A long break between blogs again. I have been super busy balancing the same global dilemma that has affected all of us since January 2020 surprised us with a pandemic. Covid-19 TCM food choices are important, together with lifestyle choices, to guarantee a full recovery!

TCMchef raphael gamon

After helping a severe diabetic client in Malibu to get back on her feet—literally (physically)—I pondered whether how I was guiding people to recover is actually sane from a Buddhist perspective. My friends tease whether it’s constructive to restore a person to health when that person shows little compassion about the life of other people. 

My wisdom is not derived from Internet research or pushing sponsored food trends. I diligently research science around the globe. My fine-tuned approach is an individually focused approach to help clients regain their health, sanity, and will to live. My goal is to help them stay on a healthier path forward and maybe convince their family members and friends to change their way of consuming foods. 

Eating healthy requires you to prepare your foods; develop a “relationship” with all you consume…

The biggest challenge in guiding another through recovery is their many well-intended tips from family members, friends, and even doctors who don’t actually understand (or believe in) the general suggestions provided by traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and its take on nutrition. Daily, I have to maneuver around insecurities when asking others to trust me fully as their chef. To carry a patient through a culinary journey, I must be informed, clear about product research, and capable of reading a medical blood chart. Often I go against a doctor’s suggestion and reject eager nutritionists trying to sell a product that actually has no benefits. A family member confronts me with opinions derived from google searches. I have bite marks on my tongue when the physiotherapist adds well-intended advice about “another client of mine added this to their diet” or even worse when an early morning article promotes a fancy-sounding treatment with absolutely no scientific research to justify it. Such articles typically are written well and may even highlight a celebrity, as if the successful consumption of a Chinese miracle pill that seemed to help them could be equally beneficial to my trusted client. 

Covid-19 not only challenges virologists and the medical community; it also brings curious TCM nutritionists together: We have been busy sharing our discoveries, and together, we have a great arsenal of long-proven ingredients to adapt to individualized help safely.

I think of myself as an ideal assistant to any doctor. My work typically starts after a client has suffered through an emergency room visit or, even worse, after surviving intubation by highly skilled medical professionals. 

I’m dedicating this blog to anyone affected or helping another recover from Covid-19; it’s a complex journey, and what we know to be true today will most likely change shortly.

broccoli benefit gut health

One-third of all Covid-19-positive people complain about long-term consequences, including memory loss, fatigue, lingering sensations of pain, or inability to recover their sense of taste and smell full. Fifty percent of people that experienced high fever and pneumonia-like symptoms have been diagnosed with myocarditis, necrotic tissue in the left ventricle indicating stress on the heart muscle, and oxygen deprivation or coronary occlusion. Autopsies reveal that Covid victims have an astonishing amount of thrombogenic material in their main organs; Even bodies below the age of 30 reveal multiple thrombus emboli (detached blood clots). 

The current estimate shows that three million people in the U.S. by the end of 2020 will need to change their diet, forced to take this epidemic seriously and start improving the microbiome of their gut! 

If you take your recovery seriously, food is now medicine, and a lifestyle choice must be aligned to benefit fully. As of August 1, 2020, these are my suggestions. Embrace that unlike most nutritionists and medical professionals in the Western world, practitioners of TCM do not promote a generalized approach: I’m merely designing a guideline within which you need to reach out to a professional and communicate specific health issues that could complicate your approach to food as medicine.

osteopathic medicine Covid-19 recovery

Let me provide you with a summary of how TCM analyses the pathogenic nature of Covid-19. From a TCM perspective, Covid-19 clinical symptoms display with its basic pathogenesis a destructive chain reaction on all five main organs: Lung, Liver, Heart, Spleen and Kidney. This virus might cause reactions similar to Influenza, but the damage was done beyond the classical flu profile like fever, cough, fatigue, and headache surprises the science communities worldwide. We can summarize that Covid-19 is an invasive epidemic virus that attacks the upper respiratory system and progresses into the lungs quickly, causing vital qi deficiency. Covid-19 is not only a respiratory illness. It also invades the endothelial cells that line the blood vessels, causing damage and inflammation. At first, in the TCM community, we thought that this virus would require treatments similar to those used in treating the H1N1 virus outbreak from 2001, which gave us a great understanding of how to help recovery during that particular outbreak. However, the original SARS virus, a sister coronavirus to the current infection, did not spread past the lungs.

