Health Blog

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Beat the Heat–24 Hours Vancouver

Though summer is winding down, the weather report in Vancouver still calls for a rise in temperature again next week, so here are some reminder tips about how to stay cool and also how to manage insect stings. Beat the heat — don’t let it beat you _ Vancouver 24 hrs

Rock Doc tentI wrote this article when I volunteered with RockDoc for the Pemberton Music Festival. As the day approached, I realized that my usual event treatments were always sporting ones. What would I do at a concert festival? Conventional medicine is strong for emergency care. What could I offer with my acupuncture needles?

My role was to do triage as patients entered our tent. We saw lots of foot blisters, hangover headaches, and drug reactions, but also a few strains and sprains. What was great was that the team there (all conventional care providers–nurses, MDs, medical students, emergency responders) were happy to see me pull out my bag of needles boxes. 

Even though many of them had worked 4 long days with very little sleep, RockDoc’s team of volunteers were a well-oiled machine, remembering that they were there to offer their knowledge and skills, but not forgetting that their caring words, touch, and manner were just as important.

ankle sprain acupuncture

 

Pemberton Music Festival

 

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Mango recipes: Mango Lassi and Mango Millet Salad

Yum! Mangoes. 

Mangoes have been called one of the most consumed fruits of the world. And no wonder. They are delicious–that’s why I’ve needed to include not my usual one, but two, recipes this month. They also have many health benefits. Rich in beta-carotene and zeaxanthin, they help treat and prevent eye disease, asthma, and cancer, while their fibre supports digestive and heart health. But don’t eat too many, as they create Heat in the body and can aggravate mouth ulcers.

Mango Millet Salad
Serves 4
This recipe was originally called Easy Mango Millet Salad, and it is indeed easy to make. Millet has not enjoyed the same popularity as its grain relatives wheat or rice, but it is a gluten-free grain that you should keep on hand. It's easy to cook, has a beautiful soft texture (my husband recently had dental work done and was grateful for that characteristic!), and takes on the flavour of whatever you add to it.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup millet
  2. 1 large mango, sliced into ½ inch pieces lengthwise (or just generally chopped into chunks, as I did)
  3. 2 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh basil
  4. 1 cup of your choice of vegetable (I used broccoli and cauliflower, but the original recipe used onions and peppers)
  5. 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  6. 2 tsp freshly squeezed orange juice
  7. 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
  8. pinch ground cardamom
  9. pinch fresh orange zest
  10. sea salt and pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Cook millet on the stove top according to package directions.
  2. In a large bowl, combine cooked millet, mango and veggies.
  3. In a small bowl, combine oil, orange juice, vinegar, cardamom, orange zest, sea salt and pepper. Drizzle over millet mixture and serve immediately.
Acupuncture, TCM, natural health, Vancouver, BC http://www.activetcm.com/
Mango Lassi
Serves 4
Some would have an ice cold beer to cool down. Though I may have used a beer glass, I prefer this mango lassi as a great way to cool down spicy foods. I don't eat much hot spicy stuff--some would say I don't eat spicy at all, as my version of hot is very, very mild to most-- and I rarely have dairy, but I do enjoy this drink from time to time.
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Ingredients
  1. 454 mL container plain organic yogurt (oops! I originally had typo'd "yoga")
  2. 1/2 cup plain almond, coconut or rice milk
  3. 3 fresh ripe mangoes, peeled, pitted, and coarsely chopped
  4. 1 ice cube
  5. 1 Tbsp honey
  6. 1 tsp peeled and grated ginger root, pulp only
  7. 1/4 tsp cardamom
Instructions
  1. Blend all ingredients together until smooth.
Adapted from Modified from Irene McGuinness at Alive Magazine
Acupuncture, TCM, natural health, Vancouver, BC http://www.activetcm.com/

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Iyengar, Yoga, and Traditional Chinese Medicine

24 Hours logoI am a relatively new student of yoga, under four years, and I had known only very fundamental knowledge about BKS Iyengar. I knew that he was one of yoga’s most important and well-known teachers, having brought yoga to the West, and I knew that he recommended the use of props to assist safe practice. 

This man was a great teacher and a passionate and dedicated yogi who could still do inversions into his 90s. He died at age 95, but his legacy lives on, and as I researched about his life and his teachings, I came to realize that there are many similarities to TCM. For that article, click here: Yoga slows chatter of the mind _ Vancouver 24 hrs

SUP Yoga BKS Iyengar quote

SUP (Stand Up Paddleboard) Yoga, me in front, my teacher in back.

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More to concussion relief than dark rooms

24 Hours logoConcussions are more than simple bumps on the head, and can result in much more than just a few headaches. Rest is the first prescription, but there are many more things that can be done. After seeing a report on the news recently about one of our CFL players and his lawsuit prompted by his concussions, I wrote this article for 24 Hours Vancouver. Read more by clicking here.

