4 Ways to Make the Most Out of Water

4 Ways to Make the Most Out of Water

What is the best way to Hydrate? There are a lot of differing opinions out there (much like with food) and many of them are sound and good. So how do you know which is best for you?

The Answer: You have to tune in and find out.  Here are a few quick tips on the best way to make the most out of drinking your water.

1. Drink 2-4 cups with lemon upon waking.

When we sleep, our bodies are very busy repairing and detoxing. When we awaken, we are actually quite dehydrated. When you wake up squeeze a wedge of lemon into a glass of water and drink it. The lemon helps cleanse your liver and flush out toxins as the water hydrates you. My Nana used to do this every morning. It’s a terrific way to start hydrating and getting in your glasses of water. Then drink a tall glass of water.

2. Don’t drink water while you eat.

When we chew, we release digestive enzymes –digestion begins in the mouth. If we down water with our food, we dilute our digestive juices and hamper, digestion and absorption. Wait 20-30 minutes before or after you eat to drink your water — in between meals.

3. Drink throughout the day, and stop a few hours before bed.

Start first thing in the morning. Drink water when you’re hungry instead of reaching for a snack right away. See if water can quench your perceived hunger. Timing differs for everyone, find your optimum stopping point so that you may have a full night’s rest without waking for trips to the bathroom.

4. How much?

While it’s important to hydrate, how much water depends on what you’re eating. If you’re diet is rich with raw fruits and vegetables, you’ll find you need less water. If you eat a lot of cooked foods (the water cooks out) you’ll require more water by the glass. It’s important for you to be the judge. In the winter we tend to drink less water.  A basic rule of thumb is the drink half your body weight in ounces. Example: 140lbs = 70 ounces of water per day.  Keep in mind, too much water drinking can tax the kidneys.

Not enough water can cause dehydration, increased appetite, dry skin, hair, brittle nails, sluggishness, constipation and whole host of other things. There are many health professionals that believe the root of illness and disease is chronic dehydration. Our job is to tune into our unique body to find out what it needs. 

When I follow the steps above, I stay regular (who doesn’t want that?), my skin looks great, my energy flows, and I feel good. I do however, have to make a conscious effort to hydrate, the habit comes and goes for me. What about you?

Test out steps 1 -3 for a week and let us know what you find out. How much water are you drinking now? What are your water drinking goals?

Read about Hydration’s Role in Healing.

Nourish Yourself with Golden Milk

Nourish Yourself with Golden Milk

Golden Milk is a delicious and nourishing drink that packs incredible health benefits into one warm mug at a time.

It’s very

Some of the wonderful benefits of Golden Milk:

  • Anti-inflammatory – easing joint pain
  • Soothing to the spirit and aids in digestion and sleep
  • Supports healthy liver function
  • Supports the spleen and stomach
  • Supports healthy blood sugar levels
  • Supports the heart and brain
  • Supports a healthy immune system
  • Supports the nervous system

The key Ingredient in Golden Milk  is tumeric – which is a powerhouse. Curcumin is the most active ingredient in turmeric – It’s a strong antioxidant is anti-inflammatory, antibacterial  anti-fungal. However, curcumin is not well-absorbed into the body — UNLESS it is blended with black pepper. Black pepper contains piperine which has it’s own anti-inflammatory properties. The black pepper enhances the curcumin ability to work synergistically with the body.  Golden milk is blended with other herbs and spices for flavor and health benefits. Once you begin to get the hang of it you can add your own favorites in.

You can drink Golden Milk 2- 3 times per day. I prefer it before bed. You can make a homemade version with our recipe below or purchase a  mix. We have used Gaia Herbs brand and it is wonderful – with the added benefit of Ashwaganda. Ashwaganda is an adaptogen which helps the body deal with stress. That said, you can certainly add that into your recipe.

