Energetics of Cherry: The Tart/Sweet Superfood

Inflammation and pain are a few of the most common symptoms that people experience. You can easily see this by looking at any over-the-counter medicine aisle at your local grocery store. Lucky for us, cherries are a wonderful and natural remedy for lowering pain and inflammation—among many other benefits! Vote with your dollar and support farms that produce foods that positively impact our health in the most beneficial ways possible. Two DELICIOUS cherry recipes are at the end of this blog.

Energetics

Warming thermal nature; sweet flavor; increases and assists in the circulation of qi energy, tonifies the spleen-pancreas, clears and cleanses blood, and prevents involuntary seminal emission. Tart cherries are astringent and help to tighten and move out excess leaking conditions like excess sweating and frequent urination. Remedy for exhaustion, fatigue, diabetes, gout, arthritis, and rheumatism by eliminating excess body acids.  Treats coldness, improves blood and anemia.

 

Nutrition

Essentially, cherries come in two versions: sweet (which most people are accustomed to, and prefer most often) and tart. Generally, both have the benefits listed within this blog, however tart cherries are the ones that pack the most powerful superfood punch! The flavonoids contained in both types are praised for their anticancer effects and antioxidant capacities. Antioxidants are heavily important to ingest in one’s diet because they have the ability to minimize free-radical activity within the body; free radicals are oxidized molecules that cause damage at the cellular level.

Sweet Cherries

Did you know that cherries can help you sleep better, speed up exercise recovery, and relieve aches & pains?  Tart cherries, or tart cherry juice, is an easily absorbed source of natural melatonin – one of the few natural sources available. While you’re sleeping better, the anthocyanin’s antioxidants (like lutein and zeaxanthin), combined with beta carotene, vitamin C, and quercetin (a blood vessel relaxer) are burning fat more efficiently and reducing uric acid and inflammation.  Inflammation conditions like fibromyalgia, arthritis, and gout, and even sore muscles can be reduced with a cup or two of daily cherries.

Cherries also contain potassium (1 cup of cherries is equal in potassium to a small banana) which helps lowers blood pressure. The darker the cherry the higher the anthocyanin content.  These same nutrients help fight cancer, lower inflammation, enhances the production of cytokines (thus regulating immune responses), and also keeps the brain healthy too.

Sweet and Tart Cherries, fresh & raw

Nutritive Value per 100g

Principle

Nutrient Value per 100g

Percentage of RDA

Cherry type

 Sweet

    Tart

 Sweet

   Tart

Energy

 63 cal      50 Kcal

  3%        2.5%

Carbohydrates

16.1 g      12.18 g

12%        9%

Protein

1.06 g      1.00 g

2%         2%

Total Fat

  0.2 g         0.3 g

1%       1.5%

Cholesterol

    0 g           0 g

0%         0%

Dietary Fiber

 2.1 g         1.6 g

5.5%       4%

Vitamins

Folates

4 mcg           8 mcg

1%            2%

Niacin

0.154 mg   0.400 mg

 1%         2.5%

Pantothenic acid

0.199 mg    0.143 mg

4%             3%

Pyridoxine

0.049 mg   0.044 mg

4%          3.5%

Riboflavin

0.033 mg    0.040 mg

2.5%          3%

Thiamin

0.027 mg    0.030 mg

2%          2.5%

Vitamin C

     7 mg        10 mg

11%        17%

Vitamin A

     640IU      1283 IU

21%        43%

Vitamin E

 0.07 mg     0.07 mg

0.5%         0.5%

Vitamin K

  2.1 mcg     2.1 mcg

2%            2%

Electrolytes

Sodium

     0 mg           3mg

0%             0%

Potassium

  222 mg       179mg

5%             4%

Minerals

Calcium

   13 mg         16 mg

1.3%       1.6%

Copper

0.060 mg   0.104 mg

7%        11.5%

Iron

  0.36 mg   0.32 mg

4.5%       4%

Magnesium

    11 mg        9mg

3%          2%

Manganese

0.070 mg   0.112mg

3%            5%

Phosphorus

    21 mg     15 mg

3%           2%

Zinc

 0.07 mg     0.10 mg

0.5%        0.1%

Phyto-nutrients

Carotene, alpha

   0 mcg        0 mcg

Carotene, beta

  38 mcg   770 mcg

Crypto-xanthin, ß

    0 mcg      0 mcg

Lutein-zeaxanthin

  85 mcg    85 mcg

(Source: USDA Nutrient database)

Preparation

Cherries are in season from May to August.  Try Bing, heart-shaped Lambert, and golden Rainier sweet cherries, or Montmorency tart cherries.  Eat within a day or two of purchase, and rinse just prior to eating.  Look for shiny, deep colored cherries with a green stem still attached. If purchasing dried tart cherries, then be sure to check the ingredients panel as most contain added sugar. Whether treating yourself with wild (sweet) cherries or tart (sour) cherries, it’s a healthy indulgence, so dig in!

 

Kale Quinoa Montmorency Tart Cherry Salad w/ Salmon Recipe

Total Time: 65 Minutes

Prep: 20 Minutes

Cook: 45 Minutes
Yield: 4 People
Level: Beginner

Ingredients

  • Butternut Squash Ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 cups cubed butternut squash (1/2 inch cubes)
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon rubbed sage
  • Salmon Ingredients:
  • 2-7 ounce salmon filets
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 lemon slices
  • Salad Dressing Ingredients:
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons Montmorency tart cherry concentrate
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons shallot, minced
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Salad Ingredients:
  • 1 bunch curly kale, stems removed and finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa (hot or chilled)
  • 1 cup dried Montmorency tart cherries
  • 1/2 cup toasted walnuts

Directions

Make Butternut Squash and Salmon:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Toss butternut squash with olive oil, rubbed sage, and salt and pepper to taste. Spread on parchment lined baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes or until squash is tender and beginning to caramelize on edges.

