High Fructose Corn Syrup

There is a problem with today’s average consumption of sugars!

It is impossible for me to write this topic as a “short-cut” – Hence my longest blog to day! It is after all my tenth year blogging anniversary!

Lets understand a few statistics. There was a Japanese Dr. Yoshiyuki Takasaki in 1955 that developed how to extract sugar from corn and within found a super cheap way to sweeten anything. His method was equally as sweet as conventional sugar cane extract, but easier to blend with other products. Nixon helped signing a draft agreement against FDA health recommendation… Today Corn Syrup is in most everything sweet we consume. To guarantee a long shelve-life of preserved products you need to take out fiber (so it can be frozen for years) and add High Fructose Corn Syrup. It is in most all artificially sweetened drinks, breads, yoghurt, honey, ice-creams, sauces and candies. It is used to make fake honey and is added to medicinal drinks served in hospitals and clinics. It is more addictive than heroin!

After WWII the US average consumption of sugar was 16lbs per person but we have increased this modern addiction to a dramatic 120lbs per head! (…estimate excludes sugar from natural sources). The US market for High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) is about 6 billion a year. The same market for obesity drugs/products is worth over $2 billion a year, with some 300 million potential patients in the US alone… The healthcare cost because of obesity is estimated by 3.5 billion a year – do the math of the damage a healthy population could make if we did not needed gyms, less food in the markets and everyone would wear five sizes less material on their inflated corpses…

Here is the dilemma: modern science knows that high amounts of Fructose suppresses an enzyme called ghrelin also known as the hunger hormone. In your primary digestion, while consuming foods (although often this is a synthetic product) your body signals your brain that either the stomach is filled or digestion is working overtime: Please stop stuffing more products down your pipes!

Fructose enhanced products do not adequately stimulate this natural insulin response and a chain reaction follows. If insulin levels do not rise, sugar cannot be turned into energy. But when energy is not using sugar as fuel, it is “trapped” in our body… This diabetic reaction causes us to become comatose, either way by too much sugar in the blood hyperglycemia or because of diabetic ketoacidosis – not enough sugar converted. It is claimed by modern medicine as incurable, but TCM treatment has simply proven that statement inaccurate. (Check out my Keto blog above)

Insulin is a hormone. Hormones are chemical substances that regulate the cells of the body and are produced by special glands. The hormone insulin is a main regulator of the glucose (sugar) levels in the blood.

Insulin is produced in the pancreas. When we eat, glucose levels rise, and insulin is released into the bloodstream. The insulin acts like a key, opening up cells so they can take in the sugar and use it as an energy source.

Natural sugar is one of the top energy sources for the body. The body gets it in many forms, but mainly as carbohydrates (cell building blocks) that are broken down to glucose during the digestive process. Examples of food rich in carbohydrates are pasta, rice, bread, potatoes, and of course, all sorts of sweet fruits, berries, corn and roots.

The cells of a person with diabetes have problems taking up glucose due to either the lack of insulin or a resistance to insulin. Instead, the sugar remains in the blood, resulting in the rise of blood glucose levels.

People with type 1 diabetes must have injections of insulin every day. Each diabetic patient needs an exact dose of insulin, calculated especially for him or her. An overdose of insulin lowers the blood sugar concentration. If it becomes too low, it can result in a coma and eventually death. An overdose is treated by giving the patient sugar in a form that is as pure as possible – for example, orange juice or table sugar. If the patient is in a coma, glucose must be injected directly into the bloodstream.

If a diabetic gets too little insulin, he or she can go into a coma just as when overdosing insulin. The two types of coma are very hard to distinguish from each other without testing the blood glucose levels of the patient. If the levels are low, the patient suffers from an overdose of insulin. If blood glucose levels are high, the patient doesn’t have enough insulin.

Type 2 diabetes is often hard to discover. An average of seven years passes from the onset of the disease to its diagnosis. This means that a fraction of the patients already suffer damage to their blood vessels, kidneys, eyes, or nerves. You could have this dilemma and not know for years!

The liver is responsible  for breaking down fructose and converting it into fat. To understand the dilemma, I must bore you with my version of a simplified but  stunningly complex interior liver-laboratory: For your liver to convert Sucrose (sugar) or Corn syrup into carbohydrates, it needs lots of fiber!

Modern diet will tell you that neither fat nor fiber is good for you, atop nutritionists will convince you to intake high fructose sugar lazed low-fat supplements: drinks, power mixes, sports-bars etc. Add to it the lack of exercise and your liver becomes stressed: This organ is burdened with converting massive intakes of various chemical sugars, synthetic substances, food color and carbohydrates – trying to turn all of this into sugar- and converting half of it into fat reserves. Since we chronically overeat, mix and drink, the liver cannot keep up with the other main duty; to produce High Density and Low Density Lipoproteins (HDL and LDL) cholesterol. Hence sugar energy and cholesterol in uncontrolled manner is released into your system. They mix up with high levels of oxygen in your blood serum where it is now attacked by serum lipids and proteins via fructation. The HDL (the good protein) suffers and the LDL (the bad protein) survives… The liver must produce both variations for various purpose of energy transportation – just not in this horrid amount. I’ll come back to this…

At this point I must make you aware that either diet, the eat-all-animal fat-Atkins diet seems equally successful as the only-uncooked-roots and juice-diet… Why is that?

Well, they both reject intake of human extracted High Fructose Corn Syrup!

You wonder how diabetic 2 people could be suffering from a cholesterol deficiency: Modern medicine teaches that the human body can synthesize all the cholesterol and fats that it needs, but this is not true when the liver is overburdened; especially during strenuous diet with additives that contain HFCS and diets promoting low fiber or carbohydrate intake!

The most powerful side-effects of consuming HFCS is the consequence of this poison to suppress your gherlin-hormon indicator: remember, that thing that tells your brain to stop eating. And your liver can store a stunning amount of fat (yes, duckling).

If you suffer from lack of insulin response – your hunger hormones are not telling you to stop overeating – you keep eating – your liver will store excess sugar as fat – mostly in the liver and you become unable to reduce sugar levels in your blood. This conundrum causes a chain-reaction dilemma known as metabolic syndrome: Systolic blood pressure, Cardio Vascular Disease (CVD), blindness, hypertension disorder, etc.  Your liver grows and grows. Fat is now stored in all corners of your system – hence child obesity, fatty babies (poisoned from the mother plasma…as if they knew how to overeat at this age…) and Type 2 Diabetis (T2DM)! In TCM we simply recommend you eat walnuts and almonds. Four nuts of each, every hour – suppresses hunger (scientifically: The glucagones-like peptide levels doubled when chewing them for a long time…)

Normally, the liver releases fat, cholesterol, and antioxidants to all the tissues by converting them into Very Low-density Lipoprotein (VLDL) particles (yes, a variation of the bad cholesterol). The liver would actually clean your system from bad cholesterol via the bile secretion, using the HDL’s, but those good cholesterols have been damaged by a high level of glucose, fructose, and oxygen in your blood and now the bad cholesterol (LDL) seeps through your tissue and sticks” to your arterial wall. Since you reduced your fat eating intake, rescued VLDL remnants can’t be recycled in your bowl.  Making matters worse: You are probably adding fructose and glucose by stuffing your belly with HFCS rich fruit and low fiber energy supplements. I love people in an office chairs eating such high-sports products…

If you are an active sports participant, runner or bicyclist on a non-fat but high carb diet and you load up your body up with fructose and salt enriched Gatorade (I’ll blog about food coloration another time…) your liver will not cope well with the excess sugar consumed and/or produced and will releas it into your plasma where your homeostatic mechanism is running amok. Your oxygen enriched blood serum now collides with the carbohydrates and an unfavorable chemical process initiates a sugar-burn – wasting energy – resulting in Carbon Monoxide (CO) particals in your plasma – resulting in interior-suffocation of your body. To simplify this: Oxygen can occupy red blood-cells (RBC’s) hemoglobin for the duration of a two minute transport through your vessels, whereas monoxide occupies the same cell for twelve hours preventing sufficient respiratory gas exchange. Cherry red lips, cramps, dizzyness – similar symptoms to heat stroke.

