Sunday, October 17, 2010

Yogi Tea Quote for the Week

Courtesy of my Kava Stress Relief tea

"You can run after satisfaction, but satisfaction must come from within."

To me this means that we can look outwards to be fulfilled with our lives but first we really have to look within ourselves to understand what we need.  Self-reflection to understand our passions and what makes us satisfied is the first step.  What are you thoughts about this quote?

Below is a great tool to guide this process.  Want your own "Circle of Life" evaluation?  Contact me to set one up!

Chat with me!

I am so excited to introduce a new feature on the blog that I learned about from my friend Adam!  It is a chat functionality (see to the right) that allows you to chat with me right from the blog. You don't need to have a Google account.  Just click on "Chat with Lisa Chin, HHC" and your message will be delivered right to me.  You can use it to contact me with questions, comments or to schedule your health consultation with me.  I'm at your service :)

For instructions on how to put this on your website, visit Adam's post.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

What's Greener? Take-out vs. Eat-in

Part of our vitality is the earth's vitality.  How we treat ourselves is often a reflection of how we treat the earth.  The people who recycle and compost are unsurprisingly people who also take care of themselves through their diet and lifestyle.  From my observations, the "hippie-ness" of someone is highly correlated to the amount of love for the earth someone has.  I don't think it's a coincidence that the weather for the past couple decades have been off kilter.  Global warming is a reflection of our society.  Not just in how we are physically abusing the earth but also how we are polluting it with our mindsets.  Our focuses on making money, being innovative, and being gluttonous have heavily contributed to the condition of the earth.
As I improved my diet (moving to more local, plant foods) and started meditating, I definitely noticed that I feel more connected to and appreciative of nature.  For that reason, I thought I'd post occasionally on how we can become greener.  I'm going to state upfront that I'm not expert on the environment but want to grow more awareness of it through this blog.
Today I wanted to talk about eating out. From a nutritional standpoint, it is always better to make your own meals and eat at home (or eat at someone else's home cooked food at their home).  But we live in a busy world where sometimes that's not an option and also splurging on a meal that you don't have to cook for yourself is nice.  Did you know that thirty-two percent of meals in the US are eaten outside of the home?  That's about one a day.  That's not to say 68% are cooked at home.  A large percentage if that number includes take-out meals. 
I admit that I like the occassional take-out from the local Thai restaurant.  On one of my visits, I thought about take-out vs. eat-in and which is greener.  To me, all of the steps taken to take-out or eat-in are all the same except the use of take-out containers.  This is the factor that, in my opinion, makes eating in a restaurant more green than eating take-out at home (unless you bring your own containers).  So be greener and eat in the restaurant instead of taking out.
What are you thoughts on taking out vs. eating in?  Any tips on being greener?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Homeward Bound Vacation

I've spent the past 4 days in New Jersey with my family and friends.  While I've been here, I've done some work for my personal business and saw some clients, but all in all, it's been a wonderful escape from "real life."  Heading home is blissful as I get to enjoy mom-cooked food every meal and spend time with my brother in the house we grew up in.  And, for some reason, I almost always fit in a yoga class or two when I'm home. 
Although I didn't travel far nor did I get to do anything exotic, this vacation is always the most nurturing for my soul.  It's actually very grounding as well - bringing me back to my roots.  To me, vacation does not require traveling to an exotic location or spending tons of money on a lavish hotel room. It's about having time to relax and spending time with myself and with family and friends.
Did you miss an opportunity to take a vacation this summer?  Why not invest in some time for yourself?  Take the weekend off from chores or to-do's.  Bring your family or friends to a park and hike for an afternoon or take a whole morning of yoga classes without a worry in the world. There are so many ways we can integrate small vacations into our lives, even when times and money are tight.  What do you think you can do this upcoming weekend to integrate a little vacation into your life?

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Quote courtesy of Lotus Yoga

I had an amazing yoga class this morning at Lotus Yoga in Montclair, NJ.  Jennifer Kohl, the studio's founder and one of its teachers, taught the class.  I love when yoga classes integrate the philosophy of yoga into the class.  After all, it's not just a physical practice but a mental one.  She said something that really stood out to me.  It was "Rejoice in Your Goodness."  This came about from a theme about being good to others so that good things happen to us. 
Take time to realize all the good we do and celebrate it.  I think that when we celebrate our goodness, we want to continue those actions and in turn, the world becomes a better place.  What have you done that is good and how do you feel it has served you?

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Week of Tips: Ground Yourself: Hibernate

It's the last tip of this week of tips on how we can ground ourselves this fall! I hope you have had the opportunity to read the tips from earlier this week.  If not, here's a recap: Fall Cleaning, Fall Eating, Grounding MeditationGetting in Touch with Nature, Visiting a Tree, and Grounding Ourselves.
So if you haven't gotten the trend this week, it's learning and implementing tips on how to ground ourselves in the fall, after a warm summer spent outdoors.  Fall in the Northeast is usually fairly pleasant. Not a depiction of the brutal winters at all.  But as a mammal, my warm blood can feel that winter is right around the corner.  As you look around, you can see nature's plants shedding their summer leaves and retreating to their roots for the winter.  Animals also prepare for the winter.  Birds fly south to warmer climates.  Mammals forage, harvest, and stuff themselves silly for the winter because in winter A) there is no food, B) even if there was food, they don't want to go out to get it or C) they are hibernating, sleeping away the winter in a cute little curled up bundle in a cave somewhere.
Now I am by no means telling you to forage, harvest and stuff yourself silly.  We have the modern convenience of having food readily available year round.  But I would like for all of us to take a cue from the animals and start preparing our bodies and homes for the winter during which we want to hibernate, as the bears and squirrels do.  
The sun is rising later and setting earlier.  Nature is telling us to go home and rest.  Listen to what the world is telling you and skip that happy hour, have an early dinner and get to bed. Our bodies naturally want to rest in the winter. There is no need to run it ragged.  Hibernate from 10 to 6. Trust me - your body will thank you.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Week of Tips: Ground Yourself: "You're Grounded"


"You're grounded."  As a kid, that wasn't such a good thing to hear.  When we were "grounded" as kids by our parents, we were sent to a corner in the room for "timeout" or our room, which, back in the day, was not equipped with flat screen TVs or laptops with wireless capabilities, heck, I didn't even have a radio in my room!  Getting grounded was a time for us to go to a quiet place and reflect on our wrongful actions.

