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Healthy eating with slow cooker: Morrocan Chicken with Veg Recipe

Easy Healthy Eating with Slow Cooker

healthy eating with slow cooker recipeI know. Eating healthy seems like effort. It’s easier to just pick up the phone and order a pizza or drop into Subway for what they would have you believe is a healthy option (it’s not really very good). Or even just poor a bowl of cereal for dinner. But really, healthy eating with slow cooker meals is easy.

The only hard part is having it cooking while you’re home. The smell of food all day will make you salivate.

I had bought this recipe book a few months ago, and then somehow forgot about it after I put it away. Now that I’ve re-discovered it, I’m definitely going to be into healthy eating with slow cooker recipes, especially during these cold damp days of Vancouver.

Moroccan Chicken with Veggies
This is a great meal to make for tonight's meal as well as leftovers.
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Ingredients
  1. 1/3 cup water
  2. 1 Tbsp olive oil
  3. 1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger
  4. 2 tsp vegetable or chicken bouillon powder
  5. 2 tsp minced garlic
  6. 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  7. 1 tsp turmeric
  8. 1/2 tsp drid thyme
  9. 1/2 tsp salt
  10. 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  11. 1/4 tsp ground coriander
  12. 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
  13. optional pinch cayenne (I didn't add this)
  14. 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs (I used about 1.5 lbs)
  15. 3 potatoes cut into large, but manageable chunks (the original recipe called for 4 med red potatoes cut in half)
  16. 3 carrots cut into manageable chunks (she suggested peeling, but I rarely peel my veg; I just wash them well; I want the extra nutrients of the skin)
  17. 1 med onion, chopped
  18. 1/3 cup raisins
  19. optional 1/3 cup sliced olives (I don't like olives, so I skipped this ingredient)
  20. 1 lemon, thinly sliced
  21. 3 Tbsp cilantro or mint leaves (she said finely chopped; I just tore it into small pieces)
  22. 1/3 cup Greek-style yoghurt or sour cream (I found a lactose-free one I hadn't seen before)
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, stir in water, oil, ginger, bouillon, garlic, cumin, turmeric, thyme, salt, pepper, coriander, cinnamon, and cayenne.
  2. Add 3 Tbsp of the mix to the slow cooker crock.
  3. Add the chicken to the remaining spice mixture in the bowl and coat it well with the sauce.
  4. Layer the veggies in the crock. First potatoes, then carrots, then onions.
  5. Sprinkle the raisins on top of that.
  6. Add the chicken next, and spoon in any of the remaining spice sauce mixture.
  7. Add the olives next (if you like olives).
  8. Arrange the lemon slices over all of that.
  9. Do not stir.
  10. Cover and cook for 8 hours on low OR 4 hours on high.
  11. Take the lemon out and squeeze out as much juice as you can to add back to the crock.
  12. Discard them lemon slices.
  13. Serve the chicken and veggies with cilantro or mint and yoghurt to garnish. (You can opt out of the garnish, if you like)
Adapted from Everyday Gluten-Free Slow Cooking
Adapted from Everyday Gluten-Free Slow Cooking
Acupuncture, TCM, natural health, Vancouver, BC http://www.activetcm.com/
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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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12 Days of Christmas, My 5 Favourite Healthy Habits

I hope this doesn’t send you into a panic, but we’re only a week away from Christmas now! For some, this time of year is exciting, for others it’s madness, and for still others it’s both. Holidays can overwhelm us with special sweet treats and the busyness of gift shopping, decoration hanging, and party celebrating, and it’s common for us to throw our healthy habits out the window. I’m not suggesting you skip all the delicious goodies and bah humbug your holiday to-do list, but it is possible to find some balance. I swear it’s true.

