2019: Year of the Pig

Predictions for The Year of the Pig

Happy New Year! February 5th was Lunar New Year, and the energetic start of Spring. Spring is the start of the new energetic cycle and new growth for the year.

The Western new year of January 1st was established by Julius Caesar to correct errors in the mathematical calculation of the year. A year is actually 365 days and some hours long. Before that, there were errors in the calendar, so it was arbitrarily decided to make January 1st the start of the year. It has nothing to do with the actual energetics of nature, which is what we follow in Chinese Medicine in order to stay in harmony with the seasons and in good health.

Every year is either Yin or Yang, and it alternates every year. Last year was a Yang year, so this year is a Yin year. Yin is the cooling, calming, moistening, restful, and more feminine energy.  (Yang is the opposite.)

Every year, we also have the energy of Heaven (as in “the heavens” or sky, not in any religious sense) and the energy of Earth (as in the planet Earth). Each has its own energy for the year, which is one of the five elemental forms of energy. This year, the Heaven energy is Yin Earth, and the Earth energy is the Pig, also sometimes called the Boar. The Pig represents Yin Water. So our elemental energies for the year are Yin Earth and Yin Water.

Here’s what we can expect this year based on the energetics of the Earth Pig:

Weather

When you think about mixing Earth and Water, you get a pretty good idea of what’s in store this year: wet, damp, mud. Yin Earth by nature is more damp than Yang Earth, which is more dry. Add water to that, and you get even more damp Earth. Think mud. Lots and lots of mud. Areas that have had fire damage in the last few years, and/or are prone to mudslides are at risk this year.

Flooding could be a big problem this year, because the the Water energy brings more actual water, and the earth is too soggy to dam it up and hold it in. If you live in an area at risk for mudslides and/or flooding, now is the time to take precautions and prepare in advance.

As for the weather this year, the overall Yin energy of the year makes it more cool and potentially damp. Add to that the Water energy, which represents actual water, but also more dampness. Yin water is more like “clouds and dew” as the ancient books say, rather than bodies of water like lakes, rivers, and oceans, which would be Yang Water. When water is in the form of clouds and dew, you get humidity.

The temperature nature of Water is cold, so expect cooler weather, with higher humidity, and more rain than usual, because, well, it’s water.

When we consider the Yin Earth energy, we’ve already seen that it will be wet, muddy earth. The nature of Earth itself is dampness. Earth years always bring more rain. So we’ve pretty much got lots of damp and wet from all sides this year, with a dose of cold thrown in from the Yin Water energy. The weather forecasters will most likely call it an El Nino year. The atmospheric conditions will probably show up to create that, as the Heaven and Earth energies are what set up those conditions.

Mold will likely be an issue this year, since the conditions will be perfect for mold to grow. Watch out for leaks in houses, because mold could show up very easily. If you have a mold problem already, it’s only going to get worse this year, so it’s wise to take care of it as soon as possible. Dehumidifiers may be a good idea.

Health 

The biggest issue this year will be with cold and dampness in the body. Colds and flus will have lots of mucus, as opposed to lingering dry coughs.

There will be more digestive issues, especially involving dampness, like gas, bloating, easy weight gain, and loose stools. Avoid eating too many damp foods this year. Damp foods are greasy, fried, oily, and dairy products (not eggs – eggs are not damp, so they’re fine to eat, but they always get lumped in with dairy). Eating damp foods will cause digestive issues easily this year because of all the dampness of the year.

As extra weight is considered dampness in Chinese Medicine, it will be easier for people with weak digestion or prone to weight gain to pack it on this year. For these people, this is a year to really watch the diet and avoid those damp foods.

Avoid too many cold, raw foods, because they can damage the digestion, especially in cold weather. Eat more cooked, warm foods, especially when it’s cold. It a good year to use a bit more ginger and garlic in cooking, since they help warm the digestive system and get rid of dampness. Don’t use too much ginger or garlic if you run too hot or have acid reflux. Everything is about finding the balance, so experiment and find the right amount for you.

Because Earth represents “flesh” it’s likely there will be more lumps, bumps, and tumors this year. If skin diseases arise, they’re more likely to be of the wet, weepy, oozy kind.

Because of the cold weather, people who run cold may have a harder time. Make sure to dress warm in cold weather and avoid getting chilled. Eating more ginger and/or garlic can help. On the other hand, people who tend to run hot will probably have an easier time this year.

Also watch out for mold. Mold can cause a lot of health problems. Because of the weather, there will be more mold and things like fungus and candida. If you think about what happens to a wet, soggy garden and what grows in those conditions, those are the sorts of things that can grow in the body this year with the right conditions.

Depression may be an issue this year for some people. Fire is weak this year, and its emotion is Joy. Combine that with lots of clouds, rain and cold, and people may be more prone to depression. It’s a good year to get out in the sun when you can, and pay attention to managing moods. It may help to do things that bring you joy, to help balance the weakness in the Fire energy this year.

Business

Earth and Water industries should benefit this year, so it should be another good year for real estate, as long as there aren’t issues with flooding, landslides, mud, etc. Plumbers are probably going to have a very good year. Also, shipping, and anything having to do with water or earth.

Wisdom is associated with Water, so businesses associated with learning and wisdom should do well.

Earth businesses that work with earth, like excavating, pottery, ceramics should have a good year. Also farming, as long as crops don’t get too wet.

Fire represents computers, electricity, technology and the stock market. Because the Fire energy is weak this year, those industries will most likely be weaker.

