Category Archives: Nutrition

July Clinic Updates

It’s great to be back in business! I’m really enjoying seeing everyone and feel my work is helping me as much as it is helping you.

As most of you have probably seen, this virus isn’t going away any time soon, so precautions will need to remain in place for the foreseeable future. Everyone wants to get on with life and we want this thing to go away, but it’s not in any big hurry. This means we need to stay vigilant and take care of ourselves like never before. I encourage you to reread the blog posts I did back in February for some tips on keeping your immune system strong, and this one with acupressure points you can do at home. Fall is just a few short months away, and then we will be back into flu season again. It’s uncertain what COVIDs next turn will be, so I’m advising everyone to take these measures now if you haven’t started already:

Immune boosting foods
  • Eat a healthy diet – avoid sugar (like the plague)
  • Take Vitamin C, Zinc, and Vitamin D,
  • Get outdoors and exercise (just be careful in the heat),
  • Get an acupuncture immune boost,
  • Practice stress reduction techniques like meditation, deep breathing and yoga
  • Ask me about Herbal preventative formulas that might be right for you

We’ve clearly seen that those with heart disease, diabetes, obesity and some other underlying issues are most at risk, and we all need to put our health as a top priority so we are equipped to fight off any cold, flu or other illness that comes our way.

PLEASE, Wear a Mask

Part of staying healthy right now means we need to continue to wash our hands frequently and wear masks when around others that aren’t part of our household, especially in indoor spaces with several people and poor ventilation. I know, I know, masks are a real pain. They are uncomfortable and hot; trust me I know!

Wear a Mask

But research and experiences from other countries where cases have been low show that wearing a mask helps to prevent transmission. I wear a mask to keep my “respiratory droplets” from getting to you (even though I don’t think I have been in contact with anyone who has it, I just don’t know). I hope you will wear a mask for me.

In fact, as our infection rates and hospitalizations continue to go up all across the south, I really insist that my patients wear a mask while in the clinic with me, especially while we are in close distance of each other. I am okay if you take it off once I’m out of the room, or when you are face down on the table. Your mask helps to keep me safe so that I can continue to help as many people as possible. If you don’t have one or forget yours, I have one for you.

If I am exposed to the virus, that means I have to close the clinic for 2 weeks minimum. None of us wants that to happen. When we both wear a mask, our chances of transmitting the virus are reduced significantly. That said, if you come to the clinic and find out later that you were exposed and may have been contagious while in the clinic, please let me know so that I can get tested and not inadvertently infect others.

Yes, I know the death rate from this virus is pretty low and the majority “recover”, but if you know anyone who has had COVID-19 with symptoms, you don’t want to get it. The after effects can linger for months, and we really don’t know what the long term effects will be. However, we do know that internal organ damage is a very possible outcome. Please err on the safe side and take precautions… for everyone.

Thank you! Okay, I’ll get off the soapbox now.

Clinic Updates and Self Help

Well, we’ve made it through the first week of “Social Distancing” and sadly my first week of the clinic being closed. I really miss you all! Unfortunately, this is going to be around for a bit longer, so I’m closing again this coming week and expect to be closed at least until April.

I am available for phone calls and can provide herbal formulas to you by mail. Herbal formulas can be used for virus prevention, digestive problems, anxiety, or even if you do get sick and are isolated at home (most doctors and hospitals are sending people home unless they are having significant breathing issues). I’ve updated my website so you can schedule an herbal consultation if you are interested.

This last week has been surreal, but my thinking is that this is a great time to do some self healing. There are so many things we can be doing right now to help our bodies get stronger so that we can fight whatever comes our way. Here are my suggestions:

MOVE!

While we are stuck at home, there’s a tendency to binge watch TV and Movies, or be on Facebook or Twitter, which usually means we are sitting around like couch potatoes. You don’t need to go out and run a marathon, but some gentle stretching can go a long way towards easing pain, loosening tight muscles and generally keeping your body and mind in a good place. It’s also a good idea to sweat a little to allow your body to push out pathogens and body toxins. You don’t need to work hard to break a sweat – a brisk walk will do it especially now that the weather is warmer (just beware of the pollen right now – see below).

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Food As Medicine Cooking Workshop, Thursday Feb 6

February 6, 12:00 – 2:00
at The Gathering Place
203 McIntosh Trail, PTC

When we start to think of food as fuel for our bodies, we can really start to use it as such.  One way we can do this is by eating with the season.   Spring cleaning is not just for your home but for your body too.  In this two hour Food As Medicine cooking class, I’ll share some recipes that you can make at home that will help fuel your body for the burst of energy we find in the spring time and to help rid yourself of spring time allergies.

 

Make 2020 The Year You Take Back Your Health

Where do you want to see yourself in 2020? While you are taking some downtime during the holidays, it’s the perfect time to reflect on your accomplishments for this year, and think about your 2020 New Year’s goals. The key is to be realistic, so you don’t give up like most people after just a couple of months (80% of New Year’s resolutions are dropped by February)!

