Category Archives: food therapy

3rd Anniversary at Zen Healing Center!

Zen Healing Center is celebrating 3rd year anniversary and giving out specials services and giving gifts for those who stop by!

Three years have gone by since Zen Healing Center opened our clinic in Edina, MN. Here is a brief history of the clinic from its beginnings to presents!

Dr. Zen opened his clinic, Zen Chiropractic Inc. with the b11d45ff508640ad8d3cbe2211c24238slogan “Healing from Within” in
Bloomington, MN near the Mall of America. What started with humble beginnings with spending many hours of doing Japanese translation and community work helped to grow the clinic and eventually outgrow the Bloomington location.

After a year and a half, Dr. Zen was contacted by an owner of a massage spa business. Since they had an opening for space for the business, Dr. Zen decided to move his clinic into the massage business in Edina, MN. After 1 year of practicing Chiropractic in this location, the chiropractic practice outgrew the location again.

In 2013, after 6 months of searching, Dr. Zen found the current location in Edina MN. With the help of Fernanda Matsuda, his wife, they started a concept of integrating other healing moralities into his practice. An acupuncturist and massage therapist was added to the clinic and its name was changed the name to Zen Healing Center with the slogan of “Longevity and Wellness”.


Dr. Zen’s brother, a graphic designer, made a logo based off the Japanese Family Crest. Since Dr. Zen’s last name translates to “Pine tree in a rice field,” a symbol of a Pine tree was used. In Japanese culture, a pine tree is a symbol of longevity, virtue, and youth.


After a year and a half of opening Zen Healing Center, the clinic doubled in size. Demanding for expansion, additional rooms for acupuncture, massage, and an x-ray room were added.

“Starting with humble beginnings and moving fromIMG_8500s217 place to place reminds me of how I am grateful of my clients who referred their family and friends. As my goal in life, Dr. Gonstead has also seen humble beginnings from a one room on the top floor of a bank to a 29,000 square feet clinic and seeing 7 million people in his life time. After many years of changes, we are now working with the best administrative staff and providers that I have seen over years. Working for this office has rarely felt like work. As many difficult cases stop by Zen Healing Center, the more I am empathetic and excited to be help those who are in need.”

Zen Matsuda D.C. Co-Owner/Founder of Zen Healing Center

“Being part of the Zen Healing Center team means excitement and joy.IMG_5371 Throughout the years I have received many feedback from our clients stating how happy they are for finding a place where they can truly feel healing.  In the past three years, our clinic has expanded in size. We have added new services, improved our software, added new treatment rooms, digital x-rays and tests. Seeing our clients getting well is a huge motivation for all of our team members to keep improving so that we can serve them even better. We strive to keep expanding but our main goal is to keep focusing on the wellness of our existing and future clients.”

Fernanda Matsuda-Co-Owner/Founder of Zen Healing Center

“A year of experience Zen healing Center for me was pleasant, Aliceharmonizing, educating, and supporting.  The team work was wonderfully done with the communication and help among the team members.  I see that the clinic is growing in every aspect through hard-work and dedication to help people.  I very much enjoy and look forward to continuing work at Zen Healing Center.”

Alice Min Kang L. Ac

“Hello, I’m Stephanie and I started working at Zen Healing Center after the IMG_5369holidays this year. Previously I worked at a bank and this environment has proved to serve me much better. I really like that wellness is a focus here and I truly enjoy seeing the health of our patients improve as time goes on. I think we have something great here between Dr. Zen, Alice and Matt and I am excited to learn more and more about their practices and techniques.”

Patient Service Coordinator/Administrative Assistant


“Hello everyone. My name is LuAnn and I am a transplant from Wisconsin currently in school for my nursing degree. I have been working with the Zen Healing Center since late December of 2015 and have immensely enjoyed the staff here as well as the clientele we serve. The atmosphere here has been amongst one of the best I have had the short privilege of working in. The providers are passionate about their work and truly care for their patients as nobody here is a number, but a unique individual with personal, customized plans. They don’t aim to treat symptoms, but to help get to the root cause and aid the body in healing itself. They aim for true well-being. It is an experience that ought to be experienced by yourself if you are, at all, a bit curious about what we have to offer!”

Patient Service Coordinator

“Hi all, my name is Chee Vang. I started working here in November 2015. IMG_5378I work at Zen Healing Center part-time and work full-time at Anthem, Inc. The past months that I’ve been here has been great. All the employees here are super friendly and helpful to one and another. Honestly, I’ve never knew how chiropractic works, but having Dr. Zen educating me and learning what he does to patients, has really helped me understand his technique of Gonstead.”

