November 15, 2016
Hello patients, friends, and followers,
I have wanted to write to you for some time! I have so much I want to share and will try to do so as concisely as I can 🙂
Despite being diagnosed with PCOS at age 26, I was able to conceive in the fourth month of trying. For 10 years, I refused Western interventions (namely hormonal birth control), relying on acupuncture, herbal medicine, and dietary therapy to address my underlying hormonal imbalance. Adding hormones to a hormone imbalance did not resonate with me during my early years of acupuncture school, and was certainly not an option when trying to get pregnant.
And, despite the “advanced maternal age” of 36 when conceiving and 37 when delivering, I had a very healthy and uneventful pregnancy (except for some world-class nausea in the beginning and some gnarly foot swelling at the end).
With the help of Jason, my doula, an amazing doctor, and the Hypnobabies program, I had a natural, un-medicated birth. I squatted baby out at the foot of the bed (not to worry, my doctor made a perfect catch), hopped rope over the umbilical cord, and climbed into bed so Harvey could be placed on my chest before delivering the afterbirth. No tears (As in ripping. There were tears of joy, of course!).
As prepared and magical of a birthing experience I had, breastfeeding hit me hard. I struggled early on, and coupled with sleep deprivation and huge hormonal swings, it was one of the hardest times of my life (but happiest too, very strange!). While I’ve made peace with my situation and continue to work very hard, it still is a struggle at times.
So now we have a yummy 4 1/2 month old boy who is terribly cute and makes me happy. I’m back in the office 4 days a week, where I’ll hang out for awhile. I plan to add more hours in the future, but not now.
I’m grateful for a partner who helped me to recover and supports me on my journey to finding balance. Diet was a huge force in my recovery and remains a big part of my life. Chinese Medicine suggests that post-partum, women should eat foods that are warm, nourishing, and easy to digest. I highly recommend The First Forty Days: The Essential Art of Nourishing the New Mother for guidance here.
I’ve had to learn to go with the flow now more than ever (hard for me!), and getting to the store/markets requires more planning than in the past. I really wanted to make a recipe using the Thai chili peppers that grew in our garden, and came up with this recipe on the fly that I’ve since made many times. Never one to “wing it,” I think my years of practice following recipes and preparing simple foods allowed me to create this “masterpiece” with ingredients I had on hand.
(1-2 pounds) of fresh greenbeans, stringy end snapped off
1 onion, cut into rings or chopped
5-6 cloves garlic (or more), minced
A small handful of fresh Thai chili peppers (You can also buy these dried, or can substitute another fresh pepper like one Serrano), minced
2 TBS sesame oil
2-3 TBS ume plum vinegar
2-3 TBS tamari (or soy sauce, coconut aminos, etc)
Add beans to large pot of salted boiling water. Cook, covered, 4-5 minutes. Beans should be fork tender, but not too soft (they will be cooked again).
Heat large pan or wok over medium-high heat. Add sesame oil.
Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, 5-7 minutes.
Add peppers and garlic, stir, about 1 minute (lower heat if garlic starts to brown)
Add green beans, and toss to coat.
Add vinegar, stir, and cover with lid. Stir occasionally for a few minutes, until green beans are well cooked and coated.
Turn off heat and add tamari. Toss.
Voila! It will taste like restaurant quality Asian food – or even better. Enjoy!
It’s really nice to be back. Thanks for reading.
In good health,
January 23, 2016
It’s a snow day! It’s a snow weekend! So far we have about 3 inches of snow; with 20+ more expected. I love it! We are hoping the power stays on, but while we have it, we hammered out some cooking. Simmering on the stove right now is a HUGE pot of vegetable soup. I’ve been making it a lot lately. It’s easy, it uses whatever you have on hand, and it’s good! It also is a good dish to eat in the winter, as eating warm soups in cold weather allows us to live in accordance with the seasons.
