Archive for June 2016

Raspberry, Mango, & Avocado Arugula Salad Recipe

raspberry healthy salad recipeMy parents grow raspberries in their yard, so this time of year is very exciting, as it’s harvest time! Whenever I go over to their place, I brave the thorns to collect on the bounty. Raspberries have a lot of amazing health benefits, including that they are rich in a host of antioxidants, fibre, vitamins A, C, E, K, and folate, and an assortment of minerals. They have been found to have anti-inflammatory, blood sugar regulating, and anti-cancer health benefits. And raspberry ketones may help improve fat cell metabolism, thus their connection to weight loss.

I didn’t need to know all the health benefits to be thrilled about getting to take home a large container of raspberries. I LOVE the taste! I put them on my oatmeal in the morning, but I thought I’d like to know what other things I could do with them, so here’s a delicious salad recipe I found.

Raspberry, Mango, & Avocado Arugula Salad Recipe
Special raspberries make everything better! A simple salad made special. This makes 4-5 servings, so change quantities appropriately.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 1/2 cups raspberries (divided 1/2 cup and 1 cup)
  2. 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  3. 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  4. 1 small clove garlic, coarsely chopped
  5. 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  6. 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  7. 8 cups arugula or other greens
  8. 1 ripe mango, diced
  9. 1 small ripe avocado, diced
  10. 1/4 cup nuts of choice
Instructions
  1. Puree 1/2 cup raspberries, oil, vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper in a blender.
  2. Combine greens, mango, and avocado in a large bowl.
  3. Add dressing to greens and toss to mix.
  4. Top with remaining 1 cup of raspberries and nuts.
  5. Enjoy!
Acupuncture, TCM, natural health, Vancouver, BC http://www.activetcm.com/
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Traditional Chinese Medicine treats Inflammatory Bowel Disease IBD

inflammatory bowel disease TCM herbs acupuncture VancouverIBD is short for Inflammatory Bowel Disease, and it includes chronic inflammation at any or all parts of the bowels. The most common types of inflammatory bowel disease are Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis, but inflammation of the rectum is also possible, and it’s called proctitis.

Few people want to talk about their challenges with an IBD. It simply isn’t accepted as a topic easily discussed in public. But, recently someone asked me to write about inflammatory bowel disease, in particular proctitis, as it’s something that she suffers from.

* If you want to read more about Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis, check out my blog Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s or my article in 24 Hours, Time to Get Gutsy.

Proctitis can be either acute (short-lived) or chronic (long lasting), and it can cause rectal pain, frequent or continuous sensation of needing to have a bowel movement, rectal bleeding, diarrhea, mucus in stool, and pain in the left side of the abdomen. Diagnosis can involve blood tests, stool tests, and a scope.

Causes of the Inflammatory Bowel Disease Proctitis

About a third of the people with Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis will have proctitis.

Sexually transmitted infections—including gonorrhea, chlamydia, genital herpes, and HIV—particularly from anal intercourse, is one of the risk factors for proctitis, so it’s important to use protection.

Other types of infection that can result in proctitis include foodborne infections like salmonella, campylobacter, and shigella. Antibiotic use may also make us more susceptible to infection as it destroys the good bacteria in our gut, allowing harmful bacteria to flourish. Probiotic supplementation and the consumption of naturally fermented foods rich in good bacteria can help diminish the risk by rebalancing our gut flora.

Radiation therapy for cancer treatment in areas close to the rectum (such as prostate or ovarian cancer) can also cause proctitis. This can happen during radiation therapy and last for months after, or even occur years after treatment.

Treatment of Proctitis

Obviously, if the cause of the proctitis is an infection, that will need to be treated. Antibiotics may be the appropriate course of treatment, but remember to take your probiotics as well. Time them away from when you take the antibiotics. Yogurt is not enough. Yogurt and other fermented foods are helpful for general promotion of good bacteria in the gut, but antibiotics are powerful drugs, so you’ll need to take a probiotic supplement to counter the destruction of all the good bacteria.

Probiotics are a good treatment option in general for digestive disorders, so talk with a health practitioner about your best choices.

If the infection is viral, like herpes, you may need to take an antiviral medication. One natural option for herpes treatment is the amino acid l-lysine. Again, it’s best to talk with the right health practitioner for assessment.

