Tell Me It Ain’t So…

(This entry is dedicated to Oswaldo, a student of mine who recently reminded me “you are what you eat,” and the harmful nature of the Twinkie.)

I have a guilty little secret. Even though, I try my best to stay in shape, and watch what I eat, I love Twinkies. You known those little golden sponge cakes filled with cream that Hostess has been selling to the American public since the 1930’s.

Now I’m no Twinkie-holic, but a pack of Twinkies, (or two), is my little reward when I really push myself at the gym. It’s something I can bribe myself with in order to push myself to the next level. My Twinkie is sort of the carrot dangling in front of the horse.

Naturally, I’ve never been under the delusion that Twinkies were good for me. In fact, I’ve never been quite sure what they are even made of. Until a few days ago assumed, maybe with a subconscious desire to do so, that they at least contained some natural ingredients. I thought that they had at least a bit of nutritional value.

Boy was I ever wrong.

Twinkies contain no eggs, no butter, no milk, and no cream. In fact they contain nothing that can spoil during their twenty-five day shelf life. So much for that old urban myth, which states Twinkies last forever.

So what are Twinkies made of, you ask? For that answer I suggest you read “Mmmm, Tasty Chemicals,” by Anne Underwood in the March 5th 2007 issue of Newsweek Magazine. (See below) It’s a real eye opener, if not a real stomach turner.

Oddly enough a few weeks ago, before this article came out, my students and I had a debate on the health issues of eating snack foods, especially snack foods such as Twinkies. While I vehemently defended my Twinkie addiction (though the truth is I actually eat Zingers, a Twinkie covered in raspberry jelly and coconut shavings), I had to concede that eating other healthier things was definitely in my best interest. After all, an apple a day keeps the doctor away.

Too bad apples just don’t taste more like Zingers.

The only defense I could assert when it comes to eating a pack of Zingers or two, maybe in a stressful week three, is that I really don’t ingest anything else that is that bad for me. I do watch what I eat (diet-wise), I don’t drink alcohol, don’t smoke, and only reluctantly take the prescription drugs my doctor says I need to take to manage my cholesterol and chronic pain.

In other words I do try to take care of myself. My justification is simply this, every now and then I have to indulge, and if that means a Zinger or two what’s the real harm. My Twinkie (Zinger) is my guilty little pleasure, and while I now know I shouldn’t, now that I know what they are actually made of, I doubt I’ll change my wicked ways.

My students, especially Oswaldo may be right, but hopefully, in the end, I’m not what I really eat.


Diet Idea – Orange Peel Juice

Once again I would like to state for the record that I’m not a doctor, an herbalist, or dietician. However, I’ve tried this recipe before and it did help lose some pounds. According to the student who gave me this idea it is also suppose to be a very good source of vitamins, and a drink that can lower cholesterol.

(One orange will meet about 20% of an adults daily folate needs, as well as being an excellent source of vitamin C. Oranges supply 80 fat-free calories packed with energizing carbohydrates that fuel energy levels. In addition, oranges contain Monoterpene and d-limonene, which comprises more than 90% of the oil in orange peel. These two items have been found to prevent some cancers. Recent tests on the anti-oxidant effectiveness of various commercial fruit put oranges at number five in effectiveness against damaging oxidative processes in cells.)

Basically this is an all-natural drink that you take three times a day. I’m not 100% sure why it works, but I believe it could be a result of the high concentration of pectin (a water-soluble fiber) found in oranges.

Pectin is known to suppress hunger for up to four hours after ingestion. In addition studies have shown that pectin also helps reduce cholesterol levels, and can help lower the risk of heart attacks.

While I don’t know if this is the only reason this recipe is so successful I’ve had several female students who swear by it. One eighteen year old lost 15 pounds in two months using this recipe, and she didn’t change her normal eating habits.

When I tried it, I lost ten lbs, in two months and I have to admit I ate a lot less than normal.

The nice thing about this recipe is that is very simple, requiring only two ingredients, and about half an hour of prep time.

Approximately 2 – 4 pounds of oranges (I suggest juice oranges, but you can mix various types.) (I also strongly suggest organic oranges, as they are less likely to be coated with pesticides and other toxins.)
3 quarts of water

Wash all oranges thoroughly. Cut oranges in half. Remove pulp. (I suggest juicing them since you discard the pulp.)
Discard pulp (All you want to use is the peal and the white fluffy stuff attached to the peal.)
Place orange peals in pot and add water
Bring to boil
Boil for approximately ½ hour
Let cool

Drink three 8-ounce glasses pure day.
Can drink warm or cold.
The flavor is a little bitter so if you must, you can add one teaspoon of honey per 8 ounce glass for sweetness.

