It's that time of year again! Kids are going back to school and everyone's getting back into a routine.
This can be a stressful time of year for the whole family as everyone gets back into their rhythms. Acupuncture can help everyone keep their calm!
Now is also a great time to start getting your immune system revved up so that it can fight all of those sniffles and sneezes that the kiddos being home with them!
Mention this blog post while scheduling your appointment between now and October 31st and you'll get 20% off!
So come on in, relax, and have a healthy school year!
I liked this article from Natural News (copied below) and wanted to share it with you all. Apparently I am in the mood for some autumnal foods. Bonus recipe at the end!In Traditional Chinese Medicine, autumn is represented by the metal element, which corresponds to the Lungs and Large Intestine. Weakness in this element shows up as ailments in the Lung and Intestines: allergies, asthma and constipation. The remedy can be found in this season's most notable food: the pumpkin or squash.
The pumpkin is round, orange and sweet. It corresponds to the earth element in the five element cycle. Earth is the mother of metal. In Chinese medicine there is a saying: when there is weakness in the child (in this case metal: lungs and large intestine), nourish the mother (in this case earth.)
Weakness in the lungs will show up as:
Because the lungs open onto the skin, one may also see acne, eczema and psoriasis. The paired organ to the Lungs is the Colon, so weakness here will show up as constipation, diarrhea, or IBS.
In Chinese medicine, the pumpkin is known to relieve damp conditions such as dysentery and eczema. It promotes discharge of mucus from the lungs, bronchi and throat, easing bronchialasthma. (1)
Not only does the flesh of the pumpkin benefit the Lungs and Large Intestine, the seeds are especially good for the intestines, easing constipation and acting as a parasite cleanse. Known as nan gua zi, pumpkin seeds are especially known to alleviate tapeworm and roundworm. For this purpose pumpkin seeds are taken by boiling into a strong tea known as a decoction or grinding into a powder to be taken with water.
Nutritionally, pumpkins are high in beta carotene which is converted by the body to vitamin A. Beta carotene protects the mucous membranes of the body and has been shown to protect both the lungs and large intestine against cancer. (2)
Soup is an excellent way to nourish the body this time of year. The following soup can be made with pumpkin or any kind of yellow winter squash. Make sure to save and wash the seeds, which can then be salted and baked at 350 degrees until dry.
Nourishing Pumpkin Soup
- 1 pumpkin or squash, halved, seeded, and baked face down on baking sheet at 350 until soft (1/2 hour to an hour depending on thickness of squash.)
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 Tbsp maple syrup
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 6 cups water
- In soup pot, saute onions, garlic and carrots in olive oil until softened.
- Add water, flesh of the squash scraped from the skin, maple syrup, salt and pepper and mix well.
- Bring to boil and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Cool and blend until smooth.
- Reheat and serve.
- Pitchford, p.508
- Ibid, p.313
Pitchford, Paul. Healing with Whole Foods. North Atlantic Books. Berkeley, CA.
Bensky, Dan and Gamble, Andrew. Chinese Herbal Medicine, Materia Medica.Eastland Press, Seattle.
Shanghai College of Traditional Medicine. Acupuncture, A Comprehensive Text. Eastland Press. Seattle.
My personal favorite Fall Food
There are few things better than cooking the first Fall Food meal of the season. Stews and Stuffed Acorn Squash are wintery staples around my house.
In the Chinese medical world, it comes as no surprise that many people start craving certain foods during certain seasons. Those who do crave with the seasons are merely listening to their bodies and going with the flow of human evolution; eat foods when they're naturally available.
Some tips for eating in the Fall and Winter are:
- Eat foods that have been warmed. I know it's tempting to eat that raw salad, but try to avoid it during the cooler months - they're difficult to digest and can cause symptoms such as gas and bloating.
- Eat foods that are "in season." Apples, Pears, Winter Squashes, etc. are all foods that will help strengthen our bodies for the upcoming winter.
- Stews are your best friend. The foods in stews have already been cooked, making it super easy to digest, plus there's nothing better to warm you up on those cooler nights than a steamy bowl of soup. Num!
Here is a basic, easy recipe for Stuffed Acorn Squash (and don't forget to get creative and add your own ingredients to the filling!)
What are your favorite Fall Foods recipes?
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Cut acorn squash in half and scoop out the seeds with a spoon (you can save the seeds and toast them, or feed them to your dog if you have one - they'll thank you!)
- Place the halves of squash cut side up in a baking pan filled with 1/2" of water and bake for about 1 hour, or until the flesh is easily pricked with a fork.
- While the squash is baking, prepare the filling
- Boil rice as per instructions.
- Once rice is cooked, add desired ingredients. Our last stuffed acorn squash was made with a bunch of stuff we found in our refrigerator that needed to be used before it went bad - andouille sausage, mushrooms, spinach and cheese.
