Coping with Seasonal Stress

The holiday season can be filled with a dizzying array of demands, visitors, travel and frantic shopping trips. For many people, it is also a time filled with sadness, self-reflection, loneliness and anxiety. Compound the usual seasonal pressures with economic strain and you many find this to be one of the most emotionally trying times of the year.

Boost your overall ability to handle seasonal stress by replenishing the nutrients that stress hormones deplete by including the following foods in your meals:

Blackberries – Blackberries are jam packed with vitamin C, calcium and magnesium. Vitamin C has shown to be a powerful stress reducer that can lower blood pressure and return cortisol levels to normal faster when taken during periods of stress.

Cruciferous Vegetables – Cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, and kale are full of stress-relieving B vitamins. Cauliflower is also one of the very best sources of vitamin B5, or pantothenic acid. Pantothenic acid helps turn carbohydrates and fats into usable energy and improves your ability to respond to stress by supporting your adrenal glands.

Salmon – Salmon is a healthy and delicious way to get your dose of B vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids. Among the many benefits of omega-3 fatty acids, a 2003 study published in Diabetes & Metabolism found that a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids significantly reduced the stress response and kept the stress hormones cortisol and epinephrine in check.


© Donna Sigmond, EastWest Wellness

Really? BPA free? Toxicity and Plastics

Really? BPA free?  Toxicity and Plastics

Plastics are everywhere, convenient and affordable.    Personally, I do not find the benefits outweighing the harm that they cause.  Two known and well-researched toxic chemicals are Bisphenol A (BPA) and Phthalates.  The harm is in the toxic chemicals that plastic releases into the environment and into our bodies.  Odorless and tasteless, yet daily exposure to these harmful chemicals changes our DNA.  Children are at the greatest risk since they consume more for their size. 1,2,3   We often see sports fields littered with drink bottles cooking in the hot sun.  Our kids then consume those toxins leached from the heated plastic.

Bisphenol A (BPA) is a compound found in plastics.  BPA’s are an endocrine disruptor (think messes with your hormones) and many manufacturers are advertising BPA free products.  Unfortunately, BPA’s are still used in the lining of canned goods and containers as plastic products not used for consumables such as pacifiers and toys .  We also know it is not the only harmful compound in plastic that is toxic.

Phthalates are a well-researched but underreported chemical found in plastics.  Phthalates are endocrine disruptors and found in all plastics and many cosmetics.

Due to limited research dollars there are other compounds that haven’t been tested for their impact on our bodies and the environment.  Ignorance is not bliss as these compounds are often stored in our fat tissue and builds up in our body, soil, ocean and the air we breathe.

What can you do to minimize your exposure to these harmful chemicals?    Embrace alternatives like bamboo, glass, stainless steel (although many have a resin plastic coating inside), and all natural cloth.  Use a glass containers for leftovers, a stainless steel thermos, and organic cotton lunch bags.  Glass containers can go from the freezer to the microwave.  Some of my favorite products are:  Life Factory glass water bottles, versatile and colorful ECO Lunchbags,  and Pyrex glass container sets.  Opt never to use plastic in the microwave.

If you use plastic look at the number rating on the bottom of the container and use the following as your guide.4

















Harvard School of Public Health Study appears in the Journal of Environmental Health Perspectives, September, 2009






© Donna Sigmond, EastWest Wellness

Acupuncture for Post Operative Pain and Fibromyalgia

Research from Duke University Medical Center has shown that acupuncture can significantly reduce surgical patients’ post-operative pain, and their need for powerful opioids to treat pain.

Duke University anesthesiologists combined data from 15 randomized clinical trials to reach their conclusion. Using acupuncture both before and after surgery produced the best results for patients, who reported lower levels of post-operative pain and a significantly reduced need for painkillers. In addition, acupuncture mitigated the negative side effects of opioids when they were used.

