010 Homemade Remedy:   Tangerine Peel Brown Rice Tea

Those who read my earlier post “007 Health Tip: Sweat it out everyday”  (007 健康小贴士:天天要流汗), know that I am an advocate of body detoxification through drinking tea. 

In that article written in Chinese, I mentioned about a homemade remedy “Tangerine Peel Brown Rice Tea”(陈皮糙米茶).  For simplicity, I shall give it an acronym, the “TPBR TEA”.

Little did I expect that a mere mentioning was sufficient to pique interest in friends, including those who do not read Chinese articles, to ask me to share more about its benefits and method of brewing.

  • Is it suitable for you?

Let’s first consider who should be drinking this. I recommend the TPBR tea to:

□ Those who eat out often.

□ Those who do not eat much rice.

□ Those who appreciate the importance of gastrointestinal well-being.

If you are ticking all these boxes, this drink is definitely for you. Here are the reasons.

  • Reclaim your autonomy in food choices

No matter how careful you are with your choice of food, you are surrendering your autonomy in food decisions to some extent by allowing others to decide on the ingredients and methods of cooking by eating out often. Brewing tea on your own is an easy kickstart to reclaim control over what should go into your body.

  • You can drink more than you eat

    As to why I recommend rice tea to those who consume little rice, the reason is obvious. Rice is easily stomach-filling. But when it is brewed into tea, you can absorb the nutrients of the brown rice without the trouble of eating too much grains. You can definitely drink much more than you can eat.

    • Promotes Gastrointestinal Well-being

    Mainstream medical researches provide evidence of immense health benefits from taking brown rice. They range from aesthetic gains such as weight-loss and skin beauty to medical benefits such as blood sugar control and improved metabolism. It is even said to be effective in cancer prevention. 

    Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), on the other hand, recommends drinking brown rice tea as a diet therapy for gastrointestinal well-being by ensuring a smooth flow in three passages (三通) within our body:

    1. Increase passing of urine
    2. Reduce constipation
    3. Promote blood circulation. 

    I have been drinking 2 cups of brown rice tea daily for nearly a month. I can’t tell whether I have become better-looking than before. But what I can tell from the bowel movements is that the toxins are now more regularly purged out from my body. 

    Complemented with dried tangerine peels (陈皮), which is known to address all sorts of digestive problems such as bloating, hiccups, nausea and diarrhea,  this TPBR tea is a perfect homemade remedy to promote gastrointestinal well-being.

    • Are there any side effects?

    There is no known side effect from the literature I gathered. As a matter of fact, the tea is also highly recommended for women who are breast-feeding because of its high nutritional value for both the mother and the baby. Men can be assured, thankfully, that there are no bust-enhancement effect. That I can say for sure.

    Also, if you have concerns that brown rice may cause “heatiness” to the body, I would say that the worry is unfounded. Brown rice is actually considered neutral in Chinese diet therapy. From personal experience as someone who was prone to symptoms such as mouth ulcers and excess mucus in the past, I experienced no recurrence of such problems at all.

    Still, if you have existing medical conditions, it is always prudent to seek professional advice from doctors, especially for advice on possible unintended interaction with other medications that you are taking. 

    • How is the taste?

    Brown rice tea is mildly nutty in flavour, and carries the aroma of roasted rice. Combined with dried tangerine peels, the taste turns into a delicious blend of mandarin sweetness and citrus sourness. 

    You may adjust the taste according to your personal preference through trial and error with the quantity of water and tangerine peels. It is not difficult at all to make a cup of flavourful tangerine peel brown rice tea. Just try it out.

    MAKE YOUR TEA MIXTURE

    1. Get your ingredients

    The first ingredient is brown rice. Long, short or medium grains, it doesn’t really matter. You may also experiment with different varieties such as red and black rice, which are richer in antioxidants that provide relief to stress. My personal preference is red rice, long grains. 

    As for tangerine peels, you can buy ready-made ones from Chinese medical shops. Just say that you want ‘chenpi’ (陈皮).

