332: An Eastern, Ancient Traditional Approach to Health & Longevity With Simon Cheng of Pique Tea

332: An Eastern, Ancient Traditional Approach to Health & Longevity With Simon Cheng of Pique Tea

Child: Welcome to my Mommy's podcast.

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This podcast is sponsored by Jigsaw Health, my source for magnesium. You probably know, if you've read my blog, that magnesium is responsible for over 300 biochemical reactions in the body. It impacts blood pressure, metabolism, immune function, and many other aspects of health, including hormones. It's known as the master mineral and it's one of the few supplements I take regularly. And I have found a specific way to take it that works best for me in very specific forms because if magnesium is taken in the wrong way it can lead to digestive upset or if it's taken too quickly it can cause all kinds of problems. So, I take two supplements. One called MagSRT which is a slow release form of the dimagnesium malate. The slow release technology makes it easier on the digestive system. So I don't get any of the digestive disturbance that comes with some forms of magnesium. I take this form in the morning and at lunch. So, two capsules with breakfast, two capsules with lunch. And at night, I take a different product MagSoothe, which is magnesium glycinate which is magnesium bound with the amino acid glycine to help sleep. And in combination, I noticed the biggest effect from those two particular products. You can check them both out and save by going to jigsawhealth.com/wellnessmama. And the code wellness10 will give you $10 off any order.

Hello, and welcome to the Wellness Mama Podcast. I'm Katie from wellnessmama.com, and I'm here today with Simon Cheng, who is the founder and CEO of Pique Tea. His own story is pretty fascinating. He went through a decade of health issues, which left him with really severe things like staples in his lungs and celebrating his 30th birthday with a tube of antibiotics directly into his heart valve. And he said, "Enough is enough," and took control of his health, and has been studying all areas of health since then and has made a complete recovery. He now owns Pique Tea, which is the culmination of everything he's learned about medicinal plants, and also things like breath work and all of the modalities that come into play with that. If you're not familiar with Pique Tea, it's one of my favorites. It's a cold brew crystallized tea that is linked to better gut health. There are teas for stress and for sustained energy throughout the day.

Simon earned his undergraduate and Master's degrees from Harvard and Stanford, and is the youngest member of the Harvard School of Public Health's Nutrition Round Table. He's also an educated Daoist healer, a Tea Master, a qi gong and tai chi practitioner and teacher, and shares today about a lot of his personal and research backed theories for improving not just lifespan, but health span and overall health. So, with that, let's join Simon.

Katie: Simon, welcome and thank you for being here.

Simon: Thank you so much for having me, Katie. It's a huge pleasure.

Katie: I am excited for our conversation and I actually want to jump in with a question I sometimes ask in the middle or toward the end of the interview, but I think it's going to be a great springboard for us today, which is what are a few things that people don't know or understand about your area of expertise? Which also is, of course, a great intro to your area of expertise.

Simon: Yes, absolutely. Absolutely. So there are a couple of things and I think that these concepts really form the foundation of everything that we do at Pique Tea. And with regards to our product development as well as our content strategy and everything that we're trying to do with our mission. So the first one is that some of you may know I was born in Hong Kong and grew up there until I was in my late teens. And Hong Kong was recently ranked number one in life expectancy by the UN in the last set of statistics that was launched in 2016.

So number one in the world. And I think at various times has always been in the top 10. And I think that's a very, very interesting thing because a lot of people study the Blue Zones, which are these famous areas of populations of centenarians. Many of them like Okinawa, Sardinia are places that are islands where people can enjoy fresh ocean air, abundant sunshine, a fairly relaxed lifestyle. On the contrary, Hong Kong is a very, very kind of, bustling financial center, very high GDP per capita, very little space, a lot of pollution. I think that's something quite interesting that we can delve into a bit more.

The second thing is, really with regard to tea and tea consumption habits in the Western world and in the U.S. which is actually not a predominantly coffee drinking population. So tea really requires a drinking in adequate amount and quantity to unlock any sort of physical health benefits. And as you may know, Katie, tea has always been linked with meditation and mindfulness practices and breathwork. And this is the other side of the benefits that tea brings and it's kind of the metaphysical one, call it mental, psychological, spiritual, and it requires drinking tea consciously. And this is something that we can delve more into as well. It's directly linked to the active ingredients in tea, catechins, L-theanine, and caffeine the combination of the three.