Place Salmon, skin side down, in small baking dish or foil lined baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and place lemon slices on top of filets. Roast for 15 minutes or until just opaque. Allow salmon to cool slightly before removing skin. Use fork to flake fish into chunks.

Make Salad Dressing:

While butternut squash and salmon are cooking, mix salad dressing ingredients in a bowl, liquid measuring cup, or jar with lid. Whisk or shake salad dressing until well combined. Set aside.

Assemble Salad:

Place chopped kale in a large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil, a spritz of fresh lemon juice, and squeeze/massage kale leaves with clean hands for about 5 minutes or until leaves begin to tenderize and turn a dark glossy green. Toss kale with half of the salad dressing and set aside for 10 minutes.

Add quinoa, dried Montmorency Cherries, toasted walnuts, and butternut squash to the kale. Drizzle with remaining dressing and stir to combine. Gently fold in salmon and serve.

Tips:

Be sure to cut kale into small pieces and massage for at least 5 minutes to ensure tender delicious leaves.

Butternut squash and salmon can be cooked at the same time. Just add salmon to the oven halfway through the squash’s cooking time.

Butternut squash, salmon, and quinoa can be made the day before and mixed together before serving.

Salad can be tossed together with freshly cooked warm quinoa, butternut squash, and salmon for a warm salad, or assembled with precooked chilled ingredients for a cold salad.

Recipe courtesy of Emily Caruso, jellytoastblog.com

Cherry Ice (Serves 4)

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 cups pitted cherries, fresh or frozen, plus whole ones for garnish

Directions

In a medium bowl, whisk together wine, honey, and lemon juice until combined. Set aside.

Place cherries in a food processor; pulse until finely chopped. Transfer to bowl with liquid mixture; stir until combined. Pour into a shallow metal pan and place in freezer. Stir with a fork every 10 minutes until mixture is slushy and partially solidified, about 35 minutes. Spoon into serving cups; garnish with whole cherries.

 

http://www.lifeextension.com/magazine/2007/12/sf_cherries/page-01

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1082894/

http://aprilcrowell.com/asian-medicine/cherries-natures-blood-cleanser

Energetics of Dates: Today is the Date to Eat Healthy

4-Simple-Ways-In-Which-Dates-Help-Control-Diabetes

album_other-20121116-104820-0

 

Facts About Dates

Dates, fruits derived from the date palm tree (Phoenix dactylifera L.), are one of those foods that people either love or they don’t. I’m one that used to highly dislike them, and more recently I am slowly beginning to like them more and more. I’m liking them especially because they have such a low glycemic index, yet they taste quite sweet! Dates, visually speaking, are interestingly unique when compared to most other fruits. The same is true for their energetics and nutritional content.

Energetics

Dates nourish one’s elements with a sweet flavor and a warming constitution. This flavorful fruit tonifies the qi and the blood. Dates work their magic through the routes of Liver, Lung, Stomach, and Spleen channels.

Nutrition Of Dates

2This phenomenal fruit is packed full of nutritional content: vitamins, minerals, healthy fats & oils (0.2-0.5%), dietary fiber (6.4-11.5%), multiple amino acids, and sugar (don’t worry though, it’s GOOD sugar!). Dates have vitamin C, B(1) thiamine, B(2) riboflavin, niacin, and vitamin A. Dates contain various proportions of boron, calcium, cobalt, copper, fluorine, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, phosphorous, sodium, and zinc. In regards to oils, dates have palmitoleic, oleic, linoleic, and linolenic unsaturated fatty acids. As a side note, date seeds contain 14 types of fatty acids and consist of about 50% oleic acid. There are 23 different type of amino acids that build the protein (2.3-5.6%) stored within dates. The largest component of dates are carbohydrates/plant sugars (44-88%). All of the contents above can range depending on the varietal of date and the time of year it was produced.

Although dates are mostly built of plant sugars, don’t get lost in attempting to equate this to added sugars that you normally read about on an ingredient panel. Plant sugars, in their natural form, are much different than processed sugar because of the way in which they are chemically packaged within the fruit. Nature has created a beautiful combination of biochemistry in that the sugar molecules are surrounded by all of the abovementioned items: these surrounding components make it so that sugar is slowly broken down/released into your body and is a wonderful way to sustain your day. Dates are a low glycemic index food and are a perfect snack for many (even those with diabetes!).

Medjool-dates-010As with anything, don’t eat too many! And at the same time, don’t deprive yourself of them because of being worried about the sugar content. The key to this concept is that our bodies break down every item that we eat and convert it into sugar; the important aspect here is that it is the speed at which this process occurs. If we eat foods that slowly turn into sugar, then we have a more sustainable energy level throughout our day.

Now, go have a date with some dates!

 Dates Recipe

5 Ingredient Peanut Cup Energy Bites5-Ingredient-PB-Cup-Energy-Bites-Perfect-for-a-healthier-on-the-go-snack-vegan-glutenfree

EASY, 5 ingredient peanut butter energy bites sweetened with dates and studded with oats, dark chocolate and chia seeds! Full of fiber, protein and healthy fats.

