Today on the SuperFeast podcast, Tahnee is joined by Chinese dietary coach/practitioner, herbalist, Qigong teacher, author, and man of wisdom Andrew Sterman for a multifaceted conversation around the energetics of food and their power to heal. With his depth of knowledge and spirited ease, Andrew takes us on a journey back to the basics of where good food meets good health. In a world of endless niche diets that leave us cynical and confused, Andrew assures us the power to heal ourselves lies in the accessible space of our kitchen where cooking is kept alive and through inherently knowing our health. Andrew brings the modern context of food to life while keeping the wisdom of how and why we do things intact. A brilliant conversation with something for everyone.
''The most important player here is the home cook because the home cook is the director of family health''.
- Andrew Sterman
Tahnee and Andrew discuss:
- Food stagnation.
- Preparing food for better digestion.
- Sugar and how it affects digestion.
- The home cook; A key player in good health.
- SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth).
- Eating according to the climate you live in.
- Slow-cooked food and the benefits for the stomach.
- Age-old food wisdom with a contemporary context.
- The basic energetics of food and how to apply them.
- Cooling/heating effects of foods on the digestive system.
- Tongue diagnosis; What your tongue says about your health.
- Foods and spices to warm the stomach for better digestion.
- Carbohydrates; Why we don't need to be terrified of them.
- Keto and Paleo diets for short term therapy but not long term health.
Who is Andrew Sterman?
Andrew Sterman is the author of Welcoming Food, Diet as Medicine for the Home Cook and Other Healers. The two volumes of Welcoming Food offer a unique entry into understanding the energetics of food, explain how foods work in common sense language, and provide easy-to-follow recipes for everyday eating. Andrew teaches courses in food energetics internationally and online and sees private clients for dietary therapy and medical qigong. He has studied broadly in holistic cooking, meditation, qigong, and tai chi. Andrew has also been a student of Daoist Master- Jeffrey Yuen for 20 years in herbal medicine, qigong, and of course, dietary therapy from the classical Chinese medicine tradition. Visit Andrew at andrewsterman.com/food .
Q: How Can I Support The SuperFeast Podcast?
Check Out The Transcript Here:
Hi everybody. And welcome to the SuperFeast Podcast. I'm doing the intro this week. I had a chat with Andrew Sterman, who is this awesome Chinese dietary coach and practitioner based out of the United States. He works with Jeffrey Yuen, who is a Taoist master, who I have been following for about, I would say around seven or eight years now. He was first recommended to me by one of my acupuncturists in Newcastle. And I just love Jeffrey, his philosophy, he's really rooted in the Taoist tradition and obviously Mason and I are big fans of that. And when I first read Andrew's work, it was just an online PDF about Chinese dietary theory. I just thought, "Oh, finally, someone who really explains this stuff in a modern way that makes it really digestible." Good pun.
And also he just seems like a really interesting person. He works as a clinician so he has a lot of experience dealing with all of the various types of things that people present with when they're trying to dial in their nutrition. So we do go on a wide adventure in this podcast. Andrew is just such a great, interesting orator. He just holds this really beautiful space when he speaks. So I really just let him talk. And he covers everything from some of the basics of the energetics of food, tongue diagnosis, SIBO, which is Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth, which is something we hear about a lot in our work at SuperFeast. Just a lot of stuff I think that will really help those of you who are a bit newer to the energetic idea of food, start to get your head around things.
And that's the big distinction, I guess, between a Western biomedical nutrition approach and the Taoist approach. Also comes through Ayurveda and other Eastern traditions where they're really looking at the impact the food has on the energetics of the body, not just the chemical constituents of food. So a carrot is in a carrot. If you cook a carrot, if you eat it raw or grated, if you steam it, if you fry it, there's all sorts of different ways in which we would affect the energetics of that finished product that we eat. So I have been diving into this stuff for probably really seriously, for about five or six years. And especially since having [Aya 00:02:35], I have become more interested in, I guess deconditioning myself away from the Western nutrition model and looking at this more Eastern energetic approach.
I have just finished reading Andrew's books and I highly recommend them. We're going to be giving away a copy of each. They're basically a partner pair. So the first one's more theory and the second one's more practical recipes. And I love that he, being a foodie, he brings in food from all different types of cultures. So it's not just Asian... Mason actually doesn't love Asian food, I do. But so in our family, I'm often cooking with more Western flavours, more European flavours, because they are really the ones that we enjoy to eat.
And I really like how Andrew bridges those worlds. He offers some beautiful Asian dishes, but also a lot of really yummy, more Western or European style flavours. He brings in a lot of beautiful traditional wisdom. He overlays it with stories of his travels. He's own experience raising kids. He's got teenagers. So I just, I really enjoy reading his books. I think he makes what can be a quite dense, complicated theory, really accessible.
And even if you're really new to Chinese medicine and Taoism, I think you'll find his books really accessible and fun. So check out our social media. We'll have the giveaway live when this podcast goes live. And if you aren't a lucky winner, then jump on and order his books. I, again, highly recommend them. I'm going to hand over to Andrew now. He is, like I said, just a great guy to listen to. He's a classical musical performer as well as a really amazing practitioner. So he's got this artistic flair that I think comes through in his writing and his talking. And I hope you enjoy this one as much as I enjoyed chatting to him, have a beautiful one, enjoy Andrew. My partner and I, we're both through the Taoist lineage. He works with herbs. I work mostly with yoga and I practise Chi Nei Tsang, which is an abdominal massage. I've mostly studied with people like Mantak Chia and then also herbal traditions and stuff. But I guess- [crosstalk 00:04:51].
... the yoga side of things. So our work is really about trying to educate people away from these quite myopic and like you're saying, narrower views of what health means and really trying to expand people into this sense that it's an individual journey and what's right for you at one stage of life might not be forever and there's ways in which we can potentiate our health through lifestyle and these practises and little tweaks that mean that we can live in a really full and wonderful way that isn't just...And we've both come out of... We're both in our mid 30s now, but we've both come through those early twenties.
I was a vegan and vegetarian and very into yoga and very one lined about a lot of things, make sure that younger people were coming through with a bit more of a broader sense of not just this social media fads and all these things that happened so...
Yeah, we also have a little girl who's four. So we've both developed a lot of interest in, I guess... I mean, I've been studying Acupuncture. I did put it on hold during COVID because they weren't doing any contact. So I just thought I'd wait, because I didn't want to do it all online. And Jeffrey Yuen came across my desk about probably 2014 and my acupuncturist at the time was mentoring me and he was a five elements acupuncturist, but he was really into Jeffrey Yuen's work and really was passionate about trying to get to New York and study with him and all these things.
And anyway, long story short, I did some of his online courses and then stumbled across your work and just found your writing so engaging. And I thought, "Well, he writes so beautifully, I'm sure he speaks beautifully." So I thought I'd reach out. And as I said, I've really struggled to find people to discuss nutrition and food energetic side of things. Because as you were saying, it can be quite narrow. And there's also the sense of it has to be very Chinese.
Exactly. Right, that's a really big point. A lot of what I do, part of my passion or my niche or whatever we want to say, is to bring their food energetics into... It doesn't need to be modernised. The wisdom is intact, but the foods are different. We have access to modern foods and modern tastes and things that we grew up with. We can expand that of course. I think all of us who were on this journey have expanded from our childhood foods, but it doesn't... We definitely don't need to move to Asian or Chinese foods in order to do food energetics work.
The important thing is to use the basic principles and to apply them to the food in your local market. Whether it's a commercial supermarket or farmer's markets or your garden, or wherever you get food, you should be able to look at anything that you're buying or cooking and understand the food energetics.
That's such a... Yeah, that's such an integrative part of it. I think, because I guess what I... One of the things we see so often is that people are coming in with this, like they're eating... I mean, I guess we get a lot of people with pathological stuff starting to go on because they've been maybe in a really cold raw vegan diet for a long time.
And then they're all understanding you're [inaudible 00:08:35] your system effectively and it's slowing everything down.
Yeah that's a huge-
Yeah. If you could speak to that, that'd be, yeah.
You're absolutely right. Many people who care a lot and they care deeply and are interested in changing their dietary habits for better health become overly enamoured with raw foods, with foods that are seen as energetically cold in the Chinese medicine system. So the idea there is not that someone says the foods are cold it's to understand that vegetables high in water, high in minerals, that with a complex array of tastes, including some bitterness. Say, for example, those who really, they have a taste of wheatgrass juice or something along that line, it's very, very bitter. And bitter has a descending cooling quality, clears heat, it clears excess fire from the stomach and can have a lot of benefits because of that.
However, it tends to cool the stomach as it does so. So it can clear excess heat and then eventually bring cold into the stomach or digestion or the lower belly. And since cold tends to settle. Now we're immediately getting into more detailed Chinese medical theory, but cold tends to settle downward. Heat tends to rise. There are times when you could have inflammation on your feet, for example, where heat is somehow descending. But typically heat rises to the head and cold settles into the lower abdomen. And this is something that I see every week in my clinic or zoom clinic, now online clinic. The people trying so hard to do what's best and ending up hurting themselves, or at least not being optimal. And one of the signs here is, I mean, how do you know? You have to have a way to know your own health status. We can't just wait for blood tests or for what a book might say, a certain food might do.
We need to actually know about our own health, which is where in the practise of Chinese medicine, we use pulses and we use tongue diagnosis, as well as the stories people tell, "I'm having these symptoms. This didn't used to happen and it happens now." Things like that. Very important to listen to people with a lot of depth and insight, to really listen to what they say and the tone they say it, the body that they're saying it with, to listen to their Qi as they're speaking. There's so much we can do with our ears, which is all called listening in Chinese medicine. I mean, and it does include listening to their actual words, but so much more. But we need a real way to look inside. And so in our tradition, that's pulse reading and tongue diagnosis.
