Are You Using Ceylon Cinnamon?

Believe it or not there is actually a very important difference in the cinnamon that is commonly used and sold at the grocery stores! If you check your cinnamon spice jar, does is it read “Ground Cinnamon” or “Saigon/Vietnamese Cinnamon” or “Ceylon Cinnamon?” Chances are you have Ground Cinnamon or Saigon Cinnamon. Definitely go check, I will wait here…

Okay, probably not Ceylon, am I right? I was a Saigon gal until I read an article a while back regarding diabetes sugar control and cinnamon. And like always, this prompted a round of research. What I discovered is the type of cinnamon consumed is important especially if you are interested in using the spice liberally as we do in our family. What I discovered is the more commonly used varieties of cinnamon have high levels of coumarin which in large dosages has the potential of causing liver problems. And I think we can all agree that we want to avoid liver problems whenever possible!

There are basically four varieties of cinnamon which are pretty interchangeable in recipes however Ceylon is definitely different both in coumarin levels and in flavor. But honestly, I find that using Ceylon has not been a problem in cooking or baking.

This is a great article on Superfoodly.com that describes in detail the differences with all four of the cinnamon choices and the levels of coumarin you should be considering as “safe.” You will be surprised how very little Saigon cinnamon it takes to throw you over the limit!

Okay, so now that I have everybody in an uproar, honestly if you aren’t heavy users of cinnamon like the Pao’s, perhaps this really isn’t an issue at all. And maybe all I did was cause massive oxidative stress in your life which is not healthy for a different reason. But I am a big believer in limiting exposure to possible toxins whenever and wherever possible. And when you eat a Cinnabon (Yum!) there is just not a lot you can do about the cinnamon they use however at home you have options! And maybe after reading about the possible benefits of cinnamon, you may want to consider using the spice more often! But just be sure it is of the Ceylon variety! (And yes, it is more expensive!)

By the way, before you throw out your Saigon cinnamon, please consider saving it for ant control! Yes! It works! Just don’t put it on something that can stain like a white carpet…don’t ask. I can tell you with confidence that ants are not fond of cinnamon so if you have ant problems just hang on to that bottle!






Brown Rice Vs. White Rice

Being Japanese, I always grew up eating rice, and it was always white rice. It wasn’t even a question what kind of rice would be served at mealtime. So once I had my own family, it was white rice until my mom started telling me she switched to brown rice. What??? My whole life seemed like a lie! What was this madness??? I listened to her arguments that there was more fiber etc. and it seemed to make sense. So then I decided that I wanted what’s best for my family too so I gave it a go!

Well, over the years I have gone back and forth on this topic. I decided to eventually stop with the brown rice because at the time things were pointing towards brown rice not really having the nutritional value and perhaps having even some negative aspects with regards to phytates. And let’s be honest, I just think white rice is more enjoyable! Well, being at Buchinger Wilhelmi initiated the debate again with my husband. And I decided it was time to revisit the topic and find out what the science says now since a good 15 years had passed and things could have changed!

The good news is that basically it is a wash whether you eat brown rice or white rice (Whew!) unless you have health issues to consider because of the high carbohydrate count. And just know that you will find many sites very much “Team Brown Rice”so don’t be shocked by my personal conclusion! One thing to consider, there is a prebiotic benefit of brown rice that you do not get with white rice which may help tip the scale slightly towards eating brown rice. For now, I will continue enjoying white rice while dining out, but I will incorporate more brown rice at home as Stephen would like the positives associated with it.

Here are two articles that take a more middle ground on brown rice versus white rice arguing both sides. Just know that I believe you can’t go wrong either way, but you can be the judge for yourself!

What 14 Studies Say About Brown Rice Vs. White Rice

How Bad is Rice, Really?



Coconut Oil…Pure Poison?

In the news recently, a Harvard professor (Karin Michels) came out to say in July 2018 that “coconut oil is pure poison.”

As some of you know, I have been drinking a tablespoon of coconut oil with my daily coffee for 15 plus years. At the time I started, I was trying to figure out ways to help my daughter’s eczema. And while she couldn’t stomach the flavor and smell, I found that it helped my skin and also helped my energy levels. Of course, these are just my own observations on myself! This article published on Healthline sums up nicely the reasons why I started drinking coconut oil in the first place.

So perhaps when I started this relationship with coconut oil long ago, the health benefits were overblown. However, there are reasons to believe that the medical establishment is slow to change…think about trans fats that were popularized in the 50’s and sold to us as a “healthy alternative” which not until relatively recently are being phased out. Here is a New York Times article that gives a timeline of events. And sometimes interests are misaligned for instance take the FDA and pharmaceuticals, Unfortunately this always comes at the cost of each individuals well-being. Listed below are some articles that help refute some of the mainstream claims of coconut oil being “bad for you because of the saturated fat” or “pure poison.” As always, take the time to investigate for yourself and see where you fall on this spectrum of coconut oil.

Here is a great article on a website by Dr. Axe refuting the American Heart Association.

