Is A Juice Cleanse Right For You?

Is A Juice Cleanse Right For You?

The new year has arrived, and with it comes the all-too-common “new year, new you” mentality.

After indulging in holiday treats and drinks, many people feel the need to clean out their systems and start fresh. A popular way of doing this is by participating in a juice cleanse or detox diet.

However, from a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) perspective, winter cleanse diets can pose a risk to the digestive system. In this blog post, we’ll explore the TCM view on winter cleansing and offer alternative solutions for supporting the body in its natural detoxification process.

According to TCM theory, winter is associated with the water element and the Kidney organ system.

This means that the kidneys are the most active organ during this time, and the body is focused on storing and preserving energy for the upcoming spring season. The digestive system, which is associated with the Earth element, is not as active during the winter months.

This is why TCM practitioners advise against engaging in cold, purgative cleanses during the winter season. Such diets can overwork the digestive system and cause it to become imbalanced, leading to decreased nutrient absorption, weakened immunity, and other health problems.

Instead, TCM advises that we choose warming, nourishing foods that support the body’s natural immune system functions.

This means consuming soups and stews made from root vegetables, winter squashes, and warming herbs like ginger and cinnamon. By supporting the kidneys, the body can more effectively create and store healthy qi and blood, which can improve overall health and wellbeing.

One example of a kidney-supportive herbal remedy is Eucommia Bark, which tonifies Kidney Yang and supports joint health and flexibility. Another is schisandra berry, which tonifies liver and kidney Yin to support the body in reducing stress levels and promoting restful sleep. Herbs like these can be taken as supplements or added to warming teas to support the body’s overall health and detoxification process.

It’s important to note that not all juice cleanses or detox diets are created equal, and what works for one person may not work for another.

If you’re interested in pursuing a juice cleanse or detox diet, it’s essential to seek advice from a qualified TCM practitioner who can customize a plan to suit your unique needs and body type. These experts have the knowledge and skills to guide you in making better lifestyle choices while receiving ongoing health support.

In conclusion, while a juice cleanse can be an excellent way to relieve stress and restore digestion, they may not always be appropriate for everyone, particularly when it comes to winter cleanses from a TCM perspective. When planning your detox regimen, it’s essential to consult with a professional who has the knowledge and expertise to help you select the right foods and herbs for your system.

Remember, the key is to listen to your body and nourish it with warming foods that support its natural functions, rather than forcing it to adhere to restrictive regimes.

So, if you want to improve your long-term health or boost your immunity, seek a TCM practitioner who can provide bespoke health plans and treatments tailored to your unique constitution and needs.

Contact us today to schedule a consultation or learn more about our services.

Lokahi Acupuncture
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How to Eat More Vegetables

How to Eat More Vegetables Every Day

By now we all know that we need to be eating vegetables

LOTS of vegetables, and every day.

But it can feel daunting to know that we need 5-7 servings per day and figure out how exactly we get them all in. Not to mention that we need to make them tasty enough to keep doing it day after day.

Eating vegetables shouldn’t be a joyless chore, when done right they are delicious in their own right if you prepare them in ways that let them shine.

Here are some tips, recipes and resources to help you eat and enjoy vegetables more.

Roast them!

Cut veggies into bite sized pieces, toss with some avocado oil and salt, and roast in an oven heated to 425. Flip them over with a spatula halfway through roasting time so they get lightly browned on both sides.

Cooking time is longer (30 min or so) for root veggies and shorter for non-root veggies (can be as little as 20 min, but check on them).

Make sure they are seasoned well with salt.

Too much salt is bad for our health, but having enough salt to make vegetables taste good helps you eat them with pleasure. Everyone has a different set point for saltiness, so salt to the level that tastes good for you unless you have been told by a doctor to lower your sodium intake.

Add some acidity

Veggies often benefit from a little hit of acid— squeeze some lemon or lime, or dollop some yogurt on top

Have a salad at each meal

Start with a veggie centered dish, then add protein after.

This is especially good with sheet-pan dinners. Here is a link to my favorite veggie main dish. Throw some shrimp or chunks of sausage on top near the end of baking and serve over whole wheat pasta, polenta, rice, or riced cauliflower. With a side salad, of course.
Roasted ratatouille: https://alexandracooks.com/2017/09/01/roasted-ratatouille-pasta/

Use a veggie instead of pasta or rice as a side for saucy mains — cauliflower rice, raw or wilted spinach, spaghetti squash, spiralized zucchini or sweet potato.

