Does your Body Reward you?

fruit
Yumm, breakfast!

One week ago I moved into a house with roommates in Somerville, Massachusetts. In that first week of transition I had a lot on my plate, so I did what most temporarily scattered people would do – eat shitty food. I ate plain ramen, peanut butter bread, cheese on toast, dunkin donuts sandwiches, rotisserie chicken from Shaws… barely any vegetables or fruit. I also exercised very little… maybe a few push-ups and sit-ups. I wasn’t depressed but I felt like I was just… existing.

But today, I feel like a million bucks. Here’s what happened…

Yesterday morning I was having my peanut butter on toast with banana slices when one of my roommates explained why he makes fruit smoothies every morning. “I eat fruit only in the morning.” he said. “It’s actually really good for you and the body breaks it down quickly, which in turn gives you a lot more energy to burn.”

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Dieting in Asia: An Unexpected Reality

She needs a diet?

Believe it or not, a majority of the “skinny” women that you see when visiting Asian countries believe they are, themselves, “fat” or “overweight”. It is appalling to Western women when I tell them this but it is a reality. However, the reality of being “overweight” in a country like China is no different than in the US. Why? Because it is 100% relative and culture-based.

In China, women are worried about roundness and often strive for an image that westerners would call “boney”. When asked about the Western “plus-sized” models, many women here think that it’s not right to be so big. They agree with the fashion magazines that show thin, tall women. The first time I heard someone say that plus-sized models were not necessary was a strange moment for me, but then I realized that this culture (and their eating habits) seem to allow most women a fair chance at achieving a healthy, attractive figure. This “chance” is the result of traditional healthy eating habits, which one of the many reasons I started writing AL.ME.

But with the increase in Western-style eating, that healthy figure is becoming less of the norm. Since there is always a competition for being the hottest (in virtually all modern cultures) many of them want to get even thinner! As you might expect, confusion sets in for some of them and the results are quite unexpected, to be honest. The following are a few before and after photos of typical young women in China trying to reach their ideal weight… (All images were self-posted on Weibo in late 2012)

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Getting Poked: A Chinese Way to Lose Weight

Acupuncture

Acupuncture, as with massage, is often misunderstood by the West. Although Traditional Chinese Medicine is gaining popularity, this procedure looks more like a painful circus act than anything truly healthful. With a little bit of belief, it actually serves many purposes for both repairing your body and staying healthy.

But even if you wanted to try acupuncture for whatever reason, where would you get it done? A flight to China isn’t exactly in the cards for most people… Here’s a map that might help you get started.

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The Italian Noodle Finally Comes Home

Italian Chinese Meal

Any discussion about Italian food in China is bound to curtail into how pasta originated in China over 4,000 years ago[*]. I would say the Chinese have perfected the noodle over years of trial ‘n error, mostly due to their choice of seasonings. (My favorite Chinese noodles to this day are from the north and are pulled thick just prior to being tossed in a savory broth or pan-fried with seafood.)

Getting back to Italia, and the point of my post today, I’d like to show off my new preference for the decades-old family tradition of “Monday Night S’ghetti!” Like with many of the meals I cook I highlight portion control, so you’ll often just need cereal bowls instead of plates. Also, chopsticks are useful in order to take smaller bites and to drain excess oil from your food.

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Medicinal Use of Tea

A popular request I get is related to the medicinal use of tea. I’m finally writing this article after discussing this topic with various Chinese friends who have nearly 20 years of experience in the tea business. After discussions with them and other trusted tea connoisseurs I’m ready to post on this topic. I suggest reading a previous post about understanding the world of tea in order to get more familiar with the major varieties of tea.

You’ll find that two major substances in tea do most of the leg work: epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) and polyphenol. Remember: I’m not a doctor and the following is a collection of information told by friends, which I’ve cross-referenced with scientific studies.

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