Transitioning into Autumn
Here we are, late summer is transitioning into fall. The in-breath is changing to the out-breath. This is a Transition Time – an in-between time – and these times can be very powerful for our health if we are paying attention. Transitions are where possibility finds fertile ground.
Each year at this time, Chad and I write and speak about the importance of slowing down, consolidating the big outward energy (yang) of summer and turning towards a more nourishing inward focus (yin). This is a time of Transformation – for the earth and for her stewards (us!).
This time of year from an East Asian Medicine Perspective
The Ancient Taoists studied nature to understand humanity and health. Ayurvedic Medicine also connects our bodies and our processes to the seasons. When we eat seasonal foods, and align with the mood, tone, and impulse of each season and transition time, we bring ourselves into a deeper foundation of living in balance.
- The SPLEEN is the organ of Transformation and Transportation.
- The Element of the Spleen is EARTH
- The Color of Earth and Spleen are Yellow
This time of year cooler breezes arrive and cold and flu season is right behind.
In Chinese Medicine, the cause of the cold is not necessarily due to bacteria or virus directly, but what we call, wind – or exposure to wind and the weakening of our immune system. Exposure to wind can weaken the body’s defenses while carries the pathogens; cold, damp, and/or heat (The symptoms are equal to common infections) into the body through the back of the neck. Wearing a scarf in breezy, cooler weather will do a lot to keep illness at bay.
Transition your diet from cold and/or raw summer-type foods (salads, smoothies, watermelon) into warmer foods that are mostly cooked and seasonal. Fruits like grapes, apples, pears are healthy this time of year in moderation and warm foods like soups, stews, teas, and cooked squashes are highly beneficial.
Japanese Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine use Moxibustion (mugwort) to bring warmth the body via specific acupoints. In our clinic we favor Okyu – a refined Japanse style of direct moxa that is practiced as a standalone medicine in Japan. This is excellent for those of us who tend toward cold. During each treatment we are supporting your body’s immune system, defense layer (Wei Qi) and the organs through a combination of acupuncture and moxibustion. A seasonal tune-up during these transition times support you in keeping your body healthy and resistance level strong.
How deeply are you connecting with Mother Nature? Late Summer through Early Fall connects with the Earth Element – The color Yellow, the Spleen, and is a time of Transformation.
A few ways you can honor transition and transformation: Reconnect with the earth by walking barefoot, Forest bathing and eating and emphasizing yellow and orange foods such as squash, millet, mung beans, peaches (if you have ‘em), sweet potatoes, and more.
Know that you are supporting your spleen and stomach, the earth element within the body. These organs govern Sympathy. The joy of summer leads to Sympathy, Sympathy can also lead to Grief. We want to be sure we are in balance on this spectrum.
“Sympathy is earthy. It arises from the stomach and Spleen in the center of the abdomen. Like humidity in late summer, it is gathering, nourishing and yielding.” ~ Lorie Deschar, Five Spirits
Autumn is a Time of…
- The peak harvest
- Saying goodbye
- The feeling that the “fun is ending”
- Back to the grind
- Getting organized
- Recommitting to health
- Transitional Seasons are a good time to get a “tune up” with Acupuncture
- ALSO– be sure to cover your neck! As the winds pick up, we get colds through the back of our neck. Wear a scarf – even with a T-shirt. Chad does it, it looks suave. 🙂
Keeping Healthy and Boosting Your Immune System During Transitions
This is also a time we can get sick. Here are important ways to keep healthy right now:
1. Sleep. Get enough rest. This cannot be emphasized enough. Your body needs to sleep. It is when it can repair itself. Experiment with how many hours you need. Some do well at 9 or 10 others need only 8. Eight hours of sleep before 10pm is more healing and supportive than the same amount after midnight. This has to do with the circadian rhythm of the body and it’s repair processes. If you are like many people having trouble sleeping right now, book a treatment with Chad – Acupuncture is very helpful with sleep. You may also call Nicole for a health coaching session that will help you make some easy changes and tweaks for promoting better sleep.