Tiger Balm Recipe

Ingredients: 56-ounce batch

Menthol crystals – 9.6 oz.
Camphor blocks – 15.36 oz.
Bees wax – 9.6 oz.
Petroleum jelly – 1.92 oz.
Oil of clove – 3.8 oz.
Oil of cajuput – 3.8 oz.
Oil of cinnamon – 3.8 oz.
Ammonium Hydroxide – 1 oz. (optional)

Melt beeswax and petroleum jelly in a pot until completely liquefied.

Remove from heat, and quickly stir in camphor blocks (may help to chop or grate camphor prior). Add rest of ingredients, and stir until consistent, and camphor has melted completely.

Pour into permanent container, and let congeal.

The above recipe will make a nice tiger balm equivalent to the commercial white stuff. If ammonium hydroxide is added, it turns red, and adds a little more heat to it.

Home Remedies – Joint Pain

I’m not a doctor, an herbalist, or dietitian so I can’t say for sure if this remedy really works, or why it works. Or why it should even work!

All I know it that I have tried this formula several times and have had decent results. I’ve also had students who have tried it, and they have also had decent results.

To be honest I don’t use this remedy often, since I have a very hard time drinking it due to the smell of the apple cider vinegar. However, I always turn to this remedy when the bottoms of my feet really hurt due to being barefoot to long. Basically, I get these terrible cramps that make it very hard to walk, and aspirin and Advil don’t seem to help. For some reason this remedy does.

I have also used this remedy for knee pain and shoulder pain, two parts of my body that flare up all the time. In these cases, my results have been mixed, but it seems to do some good. Once again, I can’t say why.

Of course for best results one should consume this remedy daily, which may be why my results have been mixed.

In any case, nothing in this drink is harmful, unless you are allergic to one of the ingredients.


1 tablespoon honey 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar 8 ounces of warm water

Mix all ingredients together and drink.

Dosage is two glasses daily when in pain or discomfort, and one glass daily for routine health management.

Dit Da Jow Formulas

The following recipes are for external use only. I make absolutely no claims to their usage. Some of my students swear by them, and others have had mixed results. If your body breaks out in a rash immediately flush with water and do not reapply.

Recipe #1—For Bruising and Arthritis

Ingredients –

Alcohol (Vodka, Brandy, Rice Wine, even Rubbing Alcohol) 1 pint per 4 ozs. of herbs

Equal portions of each:

Arnica Blossoms – (anti inflammatory)
Comfrey – (anti inflammatory) * hard to find
Blessed Thistle – (blood purifier)
Goldenseal Root – (antibiotic)
Ginger Root – (circulation/wound healing)
Myrrh – (antiseptic/wound healing) *Myrrh is a resin
Sarsaparilla Root – (blood purifier)
Which Hazel – (anti inflammatory)

Grind all herbs and mix together. Add alcohol and let sit for at least two weeks, shaking mixture every few days. Note use a glass container. After a month strain out herbs.

Recipe #2 —-All Purpose

Ingredients –

I bottle of strong rice wine
Artemesia — 5 grams
Borneol — 1 gram
Carthamus — 5 grams
Catechu — 8 grams
Cinnabar — 5 grams
Cirsium — 1 gram
Dragon’s Blood — 30 grams
Mastic — 5 grams
Musk — 1 gram
Myrrh — 5 grams
Pinella — 5 grams

Take all herbs and grind them into a fine powder. Mix together and store in dark place. Do not use plastic container. Shake mix every other day. This recipe can be used right away, but gets better with age.

Recipe #3—-Iron Palm Formula

Alcohol – 1 to 2 quarts

1 oz of each of the following —

Calendula (Marigold)
Common Club Moss
Shepherd’s Purse
Sting Nettle
St. John’s Wort
Wintergreen Oil
Cow Parsnip
Yellow Dead Nettle

Grind into powder and mix all ingredients, Store in dark place, shaking mix once or twice a week. Wait at least a month to use, but the older it gets the better it works.

Recipe #4 —Joint Pain

WARNING !!!!! Extremely hot, don’t get anywhere near the eyes. Apply with CAN BLISTER THE SKIN ice cube to water formula down. Use a little until you see if you will break out in rash. .

One container of Vaseline (or related product)
One container of Vicks (any brand will do)
1 to 3 ounces of Capsicum (ground Chile or Cayenne pepper)

Melt Vaseline and vapor rub in pot. When melted add peppers. Mix well. Pour into container and let it cool off. DO NOT USE IN MELTED FORM.