Now during the COVID isolation period, we're not taking pulses, but I'm looking at tongues all day long. So the way I conduct a session and we'll get back to the cold foods in a second. So the way I conduct a session is that I'm asking for people to send tongue photos a day or two in advance. And like a phone selfie, tongue photo is fine if it's focused well enough. And we use that as a basis of diagnosis, not only for me to look at, but I'll put it up on the screen to share, and we'll go over points so that they can see that this is thin there. This is swollen there. This colour is a little bit redder than we might think. Don't you agree? Says, "Yes, it is so red." This seems pale here, look at the coat or these bumps or the scalloping here. And then we decode all these things and pair them with food habits and ways to get through.
So with that in mind, as we're looking at the idea of cold in the diet is a very common or disagreement, if you like. I wouldn't say it's a misconception because maybe they're all right. I love the difference of opinion. But in a laboratory, a raw piece of asparagus has more nutrients than a cooked piece. And that holds most of the time, not entirely, but most of the time cooking does release some nutrients, but it also tends to degrade more. We understand this, however, the benefit for the stomach as we cook food outweighs the percentages of lost vegetables, of lost nutrients in the vegetables or other foods.
So we're very interested in this idea of cold. So when we eat food, none of it digests until the stomach warms it up to body temperature. The stomach works best. And you could even say works only when it's warm and moist. So if there's a lack of moisture, a lack of hydration, if the food is too dry, maybe we drink water sufficiently, but the food itself is too dry. It's a lot of sandwiches, a lot of breads, a lot of-
Baked goods and things.
... baked goods in the morning, in particular. Particularly dangerous actually or grilled and sauteed things that may not be very moist. This is difficult for the stomach. The stomach will need to draw hydration from its resources from the rest of the body. And that's not what we want. So Chinese medicine is always recommending warm and often enough, wet cooked foods as the easiest to digest. So that's the first place I often go, not always, but it's one of the first places I go recommending to people.
Oh, sorry. Just to be really clear, like a wet, cooked food is like a porridge, a congee, a soup, I mean, a stew, like how far into wet are we going?
I definitely include stews in the wet category. And because they're... Not only are they moist, but they're cooked for a long time. And the idea of adding heat underneath the cooking pot. I mean, like that's just mechanical. We're just cooking food-
The Qi's [inaudible 00:15:16] as well, right?
We're imbuing the food with heat, with warmth, which would be part of yang Qi and the moving Qi, the energised Qi that we call yang, as in yin and yang. And adding yang Qi can happen quickly as in a quick hot saute or wok frying, or if it's French or European style, just a quick pan saute. And so the heat's very high and we're moving things around, literally moving the pan, the food in the pan with a spoon or with your cook's wrist, flicking the pan, around adding yang Qi in this way. Or with a stew, it's cooking at a lower heat for a very long time. It could be an hour, it could be a day. And we all know the stews taste better the second or third day as well.
Yeah, it doesn't have the same [inaudible 00:16:48] but that's the concept is to open the stomach, to receive food. And as I was thinking that over, the idea is to open the stomach to welcome food. And that really... What that really is... What that would mean, and in more clinical terms is appetite, so that you have an appetite to bring in more food or I'm comfortable, I don't have urgent hunger, but I'm really looking forward to... Well for you it's breakfast, but here, the dinners, the next meal and making a little bit of a plan from what we've shopped and organising that. And then this idea of looking forward to it and appetite is not just appetite for food. Appetite, and this is in very real terms, seen in Chinese medicine, but all across the world, is appetite for life.
When the appetite is good, life is good. I'm just saying, if you had some challenges, things are a little tricky right now, but I can't wait to eat. And this wouldn't be emotional binge eating, but I'm just saying, it'll be beautiful to get going with cooking and those first beautiful bites of food. This is appetite for life itself. So it's not a coincidence that those words overlap.
So opening the stomach or what I'm calling, welcoming food, or to put them together, open the stomach to welcome food, is the first step in digestion. And then the stomach begins to sort and separate the foods, begins to secrete stomach acids, if proteins are present. If it's a vegan diet and in particular, if it doesn't include something like soy protein or... I don't advocate soy protein except as soybeans or tofu miso, these traditional products, I don't... For me personally, [crosstalk 00:18:48] I don't... I worry a little bit. I do worry a little bit about those foods.
Will our bodies, in their wisdom, be prepared to recognise them in order to digest them properly? We need to recognise these foods. And so if they're highly processed, I'm very concerned about extracted proteins including soy proteins. You say, "Oh, this is beautiful. This is like tofu." But it's not, it's a new process relying on methods that render food, somewhat confusing to the body. And we could get into more detail the idea of protein isolates.
Yeah. I was going to quickly touch on because smoothies and wet foods, I would argue personally that they're not a wholesome, wet food in general, as a sometimes food in summer and maybe if you have good digestion, but a lot of people then load them up with isolates and proteins. Can you speak this quickly while we're here, a little bit to that as well?
Yeah. I mean, I love a good smoothie once in a while, but it's not very often. And it would be in hot weather, exactly like you saying. Now, if your weather is always hot, you can still overdo it quite easily. Remember the basic motto is this, it's not a motto. It's just the truth. The stomach works when it's warm. When the stomach is cool, digestion slows down, when digestion slows down problems accrue. So we get food stagnation, we get slow transport, it's peristalsis slows down, eventually elimination slows down and there could be chronic constipation. And then we need to turn to Chinese medicine to understand what happens next is that the body will throw heat, yang Qi in the form of wei Qi, which is this moving, a subset of yang Qi, moving Qi, which is always present in the belly and in the gut, will increase this warming Qi in the belly.
In other words, send heat, raise heat into digestion to move what's become sluggish. Now that might have its effect. And in which case, you might have diarrhoea for a day or something like that. And you think, "Oh, that's interesting. I don't know why that happened." It happened because of the cold food which tends to fall quickly through digestion, the spleen pancreas Qi's not strong enough to uphold. I mean, it can be for a long time, but eventually if cold settles in, the uplifting Qi that we put under the category of spleen and pancreas, won't be strong enough to uphold.
And then you have something... I have a new patient or client, perhaps better to say. Just last week, a longtime vegan appearing in excellent health, but then she says, "Whenever I eat a salad..." And then she apologised, "I'm sorry to talk about this kind of thing, but I have to run to the bathroom. I have urgent watery diarrhoea." Said, "Okay, we can fix this very, very easily." I mean, of course, we look at her tongue and have to make sure what the reasons are. Have you travelled? No one's travelled. So we don't have parasites. It's not that kind of thing.
We're looking at the first things first, if it doesn't help them, we can reach deeper or refer into hospital care. That's always on the table, but that's the legal metrics we work in. But in fact, she's already better. The second day she was better. So instead of the raw salads, which has given you the symptom reliably or the smoothies, which are also raw. Have cooked vegetables, add some warming spices, things like cinnamon, fresh ginger. So that would be raw ginger root, but it's so warming it doesn't affect you as a raw thing. Turmeric would be beautiful, nutmeg even clove, which is considered very warm. Maybe cumin, which is considered the seed spices I'm looking at now, which are warming, cumin, cardamom, coriander seed, and then the leafy spices, which are warm, would be rosemary, which just grows in these tall stocks. It's very uplifting.
And we're using these things to warm the stomach. It's even possible to use a bit of black pepper in a pointed way, therapeutically here. And she said she felt better after the second meal cooking this way. And then she said, "But what about these smoothies? There's so much nutrition in them and it's really, really good." I said, "It's really, really good unless you have a cold, that's beginning to gather in your stomach and in your gut, in which case they're not really, really good. They test well in the lab, but they're no longer good for you. Maybe on occasion, once you get you back on track. But instead have a soup a vegetable soup, the broth, this is the hot version of a smoothie, is a soup." It sounds like you certainly don't want to cook a smoothie. There might be banana or mango in there, something like that. That would be quite disgusting if it was cooked, at least not cooked skillfully well, but that's what we need. So you would go to a vegetable soup with maybe some warming spices. It could even have a little bit of cinnamon, especially at first, that would really help warm the system. It's desperate for that. And just this particular person felt better by the second meal. The urgent diarrhoea absolutely vanished. And then she's still vulnerable probably for another while, depending on how she follows the plan. So you have to remember for vegans and vegetarians, that meat is very warming. And I say this as a ex- vegetarian, and that might be the bad news of [inaudible 00:24:50] but I do understand this very well. And I eat vegetarian meals every day, but just not every meal.
So, I mean, I advocate that everyone should be good at vegetarian cooking. It's inconceivable not to be good, to find it difficult to cook a well balanced, nourishing and delicious meal that doesn't include animal products. But animal products, if we eat them, are warming in particular, of course, the land animals, fish, and seafood less so. And each one's a little bit different. They've all been classified in the medical system. But land animals are very warming, beef, lamb, which I suppose, and pork a little bit less so, but still somewhat warming. Here in America I have clients out in the Western part of America. They eat a lot of venison. They're eating elk and bison. These are all warming. But generally speaking, it's beef and lamb and pork that we're talking about. And chicken. Chicken is very warming, chicken and turkey, very warming.
People often think that the chicken is like a nothing. It's just like, "Oh, I don't know what to eat. I'm not that hungry. I'll just have chicken." But chicken is very, very uplifting, warming, almost instigating food. As we say in Chinese medicine, the way it's taught is that the chickens aren't very good flying birds. They don't really fly very well, but they aspire to fly. And where I live, there's some wild turkeys and they're beautiful when they come through. There's, I guess we call them a gaggle. I'm not sure. I've forgotten what the group name-
Yeah, I think there's a special name for the group, but in any case, they come through. It's a group of six and they're large. They're large birds and surprisingly tall in the wild and they fly and they roost in low branches. They, I mean, they can't fly distances, but they fly to get away from danger and they fly to get up to branches, to roosting. They're quite big things but chickens are... Domestic chickens of course, they're highly domesticated, but with certain Chinese medicine dietetics, is that they aspire to flight. They're trying to rise up and then of course they're warming. And if we're looking for a scientific, from a modern or Western scientific way to justify that, to make some sense out of it or to feel more confident in it really is what it is so that our brains don't short circuit. The interesting thing about poultry is that birds don't get fevers.