2. Disconnect from Technology to Reduce Stress and Anxiety. Yep. We are all feeling it. Commit to your cocoon of safety, love and self-care. Don’t check twitter, take news fasts, take social media breaks, feed your energy towards things that bring you joy. Stress is ravaging our health and well-being.
From our perspective, we are living through a slow-moving trauma – still. Be gentle and tender with yourself. Come in for acupuncture for support with any anxiety you are experiencing. From the holistic nutrition perspective avoid or reduce caffeine and sugar – this exacerbates anxiety levels. Nicole had to give up her vice of cold brew coffee this summer because of this. I switched to dark Maté which gives me energy but has a different effect on my nervous system.
3. Use the Breathe to Regulate your Nervous System. To bring yourself into the parasympathetic state (rest and digest) — if you are having an intense reaction or episode work with your breath. There is a simple technique that Chad guides people through everyday in the clinics.
Simple Breath Technique:
- Big breath in and exhale forcefully out
- Then take a relaxing breath: breathe into the abdomen – below the diaphragm- do not engage the neck and the upper chest, 60% inhale and 100% exhale long and slow.
- Do three of the calming breaths (add more if you feel). At night Chad does 10 breaths before bed.
4. Nourish Yourself with healthy foods and immune boosting supplements. Contact the office for our List of Top Immune Supportive Supplements. Now is a great time to make our favorite remedy – The Master Tonic– Find our easy recipe here.
5. Dry brushing your skin before bathing: Skin brushing is an easy routine you can add to your shower time. It’s invigorating and has tremendous health and beauty benefits. A dry brush moves lymph in between the skin and muscles. The lymphatic system is the waste management system of the body. This promotes a healthy immune system, removes toxins, promotes better circulation, smoother skin, better muscle tone, removes dead skin cells, and feels fantastic.
6. Contrast Shower Rinse. Cold rinse after bathing: cool rinse for 1- 3 min at the end of the shower- it closes the pores and prevents external pathogenic factors from entering through the wei qi layer (defensive layer).
7. Wear a Scarf! (Mama Knows Best) This time of year cooler breezes arrive and cold and flu season is right behind. In Chinese Medicine, the cause of the cold is not always bacteria or virus, but can arrive with the wind. The wind carries the pathogens; cold, damp, and/or heat (The symptoms are equal to common infections) into the body through the back of the neck. Wearing a scarf in breezy, cooler weather will do a lot to keep illness at bay.
8. Come into the clinic for immune support via acupuncture and moxibustion. During each treatment we are supporting body’s immune system and organ function. You can book a seasonal supportive treatment here.
Let Stinging Nettles Help You – In So Many Ways
The Nettles plant – Urtica Dioica (commonly known as Stinging Nettles) is an interesting herbal ally. If you look closely, the needles on the leaves will let you know that it WILL sting you, if you are not mindful when harvesting. However, once the Nettles is dried, blanched, or pulverized, the sting is ameliorated. Best harvested with gloves starting in early spring, Nettles can provide us with a treasure trove of support for many conditions. However, regular use provides the biggest benefit in the long run.
This wonderful plant is safe to use, and is high in calcium, iron potassium, phosphorus, chlorophyll, vitamin C, and other nutrients. Nettles support the kidneys and adrenals making it a potent stress fighter when used regularly. It is alkalizing and anti0inflammatory helping us with joint pain, osteoporosis, PMS, hot flashes and skin conditions like Psoriasis. Nettles contains more Calcium and Magnesium than the RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance).
Nettles Works Synergistically with the Body
Nettles has an adaptogenic effect on the body. Nettles can simultaneously
- Bring Healing to Dryness OR Drain Dampness
- Gentle OR Fierce
- Hemostatic OR Circulating
- Nutritive OR Dispersing
- Cooling OR Building Energy
Could Nettles be an Antidote for Coffee?
So much about coffee is alluring. The smell, taste and ritual of morning and/or afternoon coffee. Coffee and conversation with a friend. Coffee is string medicine. Because of this, it takes a toll on us when we consume it regularly.