“The most important outcome for the patient is the reduction of the side effects associated with opioids,” said T.J. Gan, M.D., the Duke anesthesiologist who presented the study at the annual scientific conference of the American Society for Anesthesiology in San Francisco in October 2007. Gan pointed out that acupuncture is a relatively inexpensive therapy that has virtually no side effects when practiced by trained professionals.

Many other studies have shown acupuncture effective in reducing post-operative nausea and vomiting compared with other medications.

According to a meta-analysis presented at the American Society of Anesthesiologists’ meeting, acupuncture reduced rates of post-operative nausea by 32 percent, pruritus (itchiness at the surgical site) by 25 percent, dizziness by 38 percent, and urinary retention by 71 percent compared with control groups.

Acupuncture is excellent for managing post-surgical side effects such as surgical pain, loss of appetite, and upset stomach or nausea. In addition to strengthening the immune system and increasing energy, acupuncture is also a great way to reduce swelling, decrease stiffness and pain, reduce scarring and scar tissue and assist with a quick recovery.

If you, or a loved one, will be undergoing surgery, please call us to see if acupuncture can improve your recovery.

Acupuncture for Fibromyalgia Syndrome

Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS) affects an estimated two percent of the population. It is diagnosed when there is a history of widespread pain in all four quadrants of the body for a minimum duration of three months and pain when pressure is applied to at least 11 of 18 designated tender points on the body.Research shows that as many as 90 percent of people with fibromyalgia have turned to complimentary and alternative medicine to manage their symptoms. Acupuncture, in particular, has become a popular treatment choice and has shown to be an effective treatment for FMS.

Oriental medicine does not recognize fibromyalgia as one particular disease pattern. Instead, it aims to treat the specific symptoms that are unique to each individual depending on their constitution, emotional state, the intensity and location of their pain, digestive health, sleeping patterns and an array of other signs and symptoms.

A treatment program may include a combination of psychological or behavioral therapies, medications, exercise, acupuncture, herbal medicine and bodywork.

If you have fibromyalgia call today to see how acupuncture can ease your symptoms!


© Donna Sigmond, EastWest Wellness

Revitalize Your Digestive Health With Acupuncture


More than 95 million Americans suffer from digestive disorders ranging from constipation, diarrhea and irritable bowel syndrome to more serious conditions such as acid reflux (GERD), ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. In fact, more than 35 million physician office visits a year are due to gastrointestinal complaints. Reports are confirming that acupuncture and Oriental medicine can offer relief from even the most complex digestive problems.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Digestive Disorders

Evidence that Oriental medicine has been used for digestive disorders can be found in early medical literature dating back to 3 AD, where specific acupuncture points and herbal formulas for borborygmus (rumbling or gurgling in the intestines), abdominal pain and diarrhea with pain are discussed.

According to Oriental medical theory, most digestive disorders are due to disharmony in the spleen and stomach. The spleen plays a central part in the health and vitality of the body, taking a lead role in the assimilation of nutrients and maintenance of physical strength. It turns digested food from the stomach into usable nutrients and qi (energy). Many schools of thought have been formed around this organ; the premise being that the proper functioning of the”‘middle” is the key to all aspects of vitality.

By taking into account a person’s constitution and varied symptoms, a treatment plan is designed specifically for the individual to bring their “middle” back into harmony and optimize the proper functioning of the digestive system. A variety of techniques can be used during treatment including acupuncture, lifestyle/dietary recommendations and energetic exercises to restore digestive health.

Is your digestive system functioning as well as it could? Acupuncture and Oriental medicine are extremely effective at treating a wide array of digestive disorders. Please call us for more information or to schedule an appointment.

© Donna Sigmond, EastWest Wellness

Energetics of Carrots

 “Everyone open their desks, please.”  announced our fourth grade teacher.  We were all anxious for the last day of school, but first we were retrieving waylaid winter woolies from the cluttered coat cubbies and cleaning out our desks. 

A sickly sweet smell permeated the room once our desks were open.  Ms Tripp hurried to open the windows, saying, “Remove anything even resembling food and place it in the trash can as I walk past your desks.” 