You can kind of say that "getting grounded" spiritually encompasses the same idea.  The difference is that we are grounding ourselves (which we voluntarily do) vs. having the grounding imposed on us (which is a punishment).  A great way to ground ourselves is to retreat to a quiet place and reflect.  This can be our room, a getaway to a meditation center, or visit to a house of worship.  Dedicating time to reflect with the purpose of learning and moving on is a powerful form of grounding ourselves.

The weekend is right around the corner-TGIF!  Take the time as a perfect opportunity to ground yourself.  This is a great time to visit a spiritual center, a yoga studio or just our rooms to reflect on our experiences of the summer, learn and move forward with brilliant intentions for the fall.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Week of Tips: Ground Yourself: Visit a Tree

We're in the second half of this week's tips on how to ground ourselves for the fall.  See the previous posts of the week on Fall Cleaning, Fall Eating, Grounding Meditation, and Getting in Touch with Nature.

I mentioned earlier this week in my meditation post, that one of the ways to ground ourselves in meditation is imagine that we are trees and that our feet allow us to absorb the energy from the ground.  The reason why this visualization works is because trees have amazing energy.
Many people visit the enormous redwoods and sequoias in California every year.  The reason why people visit these trees is because they are ginormous and simply one of the wonders of the natural world that they feel they need to see.  Our culture is very focused by all things big, stimulating and over-the-top.  We are driven by what we see and how far we expand ourselves outwardly.  The loudest person usually gets the most attention and their way.  We are strive to get a superior title at work and make more money than the next guy.  We forgo the old, used cars to buy a new car that will wow our family and friends.  We starve ourselves and get plastic surgery so we can fit the model for being beautiful.
With such emphasis on our outward appearance, behavior and status, who we are inside is ignored.  Getting grounded is about shedding those superficial thoughts and actions and going within ourselves.  It is those inner traits that we develop that allow ourselves to expand beyond the superficiality.  A tree can't support its large trunk, wide branches and leaves without a good root system.  The same can be said about humans. 
Did you know that the roots of a tree can reach even further out than its branches?  This is a huge reason why trees are such powerful grounding agents.  If you ever feel really spacey or too outwardly focused, you can sit with your back to a tree and just absorb the energy you receive from its strong, expansive roots.  You don't necessarily have to meditate.  If the ground is wet or you can't sit, you can also take a walk in the woods.  Visiting a tree and taking in that energy will help to de-emphasize what's going on in the hectic world and help you refocus on your innerself.
Below are some pictures of how trees and meditation have are intertwined in different religions and across different demographics.  So get out there today (it's going to finally be nice in Boston) and sit with a tree.



Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Week of Tips: Ground Yourself: Get in Touch with Nature

Another day, another tips on how to ground ourselves this fall.  See the previous posts of the week on Fall Cleaning, Fall Eating, and Grounding Meditation.

One of the main reasons fall is my favorite season, aside from Thanksgiving, is the changing of the leaves and the earthy smell that comes with it! Like spring, nature is very active in the fall. There is lots going on in order to prepare for the winter.  Animals are harvesting, trees are shedding their leaves, and birds are flying south.  You could say that nature does its own fall cleaning.

As I mentioned earlier this week, the earth is the most grounding element we can access.  The word "grounding" has its origins with the earth.  Apparently, in witchcraft, to ground yourself is to psychically reinforce your connection with the Earth by reopening an energy channel between your aura and the ground (source).  The earth provides us the main tool to keep us physically grounded: gravity.  Then it provides us a ground to walk on in which we can receive the enormous energy of the earth which spiritually and mentally grounds us.

Because there is usually so much going on in our lives in the fall, a great way to learn to go with the flow is to get in touch with the earth and nature.  By being outside, we can get in sync with nature and be able to go along with the ebb and flow of the season. Some great ways to get out there and experience nature are going apple or pumpkin picking, raking and/or playing in the fallen leaves, taking a walk in the woods or a park, cleaning up your garden and harvesting, and lastly, go leaf peeping!  Leaf peeping is going to see the fall foliage and some people do it on a long drive and others go out to the woods or mountains.  Appreciating, admiring and enjoying nature - that's good stuff.

What activities are you going to do this fall to be in touch with nature?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Week of Tips: Ground Yourself: Meditation

Today continues a a week of tips on how to ground ourselves for the fall.  See the past two days' posts on Fall Cleaning and Fall Eating.

Grounding our physical home and  our physical body is just as important as grounding our mind.  Symptoms of an ungrounded mind include being spacey, having erratic emotions, frenetic energy, stress "freakouts" and other high energy, irrational behavior (vs. low energy irrational behavior like being depressed).  A practice that can help with "getting out of your head" and grounding yourself is meditation.  I've spoken about meditation a couple of times before but not in the context of grounding.

People of all ages can benefit from meditation! (source)
The purpose of a grounding meditation is to bring you back down to earth.  When you have less energy in your mind, you will experience a calmer energy and be more level-headed.  I know that I can always use more calm energy in my life.

Meditation does not have to entail sitting in lotus position for hours.  Here are several simple ways to ground yourself through meditation.
Seated meditation #1: Meditation can take place in many seated forms.  You can be regular cross-legged, in full or half lotus position, or on your knees and sitting on your heels.  The best of these to practice a grounding meditation is touching the ground with your backside.  This gives your body a concrete connection with the earth.  As you meditate, you can picture rooting yourself to the ground and allowing the activity in your head to dissipate back into the earth and simultaneously, bringing up that calm earth energy into your head.
Seated meditation #2: A meditation while seated in a chair can be as effective as one seated on the ground.  Sit comfortably in a chair with both of your feet flat on the ground.  Close your eyes and relax each part of your body.  Next picture yourself as a tree with roots.  Imagine that those roots are holding you firmly into the ground and at the same time bringing you the life energy from the center of earth.  Envision the transfer of energy revitalizing you and rooting you into the ground.
Walking meditation: You don't have to be seated and close your eyes in order to meditate. Meditation is about bringing awareness and being present all the time.  A great way to integrate a grounding practice into your day is to pay attention when you walk.  Focus on the connection between your feet and the ground.  Don't do anything else while you walk.  Don't talk or play on your phone or think about your grocery list. Simply walk and concentrate on each step allowing you to develop a more intimate relationship with the earth.