For example, rather than dinner of meatballs over spaghetti, do meatballs and sauce over cauliflower rice or a bed of baby spinach.

Add a veggie into your main dish, then have a veggie side dish (even if it’s a simple salad).

My family loves this recipe for a garlicky pasta where zucchini is the main event. Zucchini butter pasta: https://smittenkitchen.com/2021/06/zucchini-butter-spaghetti/

Soup— You can make simple pureed soup with just about any veggie.

Here’s a good base.  Don’t worry about exact measurements and if you don’t have celery, skip it. Use what you have on hand.

Sheet pan suppers

Roast veggies and protein all on one sheet

Eat a rainbow every day.

Grocery shop with colors in mind and have every color on your plate at each meal

Red: beets, red pepper, radicchio, apples, raspberries, strawberries

Orange: winter squashes, mango, apricots, orange pepper, oranges

Yellow: yellow squash, yellow pepper, spaghetti squash

Green: lettuce, collard greens, kale, chard, beet greens, turnip greens, mustard greens, chicory

Blue/purple: blueberries, blackberries, purple potatoes

Additional ideas and recipes are easily found at the following blogs:

Smitten Kitchen: https://smittenkitchen.com/
Love and Lemons: https://www.loveandlemons.com/
Cookie and Kate: https://cookieandkate.com/
Alexandra Cooks: https://alexandracooks.com/

Cathryn enjoys a range of activities in her free time, such as cooking, baking, meal planning, researching food, reading cookbooks, sewing, hiking, rock climbing and playing board games with family. She is currently working on creating a fertility coaching program to help guide women through the process of trying to conceive.

Cathryn Davison, L.Ac.
San Jose Acupuncturist
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Anti-Inflammatory Foods in Traditional Chinese Medicine

5 Anti-Inflammatory Foods in Traditional Chinese Medicine

Recent research shows that a diet rich in antioxidants might help reduce risk factors for chronic disease.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is a complete system of medicine, encompassing all aspects of health that treats maladies with diet, exercise, lifestyle, acupuncture and herbs.

In the west, we typically consider medicine as a separate entity from food, but in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), they are often one in the same. TCM is a complete system of medicine, encompassing all aspects of health that treats maladies with diet, exercise, lifestyle, acupuncture and herbs. Thus we can use the medicinal qualities of herbs to make delicious, healing food.

Here is a list of some of our favorite anti-inflammatory ingredients.

1. Ginger

One of the most loved and well-known spices in the world, ginger is a strong antioxidant. It can help reduce aches and pains in joints, decrease inflammation, support digestion, and by warming the body and encouraging it to sweat ginger helps with coughs and colds.

There are so many ways to enjoy this amazing spice – you can drink a shot of concentrated juice, add it to tea, take it as a supplement, or cook a range of dishes, even cookies.

2. Huang Qi/Astragalus

Despite the fact that it looks like a tongue depressor, astragalus is actually added to soups and stews frequently in other parts of the world. It is a tonic adaptogen that has both anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. It helps mediate stresses on the body, be they physical, mental or emotional. Astragalus helps lower cholesterol and can help with heart function, and it may even help lower blood sugar levels.

It is important to note, however, that astragalus does interact with some medications, so please be sure to check with your doctor before adding it to your diet. The next time you cook up a batch of chicken soup, add 1-2 sticks of astragalus to take it to the next level!

3. Curcumin

Turmeric has been enjoying the center stage of the antioxidant world for quite some time now, and with good reason. Curcumin, one of the active ingredients, has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiseptic and possibly anti-cancer properties.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, we commonly use turmeric for menstrual and abdominal cramps, joint pains and traumatic injury. This herb, with its extraordinary golden color, can be found in foods, from curry to cookies. Keep an eye out for both the fresh root or the ground powder at your local supermarket.

For a delightful warming drink that combines turmeric, ginger and cinnamon, look for – premixed “golden milk” in the milk section.

4. Mushrooms

There are tens of thousands of different types of mushrooms. Reishi mushrooms tie with shiitake mushrooms for the most well-known varieties of mushrooms full of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. They are anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and they have the power to regulate blood sugar, strengthen the immune system, and protect the brain and heart.

