Uechi-Ryu

For years and years, I studied Uechi-Ryu until I became a master. I have competed in Uechi-Ryu competitions around the world and I have owned many traditional Uechi-Ryu dojos. Uechi-ryu is a traditional style of Okinawan karate. Uechi-ryu can be roughly translated to “Style of Uechi.” Uechi-Ryu has given me strength, endurance, and patience, and I have Uechi-Ryu to thank for my great health.

Though I am now retired, I continue to practice the ways of Uechi-Ryu in every aspect of my life. I eat a clean and mindful diet. I take time to pay the universe gratitude for each bite of food I eat. I still practice Uechi-Ryu to stay physically fit, but I have also started to participate in yoga and mediation. I focus on the positive.

As I get older, I have found that I am not as able as I once was. Though this can be disappointing at times, I have lived a long and full life and I am incredibly grateful. To keep up with my aging mind and body, I take a variety of herbal supplements that are backed by eastern medicine. I am a firm believer in mind-body medicine and all things holistic.

I will use this journal to post the things that inspire in hopes of inspiring others. I plan to post my daily Uechi-Ryu routines as well as my favorite recipes, herbal supplements, and healthy living tips. I hope to inspire others through Uechi-Ryu in the same way that I was inspired by my former teachers.

Ancient Herb Showcase: Cordyceps Sinensis

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Cordyceps sinensis is an adaptogen herb which means that it has the ability to adapt to your body’s specific needs. Adaptogens work to normalize and improve any part of the body that isn’t functioning optimally. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, cordyceps is considered one of the most valuable and potent health boosting herbs.

Cordyceps is a mushroom like fungus that can be eaten whole or brewed into a tea. The problem for most people is that it is hard to find and doesn’t taste very good. For this reason, it is easiest to find a cordyceps sinensis supplement either online or at your local health food store.

Because cordyceps is an adaptogen, it works to boost all areas of health and wellness while causing little to no side effects or interactions. Each adaptogen has its own unique properties. Cordyceps specifically works to boost energy, endurance, and stamina. This unique adaptogen herb also fights fatigue, boost lung function and oxygen capacity, boost the immune system, and improve sexual function.

Cordyceps boosts energy and vitality while fighting weakness and fatigue which make this herb a popular supplement amongst athletes. In the 1993 Chinese National Games, the Chinese women’s track and field team shattered close to 10 records! When the team was quickly questioned about steroid use and supplementation, the coach informed the media that he credited their success to a tea made with cordyceps sinensis.

Cordyceps supplements benefits people who aren’t athletes as well. Anyone who wants more energy, more vitality, for focus, and less stress can benefit from cordyceps sinensis. The best cordyceps supplement will contain 100% cordyceps sinensis and absolutely nothing else. It should not contain fillers, flow agents, or any artificial ingredients. When buying supplements, always be sure to read the labels and purchase only from trust worthy companies.

Examining the Different Types of Probiotics

digestive_track_reliefBy now, most of us have heard of probiotics. Generally speaking, we know that they are healthy for us; maybe we are even taking a probiotic supplement based on the assumption that they will help our health. While it is true that probiotics supplements can serve to improve our health, did you know there are different types of probiotic sources? And not all probiotic sources are created equally? Read on to learn more about the different types of probiotics.

 

Food Based. Some foods naturally contain probiotics. Cultured dairy and fermented foods have some of the highest levels of probiotics found in food. Some experts believe that vegetation used to naturally contain higher levels of probiotics, but modern day growing practices such as genetic modification have depleted natural levels. The Bottom Line: Food based sources of probiotics are a great way to add additional probiotics into your diet, but typically do not provide high enough levels for you to gain the full advantages of probiotics.

Soil Based. The general population may not be as aware of probiotic strains derived from soil, but they are quite possibly the best type of probiotic to take. Soil-based probiotics are sturdier than other probiotics and can therefore survive the harsh acids of the stomach better than many other probiotic strains. The Bottom Line: It is worth the added effort to find a high quality soil based probiotic supplement such as our favorite, Prescript-Assist.