The human brain is shielded against many viruses, bacteria, and chemical agents by the blood-brain barrier. It looks as if this SARS-CoV-2 virus can bypass this barrier or even enter into the embryotic placenta. No conclusive studies are available to suggest long-term developmental problems. In any case, 14% of people who survived intubation or severe Covid-19 sickness complain about consequential long-term memory deficiency and sleep disorders.

Today, we should start to concentrate on treating Covid-19 patients with a focus on their pathological properties involving dampness and heat and treating the body as I would for poisoning (understanding the interference of Western prescriptions with natural remedies). We should become better informed about the benefits of sound sleep, exercise, and yoga, the effects of breathing deficiencies, and control mood stasis. My foremost food combinations help to balance circulatory function and providing lung-boosting properties. I’m laser-focused on the discovery of the pathogenicity of this epidemic. Being informed about (medically sane) current research, I have added snack suggestions by simply understanding facial expressions and being aware of weather changes or mood patterns. I encourage my clients to sleep regularly and exercise diligently! This is a serious virus, and no one is ensured of a full recovery. Sugar addiction aside, encouraging well-to-do people to change their lifestyles is a challenge. In the end, I’m rarely recognized for having prevented a much worse outcome. 

Covid-19 herbs for recovery
When ill, think of Food as Medicine: Embrace your Journey!

One client last June made me aware of TCM-promoted Chinese capsules sold under the name of LinHua QingWeng. These capsules were developed in China during the H1N1 outbreak. In January 2020, most foreign Chinese students studying the USA received a “free preventative dose” through their consulate in the USA. This is not a preventative medicine that I would recommend.* It actually is unhealthy when taken without an underlying ailment! However, three out of its fourteen ingredients make a perfectly safe tea to consume during flu season (listed below). You can find these ingredients in your herbal store. Don’t purchase teabag versions; order through a reliable TCM pharmacy, such as The three ingredients that I do recommend are:

  • Semen Armeniacae Amarum, bitter apricot kernel. It soothes coughs and calms the lungs.
  • Fructus Forsythiae, Forsythia. This disperses the pathogen exogenously, reduces the swelling of small air passages in the lung (bronchiolitis), reduces fevers, balances pain, and reduces skin rashes. In Asia, forsythia is given intravenously (by IV) with other herbs for treating bronchiolitis.
  • Flos Lonicerae, Flos Lonicerae, Jin Yin Hua, or honeysuckle. This contains anti-inflammatory properties, and it fights viruses and tumors. It also contains an anti-oxidation and scavenging DPPH radical, which calms the nervous system and having an antipyretic effect. Honeysuckle tea inhibits the activity of alpha-glucosidase and lowers blood sugar and blood lipids.

Chinese Honey Suckle

*Just for the curious: why I cannot support LinHua QingWeng. This TCM product contains herbal ephedra, sold in the USA as Mormon Tea, a supposed weight-loss remedy. A systematic review found that ephedra led to a twofold to threefold increased risk of nausea, vomiting, psychiatric symptoms, and palpitations compared with a placebo. Because of this and other evidence, the FDA banned ephedra on April 12, 2004.

In my first meeting with new clients, I make sure that I understand how to eliminate foods that will interfere with a successful treatment; this sounds more shocking than it is. It also gives me a measurement of how sincere a client is likely to follow my suggestions. No sugars or artificial sweeteners: the latter is worse than white sugar, guaranteed. Yes, that includes stevia or date sugar or basically any substitutes. The idea that maple syrup is healthy shows how marketing has twisted our minds!

Fruit sugar is healthy! I have to repeat this. Even diabetic watermelon and most fruit sugars are less harmful if consumed with their natural fiber-packed consistency. As soon as you isolate it (fresh-squeezed fruit juice), they become unbearably dangerous to diabetics and cancer patients. Same with the celery, carrot, and ginger “juicers” out there. I shake my head when I watch this insanity! 

Celery is a prevalent allergen; reactions to it can be life-threatening. If you’re allergic to birch pollen or mugwort, you’re also likely to react adversely to celery. Symptoms include swelling of the face, mouth, tongue, and throat; itching; rashes; dizziness; and stomach upset. Celery contains several compounds known as furanocoumarins. These chemicals cause skin to be photosensitive—that is, sensitive to bright light, especially sunlight. Celery is stressful on your kidneys! Pregnant women should avoid large doses of celery and celery seed, as they can induce bleeding and uterine contractions. My favorite part about celery is that it grows fast and cheaply, and it absorbs more chemicals from the ground than any other field-grown vegetable in California.