Always start with mirapoix (onion, celery, and carrot – these 3 ingredients should always be on hand, in my opinion).
August 7, 2015
I don’t completely avoid any food/food group, but pasta and wheat products in general aren’t things I tend to eat in large quantities. I was curious to see how Italians ate pasta, and my recent visit provided a lot of insight.
In the US some diets condemn pasta like they would trans fats or soda. The mantras of “the gluten will destroy you,” and “too many carbs will make you fat and give you diabetes” have permeated many of our belief systems.
Observe Italians, and it’s clear that pasta does not make (at least some) people obese. I saw many slender people order, and finish a plate of pasta. . . with wine, cheese, and bread! “When in Rome”… Read the rest of this entry »
May 26, 2015
“Dry Needling” is a term used by physical therapists, chiropractors, and some medical doctors. It is a procedure in which solid needles are inserted into trigger and motor points of muscle bellies with the intention of resetting the muscle, improving function, and decreasing pain. Since these needles are not hollow and filled with an injectable substance, they are called “dry needles.” That sounds a lot like acupuncture, right? In fact, these practitioners are using the same needles as licensed acupuncturists. Because they are billing the procedure as “dry needling,” they are able to get paid from insurance even though they are not licensed acupuncturists (L.Ac.).
I have several problems with non-licensed acupuncturists inserting needles into patients. Read the rest of this entry »
April 14, 2015
I’d like to share with you 3 recipes that I have been enjoying lately. I believe them to be crowd pleasers as well as nutrient-dense, relatively easy to digest, and delicious. Please leave comments with your feedback if you try these recipes!
You’ve heard me discuss the importance of including a warm, cooked grain with breakfast to ignite the digestive/metabolic fire (the spleen yang in Traditional Chinese Medicine terms). To include more protein for a heartier breakfast, try making this protein pancake. Read the rest of this entry »
January 6, 2015
If it’s Sunday, you can be sure that I will be cooking a big batch of vegetables. In the warmer spring and summer months, I make my version of a ratatouille, but in the colder months I like to make my version of Indian Vegetables. Living in accordance with the seasons includes eating more warming herbs and spices in the colder months, and Indian cuisine has many.
One of the first things I took away at the start of my degree in Oriental Medicine is the idea that cooked vegetables are easier to digest than their raw counterparts. Cooked vegetables are recommended for weakened digestive systems, and over-consumption of cold, raw foods can damage digestive function. If food is difficult to digest and /or one presents with a digestive weakness, access to minerals, nutrients, and vitamins is difficult. Cooked vegetables take less digestive qi to process, allowing ease of access to nutrition and energy.
When I weighed over 200 pounds, my constitutional digestive weakness and improper diet of refined grains and sugar, dairy, and greasy/fried food resulted in an accumulation of phlegm-dampness. During the healing process, and ever since, I’ve included as many cooked vegetables into my diet as I can, and it is a constant variable in my health accomplishments. Read the rest of this entry »
November 25, 2014
An interesting thing happened when I ate a “strictly clean” diet: My once strong digestion weakened. For a period of time I had no wheat, gluten, dairy, flours, white rice or potatoes, sugars (except fruit), or artificial sweeteners. I ate a ton of vegetables, whole grains, root vegetables, organic (and often local) meat, poultry, and fish, and seasonal fruit. These weren’t extreme changes for me, but a more restrictive way of how I normally eat. The trend was slow and gradual, but negative, and it progressed in severity. Strange, right?
With fall came a new season of food choices. There was a marked increase in my intake of winter squashes, cauliflower, broccoli, apples, pears, and Brussels sprouts. It was insidious, but sure enough something further did not agree. My symptoms became concerning, but I figured I had to be able to fix them since these symptoms were not present just several months prior.
So began an era of trial and error and close observation. As I often recommend to my patients, I put on my “detective glasses” and went to work. I was finally able to narrow the culprit down to a few possibilities, and one day it was evident. Read the rest of this entry »