And finally, this is the last thing, and this is kind of a deeper topic, but the foundation of our mission and our belief system is that tea really provides a gateway to higher consciousness, that kind of a window to your soul or the universe. I'm happy to discuss that a bit more. These are three things that people don't really know a whole lot about with regard to tea and certainly what we do.

Katie: I love that. I'd love to start with detoxification a little bit more because, well, I think for one, there's a lot of misconceptions when it comes to detoxification and what that actually means and then ways we can support it that are evidence-based. And of course, I think there's a tremendous amount of evidence on both the different kinds of teas and then different herbs that are used in teas for that. But let's start with your approach to detoxification and what people need to understand.

Simon: Yeah, absolutely. And I think this is directly tied into the understanding of life expectancy and of health and wellness in general. So my approach to detoxification is really about detoxification of environmental toxins. I know this is a topic that you're very interested in. And I love the products that you've launched through Wellnesse. My approach to detoxification is really taking a five-sensory approach, right. This is something that I've been practicing for a long time. It's really kind of the synthesis and distillation of a lot of practices I've noticed in other kind of health experts, healers, meditation experts, plant-based, doctors, and practitioners also, roughly follow, right.

And the idea is that consciousness is something that's very impenetrable for a lot of people. And we can make that tangible by approaching it from this five sensory approach. So just on a very basic level, smell, right. That's one of the five senses. We're constantly surrounded by a barrage of air deodorizers, air fresheners, Christmas trees hanging in Ubers, people using ingredients or deodorizers in their home. Skincare products that have a lot of fragrance, cleaning products that have a lot of fragrance. And to develop kind of greater consciousness towards these chemicals and other toxins that are in the air, whether it's paint fumes, one simply has to expose themselves to fresh air, right. So waking up and opening the window, sitting outdoors, going into the forest and the woods, spending time in nature. The more you do that, the more conscious you become of what clean pure air smells like.

The same thing goes for reducing the use of harmful products in your life. And another one would be taste, right. That's an obvious one where if you're eating fast food and Cheetos all day long, you're not really gonna be able to appreciate or differentiate when you see something from a farmer's market that's five days old or three days old or a week old or a piece of fish that's been frozen and thawed, you know, three times versus that's fresh out of the ocean. And so really it's about, again, developing that level of consciousness through very accessible ways that you can do step by step.

The same goes for touch, right. I mean, I know a lot of people that use sunblock and foundation every day. They go out every day of their lives. They've been using it. They wear a hundred percent synthetic fibers, toxic dyes. Your skin can't breathe, right. So what if you stop using these products? And start wearing more natural fibers like cotton or wool or cashmere. You will start developing a level of consciousness that is completely different. You'll understand what it feels like for your skin to actually breathe.

And the same things go for sight and sound. Ultimately, where we want to get to is a situation where you're leading life naturally. You're…what we call union with nature. So you're using natural products, you're wearing natural fibers, and you're slowly kind of eliminating the noise and the pollution and the environmental toxins that we're surrounded by. So, compare that with the life that we normally live with, breathing fresh air and having moments of silence and closing your eyes. It's kind of the working towards that.

Katie: Yeah, absolutely. And I think all of those factors that you mentioned, they're easy to underestimate because we may not feel the immediate impact of the fibers in our clothing or things in household cleaners or in our skincare. But over time, those do have such a dramatic impact. That's been an area for research for me as well. And like you mentioned, the reason I even started developing certain products that are especially typically contaminated. And I think often we don't realize that impact until we do take those things away and then notice how much better we feel. And then also, of course, support the body in its natural detoxification pathways in the ways that you mentioned.

And I know we've touched on this before, but you are a big proponent of breathwork, and this is something I've been trying to dial-in in my own life. I feel like I've got the diet and lifestyle stuff pretty well dialed in, but stress and sleep are still areas where I can definitely improve. And so I've been experimenting with different forms of breathwork to try to optimize both of those. So I'd love to hear about your breathwork practices and the ways that this is linked to better health.

Simon: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. So, I mean if detoxification and elimination of noise and distraction is this gradual path from the extreme of fast food to the other extreme of farmer's market fare, you can then also draw the same trajectory, right, from sight. So if you are constantly watching TV or have a lot of distractions. Some people won't watch TV or don't read, but they will actually just like to people watch, right. So suppose you take that to the extreme of just looking out at nature or what about looking at a white wall? Or what about just closing your eyes? That's a step by step trajectory towards a mindfulness practice, right.

