Acupuncture Alexandria LLC

June Newsletter 2014

The One Simple Summer Eating Tip to Make You Feel Fantastic

 

Healthy eating tips for the summer are a little tricky.

 

Since the weather is warm, you need light, cooling foods.  Juicy peaches, sweet

watermelons, tomatoes hot off the vine…  The right foods are easy to find.  One trip

through your garden or a walk through a farmer’s market and you’ll have the perfect

summer meal.

 

But since you’re outside exercising and working in the garden, you build up an appetite.  You work hard and play hard.  You crave calories to keep the fire burning.  Are cucumbers the first food you reach for after rototilling the garden?  Probably not.

 

Unfortunately, many times craving calories trumps craving fresh food.  You satisfy your appetite with a meal of tortilla chips and soda.  Or brats and beer.  Or hamburgers and ice cream.

And afterward you feel full, bloated and hot.

 

Fortunately there is a solution.  It is possible to eat well, have energy and avoid feeling bloated.

The trick is in the timing.

 

With an easy tweak to your natural summer diet, you’ll feel fantastic.

 

 

 

General Guidelines to Follow the Entire Year:  

 

Eat only real foods – ask yourself if your grandmother or great-grandmother would recognize it.

 

Stay as close to the source as possible – ex. Whole milk , Whole egg, Full fat

 

Eat protein and fat with every meal

 

Eat as many vegetable as you can – You cannot get enough!  

 

Restrict Sugar – you can cannot restrict this enough!

 

Avoid Modern Processed Oils – in salad dressings, processed foods, and restaurant foods.  

These oils have often been processed using high heat and chemicals.  

 

Introduce Healthy Fats into Diet – butter, coconut oil, animal fats, cold-pressed oils like olive oil

(don't heat olive oil, just pour it on salads or cooked veggies).

 

Eat a Variety of Foods – try not to eat the same thing 2 days in a row.

 

Eat fermented Foods – sauerkraut, kimchi, yogurt, kombucha, kefir

 

 

 

Summer Eating Tips

 

It should come as no surprise that I recommend eating lots of vegetables and fruit in the summer.  In fact, I recommend eating vegetables and fruit all year, but in the summer they are especially important.

Summer is a yang season and is associated with the fire element.  Fire governs the heart and small intestine.  When fire is balanced within the body, the heart governs and circulates the blood properly and the intestines properly digest food.  Emotionally you are balanced, sensitive and enthusiastic.  You feel good.

 

There are a few simple guidelines to keep fire balanced.

 

1. Focus on yin foods.  Yin foods are wet and cool.  Fruits and vegetables (especially green vegetables like lettuce, cucumbers and watercress) are yin.  For protein, eat fish or seafood instead of meat.  Smoothies and salads are yin and are excellent summer meals.

 

2.Eat moderately.  Avoid huge meals.

 

3. Eat bitter foods.  Bitter foods support the fire element.  Coffee, tea and chocolate (without sugar) are all bitter and moderate amounts of them are appropriate for summer health.  This is the season you can call your coffee a health food.  Asparagus, bitter greens like kale, arugula or escarole, celery and rhubarb are all good foods for the summer.

 

 

Eat Big in the Afternoon

 

If you focus on yin and bitter foods, your diet is cooling and light.  But what happens when you need more energy than a slice of watermelon provides?

 

This is when the timing of your meals matters.

 

If you need a heavier meal, eat it mid to late afternoon.  “Picnic time” is the best time to fuel up.  Avoid eating a big meal early or late in the day.

 

A healthy summer eating plan starts with a light breakfast. Some ideas for light meals: a serving of fruit combined with full-fat yogurt and crushed nuts; a smoothie with a serving of fruit and/or veggies combined with fat and protein, such as yogurt, avacado, and/or nut butter; eggs cooked how you like with salad greens drizzled with olive oild and balsmaic vinegar.  

 

Have a small salad for lunch, again combined with a healthy fat and protein.  Eat your heavy meal later in the afternoon and end your day with another light meal or snack, like veggies with hummus or guacamole, nut butter on a piece of toast, or one of the light meals listed above.