My 5 Fave Healthy Habits

I know, it’s the 12 Days of Christmas, so shouldn’t I write about 12 healthy habits? Maybe, but I also still have some holiday to-do’s that aren’t yet checked off, so here are 5.  :)

Start the day with a healthy meal

rice cooker oatmeal healthy breakfast recipe healthy habitsMuch better than a partridge in a pear tree is a healthy breakfast. You never know how your day is going to progress. Sometimes lunchtime ends up being shoved between chores as you drive from one place to the next. Or you’re scrounging through your desk drawer, hoping you left a package of crackers in there from last week’s soup. Or you’re so tired at the end of the day that you call a bowl of cereal “part of a complete meal.” Well, really, it’s the whole meal, but Tony the Tiger won’t tell on you. So, start the day with a healthy meal.

When I lived in Japan, I found out that a traditional breakfast includes fish, rice, miso soup, a boiled egg, a couple of little pickles, and maybe even a salad. I learned to enjoy that, but still prefer what I think of as “breakfast foods” to make up my breakfast meal. These are my most common choices for a start to my day. This one for warm summer months: see the Breakfast in a Jar recipe. And this one for cold winter months: Ready-in-the-Morning Rice Cooker Oatmeal Recipe. A healthy habit of having breakfast sets the tone for eating healthier for the rest of the day.

Exercise, in some form or another

natural health vancouver bc acupuncture healthy habitsI used to work for a gym, where I sold memberships and also helped train people on the basic use of the machines and set them up on a starting workout program, if they wanted that. I liked belonging to a gym. But I can understand why it would be less than appealing for many. And why many will not get enough (or any) use of a gym membership, even though the payments continue to be withdrawn. A workout doesn’t need to be a in a gym.

My preferred workouts are yoga classes (so much more than a “workout,” and my husband loves to bug me by asking me how my workout was, when I come back from the yoga studio), Grouse Grinds, snowshoeing (really hope to be able to get up there soon this year!), SUP yoga, a bike ride, or anything else that seems fun. Sometimes my workout is a silly dance as I clean house or procrastinate a chore. But it could also be playing tennis, running and playing with your dog, a brisk walk, tai chi class, dance class, swimming, skating, or even taking the stairs instead of the escalator or elevator (I love beating people to the top of the stairs when I leave a Skytrain station and they’re all still shoved onto the escalator). A healthy habit of exercise is one that you can sustain, regularly. Even when you’re super busy. Even though you’d rather stay on the couch. 

Laugh often, even at yourself

healthy habits acupuncture vancouverI don’t “lol.” When I realized that LOL doesn’t mean “lots of love,” I realized that I’m going to write out what I mean instead of using cyber shorthand. I will “hahahahaha” if I’m texting or emailing though, depending on how funny I find the particular joke. I know I’ve inherited my dad’s sense of humour. I like “dad jokes.” I like bad puns, dumb play on words, and goofy groaners. I’d rather sing “three french toast” than “three French hens.” You hosers know what I’m talking about. The rest of you are probably not born in Canada or are just much younger than me. If you don’t know this, you can check it out Bob and Doug McKenzie’s 12 Days of Christmas here. If you don’t laugh, don’t blame me though!

I actually thought to name my business “Active Health Acupuncture!” (yes, with the exclamation mark) so that I could shorten it to “AHA!” I even gave semi-serious contemplation to the tagline, “Needles to say, acupuncture works.” Then I thought maybe about this one, “Dr. Carr, better at acupuncture than at tag lines.”

Laughter is a great healthy habit to take on. It burns calories, boosts mood, decreases stress hormones, improves immune function, and even helps relieve pain. So, if you don’t want to laugh at yourself, laugh at me and my ridiculous sense of humour! I have some jokes here on my blog, Seriously, Laughter is Medicine.

Find connection

healthy habits acupuncture vancouverNo, not a wifi signal. But real, true connection with another living being. The other day I was walking down the street, and the man I passed said, “Good morning.” I almost tripped when he said it, as it’s so unusual in Vancouver! But I did quickly recover and returned the greeting. My grandfather lived his whole life in a small town where he knew practically (or maybe even truly) everyone. When he would visit us in Montreal, he would tip his hat and say, “Bonjour” as we walked by strangers. Since the streets of Montreal are a lot busier than those of his small town, he could get quite busy with hat tipping and friendly hellos. And though people, like me, were first surprised, they almost always smiled and responded. Connection can be deep. Telling your best friend your deepest, darkest secret. It can also be superficial and light. All are important.