So, stop consuming it in large amounts or worth; juiced.

With a few exceptions, you DO NOT need vitamin or herbal supplements. I’m baffled how much money is spent in the mistaken belief that when you consume isolated forms of vitamin C, your body knows how to absorb it. Yes, if you’re malnourished or have no access to fresh products (I mean starved), you can supplement with multivitamins, which are not ideal but OK at best! Does anything stored in a glass or plastic container seem natural or healthy to you? 

During Covid-19 isolation, many may think “delivery service” is safer to get fresh products into their homes. AS a private chef, I am baffled about the ungroomed and sketchy characters hired to select and deliver your goods. If you think this is a Covid19-sane solution, you’re taking big risks. And while we’re at it, please don’t shop at your neighborhood health-food store for products you intend to reheat and eat out of microwavable plastic food containers.

Please keep it simple; being healthy is not difficult. Go back to basics. Simplify!

My blogs are somewhat lost in the endorsed consumer world, far behind brand-sponsored prolific writers with little experience at the forefront of personalized care. My mission is not self-enrichment but to actually provide help and a sense of  “I can cope with this….”

The Internet is the biggest culprit in the Covid-19 epidemic throughout the USA. Misinformation is rampant; you can find more false claims, fake cures, idiotic health suggestions, and an endless list of products that bank on fear and gullibility. Amongst some of my favorite claims are that milk protects people from the virus because it contains “lactoferrin, which is a protein that helps to fight off viruses,” as well as “vitamin C and zinc, which both play crucial roles in strengthening your immunity.”  May you have come across promotions for smoking THC or eating CBD gummies to protect against Covid-19. This is beyond stupid; making such claims should be criminal.

Covid-19 recovery suggestions
Ceylon Cinnamon

In TCM, single applications are rarely used. Although I invite clients to study singular health benefits, to effectively balance anyone’s healthy diet, I must be able to understand the effects of multiple food combinations – while respecting prescription medicine – and have a pretty broad understanding of modern medicine to adjust your bloodwork with my care suggestions.

For example, research shows that Cassia cinnamon may lower blood sugar in people with diabetes. But other studies haven’t found that benefit. I wrote blogs in 2002 disproving that cinnamon could lower cholesterol or treat yeast infections in people with HIV. Medicinal cinnamon shows promise as an antioxidant, antibiotic, and anti-inflammatory, but for now, there aren’t enough studies to prove that it can help. When reading cinnamon, most of you think of that spice rack: a spice laced with anti-clumping chemicals, color enhancers, and dubious byproducts that don’t need to be listed. But when you start consuming it by the spoonful daily, my alarm bell goes off. Because cinnamon is an unproven treatment, there isn’t a set recommended or safe dose. Some experts suggest 1/2 to 1 teaspoon (2–4 grams) of powder a day. Some studies have used between 1 gram and 6 grams of cinnamon. Very high doses are toxic. Know your sources.

The cinnamon you buy at the store could be one of the two main types, Ceylon or Cassia, or a mixture of both. Ceylon is easier to grind, but it may not work as well for diabetes; cinnamon may affect your blood sugar, so if you have diabetes and take cinnamon supplements, you might need to adjust your treatment because it can affect the way antibiotics, diabetes drugs, blood thinners, heart medicines, and others work. Use fermented garlic (black garlic) instead; the same result, no toxicity, and way more health benefits!

I’m not done with my rant. Before going back to Covid-19 foods, it is important to embrace the dilemma of how in the Western world food is promoted, packaged, and consumed. Your digestive track must be your foremost focus when changing your diet to snap back to health. A study conducted in China found that gastrointestinal symptoms might be more common than previously thought. Instead of the 4% initially suggested, the study found 11.4% of 651 coronavirus patients presented with GI tract symptoms. In over half of the patients, fecal samples remained positive for SARS-CoV2 RNA for a mean of eleven days after clearance of respiratory tract samples. A recent study further confirmed that eight of ten infected children had persistently positive viral rectal swabs after nasopharyngeal testing was negative. Even for those with mild cases of Covid-19 and respiratory symptoms, 23% experienced GI issues, and more than half (57%) experienced gut and respiratory symptoms. According to Medical Xpress, “It also took longer for those with digestive symptoms to clear the virus.”