Patient Service Coordinator

My name is Matt Williamson. I began my journey at ZHC in May 2015. Matt Photo copyI have had a lot of fun learning from Dr Zen and Alice. I continually am driven to learn new innovative ways to help people heal. I have a variety of ways to accomplish this goal The most important part of my job is always understanding what the needs are of each individual person. The most rewarding part of my job is knowing that I am part of a team who is always doing their best to help people leave us healthier and happier.

Matt Williamson CMT, Cert. ART


Basic Nutritional Rules


1.Choose a diet that is as close to natural as possible.

The more processing that foods go through before they are eaten, the less nutritient value they have and the more added non-nutrient substances that have been added to them. For example, eat fruit and stay away from fruit juice drinks. Eat fresh vegetables and stay away from frozen vegetable servings with cheese or other sauces. Usually, foods in their natural state are cheaper and by far more nutritious than their refined cousins.


  1. Choose good fats over bad fats

The worst fats for you to eat are partially hydrogenated fats. You will find these included in most processed foods. These are related to all sorts of health problems. Limit your intake of fried foods as the constant heat will change a good oil into a health hazard. Next, limit your intake of animal fats, saturated fats, and increase your intake of good omega 3 and omega 6 oils. An example of an omega 6 oil is olive oil. Make sure that it is extra virgin and green in color. The omega 3 oils are the nut and seed oils or deep water fish oils. Of course, you may choose to take capsules of these good oils, but don’t do that if it is just an excuse to let you eat more animal or trans fats.

  1. Variety is the spice of life

Eat a wide variety of foods each day. The most commonly missed foods in a diet are fiber foods, fruits, vegetables and dairy products. Plan your day so that you get at least two of each of these types of food per day.


  1. Water – the other essential nutrient

Our bodies work on water. It fills our blood vessels, our kidneys need it flush out waste products, our skin uses it to help control our body temperature and the list goes on. We have a thirst center for water, not for coffee or juice or beer – just water. When you are thirsty, drink plain water until your thirst is gone. Then if you choose, drink what you want for enjoyment but avoid sugared drinks or those with artificial sweeteners. Drinking tap water can contain other chemicals so if you want to start with good water get Reverse Osmosis water from the grocery for water refill. Only do Reverse Osmosis water purely for 2-3 months then start putting a tiny amount of tap in it to change the concentration of Reverse Osmosis water. It will be too strong of a concentration of water to continue in long term and will drain out important minerals, vitamins, proteins in your body.


  1. Vegetables – the source of most vitamins

Don’t skip on your vegetables. They are excellent sources of vitamins, minerals (except calcium and magnesium) and fiber. Don’t be fooled into thinking that a salad of iceberg lettuce provides you with anything. It is one of the most useless foods ever grown. Choose any other leafy vegetable or lettuce for you salad and don’t use a bottled dressing. In general, try to eat one vegetable from below the ground to every four to five from above the ground.


  1. Fruit – hidden gems

Fruit is relatively high in carbohydrates so limit your consumption but don’t overlook these great sources of energy and nutrients. These colorful components of our diets are high in special nutrients like carotinoids, lycopene, flavinoids, rutin and other substances that help prolong our health and vitality. First, eat the fruit that is in season. Second, wash the skin of the fruit thoroughly and if it is edible, eat the skin with the fruit. Third, if possible eat one piece of citrus fruit for every two servings of other kinds of fruit.


  1. Don’t over eat or under eat your protein

A good rule of thumb is to make sure you eat two to three small servings of protein a day. Small means small, not the size usually given in a restaurant. Make an attempt to eat more fish. Fish is easily digested and deep-water fish like salmon, not farm raised, is high in the good omega 3 oils. Eggs are one of the best protein sources but as with all things don’t over do it.








  1. Sugar and salt have no redeeming value besides taste

Use sugar and salt sparingly, a little goes a long way. Don’t even think of using artificial sweeteners, their side effects can be worse than sugar and they don’t reduce your taste for sugar. Honey, maple syrup, brown sugar and etc. are almost as bad.  Salt causes water retention and mineral balance problems. Instead of salt on meat, try a little lemon juice. This Italian trick enhances the taste of the meat without salt.