“Eeew!”, “Gross!” and “Ugh!”  became a chorus as 32 students discovered parts of one or more forgotten lunches. 

The poor under-appreciated carrot.  Tossed in school and even office lunch bags with good intentions, but so often set aside until they’re found uneatable  at the bottom of the desk …

Graduate your carrot choice from boring orange to a whole rainbow of colors that range in size from a mere two inches to as long as a yardstick (36 inches).  

Short List of Popular Carrot Varieties (by color):

  • Orange Carrots
    • Scarlet Nantes (especially sweet)
    • Danvers (often raised for processing)
    • Camden (often raised for processing)
    • Other: Navajo, Sirkana, Top Cut and Inca
  • Purples Carrots
    • Indigo
    • Maroon
    • Purple Dragon
    • Cosmic Purple
    • Purple Haze
  • Yellow Carrots
    • Sunlite
    • Solar Yellow
    • Yellowstone
  • White Carrots
    • Creme De Lite
    • White Satin
  • Red Carrots
    • Supreme Chateney
    • Red Samurai

In season summer and fall.

Select deep colored, firm, smooth and straight carrots – the tops, if attached should be fresh (not wilted) and vibrant green.  If tops are missing, then stem end shouldn’t be black (aged).  Fat carrots are sweeter than thin ones.   Store them in the coolest part of the refrigerator in a plastic bag to retain moisture, but add a paper towel to reduce condensation (so they don’t get slimy).  Keep them separate from ethylene producing fruits or vegetables to reduce bitterness. 

Energetics (Healing with Whole Foods, by: Paul Pitchford):  Neutral thermal nature; sweet flavor; benefits lungs (whooping cough); strengthens spleen-pancreas; improves liver functions; stimulates elimination of wastes; diuretic; dissolves accumulations (stones and tumors); treats indigestion  (excess stomach acid, heartburn); eliminates putrefactive bacteria in intestines; used for urinary tract infections, diarrhea and chronic dysentery; contains an essential oil that destroys pinworms and roundworms. 

Carrots are alkaline-forming and clear acidic blood conditions including acne, tonsillitis and rheumatism; rich source of anti-oxidant beta-carotene (Vit A) which protects against cancer.  In fact Beta-carotene was named for the vegetable (carrot).  Also, treats night blindness, ear infections, earaches and deafness.  Beta-carotene benefits the skin and is anti-inflammatory for mucous membranes.   Carrot juice heals burns when applied topically.  Increases breast milk production and regulates hormones.  Helps ripen measles and chicken pox.  Contains silicon and strengthens connective tissues and aids calcium metabolism.  Juiced carrots with some green tops added reduces sweetness and is a better remedy for cancer prevention, liver stagnation and damp conditions.

This dish is inspired by a traditional Ethiopian stew.

Vegetable Stew

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes


  • 1 to 4 Tbsp. butter or vegetable oil to taste
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1/2 tsp. salt, +/- to taste
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 head savoy cabbage or 1/2 head green cabbage, cored and cut into bite-size pieces
  • 3 potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-size pieces
  • 3 carrots, peeled and cut into bite-size pieces


  1. Heat butter or oil in a large pan or pot over medium high heat. Add onions, garlic, and salt and cook, stirring frequently, until soft, about 3 minutes.
  2. Add ginger, turmeric, and pepper. Stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add cabbage, stir to combine, cover, reduce heat to medium low. When cabbage wilts, about 3 minutes, stir and cover. Cook until completely wilted, about 5 minutes.

Add potatoes, carrots, and 2 cups water. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to simmer, and cook until vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes. If necessary, cook with the cover off to reduce liquid before serving.  Makes 6 servings

Recipe courtesy of Molly Watson,


  • Nutrient % Daily Value
  • Vitamin A 407.6%
  • Vitamin K 20.1%
  • Fiber 13.6%
  • Vitamin C 12%
  • Potassium 11.1%
  • Manganese 8.5%
  • Vitamin B6 8.5%
  • Molybdenum 8.1%
  • Vitamin B3 6%
  • Folate 5.7%
  • Vitamin B1 5.3%
  • Phosphorus 4.2%
  • Vitamin B2 4.1%
  • Vitamin E 4%
  • Calories (50) 2%


© Donna Sigmond, EastWest Wellness



Energetics of Kale

I delight in eating a colorful diet as well as exploring new recipes, so when a friend brought by an armload of curly leafed kale fresh from her garden I immediately changed that evening’s menu to feature kale.