Author: Minimalist Baker

Recipe type: Snack

Cuisine: Vegan, Gluten Free

Serves: 15

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (~220 g) dates, pitted (if dry, soak in warm water for 10 minutes, then drain well)
  • 3 Tbsp all natural salted peanut or almond butter
  • 1/4 cup dairy free dark chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 1 Tbsp chia seeds (or sub flax or hemp seeds)
  • 2/3 cup gluten free rolled oats

Instructions:

  1. Pulse dates in a food processor or blender until they’re in small pieces or it forms a ball (see photo).
  2. Add oats, chocolate, chia seeds and peanut butter and pulse or mix until combined. You want there to be consistently small pieces but not overly processed.
  3. Carefully roll into 1-inch balls (29-30 grams per ball), using the warmth of your hands to mold them together. Should yield 14-15 balls.
  4. To set, pop in fridge or freezer for 15 minutes. Otherwise, eat as is! Will keep fresh in an air-tight bag or container for up to a week. Freeze for longer term storage.

 

Sources:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12850886

https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/fruit/health-benefits-of-dates.html

http://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/dates

If you’re curious about using dates as a low glycemic sugar substitute:

https://www.fromthegrapevine.com/israeli-kitchen/are-dates-new-low-glycemic-sugar-substitute

Energetics of Spaghetti Squash: It’s an Im’pasta’!

orangettiSpaghetti squash is a wonderful replacement for all of the various grain-based spaghettis that are normally combined with Italian recipes. This type of squash has much less calories (50 calories per 100 grams), way more fiber, and is extremely low on the glycemic index (which is great for everyone, and most especially those with diabetes).

It also has a packed nutritional panel consisting of Nitrogen, Phosphorous, Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium, Sulfur, Boron, Copper, Iron, Manganese, and Zinc. This squash varietal also contains beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin which have been associated with keeping one’s vision health, among many other health benefits that these nutrients bring with them. Beta-carotene specifically has been shown to be beneficial for lowering cholesterol levels and has been helpful to those with insulin resistance.

Image result for super squash
Nutrient content
N (%) 1.77
P (%) 0.36
K (%) 3.86
Ca (%) 0.42
Mg (%) 0.18
S (%) 0.21
B (ppm) 31.5
Cu (ppm) 8.54
Fe (ppm) 26.0

Mn (ppm) 6.26
Zn (ppm) 20.9
Fruit quality
Fructose 1.36
Glucose 1.35
Sucrose 0.35

 

Energetics:

Winter squash has the most concentrated source of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) of all vegetables. ALA is an omega-3 essential fatty acid that is very good for heart health.  The deep yellow and orange colors of the winter squashes are a reflection of its carotenoid phytonutrients—alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin and beta-cryptoxanthin—content. In addition to the phytonutrients, winter squash also is an excellent source of vitamin A and vitamin C, antioxidants that benefit overall health, including heart health.  The vitamin A in winter squash is not just an antioxidant, it is an important nutrient for lung health, as it is essential for the growth and development of the tissues that line the lungs.

Spaghetti squash is also a good source of dietary fiber, potassium, folate, vitamin A, C, B6, B1 and B5, niacin, thiamin, manganese, copper, and tryptophan.

Spaghetti squash is warming in nature.  It influences the spleen-pancreas and stomach, reduces inflammation and burns (fresh squash juice is applied to relieve burns), improves qi-energy circulation, and alleviates pain.  Squash and its seeds can be used to destroy worms, though seeds are the most effective. For parasitic worms, eat a small handful of the seeds of a winter squash once or twice daily for 3 weeks. Compared to summer squash, winter squash has higher amounts of natural sugars, carbohydrates, and vitamin A.

baked-spaghetti-squash-garlic-butter-4574

Lasagna Stuffed Spaghetti Squash Recipe

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Serving Size: 1 squash half

Lasagna Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

arismenu.com

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium spaghetti squash
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 20 oz 99% lean ground turkey breast (you can also use the 93-94% or 96% lean ground beef)
  • 1/4 lb chicken or turkey sausage, sliced
  • 1 lb can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons dried or finely chopped fresh oregano, divided
  • 2 teaspoons dried or finely chopped fresh basil, divided
  • 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes, optional
  • 1/2 cup part skim ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup nonfat cottage cheese
  • 1 cup shredded part skim mozzarella cheese

 

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400. Slice spaghetti squash length wise and scrape out the seeds. Rub 1/4 tbsp olive oil into each squash half and season with salt and pepper. Place each spaghetti squash half face down in a large baking dish and bake for 40-60 min. When squash is done, middle will be tender and pull apart easily.
  2. In a large pan, sauté onion and garlic in 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat until fragrant. Add ground turkey. Season with a generous pinch each of salt and pepper. Cook until browned. Add sausage, crushed tomato and 1 teaspoon each basil and oregano. When sauce starts to bubble, reduce heat to a simmer until thickened (about 3-4 minutes).
  3. Meanwhile, combine ricotta and cottage cheese in a medium bowl. Season with 1 teaspoon each basil and oregano. Add a pinch each of salt and pepper. Lightly mix until combined.
  4. When spaghetti squash is fully cooked, flip in the baking dish so that it is now skin side down. Evenly divide ricotta mixture between each squash half. Repeat with meat sauce. Top each half with 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese.
  5. Turn oven to broil, and cook for another 2 minutes, until cheese is browned and bubbling. This happens very quickly–make sure to watch closely, otherwise it can burn easily. Serve immediately. Leftovers may be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to one week.

Notes

The sauce is very forgiving. Add/subtract whatever spices you like to get your desired flavor. I used a spicy (pre-cooked) chicken sausage, but you can use whatever flavor you like.