They are very hot. Their healthy temperature is very hot. We use Fahrenheit over here, but it's about eight degrees, six to eight degrees warmer Fahrenheit. So that might be just, to easily say about three. So significantly warmer than humans. And so they are significantly hotter in a healthy resting state than people are. So to eat them as food, the body's thinking, "Well, these proteins were made at a certain temperature. These fats were put into the flesh at a certain temperature. And the easiest way to digest this food would be to raise closer to that temperature, where the chemical breakdown patterns that that digestion is conducting will happen much more easily." And that's exactly what happens.
So this is why, if people are very cold, now I know where you live you might feel that it's not cold very often. But if you're thinking about where I live in the temperate zone, where the summers are very hot and the winters are very cold. And this goes from all across the United States in the upper half, as well as most of Europe and the upper half of Asia, where people have to eat wheat to be warm, rye, warming, barley, somewhat warming and potatoes and animal food, things like this, a lot of butter and all. People were cold and the farmers were cold and they're working out there. And so if someone were to get sick, you will think maybe they're catching a cold, they're catching a flu or they were catching COVID. What is it that is making them vulnerable? And it's the cold, the fatigue and the dehydration. And this-
But chicken soup works so well, right?
That's why chicken soup works. But it doesn't work if you're living indoors, well heated and you already have a fever. So this is where...
... and you already have a fever. So this is where food energetics really makes a difference in life. And so it's a sensible difference. Chicken soup is helpful if you're too tired to make a fever, if you're too tired, too depleted would be the word we would use in Chinese medicine. If you're depleted enough so that you're not mounting a good, strong, robust, natural defence. If you are, you're fine. But if you're not, then chicken soup, it's hot. It's full of fluids, there's some degree of fat in it, I hope, at least if people are cooking well, it won't be too lean. The glistening fat on the top, let's say that. And the chicken itself is very warming. So this will help the body kick up a fever, but, and that's most useful for the first stage of infection, by the way, you're beginning to catch the cold, you're beginning to catch an infectious respiratory illness.
But if it has settled into the chest, and the next stage of the belly, and now you have a stomach bug and there's fever. So you use chicken soup, when there's chills, and then stop using it when there's a fever, that's the rule of thumb. But that's-
That's true of all of those, I remember when I first started working with an acupuncturist and he was like, "Don't take garlic and ginger when you've got this chesty cough, because it's already hot." He's like, "That's only when it's at the very start you take those things, hot bath, hot soup, the heating spices, and then you should flush it out. And if it keeps going, then you need to stop those things." And this is grandma wisdom, really.
It is, and it's grandma wisdom, which is being passed on less and less, our modern culture doesn't respect the elders, and in a very righteous fashion, and we're losing a lot of good information. So you're right there. And it also goes back to the beginning of Chinese medicine, in the incredible, genius text called, The Shanghan Lun, which is translated usually as, "On cold damage," or, to say it another way, "The damage cold does," it's a treatise on cold damage, is one way to translate it. And that book was published in about the year 220. So, a very old book where the author talks about the initial stage, when we're trying to push out a pathogen, they didn't say the word germ, but they did say pathogen, and trying to push it out, and we would use chicken soup. We would use garlic. His first recipe relies heavily on cinnamon.
Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah. When that's the formula you take at that stage as well, they're full of-
That's the formulas you take at that stage. So that's the way we can eat, as well, at that stage. So you could actually put some cinnamon into your soup, or of course, cinnamon tea. We would put some other things in with it, to make that work. In fact, someone phoned from London a few months ago, and he was in quite a panic and I don't blame him, well, panic is never the best way to make decisions, but what I'm saying is that it was understandable. And this is someone I did know because we don't really treat people that we haven't seen, we can meet online and we take a look at your tongue photo and begin to work, but, and he called and he said, "I'm coming down with COVID. I can feel it. I've lost my smell and taste. And I, I feel really, really awful. And it's only been a day, at least with symptoms, and I'm freaking out, what do I do?"
So I said to him, "Ah, well, don't freak out. And nearly everyone gets through this very well, and let's look around your kitchen. What do you have?" So we started walking around his kitchen. I'm in New York, he's in London. And I said, "Do you have cinnamon?" And he says, "Yeah, I have some cinnamon. I have sticks." Okay, good. And I said, "So, do you have an orange?" He said, "No, I don't have any oranges or tangerines or anything like that." "And how about lemon?" He goes, "Yeah, I have lemon." "Okay, good. And is it organically grown?" He said, "Probably not." So, "It's okay. Wash it off with some soap and then wash off the soap really well, we'll do our best."
And then, there was something else we put in as well. And we made a tea, a kitchen remedy for him. Oh, I think it was just fresh ginger, probably, every kitchen should have fresh ginger at all times. If we keep it too long, it can dry up. I do know people that freeze ginger, you can freeze it, just put it in a plastic food storage bag, Ziploc, or whatever type you use, try to get the air out. And ginger freezes fairly well for emergency use, but still, fresh is best. And every time you go to the store, you ask yourself the question, "Do we have fresh ginger? Do we have fresh spring onions?" And just always have those at the ready and, okay, so by spring onions, we mean scallions here. So they're not the bulb onions-
The green, long, skinny guys.
The green, long, skinny guys. They're in the onion allium family, that includes garlic, by the way, and chives. So do you have chives or the skinny, in Australia, it's spring onion, isn't that right?
We call them spring onion. Some people called them shallots as well, which is confusing, because then there's eschalots. But yeah, I basically would call them a spring onion in my-
Okay. Yeah, good. So here, it gets into foodie talk a little bit, but a spring onion is an onion that you can't store. And I think most Americans might not follow this, or even be concerned about this discussion, but the scallion would be the skinny onions that they store in the refrigerator, but they don't store in a root cellar, but the bulk onions, you can put away for months through the winter, so you would always have them, but there are other, fresh, bulb onions that don't store well, and they're sold with their green stems in the springtime, and those I call spring onions. But in any case, what we mean here are the very mild, skinny ones that don't have a distinct bulb so-
White on the bottom, green on the top. Long.
Right. Right. And this has been used in Chinese herbal medicine, as well as dietary medicine, since before anyone was writing anything down. That was very important, because they grow wild. And so you should always have these at the ready.
So we made a home, kitchen remedy for him, that he just drank five to 10 times a day. He was just making it and making it. And he got through so quickly, and you could say, "Well, he would have anyhow, it's not laboratory tested, that strategy." But what are you going to do? You use what you have with the knowledge of food energetics, you look around the kitchen and you implement a strategy. And the strategy there was, it was a new infection, let's push it back out the way it came, through the exterior.
Mm-hmm (affirmative). And would you use the citrus peel in that case? Just out of curiosity? Or use?
The citrus, I was using the citrus peel to relax his breathing, because we know in this case, you're putting together everything. COVID is a new illness. It wasn't written about in the Chinese medical classics, but so you extrapolate and you say, "Well, this is something where a lot of people get into breathing problems." A lot of people get into circulatory problems. So the citrus peel was in there to relax the diaphragm and open breathing. We say, "Open the chest," is the term, to open breathing so that he wouldn't get caught in respiratory problems. And that his lungs would continue to function well to clear whatever phlegm might be arising. So we could have put in the whites of spring onion, in which case, it becomes a little bit more like a soup, where you're beginning to put in these savoury notes. So you use what you have, but I didn't want to make it confusing. Three elements. That was all.
And so that's the same idea that you were talking about before. And all we're doing is implementing the first strategy from this book, written in 220. And then if it progresses further, we would implement the second or third strategy, whichever one was presenting. And it goes through six stages. In fact, that's its nickname, The Six Stages.
Six Stages, yeah. And I think this is something with, like you said, we've lost the elders, we've lost the cranky grandmas who bundle you up in a scarf and a beanie-
I think in Australia. I know people, and I guess it's an interesting thing because I think when you're young as well, and you do have a lot of young chi naturally, you can be out in the cold with less on and you don't feel it as much. And I'm only 35, but I've noticed a change in the last 10 years, with my sensitivity to elemental forces. That's probably also, my awareness has built up a lot over time.
Right. And that's a big question that people ask in the food context. Often they say, "Well, Andrew, if I eat the way that you're describing, then if I ever have to eat some junk food or fast food, it's going to kill me. I won't have my chops for it. So I'll get weak doing this." But-
Well, that's not true. It makes you stronger.
It makes you much, much more resilient, but like you said, more sensitive. So it's not that we're getting weaker, it's that we're more sensitive. So we have two teenagers, and I watch them sometimes when they eat with their friends after school, now they're in a remote school, and take a look at how they're feeling. And they're eating this stuff like vacuum cleaners, partly as rebellion, because they were raised on the kind of diet that was there. Their tremendous misfortune was to be raised by an acupuncturist mother and dietary and herbalist dad. And we cook every day, constantly.
And so they'll eat junk food on the outside, but it's not true that the teenagers just plough through this, and feel completely fine. They plough through it, feel very satisfied that they're being rebellious and having fun with their friends. And then they feel like they are a brick. They do have food stagnation, and all of a sudden what had been a really great digestion and elimination gets more complicated, and then their skin might break out a little bit. And then they come to me and they say, "Dad, do you have any herbs? Do you have some herbs?"
I'm curious as to whether you, because I have a four-year-old, and one of the things that I found incredibly challenging the other day, and it was a proud moment as a mother was, I was driving her with a friend. So she's four, and her friend was seven, and they were in the back talking to each other. And my daughter said, "Oh, I'm not allowed to eat ice cream when I have a white coating on my tongue. So before I ask my mom, I check my tongue and just see if I'm allowed ice cream today."
