Hiking – learning a few tips

My hiking with a friend last Friday to Mount Tamalpais (locally known as Mt. Tam), the highest point in the Marin County in the Bay Area, was a memorable one.

The hike was from the Pantoll Station to the East Peak (check here) via the Matt Davis Trail, the West Inn, and we came back via the Railroad Grade Fire Road – my Apple Watch registered 13 miles for the entire trip for 5.5 hours of hiking (1 hour was a detour as we went on a wrong track and back and we did not exactly reach the East Peak).

Many have commented on the views of the Bay, the redwood trees, the water bridges, the serpentine rocks, and how shady and gradual most of the trail is. We did not disappoint. The West Inn provides a much-needed resting point for bathroom breaks and water refill, plus we felt wonderful and serene looking at the views.


My friend, being a more experienced hiker, taught me several things about hiking.

1. Bring only what you need. I almost brought my jacket but it was probably over 75 degrees F up there and I also left my wallet at the car.

2. Need for a hiking stick and hat.  Never underestimate how far one has to walk. The stick will definitely help when one is walking up and down a gradient and to prevent slipping. The hat is an absolute must with the summer sun.

3. Hydrate! This is obvious and one needs to check on water refilling points during the route or else one has to bring at least 2 big bottles of water.

4. Food. Carbohydrate/fruit/dried fruit will give you that glucose kick you need. Nuts and peanut butter filled pretzels (traders joe) are very good.  Some people carry bread with them and eat them on the way. Beware of taking protein/chocolate bars as they could melt or become mushy along the way. Also, eat something before the long hike to prevent low sugar especially when one has to walk fast uphill after a detour.

5. Walk at a gradual pace to keep your stamina. Hiking is one of the best exercises for your health. It is considered a form of meditation and so walk at a nice, steady pace.

6. Map.  It is crucial especially the path is new to you. We thought that we would never get lost at Mt. Tam as it is pretty close to the urban area. We thought we were on the right path back but we actually went further east from the East Peak instead of heading back to the West. Glad we checked the map.

7. Cellphone. It is not only important for an emergency but also for lighting when it gets dark.

8. Ask for guidance. There are many experienced hikers along the way and so always ask for suggested routes to make your hike even better.

9.  Decide whether you want to hike alone.  This is not my preference as it is always so much more fun to connect with or catch up with a friend/family member via hiking. However, we did see many lone hikers.

When we left Marin, we received a gift – seeing the big blood (red) moon hanging low at the horizon as July 27th was the century’s longest lunar eclipse. We also brought back some beautiful serpentine rocks as a memoir for the hike!

A Secret Ingredient for Health

Bone Broth reasons
Courtesy of revivalistkitchen.com

One has probably heard about bone broth (made from beef, pork, chicken, fish) and veggie broth, but Heather Dane really explained well why we need bone broth, especially after age 40!  The star in bone broth – collagen – supports, strengthens, cushions, provides structure, and holds the body together like glue, according to Heather.  If your body starts to lose collagen, no wonder you can feel more aches and pains, have wrinkles, thinner hair, and eye problems, experience loss of muscle tone, have digestive issues, etc.  Bone broth is also the key ingredient to many tasty Chinese soups such as this wonton soup (Hong Kong-style) and this 5-minute veggie soup (add animal protein if you like).  I have personally experienced really really tasty Shanghainese wonton soup in the streets of Shanghai – the secret is no doubt their long and well-simmered bone broth!

New Year, New Luck, New Project

Happy New Year of the Monkey!  May this year be the year when your best of dreams come true, and a year filled with great happiness, wealth, and health!  If you know your zodiac sign, you can check out your luck this year here and you can see what the character of your zodiac sign means (keep scrolling down).

In celebrating a New Year, I am also doing a project which I have been thinking for a little while.  I would like to make a PDF booklet gathering from a group of friends your health tips/habits that have made a difference to your health and energy, your favourite wellness food and drinks, yummy recipes, and apps or tools that you cannot live without, etc. Then I would love to share among us.

If you would like to contribute, please fill in this survey and let me know by the end of February, 2016.  Here’s to health and wellness!  Thank you so much!