 

By eating mostly fresh, light, wet foods and including a heavy meal only in the afternoon, you will help your fire burn bright but not out of control.  You’ll feel light, cool and energized.  Your heart, circulation and digestion will be strong.  You won’t feel bloated or full.

 

Traditional Chinese Medicine uses nutrition as a tool to maintain health and promote healing.  Eating a yin diet with your heavy meal in the late afternoon is good general advice, but your constitution may need a slightly different routine.  The proportion of yin food matters and varies from person to person.  To get the best summer eating tips, contact me and together we’ll make a plan that’s perfect for you.

Summer Nutrition

 

More than Needles: 3 Traditional Chinese Medicine Therapies You Can Do at Home

 

If you asked the average person how Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) keeps you healthy, they would probably answer that it uses acupuncture needles.

 

That is a good start.

 

TCM is a complex understanding of how Qi, or life force, affects your health.  Qi flows through meridians passing through points which can be used to regulate and control that flow.  When the flow of Qi increases, decreases or its quality changes, your health is affected.  The most common way to manage the flow of Qi is with acupuncture needles.

 

But TCM is much more than needles.

 

Here are three ways to keep yourself healthy using Traditional Chinese Medicine principles at home.  By using these techniques in your daily life, you will be in charge of your health.

 

Qigong

 

Qigong is a moving mediation that uses a series of flowing postures to align breath and awareness.  It can be used to increase Qi, circulate Qi, cleanse and heal the body, store Qi and emit Qi to heal others.  As a practice, it combines medicine, philosophy and martial arts, all in one.  Tai Chi is closely related to Qigong and considered to be one of the martial arts applications of it.

Qigong has many health benefits.  It provides health, vitality, tranquility and mental focus.  Many hospitals, clinics and community centers offer Qigong as a safe, easy way to stay fit, maintain balance and coordination, reduce stress and promote mental clarity.

 

A Qigong home practice is a great way to keep your Qi balanced.  There are many instruction videos on youtube where you can learn a few easy qigong forms.  You can also look for qigong classes in the area.  I am doing a beginner class in July at my Burke office. More information on that class can found here.

 

Food/Nutrition

 

TCM uses many principles of diet and nutrition.

 

The flow of Qi is regulated by the Five Elements.  Each element has a season and a taste.  By choosing foods with a particular taste, you can support your health during each season.  For example, the taste for autumn is pungent.  Eat pungent foods like leeks, cabbage, turnips, ginger, horseradish, pepper, onions, garlic and chilies to support your health in the fall.

In addition you can use dietary principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine to support your own constitution.  Based on your diagnosis, you can use nutrition to balance your own particular health issues.

 

It takes a while to get the hang of this.  I can give you guidelines so you can take charge of your health in the kitchen.

 

Feng Shui

 

Feng Shui is the arrangement of your environment to promote the flow of Qi.  Think of it as energy medicine for your home or work space; Feng Shui and TCM both hold the same core principles.  By applying the principles of Feng Shui, you can create a home and work space that optimizes health, happiness and vitality.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Traditional Chinese Medicine keeps you healthy in many ways that don’t involve acupuncture needles.  Take charge of your health.  If you need advice for getting started, give me a call today.

TCM @ Home

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In Feng Shui, Qi flows through your home the way it flows through your body.  Strategic placement of mirrors and wind chimes, or the colors of your walls or furniture can balance the flow of Qi.  Even your choice of home decorations can be important.

 

For example, east is the direction of health.  Since east is associated with the wood element, increase Qi by placing a healthy green plant in the east section of your home.  Bamboo is a particularly good choice because it symbolizes longevity and good health.  Focus on wood furniture and the colors green and brown.

 

Declutter your living and work spaces to create peaceful, restorative environments.  Make sure your air is clean and has as few pollutants as possible.  Use natural light.  All of these Feng Shui principles help you stay healthier.