I just giggled to myself that she, at four, was already-
I was [inaudible 00:42:24] but it's been something that I don't even have to say, "No," anymore. I'm like, "What's your tongue like?" And she goes and checks and she comes back and she goes, "Oh, it's pink." And I'm like, "Okay, cool. We have a little bit of ice cream," or. "No, it's got a white coating." "Well, no, we're not having any today." She's just like, so are there any little tips you've taught your kids or any, if someone's wanting to look at their own tongue? One of my first yoga teachers, he's like, "You look at your tongue twice a day, every time you brush your teeth," he's like, "It's such an important way to measure what's going on in your body." And it's been something that I've been doing for, I think, 20 years now. But people look at me like I'm whack when I say it, so I wonder if there any tips you can give that are easy for people to get a gauge on how they might want to be adjusting their day, or their diet, based on what they're seeing.
Right. I think it's great to look at your tongue in the mirror often like that. It shouldn't be obsessive, but it doesn't sound, so I can hear in your voice that you're not being obsessive about it, it's just part of your health habit. There are people we have to be careful with our clients, that some of them do feel [crosstalk 00:43:33], and so your good eating isn't is not a jail sentence. It's actually just incredibly beautiful to eat according to your personal health status.
So, looking at your tongue is very important. And so the first thing, and we do this a lot, and in our, by our, I mean and my wife and I, in our food teaching, we often put up a picture of various people's tongues, and decode them, and talk about the dietary adjustments. And my wife, Anne, is proofreading right now, a major new book on tongue diagnosis with a lot of amazing photographs. It's really, really exciting. So we've been having a lot of fun working, it's her authorship, but we like to work together.
So what can we do at home? The first thing you can do when you look at your tongue from a dietary perspective. So we're not using acupuncture needles at home. We're not playing games with medicinal herbs without training, but everyone's eating. So we really are doing medicine every day, whether we like it or not. The way we're eating is holding our pathology, to use that word, in place. It's holding our health status in place, or it's changing it. It's not neutral. So, when you look at your tongue, and the first thing to look at would be the overall shape and size, does your tongue feel very small? Like it's barely sticking out of your mouth, or does it like really, really reach out? So, overly expressive might be a description, which would be a lot of yang chi, and a relative deficiency of yin, or vice versa, if the tongue barely peeks out of the mouth. There could be cold, there could be a lot of emotional constraint. If the tongue barely sticks out of the mouth, there's often a lot of emotional, internal pressure. That's always a part of it. We can't separate it out. It is incorrect to separate the emotional arena from a health status, as is usually done in the world of specialties, where we go to a digestive specialist and you go to your therapist, and it's all supposed to be neat and separate, but it's not.
So, okay. Then you look at, is the tongue narrow in the back? The tongue should be almost a little bit, not pointed at the tip, but it should narrow to a tip, to a rounded tip, and it should be full in the back. But for many of us, the back is very narrow, indicating that we've worn out the wax in our candle a little bit too much for our age. And so that's what we call yin deficiency. It could accompany hormone deficiency, for example. In fact, that's a big point when people come from fertility work, and they're eating salads and juices, and you can see that there's a narrowing of their tongue in the back, and they're having trouble getting pregnant. And we need to warm the belly, scatter the cold, warm the belly, and nourish yin. And there's many, many successful families based on that strategy with that presentation.
Or, you look at your tongue and we would look at the basic colour. Now this would be the colour of the coat, like what you're talking about your daughter, if there's a white coat, that means that's not the body of the tongue, that's the coat of the tongue. So that would be some kind of coating, might be an easier way to say it to those for whom this is new. So there's a coating on the tongue. And that really tells us how we're doing with fats, with lipids. Are we digesting fats well, or are we over consuming fats for our capacity to digest them? Which means it could be sugars as well. So in that case, yes, you don't want more dairy coming in, which is high in fat, and ice cream, of course, is high in sugar, high in dairy, and cold.
Is that called the triple yin death?
Well, we don't have to be too judgmental, but [crosstalk 00:48:09] ice cream is delicious. There's no question. Ice cream is really beautiful. It should be high quality, and it should be only on rare occasions. So, and then really enjoy the times when you have it. And then take a look, you say, "Well, you know what? I still feel it in my throat, even six hours later," it's just a little thickness, a little bit of, as the body pushes some phlegm to the surface, a little bit of mucus to the surface of the throat, in an active self protection from the cold. That's what's happening, and difficulty digesting the dairy. So it's always the body's response. It's not that the dairy is phlegm and just gets painted, on the phlegm is the body's response to something it finds somewhat challenging. It's similar with too much spicy peppers or spicy chilies. I know we don't use the pepper word, spicy capsicum. I'm not sure what the right term is. And my wife is Australian, by the way.
Oh, is she? Oh, yeah, like the chilli pepper. Yeah. Okay. [crosstalk 00:49:13]
The pepper word. Very, very long history of why that word, "Pepper," is misused applied to the spicy capsicum, or even the bell, what we call bell peppers in America. They're [crosstalk 00:49:27]-
Yeah, the capsicum, we call that. Yeah.
Right. Capsicum, right. Which is their botanical name, but we're stuck with the word, "Pepper," because of Columbus. He was looking for pepper and he'd never seen a pepper tree growing.
Oh, it's a spice thing.
It's a spice coming from incredibly far away and through, and they'd never seen a pepper tree. And they were looking for spices, and in a complex, very, very complex historical moment, 1492, in Spain, and basically the expulsion of the spice merchants. So they were without spices. So this was part of it. That part of the story is not told, surprisingly, in American education, but in any case, Columbus found these things that he found somewhat spicy and he called them peppers. And we've been stuck with that ever since, there's the confusion. So we can call them capsicum, but Americans don't know what that means. For the most part-
That's a nice capsicum.
Exactly, exactly. So then you can look at the colour of the coat. If the coat on the tongue is white, then something's building up. I call this housekeeping. We're not keeping up with internal housekeeping. And this is not just on the tongue, it's through the internal body. That's why it's so significant. And then the clinician, with more training would look, at where is the white? Is it all over? Which, usually it's not all over. It usually starts in an area, and then it would spread to all over. So then, if we can see through the coding, you would look at the colour of the body of the tongue. And this is very, very easy to do. This is important. If the body of the tongue seems very, very red, then we're looking at heat in the blood, probably from too much meat, too much protein. It could be too much spicy food, too much alcohol, too much coffee, too much chocolate, too much garlic and onion. These are the usual suspects-
Very hot, energy foods.
Really hot energy foods. These are the foods that are implicated in reflux, or GERD, acid reflux. It's the same list of usual suspects. That would be the thing we cut out first. That may not solve it, but that's what we have to do in order to solve it, in order to get to the actual therapeutic. So that would be if your tongue body looks too red, and you think, "Well, what's too red?" Well, if it looks really, noticeably red, you look at it and you say, "Wow, that's red." And you look at other people's tongues. And we have this saying, never stick your tongue out at someone with this training, because they'll know exactly what your status is, and-
The report card.
We won't say anything, but just as a general rule, don't stick your tongue out. And then, if the tongue is too pale, this could indicate borderline anaemia, what we call in Chinese medicine, blood deficiency, where your body's not transforming your diet into rich enough blood. And so basically that paleness goes through all your muscles, somewhat pale. So the tongue is the muscle we can see. And so it's a look into the surface, and not into your blood, but towards the blood, we're seeing signs. So the pale tongue could be that the stomach has gotten too cold. I put that example, the opposite of the person who's eating too much meat. Now we're talking about that vegan, as mentioned before, where her digestion wasn't upholding, wasn't warm enough to do the transformation that was necessary for her diet.
So by adding all cooked food and warming spices, her body didn't need to present as much heat of its own. We were bringing that heat in, and it was so much more successful, until her body will take over. Which it will. And, but with someone where the tongue is pale, it could be cold, as in that case, it could be a blood deficiency, in which case we would want to eat, if red meat would be helpful, it's the easiest way to build blood. But if not, and along with that, we always want vegetables. We eat dark leafy greens, beetroot is actually really important for building blood. It includes what we call in Chinese medicine, the law of signature, but Western science has verified it. There're beautiful chemicals in beetroot for building blood, and in fact, two of them were actually named after beets. So, betanin is one of them, and other colourful root vegetables, but the dark leafy greens are very, very important. Berries are very important for blood. Blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and goji berries. Very, very helpful for blood. We can use beans, like adzuki beans, red lentils, even perhaps black beans, for building blood, and anything that helps build fluid will help build blood. So that could be steamed rice, steamed millet, [inaudible 00:54:54], again, like you mentioned. So the system works very, very well and you match it to your tongue presentation.
I'm trying to think what else would be. If there's scalloping-
What about, scalloped? Yeah. Because I think we always talked about in with yoga, [crosstalk 00:55:13]-
The scallop tongue is very common. So here you're seeing the imprints of the teeth, usually on the sides, occasionally on the front as well, that are imprinted on the tongue because the tongue has swollen. So I've even had people say, "Oh Andrew, my tongue is just too big for my mouth. It's always been like that." And so I love that, because it's so charming, it's so earnest, but it's not right. And the tongue has swollen. It's been like that for years, for someone who says that, they're so used to it, that they simply say it's how they are. But actually it's all that time that they haven't been digesting well.
And that's a sign, basically, that they haven't been digesting carbs very well. So I know that some branches of holistic medicine like to interpret that sign differently, but when the tongue swells like that, it may look swollen. It may just, you see the imprints. It definitely is swollen, it's as if we're eating carbohydrates, not transforming them into our personal nourishment fully. And so they're sticking around and there's food stagnation, and the inner body begins to swell, which is reflected with a swelling of the tongue in that area. Usually it's the middle of the tongue and the molars that we're seeing.
So the thing to do there. Well, here's the short take on carbs. There's so many people who are anti carb and they're terrified of carbs, or they vilify carbs. And I've been looking into this for years and years, and I just don't find that validity, unless someone has developed so much difficulty with metabolising sugars and carbohydrates that even healthy carbs are implicated. So, that happens further down. And we can come back from that, but there are such cases, sometimes with SIBO, with small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, and intense, intense bloating. We do see people like this relatively often, because they come to us for dietary help. They've been all over the place, and it takes some discipline, but it's absolutely-
Are you putting them on a... Oh, sorry to interrupt you. Are you putting them on a paleo style diet then, in that case, a low carb? I'm curious because I had SIBO when I was overseas. In Thailand, I got really sick, really sick with some bug. I never went to a doctor, but I just spent five days really sick. Anyway, I came back to Australia and I put myself on, after doing some research on it, I put myself on a keto, almost, style diet for a while with a healing protocol, and it actually sorted it out. I can eat everything again now, but I'm curious if that's what you would do clinically or there's a nuance there.