Politics

It should be another interesting year. Remember all the mud we’re going to have? Expect mudslinging.

On the other hand, things should (hopefully) calm down a bit. It’s a Yin year, and Water and Earth are both Yin, so it should be a more mellow year. We’ve had several years of Fire and then Metal energy that were fiery and passionate, and then sharp and cutting due to the metal.

I don’t know if much progress will be made, because it’s such a Yin year and Earth, Water and mud have a tendency to just sit there in a mud puddle. And mud is cloudy, not clear, so things may seem muddy or cloudy and may not be their most clear this year.

Water brings wisdom and is flexible and always finds a way to to go where it wants. Earth energy brings harmony and trust. The energy will be there this year for things to settle down, become more harmonious and allow wisdom to prevail. Expect mudslinging, but overall, more calm.

The Pig is the last animal in the Chinese Zodiac of 12 animals. Being the last animal, it’s the end of a 12 year cycle. (The full cycle is 60 years. It’s not the end of the full 60 year cycle – that’s two more cycles, or 24 years, away.) The end of the cycle represents completion of things you’ve been working on during this cycle. It’s like the winter season during a year. It’s the time to rest and recharge. Remember that it’s a very Yin year, so follow the energy and be more Yin, mellow and rest more this year.

And just like winter during the year, which is Water time, it’s a good time to use the wisdom that Water brings and plan for the start of the next cycle. What do you want this next phase of your life to be like? This is the year to think, evaluate, and make plans for next year and the start of the next cycle.

 

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Diet and Lifestyle Recommendations for Winter

How to Eat in Winter

By following the energy of the season, we can learn the best diet and lifestyle recommendations for winter. It’s time to adapt our eating and lifestyle to the season, so we stay in harmony with nature and maintain good health.

The foods that ripen in winter tend to be dense, heavy and nourishing. We get root vegetables in season now, including potatoes, sweet potatoes and onions. Veggies like broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage ripen in winter. They tend to be more dense and fibrous than their summer green leafy cousins.

And maybe most dense of all, we get the hard winter squashes, like acorn, butternut, kabocha, pumpkins, spaghetti squash, etc.

Is it sounding like stew yet? It should be. The dense winter foods take longer to cook, and that’s entirely appropriate for the colder winter weather. The best cooking methods for winter are the slower, longer types, like baking, roasting and slow cooking methods like soups and stews. It helps to break down the dense fibrous foods and helps warm our bodies in the cold season.

The fruits coming in season now are also dense, like apples, pears, persimmons, and citrus. Like the winter veggies, they also tend to be less sweet and more fibrous than the summer fruits.

We can see that the consistent message from Mother Nature is dense, fibrous, nourishing foods. And that’s our big clue for the season.

That doesn’t mean to eat more food. It means to eat the right kinds of foods, like the ones just mentioned.

It can also be dry in winter, and heating tends to dry out the air more. Pay attention to the humidity. If you’ve got a lot of static electricity, that’s usually a sign of dry air. Make sure you’re drinking enough water. Usually about 1-2 quarts/liters per day is about right. If you’re exercising and sweating, or it’s very dry, you may need to drink a bit more.

Soups and stews have more water in them, so they help when it’s dry and cold. It’s a great time to bust out the crock pot, roasting pan or soup pot and enjoy winter vegetables.

Lifestyle in Winter

Winter is the most Yin time of year. It’s the coldest and darkest, with the shortest days. The winter solstice is the most Yin day of the year. Its the least daylight and most darkness. Since Yin is the calm, restful and restorative energy, it’s best to follow nature and be more Yin in winter.

Like the trees that lose their leaves in winter, the energy goes deep into the earth to hibernate, rest and recharge for the more active times of spring and summer. For good health, we should also rest more, nourish ourselves (body, mind and spirit) and “recharge our batteries”.

Think like a bear and hibernate. I know many people run around and shop, go to parties, stay up late, and do way too much during the holidays. That’s exactly opposite of how to maintain good health in winter. Winter is the time to restore your energy. If you don’t get a “full recharge”, and instead get more burned out, it can affect your health for the coming year. 

These days everybody seems to be trying to do more stuff in less time. Use this as a reminder to take some time just for you, to rest and recharge.

Have a happy winter and happy holidays. 

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How to Stay Healthy in Late Summer and Early Fall

Energetically, August 7th was the start of fall. If you’ve been reading my musings for a while, you know that in Chinese medicine we follow the Chinese energetic calendar, which follows the movements of the energy and seasons in nature, rather than the “made up” calendar. (If you have no idea what I’m talking about, you can read more about the concept here. It’s an easy read and fascinating stuff.) Today we talk about how to stay healthy during late summer and early fall.

Weather

In fall, the weather tends to be more dry. That’s when we get the hot, dry Santa Ana winds in Southern California. But August tends to be more humid, and falls into what we call “late summer” in Chinese Medicine. Because the Earth energy this year brings extra humidity and dampness, we’re experiencing the effects now. A lot of patients, in fact almost everybody is complaining of being sluggish and lethargic these days. When the weather is hot and humid, everything slows down. You don’t want to move fast or get sweaty. It’s easier to just sit around, not do anything, and stay cool. Think about tropical areas that normally have this kind of weather, and they tend to have a relaxed, slow-moving pace of life. That’s the normal energy of hot and humid weather.