  1. Walk the perimeter of your grocery store

Think about where the healthy foods are in the typical grocery store. They are all on the outside. Shop there. About all that you need on the inner isles are cleaning agents and toilet paper. When you are on these isles of prepared foods, read the labels. Look for the quantities of fats, calories and ingredients that you can’t pronounce. Remember that the list of ingredients is in the quantity. If water or sugar is listed first, then that is the most plentiful of all of the ingredients. Glucose, sucrose, maltose, galactose, lactose and corn sweetener are all of the names for different types of sugars. By using more than one of these, a company can try and trick you into thinking the product has less sugar than it does. Pay attention to the number of servings in a package. To make a candy bar seem not as bad as it is, the company will say that the package contains two servings. When was the last time someone shared a small candy bar or saved half of it for another day? If you can’t understand the ingredient, most likely it is artificial sweetener or food preservative. This makes most of the food are not whole food.


  1. Don’t forget your calcium

Dairy products are one of the few great sources for calcium. Aging effects bone density and calcium is a critical component. Most of the societies where people live long healthy lives are cheese or yogurt eaters. As in all cases, moderation is the key.

  1. Take your supplements

It is impossible to create a diet that you will eat all year and fill all of your nutrient needs. It sounds ideal and it is. Our soil is depleted in some nutrients. In the winter, our vegetables and fruits come from South America. Food preparation destroys some of the nutrients. Set a good supplement program for your specific needs and think of it as an insurance policy. If you have any questions regarding which supplement company has good quality, stay tuned for a future blog topic!

Remember, a diet to support a long and healthy life is not like a religion. It doesn’t have any Do Not’s – just a lot of reductions and increases.

Quick Guide for Body Chemistry Imbalances

All Body Chemical Imbalances can be divided into one of two categories:

Deficiencies in the required ingredients for homeostatic cell function. In America, we are plenty over fed with cheap and synthetically made sugar, protein, and fats. After a while of your body ingesting food that is not nutritious, our body starts to show signs of break down.


Toxicities that drive cell function away from hormonal imbalances and bodies homeostasis. Many instant fast foods, cheap grocery box foods, and many more kinds of personal beauty care products are bombarded with chemical treatments. We are innocently treating our selves with all kinds of chemicals that eventually can harm your body by toxicities.


Cells always function perfectly in relation to any given environment. Symptoms like pain, nausea, and any other apparent health problems represent important signals from cells telling you that there is something wrong, that there is deficiency or toxicity, and that they are under stress. The cells never function pathologically or incorrectly, the environment is pathological or unhealthy! In order to function properly and produce healthy cells you must have all requirements met and be free of deficiencies or toxicity.

Hierarchy of Requirements:
  1. Properly Functioning Nervous System
  2. Fresh Air
  3. Water
  4. Good Foods
Good Food Choices to Make
  1. Organic, vine ripened local fruits and vegetables
  2. Grass fed, antibiotic free and hormone free meats
  3. Wash the non-organic produce-use a natural cleaner
  4. Eat raw fruits and vegetables


Toxic Food Choices to Avoid:
  1. Fried food (fries, donuts, chips, etc)toxins1
  2. Processed and Non fiber carbohydrates (flour, pasta, bread, etc)
  3. Grains (limited whole grains-wild rice and whole oats)
  4. Dairy (limited non-pasteurized dairy)
  5. Juices (limited very diluted)
  6. Caffeine
  7. Sprayed, early harvested fruits and vegetables
  8. Grain fed, antibiotic fed, hormone fed or smoked meats
  9. Non-filtered or non-distilled water
  10. Dried fruits
  11. Hydrogenated fatstoxin-toxout-logo_03
  12. Partially hydrogenated fat
  13. Trans fats
  14. Added Salts
  15. MSG
  16. Hydrolyzed protein (disguised MSG)
  17. Aspartame and other artificial sweetners
  18. High Fructose Corn Syrup

Frequently Asked Questions for Massages

Massage FAQs

7 Questions to ask yourself before getting a massage:

  1. Have you ever had any massage?
  2. How long was the longest massage you have had?
  3. Do you know what kind of massage(s) you have had?
  4. How long has it been since your last massage?
  5. Do you know what kind of techniques the practitioner used?
  6. What kind of pressure do you like? If you are unsure that’s ok too.
  7. Are you currently in pain?

*People who generally do not pay attention to how they feel are far more likely to wait too long to seek treatment of any kind.

Is there more than 1 kind of massage?

  • Massage is like food. You will feel different depending on the type of massage an pressure being applied.

What happens before a massage?


  • First timers please be 10-15 minutes early. You will have to fill out an intake form before the massage begins. This is similar to a doctor’s visit. Pertinent medical information needs to be written down so the therapist can make sure to NOT hurt you. Some medications and medical conditions are direction contraindications for massage.
  • If you have been doing yard work and your body hurts everywhere, this is the time to speak up. Remember most people cannot read your mind, so asking questions and giving information is the best way to ensure you get the most out of your massage.