You will never see a sports person seriously gulping down colored Gatorade. Early on, it was a well-designed sports nutrition supplement containing sodium, sugar, potassium and phosphate to replenish carbohydrates and electrolytes. After acquisition by Pepsi Cola in 2001 High Fructose Corn Syrup was added to cover up the unpleasant taste of salt and potassium. 350ml (12 fluid ounce) of Gatorade contain 21g of sugar, 21g Carbohydrates, 45mg Potassium and 150mg of Sodium (salt). The sugar however is HFCS!

Fructose is NOT Glucose!

Lets look at this:

Two slices of white bread are equal to 120g of Glucose. Your body breaks down the carbs and converts it into energy ready polysaccharides (Glycogene). About 50% is stored as fat in your liver the other half is dispersed to muscles, brain and into your blood plasma to be immediately ready as energy fuel.

As a sports person you would ideally store up on carbohydrates by “loading up” on pasta, rice and potatoes. To sustain glucose energy levels during exercise you should consume carbs at elevated heart rate during activity. But you should alternate (ten minute intervals) between fructose and carb intake. NOT CONSUME THEM TOGETHER!

When you experience signs of muscle-fatigue you should replenish with caffeine and carbohydrates and NOT with fructose enriched liquids. Basically you should drink lots of water but not only sweetened fruit juice.

A few points to remember: For carbohydrate energy exchange to sufficiently work, you must add Vitamin D (not from milk). You must consume an equal amount of cholesterol as potassium and intake fiber. Bananas are effective as a “starter” and “recovery” food but “during” high-energy exercise they interrupt liver function. Reduce intake of HFCS but consume high amounts of natural fruit sugar or fresh fruit. A perfect diet would consist of eating a high-fat, low-grain fiber, skip the salt and reduce all artificial sugars.

Eat your fats! Gently roast fish in butter without browning it. Enjoy Olive oil, cold pressed fresh oils and avocados. Try not to mix dairy fruit and meat.  quickly blanch high fiberous vegetables (raw broccoli or spinach is not healthy). Start your day with a fiber rich meal, add fruit and enjoy your crispy bacon!

Half of what you consume (if not on a diet like KETO) should be fruit, berries or vegetabes. Cooked, baked, raw and even juiced once a while. There is no big advantage of juicing everything; You MUST eat the fiber for your system to efficiently extract and store the essence of the product you ingest. Nature has wisely packed everything that is sweet in lots of fiber! If you consume high amounts of sugar you need fiber to aid your liver in the process to convert it into energy! Listen to your senses. Slow down your eating. Chew better.

Enjoy, chef raphael

the myth about chocolate milk

June 2nd to June 9th I will partake with Team Swiss at the annual ALC (AIDS LifeCycle) bike ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles. A seven day journey shared with 3000 like minded people coming together from all corners of the world to cross 545 miles through beautiful California.

This blog is not about my yearly participation; I’m writing about one product that is heavely promoted as the perfect “recovery” drink post exercise. My father taught me early on to reject drinking too much milk for this liquid is intended to grow a 30 lbs calve into a 1200lbs cow.

During ALC many encourage chocolate milk as a perfect energy and muscle recovery drink that replenishes energy and replaces electrolytes – but this myth is simply bogus! I hear friends praising the well-being effects and I will specify why consuming chocolate milk makes you feel like this…

There is no benefit of consuming chocolate and sugar enriched dairy (apart from being the source of whey protein). Most humans after the age of ten lack an enzyme called rennin to digest milk! Quite to the contrary, dairy seems to have detrimental effects to your health. Milk should be for calves (baby cows), most humans cannot digest it. You may tolerate it, but you DO NOT fully digest it. I have aided clients with chronic constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, arthritis, chronic sinusitis and a variety of serious allergies by simply limiting their milk and cheese consumption.

To understand the complexity of my blog I must bombard you with a few milk facts that are necessary to understand these over-promoted products. It’s a hundred and twenty billion dollar indutry in this land!

Today’s dairy cows are fed gas preserved storage food, which does not only changes the nature of the milk but causes health problems for the cows. They are fed soy, corn, cottonseed meal or other commercial feeds, which contain all sorts of things including chicken manure and citrus peel cake, laced with pesticides. These foods are not appropriate for cows, who are ruminants and should be feeding on green grass in the spring, summer and fall. By nature they are supposed to regurgitate green feed, silage, hay and root vegetables in the winter. Unfortunately most dairy cows are kept in confinement, given antibiotics and hormones, and never see green grass their entire lives. These same cows have been tweaked and shot-up with Posilac to produce up to 55 or more pounds of milk per day nearly all year long. But alarming is the injection of a genetically engineered form of bovine growth hormone (rBGH). A man-made or synthetic hormone used to artificially increase milk production. For humans, rBGH also increases blood levels of the insulin-growth factor 1 (IGF-1) in those who drink it. And higher levels of IGF-1 are linked to several cancers. (read link below)

First off, we have to preserve what nature would spoil in two days by mandatory quickly heating milk to 165 degrees for about 5 seconds. (Water contaminated with equal amount of feces and bacteria in the US, as mandated by the same regulatory board must be boiled for more than seven minutes by 212 degrees before being considered drinkable…) Hence, pasteurization merely kills certain bacteria. However this process disables certain enzymes needed to break down milk fat in our human digestive track. It robs the milk serum of vitamins and denatures fragile milk proteins, kills beneficial bacteria and promotes pathogens. Even calves fed pasteurized milk reflect poorly and many die before maturity. Pasteurization was instituted in the 1920s to combat TB, infant diarrhea, undulant fever and other diseases caused by poor animal nutrition and dirty production methods. By today’s standard, pasteurization is absolutely unnecessary for public protection. It’s an archaic ineffective law…

In some cases, milk is ultra-pasteurized to get rid of heat-resistant bacteria and give it a longer shelf life. Ultra high temperature pasteurization is a process that takes milk from a chilled temperature to above the boiling point in less than two seconds. This process is utilized for the boxed milks that can be kept at room temperature for weeks… Unlike the regular milk that at room temperature multiplies the number of microbes and DOUBLES them every 20 minutes. No wonder milk spoils very quickly.