Have you tried a grounding meditation before?  Any tips for me and other readers?  If you haven't tried any, what do you think you'd like to tackle this week?  I'd love to know!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Week of Tips: Ground Yourself: Fall Eating

I usually set a tip for the week but in honor of fall, I am devoting a week of tips on how to ground ourselves for the fall.  See yesterday's post on Fall Cleaning.

A humongous melon (that's still growing!)that my mom will make into grounding soups and dishes this winter <3
One of the easiest ways to ground ourselves is through what we eat.  I've been basking in summer's goodies from the farmers' market but as I head into the fall, it makes less sense for me to have berries, summer peaches and raw greens and more sense to eat heavier grounding root vegetables and cooked veggies in healthy fats.  Winter is just around the corner and by eating the right foods, I'm letting my body know that it is time to prepare for the brisk weather ahead. This can also be called eating seasonally (which has other benefits justifying its own post in the future).

If I keep eating summer foods which can be described as "light and airy", I will totally shock my body when winter shows up.  It is so important to eat "grounding" foods - just as nature intended - to prepare our bodies for the winter.  In the spring and summer, nature focuses on upward growth.  Tree branches grow leaves and plants spring abundantly from the ground.  However, in the winter, trees shed those leaves and the tops of plants dry up so they can retreat to their roots and bulbs to concentrate on storing their energy to survive the long winter.  Have you ever noticed that fall and winter foods like yams, potatoes, pumpkins, and carrots are all grown very close to the ground?  It's a sign from nature that we need to ground ourselves during this season.

The rule of thumb is that grounding foods are grown close to the ground and feel heavier when eaten.  As mentioned, root vegetables are ideal to ground ourselves.  This includes sweet potatoes, parsnips, carrots, white potatoes (keep to a minimum), beets, and my all-time favorite, garlic.  Grounding vegetables also include those grown close to the ground like certain squashes and melons (like in the picture) and pumpkins! Protein is something else that our bodies crave in the colder weather.  You can attain protein from plant and animal sources.  The most common plant sources for protein are beans, legumes and nuts.  Animal sources should be as high quality as possible (e.g., grass-fed, free-range, organically grown).  Organic or local butter or ghee (recipe coming soon!) is another great grounding food.  The last group of grounding foods are whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, barley and oats. 

For those salad eaters out there who yearn for the occasional steak meal, satisfy that urge (occasionally) and know that you are not making a dieting faux pas and actually feeding yourself what you need! Please share - what's your favorite grounding food?  Mine has got to be a baked sweet potato with coconut oil. Yum!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Week of Tips: Ground Yourself: Fall Cleaning

I usually set a tip for the week but in honor of fall, I am devoting a week of tips on how to ground ourselves.

Today marks the first truly chilly day in Boston.  Fall is definitely in the air.  Fall and spring are both transition seasons.  In between the extremes of the hot summer and frigid winter.  They are also the perfect times to revamp our diet and lifestyles.

If you remember from my post, Springtime = Time to Clean, spring is a great time to clean up ourselves, our homes and our diets from the winter to prepare for the hotter summer.  Like spring, fall is a perfect time to clean but the difference being for the winter. 

For me, the most significant "fall cleaning" is the chore of switching my wardrobe.  I write this post in the middle of many loads of laundry and an afternoon of sorting piles of shorts and sweaters into their storage bins and drawers respectively.  The act of clothes sorting is probably my least favorite to do.  I don't know how my mom does it year in and year out (or spring in and fall out :) but to me, it's arduous and time consuming.  However, this task is very important to me to prepare not only physically but also mentally for winter.

Spring cleaning is about opening the windows and letting fresh air in and cleaning up the heaviness that was winter.  Fall cleaning is about getting out of our heads. Summer allows us to stay out late and socialize and be outwardly focused.  Winter is about being more focused on our homes and families.  It's not a coincidence that Thanksgiving and Christmas are both in the winter time.  That being the case, fall cleaning includes making our homes comfy because we are going to be spending a lot of time there.

I am definitely going to focus more on decorating my sparsely decorated condo and ensuring it is going to allow for more activity at home.  A comfortable home environment can contribute so much to being happy when you are snowed in during those winter months.  Because there's two of us, it is also going to be important that we can do our respective activities without being in each other's way.  What are you going to do in your home to prepare for the fall?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Limiting Face(book) Time

Holding a full time job and starting a business while trying to eat right and workout makes for a busy schedule. I've been balancing everything pretty well before starting my practice in April. Now time seems to escape me and before I know it, it's post dinner and all I want to do is sit on the couch and relax.  But time is of the essence because like everyone else, I only have 24 hours in a day and I want to use it the best I can.
Every time I make a decision of whether to work out, go shopping or leave earlier so I'm not rushing to my full time job, I consider whether or not it detracts from business development time.

When I do get an opportunity to sit down at my desk at home, I am fairly productive minus one thing. You guessed it: Facebook. I was never a super avid user of Facebook, but I have been on it constantly since launching my practice. The boon of social media has been the bane of my time management.

I believe my increased usage is primarily due to the fact that I provide a lifestyle product. Therefore, I should stay top of my contacts' mind and market or write witty updateswhen I can. Unfortunately, Facebook is like a maze. You don't come out the other end until you've explored every nook and cranny of it.

Last night, my client, who has been facing the same problem, and I set a mutual goal of limiting our visits to Facebook to once a day. I'd like to extend the invitation to you and ask you to join us in our goal to regain some of our time. Maybe your big time management sucker isn't Facebook. Maybe its too much TV time, visiting blogs, making multiple trips to the grocery store, etc.  Allow this to be a forum for whatever your goal is.  Good luck!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Tip for the Week: Listen to Others

This week's tip is to spend some time listening to others.  When was the last time that you were in a conversation where you truly listened to the other person?  Where you were not trying to think of something intelligent|witty|sarcastic|newsworthy to say?  Probably quite a while ago.

Listening is a really powerful skill.  I use it often when I am health counseling and it is amazing how I can help and learn so much from others simply by allowing them the time, space, and atmosphere to speak to me and truly be heard.  When you bring this component into your personal life, you allow the person speaking to you to fully express themselves.  Strengthen your relationships and start new ones by simply asking how someone is and truly listening to them.

