LA's virtual Swiss neighborhood!

About Making Better Choices

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flipsI really have no complaints here in Los Angeles. The weather is nice. The waves are rarely better than they are right now. The only critique I have is the fact that I’ve already broken 2 pairs of flip flops since January. I know, bummer.

Now I have 2 options:

  • continue to buy $5 models and complain again later
  • or being aware of the sign and invest a little more in better quality

It’s kind of the same thing with food. Should you ignore your symptoms and continue to complain, or react and finally feel better by choosing the foods you are supposed to eat?

The great thing about food is: everyone has it in his or her hands, respectively on the fork. 3 times a day.

For those who want to get started and need a little help in the beginning, I have updated my website with many great tools:

Get started
Listed as good or bad are the most consumed foods. Divided into 3 different approaches, depending on how healthy someone is feeling at the time. Everything is ready so you can get started today.

Especially for you I was at the hairdresser 2 months ago so that I could now start the Swiss Nutritioneer YouTube channel somewhat videogenic. The project is great fun although I still feel embarrassed watching myself.

Special: Snapshot Package $149 (reg. $199)
And to you as loyal Helvetic.LA readers, I’d like to offer my snapshot package with a 25% discount.
The package is perfect to give you a basic overview of your current health situation. It gives you the answer to questions like what nutrient deficiencies you might have, why you find it much harder to reach your top performance and why it takes more time to recover than a few years ago.
» Claim the Snapshot Package for a reduced price of $149 (Offer expires April 30, 2013)
or go over to my website to check out my other services.

Today, I will invest in a better pair of flip flops.
What will be your decision?

Thanks for reading. Ride on.
(Deutsche Version herunterladen als PDF)

About the author
Rene von GuntenRene von Gunten NTP CPT is certified by the National Academy of Sports Medicine, the Nutritional Therapy Association and holds a diploma in Balancing Nutritional Science from the Westbrook University. He is a Los Angeles-based Nutritional Therapy Practitioner and Holistic Nutritionist serving clients locally and internationally via personal or phone/skype consultations. You can find him on  and his website is www.swissnutritioneer.com

Written by noaccount2000

June 22, 2013 at 9:45 am

Posted in #SwissBizLA, LA+Business

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A Simple Glass of Water

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Last Sunday my wife and I made a trip to Griffith Park along with our two four-legged friends. It was a beautiful day and the destination was soon mutually agreed on: the hike up to the observatory. As always on Sundays, it was pretty crowded. As I have noticed, almost everyone carries some type of water. As a nutritional therapist I thought that was great. However, the devil is in the details, as always. Plastic containers provide for the vast majority. Simple, practical and toxic?


Image: MJ Photography

As this study shows (1), a large majority of plastic bottles leach chemicals into the content. The contamination increases even more if the bottle is exposed to sunlight. Many of you already know that. New could be that the so-called BPA-free plastic materials also emit harmful toxins. It’s similar to yogurt, just because it’s fat-free doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s healthy.

I always ask my clients to switch to stainless steel. Especially when the bottle could be exposed to sunlight. Stainless steel does not leach chemicals and the content survives safely a day in the hot car from taste and health point of view. (My favorites are the bottles from Klean Kanteen.) Yet drinking from a sports cap isn’t necessarily something for everyone or applicable under all circumstances.

For me glass is the most beautiful container for water. It is as transparent as water, as malleable as water, and if you are not careful it is as transient as water. A perfect match. Glass is 100% neutral in taste, does not emit toxins and can be used over and over again. Glass withstands sunlight, dishwashers and microwaves. The only enemy is clumsy hands. And for those it brings some luck after all.

For this reason, I started Trinkglas. A one liter (33 oz) beautifully simple glass bottle with a ceramic swing top seal. Highly convenient with its captive cap is the perfect solution for stationary use at home or in the office. Trinkglas is a semi-fictitious German word and simply stands for what it is, a ‘glass made for drinking’. The bottle with the unique cap was first invented in 1875 and actually sees a remarkable revival in Europe. The swing top can be opened (with a characteristic popping sound) and closed over and over again without tools such as a bottle opener. I think that bottled water hasn’t looked as great for a long time 🙂 Trinkglas is available here and here.

To clean water. Cheers.