Yeah. That's a part of it. We definitely do that. So you'd put someone on a keto diet, looking for ketosis. I really don't like that diet, because of the strain it puts on the liver and the kidneys. The same with paleo diet. I don't consider it a healthy long-term diet, and it's definitely not sustainable by a large population of the world. The world can not support this. So the question is, if it's necessary for a healing period for a few months, okay. That's an important point. But in terms of using it full time, saying, "This is the diet I'm," I wonder, well, I hate to say this, but it has an elitist problem, that we can eat like this because of, I don't at all, but if someone does, because they have the affluence to do so.
But they're absorbing resources at a frightening rate, and someone might say, "Well, that's simply not my concern, survival of the fittest, financially." But I don't agree with that. That's not something I subscribe to. I think we do need to eat within the matrix of the world, and in a healthy fashion. And that we need to spend our money, to vote with our wallets for good farming practises, and sustainable practises. Nothing else makes any sense at all.
I absolutely agree. Yeah.
So nonetheless, if someone presents with SIBO and it's extreme, first, I check to see how extreme it is. The protocol I use goes something like this.
... extremely just... The protocol I use goes something like this. It depends on the person and their presentation, their tongues, their pulses, if I'm able to take them and what I'm hearing from them about their specific symptoms but basically speaking the protocol goes like this.
First, let's cut out sugar because anything else is just not sincere. So we do all these things. We're cutting out grains, we're cutting out any processed food, we're cutting out all kinds of things and then the person's still having dessert or they're still sneaking this, or they're still saying, "Well, honey in my tea." I mean, just for an example, when I was writing Welcoming Food, which took quite a few years to make it shorter, to try not to make it long actually is what took a long time because the original drought was quite a bit longer. Anyone can write a great thing, but to write something meaningful that's short is quite... Is another matter.
I agree, it's an art form and you've really done an amazing job. Actually, it's a-
Oh, thank you so much, thank you.
[crosstalk 01:01:14] the first night I started reading it, I was like, "I've read so much on just Taoism Chinese medicine." And you've put it in words that first of all makes sense to anybody, which makes it so accessible, but it's also really succinct. Every sentence carries meaning, but it's... Yeah, there's not a lot of waffle and I really appreciate it.
It's a great-
Okay. I'm so glad to hear. Thank you. So during the writing process, I would sometimes pick up the laptop and my notebooks and go to a cafe, and actually in... I'm in Connecticut now, in the woods, but in Manhattan, we live in an apartment where the bottom floor of the apartment has a cafe run by a couple of Australians. So what what we call in New York-
Hey, [crosstalk 01:02:02].
... an Australian cafe has become a term. So it's great. So sometimes I go down there or down the street or something like that and I was in a cafe setting up and I was just doing some more edits and all that, and one of my clients came in and I'm sitting there with a green tea or something, whatever it was, and one of my clients came in and he waved to me and I waved to him and he came over and we caught up and we chatted for a bit, and this is someone who can't digest carbs. He's on a zero carb diet and he put three packs of sugar into his coffee without even knowing he was doing it.
So this is the state of affairs and so when we're working with someone... And I didn't call him on it, because it was a cafe, right?
So that's the stage he's at and so... Which reminds me then of just a story that you might enjoy that I was... We have a store in... A food market in America called whole Foods that sells a lot of organic things and relatively-
A lot of things.
Well, food and food products and they're really relatively reliable for basically very good quality and it's not flawless, but it's very reliable, I'm glad they're there. So I was in there one day and I ran into Jeffrey Yuen there, master teacher in so many ways and I've been a student at Jeffrey's for 20 years and so... And he knows that at that time was just about to release the food books and so we had a chat and he had his basket and I had my basket, and we had a very, very nice chat and neither of us looked in each other's food baskets. This was a very, very important point of discipline, that just to really focus on... It's like, "I'm not checking out, well, what kind of food does this great Taoist master buy? I still have no idea. And that was my way of giving him space, and he didn't look in mine either. So where's the ice cream? So I'm sure neither of us were buying ice cream but so-
That's really beautiful, though. I really... Just as a philosophical discipline to give that person their space in their private time I think.
Right. Because that's not how... What a teacher... And he has been my master teacher in so many ways for so long. What a teacher wants is not students that are following in their every move, they want students that light up on their own and go their own way. That's what the whole thing is about and that's what all the food practise is about. It's so that everyone can live their own life more effectively, more freely, with more enjoyment, and freedom means freedom from illness, freedom from pain, freedom from lethargy. That's very, very important. That's the point of it. It's not to be righteous with food.
Okay, so anyhow, back to this idea of SIBO, cut out sugar and so many people think they have, and they haven't, and it's important not to criticise them, but to work with them with their own readiness to actually do so.
So to find the hidden sugars, maybe it's like, "Well, I've cut out sugar. We never buy sugar, we don't buy honey or maple syrup or anything like that anymore." But then there's still some packaged things. I like to snack that comes in a wrapper that I unwrap, and you actually look at it, it's full of carbs and there's a lot of sneaking going on.
So, okay. So we're working with that. The first thing is cutting out sugar. The second thing is cutting out the glutinous grains causing inflammation and dysbiosis, poor digestion for so many people. So I personally digest wheat quite well and I limit it to, or I try to, mostly organic wheat because of the way non-organic wheat has been over hybridised and the way it's farmed. So I reach for organic wheat. I consider it very important and I know that's saying something, because wheat is the staple of Western diet, and that would include Australia, of course. And there's so much wheat being eaten in baked goods and so forth that it's hard to keep track of how it's grown, but it is very important for best health to... Not everything, you could say, "Well, it's too expensive to eat organic." But there are some foods where it's most important, and those would be wheat, corn, soy are the three secret ones that are in everything, so to speak and are grown...
Yeah, the growing was awful. And the hybridization and GMOs, and yeah.
Right. Exactly. Exactly right, and the GMOs need to be... They're designed to be grown with massive-
... glyphosate and things like this. So this is an enormous problem. So it's a really active, big problem for people's health. It's not just an aside thing, this is huge. So we cut out the glutinous grains, which would be wheat, rye and barley, and it's mostly wheat, overwhelmingly wheat. So you cut that out and then we take a look, are they still good with the non-glutenous grains? Rice, millet, oats, quinoa, teff, amaranth, fonio, which is an interesting grain that's coming to market now, beautiful, and things like that.
So maybe they're not okay with rice, with white rice because it's so... It converts to sugar so quickly that this still feeds the SIBO bacteria. It's not just bacteria, of course. It says SIBO with a B, but it's really microbes, a whole slew of microbes. Yeasts, funguses, all kinds of things that are growing out of control in someone's belly who has SIBO. So with bloating right after eating and this fizzy feeling. Like one of my clients says, "It feels like there's a beer factory in my belly."
Oh my gosh, Andrew. I used to do burps that smelled like eggs if I ate anything with a carbohydrate in it.
[crosstalk 01:08:37] the time.
So it might be-
The fermentation [inaudible 01:08:37] was wild, yeah.
Right, the internal fermentation, it's wild. So it's not clean because you could say, "Well, what's wrong with fermentation?" So if someone really likes beer or they like vodka or whatever, that's fermented. Or they like kombucha or miso, these are fermented, but these are fermented under very controlled circumstances where you're picking your microbes, you're picking your yeast and then with something like beer, to some degree, it's filtered afterwards. And with something like vodka, the dirty alcohols are separated, the methanols and things.
So with internal fermentation, we get all that. It's like a really dirty mash, and the microbes that are doing the fermentation are not the ones you would want so they would make awful beer as well. So, okay, good. So sometimes you have to cut out all the carbs, and that would include things like millet and brown rice, and maybe some of those people can continue with quinoa, which is not a grain or buckwheat. These are called pseudo grains and they digest more like seeds. If so, that's useful and you can have them as porridges, you can have them steamed or in grain salads, things like that.
And then we add root vegetables if possible, and you have to think then, "What are we getting full on? Where are we getting our nourishment without grains and how we handling the organs of digestion that thrive when we eat grain?" So a healthy body eating grains in a healthy fashion has food for the stomach, spleen, pancreas, and small intestine that they absolutely thrive on. So without grains that provide bulk, they provide healthy carbs, it's difficult to run metabolism and it's difficult to run peristalsis. So you're eating a lot of food and meat... High meat diets that have no fibre, eggs and meat have no fibre. So they have their uses, they're wonderful foods in their way, but we have to think about this.
[crosstalk 01:10:50], right.
Yeah. So you want something to stabilise and starve out the sugar eating microbes, and then during that time gradually bring in more fibre to repopulate. So this would be prebiotics and probiotics, the fermented foods, to rebuild the microbiome and gradually come back. Maybe the first grain we would introduce would be millet, which is a whole grain and very, very neutral and beneficial for digestion. We would leave corn for last, things that are very easily converted to sugar and maybe keep... Check out gluten because maybe... And then what you don't want to do is go right back to the diet in its full form that got you into the trouble you were in before, which is a question that people often ask, they say, "Okay, Andrew, how long will I have to eat like this?"
And the answer is individual, of course, but the real answer is that you'll eat better. You eat food that tastes better and digests better. And recipes can be much simpler. My daughter, as I mentioned, she's a teenager and she's cooking really... Both my kids cook beautifully and they like garlic, they like garlic a lot and my daughter said, "It's an every recipe I read, dad." And, of course, they wouldn't look into my book to make any of those recipes and I get that. I mean, I understand the-
These relationships. But every recipe, and I hear this from clients as well. I am recommending soups to nourish [inaudible 01:12:35] and they say, "Every recipe starts with bulb onion and garlic. So I can't find any recipes to make." I said, "Simply leave it out." And-
Or use scallions instead, right?
