly: Book Excerpt
1p. 226.
2p. 38.
3p. 40.
4p. 30.
5p. 32.
6p. 32-33.
7p. 35.
8p. 63.
9p. 125.
10p. 145.
11p. 139, 145.
12p. 95-115.
13p. 146-158.
14p. 125, 127.
15p. 128.
16p 183-184.
17p. 92-3.
18p. 9.
19p. 111.
22p. 199.
23p. 195.
24Consumption of animal proteins also results in glycation, especially from fried and cured meats.
25p. 192.