Lactic Based. Lactic based probiotics are the type of probiotic strains you see in most mass market stores. They are derived from dairy and have names like bifidobacterium bifidum, lactobacillus acidophilus, among others. The Bottom Line: Lactic based probiotics can be fine options, but studies show they may not have the same ability to survive as soil based probiotics do. Additionally, those on a strict vegan diet or those with a dairy allergy may wish to avoid this option.  Our favorite Lactic Based is Mercola Complete Probiotic.

Smart Diet Secrets

Diet Advice

Everyone from movie stars to your next door neighbor is eager to offer diet suggestions. While many tips may lead to short term weight loss, few are nutritionally sound and beneficial to your overall health. Without practical and nutritionally sound diet advice, the weight loss is likely not sustainable and you could ultimately harm your health.

 

Thankfully, one universal smart diet secret will help anyone, regardless of other dietary guidelines or restrictions are in place: get the most of nutritional value out of each calorie. The much touted saying ‘a calorie is a calorie’ does not stand up to scientific reason. Some calories help to rev your metabolism; some help your body ward off disease; some are useful in building muscle. Others, however, cause blood sugar spikes, promote fat storage, or cause internal inflammation. The key is aiming to make sure each calorie consumed offers benefit instead of harm. Below are a few switches you can make to maximize the health benefits you gain from each calorie. By making a couple of simple switches, you can help improve health while you melt off pounds.

 

Lose the Diet Foods. Diet foods may be low in calories, but they are typically high in processed ingredients and chemicals, hardly passing for food at all. Studies show that these fake foods leave you feeling unsatisfied, which results in overeating later.

 

Switch to a Smarter Supplement. Protein helps with satiety levels and building lean muscle mass. Supplementing your diet with a protein powder seems like a smart idea, but many traditional protein powders are designed to help weight lifters bulk up. For those of us for whom bulking up is not the goal, adding protein without adding excess calories is a better solution. Rather than a traditional calorie dense protein powder, choose spirulina powder. Not only is it low in calories and high in protein, it also provides a wealth of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and chlorophyll, thus giving you a tremendous amount of nutrients for a minimal amount of calories.  You can learn more here or watch a video about spirulina here.

 

Losing weight and improving health is not achieved by following a magic formula, drinking a canned shake, or banning a long list of foods. If you focus on packing the most nutrition possible into your diet for a modest amount of calories, you will be pleased with the effects on your weight and your health.

 

An Introduction to Healthy Oils

oilintroCod Liver Oil – This is perhaps the most important healthy oil that you can add to your diet. Cod liver oil, especially when traditionally fermented, is packed with nutrients that are necessary for optimal health. Cod liver oil is not cooking oil and should never be heated. Rather, it should be consumed as a dietary supplement. If you cannot stomach the taste of cod liver oil, I recommend cod liver oil capsules.

Flaxseed Oil is rich in omega-3s and other important nutrients. Since heat will oxidize this oil, it should never be used to cook with and is best stored in the refrigerator until consumption. Flaxseed oil can be added to salad dressing, yogurt, and smoothies.

Olive Oil – The benefits of olive oil have been widely celebrated for centuries. Olive oil has a very low smoke point, which means that it burns and becomes rancid at very low temperatures. For this reason, olive oil is best used for low heat or cold purposes. Try mixing organic olive oil with apple cider vinegar to make a nutrient dense and delicious salad dressing.

Coconut Oil – This healthy oil has nearly too many healthy boosting properties to count. Packed with vitamins and healthy fatty acids, coconut oil works to boost immunity and improve overall health in countless ways. Coconut oil is also incredibly heat stable which makes it suitable for all types of culinary uses. It also makes an excellent vegan substitute for butter and is perfect for making raw desserts. You can also buy extra virgin coconut oil capsules for use as a dietary supplement.