And so the same thing goes for fresh air. If you start having fresh air and not having any toxins in your surroundings, then you'll actually start noticing you're breathing more. And the same thing goes for sounds, right. It's like the sounds of TV or the sounds of hip hop music or rock music that can be offensive or violent. What about just silence? Nothing, right. And this is not any sort of meditation practice, like this is just really walking the path towards higher consciousness, right. Just by doing these things, you're already so far along the path of mindfulness practice and breathwork, well ahead of potentially anyone that's like, "Oh, I do, TM or, I do pranayama or I do Wim Hof method" or in my case I do, medicinal breathwork, which is a Chi based method.

You've already gone so far down this road that subsequently what pursues after is simply a breathing technique, right. It's all of the things I just mentioned, those different techniques that are different methods of breathing, of controlling your breath. But you have so far immersed yourself already in a mindfulness practice that the breathing technique comes very easily. And so I've delved in a little bit about medicinal breath work, which is the technique that I use. It's based on traditional Chinese medicine. It's a Taoist practice and it's based on the concept of energy or Chi in your body, right.

And so it's completely physiological. This is the difference. It's not a spiritual practice, it's not meant for enlightenment, it's not meant for any sort of kind of metaphysical goal, so to speak. However, the physiological process is really kind of based on the concept that in your body there's either tension, which is, equals blockage, or there's relaxation, which equals unblockage free flow of energy. So for those of you who have been cupping or acupuncture or needles, a lot of this stuff is actually meant for unblocking blockages, right, so your energy can flow freely.

Now, with Qigong medicinal breathwork, you simply concentrate, your intent is very similar to pranayama, which is a yoga practice. You focus your intent during your breathing on a specific part of your body, it's called the dantian which is also the sacral chakra in yoga. It's kind of like an inch or two below your navel. And you concentrate your intent there because that's meant to be the regulator or the engine of your body's energy. So if you focus the energy there, it will redistribute energy throughout your entire body into your organs, into your legs, into your brain through the meridians, right. Through the way, the meridians are mapped through the acupuncturing maps. And so imagine there's a series of rivers and streams and tributaries in your body. And these all have been mapped out for at least 2000 years, right. They're very well established how that energy flows. And so you're really just recycling, kick-starting if you will, like a turbocharger, the circulation of energy through these meridians. So it's completely physiological. The great thing is that if you practice as well then a lot of the metaphysical benefits ensue. And those are some of the things that people meditate on a spiritual basis to achieve.

Katie: Got it. That makes sense. Yeah, I think, I love that you mentioned silence because I think that's something that is in short supply in the modern world, for moms especially just understandably with small kids. But even short of just family, the normal family dynamics, which often don't lead to silence, I think many of us are just in the habit of always having on music or TV or a podcast, as many people listening to this may have on.

And you're right, I think there's something beautiful in the silence. And also if it's something you're not used to, there can be discomfort in that silence for a while until you learn to be silent and still with yourself. And many cultures have some form of this. And I think we don't do a great job of this in the modern world a lot of times, but so many cultures have some practice involving that silence and the stillness and being able to sit with one's own self in comfort. And I think this is a perfect springboard into talking about awareness, which is another big topic for you that you touched on briefly and something that I know is a big part of your life. So walk us through that and how you cultivate this in your life.

Simon: Absolutely. So for me, awareness and consciousness are really the same thing. And it's really based on the concept that everything that you need is already inside. Meaning that you have the ability to heal yourself if you listen to your body, that you have the ability already inside of you to realize your potential in whatever way and form that might take. And the challenges that we face is really one of not being able to hear that or see that. And that's due to lack of awareness and lack of consciousness and call that the noise or the environmental toxins, whatever name you want to give it, it's the thing that's kind of stands between us and our true nature, right.

And so, becoming aware of that is really something that I try to help every single one of our customers, as well as every single person on our team, everyone that I meet, do in some way or form. And obviously the tea that we make is a huge part of that. Chemically, the tea has different compounds, L-theanine, caffeine, polyphenols that work in combination with each other to produce a very specific state of mind, of heightened awareness and alertness that is also calm and relaxed. There's nothing like it out there.