Right, and possibly-
... leeks. Most people do pretty well with leeks and then you think, "Oh, well, that doesn't make any sense. They're all in the allium family." But when you slice a scallion, a spring onion, or a leek, we don't usually tear. They don't make us cry, they're not that irritating. They do help movement, they help movement of blood, movement of fluids, which is something that's essential. It's very important. So they do help movement, but they don't irritate and bulb onions and garlic are very, very irritating. So imagine if you got some actually in your eye, a leek wouldn't be that big a deal. You'll just wipe it away but they're not that irritating, but a piece of cut garlic would be terrible or a chilli pepper. These things are so irritating to the system.
So the very delicate flesh lining of the small intestine is very, very irritated by these things and what happens is that the body then... Again, going back to what we was talking about before, the body starts secreting protective fluids and so my term for that is that the intestines start weeping. They start exuding these fluids, and sometimes people see mucus or phlegm in the stool, or they just feel a lot of stagnation and this is because there's irritation going on. As soon as the body tries to recover, here comes to the next meal.
Now you say, "Oh, that doesn't make any sense. People cook like this and they do fine." Some people do fine, but if there's problems and it could... If there's heat in the system and you exacerbate heat, you're asking for trouble eventually, and that trouble can take many serious forms, especially if there's dehydration. The heat consuming tissues is the way it's said in Chinese medicine, the heat that's moving through the body gets lodged here and there, depending on a variety of complicated factors. Is the heat lodged in the gut? Is the heat lodged maybe perhaps right in the stomach? Does it get to the liver causing high blood pressure? Scarring of the liver? Is the heat coming to the lungs? Is it getting to the heart itself? Which would usually then... The body will protect the heart, which is like the king in a chess game. I think of the heart is more feminine by the way, but more like the empress, but body treats the heart like the king on the chess board, protected at all costs. So then the body will do these brilliant, unbelievably-
Defensive moves to drain that fire from the heart down through... Basically, through digestion down through the bladder and the person says, "All of a sudden I have a bladder infection." They take antibiotics, which decimate the microbes in the gut and the bladder infection's better until they stop taking the antibiotics. So sometimes, sure, a person has a bladder infection and they take the antibiotics and they're cured, but very often it recurs and recurs and recurs, and what's happening is that it's not actually an infection in the bladder. It's heat somewhere else in the body that the body, as you say, does defensive moves, strategically... Moving through fluids because the only way the body can really move anything to clear a detox or heal is through fluids. That's how things are mobilised, and through fluids eventually then to the bladder and that heat gathers and it irritates the bladder, possibly in the presence of a bacteria sometimes, but sometimes not. Although that's not my purview, granted-
Well, I was about to ask, because I was taught, again, by an acupuncturist I worked with it that antibiotics are by their nature cold so it would make sense that that would sort of... If there's a lot of hate and it's irritated the bladder, which I can imagine, a cold treatment would "Fix it." I'm doing air quotes, but you can't see me.
Right. I felt them. I felt them.
But that's a temporary solution, right? As soon as the lifestyle continues you're back in trouble town.
Well, it too often is a temporary solution and what we need to do there in a case like that, and we're roaming freely around a lot of interesting subjects.
We are, yeah.
But that's the fun of it, is what we need to do there is to really clear the heat and figure out what's causing the heat. Why are we... And there's many reasons for heat. Sometimes heat can be a healing response. The body's doing something perfectly by raising that heat, but if it lasts too long, it's just chronic inflammation. So we need to look at all those factors and really have a genuine plan, not just what I call a this for that treatment that, "Oh, if there's a bladder infection, you have to use this." Cranberry juice is very popular, you know, right?
And it can be helpful, but because of its it's tart, almost bitter quality is why it's helpful but what we're looking for would be a diuretic that clears heat. So what we usually use is, depending on the severity, sometimes we'll use herbs and the person... We need to help someone right now this instant, but string bean soup, so you have a mushroom seaweed soup with string beans, this is one of my favourite anti-inflammatories. So you start with kombu or kelp kombu, giving it the Japanese name, seaweed [crosstalk 01:18:51]-
[crosstalk 01:18:51] seaweed.
... used for broth and some dried black mushrooms, that makes a very quick delicious broth, vegan, by the way. And then you could put in some carrots, which are descending, some string beans, which have a mild or snow peas, they have a mild but distinct diarrhetic quality. And then maybe some mung bean noodles for something to chew on, just to make the soup good. And maybe some fresh mung beans, which clear heat and have a slightly diarrhetic quality.
So mung beans, the sprouts, any sprouts will clear heat and so we'll make a soup like that. Maybe you could put in some sliced spring onions to help things move and clear heat. Then we'll be looking at... The person says, "Well, I have to put garlic in because this is a soup and I have to put in some sliced onions." And you realise that their dietary habits are holding their pathology in place. [inaudible 01:19:56] what this means is that when they go to their Western MD, they will definitely come away with a prescription and they'll need to... The prescription will have to be quite strong and will have to use a lot of it.
Whereas if their diet was strategically correct for their status, if they're eating for their current condition, then the doctor might say, "Well, I'm seeing some of this, but I don't think you actually need antibiotics now. Or if you do, not so much, not so strong or certainly not as often." This is what happens is that we're not anti antibiotics, but if they're used to freely, the microbiome is decimated. That gives rise to SIBO. So this is usually how... In your case, you probably caught some little parasite or something, but if something went on like that but-
Well, we talk to a lot of people with more lifestyle dysfunction coming out of, again, usually... I mean, I guess one thing that popped into my head, and I am conscious of time, so I don't want to keep you too much longer, but when you were talking about the vegan diet and that cold and the body's natural response is, again, like nature or is trying to bring harmony, it's going to raise the heat. I'm thinking about allergies and inflammation. I'm thinking about the ecosystem of the gut's is going to be affected by this increase... All these changing temperatures. You know?
It's making a lot of sense to me that someone would then present with, and again, I'm air quoting, "like a SIBO." Or some kind of dysfunction, which is really an accumulation of maybe a decade of food choices that's suddenly presenting in-
Or more. Right? Or more.
Yeah. And it makes a lot if sense-
So, you know-
... testing for all that allergens, but it's just really that the body's in an inflammatory state and it's stressed really. Is [crosstalk 01:21:43].
Right, and the-
It [crosstalk 01:21:45].
What sets the stage for this is multiple rounds of antibiotics, and I'm not saying not to use them if they're necessary.
Of course, yeah.
Be clear, but multiple rounds of antibiotics, sometimes over years and years, and a diet including sugar, because the proper, the good players in the microbiome can be weakened or killed by the antibiotics and then the sugar comes in and feeds these other players that are real quick acting that either the wrong microbes or they're in the wrong place of the gut. Then if there's emotional stress, someone has a very difficult job, very high stressed job, there's a death in the family, there's a divorce, there's... Life brings stress into everyone's journey-
No one escapes high stress, but if you're having a time of high stress and the microbiome is off and you're having all this sugar, because maybe you're stressed from eating sugar and... Or it's just even what you might call a natural or normal amount of sugar in today's culture, which is excessive to say the least, this is the opportunity for SIBO to arise. The weakness comes from the antibiotics, the weakness of digestion from antibiotics and the stress and then the sugar feeds the wrong microbes and you're off and running.
My usual experience is that it takes three to nine months to clear, but people can feel better right away, they won't be clear, they can feel better. And the first two weeks, possibly three, usually two, feels like withdrawal from an addiction. There's sugar cravings that are... Some people are saying now, which is really interesting research, that the sugar cravings are actually caused by the microbes that enter somehow through neuropeptide production into the neurology of our beings and they send messages to the brain craving sugar. And of course, glucose is the brain's principal food or nearly only food. And it's very, very satisfying for the brain. You have brain fog and headaches, and just the tiniest bit of sugar clears all that up. So it's extremely tricky to break. I mean, I have a patient, he's an absolutely lovely guy and he told me in his first session that he has a drug history with severe needle drug addiction and he's been clear for well over 10 years. Then he had an alcohol addiction, he's been clear for about six years and sugar is hitting him again in the same way. He says it's.... And I think, for me, because thank goodness I haven't had those problems. I tend to think of something like heroin as an addiction to break that is different than sugar. You know?
I mean, I give a lot of respect to... Tremendous respect and humility to the people who have broken that addiction, but what he was telling me, and we're laughing about it, because he's a really smart guy and he's very self-aware, and he has this experience of getting clean from these things, and he said, "This is really hard, sugar. This is really hard."
One of the reasons it's so difficult is that we can live without alcohol. You break the addiction and you stick with it, and I'm not saying it's easy, but a lot of people do it and then you have zero. But you can't have zero sugar. We need blood sugar. The game here is we don't need white sugar, but we need... We don't need honey, but we need blood sugar every day and it needs to be well-regulated. So the game here with a lot of these digestive or metabolic digestive problems that are so common in modern society, the real secret is that we have to begin... We have to turn the corner or get over the hump or whatever we want to say to derive blood sugar from real food that digests slowly and steadily.
So a real meal that would include perhaps brown rice or millet, or even white rice, maybe oats or barley, rye, wheat, if it's... Particularly speaking of the antique wheats, spelt or bulgur or emmer, kamut, [inaudible 01:26:32] wheat. What we call the antique wheats that are readily available in beautifully grown versions. Those are usually okay, not if you have celiac disease, but for everyone else, they're usually okay. Especially after we sort out the whole wheat and gluten thing, but then... And so we're using meals that are a healthy grain, plenty of greens, maybe root vegetables, maybe mushrooms and animal food if you like, if not, definitely vegetarians must be having beans or at least lentils, adzuki beans, tofu properly made. Traditionally-made tofu is healthy food for nearly everyone, because protein is essential. So then you're having a meal that digests slowly. Sometimes we need meals that are easy to digest, and I write about that in the book and that's a very, very important part of the healing protocols, but meals that digest slowly.
