With winter fast approaching the time for soup has come! In Chinese medicine, winter is the time of the kidneys. You'll have to step out of the western mindset regarding the kidneys to understand why bone broth soup is so important to nourish them.
In Chinese medical theory, the kidneys control the bones, bone marrow, and the hair. Healthy kidneys stimulate the production of bone marrow, a crucial component of the immune system, strong teeth and bones, brain function, and hair growth. The kidneys also store the "jing" or our genetic material, and aid in healthy reproduction.
Eating bone broth soup helps nourish the kidneys, keeping them healthy and strong. A few signs you need to give your kidneys a boost include:
Are you raising your hand at some of these symptoms? Well, let's get to it!
Winter Bone and Vegetable Soup
1-2 pounds of bones (lamb, chicken, or beef), chopped into large pieces (femur bones are best)
1 onion, peeled and quartered
3 garlic cloves, peeled
2 sticks celery, peeled and cut in half
2 carrots, peeled and cut in half
5 whole sprigs of parsley
1 tsp. black peppercorns
1-2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
salt to taste
Recipe adapted and modified from the Jade Institute and Joy of Cooking
Joy of Cooking 2007 - Irma S. Rombauer, Marion Rombauer Becker, Ethan Becker
Photo credit: Creative Commons
Come to Bridgetown Acupuncture's open house and find out more about this ancient medicine and how it can change your life!
Chinese Medicine teaches us that memory is stored in the blood. For all of those emotional entanglements that remain stuck in our minds and our bodies that may or may not have led to physical aches and pains, there is an answer.
Think back to an emotional experience in life and remember how your body felt. Was it
a smooth experience or was it too much to handle? A smooth experience can create
a memory that makes us feel warm and happy but what happens to our bodies when
emotions, good or bad, are too much to endure?
To answer this, I must give you a lesson in how Chinese Medicine works. In theory, there
are channels in which our energy and blood flow to keep our bodies in balance and provide nourishment to our organs. When everything is as it should be, the channels remain clear and healthy. However, when strong emotions are felt and are not completely processed, a blockage forms. A good analogy is that of a freeway which allows cars to travel to their destination. All is well until there is an accident and suddenly all of the cars get backed up and the freeway becomes a parking lot.
Some emotions are so intense that our bodies shut down and our channels become
blocked putting our organs unexpectedly at risk. Our bodies, as brilliant as they are, will re-
route our blood by creating new vessels. These new vessels, called luo vessels in Chinese
Medicine, will store those emotions until we are ready to process them.
These vessels show up in our bodies in different ways. One such way is spider veins. Little
varicosities full of stuck emotion just waiting to be resolved. And you have the power to
overcome and resolve them.
Our emotions are there to serve and guide us through life. Honoring and trusting our
emotional selves allows for the opportunity to be the healthiest we can be. If you’ve suffered a trauma that leaves you with varicosities, take a moment and ponder what emotions need to be addressed and released.
Finding an acupuncturist that can help navigate and break up the physical blockages will
enable the journey for emotional healing to move forward and will help return the body to a state of optimal being.
Spring is the time of the liver in Chinese medicine. Just as the leaves and flowers are starting to bud on the trees, the liver is an organ of regeneration and movement. The liver is responsible for the smooth and free flow of energy in the body, filtering and storing the blood at night, and the emotion of anger. Its element is that of wood and just as a tree likes to stand tall and free, the energy of the liver and health of the vessels depend on the liver's ability to move freely. Emotions such as anger can prevent the optimal function of the liver.
When a person experiences anger the liver's focus on circulating energy becomes disturbed and the energy fails to move properly. This leads to symptoms such as irritability, mood swings, frequent sighing, rib pain, a bitter taste in the mouth, a lump in the throat, abdominal distention or pain, constipation or diarrhea, menstrual irregularities, pain or problems with tendons, blurry eyesight, ridges of the nails, sleep disturbances, and more.
To keep your liver happy, be sure to let yourself feel and process your emotions as you experience them. It's best not to dwell or become fixated on any one particular circumstance or situation. Acupuncture can help one process such emotions and herbs can help restore liver function and health. Do yourself a favor and take the time to remove your shoes, plant your feet firmly on the ground, and connect with the energy of spring.
As stated in the Yellow Emperors Inner Cannon, a classical Chinese medicine text, "Get up early in the morning, walk around in the courtyard, loosen your hair and relax your body. By doing so you will generate mental strength and act in harmony with the energy of spring, thus following the way of nourishing life. If you live contrary to this principle, you will harm your liver.'
In February, we not only celebrate the heart but we focus on creating and maintaining heart health. In Chinese medicine, the heart is the emperor of the body. Not only does it house the mind (also known as the shen), but it is arguably the source of health for the rest of the body.
We've all heard about how important it is to maintain the physical health of the heart but have you been informed how emotions create or devastate the physical aspects of heart health? On some level, you probably have some experience with this already... the sensation of heartbreak, the warmth and joy of love, or simply experiencing laughter. Remember how your body felt after experiencing these emotions?