To make matters worse, milk is homogenized. Homogenization is a process that breaks down butterfat globules so they do not rise to the top. Homogenized milk is harder to digest, so proteins that would normally be digested in the stomach are not broken down and instead are absorbed into the bloodstream. Often the body reacts to these foreign proteins by triggering the immune system, causing inflammation. It can even trigger auto-immune problems. Homogenized milk has also been linked to heart disease probably because of the fat globules that are dispersed by the process. This means, homogenized fat molecules are so small they can escape your stomach wall and enter into the blood stream.

In addition to being chemically altered into something that is hard to digest and causes problems, today’s milk usually contains steroids, antibiotics, pesticides from treated grains, bacteria from infected animals, and genetically engineered growth hormones. If you think it’s just a few sick cattle I’m ranting about look at the statistics of the FDA released October 2012: 40% of all cattle in the United States carry AIDS and Leukemia Viruses. 64% of dairy cattle are infected with bovine immunodeficiency viruses (BIV) and bovine leukemia viruses (BLV), worldwide. (Bovine immunodeficiency viruses can also be properly referred to as bovine AIDS viruses.) They are commonly tainted with disease-causing bacteria, such as salmonella, staphylococci, listeria, deadly E. coli O1573 and Mycobacterium paratuberculosis (possibly one of the agents causing Crohn’s disease; a form of life-threatening chronic colitis), as well as viruses known to cause lymphoma and leukemia-like diseases, and immune deficiency in cattle.

I’m not trying to scare you – that is not possible – because as a mass we cannot accept that science might be correct. (..bring on the responses, this is a blog afterall…) Besides, dairy is incorporated in 300 baby products and over 2000 food products sold in stores through-out the US; there is just no stopping this madness.

I grew up next to a dairy farm and as a chef I still love cooking with cream and cheese; but in moderation. I do however not substitute electrolyte-fused water with chocolate milk. Just fact-check this point: Today’s low-fat milk contains 59 uncommon hormones. Of those 59 hormones one is a powerful GROWTH hormone called Insulin- like Growth Factor ONE (IGF-1). By a freak of nature it is identical in cows and humans. Consider this hormone to be a “fuel cell” for any cancer… (the medical world says IGF-1 is a key factor in the rapid growth and proliferation of breast, prostate and colon cancers, and we suspect that most likely it will be found to promote ALL cancers).

So if you do drink milk, I suggest you look for pure raw milk from grass fed cows (which is hard to get in most states unfortunately), because it may not be the milk per se, but how milk is chemically altered that causes the problems. To be fair I must clarify that unsweetened fermented or cultured dairy products such as yogurt, kefir and sour cream are acid neutral. Yogurt in particular is chock-full of beneficial qualities. As is the case with milk, organic yogurt does not have rBGH. (That grass and those roots however might be lazed with Mansanto by-products…)

Let me specify what started my blog: Chocolate milk is recommended because it is said to be rich on Vitamin D and calcium. Since today’s dairy cows don’t eat grass they do not have sufficient magnesium in their milk. The calcium in cow’s milk is basically useless because it has insufficient amount of needed magnesium content. Cows milk has three times the calcium as does human breast milk. No matter, neither are very usable because in order to be absorbed and used their MUST be an equal quantity of MAGNESIUM.

Per the USDA 8 ounces (one cup) of cows milk contains:

Calcium, Ca mg 291.336

Magnesium, Mg mg 32.794

After consumption, now that excessive bone building calcium has to be flushed out of your system, causing your chemical household to overproduce acid (…it’s actually simple chemisty) and add to it the lactic acid formed after strenuous sport – you are now “attacking” your calcium reserves  in your bones with this acid surplus! Your bone density diminishes when consuming more than five cups of milk per week. Your calcium rich milk is causing the opposite effect.

Milk is fortified with vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) which is cheaper than vitamin D3 and rather useless for supplementation. Vitamin D supplements require saturated fat to make them bioavailable so they can be incorporated into the body structure but when you drink low fat milk this vitamin is inert.

The protein myth:

87% of milk is water. That makes it VERY expensive water.

Broken down into its basic groups

Whole milk is: Water 87%, fat 3.25%, casein 4%, other protein 5,75%

(note: that is 3.25% “milkfat” which includes the 87% water.) 80% of the protein in milk is casein. Casein is a powerful binder, a polymer used to make plastics and a glue that is better used to make sturdy furniture or hold beer bottle labels in place. It is in thousands of processed foods as a binder promoted as “something” caseinate. Casein is a powerful allergen, a histamine that creates lots of mucus. The only medicine in Olympic athlete Flo-Jo’s body was Benedryl, a power antihistamine she took to combat her last meal… cheese pizza. And she drank a chocolate milk as recommended for her quick recovery:

For the whole Flo-Jo story: http://www.notmilk.com/deb/092198.html

So it is not ideal to drink milk that promotes liquid formation in your lungs, especially if you bike the next day in the early morning mist! After sport, in all current scientific studies – any fresh fruit and water combination replenishes your system equally and sufficiently. (any adverse study was surely published under sponsorship of dairy farmers…) Yes, chocolate milk will give you an elevated positive feeling but most likely it is due to the high amount of sugar and the “upper” effect of the cacao (Next time I’ll write about processed cacao and coffee beans…). Next time, check the sugar content in one cup of chocolate milk!

chef Raphael

Ref source:
–         Chan J. Dairy products, calcium, and prostate cancer risk in the
Physicians’ Health Study. Am J Clin Nutr. 2001 Oct; 74(4): 549-54
–         Holmes MD. Dietary correlates of plasma insulin-like growth factor I
and insulin-like growth factor binding protein 3 concentrations.
Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2002 Sep; 11(9): 852-61
–         Weinsier R. Dairy foods and bone health: examination of the
evidence. Am J Clin Nutr. 2000 Sep; 72(3): 681-9
–         Kerstetter JE. Low protein intake: the impact on calcium and
bone homeostasis in humans. J Nutr. 2003 Mar; 133(3): 855S-861S
–         Barr SI. Increased dairy product or calcium intake: is body
weight or composition affected in humans?
J Nutr. 2003 Jan; 133(1): 245S-248S
–         Oranje AP. Natural course of cow’s milk allergy in childhood
atopic eczema/dermatitis syndrome
–         Lund BM. Pasteurization of milk and the heat resistance of
Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis: a critical review of
the data. Int J Food Microbiol. 2002 Jul 25; 77(1-2): 135-45
–         http://www.dairycheckoff.com/news/release-012403.asp

a very personal story…

In a Corner of Los Altos

I just returned from a visit to my step-mom living in Los Altos California. I’m equally concerned as I am disturbed about the development of the last year since my mothers 2nd husband of 18 years past away. Clearly, now at the age of 84 my mom is distraught and discovering loneliness. She has expressed numerous times how much she would love for me to re-locate from Los Angeles to her family home, the grandfather’s house I grew up in as a little boy. It is one of the earliest original constructions from 1945 area, cuddly, with a large backyard – one of the few places in this upscale neighborhood – still, without a pool.

Marian is well off; better than she realizes. She rents out a second property on Oakhurst, to a family of four from Iran that lives there for quite a long time. They seem nice and kind on the surface and have stepped up to the plate when mom needed company. Tom, the husband fixes up the rented house in exchange of rent reduction, Homeira, his wife sometimes shares traditional tea and cookies with Marian. When I stopped by in the past – on my mom’s request to check on the property; to mediate when new appliances or paint work was needed.

