Living one’s life in balance.
It is to live a life with one’s own “Neutral-ism” a personalized balance in everyday flow. And in which one may find in healthy interactions with a variety of different people.
The scene is LA.
A town with a culture rooted in living comfortably. This spirit can be seen in the ordinary daily habits of the people who live there.
We will explore this unique culture and introduce keys to living neutrally each month.

REPORTER / ROSE
Rose is a Neutralist who lives in LA. From exercise to food to enjoyment to fashion to attitude, Rose is always looking for ways to live neutrally. She is also a World Yoga Alliance YTT200 yoga instructor certified.

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The Magic of a Plant-Based Diet! How to Neutralize Yourself From Within.

  • Hello everyone! This is Rose.
    Christmas and New Year, family gatherings and get togethers with friends, December is supposed to be filled with many festive events. But with the Corona pandemic this year, we are changing our approach to those festivities and keeping ourselves and everyone else safe. This is not the usual December, but spending quality time at home revisiting what we have accomplished this year and setting new goals for the next year isn’t that bad.
    Cooking and celebrating with home-made meals is something special we can enjoy this year. But when feasting at home, it can be so easy to over-eat and drink sometimes.
    In order for us to end this year and begin the new year with a fresh mind and body, it’s good to reset and neutralize our overworked stomachs and bodies without delay. Let’s take the time to care for our hardworking bodies and enthusiastically welcome the new year!

  • Veganism is gaining popularity in Japan. The definition of veganism is a lifestyle choice that cuts out everything containing animal-derived ingredients and only chooses things that are plant-based. It takes 5 to 8 hours for our body to digest animal-based foods compared to just 1 to 2 hours for plant-based foods. This means that when we eat plant-based meals, our body doesn’t have to work long hours for digestion and can direct the saved energy toward cell recovery and reproduction instead. This is why choosing plant-based foods to nurture our bodies at times when we feel fatigue is so good for us.
    It might seem like a recent trend in Japan, but a vegan lifestyle and Japanese tradition/history actually have a pretty close connection. Macrobiotics, for instance, is widely used in many vegan restaurants and delis in LA, and does in fact, have its origins in Japan. Traditional “shojin” meals from Japan are absolutely vegan as well. There are many recipes that use ingredients familiar to Japanese people such as tofu, wakame, sesame, seaweed, soba, kelp and more. The word “vegan” might sound foreign but it’s actually quite close to what Japanese people are used to.

    Tofu has become a familiar ingredient and can be found in ordinary grocery stores throughout LA. It’s used in many vegan dishes and foods like tofu-based ham are also popular. Its appearance, texture and taste are just like real ham!
    Miso is also popular in LA. Miso soup has become a familiar dish which many Americans enjoy. Miso can be found at many grocery markets as well.

    Plant-based meals have many benefits such as weight control, intestinal regulation, improved mind and body balance, and significant contributions in reversing our current environmental issues. Did you know it takes as much as 2,500 gallons of water for a cow to produce one pound of beef? We can’t even imagine how much water and crops are used in producing all the meat products around the world. But if everyone ate a plant-based diet, we could feed two planet earths.

    A range of vegan cheeses are available in LA. Many are indistinguishable from real cheese. It is amazing to be able to enjoy a plant-based pizza!

    Of course, cutting out all animal-based foods is not an easy task for everyone. But what counts is to “know” a plant-based lifestyle and its effects on our bodies and environment. Just “knowing” enables us to make choices to eat more fruits and vegetables while eating less animal products whenever our bodies call for it. Such little changes make significant differences in the long run. And together, many people’s small changes can create dramatic impacts on the world.

    Erewhon Market, famous for its vegan selection, has many delicious vegan food options such as vegan tuna and vegan egg salad just to name a few. The packages shown on the bottom shelf are all flavored tofus that are delicious on top of rice for a filling bowl dish.