Delicious Golden Milk at Home

  • 1 cup Milk or  Dairy Free coconut milk (regular, full-fat, canned)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil (can use MCT coconut oil)
  • 1½ teaspoons ground turmeric
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom (optional – to taste –  I love cardamom and addition to almost everything)
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • if sugar sensitive sweeten with 10 drops liquid pure stevia extract, or to taste
  • OR Sweeten with raw honey to taste after removing from heat
Directions:
  1. In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, whisk together the coconut milk,  water, coconut oil, turmeric, cinnamon, ginger, and pepper. Warm slowly until hot but not simmering, about 7 minutes
  2. Remove the pan from the heat, and whisk in the stevia or honey (not both!)
  3. Leftovers can be refrigerated for up to three days

 

 

The Kidneys Ask Us to Slow Down

The Kidneys Ask Us to Slow Down

In Traditional East Asian Medicine, the body’s physiological processes can be viewed through the lens of Five Phase theory. 

Each phase relates to a major organ, an emotion and a season. 

All things can be viewed through this lens for easy discussion and healing discoveries.

The heart and lungs are relatively higher in the body away from the earth. They process blood and air every second of every day. 

 

The liver and spleen are physically just below the diaphragm in the middle. They process food and blood on a daily or in some cases weekly cycles. 

 

The kidneys are the lowest of these five.

They rule events in life such as birth, puberty, child bearing.

These processes are slow. 

In the last 40 or so years the speed of our lifestyles has increased exponentially.  Mother Earth is still telling us all to slow down – more. 

In 2020 I went from 50 patients per week to 22. It wasn’t by choice. But it was most certainly better for me. More time for conscious breathing, exercise, and hydrating. 

Kidney Deficiency usually manifests in the low back and the knees.

This past year has been challenging, heart-breaking, and difficult to varying degrees for each of us.  As we press on into this third wave, it is important to understand the stress this has on the kidneys. We are all to some degree in fight or flight. We are in survival mode. Every social pattern we have known has been disrupted and changed. As we move through this transition, the healthiest thing we can do is to acknowledge how this affects the kidneys and support ourselves accordingly.

In the kidneys resides essence or Jing and our will to live.

The connection between the kidneys and the heart is important to understand. If you look at the diagram, you may notice  that this is the axis of fear and joy. Water and fire. This is a spectrum. The antidote for fear – is Cultivating Joy. The adrenals and kidneys are directly connected. We want to nourish our kidneys and support our essence. We can do this in the following ways:

  • Turn the TV off
  • Take a holiday from social media
  • Go outside. Make a fire, talk a walk, tend to your yard- connect with the natural rhythms of nature. Feel the wind, see the stars, you get the idea.
  • Get plenty of rest at regular intervals
  • Hydrate well and often with good quality
  • 20 min Gentle movement necessary during the day – yoga, qi-gong or pleasant walk in the park (not a 3 mile run)
  • Plan to do less
  • Practice self-care
  • Drink bone broth or mineral broth if vegetarian

 

The Kidneys…

  • are at the deepest level of all the organs (this operates on the levels of mind, body and spirit) 
  • control your entire blood pressure system
  • regulate Blood cell production
  • regulate all the water in the body (regulate the salinity of the water through the advanced filtration system)
  • are related to the element of water and are in affinity with the colors black and blue (where these colors to support the kidneys!)
  • In the Kidneys we find the will – including the will to live – the will to move forward and conversely, fear. Kidneys out of balance will be an experience of stuckness/frozen in fear. It is like the roots of the tree are all dried out.

Winter is the time of a deep going within, it is the season of the kidneys, so having loving intention in this direction can amplify our process.

If we can find the gifts, the silver linings and perhaps even find the joy in places and moments we can proceed in that direction, slowly, mindfully and heal. 

 

Homemade Bone Broth

Homemade Bone Broth

 

Homemade Bone Broth is deeply nourishing to the body.

It supports gut health, skin hair and nails and nourishes our deepest organs- the kidneys.  This is food as medicine. Bone broth is a fantastic source of many gut-healing, anti-inflammatory agents. Healthy, pasture-raised and grass-fed animal bones and joints are rich in amino acids, gelatin, collagen.  These components support the health of your bones, joints, and skin.

Collagen is an essential building block for a healthy gut lining. With homemade bone broth you can help repair damage by ingesting collagen-rich foods and supplements such as bone broth and hydrolyzed collagen powder.

It is important to source healthy and humanely raised pastured and grass-fed animals – so that you getting the healthy benefits of this traditional food.

Here is the simple recipe for chicken bone broth we make at home. There are other bone broth recipes you can find with a simple search (lamb, beef  and fish).

