Practice Updates, Thoughts, and What to Eat

It has been an interesting time to be a business owner and a practitioner of Chinese Medicine. Deciding to stop seeing patients in person was a very difficult decision. My business is considered an “essential business,” however the definition of an “essential health visit” is a bit more gray and is interpreted differently by different people.  It has been difficult to not be fully available for my patients when I know so many are suffering, but at the same time it does not feel right to meet in person yet. I anxiously await accurate, ample testing and further guidance on when and how to reopen for acupuncture treatments. Thank you to all who have reached out with support. 

In the meantime, I’ve had time to reflect upon my practice. The virtual herb consultations have been going really well, and I see an opportunity to encourage this aspect of my practice further.  As many of you know, I study Chinese herbs quite passionately, currently with my teacher Sharon Weizenbaum. Sharon is on a committee of practitioners treating Covid-19 cases applying Classical Chinese theory to diagnose and treat with herbal formulas. These patients tend to have mild to moderate (not in the hospital) symptoms with very great results so far. It’s interesting to consider if any of these patients would have progressed to more severe illness without the herbal medicine intervention. The treatment strategies are being collected and recorded.

In addition to herbs for acute and chronic health conditions, the topic of nutrition has been discussed frequently on the video consultations. I have been curious about the choices people are making at home. While a frozen meal or chips and salsa may make for a convenient dinner after a grueling day of parenting and teleworking, I wonder about the long-term effects of the foods we are choosing to eat now.

Back when I was in acupuncture school, I met with a nutritionist out of sheer confusion over what to eat. She asked me, “What makes you feel like the best version of you every time you eat it?” My answer came quickly and was obvious: My mother’s/(grandmother’s) brisket. This revelation made sense to me. My ancestors were likely eating brisket for many generations, and I grew up eating it at holidays with my family. It makes me feel satiated and satisfied, not full or uncomfortable. Eating leftovers after holidays makes me very happy too. Perhaps brisket does not carry the fame of kale or turmeric or bone broth. But for me, it feels healing. Even though my grandmother is no longer with us, my mother continues the tradition. She once froze a brisket and had it overnighted to me when I lived in California. I was not home for delivery and spent an entire afternoon tracking it down! When I heated up the brisket on my stove, my apartment began to smell like my grandmother’s home which also made me feel loved.

Close your eyes and ask: What dish makes me feel better when I am sick? What holiday recipe makes me feel fully satisfied, but not uncomfortable?  What makes me feel like a great version of me when I eat it? The answers to these questions are my prescription for you. For one patient this was a whole roasted chicken with roasted potatoes. For another patient, it was chicken noodle soup. I would love to hear what comes to your mind!

While we might not be ill or celebrating a holiday, it is a tender time. I hope you enjoy some nourishing, supportive meals.

In good health,

~Molly

Yes, it’s vegan—but it’s delicious and filling! And easy.

I’m over food labels. Sometimes I eat a meal that is “Paleo.” Sometimes my meals are “low fat,” and sometimes they are “vegan” or “vegetarian.” The most consistent characteristics about my food lately is that it’s real, seasonally appropriate (no watermelon in January!), and digested well. Read the rest of this entry »

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. Read the rest of this entry »

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).

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Read the rest of this entry »

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 »

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!


Protein Pancake

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 »

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 »

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 »

I’ve written before about holiday cooking verses everyday cooking and weight loss verses weight management. I hear often from my patients that they are “busy”, “don’t have the time,” didn’t “plan well,” etc. Healthy cooking and food preparation are skills. As such, they will get better with practice. I used to get really stressed out about putting together a complete and healthy (and palatable) meal whose parts would all finish at the same time. Today I share my go-to, midweek, casual entertaining, anytime, healthy, delicious, and satisfying meal that has been a consistent part of my life for years – including on a recent vacation!

I like it because these ingredients are always on hand, so this meal is always an option. The ingredients are simple and basic, but quite tasty and satisfying. I can come home from work at 6:15p, and be eating by 7:30pm. Read the rest of this entry »

Congee/Jook/Rice Porridge

February 4, 2014

One of the reasons I like to travel to Asian countries is the food.  It took me about 5 days to actually find rice porridge in Thailand thanks to an included breakfast buffet at my first hotel, but it was well worth the wait.  My first variety had rice, fish (white, mild), parsley, spices, and a side dish of oil and spices.  Other varieties I found had vegetables, chicken, and pork.  The basic method of preparing any congee variation is to boil rice in a lot (6-12 times the amount of rice) of water, until the rice has softened and broken down.

Traditional Chinese Medicine suggests congee to those with a weakened digestive system or who are recovering from illness, but it’s also eaten daily by the general public in Asia.  Read the rest of this entry »