What happens when the massage is over?

  • Your therapist will leave the room and you may now get up and put your clothes back on.
  • IMPORTANT: do not get up quickly. While laying down your body has adapted to this position. Before moving, take a few breaths, role to your side and slowly sit at the side of the table and take a few more breaths.

What now?

  • The therapist may give you stretches to try or inform you of nutritional concepts or any number of things.stretch_02a
  • Your therapist will meet you in the hallway or outside the room. Usually you will be given water.
  • It is really important that you drink water for the rest of the day/night to flush out the toxins that have been removed from your muscles. Even very relaxing massages can have a great effect on how much toxin release there may be. The type of massage sometimes is not important because everyone detoxifies differently.
  • Some therapists have the ability to do a massage with the intention of your body recovering in a very specific way (i.e. you will continue to feel looser over the next few days, etc). It is important to listen to your therapist for their professional opinions about your body care and massage, because in many cases (not all), they will have a better understanding of how you should feel or what will keep you pain free. But good advice falls on deaf ears a lot.

How often should a person get massage?

  • The actual frequency of sessions should diminish over time. This means your body is feeling better for longer. “Maintenance” massage is a tricky term. Does maintenance mean every week for the rest of your life? Therapist who do not possess the ability to reduce session frequency either do not have the ability to do so (for a variety of reasons), or do not have the desire to do so.


  • A relaxing massage doesn’t always mean pain free. Many people really enjoy knowing they will be receiving deeper pressure while others do not. The therapist should be communicating throughout the massage to make sure you are ok with the pressure that is being applied.
  • For a first time massage (if its only Swedish technique), think of a 1-10 scale *10 being unbearable pain). Do not go over 5-6. IF you are feeling a 7-8, say out loud “that’s too much pressure”, or “that’s too hard”. Remember mind readers are few and far between in this profession.
  • If a 7-8 feels good then it can be ok to receive, but if you do not know how your body recovers from massage, then its best for the first time to just relax or receive less pressure.
  • For deeper massages, a 7-8 is the target pressure you should be feeling. Endorphins (Enkephalin’s) are released in the body. Endorphins are the bodies natural pain killers.

**You have the power to end any massage if you feel the therapist isn’t listening,  or taking your needs into account, or being unprofessional.

**Therapist are trained to immediately end a massage if the client is inappropriate in any way.The truth: clients are thought of like meat or shapes. Our basic job is to tenderize you. To always keep things professional. A therapist will look at the body also in sections. Each shape and section of the body needs to function correctly so that other parts do not have to compensate for the lack of mobility in any particular area.


I approach people with information I believe will be pertinent to you at any given time.

Large Intestine

Large Intestine

The large intestine is image001approximately five feet long and is one of the four major excretory organs of the body. It is a muscular tube that is the extension of the small intestine. No digestion or assimilation of food by-products occurs in the colon. At the end of the small intestine, the remnants of the digestive process resemble a thick liquid like oatmeal that is called chyme. There is a valve at the end of the small intestine that is supposed to prevent the back flow of this chyme into the small intestine where toxic material could be absorbed into the blood stream. While in the large intestine, the chyme is dehydrated to form either solid or semisolid feces. The muscles of the wall of the large intestine push this mass forward until it is stored just above the rectum and is held there by the Valves of Houston, also known as the rectal folds. When sufficient quantity of fecal mater has been stored, it is dropped into the rectum and then is expelled. The time it takes for food to be ingested, travel through the gastrointestinal tract and then be expelled is called the transit time. Normal transit time is 18 to 24 hours. The normal bowel movement should not contain recognizable food, be fairly well formed and be easy to expel. There should be no foul odor or be greasy.

tumblr_mssb0hmlyu1qgl0s1o1_1280The large intestine is the home of over 400 different microorganisms. In fact, there are so many living there that there are more cells in your colon than there are cells in your entire body. These microorganisms should be living harmoniously with you. There are two major healthy microorganisms in the intestinal tract. These are lactobacillus acidophilus and bifidus. Bifidus lives more in the large intestine and acidophilus more in the small intestine. Both of them live from the fermentable fiber in your diet. As they multiply in your intestine, they produce natural antibiotics that suppress the growth of many pathogenic organisms like salmonella, shigella, candida, E. coli and staphylococcus. It is the growth of the good bacteria that suppresses the growth of the bad bacteria.

Fiber is important for the maintenance of the good bacteria and speeds up the transit time. This is important because the longer fecal material is allowed to stay in the colon the greater the conversion of bile into carcinogenic compounds by the microorganism clostridia occurs.

