Archive for September 2010 | Monthly archive page

Well, I suppose the heat wave is almost over. I can tell because I’m currently not dripping with sweat, sticking to my chair, or wishing I would die. However, all of this hot stuff has got me thinking about hot things: tea, snuggies, and spicy foods. Then the curry craving came, and well, we all know how that goes. Which brings me to today’s topic… the many benefits of spicy food.

It may seem weird, especially if you’re one of those people who goes out to Thai and sticks with the fried rolls, sweet and sour sauce and a Thai Tea. However, despite the very counter intuitive notion that such striking pain in your mouth could be good for you, that the hot pepper that sent you to other people’s tables, drinking their water, just might save your life. (Or at least make it last a bit longer.) Here are ten very noteworthy health benefits to sucking it up and ordering those noodles Thai hot.

If you want that disgusting Slim Fast you’re drinking to actually work, I suggest throwing some Tabasco in it. Or, you could just eat real food that has a bit of a bight to it. (I prefer the second option.) Studies have shown that hot peppers and curries can increase your metabolic rate and decrease your appetite. How’s that for a waist trimmer? While you may think you’re about to have a stroke from the fire you just swallowed, it’s quite the opposite. Capcaisin, or the spicy stuff, can help get rid of blood clots, lower cholesterol and the chance of stroke, decrease swelling of the arteries, and significantly lower your chances of a heart attack. Not just good for your heart, but your circulation too, spicy foods raise the internal body temperature and get the blood flowing. This, in the long run, will lower your blood pressure and keep your vascular system healthy. Peppers are high in vitamins A and C, and therefore aid in strengthening the blood vessels. Capcaisin can not only help to prevent cancer, being that it is an anti-oxidant, but it can kill certain types of cancer cells before they become a problem. In countries with higher spice consumption (such as Mexico and India) there is a lower rate of certain types of cancers. There can often be a lot of blame placed on spicy food for digestive problems. In reality, it’s most likely everything else that’s in your chili dog that’s giving you gas and heartburn. Capcaisin will increase blood flow to your stomach as well as the mucus lining. Additionally, spicy foods can kill bad bacteria in your stomach and cure/prevent ulcers. As before mentioned, many spicy foods have anti-inflammatory properties. Because of this, Turmeric, in particular, can decrease joint swelling in arthritis sufferers, fight bone decay, and help relieve arthritic pain. It’s almost sick season, so this bit should come in handy. Capcaisin can reduce the discomfort of cold and flu symptoms, make you sweat out bacteria, and open the sinuses. Additionally, the aforementioned vitamin C content can help you out on the prevention side of things. Instead of reaching for that Ambien, grab a pepper. In Australia (I don’t know why, but that makes perfect sense to me) researchers have found that regular consumption of spicy foods can help you sleep better and wake up rested and chipper. If the fall blues are about to get you down, spicy goodness can help there, too. Because there is some physical pain when you bite into the spicy gold, the brain will release endorphins and serotonin, giving you relief from the pain and a sense of well being. As a result, this can help fight depression and relieve stress. Breathe easy, you chose Thai. Hot foods can relieve symptoms of virtually all common respiratory problems, and, as you probably know from the pile of tissues in front you that you’ve acquired after being inspired to get some spice in your life, hot foods will always clear your sinuses.

There you have it: ten reasons to go for level 10 spicy, or at least as hot as you can take it. Come on, don’t be a wuss. My Grandmother is seventy and eats Jalapenos whole (that’s probably how she got to be seventy.) Maybe just don’t go for a Bhut Jolokia. See you all at Spike’s for their crazy hot wings?

Bonus Video: Dummy eats world’s hottest pepper.

There’s a whole lot of shakin’ goin’ on. It must be time for that insulin shot. Or, everyone’s just a bit jittery because they’re not sure WHY corn refiners have petitioned the FDA to be able to change the name of the dreaded and infamous High Fructose Corn Syrup, to a more benign sounding and somewhat subversive name, Corn Sugar. Or whether it even makes a difference for that matter.