Recently the relationship with her tenants changed. At first, Marian expressed how much she likes cooking for them, regularly takes the entire family out for dinners and was even invited for Thanks Giving over there, where she met their extended family.

“We all bonded. These are lovely people, although they are from over there…” my mom would express by pointing with her eyes beyond the garden fence.

When she started to share stories of purchasing elaborate Christmas presents and even financed vacation trips for them, my warning bells went off. I have never received a phone call nor a postcard from these strange new “friends”. As much as I appreciate their kindness in spending time with mom, I am equally alarmed about their constant attendance in everything my mother recently does and talks about. They advise her in all she does, she explains!

After mom’s second husband Michael past away late 2011 she displayed a familiar fragile sense of reality – the same way she had displayed a deleterious sense for security in her past; fragile to malicious influences after a serious traumatic life episode. I had hurried back home from Europe to her bedside, after a cancer scare in 1993 where doctors had to remove fifteen(15) feet of her small intestine. Her renter then, Michael, alarmed me that my mother might not survive the operation.  She did pull through and married him – her ex renter. Michael became my step dad – under protest from his family and close friends. Turns out Michael was the best thing that happened to my step-mom, super protective, quietly holding the strings and finances together and balancing the two of them through the electronic and political boom of the last two decades. Even while he fought lung cancer himself and physically melted away in front of our eyes, he shielded her from the reality of a much crueler world and lovingly supported an utopia of this safe corner on Concord Avenue in Los Altos. Turns out, he was quite her man!

Mom was devastated when he died; although she did display a familiar odd sense or lack of empathy; She could not understand why Michael’s daughter from a previous marriage would inherit money and refused to pay her out. A grieving Marian expressed openly how much she disliked my step-sister Michelle. I encouraged her to do the right thing and promised to visit more often. I never expected much emotion beyond her stern perspectives and she can appear insensitive to a stranger. Her life has been sheltered, she is actually a lucky woman, physically healthy just a little slowing on the mind and unaware of conniving people.

Tom and Homeira quickly realized thire opportunity on hand and I believe they sincerely intended at first to help mom through her adjustment of a single life in her house. Marian is a lovely person to be around with, cooks up a storm, functions independent on the surface and is routinely orderly. She loved carrying for her husband, baking, shopping and they arranged many travel plans together. The extensively wandered the world on water and on land. He was a good husband. My mom lacks a sense of reality about the electronic evolution (except kitchen appliances…!) – she had relied on her husband for financial decisions, political views and foremost to be guarded from anyone taking advantage of her wealth. Mom still seems clueless about the fact that she owns two properties that are fully paid off and have a property net-worth super-exceeding the house value build atop. Mom has always paid her bills on time does not lease nor barrow and can comfortably afford to travel several times a year abroad; cruise ships, Europe tours and vacations in Mexico’s time share. With her husband death came the reality of loosing a companion, a soul purpose of living a joyful day.

My step dad, month before his death would take me aside during my visits and make sure I knew that everything was in order, should either one of my parents fall ill or even pass on. He was aware of my colorful relationship with step-mom and encouraged to never forget a birthday, mother’s day and little “thank you” cards for special occasions.

With Michael gone she developed a vacuum to care for someone, cook, share and mother others. She loves to travel in company and takes tons of pictures. Myself, working as a private chef with uncertain schedule, would only sporadically visit. I moved to Los Angeles twenty years ago to be closer to my birthplace; still distant enough to respect our individual life styles. We don’t have much in common and never talk about the past…

Throughout last year I became aware that the renters on Oakhurst had taken on a greater responsibility and at first I was pleased.

“They are here, Raphael – when I need them…”

When my mom expressed that she had communicated with Homeira and Tom that they should be on the family vacation time-share, I tried to find out who they really are. I knew little about our long-term renters on Oakhurst and I know my gullible mom can be super generous with any strangers that gains her trust. Mother did not make sense when explaining their constant presence.
She refused to have a conversation about caution and reason – Marian has always displayed a stubborn and narrow view funneled by her perspective of correct. Mixed in with this qunundrum her sad new reality of repetitive story telling; signs of her mind bouncing off track. Within she did express clearly that she feels left alone. I encourage her to pick up hobbies, travel to places she had not seen and get involved with charities, church even was discussed…

Two month ago, January 2013, Marian sparsely framed her idea of changing her last will.  Alarmed by my ailing mother’s words – I hurried to come out to Los Altos and spend two days with her. I brought my longtime buddy Ulf with me, a family friend whom she loves to be around with.

The very first hour at home she put the stunning news onto the table. She had already changed the family documents of inheritance and generously assigned the House to her new friends, Tom and Homeira, our renters. Mom invited me to tag along to the new lawyers to sign the will! While driving she expressed that our family attorney had refused to change her will as requested. Instead, Tom and Homeira knew a law-friend and he had advised and guided her in this change of minds. Mom even expressed:

“You are a Buddhist, son – I’m sure you agree with my decision!”

“No – I don’t”

“Well, It’s a done deal”

“We must talk…?”

“Look, Raphael – the gas prices have gone up…”

At the law firm I shook hands with the financial advisor whom had helped drafting mom’s new legal documents. There is a lawfirm in Los Altos supporting greedy people pilfering properties and inheritance with absolutely no suggestive reasons. I could not avoid pondering what under-the-table deal had been spurred this questionable officially authorized action. Clearly, when hearing my mom’s story they must have realized this confused woman might acted impulsive and might not be in full capacity of her mind to drastically write her entire possessions over to her renters… While her son was sitting in the hallway…

I’m stunned about the insensitivity this lawyer displayed when lured by making a quick dollar. My mom paid them a thick check for their assistance.

Next off, my mom invited me to go over to Tom and Homeira for tea and cookies. It had to be the most awkward of moments in my this life. Here I sat, freshly expunged of my inheritance while Homeira served me cookies (baked by my mom…) and Tom called a few times, being late for our meeting. Under great protest from Marian he did show up. When he arrived, accepting the documents. He was uncomfortable and aware of the bizarreness of our tea gathering.

No word was exchanged about the yellow envelope on the table. I was merely there for a friendly chat over tea and cookies.

I was introduced to their daughter, while satirically amused, agreeing to pose for a family picture: me, the Hollywood star-chef, as my Marian had introduced me.

My mind was racing: Yes, little doll – how will your parents explain to you how they acquired this house you live in?  Are you going to remember the nice gentlemen that took a picture with you the day he got cheated out of the family will?

My confused mother showed absolutely no sign of being aware of the awkwardness of this dilemma. She encouraged me to eat another cookie and was so proud that now her property would be in the hands of good people that would never sell it and take care of it – for eternity.

Dishonesty is never the foundation of building a happy family. You must have had a hidden discussion between yourselves about how much is too much…

To the renters at Oakhurst: You calculated your chances! Instead, and this is where your actions are so painfully atrocious: You did not just aimed for the house you lived in and paid rent for: You aimed for Marian’s home. Tom and Homeira; you underhandedly convinced my mother that she needed to give you both properties – with a very foul excuse, that one of the properties is needed to generate the income to pay for the property taxes of both places. The way Marian thinks… Clearly, mother is discombobulated and her clear judgment has slipped away. You wisely withheld sharing the monetary reality that a mortgage free property lot could perfectly finance and even guarantee a grand rebuild. You have no sincere intention to preserve my mothers idea of eternity. You are not a friend of the family; You merely charmed up a kind woman under false pretense. We have never exchanged a card, a message a sign of caring beyond my need to validate your renters needs for a carpet fix or new appliance on Oakhurst Avenue.