Healthy living is very difficult for Americans facing relentless advertising for processed and unhealthy foods, addictive ultra-processed food high in salt and sugar, entrenched and culturally-reinforced taste preferences, limited access to healthy foods for many Americans, public policy that subsidizes disease-promoting foods, sedentary behavior, and a healthcare and medical education system that still largely emphasizes sick care over prevention.

All go humanity must start by cutting the subsidies in our agricultural programs, specifically massive commodity support for dairy, sugar, wheat, corn, and soybeans—much of which is converted into livestock feed, refined oils, white flour, and high-fructose corn syrup. Americans are paying billions of dollars to subsidize the foods that open the door to diseases, paying trillions of dollars to support the chronic healthcare costs to cover diseases, and then losing trillions more in the economy when pandemics arrive. Within medical training, there needs to be a greater focus on nutritional and lifestyle medicine (TCM/yoga) that prevents and reverses chronic disease rather than the increasingly robotic “name it, prescribe it, and bill it” style of pharmacological medicine. 

80% of all Pain Medicines produced Worldwide are consumed in the US alone!

The lessons for the military had been sudden and harsh. Weakened troops and ships shut down by the virus in 20200. America’s military leaders must build the immunity levels of our troops through a radical change in diet. We’re already struggling to recruit a healthy military because of the obesity epidemic. Now is the time for the military leadership to mandate reducing disease-causing foods in favor of fresher and healthier food. 

The Western diet, which is high in saturated fatty acids (SFAs), can lead to chronic activation of the innate immune system and an inhibition of the adaptive immune system. Briefly, excessive SFA consumption can induce a lipotoxic state and activate the innate immune system via activation of toll-like receptor 4 expressed on macrophages, dendritic cells, and neutrophils. This triggers activation of canonical inflammatory signaling pathways that produce pro-inflammatory mediators and other effectors of the innate immune system. In mice studies, this led to increased macrophage infiltration to lung tissue, specifically in the alveoli. This is especially relevant to Covid-19 patients, given the high rate of infection among lung alveolar epithelial cells and the involvement of lung tissue inflammation and alveolar damage in Covid-19 pathology. Consumption of a Western diet significantly impairs adaptive immunity while ramping up innate immunity, leading to chronic inflammation and severely impairing host defense against viral pathogens.

It is critical to consider the impact of lifestyle habits, such as consuming unhealthy diets, on the susceptibility to Covid-19 and recovery. Furthermore, many people who will recover from Covid-19 (with lingering adverse after-effects) may lead to a spike in chronic medical conditions that could be further exacerbated by unhealthy diets or in vulnerable populations. Therefore, we recommend that individuals refrain from eating foods high in saturated fats and sugar and instead consume high amounts of fiber, whole grains, unsaturated fats, and antioxidants to boost immune function.

General Suggestions:

• Change your pantry: Throw away anything sugar-laced, out-of-date, or that contains preservatives. (If you’re not sure, throw it away.)

• Cut out as much sugar as you can.

• Void pasta, bread, and crackers.

• Avoid anything stored in your fridge: salad dressings, sauces, liquid food flavors, jams, margarine, and anything that uses wordings like substitute.

• Eliminate snacks that contain sugar. Eliminate ALL artificial sugar, flavors, or chemical byproducts. Let me make this easy for you: There’s no need to read the ingredients lists; eliminate all of them. Yes, the Keto ones especially!! The word keto on synthetic foods is just wrong!

No dairy, except well-aged cheese and butter. (Yes, butter is healthy and important for recovery.) No, low-fat food is not OK. Yogurt is not easily digestible either, nor is it an ideal probiotic, despite what advertisements state or imply. No cottage cheese and lactose-free suggestions. Reminder: This blog intends to get you back up on track and maybe change your idea of what eating healthy is about! Take your physical and mental health seriously!

• No meat replacements. Sorry, Beyond Burger; for Covid-19 recovery, these patties are an artificially produced time bomb churning in your belly. There goes another endorsement…

• Nothing that contains food color or “natural flavors.” Who gave the green light to this misleading wording? I don’t care whether it’s organic or not; in the U.S., this too is just a marketing ploy. If you know your source, great. I don’t care where the apple is from, as long as you consume it with the core and skin!

