Health Blog

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Candy Cane Chocolate Coconut Cookies

C-C-C-C-Can you get any better than this?! I need to make these! But I think I’m actually going to wait until after Christmas is over, as I’m already overwhelmed with sweet treats galore. If you make them first, tell me what you think.

Candy Cane Chocolate Coconut Cookies
Yields 10
I think that the author of this recipe is on to something huge here. Check out her blog Healthy.Happy.Life ( for more amazing recipes. I passed on doing a cookie swap because I really didn't have time for it, but if I would have done it, this is the cookie I would have brought!
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  1. 3/4 cup oat flour
  2. 3/4 cup coconut sugar
  3. 1 tsp baking powder
  4. 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  5. 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  6. 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  7. 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  8. 1/2 tsp salt
  9. 1 1/2 Tbsp cold non-dairy milk
  10. 1/4 cup crushed candy cane
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  2. Combine oat flour, sugar, baking powder, cocoa powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl
  3. Fold in the vinegar, vanilla and coconut oil.
  4. Stir well until a thick crumbly dough forms.
  5. Fold in the cold non-dairy milk and candy cane pieces.
  6. The dough should thicken up as the cold liquid touches the coconut oil-infused dough.
  7. Lightly grease a baking sheet or use a baking cookie mat.
  8. Form small dough balls with your hands and press the balls into flat circles with your palms. (or roll out dough and use cookie cutters to make your own fun shapes!)
  9. Place on cookie sheet.
  10. Bake for 12-15 minutes (cook a bit longer if you like a crunchier cookie texture, less for soft and fudgy)
  11. Allow cookies to cool at least twenty minutes before serving. (not sure I will have the willpower to wait!)
  1. If you want to make your own oat flour, you can blend dry whole oats in a powerful blender.
Adapted from Healthy. Happy. Life
Acupuncture, TCM, natural health, Vancouver, BC

Don’t suffer the Christmas bloat

24 Hours logoYou know what I’m talking about. You look in your closet to figure out what to wear to go to the next holiday celebration and you ask yourself, “What will stretch without showing my bloated belly?” Instead of having to cover up, avoid the holiday bloat by making better food and drink choices. That doesn’t mean that you have to avoid all the fun! Just choose wisely and follow some of my simple pieces of advice given in my 24 Hours Vancouver article, Avoid the Christmas bloat


Bad news press; Good news reality

24 Hours logoSometimes something comes out in the news that is bad for a profession. Someone’s poor decisions and actions can taint the profession as a whole. It has happened many times for the police, though there are many good officers that keep the public safe.  It has happened to dentists, when one person is doing unlawful dental work in their basement. It has happened to executives who steal from the company or misappropriate funds. But this should not reflect on the professions at large. TCM is a regulated profession. That’s a very good thing. We have rules we need to abide by. Of course! These rules are in place to protect the public. You are protected. If we do not follow them, there are consequences. As there should be. I recently wrote this article in 24 Hours Vancouver to inform about the safety of the TCM practice of acupuncture.: Public safety not taken lightly in TCM


Treating wintry depression (SAD)

24 Hours logoSeasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that occurs with a specific season. The most common type of SAD occurs during the colder, darker months of fall and winter. While feeling a bit of a pull to hibernate is common, SAD can negatively affect daily living. My article in 24 Hours Vancouver offers solutions, “Natural remedies can lighten the sadness.”


Getting over fears

24 Hours logoPhobias can be of nearly anything, from aardvarks to ziplines, but a fear of needles is quite common. There are many things you can do to help you get over your fear of needles so that you can enjoy the benefits–and even the feeling of relaxation–that comes from acupuncture. Learn more by checking out my article in 24 Hours Vancouver, Don’t fear acupuncture needles


Black Bean Curry Stew

A great recipe to warm up to on cold wintry days, this comforting stew is also great to support digestive health. Black beans are rich in fibre, iron, magnesium, potassium, and folic acid. Butternut squash is another amazingly nutrient-rich food that keeps the colon healthier.

Black Bean Curried Stew
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  1. 2 cans of organic low-sodium black beans, rinsed
  2. 6 cups of cubed butternut squash (either peeled and cubed from whole squash or frozen cubes)
  3. 2 Tbsp high quality organic coconut oil
  4. 1 medium onion, diced
  5. 1 Tbsp curry powder
  6. 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
  7. 1/2 tsp cracked pepper
  8. 2 cups low sodium vegetable broth
  9. 8-10 whole dried apricots, chopped
  1. Saute onion to golden brown in coconut oil, using large saucepan.
  2. Add in squash and saute until squash is also a light golden brown.
  3. Add curry powder, cinnamon, and cracked pepper and stir for about 1 minute.
  4. Add vegetable broth.
  5. Stir in black beans and apricots and bring to a boil.
  6. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer--stirring occasionally--for 30 to 35 minutes, or until squash is cooked and soft.
  7. Enjoy!
Acupuncture, TCM, natural health, Vancouver, BC

Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s

stomach pain digestive pain chronic illness acupunctureWhile the likelihood of being diagnosed with many diseases increases with age, there are some that are most likely to start in the “prime of life”—ages 20 to 40. Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis (UC), both inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), fit this pattern. While I’ve written about IBDs before, this is an area of health that I’m particularly passionate about because I have a family connection. My sister has Crohn’s.