Believe it or not, deep in my core, I’m shy. I used to hide under my desk when I was a kid. When I entered university, I was a year younger than most of my friends, meaning that I couldn’t join them when they went to a bar. One night I had had enough of waiting for them to return, so I decided I’d had enough with being shy. Before I had too much time to think about it, I walked down the dorm hall, ready to find someone else who I could hang out with. I found a smoky room (not a healthy habit!) full of the kind of people that I was afraid of in high school. But I went to the doorway anyway and said hi. Turns out they were super friendly, and though I hate the smell of smoke and probably damaged my lungs just sitting in that room, I made some great friends. If you’re feeling a bit more hermit-like, try connecting with an animal or even a tree. I never consider the name calling of “tree hugger” as an insult. Finding connection is probably one of the most core to our souls healthy habits you can keep.

Act preventively, treating so you don’t get sick

acupuncture vancouver bcOf course it makes sense to choose the path that leads to where you want to go. But then you also have to actually take steps on that path to help you move in your chosen direction. Knowing that you don’t want to get sick, and that you do want to live healthy so that you can do the things you enjoy and spend time with the people you love, means that you should be taking action to make those things possible.

Lifestyle choices and healthy habits, such as those mentioned above, can certainly help. But sometimes it helps to have a guide who can point you in the right direction. That’s where a health professional can step in. Natural healthcare providers, like registered Doctors of Traditional Chinese Medicine, often treat symptoms, diseases, and health issues. But we especially want to help prevent illness, and treat symptoms you thought you’d have to live with forever. Like the daily headaches I used to get, the sore back a patient became “used to,” the bloating another patient figured was just part of who she is. 

What are your favourite healthy habits?

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Ready-in-the-Morning Rice Cooker Oatmeal Recipe

healthy breakfast recipe rice cooker oatmeal recipe

This isn’t a picture of my old rice cooker, but it did look similar. This one looks fancier though, as it has a “keep” warm function. Mine had just the one switch. “On”

Is it weird that I love my automatic rice cooker? When I started university, my uncle gave me his old rice cooker. The one that he had used in university. It was mustard yellow. So, you know the era it was born. I kept that until just a few years ago. I used it regularly, and it always worked perfectly well. 

But then I discovered that I could get a rice cooker that I could set to have rice cooked and ready for any time I specified. And I learned that this wonder device could also cook oatmeal. And apparently bake a cake, but I’ve never tried that.

So, now my 5 cup Zojirushi rice cooker is used every single day, at least once, sometimes twice. Almost always for oatmeal in the morning, ready at 7 a.m. exactly. I feel like I have my own chef every morning. Perhaps I’ll nickname him Zoji. 😉

Here’s what I use for my Morning Rice Cooker Oatmeal Recipe:

Rice Cooker Oatmeal
I think I got the basic recipe with my rice cooker instructions. But I've modified the ingredients to my own taste. And you can do the same.
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Ingredients
  1. 1/3 cup steel cut oats
  2. 1 cup water
  3. Small handful of goji berries
  4. Small handful of raisins
  5. Small handful of pumpkin seeds or almonds
  6. Small handful of unsweetened coconut flakes
  7. *This recipe was created using the rice cooker measuring cup.
Instructions
  1. Place steel cut oats, water, and your chosen extra ingredients in the inner cooking pan.
  2. Place the inner cooking pan in the main body of the rice cooker, plug in the unit, and cook using the “Porridge” setting.
  3. When the rice cooker turns to Keep Warm, open the lid, and stir. Oh, and I'll mention that mine sings a little ditty when breakfast is ready. :)
  4. Serve warm.
  5. Using the Timer function and soaking the oats overnight will help soften the texture. Please do not use the Timer function when cooking with milk or other dairy products, as they may spoil.
Notes
  1. I do this every night and time it to be ready in the morning.
  2. I add almond milk or rice milk or coconut milk in the morning. You could choose to add a tsp of honey or maple syrup.
  3. This serves 2 people
Acupuncture, TCM, natural health, Vancouver, BC http://www.activetcm.com/
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What I take for healthy travel supplements

healthy travel planeMany of you may be travelling this winter, either for Christmas holidays, New Year’s celebrations, or to get somewhere sunny early in the new year. The last thing you want to do is get sick. One of the first things I organize when I travel is my healthy travel pack. Your list may vary, depending on your particular needs, where you are travelling, length of travel, and how much room you have in your bags, but here are some of my tips.

