Spring Allergies, 3/ 14/ 13, written for the Mt. Baker Community News

Look outside- plants are growing and yang energy is rising. Many welcome the spring winds’ clearing of winter clouds and stagnation. Yet for others the sweetness of spring is marred by hay fever. In this article I will share advice for managing spring allergies naturally. Some people need help from a health care professional. For you DIYers I hope these words inspire you to learn more and take control of your health.
Why does the body get hay fever? Allergies are an autoimmune disorder- the body reacts to a benign stimulus (the allergen i.e. pollen) as if it were a pathogen, activating an immune response. Anti-histamines block this response. One theory of why allergies are on the rise is that the combined effects of increased contaminants in our environment, water, and food plus the constant stress of modern life can overload our immune system.
One approach is therefore to reduce the amount of inflammatory substances in our (inner) environment by managing our diet. Individual people need individual solutions, so experiment. Try removing specific substances from your diet for 2-4 weeks and see how you feel (it takes a few weeks to integrate dietary therapy). Common culprits include dairy (especially milk), gluten, nuts, and other foods that we hear about being “inflammatory.” Processed foods can contain substances that our digestive system doesn’t recognize and may cause an inflammatory response. Opinions aside, this approach does work in some cases. Remember that humans change. If you address the inflammation and restore systemic balance now, you may be able to return these foods to your diet later without problems.
Another approach is using food as remedy. Some foods are clearing in nature: radish, bamboo shoot, pear, apple, celery, cabbage, carrot, dandelion, and greens in general. Eat these foods regularly during allergy season. Clearing foods are especially appropriate in cases with itchy, red eyes and a sensation of heat. In cases of general deficiency, adding ginger, black pepper, honey, and alliums can help provide immune support. There are also many herbal formulas that address allergies without harming the liver or kidneys. And even if you don’t cut them out completely, reduce dairy, meat, and rich, greasy foods- they create internal dampness, which exacerbates allergies.
Lastly, exercise is important for preventing stagnation, and sweat helps clear toxins and heat from the body. Hygiene is also important. Clean your face (and hands) regularly and clean your living spaces, especially the carpets, as dust and pollen accumulate there.

Posted: January 19, 2016 By: Comment: 0

Weight Loss Part 3- Exercise and Metabolism, 3/ 10/ 13, written for the Leschi Community News

In the first two parts of this series we looked at general principles and guidelines for designing a weight loss/ fitness program and how to approach diet. This information is available on my blog at HillsideAcupuncture.com. In this final segment we will take a brief look at exercise and boosting the metabolism.
Cardio (extended periods of exercise at moderate intensity such as jogging, biking, or swimming) used to be the method of choice for weight loss. High intensity (sprints) and resistance (i.e. strength) training are now popular. Alternate between both (check out my blog to find out why). Exercise should be convenient and enjoyable enough to facilitate consistency. High intensity and resistance training do more for building muscle (fitness) and raising bmr. Cardio is good for the heart and lungs and burns through stores i.e. weight (but doesn’t discriminate between fat and muscle). Combining resistance training with your cardio will mitigate the muscle loss. Eat something after your workout, ideally with carbs and protein but at least a piece of fruit.
To get your metabolism going in the morning make sure to eat breakfast and do something physical (I like squats and pushups), enough to tire the muscles. Keep your metabolism up throughout the day with regular food, water, and exercise (something every few hours). Dinner should be low carb and at least 2 hours before sleep. I have lots more information to share than I could fit here, so please ask if you need help. Good luck!

