Skip to content

Chinese Medicine Diet and Nutrition Therapy

“For Who?” “When?”

 

These questions are the key according to Chinese Medicine Nutrition Therapy.  No one diet fits an entire population. The one way of eating is individual to a person, living in a specific climate, at a certain age, during a given season.

 

In popular media, gurus will tout one diet over another – eat more of this, eat less of this, drink more water, eat less sugar, more fat, less fat, etc.

 

Ok, some of the things we hear are useful.  Sugar, in its refined form, and added to pretty much everything, is not a natural way to healthy eating. Too much sugar is pretty much one thing I think everyone can agree is a recipe for health problems.

 

But maybe you’ve heard of keto, paleo, vegan, raw, juicing, etc.  In my experience, and backed by the wisdom of the ages,  Chinese Medicine has evolved and spanned and refined what works and what doesn’t on the individual level.  What one eats depends on one’s constitution and health status.

 

Five Tips for Health Eating According to Chinese Medicine

 

Here are my 5 tips as a practitioner of Chinese Medicine, for a healthy way of eating:

 

  1. Eat According to Season
  2. Eat According to your Chinese Medicine Pattern
  3. Don’t eat until full. Eat until 3/4 full.
  4. Don’t eat close to bedtime
  5. Eat in a relaxed manner, don’t rush or multi-task during mealtimes.

 

Eating According to Season

One of the foundational concepts in Chinese Medicine is that people are a part of nature.  The environmental climate directly impacts us, and if we’re eating in a way that is out of sync, then we’ll be affected.  For example, in summer, someone who overheats easily would be encouraged to eat watermelon to help cool.  Yet the same food in winter would not be appropriate. Light fresh salads are best in spring and summer because spring in the time when new plants sprout and grow, and in summer greenery flourishes. This aids our upward and outward Liver-Wood energy that is active in the spring and feeds the Fire element of summer. Yet in winter, salads should be consumed more sparingly if at all, because winter is a time of storage.

 

Eat According to your Chinese Medicine Pattern

This one is really important, and the best example is someone who is full of mucus and congestion is encouraged to stay away from mucus-producing foods such as all dairy, refined sugar, and wheat or doughy foods.  Also, someone who is dry overall would be encouraged to eat juice moistening foods such as sweet potatoes, fats, and eggs.

 

Eat until 75-80% Full

Overeating taxes the digestive system which is often weak in many people.  Leaving room is a key to longevity according to many studies.

 

Don’t Eat Right Before Bed

If we go to bed right after eating a full meal, our energy must go to digesting that food instead of going dormant into our healing state as it should for sleep.  This can create excessive dreaming, groggy feeling in the morning, and overall sluggishness and lack of concentration the next day.  I tell my patients to allow 3 hours between the last meal and bedtime. I also recommend fasting for around 12 hours every night to allow the digestive system time to repair and rest.

 

Relax during meals

It’s important although admittedly not easy, to just focus on eating during mealtimes. It’s so tempting to read something on our phones, watch TV, be cooking or cleaning while eating.  But your Gastro-Intestinal system will thank you if you just sit, and chew, and perhaps talk lightly with friends or family.  Mindful eating is becoming a lost art, and I encourage you to try it if you tend to multi-task at mealtime!

Family Mealtime - Mindful Eating

 

 

Posted in Tidbits | Comments Off on Chinese Medicine Diet and Nutrition Therapy

The Five Senses Diet Checklist

Perhaps you’ve heard it before – but your diet consists of everything you consume through all of your senses, especially what you allow into your brain and not just what you put in your mouth!

Here’s a recap and a reset —  look for that one small change that will help you break out of an old habit that no longer serves the best version of you! 

 

What Are You Consuming?

 

Eyes: What are you reading or looking at? Can you challenge yourself not to look at billboards, or to get rid of that ugly nicknack that’s been grating on you? 

Mouth: What are you feeding your body? Yes, when we eat we are feeding our cells,  nervous and cardiovascular systems, internal organs, bones, glands, and connective tissues – remember that next time you get the urge to grab that not processed or sugary snack!