Today, there’s a lot complete ignorance about what goes in food. Because of that, a nutritionist counter culture (or the food punks, as I like to call them) has developed, where anything that might be possibly harmful becomes the topic of the week and the trendiest thing to avoid, without a necessarily complete understanding of said substance or additive. We’re all pretty familiar with the recent gluten free, grass fed, organic, GHB-free wave. (NOT a bad thing to have going around, mind you.)

In all of this, one of the original evils has sort of been out of the news, like Paris Hilton before her recent nose candy incident. High Fructose Corn Syrup has been, until last week, soooo 2007. However, there’s been a lot of hubub lately about whether or not they should be allowed to change their name to avoid bad press. Dear HFCS, while this tactic may have worked for Prince, I don’t think this will work for you. Or that it should be allowed. Go ahead, try and trick your consumers, but here’s the deal. I’ve compiled some information to arm our readers, so your propaganda and sneaky marketing won’t work. You ask, “what’s so bad about ‘Corn Sugar’?” Here’s your answer:

“FAT FAT FATTY!” According to Science Daily, a recent study conducted at the university of Princeton, found that rats who were given HFCS gained more weight (even with the same caloric intake) than rats who were just given ordinary table sugar. Sumo wrestlers, take note. “When rats are drinking high-fructose corn syrup at levels well below those in soda pop, they’re becoming obese — every single one, across the board. Even when rats are fed a high-fat diet, you don’t see this; they don’t all gain extra weight.” -Bart Hobel, neuroscience and apetite specialist. In an article from, the composition of HFCS is broken down for us. Essentially, this alternate and cheaper sugar, is made of two things: Fructose and Glucose. Fructose is a monosaccharide, or simple sugar. It does not stimulate insulin secretion, or require insulin to be transported to cells. As a diabetic knows, it’s important to manage your insulin secretion and glucose levels. The problem with Fructose, however, is that insulin also triggers leptin, or the “I’m full” hormone. So, if you’re consuming calories, without feeling like you are, you’re going to gain weight. If you’re diabetic, or even if you’re not, that can be a big problem. According to me, your dearest lemon, stuff tastes better with real sugar. Haven’t you ever had a Coke from Mexico… Dang those are good. I want one right now, it’s soooo hot out… Sorry. Back to the facts. If you don’t care if you’re fat, fine. Go rock that “big is beautiful” attitude. More power to you. I mean, look at Precious, she’s awesome. But according to, (and ANYONE with common sense) obesity leads to heart, kidney, and liver problems. Therefore, indirectly, so does HFCS. It’s kind of like the transitive property that says you have slept with everyone your current mate has slept with, but worse. Can I say that here?

So, whether it’s called HFCS, Corn Sugar, or some symbol that can’t be pronounced out loud, it’s bad. It’s evil. It’s satan. It’s Christine O’Donnell in sugar form (cheaper, simpler, and really really bad for America.) And the next time someone asks you, “What’s so bad about High Fructose Corn Syrup?” you’ll have an answer. Brought to you by your friendly folks at Bambu Batu.

Song of the day: “Raspberry Beret”- Prince

Bonus Video: some propaganda from

Today marks the last day of summer for those of us basking in the warmth of the northern hemisphere. And not a moment too soon for the people of Russia and most of the US where this summer’s warmth turned into a wave of blistering, deadly heat. Yet while the rest of the world roasted away and corral reefs were bleached into oblivion, here in California the summer never really arrived. We’ve had nothing but mild breezes and temperate sunshine, but the Indian Summer still lies in wait, poised for a late season attack.

So what’s all this aberrant meteorological prognostication have to do with the house of bamboo? Don’t worry, I’m getting to that. Just as soon as my morning typing fingers have a chance to thaw out. In the meantime, don’t let your defenses down, because this weekend looks likes it’s gonna be a hot one, and bamboo might actually be one of your best defense.