    Many people might imagine that salads are all you can eat in a vegan lifestyle. But vegan food consists of all kinds of delicious, filling, and comforting dishes that are totally compatible with standard dishes.
    The staple Japanese dish of rice, miso soup and natto is a perfect vegan food. But in this issue, I’d like to introduce two easy and delicious recipes for you to try whenever you feel fatigued or tired. NEUTRALWORKS is also releasing yummy hot smoothies perfect for this season! Delicious, kind to our earth and good for our bodies! Go ahead and indulge in them.

  • Tofu Scramble

    The staple Japanese ingredient “tofu” has many lovely benefits! It is filling and packed with proteins. The iron, vitamins and calcium in tofu help prevent osteoporosis, help with kidney and liver functions, and fight inflammation and anemia. Turmeric, also included in this recipe, is another strong anti-inflammatory.
    This recipe does not contain eggs yet looks and tastes like scrambled eggs. It’s a perfect recipe to add to your breakfast meal options.

    Ingredients:Serves 2
    Firm Tofu ½ block
    Avocado or Coconut Oil 1tbsp
    Red Onion one quarter
    Turmeric Powder ¼tsp
    Salt(Himalayan is best) little pinch
    Red Paprika ¼
    Spinach ½cup
    Nutritional Yeast(only if available) 1tbsp
    Pepper little pinch
    Parsley, Basil or Cilantro for topping

    • Drain the water out of the tofu by wrapping it with a paper towel. Squeeze out as much of the liquid as possible. Then crumble the tofu with your hands. Cut all the vegetables into small pieces.
    • Pour oil into a saute pan and turn the burner on to medium heat. Add the onion and saute for about 2-3 minutes.
    • Add the crumbled tofu and saute for about 10 minutes until the water evaporates completely and the tofu is slightly brown. Add turmeric and salt and mix until the tofu is evenly coated.
    • Add the vegetables and cook until they are tender. Add the nutritional yeast right before serving. (Nutritional yeast gives the recipe a cheese-like taste but it is totally fine without it.)
    • Season with pepper to taste and garnish with fresh parsley or any greens you like.
    Drain the water out of the tofu and crumble it with your hands.
    Add the tofu into a pan and saute to completely evaporate the liquid. It’s perfect once the tofu turns slightly brown.
    Season evenly and it’ll look just like scrambled eggs! I recommend adding the spinach last.
  • Carrot Ginger Soup

    Ginger and carrot are anti-bacterial, help digestion, relieve fatigue, suppress nausea, lower bad cholesterol and fight inflammation. Your can feel your body warming and relaxing from within when you have this soup. It is a definite comfort food. Adjust the amount of ginger if you prefer less spiciness.

    Ingredients:Serves 2
    Onion half
    Garlic 2 cloves
    Ginger a 2-inch piece
    Olive oil 2tbsps
    Carrots 4-5
    Vegetable Broth 1 ½ cups
    Salt little pinch
    Parsley, Cilantro, Pumpkin or Sunflower seeds for topping

    • Finely chop the onion and ginger. Peel the garlic. Pour oil in a pot, add the onion, ginger and garlic, and saute at medium heat until tender.
    • Add the chopped carrots, broth and a little salt and bring to a boil. Then reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook until the carrots are tender.
    • Remove the pot from the heat and let it cool down. Add everything into a blender and mix until smooth.
    • Return to a pot and heat, and its ready to serve!
    • Add extra broth if you prefer a thinner soup. Garnish with greens and the seeds of your choice.
    Simmer the vegetable until tender. It already looks delicious! But hold your urge to eat it and mix the cooled soup in a blender until smooth.
    Return the soup back into the pot to reheat it. The finished soup has a creamy and soft texture that is so comforting. Add broth to make it thinner.