It’s a valuable gamble and invitingly you charge for the full jackpot. You even ended up on the vacation time-share! Any clear thinking mind cannot avoid the idea that now – that you are the sole inheritance of my family fortune – my mom’s life might be at serious danger. You gained access to her home, her finances and her trust and you better keep convincing her that I am not a caring son. This is your only defense in this sad display of corruption!

To all the neighbors, trying so hard not becoming involved and shying away from knowing each other: We all deserve protection from such thieves. You all hold a responsibility to care about each other, know each other – show compassion and extend kind gestures. I once played as a child on the streets of Concord Avenue, a cheerful, unconcerned child amongst neighbors that now raise families of their own – on that very street. Most original families have left. Most houses have changed: my family home is the spitting image of the original building from after WWII – stuck in time. Mom kept it in mint condition. Instead of building walls and trying to live sheltered existence we could equally choose to be neighbors again. We all age through the hurried chances of making a living, raising a family, preserving our retirement. My estranged step-mom is lonely on your busy street. Now, victim to elder abuse. It is not her that keeps me away from Los Altos; it is that precise fear of having to live her loneliness, in your neighborhood – unconcerned neighbors, uninterested about the crimes next door – that renders my decision to move back home impossible. We have become sadly carless!

While mom slips deeper into her own world of reality, it is oddly a safe place for her to be. In this blend of her childhood memories, the stories of that street she lived on the fading memories of past time, including me, the adapted son she does not know how to fully embrace. Throughout all her painful rejections, I car for her. Like the trees that grew old and thick on the roadside, she shows the signs and scares of many years of compassion, working hard to maintain a living, supported wars, lost her children, fought illness, shared pleasures, cheered American highlights, cried, voted, survived cancer and proudly displayed holiday décor, outlived many friends and two husbands… She is a part of my history – not the best maybe but she is a kind soul. Marian needs protection, like a child that plays in those streets.

Do not let people like Tom and Homeira sneak into your house. Their lack of communicating any sense of my mom’s confused actions marks their dubious intention criminal. They are smart and manipulative. It is a common crime these days. I would have accepted my generous mom giving them their rented house to live in, but their greed super-exceeds my Buddhist kindness! They even robbed me of being generous at will!

I might not have much of a chance to change my mothers stubborn will – but I do have the inborn freedom to share my story as I see it!

Update July 2018:

Mom remarried two years ago – a guy she met on a cruise trip. Although she has reached out with more Lawson-Greeting-Cards on my email and called on my birthday; I have stayed away from further interactions. I’m estranged to her and her behavior and I find it utterly weird that the “new husband” shares absolutely no interest in introducing himself to the “son of his wife” – so, I make up my own modus operandi why my gullible, old mom who got hitched yet again with another dubious character… Let it go!

chef raphael

About Lying – from the perspective of TCM

A lie is not the truth.

Is lying a moral obligatory action or used to deceive? Correct definition: To make a believed-false statement to another person with the intention that that other person believe that statement to be true.

There are four putative necessary conditions that define lying; simply – one lies knowing this is not the truth – or one tells a lie believing this is the truth… e.t.c. The “clear” lie is the one told with intention to deceive and advance personal gain… Either way, truth or not – bad words spoken are hard to forget and all we say leaves a trace: We should choose our comments about others to be formed with kind words and caution, for this trace will stick in our minds for a lifetime!

I could bore you now with a book long philosophical analysis about how much of a lie is a lie and when the truth is not real either. But some of us do agree that the truth – as a general understanding of “factual real” – has a different affect on our physical being compared with “lies” or dishonesty. Psychological effects are influenced on how we perceive either to be; debatably, the assumed truth might generate more positive and comforting feelings and assumptions of dishonesty seems to trigger a reaction of discomfort and can trigger physical signs of illness.

I’m purposely avoiding the recognition that a placebo effect (lying about the reality of physical dismay) has shown people to overcome illness by strongly believing in a distorted truth. Rectified lying?

Let me set two (2) opposing points on a linear model with truth being on the right end and lie on the left side. Most of us might agree that we all place ourselves somewhere between these to endpoints on this model, indicating we are not fully capable of convicting others (or myself) of neither being fully truthful nor self-affirmed liars.

It is fascinating to think that all logic and linear thinking human beings could not place themselves clearly on either end point. We are all more or less dishonest! …or honestly think we’re lesser lying than we are…

It could be that we either have a strong understanding of nobility and morality or a clear understanding that life – as we live it – for most of us – presents us with an impossibility to manage without choosing to manipulate specific circumstances within these two end points. We equally embrace that there is hardly anyone around us that is 100% poled left or right. It comforts us that within this mathematical scheme we all understand each other as not fully truthful. It makes lying not so uncomon and a fact of managing…

To make it even more complex; we have the ability to perceive information, ideas and combinations of influences to be either truthful or we choose to doubt.

Even if we are presented with science and “reality” we can deny ourselves to accept the presented information as real. We can even choose a lie to be true. Really confusing.

I have to leave you hanging with this conundrum and ponder about where you place yourself on this chart. Here are a few suggestions to guide you with the wisdom of old souls to find comfort when confronted with either – a lie or a truth – that seems difficult to confront and accept: Life is short, forgive fast.

Be honest to yourself. (In TCM your guidance received relies upon your choice of honesty)

Be weary of people that have lied to you in the past. Try to convey the truth without calculating your own benefit (or loss).  Do not over-react when you are confronted with anyone telling you a hard to accept fact.

Do not surround yourself with people that lie a lot – their mission is to lower your own standard for they will not change.

You can avoid responding to everything and let “the action speak” – It might take longer to convey your message, but it is better than leveling with dishonesty. I do recommend to speak up, but sometimes diplomacy is just not possible…

I’m currently stuck in a very difficult scenario; a complexity of lies and thieveries and I have to patiently endure being critically observed, doubted and distrusted. But for my own sanity and health I must simply follow my path and focus my energy on being kind and correct while becoming a witness of odd consequences of misbehavior. It is fascinating how people with ill intend flip between good and evil in the shortest of moments while unable to change their adapted “false sense of reality” – still pilfering and manipulating the truth to their advance. I’m equally awestruck about anyone supporting and fueling such characters, clearly entertained by this play on hand. It is an ugly situation!

I focus on building strength, meditation, sport and eating healthy. The best medicine to cope with difficulties in life is self-love. Be kind and honest to yourself. This will reflect on others. It is not always in our power to make others happy. They need to want to be happy.

I avoid negativity on screen, in music and restrict my own actions to balance my decorum.  Sometimes it is okay to wait and watch; It might be the “lesser truthful a response” but it is a “lesser lie” might place me closer to the honest side of things… Within I am squeezed away from where I would like to place myself on the above equation.