The following are major factors that are important in maintaining normal large intestine function.

Eat fiber.  Whole grains, fruits and vFruits-veggies-fiberegetables are good sources of fiber. Remember, the friendly bacteria in your intestines need the fiber for fuel. Without enough fiber they die of lack of food. The fiber also speeds up the transit time and helps reduce the chances of cancer of the colon.

Increase raw or undercooked foods. These foods generally contain enzymes that aid in the digestion of the food and also contain fluids and fiber.

Increase water intake. Your entire digestive tWoman Drinking Glass of Waterract depends on water to function. Every laxative does nothing more than get water into your colon.

Increase exercise. Notice how if you take arun dog for a walk, after a sufficient length of time, the dog will defecate. Exercise aids in stimulating the action of the intestinal muscles.

Avoid overeating. Eating large meals can cause poor digestion and sluggish functioning of the muscles of the intestinal tract.

There are specific supplements that can be taken to aid in the normalization of your large intestine function. If these are indicated in your case, they will be suggested for your use. These may be indicated to increase the number and type of friendly bacteria, to suppress bad bacteria, to increase digestion, aid in the healing of the intestinal mucous lining or to aid in the lubrication of the lining of the large intestine.

At one meal, consume a food that can easily be spotted in the stool. Corn, beets or charcoal tablets are good examples. Do not chew the food any more than is needed to swallow it. Check the time it takes until you can see the food you ate in the toilet bowl.

Signs of a toxic bowel

  • Constipation
  • Hard, dry stools
  • Excessive gas
  • Foul stools or gas
  • Abdominal bloating
  • Diarrhea
  • Indigestion
  • Bad breathe
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Varicose veins
  • Coated tongue
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Depression, irritability
  • Skin disorders
  • Joint pains

Lack of fiber causes Increased cholesterol levels

  • Arteriosclerosis
  • Stroke
  • Hypertension
  • Obesity

Ginger Buzzzzzz

It’s February already, that time of year when most people have had enough of winter, 3 months is plenty right, but there is still 4-6 more weeks of cold ahead. So what can we do to stay warm and carry on for 4-6 more weeks?! Well here it is, that spicy warm drink that helps to warm you up from the inside and strengthens you Wei Qi (otherwise known as defensive qi), not to mention it is delicious delicious delicious… Ginger Buzzzzzz!

For 1-2 people:

Juice one fresh lemon (remove peel), and about 1 inch of fresh raw ginger – set aside.

Heat 8-16oz of filtered water to about 200 degrees. Put 1 tbsp of raw honey (local honey is preferred for it’s ability to treat local allergies) in each mug. Pour hot water into each mug and stir honey until it is completely dissolved. Add the lemon ginger juice to the mugs.

If you like add a dropper full of echinacea tinture  for extra immune support to each mug!

Stir, sip, feel the warmth, and enjoy!

Strengthen Your Stomach and Spleen with Kimchi

Kimchi is a tasty way to enjoy some fermented goodness. I have to admit, when it comes to “hype” foods, I always give it a try. Few of these foods actually make the cut, but when it comes to Kimchi, my fridge will stay stocked and my stomach happy 🙂

Kimchi starts with a paste that is massaged into softened vegetables (mainly napa cabbage) and then sits in a jar to ferment. The fermentation process is great for the digestive tract. Eating Kimchi at night is a great way to let your stomach and spleen absorb all the good bacteria and vitamins. You can either purchase Kimchi from the store or make it yourself. Here is how I made mine.

  • One napa cabbage
  • 4 tablespoon of salt
  • 1 tablespoon of sweet rice flour
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
  • 4 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/4 medium sized onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 tsp of ginger

Dissolve the salt in 3 cups water. Add the roughly chopped napa cabbage, let sit for 3-6 hours or until soft. Once soft rinse the napa cabbage throughly, I rinsed for a good few minutes.

Make the paste: add the rice flour and 1 cup water to a small sauce pan. Over medium heat, stir until thickened (approx. 5 minutes). Bring the paste to a large bowl and add paprika, red pepper flakes, fish sauce, and sugar. Stir until well incorperated and let cool. Add the onion, garlic, and ginger and stir well.

Add the rinsed soft napa cabbage to bowl and massage paste into cabbage. Store the cabbage in a clean jar. If you decide to eat it now, YUM!, you will be eating fresh kimchi. Otherwise let sit in the fridge for the fermentation process to take place. As you eat the kimchi, press down the remaing kimchi further into your jar. Enjoy!