In addition to bamboo clothing’s cozy breathability and superior thermal regulating properties, the material also provides an excellent shield against the sun’s harmful UV rays. A number of independent studies have all confirmed that bamboo fabric can effectively block out more than 90 perfect of the sun’s ultra-violet radiation. This makes bamboo an ideal for babies, those with especially sensitive skin, and anyone concerned about the increasing rates of skin cancer associated with prolonged sun exposure.

We are consistently impressed by the number of customers who tell us that bamboo is one of the only fabrics they can wear because of various allergies, skin conditions and/or chemical sensitivities. Check UV-protection as just one more advantage of bamboo in a world facing severe climate changes.

Song of the Day: “Indian Summer” by The Doors

“I always buy organic.”

” I wish I could, but it’s too expensive.”

“I heard there’s no point.”

“How can you say that? Everything else is terrible for you, AND the environment!”

There’s really nowhere to turn and no one to trust in today’s crazy world of food fanaticism, nutritionist culture, labels that tell you what to eat, what not to eat, Atkins Vs. Veganism, and a general lack of CONCRETE knowledge about what goes in to our food, and where it comes from. A lot of extreme ideologies about food have developed in this modern age. Personally, I have to say I find it fascinating that in America today, more people die from obesity than starvation, and while we have fought to have equal education for all, we have some of the least educated people in the world. Additionally, the biggest indicator of obesity is income. It’s cheaper to buy burgers for your whole family then organic broccoli. But if you’re thinking to yourself, “I can’t afford smoothies and soy products every day, but I’d like to vote with my dollar,” then this article is for you. Here are 15 foods that are just fine to buy conventionally because they are the least likely to contain pesticides, and 12 that you absolutely shouldn’t buy any other way than the big O. (NOT an Oprah reference.)

The clean fifteen:

Onions Avocado Sweet Corn Pineapple Mango Sweet Peas Asparagus Kiwi Cabbage Eggplant Cantaloupe Watermelon Grapefruit Sweet Potato Honeydew Melon

The Dirty Dozen

Celery Peaches Strawberries Apples Blueberries Nectarines Bell peppers Spinach Kale Cherries Potatoes Grapes

So there it is, a little money saving device for those of you who can’t afford to shop at Whole Foods all the time. Here’s hoping that someday, this won’t be an issue, and safe foods will be the only option, and an affordable one at that. Until then, write on Micheal Pollan, keep fighting Morgan Spurlock, grow grow grow SlO Grown Produce, and stay on your toes consumers. If you want to have a discussion about it, come down and see us at Bambu Batu… we’d be happy to show you some kitchen ware you can eat your conventional AND organic foods off of!

Song of the day: “Aint Nuthin But a Party” by the Dirty Dozen Brass Band

It’s mid-September and school is back in session. And you know what that means. Well, if you live in a college town like San Luis Obispo, it means a general increase in the incidence of public drunkenness and sharp decrease in your odds of finding a decent parking space. But if you’re a member of the student body, it means time to sharpen your pencil and your mind, fine tune your memory, and lubricate your neurotransmitters.

So here are a few tips for students of all ages on how to nourish your mind with some all-natural sustenance to keep you sharp, healthy and alert without burning out halfway through the semester.

· Caffeine and sugar comprise the cornerstones of many a student diet, and they do indeed give the brain a good kick start. But to keep going for the duration without the weary crash, consider something with a lower glycemic index. Don’t worry, it’s as simple as a piece of fruit. The fructose will provide far more stamina than the blood-sugar-spike-inducing sucrose of table sugar. Might even get you through the post-coffee doldrums.

· Third in the collegiate trifecta diet, of course, is alcohol. Red wine in fact is a good source of anti-oxidants, but don’t get carried away. Green tea is also famously rich in antioxidants — key elements in promoting good mental and physical health and neutralizing free-radicals, which can cause cancer. But you know what has even more antioxidants? Chocolate! Yeah, no kidding. (Exercise moderation.)

