Archive for July 2009

Do what I say…AND what I do

I read a story recently as follows:

A mother brought her young son to Mahatma Gandhi. She begged, “Please, Mahatma. Tell my son to stop eating sugar.”
Gandhi paused, then said, “Bring your son back in two weeks.” Puzzled, the woman thanked him and said that she would do as he had asked.
Two weeks later, she returned with her son. Gandhi looked the youngster in the eye and said, “Stop eating sugar.”
Grateful but bewildered, the woman asked, “Why did you tell me to bring him back in two weeks? You could told him the same thing then.”
Gandhi replied, “Two weeks ago, I was eating sugar.

I truly believe in leading by example. I try to follow the same principles and recommendations I give my patients. I am not, nor do I strive to be, perfect. But I do do the best that I can. In fact, I have for a long time recommended yoga, tai chi, and/or qi gong. But I had not done any of those things regularly myself for awhile. A month ago I committed to going to yoga class regularly. And now I like it more than I ever thought I would.

I had also been working a lot and not taking enough breather time for myself. Well, yesterday my body told me enough was enough. I came down with the fastest flu of all time (or so I think). It started in the afternoon, forcing me to cancel the remainder of my patients for the day. I had an acupuncture treatment, dragged my sorry butt home, and slept. Made myself sweat it out (not hard to do with our currently very hot weather) and woke up 100% myself again. Lesson heard, lesson learned. I don’t think I have ever given up a day of clinic due to illness and I’ve been seeing patients for about 8 years now! This was my body telling me that it needed a break.

Listen to your body. Do the things that are good for you that you keep promising you’ll do, but don’t do. And congratulate yourself for the healthy changes you do make. Your body will thank you!


Summer Heat, Cooling off

Vancouver is in a heat wave now and many are feeling uncomfortable. On the news tonight there was a report about how using ice cream and frappuccinos–or other such high calorie, high sugar, high fat, or all of the above food and drink–is unhealthy and quickly add up the pounds.

So, I looked up some other options. Here’s my modification of a healthier recipe I found online:
* 1/2 cup milk (I’d try soy or rice milk)
* 1/4 cup honey
* 1/2 tsp cocoa
* 1 tsp vanilla (may also add a little nutmeg, hazelnut syrup, and/or coconut extract as well to spice it up)
* 2 T. coffee substitute (like Pero or Roma) or 1 tsp instant coffee
Mix all in a blender, then add about 2 cups crushed ice (or 3 cups cubed). As soon as the drink gets thick, like a milkshake, you can stop adding ice, and it should be perfect.

And, this site has lots of healthy options:


Bitter herbs

I’ve read some great books lately. Two of the books I’m likely going to draw some blog topics from are:
“Survival of the Sickest” by Dr. Sharon Moalem
“The Brain that Changes Itself” by Dr. Norman Doidge
In “Survival of the Sickest,” I am reminded of the response that my patients give when they first try a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) customized herbal tea. I usually warn my patients to expect to hate me after the first sip. I tell them that it may taste like the worst thing that they have ever tried to drink. Of course, that’s not always true–some patients like their herbs from day one–but it’s often pretty close.

We’ve actually evolved to dislike bitter tasting things. It’s believed that this is to warn us away from eating plants that contain toxins. For example, there’s a compound called scopalamine in jimsonweed that causes temporary madness.

The problem is that many bitter tasting compounds are actually really healthy for us. Most TCM herbs are bitter tasting. Most medicinal herbs, in general, are bitter tasting. Maybe our expanding coffee-drinking culture will actually help us get used to bitter tastes and help us to down those medicinal herbs that can help us get and stay well.

The funny thing is that those same patients who baulk at the TCM teas initially often say that they don’t mind the tea as much after their second week of herbs. And sometimes they even say that they LIKE the herbs by the third week and beyond! I’m one of those people. I now like most of the herbal teas that I make.

2000 B.C. – Here, eat this root.
1000 A.D. – That root is heathen. Here, say this prayer.
1850 A.D. – That prayer is superstition. Here, drink this potion.
1940 A.D. – That potion is snake oil. Here, swallow this pill.
1985 A.D. – That pill is ineffective. Here, take this antibiotic.
2000 A.D. – That antibiotic doesn’t work anymore. Here, eat this root”


Updates after almost 2 years!

It’s been awhile since I last posted, but I’ve been meaning to get back to this for awhile. So many things to write about!

The most recent thing that comes to mind is the BC provincial government considering merging its sales tax with the federal tax for a “harmonized sales tax”, HST, of 12%. I’m NOT happy about this. As it is, my patients have to pay 5% for taxes every time they use my service. We should NOT have to pay tax on health services. If this does go through, that extra 7% will make a big difference!

(The Globe and Mail article)

What do you think?

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