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.

7 Tips to Getting a Restful Night’s Sleep

7 Tips to Getting a Restful Night’s Sleep

Sleep is one of the most important tools we have to support good health. And it’s free.

 The bedroom is the place we go to recharge, unwind, and support deep rest.

The bedroom is a sacred space.

Look around with an unbiased eye and take note of what’s happening in your bedroom.

Is it cluttered? Are there pictures or knick-knacks that drain your energy?

Sleep is critical for our physical, mental and emotional health. It is our time to unplug, recharge, detox, and quite literally, rest. This supports a healthy immune system and a healthy nervous system.

Without quality sleep, we experience greater emotional stress, susceptibility to illness (lowered immune response), premature aging , and anxiety.

Here are 7 tips on enhancing your beauty and your health through sleep.

1. Remove the cell phone from your room. If you’re using it as an alarm clock, do yourself a favor and purchase a real one. Cell phones are always sending out and receiving a signal and this is highly disruptive to sleep.

2. Choose an alarm clock with red or orange light, not blue or green. Or go old school. The spectrum of red or orange light is much more soothing to our bodies. If you want to drop a few bucks on a super zen battery operated chime clock, check these out.

3. Sleep in the dark. Our bodies are programmed to sleep in the dark and wake with the light. Have you ever gone camping? Once the sun goes down, sleeping happens much sooner.

Buy black out curtains or simply hang extra fabric to seal out the light. Studies have shown that light while sleeping can affect hormones, mood, and ovulation in women.

4. Keep electronics away from your head. Electromagnetic fields (EMFs)  disrupt our health and can trigger anxiety, restlessness, and prevent sound sleep. This includes alarm clocks (you can put this across the room or in the hallway), lamps, really anything plugged in to the wall. If you like to read at night, unplug the lamp before you settle to sleep. Some people even like to flip the circuit breaker.

5. Remove TVs, computers, stereos, and other unnecessary gadgetry from your bedroom. Studies have shown that once you turn off the TV it continues to radiate for 8 hrs. Not so good if you’re trying to rest and repair.

6. If you suffer from insomnia, try eliminating caffeine. Even a small cup of coffee at 8am could affect someone who is extra sensitive and prone to insomnia.

7. Create a nighttime ritual – 5- 30 minutes should do the trick. Here are some ideas to explore:A hot salt bath (or if your feet are hot, a cool foot bath with peppermint soap), slow yoga to meditative music, 10 deep belly breathes, or a foot rub. All of these bring your energy inward, calm the nervous system and prepare the body for sleep.

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. 

 

Cold and Flu Season

Cold and Flu Season

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.