Diet

Healthy Eating from Early to Late Summer

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Traditional Chinese Medicine or TCM is all about balance. In this ancient system, the key to health is to move through the world in such a way that our bodies can remain in homeostasis, in balance. This idea connects to sleep patterns, what we eat and ultimately the flow of Qi, or energy, throughout the body. For that reason, healthy eating in summertime, according to TCM, is all about using cooling foods to balance out how hot it is outside. In other words, we can find homeostasis from the inside out. continue reading »

Eating Well for Springtime

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Traditional Chinese medicine says aligning your diet with the seasons is one of the best ways to stay healthy. Mother Nature provides exactly what we need to be healthy. Paying attention to the fruits, vegetables and herbs that grow during different seasons in the region where you live is a great way to incorporate the philosophies of traditional Chinese medicine into your own life and access greater healing. continue reading »

Boost It With Ginseng

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Ginseng is said to resemble a human body in shape, and it has been used for years in Asia.  Recently, it has become a popular item in Western culture. Many claims about this root have been advertised, such as its reputation for extending longevity and its use for stamina and endurance. Let’s look at the types of ginseng and the differences.

There are three main types of ginseng used: continue reading »

Walnuts and Your Brain

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by Toni Twitty, M.Ac., Ph.D.c 

Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture OKC Expert

 

Many people like to add walnuts to food to add some zest and a little crunchy kick, but walnuts are much more than a flavor additive, as they are chock full of healthy properties and have been used in Asia as an overall health tonic and brain booster for years. Let’s take a nutty look at walnuts.    

Walnuts, otherwise known as Hu Tao Ren in Chinese medicine, are used as a kind of herbal remedy. In Chinese medicine, they look at the quality, temperature, flavor and color of a food to uncover certain elements that are beneficial to those who need to balance those qualities in their body. For example, the walnut is classified as “warming”. Warming foods tend to improve circulation and raise what is known as the yang qi. The yang is what is energetic, bright, outward, hot and moving (as opposed to yin, which is more inward, dark, still, cool and moist). Warming food is used in cold conditions; for example, if your stomach is cold from an overabundance of cool foods, you may have some digestive issues like gas and bloating due to slower digestion. In addition, the walnut is lubricating, moist and a bit greasy. This quality is helpful for lubricating the intestines and helping digestion and constipation.

In Chinese medicine, the element of the food goes to certain organs and is beneficial for them; walnuts are said to benefit the lungs, large intestine and the kidneys specifically. Walnuts strengthen the lungs to help chronic cough, asthma and skin conditions (which are connected to the lung, according the Chinese medical principles). Walnuts also are a kidney tonic and help urination; in addition, kidneys are said to influence libido, fertility, the back and knees and the aging process. Walnuts have been used to help libido and fertility, a 2012 study in Asia showed males who consumed walnuts had improved sperm quality. In addition, walnuts are used for insomnia. They help raise serotonin levels, which promote feelings of well being and help people sleep better. Finally, in looking at food as medicine, foods that resemble a body part often treat that organ. What does the walnut resemble? Two lobes of the brain, the left and right hemisphere. It is commonly known that walnuts are an excellent brain food.    

Walnuts have been shown to have high levels of Omega-3, which is an essential fatty acid that helps brain and heart function. Walnuts are anti-inflammatory, have antioxidants and recent research has shown they may have anti-cancer properties and help diabetes due to beneficial fats. In addition, they have vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant, minerals and B vitamins. Walnuts help digestion and give a feeling of being full, so they aid in weight loss.   

It should be noted that in Chinese medicine, most food recommended for health is used in a formula that is unique for you and an overall treatment plan is created. Walnuts are not a panacea for health care, and it’s best not to self-diagnose; instead, visit an acupuncture provider to get a thorough diagnosis and a balanced formula right for you.

Walnuts are not recommended in cases of fever, diarrhea or allergic reaction to nuts. If you are generally healthy and want a nice tonic, add a nice handful of nuts to not only perk up your food but also your body.