About the author
ImageRene von Gunten NTP CPT is certified by the National Academy of Sports Medicine, the Nutritional Therapy Association and holds a diploma in Balancing Nutritional Science from the Westbrook University. He is a Los Angeles-based Nutritional Therapy Practitioner and holistic nutritionist serving clients locally and internationally via personal or phone/skype consultations. You can find him on  and his website is www.swissnutritioneer.com

Written by noaccount2000

March 22, 2013 at 10:00 am

Posted in #SwissBizLA, LA+Business

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#SwissTVLA – How to enjoy SwissTV @SRF in Los Angeles…

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SwissTV SRF on AppleTV

Have you ever wondered, how you could get an alternative to U.S. News? Would you like to enjoy a “Sunntigs-Jass” show, “Schweiz Aktuell”, or be informed in more detail about topics that are only briefly discussed on American Television?

Today’s technology allows you to watch SwissTV SRF anywhere you have a WiFi signal.

Add to that an AppleTV, and you’ll enjoy your favorite SwissTV SRF shows on your HD equipped television.


Written by :+)!

March 18, 2013 at 8:21 pm

Report: Swiss Foreign Direct Investment in the United States

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Written by :+)!

March 5, 2013 at 4:07 pm

A Swiss Watching A-Z of Switzerland

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“Guest blogger and soon-to-be LA visitor, Bern-based Diccon Bewes, will share some of his fun observations about Switzerland through the eyes of a British expat. Diccon’s stories remind us “Auslandschweizer” about our homeland’s quirkyness – and offers a “Swissness Manual” for non-Swiss friends trying to figure out why we Swiss are sometimes… …quirky.

Save the date: on Thursday, June 23rd, Diccon will be at the Beverly Hills Hotel for an evening hosted by the Chariman and Board of the Swiss-American Chamber of Commerce. Come join us, have fun, and take home a signed copy of “Swiss Watching” (email SwissCenterLA@gmail.com for pre-purchase opportunity at a special price)” M:)

Thanks to the lovely people at Helvetic LA, I have a chance to introduce you to some of the many intricacies and oddities of Swiss life. And there are many. So many, in fact, that I thought I’d start with the basics – a crash course in all things Swiss, from A to Z, that was one of the most popular posts from my blog last year. Next time, I’ll get down to details. And there’s nothing the Swiss like more than attention to detail.

A is for apple. Ever since William Tell shot one off his son’s head, the humble apple has been the unofficial national fruit. Switzerland grows over 276,000 tonnes a year, more than the UK, and certainly has endless ways of cooking them.

B is for bureaucracy. Swiss red tape makes all others look pink. The Swiss love pieces of paper, which is just as well as there is a piece of paper for everything. An application for almost anything needs at least three different ones, all stamped and signed by the relevant bureaucrat.

C is for canton. Switzerland isn’t really a country; it’s 26 countries that give a good impression (to the outside world) of being a single entity. Each of the 26 cantons has its own laws, flag, parliament, taxes, number plates, and police.

D is for draughts, aka the source of every illness known to man. The Swiss hate draughts more than they hate the Austrians. Houses are hermetically sealed, train windows kept shut on even the hottest of days, and every stiff neck or cold is blamed on a draught. That famously healthy Swiss fresh air should only be enjoyed outside. With a scarf and without wet hair.

E is for Emmental, where the cheese comes from. A lush green valley near Bern, Emmental is synonymous with Swiss cheese in general, even though it’s just about the only one with holes.

F is for fondue. Switzerland’s gift to the culinary world is more than a cheese-and-wine party in a pot; it’s a national institution. Of course, most Swiss only eat fondue when there is snow on the ground but restaurants are happy to sell it to tourists all year round.

G is for Gotthard. It was control of the Gotthard Pass that gave birth to Switzerland in the 13th century. The wiggly road remains at the heart of the nation’s psyche, even if the Swiss are currently digging the world’s longest tunnel right underneath it.

H is for Heidi. It says a lot about Switzerland that it has a fictional five year-old as a national icon. Created by Johanna Spyri, the little girl from Graubünden has been delighting children and promoting Switzerland since being published in 1880.

I is for island. On a map, Switzerland may look like a landlocked country but it is in fact an island. At least it is in the minds of many Swiss: surrounded by the EU, cut off by its mountains and almost never going with the flow. Welcome to the landlocked island!

J is for Jungfraujoch, the pinnacle of the Swiss railway system. Literally. At 3454 metres up, it’s the highest railway station in Europe and has been since it opened in 1912.