- I like to scoop some of the flesh of the squash out and mix it with the filling, then put the filling mix back in the squash.
- Top the whole thing with cheese and place in the oven until the cheese is melty.
- Enjoy this tasty and healthy meal!
Below is an article from China View on tips for staying warm during the winter according to Chinese medical theory. I liked the simple, often common sense tips for keeping cozy during this season! Staying warm in winter the TCM way means keeping warm, avoiding the cold, getting plenty of sunlight, doing gentle exercise and eating yang (hot energy) foods.
According to traditional Chinese medicine, the major principle for health maintenance in winter is cang (storing) because yang keeps the body warm and active.
Sunshine is a major source of yang energy in the universe, and ancient TCM principles call for arranging one's schedule accordingly, with respect to sunrise and sunset.
Yang energy is consumed when people are awake and active and it is stored during sleep. Therefore, the first principle of storing energy is to get up late (or later than usual) and to go to bed early. One should wait for the yang-giving sunshine, according to "Huang Di Nei Jing" ("The Medical Classic of the Yellow Emperor"), the fundamental text of TCM.
As the sun rises later in winter than in other seasons, the idea is to get up no earlier than 7am. These ancient principles date from agrarian times when people lived closer to nature: Obviously modern people don't go to bed when the sun sets.
Anyhow, get plenty of sun (vitamin D) but don't get burned. A problem arises because sunblock prevents the body's production of vitamin D.
In addition to staying warm and wearing enough clothes, it's important to avoid pathogenic cold in winter, according to both the Yellow Emperor and Beijing TCM expert Zheng Guzhong, author of "Qiu Yi Bu Ru Qiu Ji" ("Better Refer to Yourself Than the Doctor").
Pathogenic cold (yin energy), which prevails in the universe in winter, can cause health problems. It can consume yang energy and obstruct the normal flow of blood and energy, resulting in pain. Blood vessels and tendons contract, which is unhealthy.
Wearing enough clothes is the easiest way to conserve yang energy, which defends the body against invasion of pathogenic cold. But yang energy is consumed by fighting the cold, so it's important to dress warmly.
The many young women who wear short skirts and short jackets in winter may be damaging their yang energy for the sake of fashion. Underneath their makeup, their complexion may be pale, bluish or dark. The cold slows blood circulation and may cause aching or numbness.
The head, back and feet are especially vulnerable to pathogenic cold, so it's important to keep them warm in winter.
Soaking the feet in hot (not too hot) water before bed warms both your system and your feet. The idea is to soak until there's a slight sweat; too much sweating is bad because it disrupts yang energy.
Getting sunshine (but shade your face) between 10am and 3pm can protect the head and back from cold. Light physical exercise in the sunshine is healthy, but if the temperature is below 2 degrees Celsius, it's best to wear a hat to conserve yang energy - otherwise yang energy is lost from the head.
Intense physical exercise that causes a heavy sweat should be avoided in winter, lest it consume too much yang energy that should be stored.
Tai chi, walking and simple stretching are good as they warm up the body but don't produce sweating.
Winter swimming is not suitable for everyone. Though swimmers don't sweat, weak people who swim may catch cold and cold water robs the body of yang energy.
It's best not to remove clothes during exercise until the body has warmed up; replace clothes after exercise. Sitting on a cold surface after exercising is unhealthy because pathogenic cold energy can invade from the bottom, travel through the back and reach the head, undermining organ health.
We all make New Year's resolutions. They may be concrete and written down, or they may be kept secretly in our heads. Heck, I made some and told you all about them
. I'm going to propose today that we not make New Year's Resolutions, but Springtime resolutions.
Think about it. It's not until spring that we experience that desire to get up and get out. It's called Cabin Fever or Spring Fever. Why would we want to make changes in our lives during a time of the year where animals all around us are in hibernation? Don't you want to hibernate during the winter too? I know I do! I go to bed earlier, I wake up later and really would like nothing better than to sit all snuggled up in front of a crackling fire with a steaming cup of hot cocoa (don't forget the mini marshmallows!) I find it funny that we have created the beginning of the year that doesn't correspond with any changes in nature. It's a new year, but the same old icky I-just-want-to-sleep-in weather.
We should match our aspirations for change with the changing of the seasons. Spring is the time when animals come out and play after the long winter. Spring is the time when trees begin budding again and bulbs start popping their heads up out of the ground. Spring is when our energy is ready to wake up and start growing and changing.
I'll get this ball rolling:
This year I'm going to get back into shape for triathlons.
This year I'm going to start teaching people to change the way they feel about their bodies and their health. Our bodies KNOW how to be healthy, sometimes we just need to remind them!
This year I will get a REAL start on all of my New Year's Resolutions!