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 »

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Back in November of last year a few things happened. I started taking a couple of supplements (Vitamin D and methylated folate), I treated 2 patients in 1 week with significant plantar fasciitis/foot and heel pain (what do you mean you have pain on the bottom of your heel??), and I walked about 11 miles one day in NYC carrying a heavy shoulder bag wearing Ugg boots.

Over the next few weeks, I developed an increased frequency of foot and heel pain (oh, so this is what they meant) with burning, achy arches, tired feet and legs, and bilateral heel pain. I didn’t take it too seriously at first. I needled myself, and waited for it to pass. It didn’t. Read the rest of this entry »

This  post was written as a guest blog post for The Story of Health. 

If I get into a car accident and break my arm, please don’t bring me to my acupuncturist’s office. I want to go to the ER, have the bones set, and perhaps given something for the pain.

As new specialists emerge in the integrative medical setting, how does one know when to visit his or her primary care provider or Western Medicine specialist(s) versus a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioner? When could seeing a TCM practitioner be advised over a Western doctor?

Below are some (but not all) reasons to consider visiting a practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine.   Like doctors, some TCM practitioners have a general practice, while others have a practice specialty. 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 »

As I was floating in the water off the beautiful Thailand island of Ko Phangnan, I had a literal feeling of knots untying from the base of my low back.   An internal tension being released.  Space and circulation where there had been congestion.  The water was a brilliant blue-green, clear, warm, calm, and shallow, and I waded and floated and day dreamed for hours.  My fingers got wrinkly.

During the first week of my vacation I had busied myself with organized hikes, cooking classes, and endless hours of exploring the city of Chiang Mai on foot.  It is a beautiful city, I thoroughly enjoyed my time there, and I can’t wait to return.  Once I got to the islands, however, I was hit with an intense urge to “chill out.” Read the rest of this entry »

In eating in accordance with the seasons, we should now be turning our focus to making dishes that are well cooked and warming in nature.  As the temperature drops, we can aid our bodies in digestion by adding more warming herbs and spices and consuming dishes that are well-cooked and warm (as opposed to raw and/or chilled).

If your hands and feet feel particularly cold after a certain meal, chances are it was too cold in nature for your body.  If you feel warmness in your extremities and body after a meal and have good energy, that particular dish helped to support, not extinguish, your metabolic fire.  Matt Stone writes a lot about this topic.  Although he speaks in terms of thyroid and metabolism, many of his observations correlate to the ideas of spleen and kidney yang in terms of Traditional Chinese Medicine. 

The following recipes are intended to serve as a base or outline.  They are the result of my own personal trials.  They will continue to evolve as I hope your creations do too.  The important part is the effort.  Good ingredients cooked with good intention make healthy food.   I particularly like these recipes because they are both vegan and paleo friendly, dairy and gluten free, and yummy!  Read the rest of this entry »