Ears: What are you listening to and watching?  Listening to the news or watching violence are things that our mind-body has to process, like we have to process a greasy or preservative-laden meal. So remember that too! 
Sensory input to your advantage - smelling roses
Nose: What home and personal care products are scented or have added chemicals that get into your lungs and bloodstream? Any synthetic scents are part of your toxic load, and I advocate to minimize chemicals in your home and on your skin and hair especially if you struggle with any health issue.  Essential Oils are from plants and are a great way to uplift your mood, relax, or energize.  Have a couple that really speak to you on your bathroom counter or nightstand, and take a whiff when you are getting ready for your day or settling in for bed at night!

Skin/Touch – What sensations do you enjoy feeling? A warm bath, a soft pet, the sun on your back, playing an instrument? How can you invite more pleasurable joyfilled feels into your daily life? 

 

Enjoy your senses by thoughtfully curating positive choices for what you read, listen to, smell, and feel! Be conscious of the toxins you let into your sensory fields, and your body and mind will thank you!

Posted in Tidbits | Comments Off on The Five Senses Diet Checklist

Manage Stress & Anxiety in 3 Minutes – a Simple Technique

Remember this Easy Technique when you’re in the moment, right after an upsetting situation, or before you head into a difficult situation, or as a daily “vitamin” for stress reduction!  This is the at home DIY version of Neuro Emotional Technique that is called FIrst Aid Stress Tool, or FAST for short.

 

  1. Identify what’s bothering you.  Rate your distress level from 0-10: 10 being the most upset and 0 feeling peaceful and calm.
  2. Line Your Fingers along the thumb side of your wrist from the wrist crease as in this picture: First Aid Stress Tool Pulse Points
  3. While holding those 3 spots with your fingers, place the open palm across your forehead.
  4. Breathe in your nose and out your mouth while concentrating on the feelings of the issue of distress. Do at least 3 complete breaths. If you are not in a hurry breathe in and out until you feel the shift.  The emotional “charge” will feel more neutral.
  5. Switch hands – touching the 3 points with your 3 fingers on the other wrist, and covering your forehead with the other hand.Repeat the breathing while focusing on the upsetting feelings. ease anxiety and stress with NET or FAST
  6. Rate your level of upset again from 0-10.  Repeat this breathing exercise as needed throughout the day.

When working through a big thing, whether it’s chronic anxiety, panic attacks, work stress, or daily life or relationship stress, stick with using FAST a minimum of twice daily every day until the situation/feelings fade and no longer created a big reaction for you.

Posted in Tidbits | Comments Off on Manage Stress & Anxiety in 3 Minutes – a Simple Technique

Chinese New Year 2022 – Year of the Tiger

Chinese New Year 2022 - Year of the Tiger

Chinese New Year is the most important holiday in China for good reason. Each new year brings new energies and opportunities. The celebration begins the day after the first new moon between January 21 and February 20 each year and lasts until the following full moon. These 2 weeks are a time of welcoming and aligning with the new energies. This year, the Chinese New Year falls on Feb 1st and festivities continue through Feb 15th, 2022. Each year has a corresponding element and animal of the Chinese zodiac.

This is the year of the water-tiger year that holds a lot of promise for an exciting, productive year. This indicates a new beginning, a fresh start, and it’s a year made for bold action. The Tiger is known for its power, daring, and ability to do everything on a grand scale. 

This water-tiger year is in gear to be a faster-paced, more passionate year after a slower year of the Ox (2021) and a very challenging year of the Rat (2020). The tiger has been sleeping, awaiting his time for action. 2022 has great potential to be a year of change because of the energy of the tiger: brave, self-assured and ready to pounce. Individually we might be inspired to embark on new adventures, such as travel or moving, or starting a new business. Collectively, there may be an energetic shaking off of stagnation brought on by the past couple years of the pandemic. It will be a year of exploring new ideas, and not shying away from challenges. If energy is not allowed to flow (individually and/or collectively) there may be some restlessness or unpredictable behaviors. It is also important to balance the aggressive energy of the tiger with times of rest. Even tigers take cat naps. This is a water year, so the yin energy of the water can help to balance the fierce fiery nature of the tiger. continue reading »

Posted in Acupuncture, Traditional Chinese Medicine | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Chinese New Year 2022 – Year of the Tiger

Reasons Why #4: Balance Hormones!

reasons why people get acupuncture #4 – balance hormones!