Posted: January 19, 2016 By: Comment: 0

Weight Loss Part 2- Eating, 3/ 10/ 13, written for the Leschi Community News

In the first part of this series we introduced general concepts for designing a successful weight loss/ fitness program. If you missed that article it is available on my blog at HillsideAcupuncture.com. In this second section we will look at the dietary side of the equation.
Eating should be smart, balanced, and consistent. Drink lots of water through the day. It takes energy to live, exercise, and burn fat. Your body likes to run on glucose (a sugar). If you don’t eat carbohydrates your body will go into starvation mode and your metabolism will slow down making weight loss difficult and leaving you feeling sick.
Protein and carbs have 4 cal/g and fat has 9 cal/g. Don’t waste your limited calories on empty sugar or excess fat. Try to cut out high fructose corn syrup, processed food, and added sugar while on your program. Complex carbs are best (oats, whole grains etc) and natural sugars like fruit are fine. Lean protein is important, especially if you want to build muscle. Good sources of high quality fats are cold pressed olive oil, flax oil, and fish oil. Base your diet around greens, brassicas, and fibrous veggies and fruits. They are filling, low calorie, and energetically clearing. Bitter and spicy flavors encourage weight loss. Sweet and salty flavors do the opposite. Use spice and water to help you cook with less oil and salt. In part 3 I will discuss exercise and how to boost your metabolic function.

Posted: January 19, 2016 By: Comment: 0

Weight Loss Part 1- Guidelines, 3/ 10/ 13, written for the Leschi Community News

This 3-part series will introduce strategies for designing a successful weight loss/ fitness program. The subject is too complex to adequately address here so do your research, talk to a health/ fitness professional, or feel free to contact me for more information.
We can divide weight issues into two categories: true excess- healthy metabolism but caloric intake outpaces expenditure creating extra bulk; and deficiency- excess weight resulting from deficient metabolic function (this often complicates obesity). Deficiency requires a more complex approach and should be addressed with the help of a knowledgeable health professional. If you are medically sound, I hope these words help you achieve your fitness goals. Note that weight loss and fitness are not the same thing. Since muscle weighs more than fat, one’s body fat percentage or waste line can be a better gauge than the scale for tracking progress.
Set yourself up for success with achievable goals. It takes serious, consistent effort to change our behavior, but it gets easier as we adapt to the new habits. Start off with a 2-week program and build from there. Remind yourself it’s just a little discomfort for a couple weeks- you can handle that.
A pound equals 3500 calories. Healthy loss is 1-2 lbs/ week. Tools online can help you estimate your daily caloric needs. Track every calorie. Control intake and increase output to create a daily deficit of 500-1000 cal. In the installments that follow we’ll look at strategies for managing diet, metabolism, and designing an exercise plan.

Posted: January 19, 2016 By: Comment: 0

More Winter Wellness, 1/ 10 / 13, written for the Mt. Baker Community News

As this article goes to print we have surpassed the most yin day of the year, the winter solstice and are in the heart of the cold season, with warmth and sunshine scarce. That we refer to most mild upper respiratory illnesses as a “cold” is no coincidence, even though we can just as easily catch one in summer. The reason these illnesses are more prevalent in winter is that our own systems are down. Our body is so busy keeping our vital organs warm that sometimes we leave our periphery vulnerable and a pathogen is able to penetrate.
Sometimes these bugs elicit a “cold” response- we feel tired, stiff, and achy with chills, low energy and clear mucus. Other times we have a “heated” response with fever, yellow mucus, sore throat and restlessness. What I have just described are two basic patterns that emerge when we look at an upper respiratory illness from an energetic perspective. We should treat each pattern differently, according to its nature.
In this column, I would like to share a few of my favorite remedies for winter bugs. These statements represent my personal experience and are not necessarily FDA approved. Always seek guidance from a health professional before making any medical decisions. Note that a medicinal dose of herbs is much stronger than a culinary dose and must be prepared correctly so that the essential oils and phyto-chemicals aren’t harmed.
Regarding the above-mentioned situations there are a few common Chinese formulas that often work quite well. For the cold response try gui zhi tang, a cinnamon based formula that is great for warming up the body. Ginger is another good warming herb to use and it also settles the stomach. For the heated response, try gan mao ling (if sore throat predominates) or yin qiao (if nasal congestion predominates). Yin qiao uses mint and chrysanthemum to help clear heat and eliminate the bug. All of these formulas are easy to find from a Chinese herbalist or at some Asian grocery stores.
Some western herbs that I like include Oregon grape root, a bitter herb with strong clearing actions that make it particularly suitable for heated responses such as a sinus infection with yellow or green mucus. Black elderberry extract (sambucus nigra) is a great immune booster that I like for most acute illness including viral pathogens. Honey is a great medicine for many respiratory illnesses (dry or productive cough) with its soothing and moistening properties and can be combined with other herbs as a harmonizer in the formula. Peppers and other hot food can get things moving helping to clear out the sinuses, but if you have excessive heat issues this may not be the right option.
And of course, remember that adequate sleep and rest along with appropriate food and drink are of prime importance and in many medical issues worth more than medication. I hope these words help you and your loved ones stay healthy through the cold so you can enjoy the down time and all that winter has to offer.