Cover the Basics for Healthy Travel

While many have a fear of flying, afraid that the plane is going to crash, we all know that that is highly unlikely to happen. You are, however, highly likely to be exposed to a lot of viruses and bacteria that can leave you sick when you arrive at your destination. The first thing I would suggest when it comes to travel is to support your immune system. It’s also key to be proactive for digestive health, as travel can offer up some challenges in this regard. And how about stress and sleep? Even vacations can still stress you out and cause sleep problems.

Immune Health for Healthy Travel

  1. healthy travel prevent cold prevent flu anti-viralHydrate. Planes, in particular, are likely to leave you dehydrated. Though you may have to bother your fellow travellers so you can get up from your plane, train, or bus seat or ask for a driving pit stop, drink plenty of fluids. And no, wine or other alcohol do not count. In fact, don’t drink alcohol on the plane if you want to stay healthy (if you drink because it calms your nerves, read below for tips on that).
  2. Use an essential oil spritzer. A small (keep in mind liquid restrictions on airplanes) spray bottle with anti-viral essential oils like lavender and tea tree can be used to spritz your face. It’s refreshing, and if you inhale deeply as you spray, you’ll hydrate the mucus membranes of your nasal cavities, keeping them moist and doing their job of trapping infections before they enter your body deeper. Keep in mind that not all your fellow passengers will like this, so you may want to go to the bathroom to do this. Or, some may ask if they can borrow your spray bottle so they can try it themselves (no problem!).
  3. Take an immune support supplement with you. I take Japanese red reishi capsules and an anti-viral natural herbal throat spray. I also often take vitamin C or Panax ginseng powder to mix into my water.
  4. Take anti-bacterial wipes and/or hand sanitizer. I don’t like the conventional ones like Purell (hate the smell and find it drying), preferring instead ones like EO’s lavender hand sanitizer. 
  5. Avoid touching your face. This one takes practice. You may not realize it, but many of you will touch your nose, mouth, eyes, and ears several times in a day, each time possibly transferring bacteria to those entry points of your body. Use your forearm, sleeve, or tissue if your face is itchy or whatever. This funny video gives you another option for your sneeze: Sneeze into the back of your knee.

Digestive Health for Healthy Travel

  1. healthy travel digestion upset stomachTake a digestive enzyme blend. One of the things I love about travelling, is the chance to try new foods. But sometimes the body takes some time to get used to a change in diet. Plus, many of us over-indulge. I always bring digestive enzyme capsules in my purse, at the ready for culinary adventures.
  2. Bring ginger. I like ginger candy chews to help with motion sickness and nausea or vomiting from other cause (ugh, many of us have been down that road before).
  3. Be careful. Of course you know that if you are travelling to a place that is known for the equivalent of Montezuma’s Revenge (not just in Mexico), you’ll want to avoid drinking non-bottled or non-boiled water, ice, and even some raw fruits and vegetables. If you can peel them, you are much safer. I also bring grapefruit seed extract (Nutribiotic) so I can wash fruit I want to enjoy, but can’t fully trust. 
  4. Take probiotics. Probiotics are the good bacteria that support a healthy digestive and immune system. The research on probiotics (and our “microbiome”) is growing exponentially. Look for one that’s shelf-stable (doesn’t need to be refrigerated), if you don’t have a fridge to store them.
  5. Bring anti-nausea wrist bands. If there’s any chance of someone in your travel party getting nauseous from motion sickness, throw these inexpensive and small wrist bands into your bag. 