Try it out this week.  See how you feel and how others react when you give them 100% of your attention.  Let me know how it goes!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

FAQ: Good Carbs vs. Bad Carbs

I have the pleasure of being part of the Wellness Committee at work.  It has been a slow start but I'm excited for what the group stands for and to be able to do something I related to health and wellness during my daytime job.  As a committee member, I write a Q&A column in the monthly newsletter.  I answer some common questions that people have about health and nutrition.  I thought I would share this information on the blog and start an FAQ section that will keep the archive of the questions.  Have any questions that you'd like me to take a stab at?  Ask them here or email me at lisachinhhc(at)gmail(dot)com.

Q: Is there such a thing as “good” carbs?

A: Great question! Carbohydrates or carbs tend to get a bad rep by dieters (perhaps due to the popularity of the Atkins diet) but not all of them are bad. Sources of carbohydrates break down into glucose, which is essential to our body’s functioning. Did you know that glucose is the main source of energy for our body – including our brain? That means that choosing the right carbohydrate is very important!

There are 2 groups of carbohydrates – complex and simple.
“Good” carbohydrates are the complex carbohydrates because they take a longer time to breakdown in our bodies and do not rapidly increase our blood sugar. Some examples are whole grains, beans and legumes, nuts and whole grain cereal and breads.
“Bad” carbohydrates can simple carbohydrates, which are often devoid of protein or fiber and break down very quickly in our digestive systems. Examples are fruit juices, candy, non-diet soda, table sugar, and white flour and rice. They cause a very rapid spike and drop in our blood sugar. This spike and drop causes stress on our bodies and has been linked to diabetes.

It’s important for our energy level and our overall health to choose complex carbohydrates. Some simple changes you can make are to switch to whole wheat alternatives of your pastas, breads and baked goods and to incorporate more whole grains into your diet. Examples of whole grains include brown rice, quinoa, barley, millet, wild rice, oats, and buckwheat. Beans and nuts are an easy addition too – add them to your salad or have them as snacks (e.g., hummus, trail mix).

Friday, September 24, 2010

Miss me? Catch me on Facebook & Twitter!

Life is happening so fast these days that I feel like I can only produce short quips of thought at a time.  Maybe you've missed me on the blog?  Yes, I've been absent and will soon resume a steadier schedule.  The good news is that while I haven't been the most diligent with the blog, I have been updating my Facebook page and Twitter account which I have easier access to with my schedule.  

You can follow me on those and still get helpful and informational updates in bite size pieces :)  I like to share links to interesting articles, health facts and tips, and random thoughts that cross my mind on Facebook. You can also join the conversation with providing your comments!  And I use Twitter(@lisachinhhc) to share both fun, spur of the moment thoughts and observations on health, food, and life. 

Please join me on both to catch the latest and greatest on what's going on in my world.

P.S. Lots of exciting news developing in my health counseling practice.  Look forward to new services and a new name before the end of the year!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Quote: The Four Seasons

Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting and autumn a mosaic of them all. 
~Stanley Horowitz

The northern and southern portions of the world have four seasons for countless reasons as does the area around the equator have many reasons to not have four seasons.  Growing up in the northeast, I have always loved the spring and fall but was not always fond of the winter and summer months. As I get older, I have learned to appreciate the beauty of each of the seasons - as if they were separate entities and not related to each other.  Kind of like how you should treat your children :)  Or how Stanley Horowitz describes them as creation of different methods of art.  As I have learned to love the abundance of new life in the spring, the freedom that summer represents, the beauty of the fall and the brisk winds of the winter (yes, I actually miss those winds!), I feel more connected with nature and the movements of the earth.  I'm always sad when season ends for another to begin but such is life.  It makes me appreciate what I've experienced in the past 3 months and anticipate my future.
How do you feel with the end of summer?

Friday, September 10, 2010

Yoga for Free Delivered to Your Computer

One of the biggest hurdles for me to practice yoga often was the idea that I needed to be in a studio to practice.  There is nothing that beats a practice with a room full of other deep breathing yogis but sometimes neither schedule nor budget permits visiting the studio.  A couple of years ago, I found out about an amazing website called Yoga Today.  It has a library of hundreds of hour-long yoga classes that you can access.  The instructors are really knowledgeable and there is a lot of variety to the classes.

The site features a free class each week and a monthly membership is really reasonable - only $10!  If you sign up for the year, it's $90 - less than what a lot of month memberships are at yoga studios.

I have been meaning to post about this site for a while but just today, I signed up for their Ambassador Program to spread the word about the site.  As a referral of mine, you can receive a FREE 2 week trial of the site with full access to all of their videos.  There's nothing to lose and only peace and harmony to gain! 

Click here or go to and enter lisachinhhc in the Ambassador ID text box.  Happy weekend and Happy yoga'ing!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Happy Labor Day!

In honor of Labor Day, this is all I'm posting :) You don't have to work at work but still be sure to work for our health - eat well and do something beneficial for YOU today!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Quote for the Week courtesy of Dr. Oz

“For every dollar we spend on prescription drugs, we spend a dollar  to fix a complication.”
— Mehmet Oz, M.D., Professor of Surgery at Columbia University
 and author “YOU: The Owner’s Manual” and “YOU: On A Diet”
A picture is worth a thousand words...
This week's quote is a bit different than the aspirational quotes I've posted in the past.  This week's quote by Dr. Oz states a grave reality that our society is facing.  Medication has been touted to fix our diseases.  It has shifted how we eat, live, sleep and treat our bodies in general.  Because of medication, disease is not seen as something we can prevent or treat naturally but something to be remedied, when the time comes, with a pill, shot, elixir or other method of treatment.  Unfortunately, medications have not helped us but causes more diseases for which we take even more medication. 
Take time today to evaluate what more can you do to practice preventative medicine - not reactive.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Grocery Stores - My Personal Meccas

When I was younger, I'd go to the grocery store with my mom and would never want to sit in the cart.  Why would you want to sit in the cart and be confined when trying to grab something you want when you can be walking around "shopping"?  Nowadays, I still love walking the grocery stores but have a different outlook and purpose.  I enjoy seeing the different choices in produce (fresh, frozen, seasonal, organic, local, etc.) and healthful and not healthful products.  What is sold at grocery stores is just so intriguing.  Whenever I travel, I always make sure to include a grocery store experience in my trip.  They're my personal meccas :)

Here is a snapshot of the main grocery stores that have touched my life: 
Growing up, we only shopped at one grocery store because we did not have a car and it was the closest one.  I got to know the A&P very well in the 17 years that I frequented the store.  I don't go as often now because the selection is not plentiful or fresh and I usually do have access to a car when I'm home now.