· OK, so not every student survives off those staples of sugar, caffeine and alcohol. It’s rare, but some — usually archaeology majors and grad students — actually think about the long term. For the very long term, consider good sources of choline, a cellular building block which has been shown to improve memory and prevent senility. Nothing has more choline than egg yolks, so try to find a good local source and gobble away. Plenty of people in these parts raise their own chickens, so ask around, because commercial eggs may be tainted with salmonella.

· My own personal favorite, for long-term preservation of the cognitive functions, is a hot bowl of curry. Turmeric, a key ingredient in curry, has been shown to ward off symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. So next time you go out for Indian or pick up some Thai take-out, don’t forget to order up some extra curry. Or pick up some turmeric and spices from the Secret Garden and conjure your own curry!

· We’ve all heard the old wives’ tale about fish being good brain food. Well it turns out that rumor is more than just air bubbles. Omega-3 fatty acids — widely found in fish, especially the oily ones like salmon, herring, and sardines, as well as flax oil and hemp seed oil — provide an essential component to the outer membrane of brain cells. These oils have been shown to prevent memory impairment, and to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

I had a few more suggestions, but believe it or not, this research has worked up quite an appetite. So I’m off to enjoy something oily with a glass of red wine and a slice of chocolate cake. Now if I can just remember where I put my wine opener. . .

Happy Bamboo Day! We promise it’s real…

Once upon a time, in Bangkok, Thailand, a group of people called The World Bamboo Organization decided it would be a good idea to declare September 18 International Bamboo Day! The purpose of this celebrated (and if you ask us, highly exciting) event on the calendar, is to increase world wide awareness about bamboo, its uses, and its contributions to a more sustainable environment.

The WBO is a group of individual people, commercial businesses, non-profit institutions, and allied corporations, who have come together in the name of bamboo to educate, promote and expand this incredible plant’s potential. Originally the IBA (International Bamboo Association,) they formed in 1992 at the International Bamboo Conference in Japan.

There are many ways people will be celebrating Bamboo Day around the world this Saturday, from conventions, to design competitions, to potlucks. From Brazil to the UK, the second annual Bamboo Day will be recognized in an effort to educate and promote. But you don’t have to fly 5,000 miles to participate. Here at Bambu Batu, we will be celebrating Bamboo Day with our Grand Opening party at our new location, 1023 Broad Street. Organic wine from Lone Madrone Winery will be provided, as well as vegan cupcakes from the lovely Amy (Amy Bakes Cupcakes.) Music and fun will be had, so don’t miss it. (No pandas please.)See you Saturday!

Song of the day “The Big Bamboo” by Shuttle Lounge

Feng wha? Is that a fungus? What’s that mean? I don’t really like things I don’t under… OUCH! Jeez, I’ve gotta move the bed. I keep running in to it, and for some reason I can’t sleep at night. Oh, so, you’re telling me that’s sort of what this Feng Shui business is about? Oh, ok, a meeting of the laws of heaven and earth to govern our aesthetic world, so that we can improve life by receiving positive qi. Well, why didn’t you just say so before?

It may sound a bit silly to some, but for us here at Bambu Batu, with our recent move, Feng Shui was on the mind. And with so many people moving in to dorms, and houses with people they don’t know, trying to accomplish great academic things, it occurred to us that it might be helpful to you all to have some aid in the concentration, focus and ambition department. Here are a few tips to Feng the Shui out of your surroundings so you can get that ‘A’ and sleep at night.