    Alternatively, you can make it yourself by learning from YouTube, using fresh tangerines. There are just a few simple steps to follow, namely peeling, scrapping (inner layer), rubbing (with salt), rinsing and drying. But it will take many many days of sunny days though…

    In the meantime, I am quite happy to use the ready-made ones I bought.

    2.  Mix and Stir-Fry

    Stir-fry dried tangerine peels with brown rice at low heat. Do it till the rice turn darker in colour. As you stir-fry, you will smell a strong burst of fragrance emitted from the tangerine peels. You should stop once you see the grains darken and smell the fragrance subsides.

    3. Store in an air-tight bottle

    After the mixture of rice and tangerine peels turn cool, store in an air-tight bottle. Now, you are ready to brew your tea anytime you want.

    READY TO BREW

    1. Pour some tea mixture into a pot. 

    Two teaspoons of the tea mixture should be sufficient to make 2 cups of tea. Feel free to experiment with the amount to find the taste just right for you.

    2. Start boiling with water

    Add water and start boiling. Very quickly, the liquid will turn brownish. Boil to the point that the rice turn into porridge-like texture.

    3. Your tea is ready

    Pour the liquid into a cup. For the cooked grains, you may chose to eat it if you want to consume the fibre for weight-loss. Add a teaspoon of honey for better taste.  Otherwise, you can dispose it away. Anyway, you got all the nutrients in the tea.

    I always drink a cup in the morning during breakfast and bring the remainder to the office for later consumption. 

    And if you have enough, share it with your loved ones or a friend you care for. It is good for their health and probably heart-warming too.

    William WK Tan

    13 September 2017 (Wed)

    008  Lessons on self-acceptance 

    People feel hurt most when those closest to them seem oblivious to their emotional needs. 

    “Isn’t it justified to expect our parents, spouse, children and close friends to be more understanding and supportive? Isn’t that what they are supposed to do? To accept us for who we are, that’s all.”

    • Do you have an emotional need to seek acceptance from others? 

    We all have an emotional need for acceptance by others, albeit at varying degrees.

    At the early stage of our life as young children, we were mostly needy for adoration from our parents in order to feel safe. At adolescent stage, many of us were constantly seeking endorsement from friends in order to feel accepted. Even after we reached adulthood, many adults continue to crave affirmation from others, at workplace and at home, in order to feel appreciated.

    Such needs for adoration, endorsement and affirmation is an expression of an intrinsic need for people to feel safe, accepted and appreciated.  

    • Adverse consequences to craving for acceptance 

    Although there are obvious benefits in gaining acceptance from others as described above, there are adverse consequences to craving for acceptance. 

    Craving for acceptance becomes a serious problem if you cannot self-soothe during difficult times when such emotional needs are not met.

    Employees become disgruntled workers when they are under-appreciated by their bosses. Close friends drift apart when one party senses the camaraderie between them is somewhat lost. Spouses turn into strange bedfellows when one partner constantly feel misjudged by the other.  Even parents-and-child relationship become strained when their expectations are misaligned.

    • Importance of self-acceptance 

    As you can see, a deficit in acceptance from others can be detrimental to keeping good and healthy relationships. Moreover, blaming others is more likely to exacerbate the problem than solving it.

    If you are deeply upset over not getting sufficient acceptance from others, the real problem could be that you have mistakenly allowed your own value to be subjected to other’s approval. 

    Simply said, you have probably lost sight of your “self”. A prior question to seeking acceptance from others is to ask whether you are accepting your “self” in the first place. 

    • A personal experience that taught me the importance of self-acceptance

    I was taught the importance of self-acceptance from a personal schooling experience.

    Since young, I have a penchant to gain favour and affirmation from parents and teachers, perhaps even from friends through scholastic excellence. Somehow it was indoctrinated in me that I must deliver results to make people feel proud of me. Fortunately for me, getting good grades was never that difficult, until the age of eighteen.