Kale comes in several varieties; red, green, curled, savoy, and fringed.  There’s one that turns red and purple in the cold, called ‘Redabor’.  Or a sage’y blue-gray type called Lacinato (this is also known as dinosaur kale).  And miniature Scottish varieties for tiny gardens.

In the line-up of dark green and leafy, this one is a stand-out.  Kale lowers the risk of bladder, breast, colon, ovary and prostate cancer with glucosinolates.  A rich source of vitamin K – nearly two times the amount of any other cruciferous veggie.  Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits too.  To preserve the cholesterol lowering benefits of this extremely healthy green, prepare by steaming.  Did you know kale’s glucosinolates can detox all the way to the genetic level?  Wow!  Kale is a broad spectrum antioxidant that fights cancer and other stress related issues.   A mere 200 calories worth of kale contains 15 grams of fiber, plus the pre-cursor to Omega-3’s (Alpha-Linolenic Acid or ALA).


Nutrient % Daily Value Kale 1 cup cooked

  • Vitamin K 1327.6% (seriously amazing)
  • Vitamin A 354.1%
  • Vitamin C 88.8%
  • Manganese 27%
  • Fiber 10.4%
  • Copper 10%
  • Tryptophan 9.3%
  • Calcium 9.3%
  • Vitamin B6 9%
  • Potassium 8.4%
  • Iron 6.5%
  • Magnesium 5.8%
  • Vitamin E 5.5%
  • Omega-3 fats 5.4%
  • Vitamin B2 5.2%
  • Protein 4.9%
  • Vitamin B1 4.6%
  • Folate 4.2%
  • Phosphorus 3.6%
  • Vitamin B3 3.2%
  • Calories (36)2%


Energetics: Warming thermal nature; sweet and slightly bitter-pungent flavor; eases lung congestion; benefits the stomach.  An ancient member of the cabbage family, it also has abundant sulfur.  Kale juice can treat stomach and duodenal ulcers.  A hardy cold-weather green whose flavor becomes sweeter with a touch of frost.  An exceptional source of chlorophyll, calcium, iron, and Vitamin A.

Growing season; fall, winter into early spring.

Select firm, dark colored leaves (smaller ones are tender) and moist stems.  Kale should be kept cool.  Store in a plastic bag and squeeze out as much air as possible.  Eat promptly, as it becomes bitter as it ages – and wash just before eating (moisture encourages rapid spoilage).


Kale is so good and good for you that we have 2 recipes to suggest.


Steamed Kale

  • Fill steamer pot with 2 inches of water and bring to a rapid boil.
  • Chop kale in 1/2″ wide slices, and stems into 1/4″ pieces.
  • Toss kale into steamer basket (above water level) and steam for 5 minutes.
  • Toss with:
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove, pressed
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional add-in’s:
  • Sun dried tomatoes, olives (kalamata, black, green) cheese (feta, goat, blue), dash of soy sauce or balsamic vinegar.  I sometimesadd black sesame seeds, yummy!


Baked Kale ‘Chips’

  • 1 bunch kale
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
  • 1 pinch sea salt, to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C).
  2. Cut away inner ribs from each kale leaf and discard; tear the leaves into uniform size pieces. Wash torn kale pieces and spin dry in a salad spinner or dry with paper towels until they’re very dry.
  3. Put the kale pieces into a large re-sealable bag (or use a bowl if you don’t mind getting your hands oily). Add about half the olive oil; seal and squeeze the bag so the oil gets distributed evenly on the kale pieces. Add the remaining oil and squeeze the bag more, until all kale pieces are evenly coated with oil and slightly ‘massaged.’ Sprinkle the vinegar over the kale leaves, reseal the bag, and shake to spread the vinegar evenly over the leaves. Spread leaves evenly on a baking sheet.
  4. Bake in preheated oven until mostly crisp, about 35 minutes. Season with salt and serve immediately.