One of the first places I went to when I got to college was the Super Stop & Shop near the school. I don't remember what I bought but I remember thinking this place was humongous.  I would go often through my four years at Babson and had some fond memories of it including chasing my now-boyfriend through the parking lot because he took my sandal, and yes, we were in college :)

The other grocery store near the house I grew up is a nice sized ShopRite with fresh and reasonably produce.  It is the preferred grocery store for my mom and brother now.  I found out last week while leading a grocery store tour with a client, that this Shop Rite has a lot of great whole and organic foods (in additional to the more processed foods), including quinoa, lots of whole grains, all sorts of nut milks, a wide selection of milk, and better quality meat selection.  It's good to see more and more stores carry a wider array of products, especially a store in a suburb in NJ.
Shaw's and Star Market are the same company. There was one near my college but it was very underwhelming and I only remember shopping there if I needed something last minute.  When I moved to Boston 3 years ago, there was a HUGE Shaw's a block away. Needless to say, I was a frequent shopper.  What I loved especially about this Shaw's is that there was a sizable natural foods and products section and an ethnic section.  I usually spend a good part of my time shopping there just in those aisles reading the interesting ingredients and seeing the different items featured.
Upon moving to Boston, I fell in love with this very special store, Trader Joe's. It is a grocery store which started in California and has rapidly been spreading across the country and developing strong following. For those of you who have experienced Trader Joe's, you either love or hate it. Some people I know don't like the crowds and especially the cramped stores in the city. However, many like myself visit regularly to pick up items that cannot be found in other stores or get really great prices on products.  These include organic nut butters, organic almond milk, organic fruits including apples and lemons, cinnamon (they have the best cinnamon!), frozen desserts, and mixed nuts.  I can't shop exclusively at Trader Joe's but I couldn't live without it.

And last but not least...

Trader Joe's has a very strong group of fans but I'd have to argue that Wegmans has just as strong a following.  Wegmans is a grocery store that started in upstate NY. I first heard of Wegmans from my boyfriend who grew up down the street from it in Syracuse.  When I visited him during a break in college, I was finally able to experience Wegmans.  The one in Syracuse is very, very, very big.  There is a dedicated prepared food section - like a food court at a mall, kitchenware section, enormous amounts of fruits and vegetables including $1000/lb truffles, freshly baked breads and other goodies in the brick oven, your normal aisles of packaged foods, a large ethnic section, a sizable organic and natural products section and a wide selection of bulk goods. The great news is that there is one coming to the Boston area and now with a car, I can go whenever I want! 

So these are the important grocery stores in my life, how about you?  Do you just run in and out or do you like walking around like me?  I'd love to hear about it!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Autumn New Beginnings

I gotta admit, I was stuck in a rut in August. I felt like I was moving forwards in so many aspects of my life but being held back in so many others.  I'm definitely missing IIN and the amazing energy from the classes and the friends I've made.  My full time gig has been tough with a couple of less than mindful projects.  At the same time, I did receive my Reiki certification, bought a new car, and visited family!  Looking back on August, it was overall a good month and I post this in September because I'm heading towards the tail-end of my rut.  I'm ready to become a bigger (in some ways) and better me starting this month!
To me, September/autumn has always meant rebirth and a new start more so than January/the new year and April/spring.  I blame this entirely to the school system and the back-to-school sales at which I piled my shopping cart high with new Bic lead pencils (0.5mm, of course), Papermate pens, Trapper Keepers(!!), Five Star notebooks, plastic lunch boxes with cartoons on them, and new clothes.  The brand spanky new school supplies symbolized a much greater newness in my life that started every fall for 17 straight years.  Every year was a new year, an advancement from last and an opportunity to make new friends, learn more and shed a little bit of the old me behind.  This was especially true when I transitioned to a different school which happened in elementary, middle and high school and college. 
As I head into this fall, I look forward to embracing a sense of a new beginning and improving on who I was and who I've become in the past year.  Starting this fall, I plan to continue to develop my business with new programs (check out my latest here!), meditate more, practice my Reiki, sleep more, practice lots more yoga, embrace the season with leaf peeping trips and visits to a corn maze, apple orchard, and pumpkin patch, and be a better girlfriend, friend, sister, daughter, cousin, etc.  What are your thoughts of September?  Does this time of year conjure up the same feelings for you as it does for me?  What are your goals as we head into the season of leaves a-changing, pumpkin patches, corn mazes and trick o' treaters?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I Heart Food

Today - more than ever - food has become a central focus in our culture.  It seems there are restaurants, delis, convenience stores, hot dog stands, and food trucks on every corner.  A multitude of television shows are devoted to food, even several whole channels!  Our culture's obsession with food is very complicated.  Another post for another day.
On a personal level, I have always loved food. In grammar school, I would watch my mom prep dinner until she shoo'ed me out of the kitchen to do my homework.  Growing up in a Chinese family, I could not avoid being a "foodie" if I tried!  There is a Chinese or American holiday almost every month in which I gathered with my seven cousins and brother and aunts and uncles and grandparents to feast! In middle school, my enjoyment of cooking and baking went to a new level as I watched the CIA and Martin Yan cooking shows on PBS every Sunday from 3-5.  In high school, I even contemplated attending culinary school!  My emotional connection to food, driven by my meals with my extended family, is very strong. Eating is comfort in tough times and the mode of celebrating in good times.
Although I have luckily never had a severe weight problem, I can get carried away with food when I am stressed or unhappy.  I'm sure you can relate - it can be a downward spiraling staircase. Eating when unhappy leads to jeans being a little tighter or unwearable which causes more unhappiness and leads to more eating.
About 99.9% of people have an emotional connection to food.  It is something that can be difficult to control since we eat at least 3 times a day and often even more than that.
My secret to breaking a spell where I keep reaching for food is to start eating quality foods.  When I start feeding myself nutritionally dense foods, I tend to become more clear-headed and break the cycle.  This process has helped me start to better understand my connection to food and be aware when I start tumbling down that rabbit hole.
I am very excited to share with you a new program that I have put together centered on weight loss while touching on emotional eating.  My Quality, not Quantity Program focuses on eating and living with regard to quality - not quantity! It's a 4 week webinar series that will cover topics like ideal and not ideal foods, eating on a budget, organic foods, and eating with awareness.  To sign up and for a full description of this mind-blowing program - click here. I can't wait to share with you this helpful information in shifting the way you eat and live!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Quote for the Week: re: Your Path

This week's quote goes out to those who are chasing dreams or stuck and not sure how the pieces of their life fit together.  I'm in the same boat but this quote eases my anxiety and I hope it does the same for you:

"Trust the process."