Resources:

http://thescienceofeating.com/2014/12/24/benefits-of-spaghetti-squash-2/

https://hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/ncnu02/v5-445.html

Recipe: http://arismenu.com/lasagna-stuffed-spaghetti-squash/

Energetics of Food: Why is it Important?

yin_yin-yang_yang-imageThe energetics of food can be quite the tricky concept for the Western mind to understand. It’s definitely not impossible to understand; it’s more that the concept of energetics is a cross current pattern of thoughts that collide against the way in which most Westerners think about the food that they consume. I am one of these Westerners; my Western mindset gave me a lot of applicable and helpful knowledge. However, this mindset also led me astray when it came to my own health. I was so engrossed with consuming items that had phenomenal nutrient profiles that I had not considered the energetics of the food that I was eating. Once I accounted for the energetics of food, applied these Eastern concepts into my diet, and began Western nutritional supplementation, it was then that my health came back online.

energetics-apple

This image uses special photography to see the energetics of this apple. This is a real image of an apple. http://kirlian.com/

If you’re wondering, “what does the energetics of food even mean?” then please read this phenomenal series by Kaely Shull: Power of Energetics: Food as Medicine, Power of Energetics: Yin and Yang, Power of Energetics: 5 Properties, and Power of Energetics: 5 Flavors (Part 1) & Part 2. These blogs do an amazing job at exploring the dense, broad, and integral concepts related to this topic.

I am writing this blog post to share my personal experience with you: optimal health can sometimes require both Eastern and Western methodologies of medicine.

Over the last 8 years I have been attempting to widen my perspective to include ideas, concepts, and ways of being that are not aligned with my culturally adopted way of thinking. Chinese medicine—and the vital knowledge of energetics—has been one of the avenues which deeply expanded my thought processes, and more recently, has shifted me into better understanding how the energetics of food directly affects my body. To be completely honest, this transition into Eastern thinking literally feels as if my brain is turning inside-out and upside-down from its normal Western alignment. I feel like a ship lost at sea with only a half-working compass.

Not to worry though! Our minds and our bodies have the ability to make sense of this “lost” feeling. Eventually we can re-calibrate, and quite naturally, these two mindsets can learn to live harmoniously. The synergistic relationship between these two seemingly opposing ways of thinking can begin to inform one another and a new level of health can be established—one which would be almost impossible with either side being alone by itself. As with anything, this is an ever-growing process, and it is one that I am currently adapting to because of a recent health issue in my own life that has resurfaced from my past: dermatitis.

I’m currently 28 and this recent health issue, although in a new area of my body, was not something that I hadn’t experienced before. As a child I had extreme (well, to me) spouts of diagnosed eczema that had ebbed and flowed throughout my life and throughout different parts of my body. This form of dermatitis had been diagnosed and treated by Western medicine specifically via applying steroid creams and pharmaceutical liquids; this ‘fixed’ it for the time. After my body went through puberty my symptoms of eczema mostly stopped, and every once in a while since then, a small patch would show up in what seemed to be random parts around my body and I could not figure out what caused it. These small patches were minor and didn’t affect my daily life. I began to notice that my skin was my “Achilles heel” since I hardly got sick outside of skin issues, so I began changing my diet in the ways I knew best.

superfoodOver these last 8 years I have tried a multitude of different ‘healthy’ superfoods, drinks, smoothies, practices, etc. in order to optimize my own wellness and to detoxify my body from the things that I consumed before I became aware of the importance of food as medicine. However, my thought processes which lead me to these ‘healthy’ items was confined to my Western model of thinking—one which had overlooked the importance of the energetics of food, and instead, singularly focused on the nutritional profile. I was so busy seeking various superfoods containing abnormally high amounts of antioxidants, anticancer-agents, omegas, fiber, and protein that I unintentionally disregarded the importance of also utilizing the energetic qualities that were imbibed within these healthy sources: yin & yang, 5 properties, 5 flavors, 5 elements, and the 4 directions.

path_through_the_forest-t2My lack of applied knowledge, within the vital field of the energetics of food, led me astray. My hand flared a fiery red with inflamed dermatitis; the discomfort associated with this kept me from sleeping and was a constant struggle of attempting to rehydrate it will various oils; the less I slept, the more I stressed, the worse my hand inflamed. I then saw Donna, our practitioner here at East-West Wellness, and she reminded me of the importance of the energetics of food. After a month of this, I was finally able to see through the forest and know the path that I needed to take. I back-peddled through my mind to try to find where I went wrong. What was I doing that could have caused this to happen? If there isn’t a directly specific cause, then what things are feeding this fire on my hand?

Here lies one of the things that started the fire on my hand: my most recent blog posts (written 3 months before this blog and about 1 month before my hand flared) were written about the energetics of turmeric (Part 1 & Part 2). Turmeric has a plethora of amazing benefits for the body so I decided to prescribe myself ‘therapeutic dosages’ of turmeric. Even though I wrote this article with the intention of expressing its energetic qualities, I again still focused on the Western sense of a nutritional potency: I made a golden paste (highly condensed turmeric) and put this into most of my foods; I would sprinkle turmeric on almost every meal that I ate; I would also add it into my coffee and cacao drinks. I did this heavilTumeric and tumeric powder.y after I wrote that set of blogs, and then after a month of heavily consuming turmeric, my hand slowly exploded with dermatitis that got worse day by day.

Turmeric has a warming energetic constitution; this energetic quality of turmeric—even though it is also anti-inflammatory in Western terms—most definitely fed the inflammation on my hand. I also love spicy foods of all sorts, so naturally I had been consuming many spicy foods at the same time as this new influx of turmeric came into my digestion. Donna explained to me that the dermatitis on my hand has a hot energy to it (as it was obviously inflamed, red, and felt very hot in temperature), and therefore I should remove all energetically warming foods, begin to include more cooling foods, and to also use a topical neem cream with added vitamin D. I did all of this as well as ingested Chinese herbs prescribed by her which helped to clear the extra heat that I had in my system. After a blood test, I was also prescribed a few Western supplements to bring my nutrient levels back into an optimal state.

energetics-pear

Visual Energetics of a Pear

Almost two months later, after being urged to become aware of the energetic impacts of the food that I choose to consume, I now feel and see an immense improvement in my hand. The inflammation has receded, the pain has gone away, and my skin is beginning to feel normal again (FINALLY!). The miraculous thing about this improvement is that this improvement in health was able to occur during my most intensely stressful semester of college-level chemistry and biology (which was definitely among one of the causative factors).