IBDs cause a host of challenges, including that there really is not that much known about them and that these diseases can be embarrassing. If you or someone you know has an IBD, here are some things to consider.

Both Crohn’s and UC are more common in first-world countries where a Westernized diet and lifestyle have been shown to increase the risk of IBD. There is thought that regular exposure to environmental toxins, synthetic chemicals, and bacteria are possible causes or at least aggravants. In addition—though IBDs are not caused by gluten—for those that are genetically susceptible, eating gluten can aggravate inflammation. Subsequently, it’s wise to consider a gluten-free diet, avoid processed foods, and try to limit contact with toxic chemicals, including pesticides, synthetic fragrances, and BPA plastics.

There are also some unusual treatments that are currently difficult to arrange, but show some promise. One involves infecting the IBD patient with a parasitic worm. Yup, you read that right. The reasoning is that in countries where parasitic worms are common, IBD incidence is low. This is called the “hygiene hypothesis.” It states that lack of these worm infections may result in immune dysregulation, leading to inflammation of the bowels. One worm that has been tested is called Trichuris suis ova (TSO), or pig whipworm egg. When ingested, the eggs only take up residency for a few weeks, and when they embed in the gut wall they help decrease the overstimulated immune cells and decrease inflammation.

Another type of treatment is fecal implants. Because one of the issues with IBD is an imbalance of intestinal bacteria, implanting a stool sample from a healthy donor has been found to effectively treat IBD. Preliminary studies showed reduction in symptoms (19 of 25 IBD patients), stopping of IBD medications (13 of 17 IBD patients on medications), and disease remission (15 of 24 IBD patients).

The problem with both of these last treatments is that they are not readily available options.

More easily accessible treatments include probiotics to help restore a healthy balance of good bacteria to the gut; omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA from fish oils to decrease inflammation; L-glutamine, an amino acid that helps restore intestinal cells; turmeric (curcumin) and boswellia, herbs to reduce inflammation; and slippery elm, marshmallow root, and aloe vera to soothe the gut lining.

A couple of simple things you can consider include extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) and also green tea. These two seemingly simple ingredients may very well help treat IBD. Taking 1-2 Tbsp of EVOO daily can help soothe the gut lining and decrease inflammation. Studies have also shown that green tea may help treat mild to moderate UC, and recommendations are for 5-6 cups daily, particularly of organic matcha green tea powder.

For a more in-depth treatment, Traditional Chinese Medicine offers a customized approach to identify individual digestive and health issues, using acupuncture, Chinese herbs, and nutritional advice.


Sourced from:

Roundoc Rx: Optimal Integrative Treatment for Ulcerative Colitis by Robert Roundtree, MD; August 2014



Pumpkin nut butter recipe

Did you know that pumpkin is for more than just pumpkin pie, and is also healthy for you? Rich in fibre, it can support a healthy digestive system, help balance your blood sugars, and even contribute to healthy weight maintenance. It is rich in vitamin A and beta-carotene to help fight cancer cells, treat and prevent eye disease, and support healthy, youthful skin. The vitamin C and vitamin A can also boost your immune power. It even has more potassium than a banana.

Pumpkin Nut Butter
I chose cashews and sunflower seeds here, but you can choose other nuts and seeds, if you like.
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  1. 1 can of pureed pumpkin (make sure you choose a BPA-free can brand)
  2. 1 cup cashews
  3. 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  4. 1-2 Tbsp honey (to your taste)
  5. 1 /2 tsp cinnamon
  6. 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  1. I use a Vitamix, but you could use another high powered blender or food processor. Blend nuts into a powder. Then add other ingredients and mix until smooth.
Acupuncture, TCM, natural health, Vancouver, BC

Throwback Thursday for Health Tips

24 Hours logoOf course I know that Throwback Thursday is supposed to happen on a Thursday, not a Friday, but I’m not throwing back that far…just to last month. I was away in September, so didn’t post my September 24 Hours articles that I had written in advance of my holidays. Here they are now.

Need help with your memory, concentration, and focus? Here are some tips. Boost memory with acupuncture, ginseng.

Support your immune system with sleep, exercise, food, and TCM. Learn more here: Sleep to fight off colds.


Important October Day–24 Hours article

24 Hours logoDid you know that October 24th is Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (AOM) Day? I had fun writing the details about how a reporter’s acute appendicitis in 1971 helped bring awareness of the benefits of acupuncture to North America, not long before China re-opened its doors to the Western world. To read more about this, check out my article in 24 Hours Vancouver titled, “Needles hit the spot for pain.” 

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