I would not normally think of using Nettles to replace coffee. When I retreat (yes retreat! ) from my coffee habit, I generally move to Decafe coffee, then black tea, then green tea, and then once I’ve weaned from caffeine and I want that coffee taste, I drink either Dandy Blend or Four Sigmatic’s Mushroom elixir. There are a few to choose from – just don’t choose one with actual coffee in it. These are both fairly good substitutes for the coffee taste. Both are fairly nutritive, especially the mushroom elixir. Yet how can we repair the damage we’ve done with coffee.
Since going deeper into my studies of Nettles, I am convinced that Stinging Nettles power plant ally that can help heal the imbalances we create with regular coffee use. Take a look.
Coffee Vs. Stinging Nettles
|Stress on the Adrenals
||Restores the Adrenals (Especially the seeds)
|Liver Toxicity – uses the same path that stress needs to clear)
||Helps Hold Hydration
Regular use of Nettles can repair and restore the acidity and depletion that occurs from regular use of coffee.
Stimulating vs. Energizing – You get to Choose
Coffee and other caffeine products don’t really “give” us energy. They stimulate our system – but this is at the high cost of our adrenal glands. While the effect may be what we want (after all, I can get a lot done after a cup of coffee) the toll on our health is too great. When we tax our body this way, we are depleting our “jing” or essence.
Nettles, on the other hand, energizes our body and it’s many systems. It does this by nourishing our system and working synergistically with it. In fact, Nettles seed is considered an adaptogen – working to support the adrenals by nourishing and strengthening the HPA-axis – this is the Hypothalmic-Pituitary-Adrenal relationship. Adoptogens are herbs that help your body deal with stress. Other wonderful herbs in this category include Ashwaganda, Hawthorn, Schisandra, Rhodiola, Ginseng, Gingko, Astragalus, Holy Basil, and more.
70% of people Suffer with compromised Adrenal function due to stress.
Nettles for Women
Nettles can support us through all phases of the moon cycle including menopause.
- Helps relieve cramps due to stagnation.
- They are loaded with chlorophyl which moves the blood, increasing circulation.
- The Hemostatic action also helps regulate and balance blood flow, lightening heavy flow and nourishing light flow.
- Nettles supports us with pain during ovulation and helps regulate excess water, relieving bloating.
- Excellent for Menopause as they are cooling and anti-inflammatory.
- Great for Pregnancy – it’s like a liquid multi-mineral – Best mixed to use Nettels tea on and off with Red Raspberry Leaf tea (tones the uterus).
Other Amazing properties of Nettles
- Bone Building Nutrients: Nettles carry 15 out the 18 Bone Building Nutrients including Boron which helps maintain and stabilize calcium in the bone.
- High in bio-flavonoids which reduces varicose veins
- Nettles is very supportive to all of the tissues and membranes of the body
- Replenishes energy and builds you back up
You can use the entire plant. Leaf, seed, stalk and root.
Uses of the Seed:
- Supports the kidneys and adrenals
- Builds stamina and lasting energy reserves
- Thyroid support
- Use the seed oil for Alopecia
- Also use for Erectile Dysfunction
- Makes a great hair oil (crush in oil)
Eat the seeds raw or if using daily – dried (as the raw can become overstimulating).
The seed and Root can be tinctured as well as the leaf.
Uses of the Root:
- Anti Inflammatory for Prostatitis
- Great for gout- clears uric acid
Stinging Nettles is a smart plant and it helps your membranes be smart as well. It increases the health of your blood and helps revitalize you and flush out old patterns. It is commonly advised to brew
How to Start using Nettles Daily
You can purchase a tincture at your local health food store. Another easy way to start with Nettles is using it as a tea.