Energetics of Spinach: Popeye’s Secret Powerhouse

As a kid I delighted in watching Popeye (cartoon) ‘pop’ his can of spinach and magically become strong enough to save the day.  Skip the can and enjoy fresh, in season spinach from March to May, and September to October.

I’m not a fan of munching dirt or sand, so I fill my (scrubbed) sink with cold water and vigorously swish my spinach (flat or curly savoy) for a thorough cleaning.  A mere half cup (raw) is considered a serving size, but with steaming, 4 cups shrinks to a bit over 1 cup. Less chewing and more nutrients.  Sneaky, no?  Add a splash of lemon juice and a pat of butter, sprinkle a bit of salt on top, and I scarf so much my teeth feel chalky, but I can’t stop.

Popeye knows what he is doing when he grabs the spinach.  That innocent little leaf is a powerhouse.   The lemon juice I drizzle on adds extra vitamin C and breaks down oxalic acid to help my body absorb spinach’s calcium and iron.  I like to credit my lack of reading glasses (at 50) to the high levels of zeaxanthin and lutein found in spinach, along with Vitamin A and potassium.  Plus, folate, magnesium, phosporus, and even a bit of fiber.  Everything the body needs to fight free radicals (aka, nasty villans!), grow strong bones, prevent  birth defects, aid red blood cell production and keep the heart healthy is found in the dark green leafy; spinach.  Popeye, you’re my hero.

Popeye is probably a heart and prostate healthy hero, too.  Thanks to glycoglycerolipids – little molecules in plant membranes used in the photosynthesis process.  These clever molecules protect our digestive tract from damage caused by inflammation.  Popeye’s health is further enhanced by the anti-cancer carotenoids labeled epoxyxanthophylls, specifically, neoxanthin and violaxanthin.

Energetics: Spinach is cooling and moistening.  Builds and cleanses blood, a diuretic and a laxative.  Useful in treating diabetic dryness.  Good for night blindness.  Caution: Those with kidney stones or gout should eat spinach sparingly.

I’m fixing spinach for the other hero in my life tonight but he won’t know it – he loves pasta, so I hide fresh spinach in the pesto sauce.  To keep his waist line trim, I leave out the final tablespoon of olive oil.

Popeye Pesto


  • 2-1/2 cups spinach leaves
  • 3/4 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts or pistachios
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and quartered
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 T plus 1 T extra-virgin olive oil


  1. Blend the spinach, basil, nuts, cheese, garlic, salt, pepper, lemon juice, lemon zest, and 2 tablespoons olive oil in a food processor until nearly smooth, scraping bowl with a spatula as necessary. Drizzle remaining optional olive oil into the mixture while processing until smooth.  Recipe courtesy of 
© Donna Sigmond, EastWest Wellness

Energetics of Asparagus: Harbinger of Spring

        The best harbinger of Spring are those crisp stalks of fresh, local asparagus appearing in the grocers case.  Have you noticed that the stalks are sometimes pencil thin and others are fat cigars?  Asparagus flaunts it’s age with thicker stalks.  Not only do those green clusters herald the coming of warm showers and pretty flowers, they also herald good health.


Asparagus is a dieters friend, being low in calories with hardly any salt and an excellent source of fiber (3g in 5 ounces), protein (3g) and folic acid.  Interestingly, studies have found people with Alzheimer’s Disease have very little, to no folate levels – 5 ounces of asparagus packs about 60% of the RDA of folacin.

In addition to helping dissolve uric acid (gout and arthritis sufferers, take note), asparagus has the highest glutathione (GSH) levels of several tested foods – GSH is a potent anti-carcinogen and antioxidant.