Simple Homemade Bone Broth (Chicken)

  • 1 chicken back
  • 6 -12 or more chicken feet (this is an important ingredient as this is where much of the dense gelatin resides)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 14 Cups of clean spring water (chlorine and fluoride free)
  • 3 TBS of Himalayan salt or Celtic Sea salt
  • 1 TBS of raw Apple cider Vinegar

Directions:

  1. Add all ingredients to Instant Pot or crock pot
  2. Add in apple Cider Vinegar – let sit for 1 hr – this helps leach all the nutrients and minerals out of the bones
  • Instant Pot: Set on High Soup 120 mins
  • Crock pot: Cook low and slow for 18-24 hours
  • Stock Pot – stove top: Turn to a simmer and put lid on pot and let it simmer for 18-24 hours

When done pour through a tea strainer over the mug or bowl. Add other ingredients as desired. We like the broth just this way. But you can add other ingredients before or after cooking.

  • Garlic (crush and let sit for 15 min before adding in or cooking with it as it activates the healing benefits)
  • Fresh Ginger
  • Squeeze of fresh lemon
  • Celery, onion, carrot, etc.
  • We will also use it to make soup. We like to sauté the holy trinity of onions, garlic and celery – add diced carrots, beets and broth.

With the instant pot  – we keep the broth going on warm for a few days and serve hot from there straining as we serve. 

Process from the stove top or out of the Instant Pot or Crock pot:

  1. Turn off and let cool for 30 min to hour, then lift out all the bones/veggies and set aside
  2. Pour the broth through strainer to filter out all the grit into another bowl
  3. Cover and refrigerate.  The fat will separate and rise to the top.
  4. Remove from fridge and  you may now skim off the fat with a large metal spoon (some leave the fat on). The broth should be jelly-like which is WHAT YOU WANT – it means it is loaded with collagen and gelatin.
  5. You can now put a wide mouth funnel over a few mason jars.
  6. Put up to 3 days worth in the fridge and freeze the rest. It only stays fresh for about 3-4 days. You can freeze it for up to one year. PLEASE NOTE: Only fill mason jars for the freezer 75% when frozen  the broth will expand and the jar will crack.

 

Benefits of Homemade Bone Broth

  • Gut Health: The dense gelatin in bone broth is a vital nutrient for healing the gut
  • Aids Digestion
  • Improves joint health.
  • Strengthens your immune system
  • Anti-Inflammatory
  • Anti-aging
  • Makes your hair, nails, and skin glow
  • Can improve sleep

 

Simple Homemade Bone Broth (Chicken)

Keyword Adrenal Fatigue, Gut health, Health, immune, Kidneys, Stress

Ingredients

  • 1 Vhicken back
  • 6 -12 Or more chicken feet (this is an important ingredient as this is where much of the dense gelatin resides)
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • 14 Cups Clean spring water (chlorine and fluoride free)
  • 3 TBS or less of Himalayan salt or Celtic Sea salt
  • 1 TBS Raw Apple Cider Vinegar

Instructions

  1. Add all ingredients to Instant Pot, crock pot, or stop top

  2. Add in apple Cider Vinegar - let sit for 1 hr - this helps leach all the nutrients and minerals out of the bones

Cooking Method

  1. Instant Pot: Set on high/ seal - Soup for 120 mins

    Crock pot: Cook low and slow for 18-24 hours 

    Stock Pot - stove top: Turn to a simmer and put lid on pot and let it simmer for 18-24 hours 

Recipe Notes

When done pour through a tea strainer over the mug or bowl. Add other ingredients as desired. We like the broth just this way. But you can add other ingredients before or after cooking. 

  • Garlic (crush and let sit for 15 min before adding in or cooking with it as it activates the healing benefits)
  • Fresh Ginger
  • Squeeze of fresh lemon
  • Celery, onion, carrot, etc. 
  • We will also use it to make soup. We like to sauté the holy trinity of onions, garlic and celery - add diced carrots, beets and broth.

With the instant pot  - we keep the broth going on warm for a few days and serve hot from there straining as we serve. 