Nettles Tea (Infusion Method)
Nettles tea works best as an infusion
Dried Nettle Leaf
You can purchase online or directly through us at the office
Filtered or Spring water - NO fluoride or Chlorine
Feel free to make more - adjusting the nettle measurement
Organic Milk or Non-dairy Alternative
A few drops of liquid Stevia
Add the nettles in the jar
Fill the jar with hot water just off the boil for tea
Tightly close the lid and allow to steep for at least 8 hrs up to 24 hrs. - I make this at might and let sit over night. I also make more in the morning for the evening.
Strain the plant material out squeezing well
Enjoy warm or over ice. We enjoy it With organic milk or non-dairy milk of choice and a few drops of liquid stevia.
Refrigerate and drink/use within 24 hours
Other Ways to Take in Nettles
The following are best for fresh spring nettles. Be sure not to eat fresh nettles after it has gone to seed – this can be too taxing on the kidneys.
- Nettles Soup
- Nettles Pesto
- Juicing the Nettles – You can drink the juice or use it directly on the skin
- Add it into Smoothies
- Nettle Chips (make like Kale chips)
The Master Tonic: Your Homemade Antiviral, Antibacterial, Anti-Inflammatory Powerhouse.
Now is the time to make this simple but powerful antiviral, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory remedy for the coming cold and flu season. It is known most commonly by the name “Master Tonic” and it is very easy to make.
This homemade medicine is an anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal and anti-parasitic remedy that you can make in your own kitchen. We made it this month so that we are ready to keep our immune system strong when the season (and weather) changes.
This works as a preventative ally, keeping your immune system strong and it also works to help rally your immune system if a cold or flu strikes.
Remember: It’s best to use fresh,organic ingredients whenever possible. Especially, when making medicine.
Below are the health benefits of each ingredient. You will find the recipe at the bottom of the page.
The Health Benefits of Horseradish Root
- A natural Antibiotic
- Helps relieve bronchitis and cough
- Strengthens the immune system
- Stimulates the production of white blood cells
- High levels Vitamin C
The Health Benefits of Garlic
Best used in its raw or fermented form
- Natural Antibiotic
- Rich in phytoncides-such as allicin – helping cure infections at a faster rate.
It’s best to chop the garlic and wait 15 minutes prior to utilizing/ eating/ cooking. This allows the health-giving enzyme reaction of garlic to occur.
The Health Benefits of Tumeric Root
Curcumin is an incredible compound found in turmeric. It works synergistically with Black pepper which increases it’s bioavailability in the blood.
- Antiviral- helps fight influenza
- Protects the immune system
Curcumin has become popular and effective anti-inflammatory but even more so it has played an important supportive role in the treatment of cancer
The Health Benefits of Ginger Root
Ginger is a widely recognized medicinal root across many cultures for thousands of years.
- Powerful Anti- inflammatiory
- Reduces pain
- Helps alleviate gastrointestinal distress
- Helps eliminate intestinal gas
- Soothes the intestinal tract
- Recent studies have shown promising reports of Ginger’s anti-cancer properties
The Health Benefits of Onion
- Sulfur-rich assisting the body to detoxify
- Heart disease prevention
- Immune bosting
- DNA protection
The Health Benefits of Hot Peppers
- Rich in capsaicin which protects cells against cancer
- Regulate blood sugar
- Stimulate blood flow – helps relieve congestion associated with cold and sinus infections.
In this recipe we’ve used Jalepeño peppers because they were growing in our garden. However, Unripe green habaneros contain more Vitamin C than a serving of citrus fruit.
The Health Benefits of Raw Apple Cider Vinegar
- Probiotic -rich promoting a healthy intestinal tract
- Boosts the immune system
Make this Anti-Viral, Anti-bacterial tonic for home use.
Fresh Horseradish Root
Fresh Tumeric Root (or powdered turmeric if not available)
Fresh Ginger Root
chopped then add to food processor
Hot Peppers (jalapeño or other)
diced with gloves on
Raw Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar
Fresh Ground Pepper (works synergistically with tumeric)
Grate, dice or add to food processor each ingredient at a time and add to jar.
Fill mason jars of your choice 3/4 of the way full.
Add in Apple Cider Vinegar to the top.