 

Hormones are a symphony, playing together in harmony.
Hormones are a symphony, playing together in harmony. Photo by Manuel Nageli

 

It’s a bit reductionist to think of life as a bucket of chemicals, and at the same time, the factual complexity is mind blowing!

While it’s important and super cool to understand endocrine glands and the hormones they secrete, one of the simplest and most effective ways to treat hormonal imbalances, is through Traditional East Asian Medicine.  Because this is such a HUGE topic, this article focuses mainly on a just a few hormones and a few of their functions.

 

What are Balanced Hormones?

Hormones are the communication molecules of the body, telling every system how to behave, how to metabolize, sleep, when to menstruate or not, how to regulate body temperature, and on and on. The intercommunication of the 60+ hormones is truly a miraculous marvelous symphony.  It’s so finite and delicate and complex, that sometimes medications help imbalances, but sometimes they miss the mark.  Acupuncture to the rescue. Because acupuncture is energetic, it helps the body to regulate and balance itself. By design it allows a return to homeostasis, which is when everything is in balance.

 

Hormone Production & Detoxification

Many hormones, including the sex hormones such as estrogens, progesterone, and testosterone, and stress hormones like cortisol, are synthesized from cholesterol.  Because stress is the response to perceived danger or threat to survival, that response, such as increased cortisol or adrenaline, is prioritized.  When constant perceived stress is present, this means resources can be diverted from the less necessary (sex/reproductive) in order to keep you “alive”.  This is why many people are diagnosed with low estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, etc. 

On the other hand, hormones also need to be metabolized, broken down, and recycled or excreted.  When this is impaired, too much of a hormone can build up.   What can interfere? Well, it’s the liver’s job to metabolize nearly everything we ingest and every hormone.  And liver toxicity or sluggishness is very commonplace in our hectic modernized society.  With an overwhelmed liver, estrogen and other chemicals can build up, and this too can lead to hormonal imbalance symptoms. Again, a big topic, so can’t get into all of it in this short discussion.  But the solution is supporting the liver’s natural detoxification pathways in order to balance. 

 

Hormones, Fertility, and a Natural Approach

Our approach to fertility at Energy Flow goes beyond analyzing hormone levels. Fertility is a reflection of overall health of mind-body-spirit, and this is why Traditional East Asian Medicine (TEAM) is such a successful approach for conceiving and maintaining pregnancy.  It’s the synergy of the acupuncture working with the entire hormonal symphony, the natural stress reduction effects, and the balancing and nurturing of the time-tested herbal formulas that account for this.  Our medicine is not reductionist, it’s holistic.  This makes all the difference, and can bring joy back to the baby-making journey.

 

Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine, along with other natural therapies, reduce stress, promote circulation, and improve natural communication pathways so that hormone balance and production regulates.  We also take into account liver health, to relieve the strain on the liver, improving its ability to naturally detoxify the body and ease metabolism of hormones.

 

A Success Story of how Acupuncture and Herbs balance hormones

Melissa was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), but didn’t have some of the stand-out symptoms commonly associated with this  metabolic disorder.  her doctor had found that her estrogen and progesterone were low and testosterone high.  She was in her mid twenties, yet had had only a handful of periods in her life due to anovulatory amenorrhea – her body was not releasing an egg every month and thus not menstruating.  She came to me to get help conceiving a second child.  Her first was conceived with assisted reproductive therapy, but she wanted to get to the root cause this time.    

Literally after 2 acupuncture sessions and some herbs, she got a period.  Well that worked quickly! We continued to work on the chronic digestive issues since everything is connected, and continued to support hormonal regulation with acupuncture, herbs, and TBM (Total Body Modification).  The next month, the period didn’t come, and I thought, well of course the cycle won’t be regulated this quickly.  But I was wrong – she was already pregnant naturally!  

 

Trust Your Body to Know

No matter the diagnosis from your conventional doctor, don’t take that as gospel.  Your body’s wisdom runs deep, and with the right nudges it can be set back into rhythm.  The conductor, musicians, and audience just all need to be in harmony!

Posted in Acupuncture, Oriental Medicine, Traditional Chinese Medicine | Comments Off on Reasons Why #4: Balance Hormones!
630-335-1069 Directions Contact/Schedule