Archive for January 2016

Easy Healthy Meatless Gluten-Free Recipe

easy healthy meatless gluten-free recipeWhat more could you ask for?

  • Healthy? Check.
  • Easy? Check.
  • Meatless? Check.
  • Gluten-free? Check.
  • Filling? Check.
  • Inexpensive? Check.
  • Delicious? Check.

Easy Healthy Meatless Gluten-Free Recipe

I made this the other night and it was a hit. The double-bonus is that I made so much that we had it for leftovers for a lunch and another dinner. I liked the taste of the leftovers better than the original.

Now that the leftovers are done, my husband is thinking about when he can have it next. Well, last night I booked myself a trip to Costa Rica for a yoga retreat. Woohoooooo! My husband will be home watching after our home and the dogs while I do yoga, SUP yoga, surf, and relax with friends at a beautiful sunny resort. Well, I’ll also be doing a talk about Traditional Chinese Medicine, so it’s not all play, but hey, talking about TCM is easy work for me! It’s not for a couple of months that I go away, but now my husband has already put in a request for me to make this meal in a large quantity just before I leave for that trip so that he can eat it for several meals while I’m gone. I don’t typically make and freeze meals for him when I’m away (in fact, he’s normally the one who cooks at our place), but this meal is so easy that I feel like I can come across as a hero without much effort. 😉 

Pineapple Coconut Fried Rice
Serves 6
This is my kind of recipe. Easy to cheat with shortcuts. Easy to substitute with ingredients I have in my fridge. Easy to make in quantity for no hassle leftovers. Check out the link for the original recipe, if you want to make it more authentically. I "shortcutted" my way through in my recipe below.
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Ingredients
  1. 2 cups long grain jasmine rice
  2. 2 cups water
  3. 1 cup coconut milk
  4. optional coconut extract
  5. OPTIONAL 1 lb (I actually don't know how much it weighed; I simply bought a package of what looked like "enough") pre-cooked shrimp; you can buy fresh and cook it yourself
  6. 2½ TBS coconut oil
  7. 3 medium carrots, peeled and diced
  8. 1¼ cups (200g) corn kernels
  9. ½ cup (75g) peas
  10. 3 large eggs, whisked
  11. 3 stalks of green onions, sliced
  12. 1 can chopped pineapple; you could certainly get fresh instead
  13. 2 to 3 TBS Bragg's aminos or tamari sauce for gluten-free options (soy sauce if you're not worried about gluten)
  14. 1½ tsp sesame oil
  15. salt to taste
  16. toasted coconut for topping
Instructions
  1. Cook the rice. I cooked mine in my rice cooker, but you could boil it. If you're boiling it, add coconut milk to it once the water boils.
  2. Since I used my rice cooker, I added some coconut extract to the rice, as I love coconut and I wanted this to be as coconutty as possible. Put the cooked rice aside and add coconut milk.
  3. OPTIONAL if you want shrimp in it. Cook the shrimp. If you cheated like me, and bought pre-cooked shrimp, just skip this step. 😉
  4. Heat coconut oil in a deep sauté pan over medium-high heat.
  5. When the pan is hot, add diced carrots. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
  6. Add corn and peas and cook for another 2 minutes.
  7. Pour in the eggs and add most of the green onions, saving some for garnish.
  8. Cook eggs for 1 to 2 minutes.
  9. Next, add the rice and pineapple.
  10. Keep stirring until the eggs are fully cooked.
  11. Season rice with Bragg's/tamari/soy sauce, sesame oil (actually, I forgot the sesame oil, and it tasted great without), and salt.
  12. (Mix in the cooked shrimp and turn off the heat.)
  13. Sprinkle remaining green onions and toasted coconut on top of the fried rice and serve.
Notes
  1. I'm going to tell you another cheat I did for this recipe. I used frozen sliced carrots (multi-coloured, which is why my rice turned purple--looks great though, doesn't it?), corn, and peas. That way I could skip the washing, slicing, husking, and shelling. Don't judge me.
Acupuncture, TCM, natural health, Vancouver, BC http://www.activetcm.com/
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Top 5 Articles About Health in 2015

health in 2015 review Traditional Chinese Medicine acupuncture Vancouver bc

Health in 2015 Review

I like to look back to review the most stand-out news in health in 2015. Of course, for me, a lot of my remembrance about health news is particular to either Traditional Chinese Medicine or nutrition.