And so this is going back to what I said earlier, when many people drink tea, they do it on the go. You know, they're driving, they're watching TV, they are whatever, listening to a podcast or working. In those instances, you cannot actually feel, you cannot be aware or conscious of the effects these biochemical compounds are having on you, right. L-theanine is a very calming compound and it reduces all the activity in the brain. Polyphenols actually are an antioxidant compound leading to immune support, greater sense of vitality. It makes you feel healthy.

The caffeine in tea is extremely different. It's bound to the catechin compounds. It's bound to the polyphenols, making it harder for your body to digest and break down. So there's a time-release of the caffeine. Therefore the energy, the caffeine impact is a more gradual one, right. And more gradual, meaning that it'll last longer, three to four hours and also doesn't lead you to have a crash or you're tired after. So the combination of these sensations, if you don't kind of perceive with the level of consciousness and it's not hard to do that, you can sit somewhere and just look outside your window and just feel the sensations. It's hard for a tea to do its job from that kind of the metaphysical point of view, right. So that's kind of our concept of awareness and something that we help everyone try to experience through the tea and through mindfulness practices.

Katie: I love that those two are… That you talk about how to really combine those two. And I think it will be great to go into some specifics about… Now that we've talked about the consciousness and the mental side about the physical and physiological benefits of teas as well because they certainly are well documented, well studied and used throughout the world in various ways. And so I'd love to just hit you with some kind of somewhat rapid-fire questions related to different types of tea. Right now, I'm a big fan of the Sun Goddess Matcha that you guys have. I've been trying to alternate and not drink coffee every day. And so I do green tea most days instead and so talk about that specifically. I know a lot of people are familiar with the idea of green tea being healthy, but matcha goes kind of above and beyond. And then yours goes even above and beyond that. So walk us through the benefits of this.

Simon: Yeah, absolutely. So this is a very special product that we made, recognizing a need in the market for something that was extremely high quality and yet pure, right. So one of the interesting things about matcha is that obviously originates from Japan. It's a huge part of ceremonial tea, ceremony culture and also meditation culture in Japan. So used in temples, their schools of tea ceremony. It's very traditional, is what I'm trying to say. And in the traditional approach to matcha, there is not a great deal of concern for organic agricultural practices in the purity of the matcha. They're more interested in an appearance and taste, right.

And so the appearance and taste and all of the quality parameters of matcha have been established through these traditional approaches, right. So what we have come to know is ceremonial grade matcha, that's like the highest grade of matcha. But like I said, a lot of these temples and schools of tea ceremony, they don't care if the matcha is organic or not. And so, that was the struggle that I had is that, I love matcha, it's tremendous for meditation and mindfulness because it's very high in L-theanine. But I couldn't get a pure source of it, right. There's very, very little organic, ceremonial green matcha out there.

And so we developed one in partnership with a 10th-degree tea master. So there are only about 13 in the world. This gentleman is in his 50s and probably took the better half of his life to get this level of certification. And we obtained our tea from a very special source at the southernmost tip of Japan. It's in an area called Kagoshima, so it's next to Okinawa, which is one of the Blue Zones, so very, very far away from the industrial pollution in Japan. And it's extremely pure, it's actually like right next to the first national park that was designated in Japan.

So growing in the mountains, there's no need for use of pesticides because it's so cool and it's mountainous so there isn't a lot of pesticide drift issues. So, some of you may not be familiar, but in Japan, a lot of the agricultural land is very, very closely plotted together to increase space efficiency. And what happens when one farm uses pesticides is that it will drift over all the neighboring farms. So you can avoid this problem by having a tea farm in the mountains. And so of course, there's a much lower amount of supply, right, so it's scarcer.

And then second, it's blended by this 10th-degree tea master. So it's at a very high level of kind of ceremonial grade quality from all the different parameters of taste, of color, of froth, how…the mouthfeel and the texture. And then we've also quadrupled toxin screens. All of our products are triple toxin screened for heavy metals, pesticides, and toxic mold. We've gone one step further with this matcha to also screen for radioactive isotopes being particularly concerned because the matcha's from Japan, there was a nuclear incident in Japan, that they have recovered from very well, but there're still customers with concerns about it.

And so there's a very, very high level of screening. That's kind of it in a nutshell. Matcha is also shaded for a very long period with kind of natural, bamboo plant fiber shade. So this is going a little bit into the mechanics of how matcha is made. Matcha is shaded that's primarily how it's different than all other teas. And the shading actually inhibits photosynthesis, and it leads the matcha to develop high levels of chlorophyll as well as L-theanine which is the amino acid that leads to greater alpha activity in the brain, and it's something that matcha is valued for, both from a taste point of view as well as from a health benefit.

