Category Archives: Seasonal

Best foods for Summer

close up photo of seafoods
Photo by Rachel Claire on Pexels.com

Most of us associate the summer season with heat, and rightfully so.

In Chinese Medicine, summer is the season of fire. The fire element is in charge of the heart and small intestines, and these organs are the ones that help us optimally digest our food.

In this season of sunshine and heat, it’s smart to find balance with cooling foods and foods with a salty taste.  

You’ll want to include ingredients from the sea like shrimp, and cooling fruits and vegetables like watermelon and cucumber. Shrimp and salmon are also rich in omega-3s and protein, and are low in calories. Watermelon cools you from the inside out and quenches thirst. In fact the rind of watermelon is even more powerful at relieving summer heat. So next time you are cutting up a watermelon, include some of the white rind with the red juicy flesh for some extra cooling.

Your body craves these foods in the summertime, and when you allow yourself the indulgences of the cool and salty foods, you will be able to combat the heat and improve your digestion during the summer months.

Give Mom the Gift of Relaxation

Sunday is Mother’s Day, the day to shower the Moms in your life with all the appreciation and gratitude they deserve!

You’re probably thinking the same thing I am – that every day of the year should be Mother’s Day! Alas, it’s just the one day for now, so let’s make it extra special.

Give Mom the gift of rest, relaxation and a midday nap with an acupuncture gift certificate!

A gift certificate for a general acupuncture treatment can be used for stress & anxiety relief, digestive balance, pain management, or whatever Mom needs most at her appointment.

Purchase an egift card online or call us to buy a gift certificate.

And to help celebrate Mom’s special day, we’re offering 20% off Stress Free Tea and our famous Tibetan Herbal Foot Soaks for this week and next week only (until May 12)!

Stress Free Tea

Stress Free Tea is an ancient herbal formula that helps the liver regulate cortisol and can be used for

  • Stress, Irritability and Overwork
  • Anxiety & Depression
  • Stress Headaches
  • Menstrual Issues
  • Digestive Issues brought on by Stress
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Sleep issues

Tibetan Herbal Foot Soaks are a common medical practice in China and Tibet. Tibetan Foot Soaks are a great combination of Tibetan herbs to stimulate deep regenerative processes critical for the brain and body. We recommend them for

  • Pain including arthritis & chronic pain
  • Poor circulation
  • Neuropathy
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Menstrual Issues
  • Digestive problems

Both of these wonderful products are available at the clinic and will leave Mom feeling stress free and more balanced. She will definitely thank you!

Have a wonderful Mother’s Day Weekend!

3 Ways to Address Spring Allergies

Spring is in the air, and so is allergy season!

So many of my patients are already feeling the shift in weather through allergy symptoms like itchy, watery eyes, sneezing, and even skin symptoms like itching, dry patches, redness and hives.⠀

Both eastern and western medicine both agree that allergies tend to stem from an overly sensitive immune system. They can be caused by anything under the sun, including the sun itself. Over 50 million people suffer from allergies in North America.

How can you manage these symptoms? Or prevent them if you’re prone to allergies but not experiencing them just yet?⠀ Here are 3 things I recommend.

1. Get Acupuncture

You knew I was going to say that, right? Acupuncture is outstanding at both preventing seasonal allergies and helping manage annoying allergy symptoms if they’ve already started.⠀ While most western doctors address allergies by suppressing the immune response, eastern medicine works to address the immune system’s allergic response to an allergen. We essentially “reprogram” your immune system to stop over reacting to allergens.

And it’s backed by research. A study in the European Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology showed that acupuncture was effective at reducing allergy symptoms with no side effects. You can read the full article here.

Ideally you’d start acupuncture a month before your symptoms usually start, in order to prevent them from being severe. But even if your symptoms have already kicked in, acupuncture can still help quite a lot.⠀

I use a specialized technique called Soliman Auricular Allergy Treatment (SAAT) which makes use a of a tiny needle in the ear that stays in place for 3 weeks. From our experience in doing this treatment, we can clear some allergies completely, while others are reduced considerably. In most cases, this treatment is just a one-time treatment. Read more about SAAT here.

2. Take a Probiotic

Seasonal allergies are an excess immune reaction in your body. ⠀

A huge portion of your immunity is regulated by the nerves in your gut, so good gut health is essential for a balanced immune response. ⠀ Choose a probiotic with multiple strains to keep your gut flora diverse, and start a month in advance of anticipated allergy symptoms if you can. (Or just start now!)⠀

3. Try Nettle Leaf Tea

Nettle leaf can help naturally reduce the amount of histamine in your body, which is the cause of many allergy symptoms. [Reference] Of course, consult your doctor before beginning any new supplements.

If allergy symptoms are creeping up on you, schedule an acupuncture appointment today to keep them from progressing this season! Please call us at 678-871-9642 to schedule

As always, feel free to respond to this email with questions!

