Watermelon Smoothie with Goji Berries and Lime

From The Chinese Medicine Cookbook by Stacey Isaacs

This watermelon smoothie is truly refreshing during the dog days of summer!

Watermelon smoothie
Watermelon healthy juice in mug with lime and mint

Ingredients:

4 cups seedless watermelon chunks
1 cup ice
1 tablespoon goji berries
Juice of 1/2 lime

Combine all ingredients in blender and blend. Pour into a glass and enjoy! Garnish with a fresh mint sprig.

Watermelon is considered a Chinese herb(xi gua). It is the perfect answer when you are overheated on a hot day; it cools you from the inside out and quenches thirst. The rind of the watermelon is also a Chinese herb (xi gua pi), and it is even more powerful at relieving summer heat and generating fluids in the body. So the next time you are cutting up a beautiful fresh melon, don’t remove all of the white/light green rind. It will do your body good.

Especially good for: improving hydration, recovering from heat stroke, quenching thirst, boosting energy.

Enjoy the Bounty of Summer

Summer is officially here and that brings a bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables.

Summer Fruits and Vegetables

By now everyone knows that eating more vegetables and fruits is beneficial for our health. Most “standard” dietary recommendations suggest at least five servings of vegetables and fruits daily, however many studies show that more is better. The benefits of eating a wide variety of vegetables and fruits are many, including:

  • Reduced obesity and hypertension
  • Reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes
  • Improved mental/cognitive performance
  • Improved lung function, particularly those with COPD
  • Reduced adverse effects of environmental pollutants
  • Reduced risk of cancer

Diet Suggestions for Summer

Summer is the time of heat and fire, and that equates to the heart and small intestine in Chinese Medicine. These organs help us optimally digest our food. During this time of sunshine and heat, it’s smart to find a balance of cooling foods and foods with a salty taste.

  • Seafoods and seaweeds can be a great addition to your diet during the summer to combat the heat and improve digestion.
  • Cooling foods include fruits like kiwi, citrus and watermelon, and veggies like cucumber, lettuce, tomatoes, spinach, mint, and cilantro.
  • Drink lots of water and try watermelon juice to expel toxins and cool the heart fire. See the recipe below for Watermelon Smoothie with Goji Berries and Lime for a refreshing summer beverage on a hot day.
  • Avoid: Hot and dry foods such as coffee, excessively spicy foods, ice cold foods like ice cream since they cause the digestive system to slow down.

What to look for

It is best to eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables; variety in color being one of the more important characteristics. The color of a fruit or vegetables can be a good indicator of the nutrients it contains, and therefore by eating a wide variety in color, you are getting a wide variety of nutrients.

Look for vegetables and fruits that are in season, fresh and ripe. We have a few local farmers markets in our area that are definitely worth a visit. We’ve mentioned before that attuning your body the the seasons is important to maintain balance in our health. While its nice that we can get a variety of fruits and vegetables from all over the world at the supermarket, it’s best to stick with those that would normally be found in your area and to pass on those that have been picked unripe and shipped across the world. It is best to eat fruit fully ripened to get the most antioxidants.

Welcome Paige!

If you’ve been in the clinic in the last month, you may have already had a chance to meet Paige Gradishar, my new Clinic Assistant. 

Paige and I have known each other for several years and I’m so excited she is joining my team.  She’s answering phones, scheduling appointments and doing some follow up calls with patients.  She’s also helping to get rooms cleaned and ready for the next patient.  And this girl is organized!  She’s getting my inventory squared away and is doing a great job to keep me on schedule.  I’m not sure how I got along without her!   Please join me in welcoming her to Balanced Energy Wellness.  

Intergenerational Trauma, Anxiety and Depression

family tree

Trauma alters gene expression. This can get passed down family lines. It is designed to prepare both individuals and their descendants to deal with a dangerous and chaotic world. Unfortunately when this goes too far and can’t switch back off, it can become a family curse. It can turn into a self fulfilling prophesy leading to continuous cycles of pain and frustration.

This curse comes in the form of altered glucocorticoid- and immune-related gene expression. These can have broad reaching effects on the body. They influence psychological states, ability to focus, and function socially. 

Offspring of trauma survivors are more likely to develop PTSD, mood, and anxiety disorders and demonstrate genetic alterations. The expression of these genes can cause wide ranging damage from obesity to insomnia and infertility. 

Families may be affected financially as well because having intergenerational trauma may make it harder to focus and plan, all of which have long term financial consequences for families often resulting in intergenerational poverty.

Happy Chinese New Year

February 12th is the first day of the Chinese lunar calendar, also known as Chinese New Year or Spring Festival. The year 2021 is represented by the Ox. According to renowned Chinese Astrologist, Lillian Bridges, the Ox (Cow) is a respected animal valued for its ability to work hard and endure. She says “The Ox is credited with the values of constancy and cooperation. These are usually slow-moving animals that are even-tempered and placid unless they are provoked. This implies a calmer and more stable year with less anger, less contentious behavior and much less potential for violence as that behavior will simply not be supported or be sustainable. This year is about the future and our hopes and dreams, which can start to inspire us again. Life will feel more peaceful and less stressful, but this year requires patience. Forward movement will be mostly slow going toward desired and more ideal outcomes in the future. There will still be some restrictions on growth and movement, but these will lessen.”