    So you could probably imagine my devastation when I unexpectedly got two Cs grades and one E grade in the crucial examination at GCE A’s levels, which almost blew my chance of admission to the University. That result slip spelt the end of a promising future for a supposedly Ace grade student. Unable to accept the outcome, I spent days after days in solitary, agonising over how to face the people I disappointed and wondering what went so wrong.  I had no answers.

    I felt as if every ounce of my self-worth was decimated. I knew my strength was in studying, but without proof of academic achievement, who am I really?

    If not for my parents who showed that they cared for me far more than any whatsoever results, and a good friend who cared enough to visit and nudge me hard to apply for admission to the University, the path I took in life would have turned out quite differently.

    On hindsight, it was a humbling experience that did me a lot of good. It taught me a great deal about accepting failures, and knowing both my strengths and weaknesses. 

    • Learn to accept both your strengths and weaknesses

    When we are self-accepting, we accept not just our strengths, but also our short-comings. 

    Recognising our strengths prevent us from being short-changed by others who think lesser of us. Accepting our weaknesses allow us to take in criticisms from others without being overly defensive. 

    By accepting both our strengths and weaknesses, we learn to be confident with who we are, which frees us from the tyranny of others’ judgement. 

    Do not live in the judgement of others. Learn to accept our imperfections and yet confident enough to improve ourselves for the better. At the end, it is only us who can judge if we have lived our lives fully.

    William W K Tan

    31 August 2017 (Thursday)

    6:10 a.m.

    Bangkok, Thailand.

    (Finally, this time I am not travelling overseas for work, but time for family and self. 😊)

    007 健康小贴士:天天要流汗

    • 看病看到累了

    过去,由于长年患有严重鼻窦炎(sinusitis), 我的眼鼻喉极容易被病菌感染 (viral infection),每隔一两个月,就得看医生。其实,来来去去,不外乎是感冒发烧,头涨眼昏,四肢乏力,不算什么大毛病。但是这么频繁地看医生,真是累人。

    西医总是说,是因为流感横行,加上我有鼻窦炎的问题,所以难免容易生病。久而久之,我也懒得问原因了。就直接告诉医生该开什么药,快快拿病假单回家休息便是。后来更索性不看医生,干脆到药房买成药罢了。无奈的是,吃药后病情还是变重的时候,也只能乖乖地去看医生,被迫服食药性更强的抗生素。

    转看中医呢,说我是体内湿热,要戒口和吃中药调养。我就把好多爱吃的东西和饮料都戒了。中药也天天一包接一包地不间断的吃,把自己搞得一身药味儿。过了好多时日,好不容易初见疗效。以为终于可以省钱省时不必每星期看医师时,就小小地犒赏了自己一下,小小破戒,吃一点儿不当的美食或久违的冷饮,结果一发不可收拾,前功尽弃。其实就算坚持不破戒,一有流感,我也就病倒了,身体完全没抵抗力似的。

    总结过去生病看病的经验,我明白了一个道理:西医也好,中医也罢,关键在于提高自己身体的自愈能力。自愈的方法琳琳种种,我推荐的方法是排汗,天天要流汗。

    •  å¤©å¤©æŽ’汗,排毒

    好久没病了。目前尚不敢断言老毛病都没了。所幸的是,在近10个月来,这些问题都消声灭迹了。连医生都笑说,有点儿想念我了。

    我确信这转变,是我天天排汗,让体内的毒素随着汗水一起排出体外的结果。排汗除了有排除体内毒素的功效,也可以让身体保暖的同时,避免过于发热。这里就和大家分享我目前在一天内早午晚所采用的排汗方法,供你参考。