Managing Stress and Sleep Issues for Healthy Travel

  1. healthy travel stress stres-free travel stressed outMake time for sleep. I know that getting ready to take a break from work can mean overtime before and after holidays. But, do your best to still get enough sleep. If you don’t sleep well, your immune system, digestive system, and everything else will not work as well. You’ll be more stressed too.
  2. Stress manage. Of course you may not be able to avoid all things stressful, but you can be prepared. If you are afraid of flying, get yourself geared up. My husband does not like to fly. But distraction (he never travels without his MP3 player and good headphones), breathing techniques, and explanations (“What’s that noise?!” “That’s the landing gear coming down.”) all help. There are also many natural remedies to help calm the nervous system. Passion flower (e.g.Pascoflair tablets) and Rescue Remedy drops or lozenges are examples. And, if something stronger is needed, I bring Gravol, in case he needs to be knocked out (though it doesn’t always work).
  3. Breathe. Of course you breathe. But do you really, really breathe? I mean, do you breathe deeply and slowly and with awareness? If you want to be calm when you are stressed, practice calm when you are not too stressed. 
  4. Consider an adrenal support protocol. If stress is your M.O., talk to someone about adrenal support supplements. Acupuncture can also help manage stress with its release of endorphins and chance to reset and restore the body and mind.
  5. Use sleep supplements, if needed. I know that jet lag, a different bed, hectic travel, a change in routine, and even just being super excited about travelling can all make sleep more difficult. I bring a sleep tincture (with valerian, passion flower, lemon balm, and oats) and/or melatonin. If I don’t need it, no worries. But if I do, I’m grateful to have it handy!

And of course, try to eat healthy and get exercise. 

If you’re travelling to a different time zone, check out my blog on jet lag acupressure.

May you enjoy your healthy travel time. Let me know your favourite travel tips. And favourite places to travel (I love to add to my travel wish list!).

 

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Turmeric tea recipe to keep on hand

turmeric tea recipe anti-inflammatory pain reliefDid you know that a simple turmeric tea can help you stave off a number of diseases and treat a large number of symptoms and diseases? Turmeric has long been recognized for its powerful medicinal benefits by Traditional Chinese Medicine and Aryuvedic medicine, but more recently is also being studied by western researchers for its ability to treat a wide variety of health issues. One of the root causes of many health issues is chronic inflammation. 

Turmeric, as a result, has been shown to help treat and manage Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, stomach ulcers, arthritis, dementia, colorectal cancer, surgery recovery, and much, much more.

Is this part of the reason why Okinawans have a well-known reputation for longevity? 

Ukoncha

Ukoncha (ウコン茶?, “turmeric tea“) is a kind of turmeric tea which originates from Okinawa, in southern Japan. Ukoncha is made of the rhizomes of turmeric

While I prescribe standardized, concentrated turmeric in capsule form for treatment, you can certainly also benefit both preventively and as treatment by having a regular turmeric tea. Super easy to prepare in advance, you can keep it on hand so all you have to do is add water.

Turmeric Tea Recipe

Turmeric Honey Tea
An anti-inflammatory daily use tea
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Ingredients
  1. 1/3 cup good quality raw honey
  2. 2-3 tsp powdered turmeric
  3. pepper
  4. lemon (optional)
Instructions
  1. Mix the honey and turmeric and keep it in a jar.
  2. When you want a tea, stir a heaping teaspoon of the turmeric/honey mix into 1 cup of hot water. Add " a good amount" of fresh ground pepper to enhance the absorption of the turmeric and improve its health benefits. Optional to squeeze in lemon, to taste.
Acupuncture, TCM, natural health, Vancouver, BC http://www.activetcm.com/
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Rhino horn sold at auction for $228,000!

Yes, you read that right. $228,000. In most places that would buy you a nice small house. In Vancouver you can’t even get a tiny condo for that. But still, you could get rid of a good chunk of mortgage! 

rhino horn sold at auction

Rhino Horn Sold at Auction by Maynard’s

The 19th century rhino horn sold at auction in Vancouver on November 21st to buyers who the vendor thinks will grind it up into powder to sell it as medicine. It is legal because the horn is believed to be from the early part of the 1900s, and the ban on sale is for any 1975 or newer because of the endangered species status of rhinos. 