Healthy Lifestyle

If you’ve been feeling lethargic, and you’re eating and sleeping well, it’s just the weather. Go with the flow of energy and take the time to maintain a more relaxed pace of life right now. It’s good practice, anyway, because most of us do way too much, and get our lives out of balance. It’s a great time to slow down, which is what we should do in fall to prepare for the more restful energy of winter.

The hot humid weather can also lead to too much dampness and heat in the body. This often shows up this time of year as a stomach bug with nausea and diarrhea. Watch out for food poisoning, because it fits that pattern, and make sure you don’t eat food that’s been sitting out too long. If you do get sick, an acupuncture treatment and some herbs can usually knock it out fast.

Healthy Diet

Avoid eating too much damp food, like greasy, fried foods and dairy. (I don’t mean eggs. Eggs are great and fine to eat all year.) Avoid foods made from milk, like milk, cheese, yogurt and ice cream. If you’ve been eating ice cream during the summer, it’s time to reduce it. Too much dampness in humid weather can cause digestive problems and mucus. 

It’s also time to start shifting your diet from lots of salads and raw foods to more cooked foods. I know it’s still hot, and a lot of people don’t want to cook and heat up the house. You can use a crock pot or pressure cooker to make cooked meals easily without heating up the house like using the stove or oven. It may not sound good to eat more cooked food now, but it will make your body happy and feel good.

Because it’s the end of August, we’re getting close to the weather changes that we usually get by mid-September. Normally, in September, the weather gets dry and the nights get cooler (hallelujah!). Kids are back in school, and that’s when colds start going around. September is probably the best month of the year to get a tune-up acupuncture treatment. (January is the second best month.) Even if you feel good, getting a tune-up helps balance your energy and prepare it for the changing energy of fall.

If you get a cold every fall (like I used to), pay attention to how you feel, and take extra good care of yourself, especially when the weather changes.

By following the energy of the seasons, we can help our bodies stay in balance and stay healthy.

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Danger: Strawberries Ahead!

It's the time of year when strawberries are coming in season. That's good news and bad news... The good news is how fresh and yummy they are. The bad news is that...

Are Strawberries Dangerous?

Happy fruiting season! It’s the time of year when strawberries are coming in season. (Or, I should say in season naturally, since we can get fruit all year round, even when it’s not in season.) Strawberry season is good news and bad news… The good news is, of course, how fresh and yummy they are, and they signal the start of all the fruity goodness to come through the next several months. The bad news is that they’re heavily sprayed with some pretty nasty chemicals, and they’re one of the heaviest sprayed crops. Why should you care?

Strawberries and Chemicals

Research by the US government in the last several years showed that conventional strawberries may contain 45 different pesticide residues including:

– 6 known or suspected carcinogens (cause cancer)

– 16 suspected hormone disruptors

– 7 neurotoxins​ (toxic to the nervous system)

​​- 6 developmental or reproductive toxins

​- 12 chemicals that are toxic to honeybees

And if all that’s not bad enough, recent government research also showed “residues of 81 different pesticides in various combinations“, and “20 percent of samples had residues of 10 or more pesticides“.

What to Do

That’s some scary stuff right there. Those innocent-looking strawberries contain a toxic soup of chemicals. Before you freak out and tell me how much you love strawberries (I do too!), you can still eat them. Just eat only ORGANIC strawberries. Yes, they’ll cost more, but they’ll cost a lot less than getting cancer.

It’s pretty easy to find organic strawberries these days. Even better, grow your own. If you have a garden or even a large pot on a balcony, you can grow your own organic strawberries. They’re easy to grow and taste better fresh picked, anyway!​ And you know exactly what’s gone into their growing. 

For More Information

Eliminating toxic foods from our diet is an important part of eating right and staying healthy. If you want to learn more about the chemicals on food, and which foods are cleaner and dirtier, check out these resources: 

http://whatsonmyfood.org/food.jsp?food=ST

https://www.ewg.org/foodnews/dirty-dozen.php

The second link is to the Environmental Working Group, which puts out a list of the “dirty dozen” and “clean 15” foods each season. The 2018 list just came out, and in case you’re wondering, strawberries landed at #1 again this year on the “dirtiest” list. I highly recommend you check out their lists and use them as a guide to know which fruits and veggies to buy organic, and which are ok to eat conventional (not organic).

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2018: The Year of the Earth Dog

2018: The Year of the Earth Dog

by Wendy S. Goldman, L.Ac.

 

 

2018 is the Year of the Earth Dog. As you may know, the energy of each year is different, and most people know the animal of their birth year in the Chinese Zodiac. Each animal represents different energetic implications for the year. With a basic understanding of how the energies of the year interact, we can get some insight into the implications for weather, health, emotions, business, the economy, politics, and more. We can use this information to plan and prepare for the year.

The Western Calendar vs. Lunar New Year

January 1st became the first day of the year in 45 BCE. Julius Caesar set it as an arbitrary date to correct previous errors in the calculation of the calendar, since there are actually 365 days plus a few hours in a year. It has nothing to do with the movements of energy in nature. And it has no relation to the actual start of the new year from an energetic perspective.

January 1st is in the middle of winter, and is only about a week after the winter solstice. The solstice has the shortest amount of daylight, and longest night, and is the most Yin day of the year. Everything is still frozen, and if it’s not actually frozen, in winter, the energy goes down into the ground to rest and recharge for the active growing season that starts at the beginning of spring. The start of spring is the start of new growth. So, when you think about January 1st as being the start of the new year from the energetic perspective, it makes no sense at all.