Shiitake also has the benefit of antibacterial, antiviral and anti-fungal properties. There are endless ways to enjoy mushrooms in your diet depending on your tastes.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4258329/

5. Citrus peel/Chen Pi

Chen Pi, or dried citrus peel, is an ancient and effective aromatic herb that is so high in vitamin C, and antioxidants, it’s commonly used for coughs and indigestion. A favorite snack in Hawaii, Chen Pi is absolutely delicious eaten by itself, added to teas or cooked with chicken or beef. Check out this recipe for Chen Pi Chicken to help clear any phlegm this winter season!

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18683945/

A healthy diet can incorporate foods that are both delicious and healing. Consider adding these anti-inflammatory foods to your weekly rotation.

For an extensive review of anti-inflammatory herbs used in the TCM, this research article is an informative resource.

If you would like to request a virtual consultation to see if acupuncture might be right for you, click here.

Anna Rudel
San Jose Acupuncturist
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Healthy Breakfast Recipe - “Get them in” Egg & Veggie cups

2 Healthy Breakfast Ideas Your Body Actually Loves

Healthy Breakfast Options

Breakfast can be a challenging meal to navigate with so many different approaches to trying to eat more healthily, from intermittent fasting to keto.

Whatever your approach, the first first meal you choose to eat in a day should be a meal that sets you up for success.

In this blog, we offer two recipes that help you get those fresh fruits and veggies in, support your digestive system and gain beneficial nutrition for your day.

In Traditional East Asian Medicine theory, the digestive system is the foundation for the growth and development of strong energy (Qi) and Blood.

If our bodies are forced to work with less-than-ideal nutrients, then our bodies are unable to make strong Qi and blood, eventually resulting in poor health.

Try these two healthy breakfast recipes as a way of starting your day the right way!

“Get them in” Egg & Veggie cups

According to Traditional East Asian Medicine, a warm breakfast is ideal for your digestion.

In this recipe, we combine eggs and veggies for a nutrient-rich healthy breakfast or snack. The recipe is basically that of a frittata and is infinitely variable according to your tastes. It is an easily adjustable recipe that can help you use up veggies from your fridge, and the little frittatas are great snacks at any time of the day.

Ingredients:

  • Avocado, olive or coconut oil
  • 1 cup of finely diced broccoli or cauliflower (or combination of)
  • 1 cup shredded or finely diced zucchini, squash or cooked sweet potato (or combination of)
  • 1 bell pepper – seeded and finely diced
  • Handful of baby spinach or finely shredded kale
  • 8 eggs
  • Pinch sea salt and pepper to taste
  • ½ cup fresh herbs such as basil or parsley, or a pinch of dried oregano

Additions to taste: goats cheese, cheddar cheese, feta, olives, chopped sundried tomatoes

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F and grease a 12-cup muffin tin with your chosen oil
  2. Evenly portion out the veggies into the muffin tin
  3. Either in a blender or whisk in a bowl the eggs, salt, pepper and herbs
  4. Pour the egg mixture into the muffin tin
  5. Top the mixture with any additions you may like
  6. Bake for 12-14 mins. The frittatas are done when the mixture is set and no longer wobbly.

Healthy Breakfast Recipe - Moroccan Turkey and Sweet Potato Breakfast Bake 

Moroccan Turkey and Sweet Potato Breakfast Bake

This breakfast is from Katie Edmonds, NTC, author of The 4-Week Endometriosis Diet Plan, and is a great recipe to help balance blood sugars while getting in a healthy breakfast filled with protein and some greens. Give it a try!

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 lb ground chicken or turkey
  • 2 cups greens – collards, kale, spinach – shredded
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • ⅓ tsp ground cloves
  • 1 large sweet potato,  peeled and chopped into 1 inch chunks
  • 1 apple, cored and chopped into 1 inch chunks
  • 3 tbsp raisins

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F
  2. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the coconut oil. Add the onion and cook for 5-8 mins until translucent. Add the ground turkey, greens, salt, cinnamon, turmeric and cloves. Cook for a few minutes until browned and the spices are pungent.
  3. Add the apple, raisins and sweet potato and mix together.
  4. Turn off the heat and transfer the mixture to a baking dish. Cover with aluminum foil and back for 35-45 mins until the sweet potato is tender.

For more food inspiration, especially if you are suffering from endometriosis, hop on over to Katie’s webpage.

At Lokahi Acupuncture, we look at the whole body. Since our approach is that everyone is unique, asking our patients about their diets is critical. We work with our patients to come up with dietary changes that work with their lifestyle and culture, ensuring that the changes we make are actually sustainable.

Anna Rudel
San Jose Acupuncturist
408.279.9001
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