Medlin Law Firm - August 2020


The Incredible Story of Zen Buddhist Chef Jeong Kwan One of the world’s greatest chefs can’t be found in a restaurant. Instead, she serves fellow nuns and occasional visitors in a Zen Buddhist monastery in Korea. The West’s perception of Korean temple cuisine was challenged shortly after Eric Ripert visited Kwan’s monastery and experienced her cooking during a trip to Korea.

To fully describe the incredible success of Jeong Kwan, you must first consider a factor that Western cuisine has ignored for millennia. While most people would assume Korean food is all about its famed barbecue, another pillar of the culture goes largely unacknowledged: Korean temple cuisine, which originated in the country’s Buddhist monasteries. A philosophy of Zen Buddhism is to not crave food and satisfy yourself only enough to be prepared for meditation, so you might think that flavor would be of little consequence in a monastery’s kitchen. However, you’d be wrong.

Ripert invited Kwan to NewYork City to prepare food in a private room at Le Bernardin, where she sent global shockwaves through the entire fine cuisine community. NewYork Times writer Jeff Gordinier described her plates as “so elegant, they could’ve slipped into a tasting menu at Benu or Blanca” and her flavors as “assertive,” all while being vegan. More and more critics realized that Kwan’s combination of foraging, fermenting, dehydrating, and cooking by season was not a modern practice. In fact, Zen Buddhist monks like Kwan mastered cooking in this tradition hundreds of years ago. “With food, we can share and communicate our emotions. It’s that mindset of sharing that is really what you’re eating,” Kwan says at the start of her titular episode of Netflix’s documentary series “Chef’s Table.” She continues, “There is no difference between cooking and pursuing Buddha’s way.” Whether for enlightenment or simply connecting with friends and family, sharing home-cooked meals can be an emotionally restorative experience as much as it is nourishing. This month, indulge in something special and homemade or try your hand at Korean temple cuisine by Googling some of Jeong Kwan’s recipes.


It might not seem important to see a doctor after experiencing a “mild” concussion, but in 2003, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cautioned Congress about including the term “mild” when talking about concussions. Any traumatic brain injury (TBI) can have life-changing consequences. The American Medical Association agrees, saying that using the name “mild concussion” misrepresents the “immediate and long-term” burden of a TBI. So, what are the potential consequences? First, no two brain injuries are the same. Our brains are tremendously complex, and there are many ways a brain injury can cause immediate and long-term issues, depending on the part of your brain that’s impacted. Some injuries can impair function right away. Many people black out, while others are left in a coma. Patients can experience a whole range of issues with their ability to communicate, think, and remember, and falling into depression is common. There are so many potential changes to a person’s personality after a TBI, but sometimes these issues resolve over time. Early in recovery, a common change to personality is disinhibition, or loss of control over behavior. Often,

TBI patients will begin to overshare information, make inappropriate sexual advances or remarks, or have disturbing outbursts of uncontrollable rage. They may not even remember taking these actions. The long-term effects of a TBI can be permanently life- altering. In the study that prompted the CDC’s report to Congress, even mild concussions caused symptoms of memory loss and depression that continued 12 months later. Another study has shown that post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and TBIs may not be separable. The Current Neurology and Neuroscience Reports says, “Increasingly symptoms previously presumed to be specific to PTSD or TBI are being identified in both disorders.” At Medlin Law Firm, we’re very familiar with the short- and long-term effects of TBIs from the cases we see with clients. Long-term behavioral, emotional, cognitive, and executive function changes from a TBI can be extremely frustrating for the victim, but a prompt visit to a clinic following an injury can make all the difference. Don’t underestimate the power of a doctor’s visit! We hope you have a great, safe August.

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