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Healthy eating tips for the summer are a little tricky.
Since the weather is warm, you need light, cooling foods. Juicy peaches, sweet watermelons, tomatoes hot off the vine… The right foods are easy to find. One trip through your garden or a walk through a farmer’s market and you’ll have the perfect summer meal.
But since you’re outside exercising and working in the garden, you build up an appetite. You work hard and play hard. You crave calories to keep the fire burning. Are cucumbers the first food you reach for after rototilling the garden? Probably not.
Unfortunately, many times craving calories trumps craving fresh food. You satisfy your appetite with a meal of tortilla chips and soda. Or brats and beer. Or hamburgers and ice cream.
And afterward you feel full, bloated and hot.
Fortunately there is a solution. It is possible to eat well, have energy and avoid feeling bloated.
The trick is in the timing.
With an easy tweak to your natural summer diet, you’ll feel fantastic.
Summer Eating Tips
It should come as no surprise that I recommend eating lots of fruits and vegetables in the summer. In fact, I recommend eating fruits and vegetables all year, but in the summer they are especially important.
Summer is a yang season and is associated with the fire element. Fire governs the heart and small intestine. When fire is balanced within the body, the heart governs and circulates the blood properly and the intestines properly digest food. Emotionally you are balanced, sensitive and enthusiastic. You feel good.
There are a few simple guidelines to keep fire balanced.
- Focus on yin foods. Yin foods are wet and cool. Fruits and vegetables (especially green vegetables like lettuce, cucumbers and watercress) are yin. For protein, eat fish or seafood instead of meat. Smoothies and salads are yin and are excellent summer meals.
- Eat moderately. Avoid huge meals.
- Eat bitter foods. Bitter foods support the fire element. Coffee, tea and chocolate (without sugar) are all bitter and moderate amounts of them are appropriate for summer health. This is the season you can call your coffee a health food. Asparagus, bitter greens like kale, arugula or escarole, celery and rhubarb are all good foods for the summer.
Yield: Makes three 1 3/4-cup servings
1 grapefruit, peeled, seeded and chopped
2 cups hulled fresh or frozen strawberries
1 sweet apple (such as Honeycrisp or Pink Lady), peeled, cored and chopped
1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
1 cup water
Combine all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth.
Recipe from: Whole Living
Eat Big in the Afternoon
If you focus on yin and bitter foods, your diet is cooling and light. But what happens when you need more energy than a slice of watermelon provides?
This is when the timing of your meals matters.
If you need a heavier meal, eat it mid to late afternoon. “Picnic time” is the best time to fuel up. Avoid eating a big meal early or late in the day.
A healthy summer eating plan starts with a breakfast of fruit, smoothies or yogurt. Have a salad for lunch. Eat a heavy meal later in the afternoon and end your day with more fruit.
By eating mostly fresh, light, wet foods and including a heavy meal only in the afternoon, you will help your fire burn bright but not out of control. You’ll feel light, cool and energized. Your heart, circulation and digestion will be strong. You won’t feel bloated or full.
Traditional Chinese Medicine uses nutrition as a tool to maintain health and promote healing. Eating a yin diet with your heavy meal in the late afternoon is good general advice, but your constitution may need a slightly different routine. The proportion of yin food matters and varies from person to person. To get the best summer eating tips, contact me and together we’ll make a plan that’s perfect for you.
Arthritis is a painful and oftentimes debilitating condition that’s characterized by inflammation within one or more joints. According to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 in 2 people will develop osteoarthritis of the knee by the age of 85. It’s important to note, however, that there are several different types of arthritis, with osteoarthritis being just one. Other common types include rheumatoid arthritis, gout, septic arthritis, Still’s disease, and ankylosing spondylitis.
While most people living with moderate-to-severe arthritis resort to prescription medication to mask their symptoms, a safer and more effective form of treatment may come in the form of a 2,000-plus-year-old Chinese practice called acupuncture. Numerous studies have found acupuncture to offer relief of many different types of arthritis. And best of all, it doesn’t come with the adverse side effects associated with arthritis medication.
Acupuncture and Arthritis: How It Works
Acupuncture is based on the belief that our bodies have an essential life/energy force (referred to as Qi). This force flows through the body, traveling along 20 channels (referred to as meridians). Normally, Qi flows unrestricted, keeping the individual healthy while warding off disease and illness. However, there are times when the Qi will become stagnant, blocked or dislodged from its normal position, leaving the individual susceptible to illness.