I have no problem with the sale of the horn. But, if it’s sold as medicine, I feel that that perpetuates the idea that this “herb” is valuable beyond the value of other more ethical and useful herbs. It’s pricey, not because it is more effective, but because it is rare. It’s rare because we made it rare by killing off en masse nearly a whole precious species of animals. 

Traditionally, rhino horn was used to stave off fevers and get rid of toxins, though there is folklore that it is an aphrodisiac. It may help with fevers and toxins, but many other herbs also do this. It is not an effective aphrodisiac. Unless, perhaps, you believe it is. But, sex is largely guided by your thoughts anyway, so a shoe can do that too, for some. I’ve written in a past article in 24 Hours Vancouver (Rhino Horns Don’t Work) what I think about rhino horn (and other unethical herbs).

If you are looking for effective medicines to help treat illness and disease or to help you stay healthy, spend your money wisely and choose quality products with informed and ethical practitioners.

I’m quoted in today’s Vancouver Sun article: rhino horn sold at auction in Vancouver.

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Lentil Stuffed Yams for a Filling Vegetarian Meal

lentil stuffed yam healthy filling vegetarian mealI underestimated the filling vegetarian meal power of this recipe! I figured I was making more than I’d need, but I couldn’t even finish half of my one yam serving. Perhaps because I chose the largest yams I could find! Next time I make it–and there will be a next time, as this was super yummy–I’ll be a bit more conservative.

Still in #nomeatnovember, I’m discovering a lot of recipes I’ll continue to make well beyond this month. It’s such a great way to get out of a food rut. Even though I don’t eat much meat anyway, it’s so easy to do the same meals again and again.

The original recipe called for sweet potatoes, but as almost always, I subbed in yams. You can take your pick. I often “cheat” and used canned beans, but because I figured this one would need to take in the flavour of the spices, I’m glad I made it from scratch. Let me know what you think of this easy-to-make filling vegetarian recipe. 

Easy-to-make filling vegetarian meal

Lentil Stuffed Yam Filling Vegetarian Meal
A creative variation on a stuffed potato idea.
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Ingredients
  1. 4 large yams (or sweet potatoes, if you prefer)
  2. 2 tsp grapeseed, camelina oil, or coconut oil
  3. 1 onion, diced
  4. dash of salt
  5. 2 garlic cloves, minced
  6. 1 tsp dried oregano
  7. 1 tsp ground cumin
  8. 1 tsp turmeric
  9. 3/4 tsp ground allspice
  10. 1/4 tsp black pepper
  11. 3/4 cup dry lentils (the recipe originally called for black lentils, but I used red)
  12. 6 cups chopped kale, tough ribs and stems removed
  13. 1 1/2 cups plain Greek yogurt
  14. the recipe called for chopped walnuts to top, but I used pomegranate seeds
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F (200 C).
  2. Poke several holes in the yams with a fork.
  3. Place the yam on a baking sheet and bake until fork tender, about 45 minutes.
  4. Cooking times will vary depending on size of potatoes. Mine took more like an hour, as they were large.
  5. Meanwhile, heat oil in medium to large saucepan over medium heat.
  6. Add onion and salt.
  7. Heat until onion has softened, about 5 minutes.
  8. Add garlic and heat for 1 minute.
  9. Add oregano, cumin, turmeric, allspice, and black pepper to pan and stir it in.
  10. Add lentils and 2 cups water.
  11. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, covered, for 20-30 minutes. My red lentils only took 20 minutes to cook. The original recipe using black lentils called for 30 minutes.
  12. Stir in kale and heat for additional 5-10 minutes.
  13. To serve, slice down centre of each potato and stuff with lentil mixture.
  14. Top with dollops of Greek yogurt and pomegranate seeds or walnuts.
  15. (I forgot to get the yogurt, but will have it with it in the future)
Acupuncture, TCM, natural health, Vancouver, BC http://www.activetcm.com/
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