Katie: I'm so glad you brought up the testing because I get a lot of questions related to that, especially the heavy metals, which of course, have become more of a concern in recent years. And I know that you guys, like you said, you test for that. And I know some people also really worry about fluoride in tea because of the ability of tea plants to absorb fluoride from the soil. Is that something you guys test for as well?

Simon: Yes, we definitely test for fluoride. And especially the Sun Goddess Matcha, it's something that we test for. And it is indeed true that a lot of… Tea has a tendency to sequester toxins from the air. It's one of those plants and so the source that you get it from is paramount, which is why we go through such great lengths to find pure sources of it.

Katie: Makes sense. Got it. So I'd love to now talk about some of the other types of teas and how they can be used to support the body in various ways, I know that you guys have a huge assortment now. And I'm going to ask some specific questions related to how each of those can be used. But walk us through some of the other types of teas that are available, especially from you guys, and how those can be implemented as part of this kind of whole-body approach.

Simon: Absolutely. So we have a tea-drinking protocol that we recommend to people and black teas are generally recommended for the mornings. Black tea has a lower concentration of catechins. Catechins are actually green tea antioxidants. Black tea has a whole different set of antioxidants called theaflavins and it's what actually gives the black tea its color. But as a result of that, the caffeine from black tea actually sets on faster. So for those of you who are looking for an energy charge in the morning, black tea is really fantastic for that. Furthermore, the theaflavins in black tea are very supportive of the gut biome.

And this is something that, when you wake up in the morning and you haven't eaten much or you're drinking tea on an empty stomach, black tea tends to be much more suitable for those kind of instances of consumption. In the afternoon, we generally recommend green tea. And so with black tea we have English Breakfast, Earl Grey, a whole range of different black teas. In the afternoons is when we generally recommend people drink green teas. That's kind of the after-lunch hour, if eaten, there might be a little bit of sluggishness from digesting the meal.

Green tea is generally fantastic for aiding digestive processes of kind of facilitating your metabolic system and also providing you with that energy that will last through the afternoon. And then at night, we have a range of different herbal teas, rooibos, hibiscus, we have a ginger tea. We also have a mushroom tea reishi. All these are fantastic in the evening because it provides you with different types of plant polyphenols. So we believe in drinking the rainbow as much as eating the rainbow. And in the evening you can kind of access the benefits of these different plant polyphenols and also help relax you and prepare you for a night of rest.

Katie: Yeah, I'm a huge fan of reishi at night for sleep and I definitely see a difference in my sleep when I consume reishi. I love that point about drinking the rainbow, not just eating the rainbow and it's such a great solution when I hear from people who say they don't like plain water. And so I think tea is a great, like pretty much non-caloric way to change up the taste of water and get a whole lot of benefits without it being a lot of the other products that are geared for people who don't like the taste of water, that have a lot of ingredients most of us try to avoid. So I think it's a great solution there. A question I am getting a lot with the increase in popularity of various types of fast, whether it be intermittent fasting, water fasting, etc., is how tea can fit into a fasting protocol. And if consuming tea without anything added to it breaks the fast or not.

Simon: Yes, absolutely. So fasting is an area of tremendous interest and kind of focus for us. It's actually one of our three health pillars along with gut health and consciousness. We've developed a set of teas with Dr. Jason Fung, who is a nephrologist and kind of one of the leading experts on intermittent fasting. He's actually a clinical doctor. So he's helped thousands of people reap the benefits of fasting. It's just really, really amazing work he's done. He has consistently recommended tea for years and years now to his patients, specifically for their fast because it tends to help manage hunger pangs, provides satiety, so provides a sense of fullness, as well as support the different kind of fasting goals and fasting benefits that people are interested in.

Whether it breaks a fast or not is an interesting question. It technically, you know, by definition, and this is something that Dr. Fung will tell you as well, they do break the fast by definition, right. Because even on a very kind of trace level they could be, and I'm talking like maybe the low single digits of calories, right. So technically speaking, yes, any sort of caloric intake will break a fast. But the thing is, is that it's in such a small quantity, the impact right, of the calories and the benefits are so overwhelmingly…outnumber this kind of minuscule downside, which is really a technical one. But, generally speaking, net of people are far better off using tea for their fast than not.