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Cheap Food Ain't So Cheap

As humans, we need two major resources to survive - water and food.  With more than 37 million people in the US falling below the poverty line, how to afford water and food becomes a major day-to-day issue. Especially when we have competing "necessities" (importance depending on the person) like daycare, clothes, back to school supplies, car and gasoline expenses, a computer, bus passes, a cell phone, utility bills, cable, etc. 
Many of those necessities' prices are fixed.  You can get school supplies on sale but it will still cost a pretty penny. And compound that with the number of kids you have.  And you can spend less on electricity but you can only do so much to lower the electricity use of  your refrigerator and oven.  Food is very different from these items because you can get food very, very cheaply.  Thanks to government subsidies and modern technology, you can get a hamburger for the same price as you'd pay for a mango.  With a short term vision (which many people have), the cheaper food is the better choice.  Filling a rumbling belly is more important than nutrition. Unfortunately, there are long term costs when you neglect nutrition.  Eating well is essential to your wellbeing (and your children's, if you are a woman).  Diseases like cancer, heart disease and diabetes do not just show up on your doorstep one day uninvited.   They take time to build up and if you take a long term view to food and health, you will eat every day to prevent those diseases.
Eating well does not require for you to spend 50% of your income on food.  People have lived in poverty for centuries and have eaten well and not fallen prey to the aforementioned diseases.  One solution is to buy cheap but healthful food items.  Some items are staples in many indigenous diets: whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, barley and millet, beans - even canned aren't that expensive, and seasonal vegetables from the local farm.  Most indigenous diets contained more grains and vegetables than meat. Meat does not need to be the centerpiece of our meals.  Make the vegetables the main dish and have a side portion of meat.  Another solution is to "Eat less, pay more" as Michael Pollan says in this article.  Most of us are nutritionally vs. physically starved.  We are eating more hours in the day than our ancestors because we are eating empty calories.  We need certain amounts of vitamins and minerals in our bodies and when we don't achieve those needs, our body starts craving and showing signs of hunger because it needs those nutrients to function.  So invest in nutritionally dense foods and you'll eat less!
Mark Hyman wrote a great article about how cheap food isn't cheap (see below).  
Please share your tips and tricks on how you eat cheaply but well!
Posted: August 14, 2010 08:00 AM
I was in a grocery store yesterday. While I was squeezing avocados to pick just the right ones for my family's dinner salad, I overheard a conversation from a couple that had also picked up an avocado.
"Oh, these avocados look good, let's get some."
Then looking up at the price, they said, "Two for five dollars!" Dejected, they put the live avocado back and walked away from the vegetable aisle toward the aisles full of dead, boxed, canned, packaged goods where they can buy thousands of calories of poor-quality, nutrient-poor, factory-made, processed foods filled with sugar, fat, and salt for the same five dollars. This is the scenario millions of Americans struggling to feed their families face every day.
The odd paradox is that food insecurity--not knowing where the next meal is coming from or not having enough money to adequately feed your family--leads to obesity, diabetes and chronic disease. Examining this paradox may help us advocate for policies that make producing fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole other foods cheaper, while rethinking the almost $300 billion in government subsides that support the production of cheap, processed food derived from corn and soy.
At the same time, a Food Revolution, along the lines of that advocated by Jamie Oliver, a radical chef, can help Americans take back their table and their health from a food industry that has driven us to eat more than 50 percent of our meals out of the home compared to less than 2 percent 100 years ago. And most of those meals eaten at home are produced in plants, not grown on plants, are from a food chemist's lab, not a farmer's field. Cooking and eating whole fresh foods at home, can be cheaper, more fun, and simpler than most people think.
So I would ask you to consider: Have you ever made poor food choices because of cost? What is the REAL cost of this cheap food--the cost in dollars, on our health, on our environment, and even on the fraying fabric of our social and family systems?
This is what you need to remember:
1. The true cost of unhealthy food isn't just the price tag--in fact, the real costs are hidden.
2. Eating healthy doesn't have to cost more.
Sure, it seems cheaper to eat a burger, fries, and a soda from McDonald's than to eat a meal of whole foods, but there are healthier options. Let me review why the true costs of eating unhealthy food are hidden, and give you some suggestions that will help you save money and suffering by eating well for less. Poverty or financial limitations do not preclude eating well, creating health and avoiding disease.
Let's start by looking at how our economy and public policy are geared toward the production of cheap, unhealthy food.
Government Policy Supports the Production of Unhealthy Food
Unhealthy food is cheaper because our government's policies support its production. We're spending nearly $30 billion a year to subsidize corn and soy production. Where do those foods go? Into our food supply as high-fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated soybean oil (trans fats), that are the foundation of almost all fast food and processed foods that are "manufactured" by the food industry.
Since the 1970s--when our agricultural policies where changed to support corn and soy farmers--we're consuming, on average, an extra 500 calories (mostly in the form of cheap, artificial high-fructose corn syrup) per person.
Corn and soy are also used to feed cattle for the production of meat and dairy. In fact, 70 percent of the wheat, corn and soy farmed in this country is used to feed animals used for our food. The world's cattle alone consume a quantity of food equal to the caloric needs of 8.7 billion people--more than the entire human population on Earth!
So, when our government helps pay for these foods--well, of course they're cheaper! That explains the low price tag. But what about the OTHER costs to you?
The Hidden Costs of Eating Poorly
We all know that bad foods are bad for your health. It turns out they are also bad for the national pocketbook. For example, one expert has estimated that healthcare costs related to obesity are $118 billion per year. That's nearly 12 percent of total healthcare expenditures--and more than twice that caused by smoking! Seventy-two percent of Americans are overweight and over one third are medically obese. One in three children born today will be diabetic in their lifetime and the life expectancy of our population is declining for the first time in human history.
