Posts Categorized: Foods and Recipes for Health

Managing PCOS Naturally

What is PCOS?

PCOS stands for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. It’s an endocrine (hormonal) disorder characterized by infrequent or absent periods, multiple cysts on the ovaries, obesity and high levels of androgens (such as testosterone and DHEA-S), which leads to excess facial and body hair, hair thinning or male pattern baldness and acne. Many PCOS patients have insulin resistance, which means that your body isn’t able to properly absorb and process sugars and other carbohydrates. Other complications include type 2 Diabetes, high cholesterol, heart disease, depression and difficulty becoming pregnant. Read more

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Red Wine For Cramps? Traditional Chinese Medicine Says Yes!

In the world of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), each food has medicinal qualities and energetics. This simply means that there are reasons it would help some people and harm others. Makes sense, right? One of my goals as an acupuncturist and practitioner of TCM is to help people begin to think of their food medicinally. For example, if you have a headache or an upset stomach you don’t necessarily need to go into your medicine cabinet. There are foods and herbal teas which can solve the problem just as well. One example that not everyone would think of is red wine! This discussion of red wine will hopefully help you decide when it might be a good idea to have a glass or two, and when you might want to pass. Read more

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Dry Winter Skin Remedies: A Holistic Approach

Why is my skin so angry in the winter?

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, dry skin is caused either by exposure to excessive dryness and heat (as in the dry heat produced by HVAC systems or radiators) or a deficiency of blood and fluids within the body. These causes can be seen as mutually interdependent- one can make the other worse. Other symptoms of blood and fluid deficiency include brittle hair and nails, constipation, constant thirst, or even very light or non-existent periods. If you have dry skin year-round or every winter you experience severe symptoms, fluid and blood deficiency are most likely at work, and dietary changes plus both internal and external Chinese herbs can help.

Scientists describe something called the “Dry Skin Cycle”- and it goes like this: Read more

How To Use A Slow-Cooker: And Why I’m Obsessed!

Slow-cooker imageI’ve been using a simple slow cooker for several years now. It’s become hands-down my favorite way to cook- filling my home with incredible smells and leaving me with leftovers to freeze for a few weeks later. Slow cooker meals are the epitome of fall and winter eating: warm, comforting meals that help you to eat seasonally (and locally), since meat and root vegetables are perfectly suited to this method. In looking over a few online forums, I realized that there are a lot of people who aren’t sure how to use one. Read below for FAQ’s and links to a few of my favorite recipes. Read more

Gut Bacteria and Your Health

Fermented food

Photo Credit:knitting Iris/ Foter.com/CC BY-NC-NB

There’s been a lot of news lately on the connection between gut (stomach and intestinal) health and inflammation in the body- you may have read that fascinating article in the Times last week, The Boy With A Thorn in His Joints (and if not, please do!). In the article, a mother tells the story of her son’s diagnosis of Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA) and the struggle to get him into remission. The boy’s JIA ends up going into remission using a combination of conventional and alternative treatments, including probiotics, Chinese Herbs and avoiding possible trigger foods. Although there is no way to know whether his medication or the supplements and diet changes were primarily responsible for the improvement, the story raises some important issues. Scientists now believe that the health of the bacteria in your digestive tract is responsible for much more than good digestion- immunity, arthritis and several autoimmune diseases are being investigated for a possible connection. A condition scientists call “Increased Intestinal Permeability” (or Leaky Gut Syndrome), in which the intestines are so damaged they leak bacteria and other proteins out into the rest of the body, is theorized to be responsible for inflammation and many autoimmune conditions. In many ways, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is right in sync with this line of thinking- read on to learn how, as well as tips on the best ways to benefit your gut health. Read more