But wait, there’s more:  Vitamin A, B, C, E and K, calcium, chromium, iron, copper, manganese, magnesium and zinc.  Plus, thiamin, riboflavin, rutin (strengthens capillary walls), niacin, folic acid, phosphorus, potassium and selenium.

Asparagus even has an amino acid named after it; asparagine (which it obviously has in abundance).

Helpful hint: instead of cutting, snap off the lower inch or so of the stalk, it will snap where the tender part meets the tougher part.


Slightly warming thermal nature; bitter and mildly pungent flavor contains the diuretic asparagine.  Treats many types of kidney problems but should not be used with inflammation.  Cleanses the arteries of cholesterol and is useful in vascular problems such as hypertension and arteriosclerosis.  Caution:  too much asparagus can irritate the kidneys.

Asparagus tubers (or root) used in Chinese herbology tonify the yin fluids of the kidneys and moisten the lungs; a cooling remedy used to treat lung congestion, spitting or coughing up blood, chronic bronchitis, and wasting stage of diseases such as diabetes and tuberculosis. Also improves feminine principle, especially aggression and eases menstrual difficulties, promotes fertility, increases one’s receptive and compassionate nature.  Caution:  Avoid in cold-type diarrhea and lung congestion when chills predominate.

Grilled Asparagus:


  • 1 pound thin asparagus spears
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 ounce shaved Parmesan cheese
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, or to taste


  1. Preheat grill or oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C).
  2. Place asparagus on tin foil or a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, and toss to coat. Arrange asparagus spears in a single layer. Spread Parmesan cheese over asparagus, and season with freshly ground black pepper.
  3. Grill or bake 12 to 15 minutes, until cheese is melted and asparagus is tender but crisp. Serve immediately on warm plates, sprinkling with balsamic vinegar to taste.

Courtesy of

Energetics of Artichokes with Two Recipes!


Did you know there is a town in California claiming to be the artichoke capital of the world? Considering that Mediterranean cuisine uses the bristly globes in just about everything, that’s a long way from farm to table.  Artichokes have also been called Jerusalem Artichokes and Sunchokes.




Thankfully, I no longer wonder how to get from ‘prickly’ to ‘edible’.  My technique is to remove any bruised leaves at the base and whack off the stem. I place it standing upright in a pot with about three inches of water or steam then in a double boiler, boiling for 25-45 minutes, until a leaf pulls out easily.  If you prefer the microwave, turn the artichoke upside down in a 1/4 cup of water, add a squirt of lemon juice, and cover the container while boiling for 5-7 minutes.  Allow it to sit another five minutes before lifting the lid for the artichoke to finish cooking.  Monitor all methods for water levels to avoid a malodorous mess.

To eat, pull a leaf and drag it between top and bottom teeth to remove the soft pulpy ‘meat’ at the base of each leaf.  Then drop the scraped leaf into a discard container. A dipping sauce, such as balsamic sauce, instead of butter makes this a wonderfully healthy treat.

At the center of the artichoke, you’ll find purple leaves and white fluffy stuff. Remove and discard to reveal the artichoke heart. It’s worth digging for. Now you can look like a pro and never be intimidated by the veggie display.


They are low in calories, fat free, cholesterol free with a good dose of Potassium, Vitamin C, Folate, Magnesium, Manganese, Chromium and Niacin.  The are comprised of a few carbs, noticeable fiber (we all need more fiber), protein, and hardly any sugar.

Artichokes contain potent phytonutrients, cynarin and silymarin. They also have bioactive antioxidants, apigenin and luteolin.  Artichokes raise the HDL/LDL ratio, assist gall bladder function and keep the liver happy—I don’t know about you, but having a happy liver is high on my list.


Energetically, artichoke is cooling. Sweet flavor; stimulates insulin production; nourishes lungs; relieves asthma and constipation. Artichokes are harvested spring, summer, and mid-autumn.