A report from the Worldwatch Institute called Overfed and Underfed: The Global Epidemic of Malnutrition documented the real costs of obesity related to poor diet--and this does NOT include the other effects of poor diet such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, dementia, autoimmune diseases, and osteoporosis. Here were some of the conclusions of that report:
• Obese people account for a disproportionate share of health-related absences from work.
• Obesity accounts for 7 percent of lost productivity due to sick leave and disability.
• 7 percent of all of North Carolina's healthcare expenditures are related to obesity.
• Obese people visit their physicians 40 percent more than normal weight people.
• Obese people are 2.5 times more likely to require drugs prescribed for cardiovascular and circulation disorders.
• Liposuction is the number-one form of cosmetic surgery in the US, with 400,000 operations a year.
• Over 100,000 people a year have gastric bypass surgery.
According to a recent study in The New England Journal of Medicine (i), we're spending about $20,000 per person for each extra year of life gained from medical interventions like drugs and surgery ... as if that's something to be proud of!
That doesn't even take into account the $282 billion in costs resulting from medical interventions that go wrong--hospital infections, medical errors, deaths from drug reactions, bedsores, or unnecessary surgeries.
And what if that $20,000 per year was given to each person during his or her lifetime to support better nutrition, lifestyle, and stress management? My guess is that we would save trillions of dollars in health care expenditures on chronic disease!
As these numbers prove, the costs of eating fast, junk, and processed foods are often deferred until later. And that's the key point: When you go to McDonald's for a cheap burger and fries, you might immediately compare that lower price to whole organic foods which are more expensive in the short term. But the total cost isn't reflected in how much you pay for your meal in the immediate moment, it's the cumulative cost of what those decisions cost you over a lifetime.
For example, when you eat unhealthy foods like these, the costs of medical visits, co-pays, prescription medications, and other health services skyrocket. There are other non-economic costs of eating poorly as well. You reduce your ability to enjoy life in the moment due to increased fatigue, low-grade health complaints, obesity, depression, and more.
The biggest advantage of eating well now is not just preventing disease and costs later, but simply enjoying each day to its fullest. You can make that happen. Eating well doesn't have to cost more.
It's true that there are very few, if any, subsidies for the production of produce or healthier alternative foods. And the same government agency that supports the production of the ingredients for junk food provides less than $300 million for education on healthy nutrition.
But change is in the air. Dean Ornish, MD, has shown that a program to teach people to eat better, exercise, and learn stress reduction can prevent heart disease and reduce the need for heart bypass or other treatments. Insurance companies are starting to take notice as some cover the costs for that program. Paying $5,000 for such a program now, Medicare has finally recognized, is better than paying $50,000 later for a cardiac bypass operation.
A number of us advocated last year that a "health council" be established to coordinate and develop national polices that create and support health for Americans. This was part of the health reform bill and the National Council on Prevention, Health Promotion and Public Health was created by executive order of the President in June. Drs. Dean Ornish, Memhet Oz, Michael Roizen and I, among others, have been nominated to be on a twenty-five member advisory council that helps guide the council. The council is made up of all the cabinet secretaries in charge of departments that in some way affect our health--agriculture, health, transportation, environment, trade, labor, and more--and will be chaired by the Surgeon General. This provides a way to influence national policies to support and create health--including our food and agriculture polices--for the first time.
The idea that you can save money by eating well is further supported by studies like the one published by the American Dietetic Association (ii) that shows eating well to lose weight is actually cheaper--or at the worst, no more expensive--than eating poorly! The authors of the study concluded that "adopting a lower-energy, nutrient-dense diet did not increase dietary costs over time. Consequently, cost should not be a barrier in the adoption of a healthful diet."
That's powerful evidence that eating well is not just good for your body, it's good for your wallet, too! Here are some ideas to get you started.
Four Tips to Start Eating Healthy for Less Today
1. Listen to Gandhi. Yes, Gandhi! He said that we should never mistake what is habitual for what is natural. Case in point: Some Chinese are very poor and yet they eat extremely well--small amounts of animal protein, with an abundance of vegetables.
2. Be willing to learn. We have to learn new ways of shopping and eating, new ways of ordering our priorities around our health and nutrition that supports our well-being, even if it is hard at the beginning.
3. Do your research. There are ways to find cheaper sources of produce, whole grains, beans, nuts, and lean animal protein. You just need to seek them out. It doesn't all have to be organic. Simply switching from processed foods to whole foods is a HUGE step in the right direction.
4. Make an effort. Eating healthy does take more planning. It may require you to find new places to hunt and gather for your family. You might have to reorder your priorities regarding where you spend your money and your time so that you can make healthier eating choices.
Remember, eating healthy foods without spending a lot is possible--and you can do it.
Now I'd like to hear from you...
What do you think about the long-term costs of eating poorly?
Do you agree or disagree that eating poorly in the short-term has dramatic long-term consequences on your health care costs?
What other costs of eating poorly have you seen or experienced?
Are you also worried about the exploding costs of health care, whether insurance, medical, Medicare or other costs?
To your good health,
Mark Hyman, MD
(i) Cutler D.M., Rosen A.B., and S. Vijan. 2006. The value of medical spending in the United States, 1960-2000. N Engl J Med. 355(9): 920-7.
(ii)Raynor, H.A., Kilanowski, C.K., Esterli, I., et al. 2002. A cost-analysis of adopting a healthful diet in a family-based treatment program. J Am Diet Assoc.102(5): 645-650, 655-656.

Mark Hyman, M.D. is a practicing physician, founder of The UltraWellness Center, a four-time New York Times bestselling author, and an international leader in the field of Functional Medicine. You can follow him on Twitter, connect with him on LinkedIn, watch his videos on YouTube, become a fan on Facebook, and subscribe to his newsletter at

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Affirmation for the Week: Non-Attachment

I have a set of Law of Attraction cards that I use on a weekly basis to provide a quote that I use to inspire me.  This week's pick is the card of Non-Attachment.  I am very much guilty of over thinking and over analyzing the what if's and so what's of all situations.  Non-attachment enables me to not be disappointed with an outcome.  I believe everything happens for a reason so being not attached allows me to believe that not everything will go my way but it will go the right way.