Process from the stove top or out of the Instant Pot or Crock pot:

  1. Turn off and let cool for 30 min to hour, then lift out all the bones/veggies and set aside
  2. Pour the broth through strainer to filter out all the grit into another bowl
  3. Cover and refrigerate.  The fat will separate and rise to the top. 
  4. Remove from fridge and  you may now skim off the fat with a large metal spoon (some leave the fat on). The broth should be jelly-like which is WHAT YOU WANT - it means it is loaded with collagen and gelatin.
  5. You can now put a wide mouth funnel over a few mason jars.
  6. Put up to 3 days worth in the fridge and freeze the rest. It only stays fresh for about 3-4 days. You can freeze it for up to one year. PLEASE NOTE: Only fill mason jars for the freezer 75% when frozen  the broth will expand and the jar will crack. 

 

The Many Dimensions of the Kidney

The Many Dimensions of the Kidney

Acupuncturists understand the body as a complex system of energy systems, meridians and organs. However, when an acupuncturist talks about an organ, like the spleen, heart or kidneys, they are not referring to the physical organ that sits inside your body, but rather the energetic side of these organs. The energetic system is much bigger than just the physical organ, and governs certain functions in the body on many levels. (more…)

Going Deeper: The Kidneys

Going Deeper: The Kidneys

The kidney element in Chinese medicine governs water and is associated with the season of winter, where the energies are turning from the hotter yang months to the more yin of winter. Each organ has an element associated with it: liver and wood, stomach and earth, kidney and water, for example. There is also an emotion, a color and flavor associated with the organ system. For the kidneys, the emotion is fear, the color is dark or black and the flavor is salty. It also opens to the ear, has the direction of north and is paired with the bladder. The kidney element houses willpower and manifests in the teeth and luster of the hair.

The organs in Chinese medicine are more than just a physical representation. The organs include not only their physiological function, but also mental, emotional, spiritual and elemental qualities that align with nature and the seasons. Let’s explore the kidneys.

The kidneys are the body’s root and contain both yin and yang energies. Yin is associated with what is dark, still, cold, feminine and is inward. Yang is more outward, hot, bright, moving and masculine. The kidneys control reproduction, growth and development and are associated with bones and marrow. The kidneys are said to store jing, which is likened to essence, what you’re born with and what’s inherited from your parents.

 

There are two types of Essence:  

 

  1. Pre-natal is from your parents and can be likened to one’s basic constitution and DNA.

 

  1. Post-natal is what is transformed from the food you eat and lifestyle.

 

The second you have more control over health-wise. Ideally, there is a nice balance of kidney yin and yang energies, but if there is yin deficiency, there will be symptoms such as heat, sweating, dryness, irritability, insomnia and low back pain. If there is yang deficiency there are more cold signs such as cold extremities, cold and painful lower back, increased urinary frequency, fatigue, premature graying, water retention and low libido. There can also be an emotional component manifesting as increased phobias and anxieties. Many of the above-mentioned symptoms can be tied to the thyroid and adrenal fatigue in Western medicine.

 

How to care for your kidney this winter:

 

Keep warm: The kidneys are affected by exposure to cold. Try a nice scarf to protect your neck from the elements, and keep your feet and low back warm in those frosty winter months. Moxibustion, which is heated mugwort, is a wonderful supplement to acupuncture that warms particular acupuncture points on the body.

 

Eat warm: Foods that are beneficial to the kidneys (in moderation) tend to be dark in color such as black beans, sesame seeds, seaweed, kelp, lamb and beef. Other beneficial warming foods include ginger, cinnamon, miso soup, soybeans, walnuts, chives and Goji berries. It’s best to see your acupuncturist or other health care professional to get an idea of foods that are good for your particular constitution, as some of these foods can be harmful if taken in large amounts (kelp and seaweed, in particular). It’s also best to not eat too many cold, raw vegetables or cold smoothies. Also try to ingest food and drink at room temperature. There are wonderful herbal formulas to assist the kidneys that your acupuncturist can include in your treatment plan.

 

Light exercise: Light exercise such as tai qi, qi gong or walking has wonderful health and anti-aging benefits and won’t cause exhaustion.

 

Avoid overwork, overexertion, high stress: Overdoing it depletes your kidney energy, and you might experience ill effects of burnout that are usually associated with adrenal fatigue. Ancient Chinese medical texts also recommend curbing excessive sexual activity to keep kidney energy strong and vibrant and to increase longevity.