Is that the bland... [inaudible 01:27:38] of diet would that be? Is that the Chinese translation sort of?
It doesn't need to be bland. Bland in Chinese medicine is a specific taste. It's considered the sixth taste, and it's diarrhetic and tofu is an example. Basically tofu is slightly sour, but basically bland. Zucchini is bland or courgette. I think you say zucchini in Australia, right?
We do, yeah.
Yeah, okay. In England is where they say courgette and-
Courgette. Yeah, aubergines and things.
[inaudible 01:28:07] and so zucchini and certain other melons would be a bland, and that doesn't mean that they're not delicious. So you cook them... Don't overcook them so they still have something to the tooth, and there can be some salt in a basic sauce or it could be a soy sauce based thing, or it could be cooked with olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and some herbs. So it's not at all blended, actually, it's not boring, but technically speaking, we call that bland and that helps... That would be good for the UTI we were talking about before.
So that's an important... Very, very important... So mushrooms, zucchini, and beansprouts with a little olive oil and some sea salt. And they have that once a day, twice a day as a side dish to get further and further from the symptoms of UTI. To put more space between a person and their symptoms. But getting back to metabolism, what we need to do is to make this conversion from someone who eats food because it's delicious, and entertaining, and great, and I love to cook, et cetera, or I love my restaurants, et cetera, and it to convert from having sugars where the body says, "The first sugar in the blood comes from sugar." Refined sugar. So in the sauce from the restaurant, from the dessert or from the appetiser even for that matter, which would be not a good idea.
So the body is seeking blood sugar when we eat, and then as soon as it gets, it says, "Okay, I have blood sugar, we're regulated. I don't need to digest this meal anymore." And the meal sits and we get into the fermentation scenario again. So the thing to do is to deprive the digestion of simple sugars. Provide complex sugars, carbohydrates, healthy-
... provide complex sugars, carbohydrates, healthy carbohydrates, and within a mixed varied diet, with all kinds of other things and then the digestion says, "Okay, I've got to get to work on this meal and I know how to do it. There's a sequence to digestion, we'll follow that." And the body is brilliant at doing this unless there's simple sugars, but if there's not, the body will go through this sequence and blood sugar will be provided or sugar will be provided to the blood, in the perfect fashion that it'll be relaxing, digestion's happy, the liver's happy, the brain is happy, the intestines are happy and the enteric brain, which is always sort of taking the temperature, so to speak of the intestines... The brain in the gut, the enteric brain, which is really important for moods, for stability, for avoiding depression, anxiety, and for intuition, that's the downside. The good side would be when we get really good at the enteric brain, it opens up intuition. This idea of your gut knowledge, making decisions based on this. Yeah, exactly. Especially when the upper brain and the belly brain work together and this is more of a...
Or more of a meditative cultivation of diet because diet really has no limits. But when we're digesting food and extracting blood sugar, providing it to the blood in a steady and slow and regulated fashion, we're really digesting properly. And so many things in the body and in health and in moods and in mental clarity come together, it changes life. So, now you can do an experiment where you eat a meal like that, let's say let's make one up and call it really nicely cooked brown rice with mushrooms, maybe some pumpkin next to it, a piece of white fish and some kale, right? So a simple...
Cooked kale? Not raw kale-
Always cooked kale, always cooked, for ease of digestion otherwise it's too taxing for digestion. It doesn't have to be over cooked, but cooked and then on top of that, you put some herbs for flavour, some seed spices, maybe some really nice... Actually we love the Murray River Sea Salt or [crosstalk 01:32:38]-
oh , yeah.
... [inaudible 01:32:39] the Murray River Salt, I'm never without that in our kitchen, that beautiful Australian pink salt and so some of that sprinkled on top and it's beautiful eating. Maybe if that's too complicated, then buy some organic pasta and some broccoli and small piece of meat. Okay, good, everyone cooks something like that. And then, so you eat it and you digest it, you're digesting and it feels good in the belly, say, "Wow, that was great. I could have some more, but I won't. So that was really, really great." So that's important, "I could have some more," in other words, the belly feels good.
And then have one bite of a dessert. And dessert, of course is delicious, no one doubts that, but you have whatever it is that you like and all of a sudden, the stomach feels like you ate a rock. It feels very heavy, you feel very, very full, "I couldn't have any more," but since it's dessert, you force in the rest of the slice of cake or whatever it is that is your favourite. That little bit of sugar, what's happening here is that the body works by signals and the signal has come in that here's easily absorbed sugar, absorbable, and the body will just go for it, it absorbs that sugar regulates blood sugar, the brain is relaxed to satisfied. And the digestion basically stops until we...
Grinds to a halt.
It get grinds to a halt and all of a sudden, how do we know that? Because we feel suddenly very full and that's a signal, that's the language the body speaks in.
I love that description you had in your book of the stomach purring. I really, I mean, [crosstalk 01:34:25]-
... but I thought that was a really nice way to think about, after your eat, do you feel like there's this happy warmth in your tummy? Or is it like, that bloated or leaden or heavy feeling?
Right. Or just like, "What did I just do to myself?" Next time I will remember, but
And that can be with very, very healthy foods. So-called healthy, now I'm doing the air quote thing. It can, it doesn't matter. It can be with very, very healthy food. So this it's a nice test to do, so what do we do then with desserts? As my students...
Want to know.
They give me this look of like, "Okay, okay, I get it. It makes sense. And I know that experience of eating a bite of something sweet and all of a sudden, digestion's not purring like it was. That vibrating, humming feeling that feels so good. It really is, it's just visceral happiness". And again, life throws its challenges, but we can handle them better when our gut is happy.
So when you feel stable, you feel like we're on solid ground. That our life is not in distress, like when the belly hurts or if there's anxiety coming from the gut, we're hypersensitive to the problems of life. So this is really, really important. And so then they say, "What do we do?" You know, I mean, are you saying no sweets forever? And I'm really not saying that. What you want to do is to separate this. So it might be, I don't know, three or four o'clock and that's the time to have a fruit, maybe, something like that. Or even if you say, "Oh, I made a pie and I want the pie." So wait a couple hours after dinner and then have the pie. And of course, with a pie recipe, for those of you who love to cook, whenever I know pie does it, or does it not have sugar in it? A lot of recipes include white sugar and I'll just take them out. So what I do when I look at a recipe, when I write recipes, by the way, and I've written hundreds of recipes, and which is really funny because I'm not a recipe cook, I'm an intuitive cook. And when I go to cook dinner, I never use recipes, but writing recipes, I just, I don't know. Maybe I shouldn't say that. I mean, I occasionally do.
No, I'm the same I get it? Yeah.
So, but really it comes down to, if we get nerdy in Chinese medicine, it comes down to what type, what elemental type is your psychology. You know, if you're a metal type, you really want to know...
Want a recipe.
These are the people that write to me.
And they're going to follow it.
Yeah, exactly. And I think it's important that we embody all the psychological types that we know how to do it all.
But in any case, when I write a recipe, I'll look up in my library or online, the home libraries, I'll look up maybe five recipes for that dish or for something like that. And take a look, what do I like from this? What do I like from that? What do I find missing? And I'll add it and I'll cook it a couple of times and hone in. But in terms of sugar, routinely, this is how it goes. It calls for, let's say, I don't know, a cup of white sugar just to be simple. And so I'll cut it in half. That's the first thing. There's no way I'm cooking it even one time with a cup, it'll hurt my teeth to eat that stuff. It's just like yuck. And so, because when you eat less sugar that tastes recalibrate and you taste it for what it is, and it's more intense, it's more delicious and more pleasurable.
I call this recalibration. And I hear this from people, after they've gone through the two week sugar fast and they eat something that they used to eat, they say, "Well, I don't even like it anymore. It's so cloying." Exactly. You've recalibrated successfully. Now they're on the other side of the mountain and we can work on real health.
So it cut the recipe in half for sugar, then switch it to honey or something like that. You know, I live in the Northeast of America so I like maple syrup. And, but I also like barley malt and rice syrup quite a bit. So now we're cut back to half a cup of honey and I'll make that half barley malt, which is not sucrose, right? It doesn't include fructose, it's maltose, which is really, really easy for the human body to digest. Fructose is difficult, stresses and eventually is toxic for the liver. So you have what they call non-alcohol liver cirrhosis, liver scarring. So that's coming from sugar. It's just not happened by itself. So this comes from a lifetime of intense sugar eating and [crosstalk 01:39:29]
High-fructose, in all of these processed foods in the States where someone doesn't drink, but that redone Twinkies, I can't think of anything else, but I'm trying to remember [inaudible 01:39:42] Reese's Pieces.
Exactly, exactly. I actually don't currently know anyone who eats Twinkies, but I presume someone.
That's a really, really old reference now.
No, no, well, if it's in business then someone's buying them.
Actually, I mean, it's something with the Australian, I'm sure it's the same. I remember. I mean, we go to the States usually every year and I always see in all the health food stores, again with air quotes, but these date bars and things that are like a good 30, 40 grammes of sugar, fructose, basically. So it's a huge amount of sugar for the body to handle.
All at one time.
Right. All at one time. Yeah, exactly right. So that's how it's done. One of the goals for metabolic health, the first goal, the most important first goal for metabolic health is to get the body back in business, digesting, extracting sugars, blood sugar from complex carbohydrates and well balanced meals that digest slowly steadily and contribute to all the organs that are involved in digestion actually help those organs. So instead of straining them and taxing them, it's actually helping them, as it's providing blood sugar. And when that conversion happens, you're really on track to being back to health. And if it doesn't happen, I don't think, frankly speaking, I don't think there's enough medicine in the world to keep us healthy. And that would include COVID, which I know is doing really, really well in Australia. I follow that closely, but we can't be serious about COVID if we're not counselling people when they're well, to prepare their body to handle any infection that might come along, because this is certainly not the last pandemic that we'll see in our lifetimes.
