Winter Diet to Support Your Health

We are smack in the middle of winter right now, with about 6 more weeks until spring officially arrives. The warmer, longer days may seem far off but it is a good time to think about choosing some supportive foods to help your immune system stay strong. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the immune system is known as “protective qi” and the stronger it is, the healthier we stay. Coming out of the winter with strong protective qi ensures that when spring time allergy season hits, our bodies will be much more ready to cope with it.

Below are some general guidelines on how Traditional Chinese Medicine recommends we eat during the winter:

  • Soups and stews – warm, easy to digest, soups and stews make it easy for our bodies to absorb nutrients.
  • Root vegetables – including onions, garlic, sweet potatoes, parsnips, turnips.
  • Fruits: Apples, cranberry, dates, Dried fruit, grapes, Kiwi, oranges, pears, pomegranate, persimmon, Tangerine
  • Vegetables: Broccoli, bok choy, cabbage, chard, ginger, garlic, kale, leeks, onions, parsnip, potatoes, rutebega, spinach, squash, sweet potato, turnip
  • Nuts and seeds: Almond, Brazil, cashew, filbert, macadamia, pecan, pignola. Pistachio, walnut, Flax, pumpkin, sesame, sunflower
  • Beans : adzuki, black, black eye, carob, garbanzo, Great Northern, kidney, lentil, lima, Navy, peanut, pink, red, soy, white
  • Grains: (cooked): amaranth, barley, buckwheat, corn, millet, oats, quinoa, wild rice, rye, wheat
  • Miso paste and seaweeds- used to flavor or be the base of broths

Not sure how to use some of these items? Here are some of my favorite recipes to keep on hand, as you get through the winter months:

Magic Mineral Broth– Great for the beginning stages of a cold

Miso Salmon– Wonderful week night dinner

Root Vegetable Hash– Great with eggs in the morning

Roasted Nuts– Add the flavor of your choice. (I love rosemary)

Kitcheri– Great to warm the body and ease digestion

Stay healthy out there!

 

 

 

 

What Now?

Happy New Year! I hope 2018 has started off well for you.

January is historically an interesting month. In addition to the cold days that are typically low on sunshine, many of us are in a “post-holiday” slump. The social connection and the excitement of the holidays are past and the next few months hold few celebratory events. Many of us also had a few days off over these last few weeks and getting back to the routine of work and every day life can feel like a struggle. So, now what?

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), it is suggested that we follow the seasons with our diet, exercise and social activity. Winter is seen as a time to spend more time at home, get to bed earlier and take some moments for self reflection. It can be seen as a time of hibernation, to restore the energy we have expended during the warmer months and longer days. So, January is a great time to catch up on that book you’ve been meaning to read, cook some warm, nourishing foods and maybe get to bed much earlier than normal. Maybe now would be a great time to try that yoga class you have been interested in, instead of hitting the gym for an intense workout. Remember that TCM sees this “introverted” time as a way to store up for the spring, when new growth and change typically occurs with the increase in energy many of us feel.

As always, supporting your immune system is key. IHD can always help you stay healthy with an acupuncture tune up or with our herbal support. Our favorite, Ultonic, is on sale right now in bottles and travel packs.

IHD Updates

We are also excited to introduce Melanie Benninger to IHD. Melanie is a certified Acupressurist. Read more here about her practice and how to schedule with her. This is a great option for people who are still unsure of the needles used in acupuncture or for those who are unable to be needled.

Last, as you know, Evolve Personal Wellness is a side project connect to IHD. You will be seeing Evolve newsletters in your email inbox. We hope that this information will be helpful to you, but please feel free to unsubscribe if you would rather not receive them in the future.

Here’s to a great 2018!

Choosing Foods for Autumn, Changes in Schedule

Autumn has arrived and as with all change of seasons, its a great time to take a look at how we can incorporate more seasonal foods into our meals as a way to support our bodies. In the fall, is is suggested by Chinese Medicine to eat fewer cold, uncooked foods — such as salads — and more warm, cooked foods. Switch from salads to soups and steamed vegetables. Incorporate yellow and red foods into your meals.

The original texts that serve as the foundation for Traditional Chinese Medicine recognize fall as being a time of winding down, paying attention to emotional states and spending more time in quiet environments and contemplation.

“In the three months of autumn all things in nature reach their full maturity. The grains ripen and harvesting occurs. The heavenly energy cools, as does the weather. The wind begins to stir. This is the changing or pivoting point when the yang, or active, phase turns into its opposite, the yin, or passive, phase. One should retire with the sunset and arise with the dawn. Just as the weather in autumn turns harsh, so does the emotional climate. It is therefore important to remain calm and peaceful, refraining from depression so that one can make the transition to winter smoothly. This is the time to gather one’s spirit and energy, be more focused, and not allow desires to run wild. One must keep the lung energy free full, clean, and quiet. This means practicing breathing exercises to enhance lung Qi. Also, one should refrain from smoking and grief, the emotion of lung. This will prevent the kidney or digestive problems in the winter. “

                                                – Huangdi Neijing Suwen, Chinese Medicine Classic

When we shop for produce, the following supportive foods should be easy to find this autumn:

Fruits: Apples, Berries (blackberries, cranberries), Dates, figs, grapes, jicama, mandarin oranges, pears, persimmons, Plum, pomegranate, quince, rosehips, bananas

Veggies: Bell pepper, Bok Choy, broccoli, burdock root, cabbage (red, green, napa) carrot, Cauliflower, fresh corn, cucumber, diakon radish, eggplant, dried garlic, ginger root, horseradish, Jerusalem artichoke, leeks, lettuces, okra, onions, parsnips, potatoes, pumpkin, rutabaga, shallot, spinach, squash (acorn, banana, buttercup, butternut, delicata, hubbard, spaghetti), sweet potato, tomato, turnip, yams

In addition, these foods are great to fill in around your produce to complete a meal:

Grains(cooked): amaranath, barley, buckwheat, corn, millet, oats, quinoa, wild rice, rye, wheat,

Beans: adzuki, black, black eye, carob, garbanzo, Great Northern, kidney, lentil, lima, Navy, peanut, pink, red, soy, white.

Nuts: Almond, Brazil, cashew, filbert, macadamia, pecan, pignolia. Pistachio, walnut

Seeds: Flax, pumpkin, sesame, sunflower

Spices: Rosemary, sage, thyme, cinnamon, garlic

In addition, I’d like to mention a scheduling change here at IHD. Going forward, Jennifer will be available for appointments on Tuesdays 8a-6p, Wednesdays 8a-6p and Fridays 8a-1p. Amy is available by request and you can reach her at (415) 889-0474. As always, feel free to request appointments online