Sesame Oil – This healthy heat stable oil is perfect for cooking at high temperatures. It contains many important minerals such as magnesium, copper, calcium, iron, and zinc, as well vitamin E and healthy fatty acids.

The Top 3 Traditional Supplements

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It is very obvious that our modern diet is not as healthy as that of our ancestors. Our food is lacking nutrients because our soil is lacking nutrients. We’ve replaced home cooked meals with processed foods. We stopped eating healthy super foods like organ meat and fermented vegetables. If you would like to correct the deficiencies caused by our modern diet, you may wish to learn what vitamins should I take.

  1. Fermented Cod Liver Oil

Traditionally fermented cod liver oil is one of the healthiest foods on the planet. It is created by fermenting cod livers in a barrel and then scooping the oil off of the top of the barrel months or even years later. This is the same way the Viking created cod liver oil for use as medicine hundreds of years ago. Traditionally fermented cod liver oil is packed with vitamins A and D as well as many important omega fats. Fermented cod liver oil is now packaged into vegetarian capsules and sold as a supplement to make getting these nutrients much easier.

  1. Probiotics

Probiotics are beyond important and mandatory for optimal health. Traditional diets consisted of MANY different types of fermented foods. These fermented foods -such as sauerkraut, kimchi, pickles, yogurt and cheeses made from raw milk- provided beneficial probiotics that our modern diet now lacks. Probiotic supplements works increase the amount of good bacteria in your digestive system.

  1. Desiccated Liver

In traditional times, it was not uncommon to find organ meats on the dinner table. In fact, organ meats made an appearance in almost every meal. Organ meats, especially grass-fed beef liver, are packed with vitamins and minerals and healthy fat. If you do not eat organ meats on a regular basis, I recommend taking a desiccated liver supplement.

 

A Closer Look at Super Foods: Focus on Hemp Protein Powder

hempWith ever increasing awareness, doctors, dieticians, and other health experts are recognizing the remarkable health powers contained in food. Research is showing that just as much as unhealthy foods have the powers to cause detrimental effects to health, healthy foods can offer substantial benefits and healing powers. The foods with the most impressive benefits are commonly referred to as super foods for their remarkable attributes. One super food worth taking a closer look at is hemp protein powder. Hemp seeds are a rich source of protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals making them a stand out super food.

Protein

Hemp is an ideal plant based source of complete protein. Not only does it have all eight essential amino acids to make it a complete protein, but it also has two additional amino acids. Additionally, it contains the plant protein Edestin, a protein that very closely resembles a protein found in the human body.

Healthy Fats

Healthy fats have been shown to offer protection for both the brain and the heart. Hemp protein powder naturally has both omega 3 and omega 6 essential fatty acids. Additionally, it is a natural source of omega 6 fatty acid gamma linolenic acid (GLA). GLA has been shown to offer a variety of benefits, including helping to reduce inflammation.

Vitamins and Minerals

In addition to the important fatty acids offered in hemp protein powder, hemp also provides people a wealth of vitamins and minerals. Hemp is a great source of the minerals iron, magnesium, zinc, and, potassium. Further, it provides the fat-soluble vitamins B, D, and E. These vitamins and minerals help with everything from organ function, to energy levels, to fighting against free radicals.

Final Thoughts

Super foods maintain their revered status in the nutritional world for good reason. Adding super foods like hemp protein powder to the diet gives people the immediate benefit of feeling good alongside the more long term benefit of fighting against aging and disease—all without the use of chemically formulated drugs.

 

How to Add Spirulina to Your Diet

spirulinaThink of spirulina as one of Nature’s multivitamins. Spirulina is a complete protein with all 8 essential amino acids, as well as vitamin B12, B complex vitamins, beta carotene, iron, potassium, calcium, and magnesium. Spirulina also contains gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), the important omega-6 fatty acid that is found in breast milk.

