Help me Rhonda kick start the Honda!

Kickstart or “activate” your turmeric. Who knew?

Activated Turmeric is better than just slugging back Turmeric powder and hoping for the best & here is why.

If it is not activated it’s not activated, meaning it is not doing the intended job. I started taking turmeric about 12 months ago to help with inflammation after surgery and radiotherapy. Turmeric contains Curcumin, which is the strong anti -inflammatory ingredient we are after. The end goal is to get the Turmeric from your mouth to your small intestine where it can be absorbed and be its most beneficial. To activate you need to follow this equation: –

Turmeric + Black Pepper + Fat = Kickstart Rhonda, that is activated Turmeric

Black pepper contains Piperine a compound that increases the bioavailability of Curcumin. Piperine slows the absorption of Curcumin in the stomach allowing the fat time to carry the Turmeric to the small intestine and that’s as techy as I am going to get for you and all you really need to know.

So to make this as easy as possible make up a small jar of activated turmeric paste and keep it in the fridge to use in smoothies and Golden Milk drink (recipe below).

Here’s the recipe to kicks start your Turmeric journey and get it out of the yard.


1/2 cup filtered water (not tap)

1/4 cup organic turmeric powder

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Add all ingredients to a small saucepan and heat on medium-high, stirring constantly until the mixture forms a thick paste (about 5 minutes). Carefully transfer to a resealable glass container and store in the fridge for up to two weeks.


Golden Milk is a gorgeous way to have turmeric.

Combined with your preferred milk turmeric boosts calcium absorption, while the added fat from the coconut oil aids in your bodies ability to absorb and reap the rewards of turmeric. This soothing drink is the perfect thing to incorporate into your night time routine or on a cooler autumn afternoon to help promote a restful night’s sleep and boost immunity.


1/2 – 1 tsp turmeric paste

1 cup milk (almond, soy, coconut, or dairy) try my home made oat milk recipe you can find it on The Food Manifesto facebook site.

1 tsp coconut oil

Honey, maple syrup, or coconut sugar to taste

Cinnamon or nutmeg to taste

Combine turmeric paste, milk, and coconut oil in a small saucepan and heat on medium high, stirring constantly to prevent the mixture from coming to a boil. Once heated, transfer to a mug and add the honey and cinnamon if you like. Perfect for the pending cooler weather.

Talk to the Foot & Number 40 – what really happens in an Asian Massage joint

When you have had as many massages as I have you start to know what works for you and what doesn’t, and when you strike gold or a really good masseuse you tend to go back, or in my case a few times. You might recall my time on Phu Quoc island Squirrels Playing & Slow Progress

Whilst on Phu Quoc I treated myself to a massage offsite at Sofitel M Gallery which was a few metres up the beach. I say “treated” as the price was up there in terms of Asian massages. Despite the glorious surrounds the young woman who did the massage (Vietnamese ) talked the whole way through it. Miss On had good English and I understood enough to hear the entire story of her German boyfriend. Who, as it happens was considerably older than her (another blog for another day). Anyway, I digress. I treated myself for a number of reasons, one of which was trying to tackle the health issues I was having, another because I needed some care having had a pretty rough week prior. The last thing you need is someone talking through the whole 90 minutes.

My time on Phu Quoc was a solitary few days until the “Americans” turned up in the Bungalow next door. Lovely couple, highly educated and boy he could talk.

Talk and talk and well, he found me no matter where I was on the island. Breakfast, doing laps in the infinity pool he was still talking … now as much as I enjoyed the company having had a few days on my own, there comes a point where you think enough is enough and I can’t hide because you are in the bungalow next door. This gentleman did give me something worth while however, at the airport ( yes they were on the same flight home!) he handed me a card “Royal Foot Massage” a distinctive card and some conversation ensued about this particular place in Saigon.

I didn’t think much of it until a couple of weeks later another friend based in Saigon said let’s go for a massage this afternoon. I agreed and we bundled into a taxi only to arrive at Royal Foot Massage in Mac Thi Buoi Street. The distinctive brand stirred something in my mind and I thought that bloody American is still haunting me! Turns out he did me a big favour and this place is an institution here Royal Foot Massage 

Royal Foot Massage has been run for over 20 years and I believe is run by the same family – I seemed to recall reading about it on site but nothing on the web but TripAdvisor comments. I have now been four times during my time in Saigon. I now also have a preferred masseuse ( pictured above) I opt for the blokes as they are strong and I am a knotty little client. So my Number 40 – they all have numbers probably because you’d never remember their name afterwards as you are sort of in a dream like state post treatment.

I know people who don’t like massages, I actually hate my head being massaged, but let’s face it these places can be intimidating. Point in case with Royal FM – you enter a reception then in darkness get led down a corridor then up a few flights of stairs to find rows and rows of armchair areas. It’s all done in an armchair – and I have had my doubts about this but my number 40 soon allayed any misgivings about that.

The arm chairs lie right down to a horizontal position, but before that, you are asked to change in to shorts ( I had long pants on) supplied by them in a plastic bag. Complete darkness and the whirr of ceiling fans they only distraction. Your feet are placed in a bucket of warm water to soak whilst tiger balm is applied to various trigger points.

I opt for 90 minutes so that a fair bit of time can be spent on feet and legs. Reflexology in this place is just a given and they do it well. Number 40 seemed to intuitively know my weak points (old ballet injury) and worked his way to the point where you flip over           (they lower the armchair flat to accommodate) and then slow pressure strokes until I realised he’s standing on my back and using his heels right on the top of my buttocks to get at that major gluteus maximus. These guys are deft at undoing bras without removing anything – so be prepared! Some yoga stretches holding his arms and legs they use their entire body weight for deep tissue affect. At this point I went into a meditative state and started to see a green aura and lights. I looked this up later to discover that this indicates healing of heart and lungs. Green Aura  Made sense to me after my first two months in Vietnam.

The final stages are a rub down with hot towels and hand wipes scented with menthol. Reflexology hurts – well it does for me but number 40 seems to have found a way to get to the source without me kick boxing him into the next stall. Worth a visit if you are in Saigon for a short or long time.

Bum Guns and Wet Wipes


I have travelled through Asia for many years and although I have always had a fascination for bathrooms & toilets from a young age, I was never adventurous enough to use the bum gun. I really wasn’t sure how to use it and it’s not something anyone is going to show or teach you. Well not in my life time anyway. So in the privacy of my own apartment I thought I’d give it a try. I had read somewhere that its locally known as a “bum gun” which got me thinking about its practicalities and its uses, at least now I knew its original intent!

Toilet paper or tissue does not go into the toilet here, everything used is put into a bin next to the toilet. The sewerage system can’t cope with it and frankly I think it’s a great idea. So once the job is done (no pun intended) you grab the gun off the wall and press the leaver and aim it somewhere in the vicinity of …well you know where. Now I suspect there is an art to this as my first few attempts resulted in not only me being drenched with water but the floor of the bathroom also getting a liberal dosing. So aim and fire. 

Then you dry off presumably. How you do this outside of the privacy of your own home remains a mystery to me. There is NEVER anything to dry your sell off with (note: always carry tissues with you as a female) so shake it baby, do a happy dance and pull your pants up. The other distinct advantage of this gun is the lack of toilet brushes here. It is a bit of a one machine does all and I think I am going to get used to it. Pity my cats aren’t living with me as they’d get a shot from it too, certainly would stop them scratching the furniture.

So remember your personal tissues and guns away!