Sunday, November 4, 2012

The Empowered Way Goes on the Road!

Hey guys!
I am so excited to tell you about my first time speaking about living an empowered life IN PERSON, in front of a real audience! This is a dream come true! This is step in the right direction to exactly what I want to be doing!

This Saturday I spoke at Kaizen Wellness Workroom in Busan, Korea!
My lecture was part of a monthly "Clean Cooking Day" that Kaizen does for its members, as well as  for the members of the community (both Korean and foreign). This month we made... VEGAN PALAK PANEER!!!

Yay! My first flier!!!!!

In case you aren't familiar with Palak Paneer- it is a very popular Indian curry made with spinach and fresh Indian style cheese. Some recipes use sour cream, or heavy cream, or some other sort of dairy in addition as well.
Mindy (one of the owners of Kaizen) took this popular dish and made it vegan and healthy and taught us all how to make it too!

Here is what Dave and I came up with during the class!

If you're a fan of Indian food, you will appreciate the beauty of this! 

My job during the class was to talk about what we were eating and how it benefitted our bodies. You know I was ALL OVER that! I LOVE talking- especially about something I am so passionate about!!

To start the discussion, I handed out this chart with info on the spices we worked with:

When I was writing my lecture, it was hard for me to choose a topic! Look at all of the benefits that I had to choose from! 

I ended up going with Anti-Inflammatory since it was a recurring theme in all of the spices. But why did I choose Anti-Inflammatory? What is inflammation? Why do you need to care? I hope I answered these questions in my talk.  

Are you familiar with the term, "anti- inflammatory"? 
Let's take the root word, "inflame". It sounds like "fire" and "pain", right? That would be what the shallow definition is.
Usually when there is a problem in the body (illness or injury), inflammation is the first symptom that we notice because it is so uncomfortable. Some good examples that you have probably experienced would be- sore throat, swelling around a wound or an injured joint, headache, asthma, allergies, rashes, etc. 

Our body’s reaction to an infection or injury of body tissues. The redness is like an alarm going off telling the immune system to get moving!
Inflammation is really important. It’s one of the most important things our body does to maintain balance. When our body is out of balance, that is when dis-ease or illness occur. Inflammation is our Body’s first defense against infection and it is very important that our body is able to have this response! Essentially, its purpose is to prevent germs from entering the blood circulation and to clear up damaged tissue. Ever noticed when you cut your skin and it gets red and pussy. The pus is thousands and thousands of white blood cells that have died fighting to maintain your body’s equilibrium! Pus is awesome- it is like fallen soldiers. Your body’s own Pearl Harbor story!
This is not the kind of inflammation I will be talking about today. It's just good to understand this kind so you can have a good mental image of what it happening.


This kind is a low-grade and chronic form of inflammation. This means that it is always there to some extent in a body that has an imbalance- sadly most people's bodies in the west would be classify as this type of body.
This type of inflammation is buried deep inside your body so you will not feel its effects right away. For example, one of the most common types of THIS inflammation is in the heart valves and shows up as "heart disease". It's pretty safe to say that this inflammation is not the result of an outside injury to the heart, such as a stab wound, etc.- the heart is so well protected in our chests- so we know this inflammation is being caused by something else.

So this inflammation is constantly trying to repair our organs and tissues as we are destroying them by what we eat and the lifestyle we live! As you can imagine our immune systems never get a vacation! And I am not simply referring to the noticeable symptoms of a cold or flu. I’m talking about this hidden inflammation- your immune system can get so bogged down with trying to clear up the inflammation around your vital organs that it doesn’t have enough strength to heal your colds, etc.
So lots of people that eat a high inflammatory diet (a diet high in refined sugars, meat and dairy) you will notice they have colds a lot or they will have a longer recovery period after they get sick. This is because their bodies are busy fighting the internal inflammation that their immune system cannot function properly. To put it in terms that some readers can relate to, our immune systems are much like teachers in Korea that work at crappy hagwons: they are overworked, underpaid and get very little (if any) vacation!!! Poor immune systems! But sadly, there is no labor board for them to complain to and they can’t do a "midnight run". They are stuck! Can you imagine?