• No alcohol. (Yes, an occasional glass of red wine is fun…)

• If you smoke or vape, why are you reading this blog?

• I’m OK with topical or edible CBD/THC, but keep it within controllable doses! (Gummies are not ideal.)

• Stop Juicing everything. Nature intended you to eat whole fruit and vegetable bodies.

• Look at all the Western medicines you currently take and get a better understanding of why you need them. Study!

Now you’re ready. Finally, the medicine you must concentrate on:

• You can eat (Basmati) rice, yams and polenta, any varieties, but in small amounts—never more than a cup a day.

• You can slow simmer and gently roast in butter or oils within their smoking points. (Learn about them.)

• Consume daily an equal amount of protein and cooked vegetables.

• Eat soups and salads daily, and snack regularly on unsalted nuts and fruit. Watch dry fruits sold; 90% have added sugar and coloration (no regulatory labeling required). 

• Keep your metabolism going by never making food breaks longer than two hours.

•  DO NOT drink iced anything and only drink thirty minutes before or after eating. (Void carbonated drinks…)

• Always cook, bruise, blanche, or quick roast your greens, such as spinach, cabbage, kale, or broccoli. They are tough to digest when raw while you’re in Covid-19 recovery. Use very little spice (unless chili), salt, or sauces.

• Don’t eat heavily after sunset. We all adhere to an internal clock, even when seemingly forgotten. Eat-in (good) company, away from the TV or cell phone!

Finally, take twenty minutes every day and make them YOURS: find a space of solitude, stand, breathe, allow yourself to say “life is beautiful,” or find your own inspirational words. It does not have to be meditation or activity. It is twenty minutes that you claim for yourself… just being. Peace!

Reach out and contact me: I’m here to help.

TCMchef Raphael


Juuling or Vaping Tobacco is devastating to your health!

Sorry if you snoop through this blog trying to find comfort in inhaling artificial fumes, tobacco and THC… Vaping or Juuling of any product is devastating to your health; every other nuance of opinion is just that, an excuse to postpone coping with addiction. This blog requires laying out a few basic structures to help understand the difference between scientific research of a specific product and the implications (while disregarding the science knowledge) into an actual circumstance. 

In TCM (traditional Chinese medicine), we comb through the history registered by many people who have documented their findings, ideas, and results and define an early understanding of herbal powers. Rosemary with Arnica, as an example, has been documented as far back as 2000BC for its advantage in reducing leg pain (muscle, tendons ligaments), amongst many other benefits. Crepitus, recognized by a popping or cracking sound in the knee, is helped by rubbing sesame oil atop the joint area…

Rosemary Oil is a powerful remedy unless it is smoked.

Druids agreed in all corners of the world throughout history, with doctors and monks that Rosemary oil extract from this plant in bloom – harvested ideally in late Summer – comforts foremost lower-leg pain. Water-steam oil extractions were first documented in 1000BC… Roman soldiers praised Rosemary oils, and today you can find it advertised in a yoga store claiming similar advantages.

Millions of people have used Rosemary remedies, and scholars have passed their refined wisdom down to pupils through modern generations. Today, it is applied for migraines, menstrual cramps, and concentration-remedy (the oil is not harvested in the specific matter mentioned above). Books are re-written about its benefit for hair restoration. Neurological research claims that it cures Alzheimer’s, although that is still questionable… be wary of anyone using the word “cure”! Mediterranean chefs for centuries spiced their pasta dishes with this herb, following an ancient tradition. Candlemakers love Rosemary’s strong scent… its usage seems unlimited.

gulling and vaping is devastating
Classic Orange & Cinamon Oil Vape

Today we can DNA fingerprint Rosemarinus Officinalis and compare current research on many levels with past scriptures. Today, we confirm that the human muscular cell structure and blood vessels react positively towards the anti-thrombotic effect towards these oils in preventing blood clots. Rosemary does seem to activate brain memory, as claimed by Shakespeare.

Our nervous system and brain sensors react positively towards beta-amyloid plaques and hence, Rosemary suppresses acetyl-cholinesterase (AChE), which are primary causes of Alzheimer’s ataxia and dementia.