So it's just a natural part of life, especially in a very, very populated world. So what we want to do then is to simply raise our basic health in simple, strong, time- tested ways, while eating delicious food, that's fun to cook good, for the planet to grow and really, really good to digest. And then we're in good shape, we're in good shape.
And so we're so lucky that you exist Andrew and your beautiful wife. I think that's a great place to end. I mean, I feel like I could honestly talk to you for about two weeks, because you are so interesting. And I think what I'm really hearing for those of us who've, especially, I guess my generation who've come up in this culture of health, which I think the wellness industry has so much to answer for in terms of, I can't remember the word I'm looking for, but like that, you know, these really toxic eating habits really, my partner always talks about driving through California and seeing these monocultures of organic kale growing out in the desert. And he was like "This is such a trip to me that we're thinking this is healthy when the indigenous people here would have had a really sustainable way of living off of this land.
I think there's something in between as well. I mean, the sustainable farming is an incredibly interesting topic. It's outside of my specific purview, but it's something that interests me deeply and you're both absolutely right. And we take it even further to what about the American lawns? And I think we have that in Australia as well, the idea of a monoculture lawn, it's not native there anyhow, and requires enormous chemicals to maintain. [crosstalk 01:43:47]
Oh yeah. Like what eating animals from different... you guys used to have more bison and there's a lot of complexity, I think [crosstalk 01:43:59]
It is complex. Not to step on your sentence, but it is complex. And with the bison, there's such incredible animals and nearly extinct, but they, frankly speaking, one of the paradoxes of modern society is that the way to stabilise bison is for some of them to be attenuator this, to be part of the economy.
And the ecology.
And there's been tremendous... I mean, it's really exciting success story about bison in the American Midlands and West where they're not endangered and there's bison, not a lot, but there's bison in almost every store. And by the way, what do we use it for in food dietetics, for healthy eating is really to build blood. It is warming, they're intense animals. They'll forage right through deep snow. I mean, they're really incredible. But for building blood, which is so important for women's health, it's important. If there's any bleeding ulcers or something like that going on, if the digestion is cold, we may not be transforming foods in order to extract the iron from that, we might be eating iron. We're not getting it. So bison is really, really, I prescribe it often. And you know, obviously not for vegetarians, but this is a...
The complexity is that while it's cruel to eat them and to bring them into the economy in that way, it is also saving them and that's bizarre, and it's going to take a deeper philosopher than me to really bring clarity to it. But people aren't going anywhere, we're not. So we have to find a healthy way through. We have to find a way that is ethical, healthy, and there's no question. And the simplest, the biggest thing, the next thing we could do would be to handle the glyphosate question, because this is causing leaky gut within people, it's causing inflammation, diseases it's causing, we probably [crosstalk 01:46:27] And yeah, because of the leaky gut, which causes inflammation, which then either worsens or possibly even causes the epidemic of autoimmune diseases that are going on, glyphosate is terrible for the farmers.
It's terrible for the land. This is catastrophic for the farm lands and it's really, really horrible for human health. So that would be maybe the first best place to work. So we can do our bit as individual consumers by buying organically when possible, and which fits in with our healing plan and it all works together. So in the meantime, we use these tools and I'm just so grateful that we live in a time when the riches of world culture are available in a way as never before. So we are the beneficiaries of monastic, Doaist medicine, of Tibetan medicine.
That's quite extraordinary, isn't it? I something think, thousands of years ago and we're still like relearning these lessons and they're still so relevant in our modern times.
Exactly. And pairing that with modern science findings, which easily become too complex, but can provide effective clues that we really need to pay attention to...
And support [crosstalk 01:47:57] Yeah. [crosstalk 01:47:59]
Right. So there's an art form to using modern science and not being overwhelmed by it. Because ultimately we have to do our work in the kitchen. And in my opinion, it's not restaurant chefs or television chefs, celebrity chefs that that are... I mean they're inspiring people to cook more, but what's going to save all this, the best hope we have for community health.
You may have heard America has a healthcare scenario which is very complicated and it's, despite wonderful doctors, the system itself is deeply broken and what's going to really, the most important player here is the home cook and the home cook takes the place, as I do like to say, because I really, really believe it, the home cook is the director of family health. And yes, we use doctors, but it's the home cook who's in charge. And when, when pharmaceuticals are needed, the dose can be less and they can repeated less often as we were saying before, and maybe not at all. And that's not to hide from doctors. That just means that I think doctors would be very, very happy if we need them less. And we come for basic screening and for wellness visits.
Yeah. We've always said just to lessen the burden on the health system. I mean, you look at the ageing populations. I mean, Australia has a really high ageing population and it's going to, within 10, 15 years, it's going to be a big issue if people aren't taking more responsibility for their own wellbeing.
And that's the key word, more responsibility.
Yeah. So you and your partner, you have all these great free lectures and seminars. I was going to link to those in our show notes. Are there any other ways people can study or work with you? I've seen, I mean, obviously you're doing zoom consultations now, so I assume you can work with anyone around the world. Is that right?
Yeah. I have some people in Australia, we just sync up the time zones. But there's also some teachings, some video teachings. I have a, that we can find on our websites. [crosstalk 01:50:13]
So [crosstalk 01:50:17] a couple of our one, introduction to food energetics, which I'll definitely link to.
And there's another, which you may not have seen yet. That's food and healing, which is a 6, a two hour [crosstalk 01:50:28] course. And the one I'm in right now is Diagnose to Diet, how to handle ailments in the kitchen.
Yeah. I've got Food and Healing. Yeah. Great. And then I've even got some COVID ones. So all right [inaudible 01:50:43] I'll linked to those.
And there's also the Qigong work that I do, which is equally passionate about. And so there's, using Qigong as medicine, there's a web course. It was a live course. And that's now available on video or streaming. And that's interesting too. It may be interesting for some dietary focused people because it goes through the medicine again, from a different perspective, including digestive medicine. And it's really interesting to put that together. [inaudible 01:51:15]
Yeah, and Qigong is just such a powerful practise of again, self-healing and self-responsibility.
Exactly. And once a week I do a meditation group on, it would be 8:00 AM on Sunday for you, 4:00 PM, Saturday on the East coast of America here. And it's free. And it's a very small group. No one's allowed to be in it unless they want to be. That's how we keep people out. It's become a real treasure. We go over some, from different traditions, the Daoist tradition, Buddhist tradition, Tibetan Buddhist tradition, some other traditions from Western spirituality, because I feel Westerners should not feel divorced from our own traditions. Even though we understand them only because of a lifetime of studying Buddhism and Daoism, but then bringing to life, the Western traditions, the Islamic, Christian, Jewish traditions, native American. So we're bringing in those things and it's incredibly fun. It's a treat for the mind. And then also meditating together has a raised power to it. So that's available. It's free. It's on zoom. It's free to everyone.
I found the link to that. The riding the wave weekly [inaudible 01:52:37] meditation. Yep. Okay, awesome. So we'll share all of those. And are you on social media if people want to connect with you that way or [crosstalk 01:52:43] website?
No, I have a Facebook page that's called Understanding Food, an Energetics Approach. I think that's what it is. Understanding Food, an Energetics Approach.
I'll find it.
Or you can write to me and I'll connect you to it. I wish it was more active. I wish that was, I invite people to engage in discussion there. You say, "What's the energetics of olives or of rutabaga, or the difference between bison and venison?" Whatever it might be. But these are discussions that are interesting to a lot of us. And so my hope is that something like that, maybe the Facebook is not the right platform, but I'm hoping that it might be because it's so easy that we can really have a group discussion in that way. And we also do a food chat.
I forgot to mention, I don't know if the time would work, but that's also available on video twice a month, run a food chat the next one's the day after tomorrow. And I think there's a link. You should find a link to that. There's a nominal fee. I'm not even sure what it is. And we get together in a live zoom, usually in our kitchen and Anne joins when possibly she can, which is most of the time.
And we talk about food energetics. We look at tongues, we diagnose tongues from photographs. So, which sounds really weird, but it's actually really fun, really fascinating. And we talk about food and sometimes I'll say, "Look, this is what I cooked for breakfast." Or "This is how you do this. And look how simple it is." We're cooking a really healing meal. It would be healing. It's not healing for everyone to be healing for this kind of scenario using this specific set of strategies. And it tastes really great. And look, we're making it right here. Sometimes we do that. I mean, I'm not a television host, but we do that sometimes. It's really a lot of fun.
I'm sure you do a great job. Oh, that sounds really exciting. Yeah. It's 11:00 AM.
Right, 11:00 AM. Except for this week it won't be. But I think for, because I'm teaching live to Poland, eight hours a day from 7:00 AM is when... The downbeats at 7:00 AM but that's okay because my commute only from one room to another.
Exactly, I was supposed to travel there when I was applying to go to Krakow and it's been booked for well over a year, year and a half or more. But we're doing it online. And so for this week, food chat's later in the day, but people bring cases, some of people that was like half acupuncturist, herbalists and half interested food people, and we've made a nice community. People bring in their cases and what do you think about this? Or I'm treating this person and what would the food thing be for here? And it's a really nice... [crosstalk 01:55:36]
And that's great that you have the whole archive there. I think that's such a great resource for people to go back and actually study and learn and their renew the interesting. [crosstalk 01:55:46]
Yeah. If anyone has the patients, anyhow, it's been an absolute pleasure. To speak with you.
Yeah. It's been so great. Thank you so much, Andrew. I think we're going to do a giveaway with your book. So I'll post that on our social media and out to our mailing list.
And if anyone wants to get in touch with you, I'll encourage them to do that. And I just want to wish you all the best and yeah, hopefully we can meet again sometime. This is such a pleasure talking with you.
When you come to the States and when things calm down, give us a call. We'll cook dinner together. That'd be really nice. Great. Thank you for having me. It's been a real pleasure.
[crosstalk 01:56:23] and enjoy your dinner, it's dinner time for you.
Thank you. Almost. All right. Talk to you soon.
Take care, bye.
All right. Bye-bye.