Cover with lids (if using metal lids add parchment paper so the vinegar does not react with the metal lids.
Store in a place out of the sun. Shaking gently once per day for two weeks, and then filter the Master Tonic mixture through a clean piece of cheese cloth or other, bottle and label.
Can be stored in the pantry indefinitely.
Take 1 or 2 ounces a day during cold and flu season, You can add raw organic honey if desired. Swish and then swallow. Don’t dilute with water.
The dosage for the Master Tonic is 1 or 2 ounces, two or more times daily.
For an infection, 1 or 2 ounces taken 5-6 times a day will be suffcient. It can be used during pregnancies, is safe for children (use smaller dosesand maybe a dropper full with added honey). This is a non-toxic food.
Nettles, a spring food are incredibly healthy and nourishing. This is my favorite way (so far) to get my nettles on. You can easily adapt this recipe to basil if you’re cleansing during a time without Nettles.
1 bunch of fresh Nettles
1⁄2 C pine nuts (if you can’t tolerate pine nuts try almonds, walnuts or cashews)
2-3 cloves garlic (chopped)
Olive oil (best to do this by sight, but start with 1/8-1/4 C)
Salt to taste.
- Use tongs to handle Nettles, they will sting you until blanched!
- Bring a pot of filtered water to boil enough to submerge the bunch ofnettles you have.
- Rinse the Nettles- using tongs- in a bowl with cold water and gentlyagitate to clean off dirt, drain, repeat 2 more times.
- When water is hot or boiling places nettles – using tongs- into thewater and push around until the color changes – and they begin to brighten and plump – just a few seconds.
- Remove by pouring water into a mesh strainer or colander sitting overa bowl – so you can capture the water. Set aside this Nettles water and drink as a hot tea. Drink it plain or add some mint to it.
- Place nettles, garlic, pine nuts, (basil and/or mint if desired) and someoil into a food processor (or Vita mix)
- Add more oil for desired consistency, add salt to taste
Serve with zucchini or spaghetti squash pasta. Dip veggies into it; serve over
roasted cauliflower, or with anything, really.
Olive oil is beneficial for many reasons. Researchers now know that this oil contains the antioxidants called polyphenols, which can help prevent age-related diseases. In recent years, there has been much controversy over imported olive oil. In our household we use Zoe olive oil and enjoy very much. It’s important to remember not to cook on high heat with Olive Oil as that creates free radicals. Instead, we use it in a salad dressing. (We cook with Ghee or Coconut oil, but that’s for another post)
Fish like wild caught salmon are a no-brainer. They are packed with omega-3 fatty acids, which help regulate cholesterol levels and can improve heart health, which become increasingly important to take care of as we age.
Nuts like almonds are packed with vitamins and minerals, as well as antioxidants and other nutrients that help fight aging. Those who incorporate nuts into their diet are shown to potentially add years on to their lives. Nuts are a great way to also get more protein into your diet and keep you energized.
Quality dark chocolate not only tastes good but can also be great for your health. Cocoa is packed with flavonoids that are good for heart disease and promote healthy blood vessels. Add a little dark chocolate into your diet to help lower your risk of high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, kidney disease and dementia.
Blueberries are known for their high amount of antioxidant properties. These berries can help inflammation and age-related deficiencies such as memory loss and motor function.
Avocado is filled with omega-3s and vitamin E, which prove to have many health benefits. If you are fighting aging skin, avocado is your go-to food for rejuvenating your skin as well as stronger nails and hair.
We use this on all the fresh salad greens we eat each day.
This is more a method than a recipe — good luck!
- 1 part extra virgin Olive Oil
- 1/2 part Lime juice (or raw apple cider vinegar for a different taste but added health benefits)
- a few pinches of garlic granules to taste
- 1/8 part raw honey
- a few pinches of Celtic or Himalaya sea salt to taste
- Whisk all ingredients together
Famous Chef method of Dressing a Salad:
- Add to bottom of salad bowl
- Add salad next
- Toss to coat
- Enjoy a generous helping of salad