We can pinpoint why we feel relieved when rubbing “healing oil” on our skin – we know understand how it is absorbed and what human profiles react positively to its smell, flavor, and essence. We can even demonstrate why plant extract creates adverse reactions in the human body, like burns, numbness, hives, or what causes blistering discomfort. 

vaping & juuling is devastating to your health
Tobacco CEO’s claim Vaping is a Healthy Alternative

rDNA and mDNA studies show Rosemary variations have potencies unavailable to science research before, including a current understanding of how it needs to be cultivated, preferably harvested and manufactured. How it could be genetically manipulated to produce vast amounts of concentrations to provide a product as demanded. Surprisingly, the original claims registered a thousand years ago are today confirmed claims; because the documented scriptures of the past result from millions of people being treated successfully. Compare this to modern trial phases, merely requiring a few hundred people within a tiny time span of a few months before medicine is released on the Pharma market…

gulling and vaping are toxic
The World is Toxic without Vaping…

That’s all about one herb. However, as soon as we combine one with another plant essence, we start a whole new chain of discovery… Triple or quadruple a TCM-mix and the potentiality become complex. True herbology rarely uses a “single application” for prescription use… Furthermore, traditional medicine respects that each body/person reacts differently at various states of age and health and living in many climates. What might feels soothing to one could be life-threatening to another. 

Throughout the history of “4000 years of Rosemary-emollient-investigation” – trial tested on billions of people – no significant study has ever suggested that smoking its oil would result in an advantage. None of the respected TCM scriptures suggest that inhaling fumes into our bronchi would treat ailments or benefit human health. None!

And now, let’s talk about vaping: Basically an electronically heated substance we inhale for pleasure… that is fused with chemically designed oils or artificial flavors to trick our minds into believing it smells like rosemary vanilla or citrus. Keep in mind; the FDA categorizes seasoning differently from nutritional and manufacturing rely on you not realizing misleading labeling and claims. It’s as convoluted as the term decriminalizing Marihuana from legalizing it. It should be decriminalized (and all jailed people for possession must be freed…), but legalizing would saturate the market with concocted products falsely claiming to contain medical benefits (already happening) and bogus products that can be dangerous, even deadly!

Vaping, or vaporizing, is the process of heating raw plant matter or chemical extracts without combustion. Instead of burning weed, tobacco, or hash, vaporizing quickly heats various substances (mixes) to limit the release of harmful chemicals and to maximize the part of the plant’s intended effects. Cannabis is typically heated between >285°F and <450°F, and tobacco vapes between >250°F and <300°F.  The smoking point of CBD oil is 332°F (165°C)… (besides, there is no significant benefit recorded of hemp-extracted oil…)

Smoking Oil or Plastics is Dangerous

Vapor has more in common with a cloud of steam than with a puff of smoke. And even though vaping reduces the effects of secondhand smoke, it doesn’t mean you’re not experiencing a drug’s effect as a bystander. Most plant oils “burn” and become unhealthy at different degrees of heat (Read: vapor level and smoking points of oils). 

Juul vapes heat up to around 420°F…

The properties we absorb while vaporing differ, depending on what you actually inhale. You can inhale tobacco, THC hash, and endless combinations of substances, including orange oils (smoke point 350°F), cinnamon plant-matter, and synthetic additives. Sometimes these substances turn into gaseous form, and sometimes vaping means inhaling liquid particles suspended in the air as they cool after evaporation. Either way, the method at first is the same: Drug molecules, after being inhaled, land on the interior lungs, which have an enormous surface area to catch them. The molecules then pass directly into the blood and bypass the digestive system. From there, the effects hit your brain in about five seconds, which is almost as quick as injecting the substance.

Let’s skip how the lungs cope with getting rid of the “garbage” left inside; just read up on COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease).

So, Juuling (a brand name adapted verb) is the foremost “goto” tool for teenagers in 2018. They annoyingly blow nicotine-steam lazed with oils and chemicals that “taste” like Vanilla,  Rosemary, or fantastic flavors. Even Marijuana-infused e-cigarettes come with chemical-created additives. Although vaping is promoted foremost to a younger generation as a healthy alternative to smoking, statistically, only 2% of cigarette smokers have actually quit through vaping. Actually, 9% admit to smoking “real” cigarettes after starting with e-cigarettes. This five billion vapor industry fails to honestly communicate a science-based message about the known side effects that lack a long-term study and warn about the consequences of this modern diversion accurately. We promote until we know better… (since this blog was published in 2018, the science world has concluded that vaping is no better than smoking…)