By placing thin needles directly under the skin, a licensed acupuncturists can stimulate the flow of Qi, correcting blockages and other abnormalities. Furthermore, acupuncture aids in regulating the nervous system, which in turn produces the natural pain-relieving chemicals called endorphins.
Studies Reaffirm Acupuncture For Arthritis
A group of German researchers conducted a study on 304,674 patients suffering from osteoarthritis of the knee. Researchers split the patients into two groups, one of which received traditional routine care, while the other received 15 sessions of acupuncture. Researchers concluded that patients who had received acupuncture experienced better knee function, less pain, and an overall better quality of life than their counterparts.
Another study – this one originating out of China – found that both acupuncture and electroacupuncture were effective at reduce pain, inflammation and tenderness in parts of the body by arthritis. Granted, this was a small study with just 36 patients, but it’s just one more study attesting to the healing power of acupuncture.
Call us today at (630) 369-3237 to learn how you can get back on track to better health!
Alternative Treatments for Fertility
About 10 percent of couples struggle with infertility and an inability to conceive, according to the Centers for Disease Control. For those struggling to have children, fertility treatment can become tiring and expensive very quickly. There are numerous alternative treatments including Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) that have been thought to improve fertility.
More and more people are choosing acupuncture for fertility. By increasing blood flow and Qi (pronounced “chee”) to the reproductive organs, acupuncture can help increase fertility. Stress has been noted to cause infertility in women due to an increase in the hormone cortisol. A change in hormones can cause the body to be put out of balance, affecting fertility. Acupuncture can help by decreasing stress with acupuncture points and returning the body to balance.
Acupuncture for fertility treatment has almost no side effects, compared to Western medications and hormone treatments that can cause lasting side effects.
Women who received Chinese herbal treatments once a week for about three months were found to be twice as likely to become pregnant as women who didn’t receive the treatment, according to a study in the journal Complementary Therapies in Medicine.
Chinese herbal therapy uses more than 150 herbs found in groups of about 15 herbs in each treatment. The treatments are made of formulas that include natural ingredients such as bark, root, leaf, flower and plant extracts. These treatments are most commonly given in pill or tea form.
Clinical studies in China have shown that 70 percent of those struggling with fertility who were treated with Chinese herbs have become pregnant.
Ask an acupuncturist or naturopathic doctor on how you can receive Chinese herbal treatment.
Yoga is another way to increase fertility by reducing stress and increasing blood flow, which can help gynecological function.
Breathing practices that are done in yoga can help to relax the mind and lower cortisol levels, bringing hormones back to a normal balance.
Some poses can increase circulation to the reproductive organs including Seated Angle Pose. This pose consists of sitting with your legs stretched out to stretch the hamstrings, bringing more blood flow to the pelvic area.
If you have experience or supervision, yoga inversions such as headstands or shoulder stands can be extremely helpful fertility boosters as they balance the hormones.
Simple lifestyle changes can also help boost your fertility including eating a healthy diet, avoiding alcohol, smoking and environmental toxins, and getting sufficient sleep.
Acupuncture for fertility can be a less expensive, non-invasive option for improving fertility!
Alternative Treatment for IBS.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a common disease suffered by an estimated 25-45 million people in the United States. Symptoms include chronic abdominal pain, bloating, excess gas and irregular bowel movements. Symptoms can be brought on by a number of triggers including anxiety, insomnia and stress. Although there is no known cure to IBS, there are numerous alternative treatments to prescription medication that can help relieve symptoms.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) uses herbal remedies to treat a number of ailments and diseases including IBS.
Peppermint has been studied and used to help treat IBS discomfort. Because it is a natural antispasmodic, peppermint can help decrease muscle spasms in the gastrointestinal tract. Common ways to use peppermint include peppermint tea or peppermint oil, both can be found at your local health store and most grocery stores.
Ginger can also be used to help IBS symptoms. Ginger works as an anti-inflammatory and is thought to strengthen the gastric lining and decrease nausea. You can buy ginger tea as well as make your own by boiling water with ginger root.