Year of the Monkey_Google Continue reading

I Want to Share This Amazing Summit

Have you been to many doctors but still do not get or feel well?  There is a good chance that you are suffering from a category of condition called Autoimmunity Disease (AD), which is not currently embraced by the medical community as a category of disease, but is the underlying cause of more than 100 serious, chronic illnesses. Of the 50 million Americans living and coping with autoimmune disease, more than 75 percent of them are women, according to the National Institutes of Health, which names AD as a major women’s health issue (see table below).  These conditions are costing more than $100 billion of health care direct spending. AD is also affecting yours truly.

Table I (Source: AARDA)
Female:Male Ratios
in Autoimmune Diseases
Hashimoto’s thyroiditis 10:1
Systemic lupus erythematosus 9:1
Sjogren’s syndrome 9:1
Antiphospholipid syndrome-secondary 9:1
Primary biliary cirrhosis 9:1
Autoimmune hepatitis 8:1
Graves’ disease 7:1
Scleroderma 3:1
Rheumatoid arthritis 2.5:1
Antiphospholipid syndrome-primary 2:1
Autoimmune thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) 2:1
Multiple sclerosis 2:1
Myasthenia gravis 2:1

You will be surprised to know that only 25% of autoimmunity is caused by genetics, and the other 75% is environment.

Here comes a free online Autoimmune Summit from November 10 to 17.  Dr. Amy Myers plus almost 40 experts in the fields of Functional Medicine, nutrition and autoimmune diseases have come together to explain how leaky gut, genetics and environmental triggers such as toxins, food sensitivities, infections and stress all play a part in the development of autoimmune disease.  The good news is that there are natural ways to treat autoimmunity.  You can learn more about it and register here.

If you want to watch all the video presentations (plus bonuses) at your own time, you can get them here before they increase in price after 9 November.  I hope you will help spread the words to your friends, family members, and those in the health care world and share these presentations before the show begins.  Enjoy good health!

(courtesy of thegardenofzen.com)
(courtesy of thegardenofzen.com)

July – National Watermelon Month

An article from health.com caught my attention because it is about my and many others’ favourite fruit in the summer – watermelon.

In the “5 things you didn’t know about watermelon”:

At 46 calories per cup, watermelon offers 20% of your daily intake of vitamin C and 17% vitamin A, according to the USDA.

It has more lycopene than raw tomatoes. That can stop free radicals from damaging your cells and immune system. But store it in room temperature to maximize its antioxidants before slicing, according to the nutritionist.

The juice can relieve muscle soreness because of the citrulline it contains, especially in the rind.

It’s a fruit AND a vegetable and can be traced back to the squash, pumpkin and cucumber family.

It is 91.5% water, said the USDA.

I should add that although watermelon is a sweet fruit and has a high glycemic Index of 72 (GI measures how fast the carbohydrate turns into sugar; over 70 is high), it has a glycemic load of only 4 (GL also takes into account how much of that carbohydrate is in a serving; below 10 is low.)

It is a superfood for everyone that is cool and tasty, too!

20140705-171309-61989970.jpg (photo courtesy of bingwallpaper.anerg.com)

3 Favourite Yoga Poses to Relieve Stress

Since I sit in front of a computer most of the time, stretching and breathing become very important breaks for me.  Here are three of my favourite poses for stress, neck and shoulder relief as well as mind clarity.  All photos are sourced from PocketSports.

1.  Standing Forward Bend (Deep) with Shoulder Opener

forward_bend_deep

Tips: Do not squeeze the shoulders together, but let the shoulders drop to the ground.  This way, you can relax the tension on your neck and shoulder.  Great for those who sit in front of the computers a lot.

2.  Tripod Headstand

headstand_tripod_preparationTips: The key is not to force your head onto the ground – whatever height you are comfortable with your head, let it be.  Allow your head to hang free.   This pose brings mental clarity especially after a long day of brain work.

3. Wide Child Pose

child_wide poseTips: This pose is great for relieving tension in every part of your body.  The key is to spread a wide “V” between your legs, sit and relax onto the ground.  Stretch your arms as far as you can.