All of this to say that by me shifting my perspective into applying the importance that energetics can play within my own body was a mind-body altering experience for me. Now, I can’t say that turmeric and warming foods were the only culprit—that is very obvious to me—as the ways in which I was dealing with my stress was also a contributing factor, and there were many other things that I had to become aware of (e.g. ingredients in soap, my need to increase exercise, etc.). However, I do feel that being armed with medical knowledge from a multitude of cultures, and now the direct experience of how the energetics within all foods affects my biology, became a key concept that allowed me to take control of my own health. This applied knowledge allowed me to be empowered in the decisions I make every day: what will I eat today? How will this food choice affect my energetics?

Now this doesn’t mean that I can never eat spicy foods or turmeric ever again—unless of course I took a food sensitivity test and found out otherwise. It does mean, however, that I need to learn how to balance my foods in relation to the qualities that these foods bring into my body. This is an art within itself; one that I am immensely excited to learn more about and integrate into my ever-evolving diet.

I know within my heart that this disruption in my health was a blessing in disguise. It is my hope that this experience can also be of help to those of you who read this. Feel free to post if you have any questions or comments =)

energetic-temperature-of-food

Click image to enlarge and save it for your reference

Energetics of Turmeric: An Honourable Herbal Spice with a Multitude of Applications (Part 2)

turmeric-heart-320x209This blog on turmeric is part 2 of 2; if you haven’t read part 1 yet, then click here and check it out.

The use of turmeric as a spice, and as a household remedy, has been utilised across various cultures and has known to be safe for centuries. To date, no scientific studies in either animals or humans have discovered any toxic effects associated with the use of turmeric (Lao et al. 2006), and it is clear that turmeric is not toxic—even at very high doses. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has conducted its own clinical trials with turmeric and published a 300-page monograph. The FDA has declared turmeric, and its active component curcumin, as GRAS (generally regarded as safe).

Turmeric has been scientifically tested in a multitude of aspects and has a substantial list of observed benefits. These health benefits span a wide range of useful applications: anywhere along the spectrum from anti-aging qualities to anticancer functions.

Turmeric has been observed to:Turmeric

-Support collagen production: collagen is the ‘glue’ that holds the body together. This connective tissue is the most abundant protein in the body. Turmeric also provides a mineral, manganese, which helps to rebuild/replace old collagen in the skin and elsewhere throughout the body—thereby keeping skin young-looking, soft, and less prone to wrinkles

-Help to hasten gallstones out of the gallbladder: great preventative for those whose family has a history of gallbladder stones/removal or those that may be on the brink of needing gallbladder surgery.

-Be at least 10 times more active as an antioxidant than vitamin E (Khopde et al., 1999). Extracts can scavenge free radicals, increase antioxidant enzymes, and inhibit lipid peroxidation (stops cell damage due to free radicals).

-Be antimutagenic: this means that its compounds can prevent the mutation of your cells & genes. If the body has too many toxins, free radicals, etc. then genetic mutations can occur; these mutations cause disease and illness. Because toxins lie within everyone’s bodies, ingestion of antimutagenic agents become imperative.

-Prevent damage to the liver (Miyakoshi et al. 2004) and also serves to protect the heart (Mohanty, Arya, and Gupta 2006)

 turmeric list Specific Ailments Turmeric is Beneficial for:

Turmeric is used as an herbal medicine for rheumatoid arthritis, chronic anterior uveitis, conjunctivitis, skin cancer, small pox, chicken pox, wound healing, urinary tract infections, and liver ailments (Dixit, Jain, and Joshi 1988). It is also used for digestive disorders; to reduce flatus, jaundice, menstrual difficulties, and colic; for abdominal pain and distension (Bundy et al. 2004); and for dyspeptic conditions including loss of appetite, postprandial feelings of fullness, and liver and gallbladder complaints.

It has anti-inflammatory, choleretic (increases bile/solids secretion), antimicrobial, and carminative actions (decreases gas/bloating) capabilities (Mills and Bone 2000). Turmeric targets the digestive organs: in the intestine, for treatment of diseases such as familial adenomatous polyposis (Cruz-Correa et al. 2006); in the bowels, for treatment of inflammatory bowel disease (Hanai and Sugimoto 2009); and in the colon, for treatment of colon cancer (Naganuma et al. 2006). For arthritis, dosages of 8–60 g of fresh turmeric root three times daily have been recommended (Fetrow and Avila 1999). For indigestion (dyspepsia), 1.3–3.0 grams of turmeric root is recommended. No known interaction of drugs with turmeric has been reported by the monographs of the German regulatory authority, Commission E (Blumenthal, Goldberg, and Brinckmann 2000).

In a study with human subjects, the effect of turmeric was examined on patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). When 1 or 2 tablets of turmeric extract were given daily for 8 weeks, the prevalence of irritable bowel syndrome was significantly decreased, as was the abdominal pain/discomfort score (Bundy et al. 2004).

Turmeric volatile oil is also effective against respiratory tract disorders (pneumonia, bronchitis, asthma, etc.) . The volatile oil is active in removing sputum, relieving cough, and preventing asthma. Thus, turmeric volatile oil may be an efficacious drug in the treatment of respiratory diseases (Li et al. 1998).