That makes me “normal”…

TCM chef Raphael

Lupus creeper

Imagine you cook spaghetti – this action represents your organic function, digestion, energy source and waste production. You fill your sink with cold water; this now represents your current bodily fluid household. When the spaghetti is fully cooked you use a colander with too large holes through where the cooked pasta can escape – falls into the sink and mixes with cold water. This represents the wastage instead of being separated, mixing with your liquid matter. This “pasta”, loaded with bacteria, parasites and fungus causes all sorts of damage in your body. Atop your natural defense mechanism is confused and attacks your healthy tissue instead of clearing the waste.

Bare with me, the above analysis will make sense later. The problem here is simple, you could have used a thin mashed strainer. The strainer in the above story symbolizes your immune system and your connectivity tissue. If the skin of your digestive tracks is porous, toxic matter will escape and cause havoc in your body. With lupus, not only the skin of your digestive lining is compromised, your muscles are not sufficiently connected with your ligaments, weak ligaments detach from calcium deprived, brittle bones while infected and fat particle rich blood transports lesser oxygen causing your skin not to be nourished efficiently and finally your liver works over-time trying to detoxify, and finally your kidneys give up. If stress did not cause this dilemma it latest now will add anxiety – you will experience insomnia, rashes, hives and hair loss…

Either you are born with a large-holed strainer (inherited condition) or difficult-to-pinpoint-causes damaged your filtering tissues (external or internal reaction). The goal now is to separate the pasta from the water and restore your strainer – representing your porous tissue to efficiently separate and discharge toxic waste from your body – and restoring your damaged bones, skin and your self-confidents.

Lupus is an autoimmune disease where the body begins to attack itself, causing tissue damage anywhere in the body. Lupus can be a very serious condition because it attacks and destroys the body’s connectivity tissues, the skin, and eventually the vital organs. It affects the blood vessels. Reynaud’s disease is common with lupus. Lupus is considered a chronic inflammatory disorder of the connective tissue and appears in two forms: discoid lupus erythematosus (DLE), which affects only the skin, and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), which generally affects other organs as well as the skin. It can be fatal and is characterized by remissions and flare-ups, often misdiagnosed as rheumatoid arthritis.

Modern research indicate that a person’s genes may increase the chance that he or she will develop lupus, it takes some kind of environmental trigger to set off the illness. Ultra violet rays (sun beds), sulfa drugs, tetracycline drugs, penicillin and antibiotic drugs, viral infections and maybe stress it self… Although there is a common scientific list of such triggers, I am personally convinced it could be simply your toxic private environment; from toxic household cleaners, sentence air fresheners, body products to your food choices. I will elaborate on the latest below.

There are three “professional” theories as to the cause of SLE. First, SLE is an abnormal reaction of the body to its own tissues and caused by a breakdown in the autoimmune system. Second, certain factors may make a person more susceptible to SLE such as stress, streptococcal or viral infections, parasites, and exposure to sunlight, immunization, pregnancy or genetic predisposition. Third, SLE may be aggravated by certain drugs, such as anticonvulsants, penicillin, sulfa drugs, and oral contraceptives. There are more than one hundred different drugs that may cause lupus.

I’d say, there are more than 6000 food products that may cause lupus. There are more than 2000 household products that may cause lupus. You live in a toxic world.

I have personally helped a dozen of people cope with this dilemma and all of them experienced a positive result. Let me be very clear: I DO NOT claim to have a solution, nor do I have the expertise to comprehend lupus, but by merely adjusting a few basic TCM principles all of my friends affected with this illness have improved their condition and some even managed to stabilize their wellbeing to a comfortable level. The long-term goal is to eliminate or minimalize the use of cortisone that causes a whole slew of horrid side effects. I strongly believe that the degenerative disease that are increasing in number are side effects from many immunizations people have been given over the past few decades. Immunizations have the effect of oppressing your immune system to know whether a substance in the body is its own or whether it comes from outside. Simplified, with SLE your body’s ability to remove accumulated waste is hindered and retarded by a constant buildup of parasites. This waste causing toxicity and your body can’t discharge it timely, causing internal infections, protein not being distributed sufficiently and your whole cycle of balance becomes disrupted. You react, you flip out, you fall apart – you die.

From the perspective of TCM I encourage you to prepare with a preventative approach, reduce your immediate toxic environment, eat natural rich antibiotic and immune boosting choices, add sleep and avoid stress.

Learn about the products you consume, doubt me: check it out. I want you to have a relation ship with the food you eat – knowing is powerful!

Meditate! If you experience lupus, consult your doctor and talk about a few of my suggestions: Clear your home from all toxic cleaning products. Even with a claim of “environmentally safe”. Get used to clean with vinegar-diluted water, maybe chlorine for extreme dirt and find comfort in using non-perfumed simple soaps and body products that have an expiration date of less than two years. When you vacuum clean, open all windows and avoid inhaling your fibrous carpet dust blowing out of the machine. Wash your cloth and sheets with hot water. Wear nothing that needs dry-cleaning or can’t be washed hot. Pack your fancy dresses away until your body has recovered and is strong enough to tolerate them.

Allow yourself a minimum of 7 hours sleep in summer and eight hours in winter. Do not watch much TV, computer screen and never do so within an hour of bedtime. Sleep with your cell phone in a healthy distance.

Do not microwave anything.

Do not drink fluoride-laced water from the faucet.

Now get one a simple but effective diet: Never drink carbonated drinks, healthy or not. Most people with heartburn will discover that is the best advice. No artificial sweetener. If you are diabetic listen: NO ARTIFICIAL SWEETENER! No dairy product, no meat and limit your intake on pre-made product to a few items like canned tomatoes or beans. Any packaged product with a shelf life over two month is most likely not healthy for you. No eggs and no nightshade plants. Limit your chicken meat and purchase free range, less loaded with penicillin and hormones. Limit wheat and stay away from commercial baked bread and pasta. Sorry, but limit your chocolate intake.

Start finding pleasure with honey. Sugar is better than any sweetener including Sustiva and agave syrup. Eat daily a few black walnuts, drink daily decaf hot teas with honey – preferably passionflower, mint and Taheebo tea. Drink fresh juices whenever you have a chance. Fresh means consumed within one hour of squeezed, pressed or centrifuged. Eat a diet that includes onions, garlic and lots of quick blanched greens. Do not eat raw spinach and raw broccoli; they are stressful on your system. Eat a variety of colors, chew longer, enjoy the simple flavors and allow yourself the pleasures of a bite of sweets when appropriate.

Add bee propolis to your supplement intake. You will discover it as a powerful additive in fighting the side effects of lupus! Propolis has the ability to energize the body and restore vigor and stamina. It boosts the thymus glands and aids with sleep and mental strength. It is one of nature’s most effective antibiotic!

Please, share with me if you found help in this blog. For a personalized consultation simply contact me in person.

TCM chef Raphael

Addicted to pain killers

Watching Sanjay Gupta’s CNN special on pain medicine abuse in the US. 80% of all prescription pain medication in the world are consumed by Americans. Clearly there is a problem and a deadly connection to overdose, pharma-political dominance and their blatant denial about the reality of the epidemic on hand. There is no long term study on taking, stacking or long-term consuming these opiates; the lack of such studies is enforced by greedy corporations although today’s results of addiction study and the staggering overdose-death rates indicate clearly that our way of prescribing pain killers is wrong.