The Chinese lunar calendar, though, is based on the movements of energy in nature. The start of the year is the start of spring and the cycle of new growth. This year, Chinese New Year is February 16, 2018, and is the year of the Yang Earth Dog.

Each year is either Yin or Yang, and alternates each year. 2017 was a Yin year, so 2018 is a Yang year. Yang represents the heat, fire, function and activity. Yin represents calm, quiet, and rest. Daytime, spring and summer are more Yang in nature, being more light, bright, warmer and active. Nighttime, fall and winter are more Yin in nature, being darker, quieter, colder and naturally less active. Yin time is the time to rest and recharge.

Every year, we have both the energy from Heaven, and the energy from Earth. When we say “Heaven energy” it represents the energy coming from the sky, or the universe, not in any religious sense. The Earth energy is exactly as it sounds, the energy coming from the Earth. Because Heaven and Earth are so much bigger than humans and everything that lives on Earth, we’re all affected by these energies.

The Heaven and Earth energies are often different elements. For example, in 2017 the Heaven energy was Fire, and the Earth energy was Metal. It happens that in 2108, both the Heaven and Earth energy are the same element. The Heaven energy is Earth, and the Earth energy this year is the Earth Dog. Thus, we have 2018 as the Yang Earth Dog. It’s a double Earth year, so the energy of the Earth element is very strong and excess in 2018. All effects of Earth energy will be magnified, and since it’s a Yang year, they’ll be even stronger.

The good news is, that after finishing the last two years of sharp, cutting metal energy, we should get a bit more peace with the Earth energy.

Nature of the Year

Let’s first consider the nature of the animal this year, the Dog. Dogs are loyal, social, pack animals, that work together. They’re devoted to their pack, be it canine or human. This is a year that working together with others should bring good results. Dogs will also fight viciously to guard and protect their own when threatened, so this may be a year we see people band together for protection, and the good of their “pack” or tribe of people. Not necessarily violently, as Earth is more spiritual in nature than material. The violence and passion of the last two years was due to the Metal and Fire energies.

Now let’s think about the character of Earth, which is trust and harmony. We may see people band together to create more trust, care, welfare and harmony of the “pack”. We should also see more truth emerge, as truth and trust are the nature of Earth.

Next, we can get a sense of the weather for the year, by considering the nature of the Earth element. First, the Heaven and Earth energy are in harmony, since they’re the same element, and there’s no conflict between them. Weather temperatures should be a bit more normal, after coming off of two hot Fire years. The fire energy is depleted, so there should be a lot less fires, and any fires should be smaller than the last couple of years.

Ancient Chinese books tell us exactly what to expect: the nature of Earth is dampness, and the actual substance is the earth. Earth is in charge of clouds and rain, and causes movement. Earth transforms and transports. That tells everything. When I saw this one coming, I got a bit concerned, since I live in California. It’s a Yang, double-Earth year, which means the effects will be magnified, and strong, since it’s a Yang year. That’s our California Armageddon: earthquakes (big ones, since it’s a Yang year), lots of rain, and mudslides. I’ve been telling my patients for the last six months to repair their roofs and any leaks they have in their homes. I was a bit reluctant to write this, since Earth corresponds with the Spleen and Stomach, and the emotions of those organs are worry and overthinking. I don’t want to damage anyone’s Spleen! Having the information in advance, though, means that we can take steps to prepare. If you live in an area that tends to have earthquakes, landslides, and/or flooding, 2018 has the potential for all of these to be big problems, so you’re forewarned, and can take precautions and prepare.

Health Implications

Speaking of the corresponding organs, Earth corresponds with the Spleen and Stomach. Think dampness. Earth is in charge of clouds and rain, which are wet. Dampness is mucus, phlegm and fat. Expect lots of dampness this year. Anything that can get damp in 2018, will. It’s a great time to focus on eating right, and avoiding damp foods. Examples of damp foods are dairy products (milk, cheese, etc., but not eggs – eggs are not damp; wheat is also damp).

We’ll see digestive issues with dampness, for example nausea, bloating and stomach flu with lots of diarrhea. If you already have digestive issues, avoid eating the damp foods mentioned above.

Colds that occur in 2018 will be of the damp type, rather than the dry type. So, instead of lingering dry coughs, there will be a lot of mucus with nasal and chest congestion.

Because the Earth and the Spleen correspond with muscles and flesh, we may see more muscle injuries, as well as more lumps, bumps and tumors, as dampness likes to accumulate.

The emotions of the Spleen and Stomach are worry and overthinking, so people that have a tendency to fret are in for a more challenging year.

People with Heart and Small Intestine issues may worsen. Anyone with emotional issues like anxiety may be worse, and worry about it more.

Business

Earth can put out, or weaken the energy of Fire. Think about it this way – you throw soil on a campfire to put it out. So anything corresponding with Fire should be weak this year.

Fire represents the stock market and electrical and computer industries, so they may not fare well in 2018. Interesting that the stock market and cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (which are electronic/tech) took a dive at the beginning of February, hmm?

Don’t let your computer or electronics get damp. That will be very bad in 2018!

But the real estate market and earth industries, or anything having to do with earth and soil should be strong, as long as long as they’re not damaged by earthquakes, landslides and flooding.

Earth represents the Spleen and Stomach, which are the main part of the digestive system in Chinese medicine. Based on that, I expect that businesses related to food, eating and restaurants will have a good year.