Anticancer Properties Observed:

cancerTurmeric inhibits cancer cell multiplication (cell proliferation), induces programmed cell death (apoptosis) of cancer cells, and thus has many anticancer properties (Azuine and Bhide 1994; Deshpande, Ingle, and Maru 1997; Garg, Ingle, and Maru 2008). This fact is vitally important because cancer’s main ability to grow and replicate is due to its cells having an ‘infinite’ life program. This means that it can continually replicate and grow without needing to live by the rules of other healthy, non-cancerous, cells. Therefore, turmeric combats cancer by attacking its main forms of living/growing/replicating.

turmeric pillsThese animal studies have also shown turmeric to fight against the development of skin cancer (Villaseñlor, Simon, and Villanueva 2002), breast cancer (Deshpande, Ingle, and Maru 1998a), oral cancer (Azuine and Bhide 1992a), and stomach cancer (Azuine and Bhide 1992b). Turmeric prevents the formation of cancer at various steps, including inhibiting mutation (Polasa et al. 1991), detoxifying carcinogens (Thapliyal, Deshpande, and Maru 2001), decreasing cell proliferation, and inducing the death of tumor cells (Garg, Ingle, and Maru 2008). Certain organic chemicals within turmeric are able to infiltrate cancer cells and destroy them from the inside out: this process can be likened to well-trained ninjas; the cancer cells have no idea that they have invited in those who will destroy them. Even though these studies were all observing turmeric on animal subjects, it seems that multiple cultures throughout history—over a 4,000 year span—have had phenomenal reasons to apply this medicinal herb into their diets.

Further Health Benefits:

Would you like to increase the functioning of your gut? Turmeric acts as a potent digestive stimulant. As a dietary supplement, it enhanced the activities of pancreatic lipase, chymotrypsin, and amylase; each of these are important digestive enzymes that reside in different parts of the digestive system. Moreover, turmeric mixed with other spices such as coriander, red chili, black pepper, and cumin brought about a pronounced stimulation of bile flow and bile acid secretion (Platel et al. 2002). Mixing any of these singular herbs with turmeric creates a synergistic relationship where each herb becomes more effective. Increasing the bioavailability of turmeric in this way will induce higher amounts of bile flow which allows for the liver to detox more effectively, lessens the likelihood of gallbladder stones, and simultaneously increases the effectiveness of the digestive process.

Turmeric Golden Paste Recipe:Turmeric-Paste

-1/2 cup – turmeric powder

-1 cup – filtered water (estimated; might need more depending on desired thickness)

-1 1/2 tsp – ground black pepper

-1/4 cup – high quality cold pressed organic oil of your choice (olive, avocado, coconut, etc.)

 

Directions:

-Gently heat water in a pan (do not use Teflon coated or aluminium pans, if possible)

-Add turmeric powder & ground black pepper into the pan as it heats

-Gently stir until you get a thick paste (~6-10 mins)

-Add oil & stir more

-When you have desired thickness, then turn off the heat and allow to cool

-Store in a glass jar in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks

As stated earlier, black pepper assists turmeric in becoming highly bioavailable which helps it to be more effective within the body. The added oils will allow for the stomach to more easily absorb and assimilate the golden paste.

This paste can be used as an herbal remedy when feeling a flu or cold. It can also be used as a way to prevent illness and keep your immune system healthy and within the optimal range. Turmeric paste can be mixed with milk or water an d taken to treat intestinal disorders, colds, and sore throats. This paste can be eaten by itself, added to coffee, a smoothie, or your favorite dish. Get creative and enjoy!

Check out this website or this website for further information on ways to use this golden paste =)

 

Resources:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK92752/

http://www.turmericforhealth.com/

Organic Non-GMO Turmeric

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Energetics of Turmeric: An Honourable Herbal Spice with a Multitude of Applications (Part 1)

Turmeric is the root structure used from the Curcuma longa plant (a leafy plant that is related to ginger). It has an extensively long history of medicinal use which dates back 4,000 years and spans a multitude of cultures. turmeric_600Modern medical sciences are beginning to recognize its importance: there are currently over 3,000 scientific publications researching turmeric—all of which have been published within the last 25 years. So, what’s the health buzz about?

Turmeric has been found to be a potent anti-agent-for-almost-everything: antioxidant, antiseptic, antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antimutagenic, antimicrobial, antitumor, and anticancer. Furthermore, turmeric helps to protect the heart, lungs, kidneys and assists in protecting the body from radiation exposure. Combining turmeric with foods has also been shown to assist—and effectively improve—the digestion of foods.
As with any food/herb/spice/supplement, always keep in mind that some people (this could or could not be you) can be allergic, intolerant, and/or sensitive to things that go into the body. When deciding to implement something new into your diet, always feel into your body and listen to its language of comfort/discomfort. Read our Food Sensitivity Testing page to get a better idea as to how your body might be affected by the food you’re eating. If you’re interested in this personalized testing and diet protocol, then contact us to work with Donna to see what your body is allergic to and how you can (re)discover your optimal wellitude! With that said, let’s explore this phenomenally multifaceted spice!
Cultural Historical Applications and Energetics of Turmeric:
Over the centuries, turmeric has been used in therapeutic preparations throughout different parts of the world. In Ayurvedic practices, turmeric has many medicinal properties including strengthening the overall energy of the body, relieving gas, dispelling worms, improving digestion, regulating menstruation, dissolving gallstones, and relieving arthritis. Many South Asian countries use it as an antiseptic for cuts, burns, and bruises, and as an antibacterial agent. In Pakistan, it is used as an anti-inflammatory agent, and as a remedy for gastrointestinal discomfort associated with irritable bowel syndrome and other digestive disorders. In Pakistan and Afghanistan, turmeric is used to cleanse wounds and stimulate recovery by applying it onto a piece of burnt cloth that is placed over a wound. Indians use turmeric, in addition to its Ayurvedic applications, to purify blood and remedy skin conditions. Turmeric paste is used by women in some parts of India to remove superfluous hair. Turmeric paste is applied to the skin of the bride and groom before marriage in some parts of India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan, where it is believed to make the skin glow and keep harmful bacteria away from the body. Turmeric is also currently used in the formulation of several sunscreens.