    • 晨间的超慢跑

    方法首推晨间的超慢跑。什么是超慢跑呢?这是一种在日本科学验证对瘦身,活脑,排毒同时产生极大功效的跑步节奏。

    超慢跑的步伐像跑步而不似走路,速度却明显慢于一般人的慢跑。踏着轻松的脚步,带着边跑边观赏街道风景的速度慢跑,节奏让人可以边跑边聊天,唱歌也没问题。

    我每天都会特意早起,完成平日一小时的超慢跑,周末更是花上2小时去周游更远的地方。我会一边跑,一边补充水份,因此更容易出汗。

    这种不徐不疾的跑法虽然费时,需要我一早摸黑就开始,可是胜在对身体的压力极小,对关节也不会造成伤害。倒是跑着跑着,觉得尽管晨风晾凉的,体内却是暖暖的,好舒服。  

    对于身体容易发冷或有膝盖关节痛的朋友,我真心建议你看看日籍作者梅芳久仁子著的《惊人的超慢跑瘦身法》,学习这种跑法。有机会的话,就和我一起跑跑看,保证你会觉得跑步不再是累人的活动。

    • 饮用养生茶

    其次是饮用养生茶吧。本来我通常在办公室里是喝温水的,后来因为同事们大多爱喝咖啡,我也开始早晨和午后各来一杯咖啡。再后来,不自觉地,在一位重视养生的朋友的潜移默化下,接触了关于养生茶的书籍后,开始改喝起茶来。

    现在,基本上我会在早上喝加了柠檬汁的日本绿茶(green tea)。这热茶一饮之下,本来在跑步后已干的汗水,又会大量排出。到了办公室,早上我尽可能喝温水,午后才开始喝茴香茶 (fennel tea)或喝一位有心的同事泡给大家喝的花茶。上个周末在家里尝试泡制了陈皮糙米茶( tangerine peel brown rice tea),饮后发现有出汗利尿的效果。看来,也是个好选择。冷气办公室不易出汗,可是喝热茶还是起着暖胃的功效的。

    • 睡前热水泡脚

    在睡前,我会花十来分钟用热水泡脚。我倒没有买什么特制的木桶,不过就用简单的塑料脸盆,待热水器的水够热了,就用来冲洗双脚。水一凉了,就倒掉替换。来回几遍后,双脚在热水的浸泡下,开始泛红发烫。过热就加冷水调和,小心不烫伤脚部。刚开始,觉得没什么,就是洗脚嘛。日子久了,发现手臂的部位和背部会微微出汗,过后就很容易入睡了。

    最后说明一下,我的一位好友说他老公不信我就单靠跑步能在短数个月内减了8公斤,腰围也小了5寸。我想以上的补充,他会更信服吧。希望对他有帮助,更对阅读我的博文的家人朋友有益。

    追根究底,关键不在于要跟我一样做了什么。依样画葫芦,不见得会有效。更重要的是,在参考我和其他更懂得身体健康的人的方法后,找出更适合自己的排汗排毒的方法就好。我也是在不断摸索中,渐渐理出这三个方法来排汗,也在试着改进。你如果懂得其他排毒的好方法,可别忘了和我分享哟。我的联络方式如下:

    Email: wktanwilliam@gmail.com 

    Whatsapp: +6597630945
    陈惠谦

    William W.K. Tan

    2017年8月23日

    10:30 pm

    写于菲律宾(Philippines)首都马尼拉(Manila)的阿拉邦市(Alabang) 

    004 Learning to enjoy a good run

    • Why running  is finally working for me now?

    My waist size has reduced from 38 to 33 inches after shedding 8 kg over the recent few months.  Of the changes I made,  I believe running made the biggest difference. The greater significance is really not in weight reduction, but rather in having learnt to enjoy running now.

    • Why running did not work in the past?

    For a long time, I never quite like running. I remember creating a password “runforyourlife” for one of my often-used apps to remind myself not to give up on running. That reminder very much summed up how I felt towards running, which is, a necessary evil in order to stay alive. 

    At best, running was instrumental to maintaining my weight that had long crossed the obesity threshold, which offered litte consolation. At worst, it was a punishing regime that I had learnt to put up with. It was only recently that I realised my ill-conceived idea about running was an impediment to my undying efforts to improve health for many years. 