Perhaps you’d like to see yourself in better health, or maybe you want to simply stay well. The key is to set goals that are small enough to be doable, but big enough to still give you that feeling of satisfaction when you are still going strong well into the year.

Here are my top three healthy living resolutions for the new year to “take back your health”.

1. Weight Loss – Usually on everyone’s list after the holiday season, I recommend that you simply resolve to make better food choices. When shopping, stick to the outside aisles at the grocery store where you find fresh fruits and veggies, and stay out of the center aisles where all of the processed foods live. Try to resist the temptation to buy your kids favorite cookies, or Dad’s diet soda and opt for healthier options instead. Consider involving your family in planning and cooking healthy meals. When you plan and cook together, the more likely your family members will be to eat well. Maybe you need a little help? Here is a new cookbook that I’ve been testing with my “Food As Medicine Cooking Workshops”. I’ve got copies at my clinic that will make a perfect gift. Continue reading

Are You Really Ready for the Holidays?

Many people look forward to the holiday season and the start of a new year. It often provides an opportunity to spend quality time with family, take a few days off from work, or go on a winter vacation. But if the thought of holiday season gives you visions of stress and chaos, you are not alone.  While the holiday season can be a fun and joyous time, it can also be very stressful. The combined effort of shopping, attending social events, and entertaining guests can quickly become too much to handle.

The body’s reaction to stress is meant to protect us. Our natural reactions to danger or challenge can be positive, but when we feel intense pressure or feel out of control these reactions become negative stress. The “fight or flight” response from the sympathetic nervous system occurs as we react to physical and mental changes in our equilibrium. In Chinese medicine, excessive emotional stimulation or suppression causes imbalance, thereby injuring the body and producing disease. And if you read last month’s newsletter, you know that stress is one of the things that will lower your immune system.

Here are several ways to minimize stress and anxiety so you can thoroughly enjoy this festive time of year and stay well at the same time.

Nix the Sugar

Some call this the “sugar season” which officially begins the day after Halloween and goes through New Years with many occasions to indulge in desserts, festive beverages and the like. If you want to reduce stress, sugar is one of the first things to cut out of your diet. When you’re stressed, your body releases more cortisol, a hormone responsible for helping us manage both stress and blood sugar levels. That’s because when you eat sugary foods, blood sugar levels spike, and the body must release more cortisol to balance blood sugar. The problem is that increased cortisol can also cause sleep issues, decreased immune response, headaches, and unhealthy food cravings. Additionally, rapidly fluctuating blood sugar levels cause feelings that are similar to stress, including anxiousness and fear.  By eliminating foods with added sugars—like pastries, flavored yogurt, and soda—and eating more whole foods, you’ll keep your blood sugar stable, boost your immune system and will have fewer mood swings, reduced stress, and a happier body Continue reading

Food As Medicine Cooking Class

You asked and I’m delivering!  Many of my patients ask “what should I be eating?”  While this can be very individual based on what’s happening with your body, there are some general guidelines that Chinese Medicine adheres to.  One of which is using food as medicine and eating with the season.  In this 2 hour workshop, I’ll be showing you how to prepare some delicious dishes that will help boost your immune system so you can stay healthy this Fall and Winter.  And you’ll get to enjoy them too.   Please join me Thursday, November 14 at 11:30 am!   Seating will be limited due to the nature of the class, so please register early to save your seat.

 

How to Stay Well this Fall

Even though it’s still hot as Hades outside, we are fast approaching the change of the seasons – summer into fall –  one of most susceptible times of the year for catching colds and flu.  The weather should be cooling soon (fingers crossed!), school has started, and activities pick up so most likely there’s more stress.  And since it’s still so hot, you may be tempted to continue to dress lightly and eat cooling foods.   Kids are bringing colds or flu home from school so it spreads through the family and co-workers sharing it at the office.   It’s no wonder many of us are sick during this time of year.

Autumn is the season associated with the Lung and its partner, the Large Intestine. If you tend to catch colds or have allergies in the Fall, it’s important to take care of these organs! Together the lung and large intestines are related to immunity through the strength of the protective external layer of our skin. Generally, outside pathogens most easily enter through the respiratory and digestive systems, and the lung and colon are responsible for maintaining the function of these systems so that they are not penetrated by outside pathogens. According to Chinese medicine, the body’s defensive energy is directly dependent on the strength of the lung and colon.

So how do you stay well through this vulnerable time? How do you prevent catching a cold or flu and keep your family will, too? The good news – there are many alternatives to support health through this change of seasons. But you need to get on it!  NOW is the time to prepare.

Change your Diet

First of all, change your diet no to reflect the season to come. Cooler weather means ingesting warmer food and drinks.   Here’s what to eat:

  • Switch from salads to soups.
  • Eat cooked rather than raw fruit – consider crisps, cobblers or pies.
  • Use lots of spices such as ginger, cardamom, cumin, cinnamon, and fennel.
  • Ingest root veggies and winter squash.
  • Increase protein intake.