One of my favorite sites, Mark’s Daily Apple goes down the list of human studies regarding coconut oil. And while there isn’t overwhelming evidence of the positive health benefits, there really wasn’t the cause for coconut oil to be called “pure poison” either.

Dr. Aseem Malhotra came out very strongly against Karin Michels in the Daily UK and in defense of coconut oil.

But I believe that this article in Science Alert sums it up quite nicely.

“As the saying goes, the dose makes the poison, so if you do have a soft spot for coconut oil, just take care not to overindulge.”

For myself, I will continue to take my 1 tablespoon a day with my morning coffee. (along with my collagen and raw egg yolk, but that will be for another post!)


Röder Therapy to the Rescue!

After reaching my early thirties without much illness, I found after moving back to Seattle from the Bay Area that things would change forever. Perhaps it was:

a.) losing my dad two weeks after moving back

b.) the stress of having an 8 month old and 3 year old

c.) a weakening immune system

d.) all of the above!

Personally, I think the correct answer was d.) all of the above. Almost immediately as luck would have it, I developed back to back sinus infections soon after being in Seattle and both would need treatment with antibiotics. Unfortunately, that was just the beginning!

A little off topic but not, can anyone explain to me why the doctors never advised me to resupply my body with probiotics after taking antibiotics? This would have helped repopulate my gut with the proper bacteria to strengthen my immune system! (especially after taking antibiotics that wipe out both good and bad bacteria!) Here is a Reader’s Digest article and U.S. News & World Report article covering the use of probiotics along with antibiotics. 

Okay back the topic…overtime and multiple illnesses, I realized that once a virus got a hold of my body, it would without a doubt take up residence in my right sinus. And I would not get better unless I “evicted” this pathogen out of my sinus! I figured out that nasal irrigation would soon become my friend. However, even that was becoming less effective which a Baylor School of Medicine article that I recently came across actually confirmed what I was experiencing.

So I learned to live with what I believe is to be a low-grade sinus infection causing inflammation but no other symptoms. (Okay, admittedly this is self-diagnosed.)

Finally, this is where Röder Therapy comes in. So what is this Röder Therapy? 

Röder Therapy

Röder Therapy is performed with a cotton wool swab soaked in Röder tincture (consisting of eucalyptus, goldenseal and echinacea), which is used to probe the paranasal sinuses through the nostrils. The treatment improves blood circulation in the nasal mucous membrane, thus helping to prevent infections of the upper respiratory tract in general. (Source: Buchinger Wilhelmi Booklet)

After my doctor completed this therapy which took all of 30 seconds, she asked if I had problems with my sinuses because my right nostril was completely closed and inflamed. Of course, my response was “Yes!” (I held back my desire to explain that viruses enjoy using my right nostril like an extended vacation rental…) That was such an a-ha moment for me introducing this knowledge that we could be doing more with the sinus passages for healing. 

I asked if there was something I could do on my own to help reduce the inflammation because I won’t have access to doctors that perform Röder Therapy back home. She walks away and brings me a bottle of liquid probiotic with a dropper! That is so genius! She tells me to administer 5 drops, 3 times a day into each nostril and then take 20 drops orally first swishing around my mouth and then swallowing morning and night. After two days, I could actually breathe through both nostrils! Wow! What a concept! Why isn’t this therapy more commonly used in the States? Chris Kresser goes into more detail about the importance of having a healthy microbiome in the sinus which is where probiotics come into play versus trying to attack a single pathogen.

Here is the probiotic I am using here in Germany for my sinus.

Sourcing something similar is going to be challenging once at home, and I am already on my second bottle! The good news is I am about 95% cured!

At the end of my stay, my doctor at the clinic said she would discuss with me how to treat my issue ongoing once I return home. Until then, happy breathing!

The Past…Diabetes and First Discoveries

With the diagnosis of my husband with Type II Diabetes at the age of 34, it was our first exposure to “standard of care” in medicine. Already, he did not meet the “typical” patient as he was a marathon runner weighing in around 155 pounds with a height of  5’10”. But nevermind that, the doctor prescribed Metformin and tells us we must attend 2 classes of diabetes courses to help with nutrition.

Well, Metformin made my husband (Steve) feel terrible from Day 1. It was the worst he had felt in a very long time. Then on top of that, the classes tell us it is perfectly fine to eat bagels and drink orange juice. We realize very quickly this only causes horrendous spikes in insulin! It was the worst advice we had received (along with eating 5 to 6 small meals a day) and when we challenged the advice were we met with resistance. Our voice wasn’t heard, and we stopped listening as well. The search began for another way, hopefully a better way…one that would try to get to the actual root cause.

This lead to two books that were groundbreaking for us at that time:

It has been a while since I read these books but they helped open our eyes to approaching our well-being with much more care than accepting everything as truth from the medical establishment. More importantly though, these books gave us confidence. Confidence to make decisions that may be counter to the medical establishment despite wishing it could be a partnership. There is a great article on modern medicine just published in The Guardian that talks about the need for medicine to make patient preferences a priority.

Thankfully, there is a lot of information available now but not everything will work for your lifestyle or will resonate with you. At the end, you will have to decide for yourself what makes sense moving forward.