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Blueberry Lavender Mousse

Blueberry Lavender Pudding
A healthy dessert that will help you chill down, use up some of the fresh local berries now available, and bring you a calm energy.
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Ingredients
  1. 3 cups fresh blueberries
  2. 1 spring fresh lavender
  3. 3 Tbsp honey (or agave nectar)
Instructions
  1. Blend all together into a liquid.
  2. Pour into a serving bowl and chill in fridge for 30 minutes.
  3. Simple as that.
  4. Yum!
Notes
  1. Studies have shown that blueberries can improve cognitive function, slow cognitive decline, and help protect the brain!
  2. Feeling smart and want more info on the brain health benefits of blueberries? Check out this link: http://www.lef.org/magazine/mag2008/feb2008_Maintaining-Youthful-Cognitive-Function-With-Blueberries_01.htm
Acupuncture, TCM, natural health, Vancouver, BC http://www.activetcm.com/
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Coffee is only a crutch

24 Hours logoSummer is a great time for lots of activities — with every weekend seemingly filled with promises of road trips, hikes, outdoor gatherings and more. It seems like a good idea in the planning stage, but sometimes we don’t feel we will have enough energy to make it all happen. Boost up your reserves so that you don’t need to suffer through or bail out on the good times.

For more, click here for a PDF of my article in 24 Hours Vancouver .

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Don’t use pills for summer insomnia

24 Hours logoI wrote this article and then the very next day had 2 patients email to ask me for information about treating insomnia. That on top of the usual in clinic requests I hear during appointments. That just goes to show how ubiquitous sleep issues are. 

I know many of you take sleeping pills, but I highly recommend looking for other options. I mentioned it in my 24 Hours article, but didn’t include the quote:

Receiving hypnotic prescriptions was associated with greater than threefold increased hazards of death even when prescribed <18 pills/year. 

That’s huge! Here’s a link to that research: Hypnotics Association with Mortality or Cancer

Acupuncture, herbs, and supplements offer healthier alternatives. Check out my article on sleep in 24 Hours by clicking here.

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Cooling Soup

It’s officially summer and the weather is heating up. When the weather gets warm it often doesn’t feel like soup weather. Unless, that is, you make a chilled soup like this Chilled Cucumber and Dill Soup from my friend and favourite chef, Luisa Rios of Cooking Journeys.

Though cucumbers contain a lot of water, they are still packed with nutrition. Keep the skin on for a good source of fibre, silica, potassium, and magnesium. This low calorie vegetable is also rich in vitamins A, C, and folic acid. Because of the silica content, cucumbers are particularly good for healthy connective tissue–bones, cartilage, muscles, tendons, and ligaments. It is also important for healthy skin and hair.

Dill (I’ve blogged about a delicious dill soup before) is great to help with your digestion and is both antimicrobial and anticancer.

Chilled Cucumber and Dill Soup
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Ingredients
  1. 1 1/2 large cucumbers
  2. 1 small handful fresh mint
  3. 1 small handful fresh dill
  4. 2 cups vegetable stock
  5. 2/3 cup plain yogurt (or for a vegan option, use silken soft tofu)
  6. salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Trim the ends of the cucumber and discard the seeds.
  2. Chop the cucumber into chunks and place in a food processor.
  3. Add the mint and dill.
  4. Process until finely chopped.
  5. Add the stock and process until well mixed.
  6. If you want you can press the soup through a fine strainer (though I probably wouldn't bother).
  7. Gradually whisk the yogurt into the soup until well blended.
  8. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  9. Cover and refrigerate overnight or for at least 4 hours.
  10. Whisk the soup well before serving and taste for seasoning.
Notes
  1. Chef Luisa suggests chilling the serving bowls to make for an even better presentation and serve with a nice, thin crisp bread.
Adapted from Cooking Journeys
Adapted from Cooking Journeys
Acupuncture, TCM, natural health, Vancouver, BC http://www.activetcm.com/
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Keep dad healthy for years to come

24 Hours logoIn honour of Father’s Day June 15th, I wrote this article in 24 Hours. But, it’s really about health for all, particularly those with a personal or family history of heart disease. And, really, all of us should be taking extra special care of our hearts. Traditional Chinese Medicine considers the heart to be the “King organ” of our bodies–the most important. So, “Long live the king!”

For the PDF link to my article in 24 Hours Vancouver, click here: Keep dad healthy for years to come

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Get past the “ick” factor

24 Hours logoYes, Chinese herbs tasted awful to most. I tell my patients to be ready for the worst tasting “tea” they’ve ever had. Either they agree it’s the worst, but are prepared for it, or they are happy to report that it’s “not that bad.” The good news is two-fold. One, it doesn’t generally taste that bad by week 2, as your taste buds adapt to bitter–they’re usually much more accustomed to sweet and salty. And two, the health benefits start to kick in.  Click here for the PDF of my article in 24 Hours Vancouver newspaper: Get past ‘ick’ factor for herbal benefits.

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