"I am certain that I will reach my goals while letting go of how it will happen."

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

"Puberty Hits Girls As Young As 7"

Girls are hitting puberty at younger and younger ages.  This is a steady trend over (at least) the past 50+ years.  Scientists have not pinpointed a single source but most of them have either been dietary or environmental.  The ramifications of early puberty can be very severe to a woman's life.  Studies show that there is a higher occurrence of breast cancer in women who are exposed to estrogen for longer periods of their lives (also can be linked to birth control use).  Girls also experience psychological issues when they hit puberty earlier.  As they have "a child’s mind in a woman’s body,"they are unprepared for the new emotions and new reactions from friends and strangers (source).  This can result in depression, low self esteem, eating disorders, and even cause suicide.

Possible dietary causes of early puberty include hormones found in milk and meat products and chemicals with estrogen-like qualities in soy and other foods.  Being overweight has also been linked with early puberty as body fat produces more estrogen.  Additionally, there are hundreds of chemicals used in our day to day products as well as industrially of which we do not know the effects, including materials used in hospitals!  Many of these can interfere with baby and young children's delicate hormone system.

This post especially goes out to the moms and dads (present and future).  Take care of your bodies and your children's bodies with fresh, nutrient rich, organic (if possible) whole foods and natural home products.  You are responsible for those bundles of joy. Cherish and nourish them.

Here are some articles about this growing issue:

Early puberty for girls is raising health concerns

American girls are hitting puberty earlier than ever — a change that puts them at higher risk for behavioral problems as adolescents and breast cancer as adults, a new study shows.
About 15% of 1,239 girls studied showed the beginnings of breast development at age 7, according to an article in today's Pediatrics. One in 10 white girls, twice as many as in a 1997 study, showed breast growth by that age, as did 23% of black girls and 15% of Hispanic girls.
The median age of breast development fell from 10.9 years in 1991 to 9.9 in 2006, according to a Danish study published in Pediatrics last year.
The new study doesn't explain why girls are developing earlier, but it did find heavier girls with a higher body-mass index were more likely than others to begin puberty early, says pediatrician Frank Biro, director of adolescent medicine at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center.
A third of children are now overweight, and the early puberty trend could be related to the obesity epidemic, says Marcia Herman-Giddens of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. A growing number of researchers also are concerned about hormone-disrupting chemicals in the environment. Animal studies suggest that many environmental toxins can affect the age of puberty, although scientists aren't yet sure exactly how they affect people.

Suspect chemicals include pesticides used in farms and lawns, flame retardants found in furniture and electronics, and bisphenol A, or BPA, an estrogen-like ingredient found in plastic bottles, the linings of metal food and beverage cans, Biro says. He notes that researchers are collecting blood and urine samples from girls and will be able to analyze their exposure to toxins.

Animal and human studies suggest certain chemicals may affect male sexual development.

The herbicide atrazine, for example, has been shown to chemically "castrate" some male frogs and turn others into females able to lay eggs, according to a March study in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

And a 2008 study found that baby boys are more likely to have genital changes, such as undescended testicles and smaller penises, if they were exposed before birth to high levels of phthalates, hormone-disrupting chemicals found in medical tubing, vinyl and other products.
The chemical industry says these chemicals are safe and have never been definitively proven to harm humans.
Hitting puberty at a young age can be confusing and distressing, Herman-Giddens says.

It also increases the odds that girls will develop low self-esteem, eating disorders and depression. Girls who hit puberty sooner are more likely to attempt suicide and to have earlier sexual activity. As adults, these women are at greater risk for breast and endometrial cancers, possibly because they have a longer lifetime exposure to estrogen.

Puberty Hits Girls As Young As 7

Huffington Post  |  Sara Yin

First Posted: 08- 9-10 04:27 PM   |   Updated: 08- 9-10 05:27 PM

More girls are reaching puberty at a younger age, often as early as 7 or 8, according to a new study.Published today in Pediatrics, the study links the alarming trend to rising levels of obesity and environmental chemicals found in everyday items-- like water bottles and makeup-- that mimic estrogen.

Dr. Frank Biro, lead author of the study and director of adolescent medicine at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, told the New York Times:

"It's certainly throwing up a warning flag... I think we need to think about the stuff we're exposing our bodies to and the bodies of our kids."

Obesity is cited as a major factor, because body fat produces estrogen, which in turn triggers breast development and menstruation.

But he also suggests the role of endocrine-disrupting chemicals like Bisphenol-A (BPA), which is used to make the plastics in water bottles and baby bottles. In January 2010, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration raised concerns over the widespread use of BPA's in consumer products, but so far little has been done to regulate its usage.

The study measures puberty as the start of breast development, the most ostensible sign of puberty in girls. Biro's team took breast measurements of 1,239 girls aged 6 to 9 living in San Francisco Bay area, greater Cincinnati and East Harlem in New York. Each age group was made up of 30% each whites, blacks and Hispanics, and 5% Asians.

According to the study's abstract, at 7 years old, 10.4% of whites, 23.4% of blacks and 14.9% of Hispanic girls were developing breasts. At 8 years, the figures increased to 18.3%, 42.9% and 30.9%, respectively.
Interestingly, these proportions increased the most among whites when compared to 10 years ago, the study says. A Time magazine article questions exactly how young puberty can start -- and why this matters.

The fact that the onset of puberty has not shifted earlier among African-American girls over the last decade, says Biro, may simply reflect the fact that they have reached the minimum biological
age at which sexual development can occur. "How young can you go? Maybe white populations have not arrived at that biologic minimum," he says.
There are other far-reaching consequences of early puberty: increased risk of breast cancer (linked to an overexposure of estrogen), depression, youth violence.
But perhaps most alarming of all are the quieter emotional repercussions, as the Times article notes:
Socially and emotionally, life can be difficult for a girl who has a child's mind in a woman's body and is not ready to deal with sexual advances from men and boys, or cope with her own hormone-spiked emotions and sexual impulses.