    Knowing that I must run to improve health might have been a reason good enough in getting me started, but it was not a reason strong enough to keep me at it. In fact, running has always been a broken string of on-and-off affairs for me. 

    The reasons of giving-up are aplenty such as family commitments, frequent work travels, occasional flu and lethargy, as well as external conditions such as  bad weather conditions and haze, which are well beyond my control. The truth is no matter how much a person may value his or her health, there are always reasons for not feeling good enough to run.

    • Underestimated the value of joy

    The problem is, like many people who do not like running, I had greatly underestimated the value of joy in running itself. I used to think it is a sheer lack of strict discipline on my part, so I downplayed the dreadful parts of running such as its monotonous routine, the muscle aches that build up around the calves, the breathless panting that arises after I go too fast, or the occasional  knee cap pains I experienced. I would always try to cope by moderating the intensity and duration when such symptoms become too hard to ignore.

    On hindsight, I have been hoodwinked by the conventional wisdom of “no pain, no gain.” The gains I got was meagre and the pains had made the efforts to continue running unsustainable.

    Thanks to the books I read on running, especially those written on enjoying a good run by authors who used to have trouble with running in the past, I start to see those dreadul symptoms as signs from my body telling me to improve the ways I run. 

    • Three key points to enjoy running

    Through experimentation on the tips I gathered, I arrived at 3 points that make a run enjoyable. 

    1. Enjoy going easy and keeping it just right always

    Run at a pace, duration and frequency that your body tells you is just-right to keep going.

    2. Enjoy the peak moments of energy level 

    Run to a point that you arrive at some peak moments of satisfaction that allow you to experience the adrenaline of a sudden rush of energy.

    3.  Enjoy an ending with recovery in perspiration 

    Run must be completed with a good ending of recovery that allows you to enjoy the perspiration and release of energy.

    Now that I focused my thoughts on learning how to enjoy a good and healthy run, running is no longer an ordeal, but a routine that keeps me happier and fitter. To the people I care for, I hope my experience in running  is useful to you in one way or another. Perhaps, we can enjoy a run together one day.

    William W.K. Tan

    Singapore

     002 Fennel for healing        

    Having read Sebastian Liew’s “From Leaf to Life”, I became intrigued with fennel as a herb and attracted to its said benefits of promoting intestinal well-being, relieving sinusitis , reducing uric acid and eliminating tiredness of the eyes.  Health concerns that I considered relevant to my body conditions.

    Fennel is said to be rich in Vitamin A and many other antioxidants. Here are two types of fennel seeds I found in a regular vegetables stall in a wet market. I was asked if I wanted the big fennel (大茴香) or the small fennel (小茴香). Not knowing the difference, I bought both. Anyway it merely costed me SGD$1 for the two small packets.

    I turned the seeds into fennel tea, simply by filtering with hot boiling water. Immediately, I recognised that fennel is a spice that is commonly found in Indian cuisine, an acquired taste that is not quite to my liking. Between the two types, I found the big fennel to be more palatable to my taste, having a stronger herbal taste than a spice.

    Both fennels produce an immediate effect of relieving bloatedness, a condition I had to deal with after a colonoscopy check up two days ago. Also, I found that it is also effective in the producing a clean stream of urine shortly after drinking.

    I was cautioned by a good friend that I should not brew the fennel in such a simplistic manner.  Her advice was not to drink the first brew and reduce the amount I used to just a small pinch. It seemed that like the way most teas are treated, the right thing to do is to fry the fennel seeds with salt before brewing.

    That would be too troublesome, I thought. Perhaps, I should buy fennel tea off the shelves in the supermarket. I could not find it in Fairprice Finest and Unity pharmacy. Fortunately, it is available in Cold Storage, costing no more than SGD$6. 

    There is no known side effects of fennel. Let’s see if I can share more of its benefits  in a month’s time from now. Meanwhile, if you have other useful information to share on your use of fennel, please let me know.

    William W.K.Tan

    1 Aug 2017, Tuesday

    Written in Colombo, Sri Lanka