Through helping people in recovery with food, I have become convinced that what we eat and drink in general strongly influences how these opiates react in our system. During the many years aiding friends and clients with healthy choices, there has been a stunning realization that most of the synthetic pain prescription did not effectively aided in a long-term consumption. Eating healthy choices at the correct time -combined with exercise and a positive adaptation to learn to cope with the pain – seems more successful as a long term solution.

Nature offers us great solutions to deal with pain. To understand what “bothers” us we need to go back to the origin of the discomfort. In TCM we treat pain not as an isolated area in the body, we embrace that the physical and psychological aspect of the entire being needs attention. Besides the addiction chance of Western medicine, we have a “remove the band-aid” – fear; Afraid that if we stop taking serious pain killers the original discomfort will still be there…  Psychologically we are trimmed to doubt that our bodies could actually bounce back into a harmonious balance of norm.

It’s so easy to just pop a pill without having to adjust our life style. We don’t think that chemicals in our breakfast cereal or the pesticide in the early morning apple could influence the opiate? The plastic particles consumed daily, the household chemicals and the toxic air in a busy city is hardly a concern when we quickly subdue a pain that might be nothing more than your body indicating bad positioning or forewarning us about disharmony. I watch a young generation in high-school slurping with great ease sleep depriving power-drinks, washing down a codeine and thebaine combination…

A true addict will crush what ever pain pill combo they get their hands on and either sniff it or even inject it for a quicker rush… there is a problem, the most commonly used binder of these medications (crospovidone) might shut down their lungs oxygen exchange: Crospovidone is an insoluble polymer of N-vinyl-2-pyrrolidone that is used as a disintegrant in pharmaceutical tablets. We all know by now that taking modern medicines most likely can cause a chain reaction of illness… But we trust the doctor prescribing us meds, encouraged by pharma reps, endorsed by commission and bonus – even if there is scientific study pending on drug interaction. Nobody studies what food contamination can cause, other than it’s well established that certain items are not ideal i.e. grapefruit interacting with heart medicine, etc. There will never be a study published for people misusing these pharmaceuticals; simply, they’re not intended for intravenous injections; tens of thousands of people consume it in such manner. This is great for business!

All we consume causes a reaction in our bodies. Clearly, mixing chemicals to the variation of our intake complicates the reactions. I believe that with healthy, natural choices alone we can cope with most of what causes us pain. Opiates should be considered with a conservative approach. Breathing exercise, controlled healthy food and liquid consumption and maybe even natural pain killers – even marihuana – should be a first choice. We do adapt to pain. We can perceive pain to be less as much as we fear it to be more… It is often a choice. Leave the serious drugs to people with serious handicaps.

Think before you Speak…

Nowadays many quickly bounce to a bias opinion, before knowing the facts… I discover “detectives” amongst friends, “specialists” about other’ people behavior and oddly some stick it out (past their quick voiced judgment…) even beyond a point of disapproved logic… Often such invitations to boycott others is based on a fluke of truth, a mere first emotion – bagatelle fractions of reality wrapped in harsh words. I like a good joke, a fun comparison; Good satyr and cynicisms sugar coat the already cruel reality amongst so many narrow minded opinions… we need to be less critical of the voices and expressions by others and more in tune with a fair view of the reality before us…

This reality is simple: Connect with nature, find inner balance, eat less synthetic products, show compassion.

Zen is just that. RELAX, feel the GROUND you stand on and measure your INTAKE.

Relax; control your breathing at least once a day. If the word meditation reminds you of religion, simply switch off your subconscious breathing reflex and control for a few minutes your air intake. Slow it down. Breath deep. Exhale your lungs completely, enjoy the rush…

Place yourself on earth; not fibrous carpet, dead wood or cemented floor. Earth. Bond, once a day, even when in a city, make an effort to touch base with “real” grounds.

Control your intake, the air, the water the food. The sound you listen to and what enters your body through your eyes. Close your eyes and if there is nervous twinkle, you are not relaxed. Listen to beautiful music, or the sounds of nature. Loud coordinated noise like most music does not aid you preferably. If silence frightens you; find a partner to share your “quiet” time with.

Watch what you eat – you are what you eat: seriously, if it is foremost synthetics then indeed you are partially synthetic…

From this perspective, form your opinion about events, actions and situations around you. You will discover that your ideologies are less angry, less bias and possibly less interested about the details that seem to dictate the lives of your friends.

All energies we set into motion are out there… I don’t know where, but I think we constantly walk through them, like spiderweb spun from trees.  With all the kinetic energies, cell phones, electricity and voiced opinions it feels sometimes like walking through “clattered” air.

Look into the eyes of others and find nice words to share. Keep your message short and focused.

Smile often.

One bite vs. A life as a chef

It is truly odd coming back to Los Angeles after spending time in pre-Olympic Europe and Singapore. Tossed around by rain in London, hail in Switzerland and the brutal humidity of South East Asia – I’m still wandering in a cloud of jet-lagged daze. Impossible to adjust to my craving for spicy curry… Good quality of life, healthy food, present (as in not texting…) social interaction and a well-adjusted sense for business is surely lacking in the US. Although I love living in California (not just because of the weather) I tend to compare and wish I could surround myself with only the best of other lands.

I rebound with familiar faces from the rwp (red white & pure) days in Singapore. Not much seems to have changed. As life moves forward we merely become more wise about the past and cautious about the future. There is a sense of belonging when dealing with EYS (Eu Yan Sang) mixed with a peculiar hesitant. I love the general intelligence, the kindness of Asia cultures. I do clash a little with my “pushy” American attitude, trying to add quick efficiency. Seemingly, my free spirited and enthusiastic ways of adapting to the possibilities does not align with a corporate structure of a slow disective approach. Here at home we are more speditive in developing ideas into reality, but lack the sincere and logic business structure.

The need on both ends to come together and bridge a complex TCM conundrum is still the same. I have developed into a gifted, versed chef with the unique ability to incorporate simple herbal formulas into tasty food. EYS has the ingredients, the testing facilities and production factories lined up and needs my talent to produce intelligent food items that can attract a worldwide multi-generational clientele. How do we come respectfully together?

My dilemma is still the same: It’s hard to promote oneself as a good chef; Until you have sat on my table, tasted my food, shared my compassion… my job’s best resume is a short lived three dimensional experience. What seems a quick “toss-together” of seemingly lucky gestures and choices is actually a professional methodic selection of actions to blend wisdom, – years of study and struggle – into a dish. When I form flavor, balance taste and target sensations it is methodic and well thought out. The critique is brutally quick. One bite, judged by a few seconds of lesser joy and my entire reputation is murky!

An irate chef would burst into a defensive mode of reactions, insulted by the simplicity of the judging entity that seemingly excluded years of study, ignoring the artistic layers that are incorporated in a dish judged… Judged by a lesser compassionate palate, unaware of the circumstances that now counter against the master: The soils composition, the mediocre bare ingredients, the lack of tools and time… The personal facts, the judge’s physical momentary circumstances…? One few seconds of tasting a nibble and a whole life is measured by this instant.

I have long learned not to give in to such negative notions. One must look at the entire experience: Secured by my research, supported by my wisdom and motivated by my drive to please the most common of palates, I embrace a challenge and provide solutions. The simplicity of merely cooking a meal to please and earn an income bores me. Today’s life dictates that we find healthy solutions and fuse together the best of minds to create intelligent food without synthetic toxins. My motivation is not the business aspect, although I respect that money is vital to sustain trade and production.