In TCM, we promote certain essences to be inhaled through steam, i.e., clearing your sinus – bent over the sink under a towel – inhaling Tiger-Balm (fumes) smeared onto the porcelain below. At the same time, the hot water faucet is fully opened… This does not compare to circumvent what the nose is designed to filter out while inhaling medicinal substance before it coats the surface of our bronchi. Drawing in overheated artificial substances through your mouth without any true purpose (other than getting high…) seems questionable. I’m also not convinced that the vanilla-cloud puffing teen in a restaurant next to me looks particularly “cool” or hip…

juuling and vaping is devastating
the Lie about the Risks of Vaping

Nicotine is addictive. >50% of all e-cigarette contain tobacco. The leaf-drying process had been shown to prevent Tuberculosis in factory workers during the early 19thcentury. TCM respects the healing properties of Tobacco. Throughout South and North America, tobacco is consumed in various ways: chewed, sniffed, smoked, eaten, juiced, smeared over bodies, and used in eye drops and enemas. It still carries a mystic “smoke” of purification spirits after blessing fields and praising Gods.

Today, the same tobacco companies – denying for decades that smoking caused cancer – now aim to hook teens on vaping. We adapted against their efforts that smoking was the foremost cause of lung-, bone-, gum-cancer and birth deformities but now allow to hold a truth that inhaling steam derived essence is less dangerous. We have to willfully ignore modern studies that the use of smokeless tobacco include: Mouth-, tongue-, cheek-, and gum cancer.

Surely, bi-products inhaled by burning wrapping papers and fillers are more unhealthy than flavored vapor steam. The new expensive studies claiming that juuling is harmless are sponsored by companies that denied cigarette smoking caused cancer.   We are smarter today than we were yesterday, right? Nicotine addiction prevented smokers in the ’80s from giving up their habit while dying of cancer in their hospital beds. Tobacco addiction is the culprit here, not the method in which we ingest the essence! Got hooked?

TCMchef Raphael


Lesson: You either try to loose weight or you want to convert fat into energy… You will regain even more fat if you falsely attempt Keto is a weight-loss solution… Besides, it is a dangerous a trend!

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On my travel out to New York, I sat in the plane next to a lady who, after a quick introduction, involved me in a deep discussion about “food and depression.”

It was not one of those agonizing in-flight stories; Actually, I would have loved to converse with her for hours more! People living in busy urban environments all know of others suffering from loneliness, having introverted torturing thoughts, and being pained with inadequate feelings… I, too, sometimes feel “downtrodden” or not as perceptive as I know myself to be. However, I have several methods of “coping” with the onslaught of depression. One of them is changing the “interior monologue” from bad to positive: Instead of allowing my thoughts to assume negativity, I willingly adapt to “correct” my dark spooks. I point in the mirror and say: ‘Hey you, I love you!  I will make you laugh’. When I frown back, I actually crack a smile…

In TCM, we recommend taking a daily cold morning shower, meditate. Adapt a two-minute yoga stretch because these actions initiate change; simply getting out of bed, opening the windows, allowing oneself to be happy by not drowning in “darkness” changes the path. Instead of watching NEWS listen to your oldies (loudly), take a quick dance step, lift your chin high and say something nice about yourself: “Hey! I’m the shit!” Talk to your plants. Point at your pet and tell them they are loved!

DO NOT sleep with your cellphone next to you. Please turn it off when you go to sleep until you’re up, out of bed, and awake!

managing depression

We are clearly the result of what we do and what we eat. Food is a major factor in how we feel; here is your blog that might encourage you to change a few things to curve your mood and for the wise one to avoid losing your mind.

First off, if you are a moody person, cut back on sugar and never, NEVER consume anything that contains Aspartame. Let’s learn something about the chemistry that directly influences our neuro-receptors in the brain. This is important to understand when activating your full brain function while studying or preventing inherited genes from “freezing” our mental capacity. Whilst we are at the NEVER consume power-drinks named fittingly “Monster” or “Booster” – you kinda know they are bad. It’s just not totally respected how horrible their side-effects are. Manufacturers quickly jump onto modern science to create supplements based on isolated information. They will express (advertise) that we are all made from the same matter and react uniformly. These drinks are especially horrid when you’re depressed!

That’s when I am telling you to turn the NEWS back on and realize we are NOT the same. Made of equal matter, similar prepositioned in mobility but limited by genes and gravity – certainly not similar when acting outside human compassion towards others.