Balsamic Sauce


  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 4 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons canola oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper


  1. Combine water, vinegar, lemon juice, brown sugar and oil; pour into pan. Bring to a boil; cook until liquid is reduced to about 1/3 cup. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Recipe courtesy of

Pan Roasted Baby Artichokes and Citrus Pistachios


  • 1 lb small artichokes
  • 1 half medium shallot
  • 1/4 c. shelled pistachio nuts
  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 c. black quinoa cooked
  • 1/4 c. + 1 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper


Cook the quinoa,  (1/4c dry expands to 1c cooked).  Whisk 1/4c olive oil, lemon juice and a pinch of salt in an oversized mixing bowl. Cut off artichoke’s top third and bottom, then remove any tough leaves.  Cut artichoke in half then submerge immediately in oxidization-preventing olive oil and lemon juice mixture, stirring often.

Thinly slice shallot. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a deep pan on medium high heat. When the oil swirls easily in the pan add shallots and pistachios. When shallots begin to brown, add the zest and stir until almost completely caramelized.

Place artichokes face down on the pan with liquid and allow them to brown. Salt and pepper to taste. Stir often until the liquid is almost completely reduced and all surfaces of the artichokes start to brown. If needed, add 1/8 c. of water to prevent burning.

The artichokes are done cooking when tender all the way through. At the last minute, toss in the quinoa and mix well. Scrape the caramelized bits of shallot and zest into the quinoa. Adjust salt and pepper and remove from heat.

Recipe courtesy of

Energetics of Collard Greens

Recently we blogged on brussel sprouts which belongs to the cruciferous family.  Collard greens are one of the non-head members of the cruciferous family. Although they look very different they both contain high amounts of health promoting sulfur compounds such as glucosinolates and methyl cysteine sulfoxides which aide the liver’s ability in producing enzymes that neutralize many potentially toxic substances.  Collard greens also contain antioxidant compounds such as lutein and zeaxanthin (to name a few) that promote repair in the body.  Collard greens are one of the highest sources of plant based calcium too.

Collards are a great source of vitamin K, A, folate, and potassium.  They contain many other nutrients and are a good source of fiber, vitamin C and a decent source of magnesium, phosphorous and many amino acids (building blocks of proteins).  Other nutrients contained in these luscious leaves are:  omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B-1 (thiamin), B-2 (fiboflavin), vitamin B-5 (panathenate), vitamin B-3 (niacin), iron, and sleep promoting tryptophan.

Collard greens grow year round but Colorado is a great place to grow collard greens (bonus) because collards are at their peak of flavor during the cold months right after a frost.  The cold helps to develop the sweetness from these incredible greens.

To bring out the health benefits try cutting into thin slices.  Myrosinase is an enzyme that is activated during the cutting process which breaks down the cell wall.  This enzyme converts plant nutrients into their active forms for maximum benefit.  Cooking will stop this enzymatic process so best that you cut and let sit 5-10 minutes before cooking.  You can also squeeze a little lemon or lime juice on the raw cut leaves to increase the myrosinase activity.

Energetics: rejuvenates the liver, nourishes liver yin and blood.  Conditions associated with liver  and benefit from collards are: rapid movement (dystonia/tremors), spasms, cramps, dizziness, vertigo, pulsating headache, weak tendons/ligaments, high pitch ringing in the ears, some paralysis, dryness of the eyes or nails, mania/depression, nervousness, agitation/irritability, unstable personality, menopausal discomfort or irregularity.

Perfect Collard Green Steam

Crush 2 cloves garlic, let sit for 10 minutes

1 lb Collard Greens, washed and thinly cut

1 small onion, cut in thin strips

1 tsp cooking oil

1 tsp. Black sesame seeds

Roasted sesame oil, drizzle to taste


Crush garlic and let sit.  Chop onion and sauté in oil.  Steam collard greens for 5 minutes and drain after cooking.  Add garlic to sautéd onion and cook 1 minute.  Add collards to onions.  Turn off heat.  Add black sesame seeds and drizzle roasted sesame oil.