Spirulina works to boost the immune system, improve digestion, detoxify the body of heavy metals, promotes healthy liver and brain function, alleviates constipation, normalizes blood sugar levels, increases energy and endurance and promotes the growth and repair of tissues.

It is important to choose a cleanly sourced spirulina. Because spirulina has the incredible ability to absorb and flush toxins within the body, spirulina can also bind to toxins in the environment that it is grown in. Try to buy a USDA organic spirulina powder that is sourced from pristine waters. The best spirulina companies will provide its customers with a certificate of analyses proving that the spirulina is non-contaminated.

Spirulina powders should contain 100% spirulina- there is no need for fillers, flow agents, artificial colors or flavors, preservatives, or any other artificial ingredients. Spirulina should also be processed without the use of extreme heat and chemicals as these types of processing destroy spirulina’s nutrient profile.

This amazing superfood alga can be incorporated into many of your favorite recipes. To make a regular fruit smoothie into a nutrient dense green smoothie, simply add 1-2 tbsp. of spirulina to the ingredients before blending. You can also add spirulina to yogurt, granola, baked goods, salad dressings, pasta sauces, and more. Looking for some recipes? Simple spirulina recipes can be found here.

Beyond the Pharmacy: The Search for Natural Medicines

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Western medicine has become synonymous with offering people a synthetic chemical mixture for any problem that ails them, but ever increasingly patients and physicians alike are recognizing the benefits that more natural remedies offer. Used in both preventative and curative manners, natural remedies are often showing themselves to be scientifically sound alternatives to running to the pharmacy.

For Disease Prevention

The antioxidants found in many plants have made them superstars in the world of better health and disease prevention. Blueberries, walnuts, and green tea have been linked to preventing a variety of potentially debilitating diseases.

Because the amount of food and drink people would need to consume in order to reap the benefits is sometimes extremely high, people often use nutritional supplements to increase the likelihood they are getting adequate amounts of the desired nutrients. Fish oil and green tea supplements are two of the most popular and recommended natural supplements.

For Helping to Minimize Health Problems

Health problems once believed to require complex pharmaceuticals are now being shown to be, at least to some degree, be improved by using natural alternatives. For example, evidence is increasingly piling up to demonstrate that individuals who regularly consume coffee are less likely to get some forms of diabetes, less likely to get some forms of dementia and more. The news on coffee drinking is sufficiently compelling that some people are supplementing with the extract from green coffee beans which have high levels of an antioxidant called chlorogenic acid.

For Quality of Life

Some problems that may not be life threatening still send people to the medicine cabinet for relief. But, some natural alternatives are proving to be successful helping with these problems as well. For instance, rather than relying on prescription sleep aids like Ambien, insomniacs are able to treat their sleep problems with valerian root capsules or certain teas.

Proceed with Care

Health care practitioners do caution patients that simply because something is natural does not mean that it can be taken with reckless abandon. The effects of many natural supplements can be quite potent. Additionally, some may have adverse interactions with other medications or supplements. For these reasons, it is always important for patients to consult with their physicians prior to taking any supplements.

The African Secret to Weight Loss and Greater Health

Deep in the jungles of Africa grows a tree that fruits beautiful golden mangos. People of the land have used this fruit as sustenance for centuries. When traveling for extended periods of time without food, these people would munch of the seeds of the African mango to prevent hunger. Centuries later, these very seeds are being used to control hunger in an entirely new way.

African mango seeds are being turned into an extract which has been named IGOB131. This extract is being used to create natural weight loss supplements that work to correct leptin resistance. Leptin is the hormone that tells your body to stop eating when you have become full. It also plays a huge roll in controlling cravings and maintaining a healthy metabolism.

As people overeat, they ignore the leptin signal that tells their body to stop eating. If this signal is ignored over and over again, they become resistant to leptin completely. Once a person has become leptin resistant, weight loss becomes very difficult. African mango supplements work to correct this resistance naturally.