Luck & Prosperity in 2022

Eat Your Way to Prosperity and Good Luck

Just as we celebrate the New Year in the US with traditional foods such as blackeyed peas, ham and collard greens to bring luck and prosperity, there are several lucky foods that are traditionally eaten at the Chinese New Year.

Chinese dumplings

Dumplings, a staple of Chinese cuisine, are associated with wealth. According to tradition, the more dumplings you eat during the New Year celebrations, the more money you can make in the New Year. It’s common to eat dumplings with cabbage and radish as a symbol of prosperity both for the body and the mind. However, dumplings with sauerkraut are forbidden because they mean a poor and difficult future. Before eating a dumpling, all the people at the dinner table have to say the following phrase: “Zhāo cái jìn bǎo,which means “Bringing in wealth and treasure.”

Spring Rolls – The name ”Spring Rolls” refers specifically to eating this dish during the Lunar Year (also called the Spring Festival). There are no specific rules to follow when it comes to spring rolls, but it’s common to say the phrase “A ton of gold,referring to this dish as a carrier of prosperity (they look like gold bars).

Vegetables play an important role in a Chinese dinner table, and each of them symbolizes something specific.

  • Bamboo shoots represent longevity;
  • Poria mushrooms represent blessings and fortune;
  • Muskmelon and grapefruit represent family;
  • Seaweed represents wealth and fortune.

Enjoy with family and friends as you celebrate the coming of Spring. Here’s to bringing in wealth and treasure!

Holiday Blues or Holiday Bliss?

Minimize stress and anxiety so you can enjoy 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 challenges. Excessive emotional stimulation or suppression causes imbalance, injuring the body and producing disease. 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.

crop unrecognizable woman holding cup of tea near christmas tree
Photo by Marko Klaric on Pexels.com

Nix the Sugar

Some call this the “sugar season” which officially begins the day after Halloween and goes through New Years. We have 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.

Staying Healthy This Fall

Even though it’s still hot outside, we are fast approaching the change of the seasons – summer into fall – and of all times of the year, this is the most susceptible for colds, flu and allergies. The weather should be cooling soon, school has started, and activities pick up so generally there’s more stress. And this year, “COVID stress” brings the usual fall stress to new levels.

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. Incidentally, these are the two areas attacked by the Coronavirus.

So how do you stay well through this vulnerable time and keep your family well, too? The good news – there are many alternatives to support health through this time. The serious news – NOW is the time to act.

DIET CHANGES

First of all, change your diet now 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

Supplements:

I recommend the following supplements to keep your immune system in top shape:

  • Vitamin D
  • Zinc
  • Vitamin B Complex
  • Vitamin C
  • Probiotics – select a formula with a variety of strains of bacteria
  • Omega 3 Fatty Acids
  • Herbs prescribed by your Acupuncturist/Herbalist for your unique situation. This may include prevention from viruses and other pathogens.

LIFESTYLE CHANGES

It’s important to reduce stress and plan for the cooler season to come. Even though it may still be warm during the day, the evenings are beginning to be a little bit cooler, reflecting the weather to come. Thus, this is the time to dress warmer. Here are several ways to change lifestyle to support your immune system.

  • Carry a jacket or sweater as needed.
  • Wear a scarf or high collar to protect the back of your neck and protect immunity.
  • Go to bed earlier and get more sleep.
  • Eat regular meals, especially breakfast, even if it’s late morning (skipping meals lowers immunity).
  • Take rest breaks during the day.
  • Include daily meditation or contemplation time to manage stress.
  • Strengthen the Lungs by exercising, stretching, and moving your body.
  • Pay close attention to how you feel daily so you can act immediately if you feel something coming on.
  • Make sure you are having a regular bowel movement too. Here’s why.

WHAT TO DO AT THE FIRST SIGNS OF ILLNESS

What if you do begin to feel sick? Can you prevent it from taking hold? Yes – it is possible to prevent a pending virus or cold if at the first signs of it you do one or all of the following:

It’s HOT out there!

Most of us associate the summer season with heat, and rightfully so. In Chinese Medicine, summer is the season of Fire. The Fire element is in charge of the heart and small intestine, and these organs help us optimally digest our food.

Salad and Watermelon Smoothie

In this season of sunshine and heat, it’s smart to find balance with cooling foods and foods with a salty taste. Recipes that include ingredients from the sea like shrimp and cooling fruits and veggies like watermelon and cucumber are ideal. Your body craves these foods in the summertime, and when you allow yourself the indulgences of cool and salty foods, you’ll be able to combat the heat and improve your digestion during the dog days of August.

There is one caveat. I don’t typically recommend cold foods and drinks because they can be difficult to digest and dampen your digestive fire. So use these foods wisely, and don’t overdo it. Use them when it’s really hot out, and when you experience heat-like symptoms such as heavy sweating, hot flashes, dry skin, constipation, thirst or heart palpitations.

See my previous post for a wonderful Watermelon Smoothie Recipe that cools you from the inside out. Watermelon is especially good for improving hydration, recovering from heat stroke, quenching thirst and boosting energy.

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.

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!