Back to the drawing tables – in my case the test kitchen… I gotta get this right! My sense is to work, to show my kind intentions and trust that others will protect my rights.

At this point I find myself newly motivated by possibilities. It feels incredible to be a part of a development that sincerely caters to bring great food to the mass. In a world where most “nutritional” food is a farce, I welcome the opportunity to design TCM food for EYS again. This requires my artist side to bow to the slow moving process of regulations and bureaucracy…

Where is there a decent curry house in Los Angeles?

TCM chef Raphael

Cleverly fusing Cultures

These last few days were unusually turbulent. However, the prospects of my future is exciting.

This next blog deserves a thank you to Caroline Quest for a brilliant flicker of professional direction.

Whenever I travel to the Eastern world and stay at a “world-class” hotel I am confronted with a cultural curiosity about food. Most Chinese hotels seem timid when catering home-cooked food to a Western clientele without forfeiting a little of their culture. The menu selection foremost reflects the “request” of their guests who seemingly are opposed to classical traditional Chinese food.

Hey, I have visited places that had organized universities 3000 years ago but humbly ordered “Continental Breakfast…” Uncertain we find ourselves drawn to the simple bread/butter and müsli section while the “other side” clearly offers a more sophisticated variety.

Most Western travelers settle for customary home-cuisine and tend to be less open minded about unfamiliar flavors, smells or preparations of cultural cuisine. Such limitations dictate Asian hotels to cater a food selection that does not highlight their heritage. Although guests would like to experience (i.e.) Chinese cuisine, they might be trapped by several factors that influences partial (familiar) selection – not to risk their health, not encouraged to cope with new essence or too time constricted to step out of ones customized frame. It’s just business as usual…

My concept masterfully creates a cultural bridge: A clever fusion of traditional Chinese medicine with traditional French cuisine. An experience these clients bring back home with insight that the food they consumed and the history behind these menus will aid their wellbeing, longevity and it all tasted delicious!

Many hotel corporations disappoint having to design a skillful menu that highlights local tradition and fail to cater to the curious taste buds of their sophisticated Western clients. Chefs and Managers must learn to unite local flavors with European culinary highlights. My forte is developing menu ideas that blend local delicacy and plate them smartly in an all accepted, familiar presentation.

This concept of utilizing a 3000 year of Chinese wisdom with French cookery is my unique signature: I focus on local ingredients to highlight the flavors that will bind diverse cultures together through dining. I mix a well-rehearsed ancient knowledge with a modern appreciation for food; a perfect mélange to bridge the East with the West.  The selections look European but they are true fusion Cuisine.

For many luxury hotels catering to a complex traveler, my TCM fused concept adds a beautiful expansion to their menu curriculum. Guests recognize instantly that they are enticed to comfortably step into a cultural experience. A Chicken Cordon Bleu with Goji berry sauce looks familiar and invites for a discussion about immune boosting properties and its eye nourishing qualities. Guests become fascinated with a rich Chinese history. When the concierge explains that the ginger and lemon grass infused hot tea awakes energies and helps travelers balance their jetlag – he proudly shares a common sense of culturally known fact.

A chicken soup laced with TCM becomes a welcomed dish when fighting an outbreak of flue, saving a hurried business traveler. And this Chinese soup is a local feast. The strange, brown tea brewed from Luo Huan Guo – a perennial fruit of a vine – helps balancing body temperature during the humidity of a South East Asian summer and is a safe, sweet beverage for diabetics. It needs a harmonized team to purvey the message correctly: That is my job!

My menu creations are not just recipes for master chefs to follow, I train the whole team to convey a very hotel-personal message across continents while designing specific culinary delights and tonics – I fuse traditions while encouraging each side to uphold their identity. We become a stronger and healthier world by respecting our heritage but adapting and embracing the best parts of each distinguished cultures and share the accumulative knowledge that is available to all of us.

TCM chef Raphael



In physiology through TCM (traditional Chinese medicine) the element water represents the kidney, urinary track, your bones, hearing and manifest deficiency or overabundance in either your dry or oily skin, lack of energy or sexual drive and weakening of bones. Psychologically water manifestations include fear, causing hardened skin, tears or any liquids to escaping your body. These descriptions originate from 3000 years of study and have been poeticized, fused with witchcraft and confusing theories of a simple understanding of ancient wisdom that nowadays is fairly scrutinized with scientific knowledge.

The accumulative information available today is methodically understood as correct: Today we can teach a younger generation about water viscosity, density, conductivity and it’s thermal properties and pretty much every child (should) knows that water consists of three atoms; one hydrogen and two oxygen which turns into gas (vapor) when heated and expands when frozen – this knowledge, not as scientifically refined as we present it today has been described in astonishing parallels in ancient times. As fluid as science admits to be today, new discoveries bring us deeper into fractions of details and allow us to find subliminal connections to all essence that is life. In my abstract simplification I like to think that with (or without) all the knowledge, a mere fact persists: All matter is connected.

Life is more than simply science. …Standing on the ocean front, your arms stretched out, inhaling the moistened air and hearing the breaking sounds of waves can evoke a sensation beyond physiological wisdom… Is this real?

We tend as humans to need poetry, even a brilliant scientist will escape into a subliminal stimuli reality, accepting that what positively arouses our brain can show effect in our physical existence. (I’m currently living with a scientist – debating this very unscientific quandary).

We enjoy “reality-distractions” like horoscopes, theater, music and novels, art, circus and religion – all to entertain and expand our creative archive – Creating a cognitive mixture of real and surreal that cannot be separated from our realities like biological facts, limited by our irreversibility of time, social politics juggling laws to live in society and the scientific compelling discoveries.  We are a unique limited being, self affirmed we all could be a genius, outliving expectations but unable to get along: It is not the science that creates our struggles on earth; it is the “reality-distractions” by which we segregate individuality because we tend to refuse to be alike.

I enjoy poetical comparisons of science with my perception of living amongst each other: A drop of water is harmless until united it can hurl its power in the form of hurricanes, tsunamis and tidal waves.

In TCM the power of winter is the power of emphasis: it emphasizes the essence of life. Water when frozen is hard, stagnant and encapsulates, preserves – until spring changes the climate and liberates all movement.

Water representing winter invites us to hibernate through meditation, containment, concentration, and the storing of our energy. This is the season for resting and maintaining of our reserves, gathering strength for the year ahead. If we don’t follow nature we will become ill, weak and tired. We must be less active in this season, conserving our sexual energy, going to bed early, and sleeping late. Like seedlings that cannot sprout until they have gathered sufficient strength, our ideas and physical wellbeing is jeopardized if our energy is dispersed or drained.

Winter is a time of stillness, quietude and recovery. We call it the most yin of the seasons: The days are shorter, work should be limited, time should be used to bond, cuddle, to be still and eat less. The energy of winter is latent and potent: in this state of resting deep within, energy is collected and held in constraint; Abundant reserves within give us courage and strength of will.

As the days become warmer and brighter with the approach of spring, nature opens her eyes from the slumber of winter and looks to the new growth cycle that lies ahead.

If we have followed nature’s way and rested through winter, we will emerge with restored energy, clear vision, and a sense of purpose.

TCM Chef Raphael