She goes further to say “The most important ideals this year are kindness and compassion. It is not wise to provoke anger or act in aggressive ways, as the elements will not be with you. Instead, caring for others in small ways will be remembered and make a big difference.”

You can read her entire forecast here if you are interested.

Here’s wishing you a stress-free 2021 filled with peace, good health and good fortune!

New Year, New Clinic

We’ve Moved!

The new clinic is operational and everyone has been very positive about it. It’s right next door to the old clinic, so no need to worry about finding the new place. Schedule your appointment and come check it out. I think you’ll love the new open feel with all of the familiar attention to your health. Here’s a sneak peek.

Goodbye 2020 and Hello 2021

Whew!  What a year!  We’ve all been through a lot this year and I have to say I’ve learned a lot along the way.  I’ve learned to enjoy solitude and spending time with my family(lots and lots).  I’ve figured out how to get my business back up and running during a pandemic. Never before have I ever taken six weeks away from work!   And I’ve learned that I’m not the only one who is paying close attention to their health.  You all have brought a renewed focus on your health and that makes me happy!    

Now for the Really Exciting Part….

Last month, I mentioned that one way to look at what is happening is to try and find the opportunities that lie amidst the chaos.   Recently I learned of an opportunity that will allow me to expand my clinic, and I’m excited to announce that we will be doing just that!   This expansion will give me more treatment space so I will have more appointment times and can help more people, and it will give me more space for sharing some of the wonderful herbal products that I can offer.  And the best part is that it’s right next door!  Same building, literally 10 feet from my current door.  I’m putting the final details together now and it looks like a move could happen as early as February.  Of course I couldn’t even consider this without your continued support and encouragement and I’m so very grateful for that.   Stay tuned for more details as things unfold.  

In the meantime, please stay safe.  I am wishing you and yours some well-deserved downtime and a very happy new year to come. Cheers to health, happiness, and prosperity in 2021!  No matter what happens, we are in it together.  

How to Make This a Great Thanksgiving

Even if you are by yourself

In past holiday newsletters, I’ve offered advice on how to have a less-stressed holiday season.  This year requires a different twist on that theme.

A long time ago, I had a boss who taught me how to take advantage of change/chaos. The secret is to figure out what the opportunity is. And I’d like to offer that in these times, the opportunity is to take time for yourself, find joy and gratitude. There is no doubt that these are stressful times, and honestly, adding a family gathering or holiday party to the mix at this time would add even more stress. Most times I’m giving advice on stress relieving techniques to cope with the chaos of holiday shopping, family gatherings, and work parties. But all of that is so last year!

How is stress affecting you now?
For some we turn to food to calm our nerves. How about looking at food preparation and eating as an opportunity to express thanks? Our mindset before eating or preparing foods has a big impact on how we digest food. I’ve taught classes on mindful eating and one thing that I always emphasize is practicing gratitude during preparation, cooking and eating what we have. That is the idea of preparing and eating meals with calmness and enjoyment so that the parasympathetic nervous system is engaged which, incidentally, helps with digestion. Taking time to appreciate the work that went into growing and harvesting the fruits and vegetables, is an example. Eating slowly and appreciating all of the flavors is so beneficial to your body and mind.

Bring in Gratitude and Joy

Did you know that you can’t experience two opposite emotions at the same time? So by expressing gratitude or joy, you can’t simultaneously feel sorrow or fear. So look for those opportunities to do the things you enjoy doing during the holidays, even if you are by yourself and can’t be with family members. Do you love to decorate for the holidays? Then do it, even if you are the only one who will see it!

How can you express gratitude during this time? What comes to mind when I ask “what are you thankful for?” Notice, I didn’t ask “what is missing from your life?” It’s all about how you frame things. While I’m missing my family this Thanksgiving, I am grateful that they are all healthy and safe. I’m also thankful that there will be less stress and I can cook whatever the heck I want to cook without having to worry about the special requests from everyone. I can take a deep breath for a few days! I’m looking forward to it. I’m also grateful to spend some quality time with my partner, David and my cute doggie, Jess!

This year, I am extremely grateful for you, my patients! You bring me great joy and I care about you all. Please see the special holiday offers below and take this opportunity to treat yourself, friends or family to the gift of wellness!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Coping with Stress

Well, 2020 has certainly been a doozie! As if the Coronavirus wasn’t enough, there’s so much happening in our country right now with fires, hurricanes, unprecedented job losses, riots, and politics that it’s no wonder most of my patients are stressed. I’ve seen a big increase in anxiety, depression and all around feeling of stress in my patients. So if you are feeling it too, you are not alone.

Stress is sometimes used as a catch-all word for many symptoms but the fact is that stress is definitely real. It can be the cause of both emotional and physical symptoms like anxiety, depression, hypertension, fatigue, headaches, addiction, obesity, pain, and more. Managing stress is key to keep these feelings from getting out of control.

What’s happening?

When you face a challenging situation, your body releases chemicals, including cortisol and adrenaline. These chemicals are released to help you handle the situation by putting you into a high alert state and preparing your body to take action. Adrenaline increases your heart rate, elevates your blood pressure and boosts energy supplies. Cortisol increases sugars in your bloodstream, enhances your brain’s use of glucose and increases the availability of substances that repair tissues. This all sounds good, but too much is bad for your health.