Why Asian Pears?

November 16, 2010

As we continue into autumn, many of my patients have been reporting what are known in Chinese Medicine as lung dryness symptoms.

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine theory, each season has a corresponding organ system.   The organ system corresponding to autumn is the lung, and the lung system is particularly vulnerable and sensitive to dryness.  Therefore it is very common to express lung dryness symptoms such as a dry cough, dry skin, dry throat, and dry nasal passages during autumn’s dry days.

In additional to applying topical moisturizing agents and taking medicinals to suppress cough, we can choose to eat foods that moisten and protect our lung system internally.  Eating foods that are in season are mother nature’s medicines that help to both prevent and ease symptoms.

One food to moisten lung dryness is an Asian Pear.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Are You Your Diagnosis?

September 15, 2010

Often times, a diagnosis from a doctor provides relief.  It’s a reasonable explanation for symptoms and validates concerns and feelings that something is wrong.  “I knew something didn’t feel quite right,” we think.

Sometimes I believe we are so welcoming of a diagnosis that it becomes a part of who we are.  When we think of ourselves, that diagnosis is part of what we consider.

A lot of thought and attention, and time and money, might go into trying to fix the diagnosis.  Conversations are had with friends and loved ones, advice is given from health care providers, and endless internet searches are performed.  The diagnosis gives us something to do, something to research, something to worry about, something to update friends and family on.  We receive treatment, care, medications, advice, sympathy, empathy, worry, concern, help…

I think sometimes we can get so attached to a diagnosis, that getting rid of it becomes harder than just the symptoms going away.  Letting go of a part of our being seems more difficult than letting go of the headaches…or the IBS…or the depression…. Read the rest of this entry »

This recipe is delicious, very healthy, and makes your home smell great!  I made it last week for the first time and it got rave reviews.   You might try making it on a Sunday morning, eating it for Sunday dinner, and then having leftovers for Monday (and Tuesday and Wednesday!) lunch.

Instead of curry powder, I used 1 TBS of coriander and 1 TBS of tumeric.  I didn’t peel my potatoes or seed my serrano chile.   If you’ve never worked with fresh ginger before, you can peel the skin off easily by scraping it with a spoon.  For this recipe, I chopped the ginger into lots of small pieces, but you can grate it as the recipe lists as well.   It’s not an exact kind of recipe – do what feels right!

Check out the nutrition information too – low in calories, high in fiber.  There are lots of colors of the rainbow represented in this dish – a sign of a healthy meal.   Read the rest of this entry »

Miso is a fermented paste made from soy beans and other grains.  It is a staple of the Japanese diet and different varieties exist throughout Asia.  One of the unique aspects of miso is that it contains healthy microorganisms (yogurt, kefir, kimchi, and sauerkraut also contain these probiotic qualities).  Healthy bacteria are required to keep bad bacteria from growing wildly, and studies suggest that taking probiotics may prevent infection and combat allergies and some chronic illnesses.    The healthy microorganisms found in these foods and some supplements are similar to the healthy bacteria naturally found in the gut.

It makes sense.

Why do women commonly get yeast infections after taking a course of antibiotics?  Because the antibiotics kill bacteria – both the good and the bad, and the bad proliferate greatly without healthy bacteria to keep them in check.  This scenario is a common example of illness that occurs when the good and bad bacteria are out of balance, but improper diet, chronic illness, and strong medicinals can all alter the balance of bacteria in the gut, resulting in a range of gastrointestinal symptoms (gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation…).

Yogurt is the food that most people reach for first when wanting healthy microorganisms:  It is convenient and readily available.  However, according to Chinese medical theory, yogurt is very cold and damp in nature.   Read the rest of this entry »