Ever feel blue?

Or been so enraged you actually saw red?

There’s a reason for the abundance of color cliches in our language. Color and emotions are closely tied together, and one has a very powerful influence over the other. However, you can opt to be less passive in your connection, and take a stronger stance in how color influences your life just by learning what a shade can do to your mental state.

From a very young age, children express connections with their colors. In America, brighter colors put them in a happier place, whereas darkness tends to make children feel frightened, or sad. However in other countries, white can mean death, and children will catch on to such social standards and associate their emotions accordingly. As we age, we grow less and less aware of our connections, but the power in hues still stands. Studies show that during the winter, wearing brighter colors can actually lift away the winter blues. On a more corporate scale, fashion powerhouse Norma Kamali famously banned the color black by her employees, as she found the overuse of the color by fashionistas was causing a death to inspirational thinking.
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I recently came across this recipe on YogaPeach.com as I was looking for some new food options as we enter the warmer months.

  • Small bunch of kale, approx 1 cups, remove stems (super food)
  • Handful of frozen or fresh mixed berries, approximately 1/2 cup (I like just one berry per smoothie, blueberries or raspberries)
  • 1 ripe banana
  • Juice 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 cup almond milk or water
  • 1/2 TBSP Vanilla
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon (super food)


Directions: Wash and chop the kale, removing any hard stalks. Put into blender. Add ingredients and blend.

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Chinese Medicine traditionally places emphasis on mindful eating, and the properties of the foods we eat as the seasons change. The principle behind seasonal eating is to balance the external climate with our internal one, which is achieved by maintaining a healthy spleen and stomach function. In order to successfully do this, we must ultimately balance the proper amount of yin and yang with each meal.

The focal point in the spring and summer is that we generally seek foods that are colder in nature to help us cool off from the heat. At this time of year fresh fruits, salads, and lighter foods are appealing. Why is this? Foods that are cooler generally tend to cool the body by directing qi inward and downward. Colder foods are great for heat patterns but too much cold can be difficult to digest, slowing down the metabolic process, weakening yang and generating stagnation. As we all know, there is no single food or diet that is appropriate for any single person. So before you make this smoothie, talk to your practitioner, and make sure that consuming cold foods is appropriate for your constitution.

For your interest, I have included some of the beneficial properties of the foods included in the smoothie:

Kale – both cooling and warming. It strengthens the stomach, stops pain, and eases lung congestion. It is considered a cruciferous superfood and is one of the highest antioxidant power leafy greens. It contains the following: sulfophanes- a cancer fighting compound, vitamin k- to protect the heart, stop clotting, and encourage strong bones by anchoring calcium, and beta-carotene.
Banana – sweet, cool, and astringent. It benefits the stomach, and increases fluids in the intestines and body, and moistens dryness. It helps with constipation, dryness in the lungs, and helps to alleviate a cough.
Blueberries – a part of the Vaccinum Species providing antibacterial, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties. They have help alleviate many conditions primarily age related ones.
Strawberries – sweet, sour, and cooling. It helps to moisten the lungs for dry sore throats and difficulty with urination.
Lemon – sour, astringent, cooling. It benefits the stomach and liver, helping to alleviate nausea, increased thirst, morning sickness, and indigestion.
Cinnamon – warming. It improves energy and circulation. In Chinese Medicine it helps to fight colds, improves digestion and ameliorates diarrhea and painful menstruation. In Arvada medicine, it not only fights colds and aids in digestion, but also helps in managing diabetes. Western Medicine has seen a link between Cinnamon in reducing blood glucose and triglycerides.

Enjoy!!!

Whether we experience a great deal of stress, sit in front of computer for too long, or wake up with pain realizing we slept funny; we have all suffered from neck pain at some point in our lives.  Despite the reason, I think we all can agree that neck pain is a real inconvenience.  So, what do we do to remedy the situation: take ibuprofen, change the ergonomics of our work station, wish away and take measures to alleviate stress, and change our sleeping position….perhaps acupuncture?  Well if you are interested in reducing your neck pain- read on.  This article, written by an acupuncturist in Philadelphia, discusses the overwhelming efficacy of acupuncture and herbs in relieving neck pain, reducing inflammation, and increasing range of motion.How many women out there have experienced a painful period before? I am sure quite a few of us can empathize, as when its that time of the month comes around, and our low backs or lower abdominal areas begins to ache and cramp? This condition, dysmenorrhea can be classified as primary, (cramping caused by contractions in the uterus,) or secondary (caused by a multitude of medical conditions- to name a few: fibroids, endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease, or an IUD.) What is the solution- traditionally Western Medical Doctors will suggest over the counter pain medications, or prescribe Antispasmodics, Prostaglandin Inhibitors, Analgesics, birth control pills, or an IUD.

There is an alternative: acupuncture with electrical stimulation.  As you will see from this article featured in “Natural Standard,” a study was conducted with the use of electrical stimulation on two acupuncture points: Large Intestine 4 (LI4) and Spleen 6 (Sp6), (two points that are traditionally used to help regulate the menstrual cycle and stop pain.) Electrical Stimulation is thought to release pain chemicals from the brain to help alleviate pain. The study indicated that the group who received electrical stimulation at both LI4 and Sp6 after 8 weeks of treatment reduced pain scores compared to the control group.