“Brain foods” are obtained from eating high protein such as meat, dairy, avocados, soy products, and certain nuts and seeds. What makes them ideal for mental health is their high content of phenylalanine that, through proper combination and digestion, convert into tyrosine (another amino acid) used in protein synthesis. For the few I lost above: A healthy brain needs Kefir, hard cheese, avocado, lentils, chickpeas, seaweed, pumpkin, non-heated coconut fat, cold-pressed oils, and black sesame seeds. For the lesser vegetarian, there is lots of phenylalanine in meat, fish, and eggs. Artichokes, parsley and oregano (extract) contain apigenin, an antidepressant, and broccoli will help keep your liver healthy and detoxify.

In humans, phenylalanine is an essential amino acid that must be obtained from the diet and not from an isolated source (sorry, most isolated products have minimal benefit…). In contrast, tyrosine can be synthesized in your digestive tract from phenylalanine and is considered a non-essential amino acid. Both compounds can be altered into chemicals that affect mood and brain functioning by controlling the “side-dishes” you swallow simultaneously. We eat terrible combinations of foods; they are often deprived of natural sources for phenylalanine and tyrosine, so frequently, we take them as nutritional supplements. This is not ideal; it’s like a chest implant; it might look nice, but there is no strength or actual physical function. Juicing and fasting during depression is NOT healthy!

L-Phenylalanine turns into L-Tyrosine that is converted into L-Dopa (dopamine), which stimulates the brain to either “like” or “crave”… A healthy brain needs this to function! And here is a dilemma, it can be abused to make you addicted to the wrong foods if viciously added. Industries (as do drug dealers) keep you hooked when promoting you to consume a chemically altered substance… Some people suffer from a genetic disorder called phenylketonuria (PKU), in which phenylalanine is not metabolized. It can build up to toxic levels and cause retardation and death. The artificial sweetener Aspartame is one of the modern spikes for growing brain illness in babies! A combination of aspartic acid and phenylalanine is a common component in diet sodas. I have clients with serious mental problems consuming daily sodas, popcorn and artificially enhanced products while medicated to prevent losing their minds. We are a weird species! I have a doctor friend that drinks diet coke daily and claims he is totally healthy…

Anyone with a family history of Alzheimer’s. Amyotrophic (ALC) Lou Gehrig’s and neurodegenerative diseases should never consume artificially modified food products. These restrictions include ALL artificial sweeteners… yes, Stevia included! Before you run to the health store and buy DL-phenylalanine synthesized supplements, try eating accordingly. Nature is chock full of healthy solutions that are tasty and cause no side effects. Health food stores hype their products with unlimited shelve storage dates and are far revoked from “natural” (even though it’s printed BOLD on their packages).

Changes in dopamine levels can benefit mood disorders such as depression and diseases such as Parkinson’s. People with PKU or who take antidepressants and women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not take supplements of phenylalanine.

manage your food to control depression

Start your day with a positive thought! Drink a glass of room temperate water with a slice of fresh ginger in it (ginger significantly enhances cognitive function) and eat bran cereal or oatmeal that is only slightly sweetened (honey). Eat plenty of berries and fruit but do not eat totally white bananas. They are not healthy and do not contain as much phenylalanine compared to “spotted” ripe bananas.

It would be best if you ate an avocado every week, increased your consumption of pumpkin, blanched kale, cooked broccoli, and bruised spinach. They are tough to digest raw! Eat chickpeas, hummus, lentils, and pumpkin seed whenever they are presented; It’s super-rich in brain oil. Consume a few sunflower seeds, walnuts, almonds, or any (unsalted) nuts; when feeling like “snacking,” they curve appetite and nourish your skin and lungs. Pumpkin seeds and freshly pressed oils are ideal if not roasted or baked… Avoid popcorn, sodas, and anything that is lazed with sweetener; it will probably block good dopamine effects and is merely designed to keep you hooked. When fermented (cheese, some yoghurt, and butter), dairy products are healthy and rich in brain-fatty acids. Milk is not. If you are already affected by a neurological disorder, you need to avoid too much soy product, avoid artificial starches (bread, pasta, pastries) and consult with your doctor about foods that might interfere with your medication.

I am working on recipes, specifically targeting foods that benefit the brain…

Until my flight back to Los Angeles… Enjoy and share!

TCMchef raphael