$_32In Ayurvedic medicine, turmeric is a well-documented treatment for various respiratory conditions (e.g., asthma, bronchial hyperactivity, and allergy), as well as for liver disorders, anorexia, rheumatism, diabetic wounds, runny nose, cough, and sinusitis (Araujo and Leon 2001). In traditional Chinese medicine, it is used to treat diseases associated with abdominal pain (Aggarwal, Ichikawa, and Garodia 2004). From ancient times, as prescribed by Ayurveda, turmeric has been used to treat sprains and swelling (Araujo and Leon 2001). In both Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicine, turmeric is considered a bitter digestive that relieves flatulence. Unani practitioners also use turmeric to expel phlegm or kapha, as well as to open blood vessels in order to improve blood circulation. It can be incorporated into foods, including rice and bean dishes, to improve digestion and reduce gas and bloating. Turmeric is a cholagogue—stimulating bile production in the liver and encouraging excretion of bile via the gallbladder, which improves the body’s ability to digest fats and helps to detoxify the body.
Turmeric is warming to the body and has a bitter taste; it has been used to improve protein digestion, reduce uterine tumors, reduce joint swelling, decongest the liver, dissolve gallstones, increase ligament flexibility, and reduce menstrual pain.
If taken in small amounts, turmeric will stimulate the qi energy of the liver and thereby remove liver qi stagnation. It will also dry up virus-feeding dampness. This spice is extremely versatile and can be added to a plethora of meals, tinctures, salves, and drinks. As with anything, turmeric affects everyone differently, so a general dosage suggested is ¼ – ½ teaspoon daily (as a spice or taken in capsules).

 

Scientifically Observed Properties:
More than 100 chemical components have been isolated from turmeric. The main component of the root is a volatile oil, containing turmerone and curcuminoids, which are found to be powerful natural antioxidants that have anti-tumor capabilities (Ruby et al. 1995; Selvam et al. 1995). Curcumin (one among the many healing substances found in turmeric) is one of the main antioxidant chemicals that help the immune system to subdue free radical formations within the body. It is vitally important to eat foods that have antioxidant properties because free radicals dismantle healthy cells within the body. When there are too many free radicals the body then becomes more prone to disease, illness, and will be unable to achieve optimal wellness.

In a 2007 research study, nutritional analysis showed that 100 g of turmeric contains 390 kcal, 10 g total fat, 3 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 0.2 g calcium, 0.26 g phosphorous, 10 mg sodium, 2500 mg potassium, 47.5 mg iron, 0.9 mg thiamine, 0.19 mg riboflavin, 4.8 mg niacin, 50 mg ascorbic acid, 69.9 g total carbohydrates, 21 g dietary fiber, 3 g sugars, and 8 g protein (Balakrishnan 2007). Turmeric is also a good source of omega-3 fatty acid and alpha-linolenic acid (Goud, Polasa, and Krishnaswamy 1993).

How-to-Remove-Turmeric-Stains
-Regulates the immune system: a healthy and balanced immune system is one of the foundations to optimal wellness
-Is the most efficient at killing H. pylori when turmeric was tested among other herbs (O’Mahony et al. 2005)
-Improves insulin resistance: this can help current diabetics, those pre-diabetic, and those whom are looking to prevent diabetes
-Increases metabolism: can help to lose weight more effectively (always best in combination with other weight loss protocols/healthy lifestyle changes)
-Acts as a repellent against both day and night-biting mosquitoes (turmeric volatile oil specifically) (Tawatsin et al. 2001)
-Reduces skin inflammation; helping to relieve and heal acne, cuts/wounds, psoriasis, eczema, etc.

Recipesginger_and_turmeric_aromatic_rice

Ginger and Turmeric Aromatic Rice by Julia @ The Roasted Root
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Yield: Serves 3 to 4 people
Ingredients
• 1 cup basmati brown rice
• 1 tablespoon coconut oil or oil of choice
• 2 large cloves garlic, minced
• 1 tablespoon ginger, peeled and grated
• 1 teaspoon turmeric, peeled and grated*
• ¾ teaspoon salt
• 2 cups boiling water
• 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
• ½ cup dried cranberries
For serving:
• ¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
• ¼ cup pine nuts
Instructions
1. Pour the dry rice into a bowl and cover with cool water. Soak for 15 minutes, then drain.
2. While rice is soaking, put on a kettle of water and bring to a full boil.
3. Add the coconut oil, garlic, and ginger to a medium-sized pot and heat to medium. Sauté until very fragrant, about 3 minutes.
4. Add the rice, turmeric and salt, and sauté an additional 2 to 3 minutes.
5. Add 2 cups of boiling water, reduce heat and simmer, covered until water is absorbed, about 30 to 35 minutes.
6. A few minutes before rice is finished cooking, stir the fresh lemon juice and dried cranberries into the rice. Re-place the cover and continue to cook.
7. Serve with fresh cilantro and pine nuts alongside your favorite main dish.