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Balancing your mind and body with a wonderful trail hike

  • Hello everyone! This is Rose.
    The year is going by fast and we are starting to feel the approach of winter in the air.
    Unless we purposely make ourselves exercise outside, I think there is no arguing that our natural tendency is to spend less and less time outdoors and more time indoors as the weather cools down. Although LA is generally warm and sunny throughout the year, we also get cool days during the winter season. So, I always make sure to schedule outdoor exercises to refresh my mind and body as often as possible.
    But I know that getting out and exercising is easier said than done. Keeping ourselves motivated to exercise outdoors in cold weather is not always so simple. My recommendation for solving this issue is hiking. Walking outdoors while enjoying beautiful nature doesn’t even feel like exercise. But tt might surprise you that hiking 1 mile of unpaved trail can burn an average of 500 calories!
    Trail hiking offers many health benefits in addition to burning loads of calories. The focus of this issue is the wonderful sport of trail hiking. And I will introduce Runyon Canyon trail, one of my favorite trails in LA.
    LA is the city with the second largest population in the US. It is a big, busy city, but this city has beautiful nature as well. Runyon Canyon, one of LA locals’ favorite trails, is very uniquely located. The entrance to Runyon Canyon trail is right by famous Hollywood tourist spots, such as the Avenue of the Stars and Grauman’s Chinese Theater, which are only about 5 minutes away.

  • The view from the entrance to Runyon Canyon looking back towards the neighborhood. It’s located in the middle of a Hollywood residential area, which makes you wonder, “Is it really here?”
    The sign at the entrance to Runyon Canyon. Once you pass the entrance, busy Hollywood immediately turns into a beautiful trail.
  • Runyon Canyon always makes me think, “Who would’ve thought that you can find this much nature in the middle of the city!”
    Once you pass through the entrance to the trail, which is located in Hollywood’s residential area, the view you see is like a different world. All of a sudden, you find yourself in amongst beautiful nature that still resembles what the landscape in LA used to look like. There are 3 trails of 1.6 miles, 2.7 miles, and 3.5 miles, with the highest point at 1,300 feet. There is nice and forgiving route with a paved road, but my favorite is the unpaved 1.6 mile trail. Despite the shorter distance, this route has a pretty steep uphill section that will definitely get your heartrate up and get you sweating.

    The trail map at the entrance. You can choose the route that best suits you from 3 trail options. The route with paved ground is a good option for those who just want to have a peaceful walk.
    The beginning of the trail has very mild elevation. Enjoying the cactus and palm trees alongside the trail make you forget that you’re in Hollywood.
  • What you find after climbing the steep uphill is an incredible view that takes your breath away. You will see the famous Hollywood Sign, LA’s downtown, the city of Hollywood, Santa Monica and the ocean; a 360-degree view of beautiful LA. It is truly an interesting feeling to find yourself amongst this natural scenery whilst looking over a busy city.

    By the time your heartrate is nicely elevated, this pretty steep and challenging uphill welcomes you. Climbing these stairs with an amazing view of LA in the background is one of the highlights of this trail.
    After climbing the steep uphill, you’ll find yourself on an open road with a 360-degree view of LA city. The view of the downtown in the far background will encourage you to get to the top that is nearby.
  • This place always reminds me that “nature can be found, even in the city.” Our busy lives often blind us from the nature that surrounds us every day. We do not need to travel far to find nature. The trick is to be aware of what surrounds us. Trail hiking could be our shortcut for inspiring such awareness. Moving the body while outdoors stimulates the brain, improves focus and reduces stress. Going to trails not only help us exercise but also help us balance our mind and body.

    There is nothing like looking at the Hollywood Sign from the top of the hill. You will see downtown on the right, and Santa Monica and the ocean on the opposite side. Looking over a big city while standing in such nature is an interesting experience unique to this trail.

    This is the season we feel warm and cozy indoors. But stepping out of your comfort zone and moving outside will surely reward you with an improved mind and body balance. How about planning a nice walk to find some nature close to your home this weekend?