And there are different ways of using the tea. There's, you can drink it during your feasting window and your fasting window, right. So for a lot of people and there are benefits for both. A lot of people think, "Oh, I can only drink it during my fasting window and that's the only way I'll benefit." It's actually not the case. Even if you're eating during your feasting window and drinking tea, you will still reap the benefits of the kind of digestion support, the metabolic support and so forth. Thermogenesis is something Dr. Fung talks about a lot. Of course, at the same time, you can drink it in your fasting window.

Now some people actually are sensitive to the compounds in tea, be it the tannins or the caffeine and don't take well to drinking it on an empty stomach. And I think that this is probably the small minority of users and certainly we have a whole range of different teas that are herbal, that are part herbal, part tea or that are a hundred percent full tea for these different kind of usages, right. And so we have a black tea, which is blended with a bergamot which we recommend for the mornings. We have a green tea that is blended with matcha that's fantastic for the afternoons. And then we have an herbal tea for kind of all of the windows in between. Yeah, and so people really enjoy the process because it provides them with the satiety and also this freedom of choice. I think when you're doing a fast one of the most dreadful things for people that gives them the most anxiety is like, "Oh, I just have to sit there and drink water." It's something that's very daunting. But when you have a number of different flavored beneficial, hydrated hydrating options to choose from, it really goes very far in breaking up a fast.

Katie: I agree. It does make a tremendous difference. I've noticed that myself and I've experimented with both. I test pretty regularly, especially if I'm on a longer water fast, things like ketones and glucose and then even more traditional labs just to monitor all of that. And I do definitely notice a difference with things like tea in the monotony alone.

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Katie: Another question, especially with the audience listening, many of them are parents and many moms, of course, and I get a lot of questions related to tea and if it's safe to consume during periods of pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Simon: So there are many different approaches to this, and I can't say that one is correct and another is wrong. Certainly, I think that, in this case, it's certainly advisable to consult a health expert or a doctor so that they can get the specific health advice to the situation of the individual. That's a hard one. I've certainly met people who do consume tea and I've met plenty of people who don't during pregnancy.

Katie: Got you. I think, yeah, that's always sage advice for anyone with a medical condition or especially anyone growing a new human is definitely, "Talk to your doctor and see." I can say from experience, my doctor told me that like caffeine to a certain level was okay. So I did consume green tea during several of my pregnancies and certain herbal teas, but definitely echo your advice on, talk to your doctor and make sure there's no other concerns that you aren't aware of for your specific instance.

And I'd love to switch gears a little bit and talk about an idea of… And I know that you've talked about this and written about this a little bit, but not just lifespan but health span because we started this episode talking about areas where people live longer and in the health community there's been more and more buzz about not just increasing how long we live, but increasing how long we live in a healthy way. And for people like you, I'm assuming those actually are one and the same, but I'd love to go deeper just specifically on the idea of health span. And other factors that you think can come into play to increase how long we're living in a healthy way.

Simon: Yes, absolutely. My grandfather actually turns 105… He'll turn 106 this December and so he's really been kind of an example of longevity and very healthy of course, he plays a Bridge and Mahjong every day still, for about six hours. But he's always been a great example to me of the meaning of living long and living healthily. I think this ties very much into what I mentioned at the beginning about Hong Kong being ranked amongst the highest in countries or in places for life expectancy. And not wanting to sound like a broken record here, but it really really goes back to the concept of consciousness and awareness.

So something my grandfather always told me is that, he…and this is something a very wise Austrian friend told him, he was a mountaineer. He said that, you know, I always regard my health as like a bank balance, you never want to draw it to zero, you certainly never want to draw it to negative. And every dollar or every penny that you put in there is going to increase your overall health and your overall wellness and longevity. And you're in this constant effort to increase that balance, right, and not deplete it. So you always want to keep building it up and make it higher.

And I think that philosophically is very different than how a lot of people in this day and age understand health. I mean, just looking at what's going on today, with the Coronavirus. There are so many people around me that are in my age group or in my organization, or friends that have this idea that Coronavirus is not going to kill them, it's going to be bad for a couple days and they'll recover, and everything will be fine. But that's really in opposition to the concept of living well, for a long period, right. If you just want to live well, then certainly by all means, one should kind of live life to the fullest, right. The whole YOLO and do whatever they like and not be restrained by self-quarantine or limiting travel or not going to conferences or being…washing hands and all that stuff. Nobody wants to do that. In fact, traveling right now is as cheap as it could possibly be. So why not travel the world, right.

