Welcome to Fall: Stay Well…Stay Balanced

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My winter greens! Something to keep my spirits up during this time of year while everything else is dropping and rotting, the greens are still growing and glowing. It’s Fall, Lung and Large Intestine time.  Our energy is starting to turn inward.  Think of that bear collecting and gathering it’s nourishment for the winter months.  For us we are harvesting our fruits and vegetables and drying, fermenting, canning, and storing our food to keep those 2 batteries (2 kidneys) nourished during the colder months and keeping our Spleen/Stomach in balance. Following the seasons and looking to nature for cues is a great way to stay balanced and keep your immunity strong for all seasons.  So this brings us to the foods we could be eating now to build our immune systems for the colder months. Root vegetables! And lots of them! Beets, Carrots, Potatoes,Yams, Parsnips, Onions, Garlic. Eat them in a soup or grill them in the oven. Adding them to bone broths can help strengthen the digestive system and support good gut flora.

A lot of us didn’t want summer to end, I know. However now that the cooler weather is here, I’m looking forward to hunkering down and getting to “work” on all those things I didn’t get around to on those hot summer days. A few of those things are about getting back to routine and taking care of myself. This starts in my garden. Will I ever get to all those tomatoes, beets, carrots, apples, pears and grapes? Well I got to the grapes and made delicious juice. I used the last of the tomatoes for spaghetti sauce. Next? Apple sauce, apple juice, apple pie, apple sandwiches (That’s from Little Bear stories).

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Don’t forget Rosemary Gladstar’s Fire Cider recipe.

½ cup of onion, garlic, horseradish (chopped up)
¼ cup ginger (chopped up)
¼ teaspoon cayenne
Put in large mason jar (1quart)
Fill to the top with apple cider vinegar
Let sit for 2-4 weeks, drain and add honey to taste

So when I’m feeling cold and run down, this should do the trick to help prevent common colds and flu, increase my circulation, and clear phlegm. For more information visit
http://learningherbs.com/

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The Fall, in Chinese Medicine, relates to the Metal Element which corresponds to the Lung and Large Intestine. It’s important to keep our lungs open and our chest turned outward. Don’t let yourself “cave in”. A simple exercise to do this is to wave your arms from front to back on a horizontal plane and clap or do circles with your arms or simply thump your chest like a gorilla. This all helps promote circulation to the chest and keep viruses, bacteria, and phlegm out. For the Large Intestine (hence digestion), it’s time for more warm and cooked foods. We don’t have the summer heat to help us digest so put more heat in your food ie garlic, onion, cayenne and ginger is my favorite. Raw foods take more energy to digest, so if you are feeling a little low, try and reduce your intake of them. Make apple sauce with ginger instead of eating cold fruit. Make oatmeal with berries and ginger instead of cold cereals and milk.  Add stewed pears to your diet. Pears are an excellent lung tonic, keeping them moist and free of bacteria and phlegm.

The emotion that corresponds to the Metal Element is sadness or grief. In my practice I refer to it as a feeling of “homesickness”. For me that’s the best way to describe it. For others there can be a real sense of sadness or grief for no apparent reason, especially if they have a history of lung issues. Keep that chest open and know that it will pass.

Fall is the perfect time of year to boost your immune system. Gentle tonics include Astragulus and Elder berry. For kids in particular, (because it tastes so good) Elder Berry syrup can be a great way to keep those viruses away. Add some fish oils and chewable probiotics and that’s far fewer colds this season. Shoni-shin and/or Acupuncture can also be helpful for prevention and treatment of upper respiratory illnesses. Children can benefit with fewer treatments than adults, as their energy is more easily influenced.

In my practice, this is the time of year I encourage my patients with Asthma, COPD, or any Chronic Respiratory Illness to come for a series of treatments before the Winter Season is upon us. It’s also a good time of year for a tune up as the change of seasons can be challenging to your immunity and emotional health.

You can visit me at my clinic: Monday, Wednesday, Friday
Victoria Professional Building

1120 Yates Street, Suite 406

(250)882-0659

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This is a fun 2 minute video by Brodie Welch talking about Fall and Chinese Medicine. It takes a few seconds to upload. Enjoy!

https://voice.adobe.com/a/LzzYl/

Welcome to Summer: Stay Well…Stay Balanced!

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Summer time fun!

Summer Hot Fun Joy Abundance…Summer is the Fire Element and it’s time to check in with the Heart and Small Intestine. The heart houses the mind (or Shen) in Chinese medicine and it is the Emperor of all our organ systems. Any imbalance within this organ system can result in sleep disturbances, anxiety, forgetfulness, jumpiness, and or palpitations.

Our appetite for life is seen through our eyes and as a practitioner of TCM, I often look into your eyes to see what’s going on in your life, are you feeling satisfied, over worked, burdened or tired? It’s important to keep our Heart Qi in balance. Play but don’t play too hard, exercise but don’t exercise to hard. Fun and rest are very important in the summer because the heat in the summer can tend to build up and rise in our bodies.

The Small Intestine in Chinese medicine separates the pure from the turbid. There are many ways to interpret this. In its simplest form it’s the absorption of pure nutrients in the small intestine, leaving the turbid to be excreted out the large intestine. Philosophically, it can be your ability to process or filter your own emotions.

A nice cooling tea in the summer is chrysanthemum flowers and goji berries with a little honey. It cools the heart and the liver during hot sunny days. Green teas are also very cooling. I often make ice tea with herbs from the garden and add a little lemonade or white grape juice. It will keep in the fridge for a few days. Melons also clear body heat in the summer. So dig into those watermelons, cantaloupes, and honeydew melons. Cucumber, spinach, watercress and dark leafy greens all keep the body cool over the summer also, and don’t forget those yummy berries.

A nice yoga pose to keep the heart open is to roll up a towel and place it in the small of your back running up your spine while lying down with a pillow under your knees. This will relax your heart and help vent out any heat that has gathered in the body. Summer time is a very active time, trying out new sports, renos to the house, gardening…  Make sure to pace yourself and start slowly.  If you do get injured, take a rest, do some light massage and slowly regain your strength in the muscles you pulled or injured.

My son Mateo was in a Skip-a-thon at school and went right at it. He was so excited to tell me he skipped for 2hrs straight (flat footed jumping 2 feet off the ground) He is now jumping on his toes and all is good.

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At the end of the summer, there is Late Summer (or Indian Summer). This season involves the Spleen and Stomach, the Earth Element. This is the perfect time to work on your immunity or any long standing asthma problems. At this time of the year, there are no acute symptoms to treat, therefore I can address the root causes of your imbalances. Are you someone who does not transition well between seasons? Do you catch colds often? The Earth Element plays an important roll in your immunity and is seen in the middle of the circle within the Five Element System. There are so many things to keep your mind and body in balance but if you are struggling to find the right balance for you, visit me in my clinic at Simple Remedies at our new location around the corner at 1111 Fort St. (free 2hr parking on Meares St.,above Cook)

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Gigi Vincentine, Dr. TCM. Dip. My summer holidays will begin on July20th-July31st. I’ll be back in the clinic on August 3rd. Happy Summer!   Lotus FlowerLotus PondLongJing Tea Terraces