The best African mango supplements will contain 100% pure IGOB131 with no fillers, flow agents, stimulants, synthetic nutrients, or any other artificial ingredients. African mango is a natural and effective supplement that may even help people maintain healthier cholesterol levels. Both modern science and ancient wisdom back African mango as a weight loss superfood.

African mango supplements work better for people who are leptin resistant. People who are leptin resistant often have a lot of weight to lose. Ask your doctor for a simple blood test to determine whether or not you are leptin resistant. When it comes to supplements, especially weight loss supplements, it is best to stay close to nature. African mango is one of the safest and most effective natural weight loss supplements discovered to date. Click here to learn more about African mango.

Forgotten Superfoods: Grass-Fed Beef Liver

Grass-fed beef liver is truly a forgotten superfood. Once gracing America’s kitchen tables at least once per week, most people in this day and age have never ever tried liver. Grass fed liver is packed with nutrients and offers numerous health benefits. In training for Uechi Ryu, I have found that liver gives me far more energy and endurance. Liver supplements allow me to train longer and harder, with much less fatigue.

Liver is super nutrient dense food containing protein, amino acids, fatty acids, vitamin A, B vitamins, iron, and more! The nutrients within liver can correct numerous health problems such as vitamin B12 deficiency and anemia. Liver also works to increase the energy and endurance of anyone who consumes it.

The problem with liver is that it does not taste very good. In fact, the taste and texture are probably the reasons that this superfood has been forgotten. Another problem is that it is hard to source healthy liver in this day and age due to factory farming. It is best to source liver from healthy, happy, grass-fed cows.

Because liver is difficult to eat on a regular basis, I take desiccated liver supplements. Desiccated liver is simply the process of taking fresh raw liver and dehydrating it at a low temperature. The liver is then milled into a powder and encapsulated. The end product has a very similar nutrient profile to that of fresh liver. Eating fresh raw liver will always be slightly more beneficial than a supplement, but when eating fresh liver is not an option, desiccated liver tablets are the way to go.

Desiccated and fresh liver are wonderful ways to boost your overall health, energy, and endurance. If you are an athlete, or anyone who perform a lot of physical activity, you will be amazed in the ways in which grass fed liver can benefit your training.

 

Ancient Herb Showcase: Rhodiola Rosea

One of the reasons I have created this journal is to share my experience with eastern medicine, more specifically, medicinal herbs. Each week, I plan to share an herb or herbal supplement that has helped me improve my health. This week I will discuss Rhodiola Rosea.

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Rhodiola rosea is an adaptogen herb that works to increase energy and endurance. Rhodiola has done wonders for my training as a Uechi Ryu master. Rhodiola, like any adaptogen herb, works to normalize anything that isn’t working properly within the body while also increasing overall health. Rhodiola and other adaptogen herbs are also safe and free from side effects.

I take Rhodiola Rosea capsules twice per day to stay energized. When I was training in Uechi Ryu, I found that Rhodiola allowed me to train longer and harder than I could when I wasn’t taking the herb. Rhodiola Rosea has also increased my mental focus and I’ve found that it has kept my mind sharper than many of my aging peers.

According to my research, the best Rhodiola Rosea comes from the Siberian Mountains where it flourishes naturally. I have also read that is best to consume Rhodiola Rosea in the form of an extract standardized to 3% rosavins and 1% salidrosides. This extract can usually be found in capsule form, as well. It is important to choose a pure and natural Rhodiola Rosea supplement from a company that you can trust.

Rhodiola Rosea keeps me energized, alert, and focused throughout the day. I significantly notice the difference on the days that I do not take it. Rhodiola Rosea keeps me balanced and aids in my own personal balance of health and wellness. Rhodiola Rosea is a supplement that I highly recommended for people who are training athletically or anyone who simply wants to feel more alive.