T-honey-mask-1-1-650x978Turmeric Honey Face Mask
By Kacey @ DEARcrissy
Ingredients:
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon raw honey
Optional: up to 1 teaspoon of coconut oil. This will add extra antibacterial properties and hydrating benefits to the mask-though it will also make oily in a way that leaves the mask less of a paste and more of a spread, so it may not go on as thick as if you left the coconut oil out altogether.
Directions:
1. Mix the 2 or 3 ingredients together until everything is nicely combined. If opting to not use the coconut oil, you may want to use a pinch more honey or even a few drops of water. When you’re ready to use the mask, apply to a clean, dry face. This mask shouldn’t be uncomfortable at all, but as with anything new, if you have rather sensitive skin, you may want to dry a small test area of skin before applying all over your face. Leave on for up to 20 minutes, this can be repeated weekly to help clean out pores and clear skin. Follow with a light moisturizer, or even just a tiny dab of coconut oil.

 

 

Resources:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK92752/

https://draxe.com/turmeric-benefits/

Aging Well with Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine

Oriental medicine has a long history of healing and rejuvenation that teaches us a great deal about aging well. Two thousand years ago, ancient Chinese scholars described the stages of aging in the Huang Di Neijing (The Yellow Emperor’s Internal Classic). They remind us that we cannot change our genetics, but we can change how we live to extend and improve the quality of our lives.

Acupuncture and Oriental medicine emphasize prevention over treatment. This makes a great deal of sense because treating an illness that has already damaged the body is much more difficult then preventing the illness from occurring in the first place. It is never too late. You can begin today.

Whatever your starting point, you can make positive changes to enhance the quality of your life. Supporting the different ways of improving your health and preventing illness, Oriental medicine promotes living a balanced life. A healthy diet, active lifestyle and emotional well-being are the basic components of Oriental medicine that help point you on the path toward a long and quality life.

Call today to see how acupuncture and Oriental medicine can help you live a longer and healthier life!

Six Easy Tips for Greater Health and Longevity

Aging may be inevitable, but your later years can be vibrant and healthy if attention is given to supporting your physical, mental and emotional well-being. These tips are just a few of the ways that you can bring balance into your life. You don’t need to try doing all of them at once. Focus on one or two of them at a time.

Practice Gratitude

Grateful people report higher levels of positive emotions, life satisfaction, vitality, optimism and lower levels of depression and stress according to Robert A. Emmons, a researcher and professor at University of California-Davis, who has authored four books on the subject of the psychology of gratitude. Dr. Emmons states that the disposition toward gratitude appears to enhance pleasant feeling states more than it diminishes unpleasant emotions. Grateful people do not deny or ignore the negative aspects of life, but they have a healthy attitude towards them.

Choose friends who are joyous people. See these people frequently and you will find your spirits rise. The older you get, the more important it is to make it a priority to spend time with people who give you joy. If you have people in your life who are constantly unhappy, limit the amount of time you spend with them. Try it, and you may find that you perk up!

Make Exercise a Priority

People who exercise more are less likely to be stressed and more likely to be satisfied with life, according to Danish researchers. Compared with sedentary people, joggers are 70 percent less likely to have high stress levels and life dissatisfaction.

We hear it all the time and it’s true – if you don’t use it you will lose it! Exercise keeps our bodies and minds in good shape. Couch potatoes who start moderate exercise (the equivalent of 17 to 34 minutes a day) experience the greatest happiness lift.

If jogging is not the best exercise for you, go for a long walk or try a traditional exercise like Tai Chi or Qi Gong. Qi Gong and Tai Chi are non-impact exercises that focus on repetitive movements with attention to breathing. Tai Chi and Qi Gong use gentle movements and low physical impact, which are ideal for aging bodies.

The benefits of these exercises include a slower heart rate, lowered blood pressure, and drops in adrenaline and cortisol levels. Making these exercises a regular practice can lead to better health and vitality. The Mayo Clinic reported results from two studies on these ancient practices that concluded they can also alleviate chronic pain.

Take a Day of Rest

Take a day of rest per week from your regular schedule to recharge. Rejuvenation for the body and mind is worth its weight in gold and you will be more productive with the rest of your time!

Get Good Sleep Regularly

Your body repairs itself best at night so allow plenty of time for it to do so. Good sleep patterns follow nature. Morning is bright and the most Yang time of day, indicating activity. Night is the dark period, a time to slow down and enter the Yin phase of the day.

Poor sleep has been linked to high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, heart failure, heart attacks, stroke, diabetes and obesity. Research has shown that getting at least eight hours of sleep is needed for good heart health.

Acupuncture has been proven successful in treating a wide array of sleep problems by focusing on the root of any disharmony in the body. It gives those who take advantage of it a better night’s sleep and an overall improvement in physical and mental health.

Alleviate and Manage Stress Levels

Stress is a normal part of life, but if left unmanaged, stress can lead to emotional, psychological, and even physical problems, including heart disease, high blood pressure, chest pains or an irregular heartbeat.

Humans were designed to handle short periods of intensely high stress followed by periods of relaxation. We were not designed to live with a constant low level stress that keeps us feeling overwhelmed. If you feel you have been under too many pressures for too long, stress reduction acupuncture can help you enjoy a more peaceful life.

Numerous studies have demonstrated the substantial benefits of acupuncture in the treatment of stress, anxiety and mental health. In addition to acupuncture, Oriental medicine offers a whole gamut of tools and techniques that can be integrated into your life to keep stress in check. These tools include Tui Na, Qi Gong exercises, herbal medicine, dietary therapy, meditations and acupressure that you can administer at home.

Address Health Concerns Quickly: Don’t Wait!

Many diseases can be cured easily if they are caught early, but people often put off seeking treatment. They ignore important signals that something is wrong with their body. We all get warnings about our health and well-being, but these warnings are like traffic lights. They tell us what we ought to do, but they cannot make us do it.

Want to learn more about how acupuncture and Oriental medicine can enrich and improve your life? Call for an appointment today!

 

© Donna Sigmond, EastWest Wellness