When we analyze the energetics of the Year of the Earth Dog, and the interactions of the energies, we can get a good idea of what to expect clinically in any given year. This can help us live long lives in harmony with the Heaven and Earth energies.

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5 Tips to Stay Healthy through the Holidays

Happy Holidays!

The holidays can be a minefield of exposure to sick people, too much sugar, overdoing it, and crazy weather changes. Here are 5 tips to stay healthy through the holidays:

1. Cover your neck

The acupuncture points on the back of the neck are particularly susceptible to drafts of wind and cold.  This kind of draft can cause colds to start. By simply covering your neck, you can often stay healthy and avoid getting a cold. Wear shirts with collars, and wearing a scarf is an even better idea. I have lots of patients who’ve learned to wear scarves in winter, and get a lot less colds than they used to!

2. Stay healthy around sick people

5 Tips to Stay Healthy through the Holidays

This time of year, it’s easy to be exposed to plenty of sick people, at work, shopping,  parties, and at home, if a family member is sick. Here’s how to deal with it:

Stay out of coughing range. Germs can travel up to 3 feet, so if someone is coughing near you, back away and stay out of range. If you can’t, for example if you’re in an elevator, at least turn your head away to avoid the germs. And if you have a cough, cover your mouth, or cough into your arm. Nobody wants you to share. Really.

Wash your hands frequently. I’m sure you’ve heard this one before, and it’s true. It really does help prevent your exposure and spreading the germs around.

If you live with someone who’s sick, do not drink out of the same glass, take a bite of food from their fork, or kiss on the mouth. Now, I know a lot of people still want to kiss their significant other, even while they’re sick. Their saliva is carrying the germs of their cold or flu. Sharing that saliva is just like drinking a cup of germs. I know that sounds gross, but I can’t tell you how many sick patients I’ve treated over the years because they continued kissing their partner while they were sick. To stay healthy avoid kissing right now, or only kiss them on the cheek, instead of the mouth.

– And really, if they’re sick, it’s a good idea for one of you to sleep in a different room. If you’re asleep in bed at night and they roll over and cough right in your face, well, guess what’s going to happen…

3. Make good food choices

The holidays are notorious for too much sugar, alcohol, carbs and overeating. Think about how much food you put on your plate. If you want to taste a bunch of different dishes, take a small amount of each. Do you really need mashed potatoes, stuffing, bread and three desserts? It’s best to avoid overeating, so pick your favorites, and stick with those.

It’s really easy to just pile food on the plate and eat it while talking with friends and family, without thinking about what you’re doing. Take a few minutes and be mindful of your food choices and quantities. You can choose to have a bit more of the veggies and less of the carbs and desserts and still enjoy your meal.

4. Eat lots of soups & stews

Winter is the time to eat lots of soups, stews and cooked foods, rather than cold, raw foods.  It feels really good to eat soups and stews at this time of year, and it’s one of the best things you can do for your health. And if you’ve had too many sweets and foods you don’t normally eat and your gut’s not too happy with you, you can repair it with soups.

Avoid soups with milk or cream in them, as the dairy makes mucus. Go for soups with clear broth, or are pureed, rather than having the dairy. Chicken soup really is good medicine!

5. Get enough rest

This one’s really important. Winter is the time to rest, rejuvenate and “recharge our batteries”, to prepare for the more active times of the coming spring and summer. Winter is the time to do less, rest more, go to bed early and get more sleep. Unfortunately, during the holidays many people do exactly the opposite, and it can affect your health. You don’t necessarily have to go to every party. Pick a couple that you like best, and just go to those.

Getting run down at this time of year can really deplete your energy and make you more susceptible to getting sick. In order to stay healthy, or if you’re recovering from being sick or another health issue, it’s even more important to get rest in winter.

Share this with someone you care about, and leave a comment to let me know your biggest challenge staying healthy through the holidays. Happy holidays and stay healthy!

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Learn How to Eat Right Forever & FREE Cheat Sheet!

I’ve got some big news, and bigger news will be coming soon! One of the health areas I get asked about the most, is how to eat healthy. There’s so much information about diet and nutrition out there, it’s confusing, overwhelming, and people don’t know how to sort through it and make good choices.

Even worse, a lot of it is flat out wrong, and people are having health problems due to the “misinformation”. (I really want to call it lies, because that’s what they are. I’m trying to be diplomatic.) You’d be shocked to learn how much of what you’ve been told about nutrition is wrong.

My patients get to ask me about this stuff. I can educate them and teach them what works. I wanted to find a way to help a lot more people, in a bigger way. More and more people are suffering from chronic health problems, and a lot of it is due to diet. This is appalling to me, and so many people are suffering unnecessarily, I wanted to find a way to help more people.

I’ve spent the last seven months (really) working on a big project to help more people learn how to eat right. It’s exactly what I teach my patients, what I follow, and it works.

It’s called Eat Right Forever, and the first phase is ready now. Check out the website at EatRightForever.com. You can get a free cheat sheet with 5 steps to change your diet right now, have more energy, and feel great. Then, I’ll send out a brief email every week with health tips, teaching you what’s true about food and nutrition, and what’s not. I’m going to cut through all of the B.S. and give you the truth.

I’m sharing the best of what I’ve learned over the past 25 years studying nutrition, and hundreds of hours of research and work on this project, from both the modern medicine and Chinese medicine perspectives.