Posted: January 19, 2016 By: Comment: 0

The Art of Living: Winter, 1/ 3/ 13, written for the Leschi Community News

At the heart of Chinese medicine is seasonal living. This is the concept of adjusting our behavior to reflect our place in the world around us. The universe is constantly transforming, and one way that we understand this change is through the concept of the year. In one year the Earth travels around the Sun, and we go through a set of seasons. Each season has unique qualities and life must adapt to these qualities if it is to prosper and grow. Failure to do so leads to decline. Even today with insulation from nature- clothing, heating and incredible food access throughout the year, we still inherently adhere to some of these principles. We wear a coat in winter to protect us from the cold. In summer we like refreshing drinks to tame the heat. The argument for seasonal living is so obvious we call it common sense. Yet if we develop these principles further and really let them guide our decisions they can help us maintain good health through the year and throughout our life.
In this article I will focus on winter, the coldest season. Winter is what we call a yin season, when qualities like cold, dark, stillness, and quiet predominate. On the surface life looks dead but really the vitality is being stored deep inside so that it will be preserved through the cold. We should reflect this in our activities by spending more time inside, resting, reading, working on art projects or other more internal activities. We should get light movement such as walking to combat the stagnation inherent in the season, but it is not a time for vigorous outdoor physical activity (especially if we aren’t wearing adequate clothing).
Regarding our diet, we should combat the cold with warming foods. One way to make our foods more warming is literally to heat them up, eating soups and stews. We can also add warming ingredients like ginger, cinnamon, pepper, chillies, nutmeg, clove, cumin, garlic and onions. It is also appropriate to eat slightly heavier foods, to eat a little meat or fish, whole grains, and hearty vegetables like carrots, squash, parsnips, turnips etc. Stay away from cold food and drink and try to cut down cooling foods like fruit that doesn’t come from a local, in season source.
One winter breakfast recipe that I like which is quick and easy to prepare is to make a miso broth cereal. I prefer miso that is minimally processed and kept refrigerated so that the probiotics are still alive. Add this paste to hot water but don’t boil it, as boiling harms the probiotics. If you like you can add other vegetables such as spring onion, wakame (seaweed), leeks, cabbage or mushrooms etc. If you need to boil the vegetables, do that first and add the miso at the end after you are done boiling. You can also experiment with spices such as cinnamon, ginger, clove etc. Once you have your broth, add your favorite whole grain- it can be cereal (bran flakes etc), oats, cooked rice, quinoa, or whatever you like or have. And there you go, a quick, warming, nutritious start to a cold winter day

Posted: January 19, 2016 By: Comment: 0

Winter Wellness Tips, 11/ 01/ 11

The General:

When I teach about seasonal living one of the things I cannot emphasize enough is that our goal is not for me or anyone else to tell you what to eat, but rather that we expand our awareness to a level where we can guide our own wellness decisions (i.e. dietary and exercise choices) based on the reality of our situation. I find that many of us don’t take the time to explore our relationship with food and exercise and the result is a passive approach that in some cases can leave us feeling tired, depressed, unfocused, moody, weak, not at ease, stagnant, or in the clutches of many other undesirable qualities. Often with a little effort and the courage to decide that we are ready for a change, we can make some simple adjustments that in the long run make us feel much better- energized, comfortable, focused, strong, fluid, and ready to deal with the many challenges of life.
General dietary advice is a little complicated in our modern world because we have access to such a diverse array of foods from all over the world, and we are not forced to eat only foods that are locally in season. Some of us also tend to eat a lot of rich, greasy foods or processed foods that give us a lot of calories but not necessarily all the nourishment that we need which creates a situation characterized by simultaneous excess and deficiency. The prevalence of obesity and diabetes are two results. What follows is some basic advice for cold weather, but keep in mind that we also need to adjust for our constitutional issues.
Fall and winter are what we call yin seasons which means that they are dominated by colder, darker climates (compared to spring and summer) in which the vitality of living organisms retreats into the interior and quietly preserves itself until the climate warms up in spring allowing outer growth to resume. In plants we see this exemplified in the falling of the leaves and their still, “dead” appearance through the winter. In animals we see this exemplified in the collecting of nuts and seeds (or other food) followed by partial or complete hibernation through the frozen periods of winter.
We as humans should also adjust our habits accordingly by staying inside where it is warm, allowing ourselves to sleep more as we replenish our stores over the winter that will sustain us through the activity of next spring and summer. Think of the earth’s water table as an analogy. The water table (our resource) is depleted through all the activity and growth of life through the spring and summer. Then the seasons change and the rain and snow replenish the supply which will be used to support life in the next year. If there is not sufficient replenishment of the resource (water), next year we may be susceptible to a drought. If there are many consecutive years of drought, what was once a fertile ecosystem can turn into a barren desert. We need to preserve our body’s resources in the same way.

The Specific:

The cold seasons are good times for indoor activities such as reading, art projects, indoor learning, and gentle exercise such as tai chi, gentle yoga (not hot yoga), walking, meditation, and light mobilization exercises. If we go outside, we should be sure to cover ourselves up well, protecting our skin from the elements. If one feels the need for vigorous working out, it should be done indoors, and we must be careful not to expose ourselves to cold weather or wind immediately afterwards while our pores are still open and sweating. In winter we have a natural tendency to feel “lazy” or like staying in bed late, and to a certain extent that is OK- we should be resting more this time of year.
In terms of food, since we are talking about cold seasons we want to be eating more warming foods. We should cook and warm our food (temperature), soups and stews are good methods of cooking to employ. We can incorporate warming spices into our recipes, such as pepper, chili, ginger, cinnamon, and a little salt helps us to consolidate our energy. If we eat meat or fish, the cold seasons are times when we need that heavier type of nourishment (not for every meal but a few times a week is fine). If we don’t (and even if we do), we should eat plenty of whole grains and legumes, root vegetables and squash, and some nuts and seeds (but we shouldn’t overdo the nuts and seeds). Algae can be a great hearty supplement for vegetarians. I recommend mixing it into miso soup (because it doesn’t honestly taste that good:).
Many of us know that we need to eat lots of vegetables to stay healthy, and we sometimes translate this into eating lots of green salad. Yet raw fruits and vegetables have a cooling effect generally speaking, and in winter this may not be ideal. So I recommend not eating much fruit during the winter (unless it is native/ grows locally to your ecosystem and then only in small amounts). Tropical fruits in a northwest winter are not in line with these principles. So a good option is to lightly steam or saute our greens and other vegetables. Hearty greens like kale and collards, broccoli and cauliflower, root veggies like carrots, potatoes (other than the russet), beets, parsnip etc are all good winter vegetables.