To squeeze the qi out of your study room:

• Make sure your office space is tidy. This may be fairly obvious, but it’s the first and most important step for concentration. • If possible, place your desk so that the window is to the left of it. If there is no window, place a mirror there instead. It will have the same effect. Try to avoid having your back to the door, as this will interfere with your concentration. • To make the room more comfortable and inviting, place a plant or wind chime near the window. This will help to prevent bad influences from coming in the window, and will bring good luck

Don’t let the bed bugs bite:

• Keep your head AWAY from the door. Try and position your bed so that you can see the door, but neither your feet or head are facing it. (This is also useful when the zombie apocalypse comes. The head is the first thing they go for.) • Try and avoid sleeping under a window. Windows are entrances and exits for qi. You can either loose positive energy by dispersing it, or receive the full force of any negative qi that might enter. If you cannot avoid this, then hang a curtain to prevent the flow either way. • Avoid hanging depictions of water where you sleep. This can cause insomnia and bring bad luck to the bedroom’s inhabitants.

Hopefully these six little pointers will help you in the new adventure of the home decor department. It might be a little easier to decide where you like your desk the best, if there happens to be a window in the room. If you decide you’re really invested in the Feng Shui of your home, room, or dorm, come see us. We have a pretty neat Feng Shui compass to assist you in your furniture and art decisions. Until then, happy moving!

Song of the Day “The Bed” by St. Vincent

“Hey Matt, what’s your favorite flavor of gummy snacks?”

“I dunno, I can’t decide between the infertility flavor or the cancer flavor… they’re both pretty good.”

“Dude, I kind of like the A.D.H.D flavor.”

“Oh, yeah! that is a good one!”

This is what a conversation about conventional food might sound like, if it were known to most people what those fun colors on your supermarket shelf are capable of. See, back in the day, the world of food was similar to the beginning of Pleasantville… that is, colorless and unexciting. Then, it was discovered that people like color. They want to buy things with coIor. Unfortunately, natural food dye “died” off in the effort to save money and maximize profits, and the age of artificial food coloring painted a money grubbing canvas of heaIth risks across the nation.

The eight most common artificial colors you find in food have been tested on animals, (I know, I know, cute fuzzy bunnies) and have been examined in various studies. The resuIts have shown everything from hyperactivity in little Billy, to cancer In Peter Rabbit. Here, in order of the coIor spectrum, is a list of different color-enhancing agents, and their possible side effects.

RED # 40- Hyperactivity and Allergic ReactionsRED # 3-Cancer, in high dosesCITRUS RED # 2- (used to color orange peels) Carcinogen, which means cancer.YELLOW # 5- Cellular mutations, hyperactivity in children, and infertility.YELLOW# 6- Gastric problems, diarrhea, swelling of the skin, vomiting, nettle rash, ADHD and cancer. YUMM MMEEEE!GREEN # 3- Tumors, Mutations, Eye, Skin, Digestive tract, and Respriatory Tract irritationBLUE # 1- Banned in several countries at one point, this shade can irritate asthma and, of course hyperactivity .BLUE # 2- In the same family as blue the first and related to Indigo dyes in structure. Indigo dyes have a very low MlD (or median lethal dose) which means that it’s pretty nasty.

So really, is it a big deal if your boy or girl has a candy here or there containing a couple of these sorta poisonous additives? Well, probably not. But the reality is that they aren’t used casually. They’re in TONS of packaged foods that you likely consume every day. Keep a look out, and DON’T feed them to your kids. We do all these crazy things to make a more efficient and prosperous society for our children and then we wonder why they pop out with three legs and ADHD.

Song of the day: “Roy G. Biv” by They Might Be Giants

Well, it wasn’t all that easy and it wasn’t always fun, but we did it. Moved on Monday, unpacked Tuesday, and re-opened for business on Wednesday. So we didn’t exactly put a man on the moon, but it was a pretty big deal, and an amazing display of team work, community support, and good old-fashioned manpower — not a drop of fossil fuel was burned in the move.

Now that we’ve had a couple days to settle in to our new digs at 1023 Broad, we can fairly say that we love it here. It is without a doubt bigger and in every way better. Drop in and say “hi” next time you’re downtown. We’re still open seven days a week (including Labor Day), and our selection of bamboo everything is greater than ever.

See you soon!