 

acupuncture okcDr. Toni Twitty, owner of Be Well Acupuncture OKC in Oklahoma City, OK is an expert Acupuncturist. She specializes in resolving pain, treating chronic conditions, general wellness, and fertility. Learn more about Toni and get started on your road to better health at: www.bewellokc.com

Healthy Eating According to Traditional Chinese Medicine

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by Toni Twitty, M.Ac., Ph.D.c 

Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture OKC Expert

 

Do you consider yourself a healthy eater? Do you follow the guidelines set forth by the government for healthy eating? Or have you gone rogue? There are as many different definitions of healthy as there are colors in the rainbow. But according to traditional Chinese medicine, there are certain guidelines that will keep the body happy and healthy throughout life. Let’s explore this a little deepe

The Traditional Chinese Medicine diet is based on energetic principles that encourage balance, clean burning digestion and a well-functioning body that remains free of disease and full of energy. Eating for balance is a way of life in Traditional Chinese Medicine theory. There are certain foods that help the digestive system function properly and allow the body to utilize the nutrients it needs to perform. When food enters the mouth, it travels through the stomach and intestines. This is where the energy is extracted from the food and the waste products are excreted. The energy that was extracted become your life force or Qi (pronounced “chee”). Digestion, in TCM theory, should be an unnoticeable event. The digestive system should be clean and quiet, allowing the body to extract the most nutrition and energy from the food that is ingested.  If the digestive system becomes clogged, the energy does not get adequately absorbed and there is leftover residue that sticks to places within the body thus causing blockages and affecting the body’s daily functions.

Dampness is the most common byproduct of eating foods that create blockages in the digestive system. Foods that create dampness include cheese, yogurt, white flour and sugar. Dampness causes blockages or stagnations that can then lead to pain and disease. Symptoms of accumulated dampness include mucus, loose stools or constipation, excess weight gain and swollen joints. Chronic allergies and arthritis are two Western medicine diseases that are very closely linked to dampness.

To avoid disease, the TCM diet recommends things like steamed rice, cooked vegetables and small quantities of animal protein. Vegetables play a major role in draining dampness and are packed with nutrition. The more colorful the vegetables, the healthier they are for the body, as they contain lots of antioxidants that promote health and longevity. Your plate should begin with large quantities of brightly colored and lightly cooked vegetables. Leafy greens are very important also as they are some of the most balancing and nutrient dense foods available.

Rice is a balanced food that is easily digested. Rice is also hypo-allergenic and this is advantageous to those who are dealing with allergies as it is very gentle on the digestive system. White rice tends to be more cleansing, while brown rice is considered more nourishing. Rice is a clean burning food that gently drains dampness from the body.

Protein is the final component of a healthy TCM diet. Animal proteins and beans are difficult to digest and therefore are only suggested in small quantities. Beans are better overall than animal proteins as they do help absorb dampness and they provide fiber.

There are several things that should be avoided in the TCM diet. Dairy is one of the biggest culprits of creating dampness. It is also cold in nature and this is a hindrance to the digestion. Cold, raw foods are culprits in the formation of dampness, as it is difficult for the body to process them. This is why foods ingested should be at least at body temperature. When the body has to heat the food, it drains the energetic resources of the body, which weakens the body over time. So things like salads, chilled food, iced drinks and frozen foods should not be included in the daily diet.

When it comes to healthy eating, it is obvious that most of the United States doesn’t adhere to the aforementioned guidelines. If you are truly trying to eat healthy and you are dealing with illness, why not consider trying the TCM way of eating? You might be surprised at how your body changes.

 

acupuncture okcDr. Toni Twitty, owner of Be Well Acupuncture OKC in Oklahoma City, OK is an expert Acupuncturist. She specializes in resolving pain, treating chronic conditions, general wellness, and fertility. Learn more about Toni and get started on your road to better health at: www.bewellokc.com