It’s absolutely FREE, and there’s no obligation to do anything. I just want to teach more people to eat healthy, get healthy, and stay healthy. If this sounds good, click here to get your cheat sheet and sign up for the emails.

I want to get this out there to as many people as possible, so please share the website with friends, family, social media, etc. It’s totally free and open to anyone and every one. I want to help as many people as I can.

Once you sign up, I’d love to hear your feedback and thoughts about the information, since this is a new project for me. You guys are the very first to hear about it. And if you have questions about nutrition, food, or eating healthy, let me know, and I’ll answer as many as I can.

 

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Dangerous Epidemic: Painkiller Addiction – Are You at Risk?

People in Pain

It’s estimated that about 100 million Americans suffer from chronic pain. Many of them are taking prescription medications to manage the pain, and many of those painkillers are opioids. That means they work a lot like opium: highly addictive, and including the same side effects. Think about that for a minute. These drugs are prescribed like doctors giving out candy, and are as addictive as opium…

According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), there are now 91 people dying per day of opiate overdoses in the US from these drugs. They’re not junkies on the streets. They’re people like you and me, who are in pain. They’re routinely given these drugs for things like arthritis, low back pain and migraines.

Acupuncture for Pain

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s a list of opioid drugs:

  • codeine (only available in generic form)
  • fentanyl (Actiq, Duragesic, Fentora)
  • hydrocodone (Hysingla ER, Zohydro ER)
  • hydrocodone/acetaminophen (Lorcet, Lortab, Norco, Vicodin)
  • hydromorphone (Dilaudid, Exalgo)
  • meperidine (Demerol)
  • methadone (Dolophine, Methadose)
  • morphine (Astramorph, Avinza, Kadian, MS Contin, Ora-Morph SR)
  • oxycodone (OxyContin, Oxecta, Roxicodone)
  • oxycodone and acetaminophen (Percocet, Endocet, Roxicet)
  • oxycodone and naloxone (Targiniq ER)

 

Some of these are pretty commonly prescribed, and it’s likely that you, or someone you know has a prescription for one of them. Besides being highly addictive, they have other problems. After a while, the body can develop a tolerance, and they’re less effective for relieving the pain, so people end up taking stronger drugs, and more of them. This is where people can get into big-time trouble, by just taking an extra pill, or two… and end up overdosed or dead.

It’s become such a big problem, that state and local governments have been stockpiling the drugs to treat opioid addiction. Oh, yes, there’s a drug to treat the problems created by the drugs. In fact, there are several.

The Multi-Billion Dollar New Opium War

In the late 1800’s there were wars fought over the opium trade. There was so much profit from the trade, that Britain went to war with China over it, not once, but two separate times. We may be about to enter into a different kind of opium war, although the motivation is exactly the same – money. And pharmaceutical companies are the ones profiting in a major way.

Not only are opioid drugs addictive, and have huge potential for overdose, they have other side effects, like constipation, nausea and decreased testosterone production. Guess what, there are drugs to treat overdose, constipation, and all of these side effects of the drugs… This is called a “drug cascade”, where multiple drugs are prescribed to treat the side effects of the other drugs.

It’s estimated that the opioid prescription market alone is worth about $8.6 billion in sales. The market for substance abuse treatment is projected to grow to $12.4 billion by 2024. It’s estimated that the other drugs in the cascade to treat the nausea, constipation, etc., are worth an extra $3 billion, and projected to grow to about $6 billion in the next 5 years. As the demand for these drugs grows with more people on opioids and having more side effects, the drug companies have taken advantage of the situation and raised their prices by 100’s, and in some cases 1,000’s of percent. All the while, they’ve been encouraging doctors to prescribe these drugs and promoting them as not very addictive at all. As you can see, there is a huge amount of money to be made by keeping people addicted.

Now, if you’re a drug company, that’s pretty darned good for business. If you’re a person in pain, that’s not so good for you. In fact, these issues are getting so out of control, that  federal government agencies are getting involved.

New Federal Recommendations

Things have gotten so bad that the CDC itself refers to the painkiller addiction problem as an epidemic. In addition to the CDC, the FDA & Joint Commission that accredits hospitals recently recommended that all doctors & hospitals be informed about, and recommend, non-drug options like acupuncture, chiropractic, massage, and cognitive behavior therapy. Because they work!

Acupuncture and Pain

Of the non-drug treatments, acupuncture has certainly been around the longest. Used consistently for over 2,000 years throughout China and Asia, there are also modern scientific studies that show the effectiveness of acupuncture.

The NIH (National Institutes of Health) National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health website lists scientific studies showing acupuncture is effective for low back pain, neck pain, osteoarthritis/ knee pain, and for headaches.

For many years, the World Health Organization has listed a number of conditions for which acupuncture is effective. They currently list 28  “diseases, symptoms or conditions for which acupuncture has been proved – through controlled trials—to be an effective treatment”, and another 63 where acupuncture has been shown to have a therapeutic effect. Many of those listed are pain conditions.

Besides its long history of constant use, many scientific studies show the effectiveness of acupuncture, and such esteemed organizations as the ones mentioned above recommend acupuncture as an alternative to drugs for treating pain.

Acupuncture works! In my 17 years of practice, I’ve helped many people reduce and/ or eliminate pain medications, because we reduced or eliminated the pain. No pain = no reason for pain meds. I’ve even seen a number of patients that had failed low back surgeries, meaning they had surgery, and still had the pain. In the majority of those cases, we eliminated, or significantly reduced the pain with acupuncture.