If you've answered yes to any of these questions, than you know well how emotions correlate with the heart on a physical basis. The heart is the organ of joy and laughter. It influences speech, sleep, and governs how the blood flows through the body. Emotions such as excess joy, dull thinking, and somnolence are directly related to the health of the heart. In the Guanzi, a Daoist classical text, it is said that as along as the heart remains on a worthy path other orifices (there are 9 in Chinese medicine) will follow suit. However, if the heart becomes too weak or too abundant with over- emotion, the eyes (a way to measure the health of the mind/shen) will become dull and the ears will lose their sense of sound.
In other words, keep your heart healthy and the rest of the body will follow.
So what's the best way for you to take care of your heart, your emotions, and your physical self? Keep your heart open, warm, and soft. Empty it of negativity and of attachment. Fill your heart with the emptiness of love and the stillness of clarity. Or as the GuanZi states, "Do not race your heart like a horse, or you will exhaust its energy. Do not fly your heart like a bird, or you will injure its wings. Keep your heart empty-this is the art of the heart through which the orifices can be mastered."
Lastly, get yourself some acupuncture! Acupuncture can help you regulate the heart and all of it's functions by regulating your energy (qi) and blood. Treatments can help soothe a broken heart, a heart that fails to warm your hands and your feet, and a heart that has many dreams or hardly enough sleep.
To your heart and your health!
Is your hair graying prematurely? Do you have sleepless nights? Take a look and see how regular consumption of black sesame seeds could help reverse these trends!
Happy New Year to you and yours! I love this time of year because of the renewed and palpable excitement people have about recreating and bettering themselves and their health!
There are many resolutions to pick from but some of the most common involve better eating, more exercise, drinking more water, or just about anything that will improve physical health and assist with weight loss. There is nothing better than being in good health and feeling like a million dollars, so I'd like to help you feel like the golden superstar that you are by offering a few simple steps to improve those outcomes to your resolutions.
Drink Water! Sounds like information you've heard time and time again but it cannot be over emphasized! You are over 70% water and you'll need every last drop for smooth digestion and increased absorption in the intestinal tract. Sick of water? Try adding a lemon slice which will not only flavor your water, but improve digestion and break up phelgm. The temperature of your water should be room temperature or warm to hot. Digestion works best when your body is like a compost pile- warm and active, not like a refrigerator- cold, slow, and meant to store foods! Supplement with one of these three powerful teas for improving digestion: green, ginger, and/or pu'erh tea.
Chew your food! Digestion starts in your mouth with enzymes called salivary amylase and lingual lipase. The more you chew, the better these and other enzymes can mix with your food and start the digestive process allowing your stomach to do what it does best- break down smaller molecules. Chewing food also reduces the chances of large chunks of food causing bacterial overgrowth which can lead to bloating, flatulence, and changes in mood.
Eat warm, cooked foods. Once again, temperature comes up when discussing digestion. Warm cooked foods are easier to digest by both the stomach and the spleen, the main digestive organs in Chinese medicine. The spleen functions best when it is warm and dry. The spleen is the powerhouse for sending nutrients from food (after being broken down by the stomach) to all of the other organs. Poor spleen function may be your problem if you notice sluggish digestion, fatigue, weight gain, frequent colds, allergies, muscle cramps, depression, dry skin, and anemia, among other signs. Make your spleen happy and keep it warm!
If you eat salads, or cold vegetables, let them warm up to room temperature for a few minutes prior to consumption. Most of the food you consume especially in winter months should be cooked.
Take Probiotics. The gut is the body's second brain. Yes, seriously. Many neurotransmitters are found in the gut including 90% of the body's serotonin supply (an important mood regulating neurotransmitter). While our brains utilize glucose for proper functioning, our guts rely on a healthy bacterial environment for proper function. In addition to taking a daily probiotic, consider eating fermented foods to supplement gut bacteria.
Regulate your gut with Acupuncture. Acupuncture is phenomenal at supporting the flow of blood, fluids, and food in the gut. Treatment can also regulate bowel movements and improve common complaints such as flatulence and bloating. If you're one of those people who feels stress in your gut like an upset stomach or a tight heavy sensation, or you find that you worry often, acupuncture is highly recommended. Combining herbal formulas to acupuncture will support treatment and keep the digestive system strong.
While being treated for improved digestion, many people find increased energy, easier breathing, better sleep, and increased metabolism. Yes, all of that and more! Keep in mind that acupuncture is a physical medicine and regular consistent treatment will allow for the best results.
What is stress?
"Stress is a physical, chemical, or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension and may be a factor in disease causation; a state of bodily or mental tension resulting from factors that tend to alter an existent equilibrium." - Merrium-Wesbter.
Do you have or exhibit forgetfulness, mental cloudiness, confusion, negative self talk, irritability, nervousness, worry, fatigue stiffness, sweaty palms, sleep problems, acne, or headaches? Do you often have a case of the Monday's? Would you like to knock those out of the picture?
Bridgetown Acupuncture and Herbal Clinic is now offering 20 minute stress buster acupuncture sessions for $20 every Monday from 6-8 PM. Call to secure your spot today!
The cold and flu season is upon us making this the time of utmost importance to maintain health. One of the best ways is through diet. By eating the right foods, one can enhance their immunity and decrease the likelihood of illness.
Avoidance is best.
I'm sick, now what?
If you liked these recipes and would like more information see the resources link to explore Chinese Natural Cures, by Henry Lu.
The information in this blog is for educational purposes only. It is not meant to replace medical advice from your physician. If you have questions regarding your health, seek medical advice from your doctor.