As the “itis” component of the word proctitis indicates, this is an inflammatory disease, so taking care of the inflammation is key. Natural anti-inflammatories include turmeric (curcumin), bromelain, and fish oils. It’s also important to avoid foods that are likely to trigger inflammation, including refined sugars, processed fats, chemically-laden foods, caffeine, alcohol, carbonated drinks, and too many animal meats. Spicy foods, seeds, popcorn, raw foods, and foods with sorbitol in it may also be triggers for proctitis and other IBDs.

Traditional Chinese Medicine and Proctitis

TCM always assesses each person individually. The best TCM is not a “cookie cutter” treatment with the same acupuncture points, herbal formula, or nutritional advice being doled out to every person with the same medical diagnosis. In fact, treatment plans can vary quite widely for the same disease because the people suffering are all quite different.

Nevertheless, there are some patterns that we do commonly see. For example, inflammatory issues, especially when acute or in a flare, often show signs of Heat, so we recommend avoiding hot spices, stimulants, alcohol, and excessive exercise (light and moderate are still recommended, depending on the severity). Those who’ve been struggling with a digestive disorder (or most any chronic health issue, really) for a long time, probably have a number of deficiencies–areas of weakness. For those, we may recommend herbs that help strengthen the body, including ginseng and reishi or cordyceps mushrooms. Juicing may be appropriate for those with more Heat signs, while soups and stews and slow cooked meals may be recommended for those with more Cold. Both are more easily digested than simple raw foods.

Acupuncture can help reduce inflammation, relieve pain, and calm the nervous system to support healing. And, don’t worry, the needles are not done locally.

If you or someone you know has proctitis or any other IBD or digestive disorder, contact me if you have questions on how to treat it. No need to suffer in silence.

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Powerful Natural Medicine Secret

Powerful natural medicine hope Traditional Chinese Medicine Vancouver acupunctureHere I’m going to start with the bad, so I can illustrate the power of something you could call a natural medicine. A study in the 1950s by Dr. Carl Richter involved taking rats and putting them through a forced swim test. Rats can swim, and the rats they used were, as far as they could tell, equally healthy. The rats gave up swimming and sunk (we’ll pretend they ended up ok), fairly quickly–some in mere minutes, some up to 15 minutes. But, if they were removed from the water for a short amount of time before that, and allowed a brief rest while they were held, they could then be put back in the water and swim for up to 60 hours! From 15 minutes max to 60 HOURS!

What?! How could they somehow bring about a Herculean effort to keep swimming for 240 times longer when they would otherwise have given up? 

A Natural Medicine

Hope.

They had hope that they might again be rescued. Hope is a powerful natural medicine. It helps us try more, push harder, and persist longer. And, often, eventually succeed.

So, when I hear from patients that they’ve been told there’s nothing further that can be done–to manage their pain, help them sleep, improve or cure their illness, or simply function and feel better–I’m disturbed by that. Why 

That’s why I love Traditional Chinese Medicine and most natural medicine practices. The goal is to discover what combination of imbalances have lead to the health issue at hand, and to help strengthen the body, and thus allow healing. There isn’t always cure. There isn’t always a fast fix. But improvement is possible. I don’t know how many times I’ve been told that I’m someone’s last resort. At the very least, I aim to offer hope and support while the body begins the process of healing. 

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Is Sugar Ruining You? Sugar’s Health Effects

I recently wrote an article, Sweet in the Modern World (pages 7-9), for Medicinal Roots Magazine. As a result, Michael Max, an acupuncturist in the US, contacted me to ask me to join him to talk about sugar’s health effects on his podcast channel, Everyday Acupuncture.

In this podcast, Michael and I discuss a number of issues that come up with sugar.

Show highlights on sugar’s health effects

2:27    How I discovered sugar was affecting my health
5:24    Sugar’s health effects: health issues that may be caused by or aggravated by too much sugar
8:06   Planning ahead helps you manage your sugar cravings
10:42  Your taste buds can change to become more sensitive to smaller amounts of sweet
14:46  Be mindful about your food choices
19:50  Is it stomach hunger or are your bored, lonely, or other?
20:27  Traditional Chinese Medicine can help you get off sugar
26:20  Some simple tips to reduce sugar intake
29:48  Your menstrual cycle and sugar cravings
31:22  What else can you eat that’s healthier and still tasty?
37:43  Have you considered a food diary?
41:35  Quick tips to get your own attention around food and eating

Here’s the podcast:

Check out more of Everyday Acupuncture podcasts by clicking on the image below.

Sugar's health effects customized nutrition Vancouver BC

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