In autoimmune diseases, (lupus or arthritis, Crohn's, some types of autism, Alzheimer’s) the body's normally protective immune system damages its own tissues, as it wrongly recognizes itself as foreign, and a threat!

There has been a lot of talk of this type of inflammation in the news, and in health journals. So many doctors and scientists credit this type of inflammation as the root cause of everything from acne and wrinkles to arthritis to cancer and heart disease.

 Some popular names are as follows-

“The Root of All Diseases,”  “The War Within,”  “The Silent Epidemic That’s Destroying Our Health,” and “Fight Fire in the Body”.

Pretty serious stuff. And as to be expected, some of these books come along with a 30 day diet plan to help reduce inflammation or the authors sell expensive supplements guaranteed to lower your inflammation in x amount of days. Despite the borderline gimmickiness of these books, they all are excellent sources of information on this topic and I would recommend them if you are interested in further reading on the subject.

The basic information in these books shows the correlation between the amount of dairy, processed, junk, GMO, and other chemical-ridden foods to the amount of inflammation in our bodies. They also touch on lifestyle factors such as alcohol consumption, stress, smoking, being sedentary, drug use and the use of chemical-laden cleaning supplies and personal hygiene products. The point of all of these books is that YOU can reverse the inflammation in your body and prevent, or in some cases even reverse chronic health conditions! Key word being, YOU! Eating a plant based, whole foods diet and living a life of exercise and stress-free living can go a long way to preventing future health problems and even reversing current ones. Most people don’t even know this because we are so dependent on other people to take care of our health.If you have not heard about the body's incredible ability to heal itself on its own, I suggest watching one of these 2 documentaries for free by clicking the links:

                         Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead  OR  Simply Raw: Reversing Diabetes in 30 Days 

Of course, the western medicine approach to coping these diseases is to STOP the symptom. STOP the inflammation. Usually very potent anti-inflammatory steroid drugs are used. Can you see that this is not treating the cause of the problem?
It’s treating the PROBLEM. The cause of the problem and the problem itself are not the same thing.

Making our body STOP inflaming/ trying to heal itself is not what we need to be doing. We need to listen to the warnings that inflammation brings, and change our diets to get to the root of the inflammation. I definitely think that anti-inflammatory drugs have their place and can save lives, but it is up to us to take care of our bodies before we even need those drugs. Drugs in the western medicine arsensal are potent, no doubt. But they come with a long list of side effects that almost make taking them- NOT WORTH IT! On the other hand, an anti-inflammatory FOOD, such as turmeric or garlic is not man-made. It comes from the Earth- just like we do! Our body is molecularly similar, and the spices come with all the other complimentary minerals, vitamins and other compounds that help these spices assimilate better to our body! Regular cooking with these life enhancing spices, along with a diet full of a variety of fruits, vegetables and legumes is a step in the right direction to ensuring a balanced body. So I guess the take home with this is that through our food choices, we can affect our health and our future. There is rarely an inevitable disease. And the word disease comes from the word dis-ease= imbalance. Here is a fact sheet I have created in regard to inflammation and what you can do to control it yourself.

Kaizen Wellness Workroom is a great resource for us here in Korea. They truly believe in a holistic approach to wellness. Finding a gym that emphasizes lifestyle, nutrition, yoga, meditation, cardio and movement is truly a rarity. But following a program like this is the surest way to live the most vibrant healthy life possible!

A group photo of everyone that came out to the class. Such a great group of people!

I hope any Empowered readers in Korea will consider coming out to Kaizen next month for Clean Cooking Day! 
You can like them on Facebook to kept in the loop of their monthly events and special classes!

Always searching for more information to better your life. Finding other like-minded individuals that inspire and support you-

That is really living life!

That is living life "The Empowered Way"!


Oh PS-
Here is the wonderful recipe!! Enjoy!

Don't forget to like "The Empowered Way" on Facebook to receive daily inspiration and tips! 

I will be doing a give-away soon, so stay tuned for that! You won't want to miss it!


  1. Mmm! So worth the work for this recipe! I will be making it again for sure!

  2. It totally is!!!! It's amazing!

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