Fennel can immensely help bloating and gas due to IBS. Fennel is considered a carminative, meaning it has properties that prevent the formation of excess gas in the gastrointestinal tract. Fennel can also help heartburn, indigestion and common stomach pain. You can find fennel seeds in your local health food store and can be used to make tea.
Acupuncture is commonly used to treat chronic abdominal pain, bloating and other IBS symptoms. There has been at least one study done that specifically looked at acupuncture as a treatment for IBS. Acupuncture has been shown to relieve pain and stress, which are common triggers for IBS. This is done by regulating blood flow and Qi (pronounced “chee”) through acupuncture points.
Probiotics are a healthy bacteria that normally live in your gut. It has been thought that those with IBS do not have enough probiotics in their intestinal tract. You can easily add probiotics to your diet by eating foods such as yogurt and sourdough bread. Kombucha and kefir are drinks that also include probiotics. Probiotic supplements can be found at your local health store.
Meditation and Exercise
Meditation and exercise are excellent stress relievers and in turn can relieve IBS symptoms that are commonly caused by stress and anxiety.
Not only does exercise release endorphins that help fight stress, but regular physical activity can help regulate your gastrointestinal system.
Research done at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on meditation and IBS found that women who practiced mediation had around a 38 percent reduction in symptoms, according to U.S. News.
Meditation focuses on deep breathing and staying in the moment to relax the mind and body.
Alternative medicine including TCM and acupuncture can largely decrease your IBS symptoms and help you live a more pain-free life!
Spring Acupuncture Tips to Keep You Healthy, Happy and Flexible.
Spring is a happy time. Bunnies hop about. Flowers emerge in long forgotten corners of your garden. The birds return and sing so loudly they wake you in the morning.
This is not a time to be angry.
But according to Traditional Chinese Medicine, being angry is exactly what you can expect if you don’t balance your wood element.
In TCM, spring is represented by the element wood. Wood represents birth and newness, the time for fresh ideas and new starts. Unsurprisingly, its color is green like the fresh growth of spring.
Wood governs your spine, joints, muscles, ligaments and tendons. A wood imbalance can lead to spinal problems, poor flexibility or arthritis. Wood also governs your eyes.
But most important for your mood, wood governs your liver. Your liver is responsible for the smooth flow of Qi (energy) and smooth flowing Qi means health and vitality. The emotion associated with your liver is anger. If your liver is imbalanced your Qi will be disrupted and you’ll be angry.
Healthy (and happy) spring acupuncture practices mean balancing your wood element and caring for your liver.
Healthy Spring Acupuncture Practices
Try these spring acupuncture recommendations, to keep your wood balanced and your liver healthy.
Cleanse. Cleaning your colon releases accumulated toxins, undigested food, parasites and fungi. With a clean colon your digestion is more efficient and your body is healthier.
Detox your liver. Reduce or eliminate alcohol or drugs that are toxic to your liver. Consider a detox that specifically targets your liver. Call me if you need suggestions.
Stretch. Start or recommit to a healthy stretching routine. Try yoga, Tai Chi, Qi Gong, or other exercises that move, loosen and flex your joints.
Exercise your eyes. Massage your face, especially around your eyes. Roll your eyes and move them in figure 8s. Practice focusing on distant objects and then focusing on close objects in quick succession. Put time limits on your computer sessions. These exercises strengthen your eyes and can improve your eyesight.
Control your anger. Create a healthy anger management plan. Journal, meditate or get counseling. Put limits on stressful situations. Find activities that refocus your anger in healthy ways.
Healthy Spring Acupuncture Diet
Follow these tips for a healthy spring diet that supports your liver.
Eat light. Overeating taxes your liver.
Eat greens. Sprouts, wheatgrass, spinach, kale and dandelions are particularly good foods in the spring.
Eat sour? Sour is the flavor associated with spring, however sour flavors are only recommended for certain constitutions. Instead of dousing your greens with vinegar or lemon juice dressings, consult with me to find out what flavors are best for you.
Drink milk thistle tea. Milk thistle detoxes your liver.
Season your food. Pungent spices like basil, fennel, marjoram, rosemary, caraway, dill and bay leaf are excellent for spring cooking—and they taste good.
By keeping your wood balanced and your liver healthy you will be happy. You’ll feel vital, flexible and clear. If you have questions about healthy spring acupuncture practices feel free to call us at (630) 369-3237 for recommendations.