Food & Flavour For Thought

Foods to consider to reduce the effects of wind:

There are several foods that naturally reduce the effects of wind. In early spring try oats, pine nuts, prawns, ginger, fennel and basil. Later in the season choose celery, mulberry, strawberry and peppermint. Other foods that limit the effects of wind include black or yellow soybean, black or yellow sesame seed, sage and chamomile.

The Sour Flavour:

Sour is connected to the Liver and spring time. Sour strengthen the liver and has a contracting, astringent effect and dries and firms.  Once eaten, sour heads straight for the Liver. A small amount of the sour flavour is essential for a balanced Liver, but too much will make the Liver too strong and cause imbalance in the body. Examples of sour foods include lemons, limes, hawthorn fruit, pickles and rosehip and vinegar.
A little bit of gently warming pungent foods can be good for spring. These include fennel, ginger, spring onion, chamomile, oregano, rosemary, caraway, dill, bay leaf, grains, legumes and seeds. Pungent flavoured foods stimulate circulation of Qi (energy) and blood, moving energy up and out.

Your Body is a Garden

One of the philosophies underlying Chinese medicine is that we are not separate from nature. Nature’s constant motion – its flowing seasons and cycles – coincide with our body’s natural rhythms. When we engage in gardening, we strive to be in harmony with nature’s rhythms. This allows us to reap a bountiful harvest. Life flourishes when the elements of air, water, light and earth are balanced.

There are basic principles of gardening that you can apply to facilitating the health of your body:

Fertilize: Just like plants need fertilizers, we need food in order to re-energize our bodies. In general, a healthy, balanced diet is made up of unprocessed, organic foods such as grains, fruits and vegetables.

Water: Our bodies are made up of 70% water. We need its life-giving force to cleanse our bodies of toxins, to regulate body temperature and to aid digestion and circulation.

Sunshine: Just like plants, we also need sun’s energy to grow and thrive. Sun provides our bodies with Vitamin D, which promotes strong bones, supple muscles and a healthy immune system.

Weeding: Weeding your garden is vital to keeping the soil clean and properly oxygenated. Our body also needs cleansing. One of the easiest ways to cleanse our body is sweating through exercise as well as eating meals of fresh veggies and fruit.
Your goal is to learn how to cultivate and support your inner garden. My goal as a Chinese medicine practitioner and acupuncturist and is to help balance your inner ecosystem so that it can flourish—and you can enjoy health and harmony.  Together, we garden and can identify and “weed out” any imbalances that could cause problems.
.Acupuncture isn’t a “quick fix.” It does provide you with the tools and knowledge needed to nourish the garden from within. Your participation in the process is essential. After all, you wouldn’t simply plant seeds in the ground and expect them to bloom unattended. It’s the same with your health. Working with your acupuncturist and committing to long-term care can create positive changes for your overall health.

 Do you have seasonal allergies?
If you are an allergy sufferer, I recommend avoiding mucus producing foods, such as dairy, wheat, sugar, and cold raw foods and also taking a pro-biotic. This will help minimize allergy attacks in most people. Acupuncture and herbal medicine are also great to help with allergy symptoms.

High Powered Vitality smoothie

Smoothies are a great way to get many essential nutrients in one delicious, easy meal.  This power packed smoothie is full of omega oils, chlorophyl, antioxidants, protein, and much more.  Sure to keep you energized for your morning or afternoon if you have it at lunch!

  • 2 kale leaves,
  • handful of raw spinach
  • 2 stalks celery chopped
  •  1/4 fresh beet chopped
  • 1/3 cup blueberries
  • 1 banana
  • 2 cm of fresh ginger root chopped fine
  • 1 tbsp spirulina or other greens powder
  • 1 heaping tbsp of sesame, almond or any other nut butter
  • options: add half an avocado (extra creamyness and good oils), hemp seeds (extra protein), half a carrot (betta carotene- good for skin and eyes)
  • 1-2 tbsp omega oil
  • 1/2 cup or 1 cup room temperature or warm water depending on how thick you like your smoothie. ( In Chinese Medicine we discourage eating and drinking things that are cold in temperature as this dampens the digestive fire and can decrease your energy).

Blend until smooth and enjoy!

Staying healthy in the spring time

Spring is the time for get up and do. It is the season of activity. A time of stirring after the cold of winter. It is the season of wind, both in the environment and in our bodies. Spring is the season to eat foods with upward energies, such as young, green, sprouting above-ground vegetables.

Wind can occur in any season, but it is more of a potent force in spring, and it is the time the Liver is most sensitive – and the Liver is very susceptible to the effects of Wind. Wind externally and internally appears quickly, can change without warning and is as destabilizing as it is unpredictable.  In the body it causes symptoms that appear suddenly, twitches, pain that moves around the body, headaches and on an emotional level, more susceptibility to mood swings, nervousness, emotional turmoil.

One very common symptom felt by many is neck pain in the spring. In Springtime the weather is unpredictable and so we need to be more careful about exposure to cold or getting chilled.  Keep your body bundled up until the weather is more steady, especially making sure to protect you neck and throat from wind, breezes and chills.
If you get pain in the neck whether it is a sudden new pain or the recurrence of chronic pain, acupuncture and Chinese medicine can help a lot.