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Eat fresh and get healthy! Happy living with farmers’ markets

  • Hello everyone! This is Rose.
    Now that the hot summer is behind us, one of the things that excites us is the delicious seasonal foods available in fall. This season is full of perfectly ripened foods that stimulate our appetite!
    Perhaps many of us are spending more time cooking at home compared to the pre-Covid days. Home cooked meals provide a special pleasure that we can’t find anywhere else. I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s re-realizing the simple joy of eating a meal made from scratch at home.
    Health is important to living a happy life. The nutrition we get from our daily meals gives us health and provides healing when needed. It is true that, “we are what we eat.” That’s why the ingredients in our meals are, in a way, our source of life.
    Farmers’ markets are my favorite place to find such important ingredients for my meals. LA has over 90 farmers’ markets all over the county, and many cities have their own local markets that take place once or twice a week. So, you can find a farmers’ market somewhere every day.

  • Markets are filled with many tents brought by farmers who offer fresh produce and goods straight from their farms.
    There are so many different types of apricots alone. Many farmers have their own unique varieties of fruits that can’t be found elsewhere.
  • Farmers’ markets have a variety of fresh foods brought straight from farms that are sold directly by the farmers. Products are not limited to fresh fruits and vegetables but also include nuts, honey, olive oil, eggs, fresh seafood, organic breads, desserts, flowers and more. Each market has its own unique variety, so it is fun to visit different ones to find new things. In this issue, I am introducing Torrance Farmers’ Market, one of LA’s farmers’ markets.

    Farmers’ markets have many kinds of nuts and dried fruits. You can also find rare products like in-shell almonds.
    Fruit preserves handmade by fruit farmers are another wonderful way to enjoy seasonal fruits.
    Fruit sold “as is” at farmers’ markets may not always look cosmetically perfect, but it definitely looks fresh.
  • The history of farmers’ markets in the US goes back to 1634. Later, the introduction of grocery stores caused farmers’ markets to lose popularity from 1700 until the early 1900s. However, the recent trend in health consciousness has helped farmers’ markets to regain their popularity and their numbers have grown 300% in the years between 1994 and 2006. Since then, farmers’ markets have made a full comeback and are now a familiar part of people’s lives all over the US. LA was one of the fastest cities to catch this trend and welcomed farmers’ markets into the city as early as 1981. Torrance Farmers’ Market started in 1985 and has been providing “freshness” to the community throughout the years since.
    Farmers’ markets are filled with farmers’ tents that offer a variety of fresh products. Farmers’ markets are a great place to find new produce and incorporate this into your diet because the farmers can teach you what it is, what it’s good for, and how to cook and eat it. It truly is a special place where you can communicate directly with growers who devote their passion to producing amazing foods. It is not easy to track the source of our foods these days but knowing where it came from and who produced it surely boosts our appreciation of the foods we eat.

    Fruit preserves handmade by fruit farmers are another wonderful way to enjoy seasonal fruits.
    It looks just like grass but this is for green juice. Fresh ingredients like this make green juice extra nutritious.
  • We live in an era where we can purchase foods at supermarkets at any time. But this convenience can sometimes blind us to how special it is to have delicious foods available. Going to the farmers’ market often helps me be more appreciative of food growers and of the food itself. Our daily relationships with food can become much more joyful when we recognize the simple pleasure of eating and realize how blessed we are to be able to enjoy fresh food.

    Meals made of fresh ingredients provide us with health and happiness. Very simple, but truly important. Please try visiting your local produce grocer during your next grocery shopping outing. It might surprise you with a pleasant discovery.

    Munch on some kettle corn while you walk around the market. This popcorn with just a little bit of sugar added is a staple at farmers’ markets. The combination of sweet and salty will keep you craving more.

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Neutral days. Happiness is not cancelled.

  • Hello, this is Rose.
    Summer vacation is behind us now and our lives are still being greatly affected by the Corona pandemic.
    But despite the hardship, people in LA live each day energetically with big smiles on their faces.
    They don’t give up on enjoying delicious food, healthy activities, or even some vegan ice cream!
    People here maintain their neutral stances and positive mindsets as they go about their daily lives.
    What does LA have to offer that supports this kind of positivity from the people who live there?
    This time, I’d like to share with you some of the sources of happiness seen in the lives of LA’s residents.