If you or someone you know is in pain, please, please get acupuncture. I recommend you try acupuncture and any of the non-drug therapies first. They don’t have the risk of drugs, and they often work, so you don’t need painkillers. As you see in this article, painkilling drugs are dangerous. Almost 100 people a day are dying from them. Drug companies are never going to cure your pain. There’s no money in it for them. It’s much better for their business to have you addicted to painkillers and all the other drugs that go with them.

Stop suffering! If you have questions, we’ll be happy to answer them. Call (619) 917-6288 or email today to see how we can help you feel better now.

Please share this with friends or family who are in pain, so they can get help. And feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts about this post.

Posted in Acupuncture, Health, Pain | Leave a comment

The Alarming Reasons You Need to Detoxify Your Home and Body

Why you need to detox

We’re all constantly exposed to toxins in our food, water and air. The rate of new toxins entering the environment is alarming. Approximately 2,000 new chemicals are released on the market each year, in addition to the thousands of chemicals that are already on the market. Many are not adequately tested for safety in humans, and even some that are tested and are unsafe are released anyway. If all that’s not bad enough, there are still chemicals like DDT that were banned years ago, but are still in the environment. In the last 50 years, our environment has become a very chemical-laden toxic place, and our bodies can’t deal with the overload. Have you noticed the drastic increase in chronic disease and cancer? Guess what’s causing a lot of it.

IMG_0001Consider just one chemical, dioxin. Dioxin is one of the most toxic chemicals in existence. It was a component of Agent Orange, which was used to defoliate the jungles in the Vietnam War. Dioxin is still produced today, as a byproduct of paper manufacturing and bleaching, mining and many manufacturing processes. See what the World Health Organization (WHO) says about the effects of dioxins on human health:

 

“Dioxins are a group of chemically-related compounds that are persistent environmental pollutants. Dioxins are found throughout the world in the environment and they accumulate in the food chain, mainly in the fatty tissue of animals. More than 90% of human exposure is through food, mainly meat and dairy products, fish and shellfish. Many national authorities have programmes in place to monitor the food supply. Dioxins are highly toxic and can cause reproductive and developmental problems, damage the immune system, interfere with hormones and also cause cancer. Due to the omnipresence of dioxins, all people have background exposure…”

That’s a direct quote from the WHO website. That’s just one chemical that we’re all exposed to. Granted, it’s one of the worst. Unfortunately, there are thousands more. Everyone is exposed. When the body can no longer eliminate enough toxins, they get stored in the body. Further overload of toxins can eventually lead to disease.

Those statistics scare the pants off me, and probably you, too. I think most of us want to stay healthy and do our best to avoid cancer. So I think limiting our toxic exposure as much as we can makes good sense. And we can also help our bodies make sure they’re eliminating toxins properly and staying in good working order.

What to do about it

1. The first step is to reduce your toxic exposure. Evaluate the foods you eat. All corn, wheat, soy and sugar beets, unless they’re organic, are genetically modified (GMO) so they can be sprayed with a very toxic weedkiller. The weedkiller is Monsanto’s Roundup, and the active chemical in Roundup is glyphosate. More and more research is coming out showing strong links between glyphosate and cancer. I recommend avoiding exposure to glyphosate. Don’t use Roundup in your garden. Eat as much organic food as you can, especially corn, wheat and soy. 

2. When you use up your chemical detergents and cleaning products, switch to natural cleaning products. They work just as well, and are safer for you, your family and your pets. You don’t have to spend a fortune at Whole Foods. Even Target and Trader Joe’s now have affordable natural options. And be cautious about the word “natural”. There is no regulated meaning of the word natural, so anybody can claim anything is “natural”. Read the ingredient list on the label to see for yourself. Long chemical names that you can’t pronounce are a bad sign.

3. The next step is to do an internal detox. Normally, we get rid of toxins in the body through the skin, liver, lungs, lymphatic system, bladder and bowels. Wow! That’s a lot of organs involved in getting rid of toxins. It’s important that all of these organs function well to stay healthy. Some people take supplements like milk thistle to detoxify the liver, or get colonics to cleanse the bowels. That’s OK, but very limited, as you see there are a lot more organs involved in detoxifying the body than just those two. Most of the “cleanses” in the health food stores are just as limited. It’s important to make sure that every one of those organs are functioning well. It’s also very important to clean out toxins that are already stored in the body, and milk thistle, colon cleanses and health food store cleanses don’t do that. There are a few detox or cleansing kits available that stimulate the organs of detoxification to work better, AND pull stored toxins out of the body. You generally have to get the ones that work from a natural health care professional.

4. Finally, I only recommend detox in spring, summer, and early fall. It’s important to complete a detox every year to keep our systems clean and functioning well. In Chinese medicine, fall and winter are the times to rest, rejuvenate and store energy for the coming year. Please avoid detoxing, colon cleanses, etc. in winter. It’s too draining to your energy and can cause a lot of problems.

If you have any questions, please let me know. If you’d like my recommendation for an internal detox kit, call or email, and I’ll be happy to share the one I use and recommend.

 

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My Shocking Visit to a Western Medical Doctor

My Recent Visit to an MD

I know it’s shocking, but I actually went to a western medical doctor. I haven’t seen an MD in about 25 years. I did see a naturopath and acupuncturists in the interim, but not for a good long while now. Since the government keeps trying to mess with health insurance, I figured while I still have it, I ought to go and get some blood work and a check up. Mind you, I know I’m healthy, because I’ve been monitoring my health every single day for the last 20 years with Chinese diagnostics (mainly tongue and pulse diagnosis), so I know exactly what’s going on in my body.