K is for knives, of the Swiss Army variety. The little red penknife is a standard-bearer for Swiss design, but it’s not just for soldiers; hardly any Swiss man leaves home with his trusty tool to hand. But the knives used by the Swiss army are actually big and green.

L is for languages. Switzerland has four national ones – German (64% of the population), French (20.5%), Italian (6.5%), and Romansh (0.5%). Swiss Germans have their own spoken dialects, referred to collectively as Schweizerdeutsch, with German itself used for anything written or official.

M is for mountains. Over 70% of Swiss land area is made up of mountains, mainly the Alps but also the Jura. And with 48 peaks over 4000m, Switzerland is the Roof of Europe. All very scenic but it doesn’t leave much space for the population to live in.

N is for neutrality. Switzerland doesn’t take sides, and hasn’t done so for centuries. Instead the Swiss sit on the fence and stay out of their neighbours’ wars. Being neutral isn’t always easy but it can be easier than making a decision.

O is for on time. Late is a four-letter word in Switzerland where punctuality is a way of life not an abstract concept. Maybe it’s because of the watch industry. Never being on time wouldn’t exactly be the best advert for a country that makes some of the world’s best timepieces.

P is for politics. Switzerland is a people’s republic, thanks to direct democracy. That means a referendum every three months, the right to challenge any law, the chance to initiate new legislation – all adding up to the people having more power than politicians.

R is for Röstigraben. The imaginary line, which gets its name from Rösti a fried-potato dish more popular with Swiss Germans, is more than a linguistic divide between French and German speakers; it’s often visible in social policy, European issues, way of life and sense of humour.

S is for Swiss. In a multilingual country using the English adjective is often easier. So the national airline is called Swiss, the phone company Swisscom, the national lottery Swisslotto, and there are private companies like Swiss Life or Swiss Re.

T is for Toblerone. Cailler may be purer and Lindt pricier but there’s one brand that stands out, purely because of its shape. The triangular chunks from Bern are for many people (especially duty-free shoppers) the embodiment of Swiss chocolate.

U is for UBS. There are an awful lot of Swiss banks (328 different ones), but they rarely get a good press, what with secret accounts and black lists. Banking in Switzerland is more than the headlines, it’s about trust and stability, something which UBS is re-learning the hard way.

V is for victory, though it’s ages since the Swiss had one of those (except in skiing or tennis). But Switzerland wasn’t always so anti-war. It used to invade, kill and conquer with the best of them. Then it gave it all up for peace, and the chance to make money from letting others do the fighting.

W is for William Tell. He’s probably more myth than man but thanks to a German play and catchy bit of Italian music, Tell became a Swiss national hero for fighting the dastardly Austrians. These days he’d be called a terrorist and asked to leave the country.

X is for xenophobia. Not everyone in Switzerland is Swiss (21% of the population are foreigners) and not everyone who is Swiss is happy about that. Cue the nasty side of Swiss society: black sheep posters, minaret bans and long waits for citizenship. Luckily not all Swiss agree or vote for the SVP.

Y is for yellow. Everyone knows that Swiss trains are fab, but what about the Postbus? The ubiquitous buses have 783 routes to reach the parts the trains can’t, and a famous three-note horn taken from the Tell Overture. And they are yellow.

Z is for Zurich. Not the capital but the largest city, and the face of urban Switzerland: compact, efficient, cosmopolitan, exciting. At least that’s what its inhabitants think; the rest of Switzerland sees them as brash and arrogant. Or maybe they’re talking about the Germans who live there.

And if you’re wondering what happened to the Q, well there is no Q in Switzerland. Or more precisely no queue. For such a polite society, the Swiss can’t queue. They may shake hands at every possible opportunity but when it comes to waiting in line, the gloves are off, particularly when waiting for transport. At bus stops, train platforms and cable car stations, it’s a free-for-all. Scrum down, elbows out and every man, woman and child for themselves. Getting off a tram can be a battle against the tide of humanity getting in, even when there’s enough time and space for all. After six years in Switzerland, I’m still struggling to overcome my (very British) innate desire to form an orderly line. It’s a daily battle.

Written by swisswatching

January 15, 2013 at 9:00 am

Posted in Little Switzerland

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Ode to Los Angeles – our Home, the Creative Capital of the World…

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Written by :+)!

January 11, 2013 at 7:10 am

Posted in We Love LA!