  • LA is experiencing a continuous increase in its Corona infection rate and is currently under strict regulation. It is undeniable that the lives of people in the city are nowhere near what they used to be. However, one commonality among the lively people living here is their positive mentality. It seems that the source of this positivity is in their ability to celebrate the “things that are possible,” rather than focusing on “the things that are restricted.”
    As we say, “we are in this together.” Everyone here stands by this statement and works together in creating safety guidelines, following rules, and supporting each other to foster safe and enjoyable communities even in these difficult times.

    It is now common to see distance marks on the ground for those waiting to go into the supermarket as they control the number of people going into the store. And it has become normal to see signs everywhere, reminding people to use a mask as a requirement.

  • Many local neighborhoods display “slow down signs” on the street, so that children who cannot play at school or at parks are able to play safely in front of their houses. This is a heartwarming gesture of local community coming together in support of residents’ happiness and wellbeing.

    Local communities come together in support of their residents’ wellbeing and puts safety signs on their streets to ensure the safety of children playing outside of their homes.

  • 2-hour grocery delivery service by local supermarkets has also become the new normal.
    This service is greatly appreciated by the elderly and those who are under quarantine.

    Groceries can be delivered to your doorstep in about 2 hours.

  • Restaurants are also focusing on “things that are possible” despite of strict restrictions in the hospitality sector.
    Many restaurants have converted their parking spaces into an outdoor dining area in order to continue operating as indoor dining is banned.
    Some have even painted over the ground to make it look like a rug to create a comfortable atmosphere for their customers.

    Many restaurants stay strong by focusing on “things that are possible” to counter their strict restrictions.

  • Staying home is the best thing to do, of course. However, leaving home occasionally to support your favorite local businesses in terms of their sales and protecting employment is an important part of “being in this together.” Find happiness in “things that are possible” in a safe way and share the benefits with everyone.
    Seeking happiness only from ideal environments or situations is not sustainable. Rather, finding happiness in any situation can carry us through any situation and can bring us the power to get through anything. Having this type of positive and neutral mindset is the key to realizing many small happiness in our daily lives.

    Happiness is not cancelled!
    It’s everywhere. Let’s find countless ways to bring happiness in our everyday lives!

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LET’S TRY YIN YOGA

  • Hello!
    My name is Rose. And I am excited that I get to share some useful information for living a happy and neutral life from my hometown LA.

    We all are going through a stressful time because of the COVID-19 pandemic. And living in LA is no exception. But we can try to help the mind and body to be neutral, so that we can balance and maintain our level of happiness as much as possible.
    Yin Yoga is a great tool for helping us to do this. Yin asanas may not be the most well-known among the many types of yoga, but Yin Yoga can surprise us with its amazing benefits.
    The majority of yoga exercises train muscles. These are considered “Yang.” Yang exercises are important for us. However, concentrating only on Yang can stress our muscles and clog energy flows. Yin requires Yang (our muscles) to completely relax, then it works its magic on hidden ligaments, tendons, and fascia, making these stronger and more flexible. Balancing our Yin and Yang normalizes our nervous system and energy flow, which helps to neutralize our minds and bodies.
    We can easily start Yin Yoga at home using a pillow or cushion. Aim to hold each pose for 3 to 5 minutes, and make sure the position is not causing any pain. Most importantly, breathe deeply while in the poses. Never force your breath, but slowly move up to making each inhale and exhale 5 seconds long. Once you find your position, concentrate on your breath and hold the pose. Yin parts can only stretch when all muscles are relaxed and soft.
    Please give these 3 poses a try!

  • Butterfly pose

    Open both knees wide with the soles of your feet pressed together. Curl your upper body and support your head with a cushion. 

  • Puppy pose

    Start with your hands and knees on the floor, tailbone directly on top of your knees. Draw the belly button in and extend your hands forward. Imagine your armpits being pushed to the floor as you stretch your hips and spine.

  • Twist pose

    Lay down face up and open your arms on each side. Bend one knee then twist to the opposite side, with your face looking to the other direction. Every time you inhale, imagine that you’re sending oxygen to the parts of your body that are being stretched. And with every exhale, relax and twist a little more. Do both sides equally.