It’s that time of the year again. Itchy, red eyes. Stuffy, runny nose. The sneezing, the congestion…

Allergies are here, and it seems this year they came back swinging harder than ever. Up to 25% of the population suffers from seasonal allergies, which is a whole lot of sniffles. There are so many options for treating seasonal allergies, but most Western medications end up drying out the system, leaving behind a raw feeling that’s not much better than an actual allergy attack itself. Traditional Chinese Medicine can offer an alternative solution.

TCM differs from Western Medicine in that the former believes that allergies occur when our bodies are out of balance, leaving the Wei, or Protective Qi, weak and susceptible. This leaves room for wind to come in, which brings in damp and heat along for the ride. A classic damp symptom would be the runny nose and congestion, and a typical heat symptom are those infamous red and itchy eyes. The idea then, is to use acupuncture and herbs to boost the Wei, so that it can act as a buffer and not let that troublesome wind into the body, restoring balance to our overall system.

Another aspect of Chinese Medicine is the focus on diet and herbs. Certain foods can easily be added to your daily diet to boost the immune system, therefore benefiting the Protective Qi that needs to be at its most alert for defending the body against pathogens. Foods that are rich in vitamin C, magnesium, beta-carotene, and quercetin are all helpful and easy to find in a variety of foods at your local supermarket. Ginger, avocado, spinach, cabbage, kiwi, and quinoa are just a few examples of the many foods that have these benefits and can help the body defend itself. These foods have antihistamine effects, open up the breathing airways and help to raise our immunities. It is also important to look at the temperatures of foods, and seek out ingredients that are cooling when under an allergy attack. Watermelon, radishes, and cucumbers all have a cooling effect on our system, and naturally combat the heat that can bring on the discomfort of red, itchy eyes.

If you’re a long-time allergy sufferer who is tired of the unpleasant side effects of the usual treatment options, acupuncture and dietary therapy can provide a welcome relief. So stop dreading the sight of the first robin of spring and find a TCM program that is right for you.

I came across a great recipe for a roasted sweet potato, mango, and edamame salad on YogaPeach.com. Since spring is rapidly arriving, I thought a light and clean nutritious salad would be fun to pass along and experiment with. The recipe offers a good mix of sweet and sour.

In Chinese Medicine, food is thought to provide a way of nourishing our internal organs while also alleviating a variety of conditions. In order to get the best quality energy from the foods we eat, they should be just as vibrant and appealing to the eye as the palate. Since the majority of us crave sweet flavors, yams are a good option to satisfy our tastebuds — instead of reaching for that cupcake! In TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine), a yam also strengthens the energy (qi) of the spleen.

Mango is both sweet and sour, which helps to nourish the fluids of the stomach to help alleviate indigestion, thirst, and nausea. Edamame, or soybeans, benefit both the spleen and kidneys, making them great options for your diet if you suffer from abdominal distention, swelling in the body, or have diabetes. Lemons, which are sour, benefit your liver and stomach. They help to remedy so many conditions and are a particularly good addition to any meal if you suffer from uncomfortable gastrointestinal symptoms. Lastly, rice vinegar, which is both sour and bitter, will help to improve digestion and achy joints — especially painful in the damp weather — and is a great remedy to food poisoning.

Ingredients
o 4 small Sweet Potatoes
o 1 large Mango
o 1/2 cup shelled Edamame
o 2 Tbs. plus 1 Tbs. Olive Oil
o Sea Salt and freshly ground Pepper
o Juice of 1 Lemon
o 2 Tbs. Honey
o 1 Tbs. Rice Vinegar
o Small handful of finely chopped Cilantro

Instructions
1. Preheat the oven to 425° F.
2. Rinse & scrub the sweet potatoes well and pat dry. Cut into 1 1/2” cubes and place in a bowl. Add the 2 Tbs. olive oil and a generous dash of salt & pepper and toss until well coated. Spread the sweet potatoes onto a foil-lined cookie sheet and roast for about 15 minutes or until tender.
3. While the sweet potatoes are roasting, prepare the dressing by combining the remaining tablespoon of olive oil, lemon juice, honey, rice vinegar, and cilantro, and whisk together well. Set aside.
4. Peel & cut the mango into 1” cubes, and if you’re using frozen, whole edamame, thaw & shell it so you have the individual beans at your disposal.
5. When the potatoes are done roasting, allow them to cool for a few minutes. Combine the potatoes, mango, and edamame in a large bowl. Drizzle the dressing on top & toss lightly.
6. Serve on a bed of greens or on its own, and enjoy!

How many times have you been wondering or asked the question, can acupuncture help with weight loss?

We now have some recent research that provides an answer, out of the University of Hong Kong in China and The Prince of Wales Hospital. This article, “Acupuncture and Herbs of Weight loss,” describes the use of Chinese Medicine and acupuncture as more effective then placebo and life-style modifications in reducing body weight. Additionally, acupuncture can provide an alternative to the unfavorable side effects that some Western obesity drugs may cause.

Read the full article here.