I live Chinese medicine. I adjust the herbs I take based on my tongue and pulse diagnosis. I follow the eating guidelines of Chinese nutrition. I exercise and practice Qigong regularly. I really do live this stuff on a daily basis. So, I thought, what the heck, let me go get some western diagnostics to see if they match up with how I feel (which is great, by the way).

Pros of my MD visit

The doctor was great. I liked her, and she was totally respectful that I’m a healthcare practitioner in a different system of medicine. She’s willing to work within my boundaries of wanting to do natural medicine first, and that some tests and treatments are unacceptable in my world. She spent 30 -40 minutes with me, which is actually more than I expected, so I was pleased about that, and she actually listened to me.

I expected because I’m over 50 and haven’t seen an MD in so long, they’d rub their hands in glee and order every test under the sun. Fortunately, the doctor said she doesn’t do that, but they look more at risk assessment. That’s cool. That makes sense.

I did tell her I’m healthy and feel great, I just have a tendency to stress and overwork, which is totally self-inflicted.

They weighed me, took blood pressure, looked in ears and mouth. She also did a gyn and breast exam, because I asked.

Cons of my MD visit

The doctor said she routinely does skin exams, but only looked at my back, because I can’t see back there and I asked her to look. What about the rest of my body? There’s a lot more skin on me than my back.

She also ordered a stool test, but never asked a single question about my appetite, digestion, bowel movements, or anything related to GI function, or if I had any problems or concerns. What the heck!?! What kind of risk assessment is that? It doesn’t count unless it shows up on a stool test or blood test?

She did seem particularly interested in how much caffeine I drink per day. I only drink drink pesticide-free tea, which has a lot of health benefits. I never drink coffee, because I hate the taste and smell of it. And I never drink soda. Both the nurse and doctor asked about the caffeine, which was kind of weird. I certainly wasn’t hyper or anything. They never asked one question about diet, but asked twice about caffeine. Huh!?!

The intake paperwork seemed interested in screening for sexually transmitted diseases, and the doctor ordered an HPV test (a sexually transmitted disease). But nobody ever asked if I had any unusual symptoms, was sexually active, or any other kind of risk assessment questions. Huh?

I was not asked about my sleep, energy level, urination, or really much else. I don’t know how much was left out because I’m a healthcare practitioner and they expected me to report anything I thought they needed to know, or if this is standard practice. On talking to a few others, I fear it’s standard western medical practice.

I did tell them I’m healthy, and again, I don’t know how much was out of respect for a colleague. But really? I have patients tell me all the time when I ask questions that something is “normal”, because it’s usual for them, but it’s actually not normal, and a problem. I’m kind of horrified by how much wasn’t asked when there was plenty of time. I can find out a lot of information about someone’s health in 30-40 minutes. And maybe I’m just jaded because I take so much time with my patients and ask so many questions, especially on the first visit.

I guess they rely on blood work and stool tests rather than actually talking to people. This is part of why western medicine sucks at prevention. If a problem shows up on a blood test or stool test, there’s already a problem, that maybe could have been prevented by asking some questions and having a discussion about healthy lifestyle choices.

I really did like the doctor, and I’m not saying anything negative about her. It’s just a function of how much western medicine has come to rely on machines. I really saw it in a glaring way, since in the last 25 years since I’ve seen an MD, they’ve created so many more diagnostic tests and machines. It’s kind of horrifying to me. Whereas I don’t need any machines to diagnose, intelligent doctors are being trained not to ask questions and think, but to be technicians dependent on machines and protocols to tell them what to do. (I am soooo glad I didn’t go to western medical school. I like thinking and the challenge of figuring out how to treat a difficult case.)

Results of my MD visit

How do you think my test results turned out – healthy, or not????

Alright, I’ve kept you waiting long enough. I was stressed out of my mind about going to the clutches of western medicine (I hate going to doctors – they practically have to sedate me at the dentist to get me to set foot in the place). Even so, my blood pressure was 124/68.  Textbook normal is 120/80. My blood pressure was perfect. Hee hee hee. And 124 is high for me, but, as I said, I was really stressed about being there.

All tests and blood work are normal, except for my cholesterol, which was a bit high, but I told them it would be high. My cholesterol was high 20-some years ago when they first tested it. In some people, it’s just genetically high, and not a problem. I’m one of them. And, I don’t eat anything that could make it be high, so in my case it’s not a problem. And get this, my HDL, the so-called “good” cholesterol was way over on the positive side of the “desirable” range. (That’s really good.) And, my score for risk of heart attack or stroke in the next 10 years came out at 2.3%. I’ll take that any day.

The doctor recommended “continued attention to food choices, physical activity, weight management”. I guess this is the canned response for “keep doing what you’re doing”. This is quite shocking to me, because she never asked anything about what I eat, what I do for exercise, and my weight is within normal range for my height.  There is nothing to change in my diet (according to the western guidelines for high cholesterol), because I already do it as part of my normal diet. I exercise about 5 days per week, and I’ve never exercised this consistently in my entire life. Lol.

I’ll take Chinese medicine any day over western medicine for my primary care.  Chinese medicine works! I’m living proof.

Leave a comment and let me know if this fits your experience with western vs. Chinese medicine.

Posted in Chinese Medicine, Health | Leave a comment