But the idea with the kind of more Eastern approach to health, and certainly one that my grandfather adopted, is that all of these things go to taking away the health credits that you have, right. So every time you get a flu, or every time you have an invasive procedure done, every time you're taking something or other that for some issue that you had, there is something that's taken away from your overall kind of bank balance of wellness credits, right. And so I think this is really kind of key and something that's always in practice in Hong Kong and is certainly the case for Taiwan and Japan and Korea and in a lot of the Eastern cultures is this concept of constantly balancing, right.

So this is rebalancing even when you don't feel like there's something wrong, is basically the principle of prevention, right. So how prevention is basically about accumulating these health credits, and avoiding sickness, avoiding the feeling of symptoms, right. By the time you're symptomatic, you've already gotten sick. And if you avoid the symptoms for long enough then things become chronic, and so on. And so it's really about kind of the rebalancing. And you can do that by having a higher level of consciousness and awareness to how your body feels. If you wake up exhausted, then something is not right, right. If you've slept poorly for a couple of days in a row, you've been affected, something is not right. If you're feeling some sort of discomfort in your body, pay attention to that, right. And see what we can do to address that and make it go away. That's the idea.

Katie: Yeah. I love that. I think that's really important perspective, especially at times like this when things are as they currently are. And yeah, I think that's a perfect place to actually springboard into another question that I love to ask, which relates to mindset and learning and lifelong health, which is if there's a book or a number of books that have really dramatically impacted your life and if so, what they are and why.

Simon: Yeah, absolutely. This is a tough question, Katie, because, I have a lot of favorite books. And certainly, my favorite book will change from time to time. But I guess the books that I tend to go back to the most are ones that are philosophical in nature or spiritual in nature. And the one that I tend to constantly carry with me and read time and time again, is a book I discovered when I was in my… In high school when I was in my mid-teens, and it's the "Tao-Te Ching." So it's a Taoist text and many of you may have heard of it. It's basically the concept of Taoism Watts was created in this book, of "Yin and Yang," the entire kind of system of traditional Chinese medicine, of Qigong practice of all of this different energy work and using plants to heal the body from the eastern perspective is based on this book. So it's rich in kind of philosophical wisdom, as well as very practical, wellness, health-based physical sort of practices. In fact, Tai-Chi is based on this book, The Art of War is based on this book. I would say that, you know, the better half of Chinese civilization is based on this book.

Katie: That's fascinating. And a new recommendation. I'll make sure we link that in the show notes at wellnessmama.fm, so you guys can grab it if you'd like. Simon, any parting advice you would like to leave in the ears of our listeners today?

Simon: Yeah, really just the concept that everything you need is already inside, that developing consciousness in all things starting with the easiest first, the five senses that we're constantly using day in day out is a great way to start kind of examining what are some of the toxins, what are some of the noise that you can remove from your life?

Katie: I love it. And then, lastly, I know we will have links in the show notes at wellnessmama.fm, so you guys can find all of the teas and everything we've mentioned there along with a, I believe a special code just for you guys from Pique Tea but Simon, where can people stay in touch and keep in touch with you and learn more?

Simon: Yeah, definitely through piquetea.com or our Instagram account. This is by far the best way, I frequently interact with all of our customers, they're all able to reach me through our email, I really do respond to them directly. And I also lead a mindfulness challenge, which will be coming up in July where I actually personally will be leading medicinal breathwork system in class. So love to interact with all of you. We also have a Facebook group called the Healers Circle, which I welcome everyone to join.

Katie: Wonderful. And you guys can find all of that in the show notes, again, at wellnessmama.fm, so that you can find those links and stay in touch. Simon, thank you again for your time today and for all the work that you do in creating such high-quality products.

Simon: Thank you so much, Katie. It's been a huge pleasure.

Katie: And thanks to all of you as always, for listening and sharing your valuable resource, your time, with both of us today. We're so grateful that you did, and I hope that you will join me again on the next episode of "The Wellness Mama Podcast. "

If you're enjoying these interviews, would you please take two minutes to leave a rating or review on iTunes for me? Doing this helps more people to find the podcast, which means even more moms and families could benefit from the information. I really appreciate your time, and thanks as always for listening.

332: An Eastern, Ancient Traditional Approach to Health & Longevity With Simon Cheng of Pique Tea, Source:https://wellnessmama.com/podcast/simon-cheng/