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The Swiss Cheese Misconception

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Maybe it happened to you as well. When I arrived in Los Angeles 3 years ago, pretty much nothing resembled my home in Switzerland. But wait. There was something that did remind me of my country of origin on a regular basis: Swiss cheese.
In the states, one comes across this epitome of quality and tradition over and over again. Offered as an option in your favorite sandwich, any fairly good tasting hamburger comes stuffed with it and there is no supermarket that doesn’t carry it in its dairy section.

The famous milk product from our small Alpine country has come this far. Right? Unfortunately, not quite so glorious. Anyone who has ever enjoyed an original Swiss cheese made from tasty alpine milk, will suspiciously recognize the difference in taste. And therefore, I have taken the effort to learn more about the difference between ‘Swiss Cheese’ and ‘Cheese made in Switzerland’. And here’s what I found out:

Swiss cheese made in the U.S.

Swiss Cheese is mostly produced in large U.S. corporations using bulk operations to make Swiss-type cheese. It is made from pasteurized milk and is available already sliced and shredded in regular and low fat varieties. Due to mass production for a quick distribution it is usually matured only about 4 months and therefore, has a much milder flavor than the real thing.


By the way, the size of the holes (known as ‘eyes’) in Swiss cheese is regulated by the U.S. government. In order to sell large quantities in the United States, the holes may not be greater than 3/8 of an inch. If this standard is met the cheese may be sold as Grade A. However, the reason for this law has more to do with politics than with quality. The American manufacturers had problems with their mechanical slicers when the holes were too big. Instead of developing new techniques or equipment, they went with the practice of simply lobbying the government to make laws to fix a problem.

In the U.S. the two best-selling varieties of Swiss cheese are Baby Swiss (from whole milk) and Lacy Swiss (from low fat milk). In 2010 about 152’400 metric tons of Swiss cheese were made, most of it in the state of Ohio.

Cheese made in Switzerland

Cheese made ​​in Switzerland on the other hand stands for traditional and natural production methods. Cheese-making in Switzerland dates back to the Roman Empire. To this day village dairies daily process fresh milk from the nearby region.


Image: Jürg Vollmer / Aroser Zeitung

Switzerland prides itself on putting quality first, and cheese is no exception. The lush alpine meadows with flowers and herbs creates a milk that is perfect for the rich flavored cheeses. Soft, hard and semi-hard cheese, each region has its own specialties. Swiss cows eat grass in the summer, hay in winter. The milk must be at the dairy within 18 hours of milking and must not be older than 24 hours when processed into cheese. Cheese made in Switzerland is mostly made from raw milk, which requires rapid proceeding.

In the U.S., primarily 2 of the original Swiss cheeses are available: Emmental and Gruyère.

  • Emmental or Emmentaler takes its name from the Emmental Valley where it originated around 1293. This prestigious cheese is traditionally-crafted according to strict regulations. The main trademark of Emmental cheese are the large holes. It has a mild, slightly nutty, buttery, almost fruity flavor. The maturing process takes at least 4 months. This forms the characteristic holes. About 1,200 liters of fresh, raw Swiss milk are needed for an approximately 95kg loaf of cheese.
  • Gruyère, this cheese’s namesake is the valley of the same name in French-speaking western Switzerland. This raw milk cheese is made by hand in small village dairies for over 1000 years after an unchanged recipe. Each loaf receives at least 5 months to mature until its typically strong, fruity flavor has developed. And unlike Emmental, Gruyère cheese has no holes.

Cheese making is one of the great traditions of Switzerland. Every year, about 180,000 tons of cheese are produced. 1/3 the amount is exported abroad of which only about 4,750 tons come to the U.S.


The real cheese connoisseur doesn’t just ask for ‘Swiss cheese’ but rather pays close attention to the appellation ‘Made in Switzerland’.


About the author
ImageRene von Gunten NTP CPT is certified by the National Academy of Sports Medicine, the Nutritional Therapy Association and holds a diploma in Balancing Nutritional Science from the Westbrook University. He is a Los Angeles-based Nutritional Therapy Practitioner and holistic nutritionist serving clients locally and internationally via personal or phone/skype consultations. You can find him on  and his website is www.swissnutritioneer.com

Written by noaccount2000

January 1, 2013 at 7:00 pm

Posted in #SwissBizLA, LA+Business

Tagged with

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