  1. Remember the day that you were told bacon and sausages are in the same category for cancer-causing as smoking and asbestos? If you missed my article reviewing the WHO’s report, here it is: WHO declares processed meat cancer risk.
  2. The Vancouver Sun wrote an article titled “Chinese herbs mixed with medications can be hazardous.” I wrote an article titled: The media loves to write about “dangerous Chinese herbs”
  3. Remember that yellow skied morning last summer? It looked cool, but its cause was not! Even though those fires are not affecting our air today, the tips for lung health are always good to heed: BC wildfires and your lung health
  4. Finding higher levels of toxins in the blood and urine samples of women from South and East Asia, researchers questioned the source, including Chinese and Aryuvedic herbs. It’s so important to know the source of the things you are taking. Are your foods, herbs, makeup, and more full of toxins
  5. No duh. Researchers found that acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine treatments that were customized to individuals were more effective than “cookbook-style” one-treatment-fits-all acupuncture treatments to boost fertility. Boosting fertility with “whole systems” TCM

This isn’t exactly news about health in 2015, but my favourite article of the year was in the Journal of Chinese Medicine–a funny bit reviewing a negative opinion piece published about acupuncture research in Headache journal: Getting High on Acupuncture Research 
If you only read one link, read that one. Sad that the original article maligning acupuncture as an effective therapy for migraines was so misinformed, poorly researched, and published in a supposedly respected “scientific” journal.

Looking forward to seeing what 2016 will bring in the news on health. 

What are the health and wellness things you remember most for 2015, either in the media or in your personal life?

 

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Try Again for Healthy Habits in 2016

healthy habits for 2016 acupuncture Traditional Chinese Medicine VancouverHealthy Habits Instead of New Year’s Resolutions

I find that there’s an aversion to the idea of New Year’s resolutions. It seems that the thought of failure is linked with resolutions like peanut butter is to jam or like healthy eating is to bland foods. Of course, sometimes those things are linked. But sometimes they aren’t. I prefer almond butter with jam. And of course I know and enjoy lots of healthy foods that are delicious too! 

What I prefer to think of, however, are long term healthy habits. A habit is something you do without having to think much about it–“something that a person does in a regular and repeated way.” And, because of that, bad habits are hard to kick. But good, healthy habits can also be hard to kick, making us more successful at achieving our goals.

Have you tried something before without success? Why not try again, maybe with a slightly different approach.

Try Something Different

Every January, I get a bit restless. Throughout the year I intersperse hiking, cycling, snow shoeing, and SUP yoga into my routine. But I often feel like “kicking it up a notch” when the year’s number changes. In other Januaries I tried Crossfit, training for Tough Mudder, bootcamps, and return to step classes (my old fave). I liked some things about those activities, but I always feel a pull to return to my yoga practice.

This year I decided to see if any new healthy habits for exercise would stick. First I tried working with a trainer one-on-one. On the first workout she. Kicked. My. Butt. Can’t say I liked it. But the 2nd and 3rd sessions I felt stronger. It’s good to have someone help you evaluate what you’re doing, and I’ve recognized some areas of weaknesses that I can continue to build up.

The other thing I tried was a Moksha hot yoga class. I’ve tried Moksha before, as well as Bikram’s. I didn’t much like them then, but I thought I’d try it again. Nope. Too hot. Too stuffy in the room. Too hard to breathe, as a result. But the first 15 minutes (I went early) of lying in the heated room did loosen up my muscles from the trainer’s workout.

Though I likely won’t continue with these two particular healthy habits for 2016, it was well worth giving them another shot. For one, I re-iterated in my mind that I really like my usual form of fitness (body and mind) through yoga. I was restless. I am at peace again. 

For another, it’s good to challenge oneself. Not that yoga doesn’t challenge me. It does. But doing something different brings another kind of challenge. 

Tweak What You’ve Tried in the Past

And, here’s the last reason why trying something again can be beneficial. Maybe this time it works. 

My friend was advised to do a nasal saline rinse. He told me that he had a horrible experience with that in the past. He had used a neti pot to pour water into one nostril. It didn’t come out the other nostril. It stayed stuck somewhere in his sinuses, he told me, leaving him with a horrendous headache. I suggested he try a “nasal irrigator” called Nasaline–what looks like a big syringe with a silicone tip at the end. Because the device allows you to push the fluid in a manner you control, instead of relying on gravity, I find it is stronger in its effect. 

It worked! Had he avoided trying it again–same basic premise with a different approach–because of a past bad experience, he never would benefited from this easy solution. 

What Healthy Habits Can You Try Anew?

Maybe you go to the gym, do yoga, eat lots of veggies, meditate, go for a daily walk, or come in for acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine tune-ups regularly (you should, you know). Or maybe you just make sure to brush your teeth after meals. Regardless, pat yourself on the back because you have some healthy habits you have maintained.

Now, are there some areas that could be improved upon? 

If you are having trouble finding ways to make your healthy habits stick, ask me. I may know a technique, a person, a device, a simple tweak that will work better for you.

 

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