Here’s what to avoid:

  • Cold, refrigerated or iced drinks
  • Dairy
  • Raw foods
  • Smoothies
  • Cold juices
  • Ice cream and other iced/cold foods

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Living With the Season – Late Summer

It’s Late summer which means hot, muggy weather and heat-breaking afternoon thunderstorms. Late summer is considered one of the five major seasons in Chinese Medicine and we find it useful to look to Nature as a guide to understand how life (human, animal, plants, etc.) is affected by the seasons.

In August, Nature is undergoing its last burst of growth before harvest time. In Chinese Medicine, Late Summer corresponds to the nurturing Earth element, so the next few weeks are an important time for self-nurturing and self-cultivation. This a powerful time for us to use the last bit of Summer’s energy to fully ripen and transform.

If you are wondering how seasonal energies influence our physical well-being, read on.

Associated with the Earth element, are the Stomach and the Spleen. These organs are responsible for transforming food and drink into what what will become the energy, Blood and Fluids the body needs for all bodily functions. You can easily assess whether your Stomach or Spleen are in harmony with the seasonal energies of Late Summer. When the Earth Element is in balance we are able to nourish ourselves and those around us in a supportive manner. In balance, the Earth element gives us strong muscles, vibrant energy and the ability to think and study clearly. Out of balance the body is weak, the muscles become flaccid and soft, there is often obesity and problems of the digestive tract. If you experience nausea, stomach flu, IBS, weight gain, blood sugar disorders, or are low on energy, your Stomach and Spleen may be out of balance. Continue reading

Keeping Cool in the Summer Heat

The Summer season filled with abundant energy, long days and sunshine. This is the most yang time of year. Summer is about expansion, growth, activity and creativity. According to Chinese medicine, Summer is associated with the element of Fire. In human anatomy, the heart, mind, and spirit are ruled by the fire element. Top priority should be given to the heart, mind, and spirit for staying healthy in summer.

Keeping Balanced during Summer

The heart’s main function is to pump oxygen-rich blood through the body. In Chinese medicine, mental activity is also associated with the heart including our memory, thought processes, emotional well-being, and consciousness. This is a time to use our energy to realize our life’s greatest potential as we find joy in our hot summer days and warm summer nights. When the fire element is in balance, the heart is strong and healthy, the mind is calm and sleep is sound. When the Fire element is out of balance, we may see depression (too little fire), or chaos/mania (too much fire). Agitation, nervousness, heartburn, and insomnia are symptoms that there is an imbalance. Taken to the extreme, summer heat can cause you to suffer from heat exhaustion or heat stroke with symptoms such as fainting, dark-colored urine, rapid heart rate, confusion, throbbing headache, red and dry skin. Seek immediate medical attention if these occur.

To prevent these problems, I recommend that we take full advantage of the long summer days. Some suggestions include:

  • Awakening earlier in the morning and going to bed later in the evening.
  • Resting at midday when heat is at its highest.
  • Drinking plenty of fluids. This is key to balance the heat of fire and eliminating any toxins.
  • Adding pungent flavors like spicy foods, garlic and ginger to your diet. These cause you to sweat, which actually functions to cool the body
  • Keeping your diet light and avoid heavy, greasy or sugary foods. Eat in moderation.
  • Refrain from anger; keep calm and even-tempered.
  • Seek Chinese Medicine when you feel out of balance.

Diet – Keep it cool

In summer, indigestion can easily occur, so a light and less-greasy diet is recommended. This is the perfect season to introduce some cool foods into your diet. Cooling foods can clear heat, reduce toxins, and generate body fluids. Cooling foods are those you typically find during this time of year – lettuce and other greens, cucumbers, and watercress are some of the coolest. Fish and seafood are also cooling, while most meats are warming.
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June is Men’s Health Month

Take advantage of my free offer below…

June is Men’s Health Month and with Father’s Day coming up, now is a great time to stress the importance of men’s health. Let’s face it, men smoke more, drink more alcohol, make riskier choices and put off seeking healthcare. Some aren’t even aware of what their health risks are. When men are aware of health concerns important to them, they can do a better job of taking care of themselves.

Here’s why I think it’s important to discuss this topic.

  • Men are 24% less likely than a woman to have visited a health care practitioner incouple on bikes the last year.
  • Men who are overweight, obese, or physically inactive are at greater risk for high blood pressure, stroke, type 2 diabetes and other health problems.
  • 40% of men are smokers compared to 9% of women. Smoking can not only cause cancer, but can cause erectile dysfunction and damage to the DNA in sperm which may lead to infertility.
  • Men make up over 75% of suicide victims in the United States. Depression may be different for men. Emotional and physical tension are signs of stress and may put you at risk for anxiety, depression and other health problems.
  • Over 50% of men in their 60s and as many as 90% in their 70s or older have symptoms of an enlarged prostate or benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).
  • Men are more frequently diagnosed with serious digestive-related conditions because they are less likely to seek help for heartburn, acid reflux, and other digestive symptoms until they have become a real problem.

Making Healthier Choices

Making healthy choices includes consulting health professionals and becoming educated on the preventative measures that are important for your health. This includes diet, exercise and positive mental health. Here are a few things you can do to improve your health. Continue reading