A Recipe for my Salad Soup:

So, since I just said I don’t recommend eating so much raw salad and I recommend cooked greens, I would like to share with you a simple, easy, delicious soup recipe that I created. It has some inspiration from Taiwanese cooking, but you won’t find it anywhere else (that I’m aware of :). What I see as some of the values of this soup is that it is a warming, nourishing way to hydrate with easy to assimilate nutrients, while at the same time providing us with the clearing benefits of salad. Greens help us clear residual heat in our digestive system and in our bodies in general. When we eat a lot of rich, greasy foods or a lot of meat or dairy or certain other types of food combined with a low level of exercise, the result is stagnation. If stagnation is left unaddressed heat starts to build up, which can lead to inflammation, digestive issues, and other problems in our body. One of the tricky aspects of winter time is finding a way to preserve our vitality and not overact, yet we don’t want to create too much internal heat or stagnation. Part of the answer is that in spring we take extra steps to clear out the stagnation of winter. Another part is gentle movement and food like my salad soup.

This is a thin soup with a nutritious broth. It can be made in a few minutes. It has warming, nourishing, clearing properties. We can emphasize any of these aspects by adjusting the ingredients and ratios. I invite you to experiment with it, add or subtract ingredients as you like, play with the spices etc. If you don’t like to eat spicy food, check the second version below. You can use (any) normal salad greens and/ or kale or other thicker greens. And I should mention it is also a great hangover cure (just reduce or exclude the cinnamon and ginger and include the radish and/ or celery :).

A version I made the other day:

1. Saute a small amount of onion and 1 carrot (chopped), and whole spices in some oil (I like sesame oil) until golden. I like to include ginger and cinnamon bark, sometimes peppercorns or a chili.

2. Add powdered spices and saute for a minute or two. I like a little turmeric, sometimes allspice, ground cinnamon or ground chili etc. If I include garlic I add it here.

3. Add heavier greens if you are including them (i.e. kale or collards etc) and saute for 2 minutes. If not, skip this step.

4. Add a handful of greens (lettuces, spinach or whatever else). You can use one type of lettuce, or I like to use a handful of mixed greens. If you want stronger flavor you can always add more greens later.

5. Add water, bring water to a boil, then turn down to simmer for at least 5 or 10 minutes. For thicker soup add less water (2-4 cups), for thinner broth add more water (4-6 cups). You can add anything else you want at this point, though I appreciate this soup as a warming and clearing nutritious broth without many ingredients other than the salad. I do occasionally add a few slices of some type of radish or bittermelon at this point to emphasize the clearing nature of the soup.

6. Seasoning: After the water is added, you can add any herbs you want to include such as oregano, thyme, basil etc. I also like to add a few drops of fish sauce or tamari sauce to taste. This is also a good time to add a little sea salt to taste.

The simple version:

1. Place one or two handfuls of greens in pot with a chopped carrot.
2. Optional ingredients: onion, salt, ginger, cinnamon, garlic, celery, radish, pepper.
3. Add 4 cups of water, bring to boil, then simmer 10 minutes.

Posted: January 19, 2016 By: Comment: 0

How to Relieve Spring Allergies/ Hay Fever with Foods from your Kitchen, 3/ 17/ 11

As we are getting close to spring I wanted to talk a little about how to deal with the allergies that many people suffer from. There are many medications out there that deal with mild to severe reactions, yet they can often have undesirable side effects. Some people prefer to try more natural forms of medicine that will not have the side effects of conventional drug therapy.

There are several formulas of Chinese herbs that are great for dealing with allergies. The best thing to do is to consult an herbalist so you can get the appropriate formula for your situation. Some common ones include bi yan pian and jade windscreen. Yin qiao can sometimes also help relieve symptoms. Many natural food stores or natural medicine/ apothecaries (herb shops) will have a variety of herbal formulas in tea or pill form that can help relieve allergic symptoms such as hay fever (dry/ itchy eyes, runny nose, asthmatic breathing/ wheezing, itchy or red skin).

In terms of common kitchen items, I find strong mint tea to be one of the best. Use a large amount of mint and let it steep covered for 10 minutes. If you have chrysanthemum flowers to add, these are also good. Remember not to boil the leaves/ flowers. See my earlier post on making medicinal tea for more details about how to properly prepare medicinal tea. Improper preparation can harm the potency and effect of your medicine.

From a Chinese medicine perspective, allergies often involve an invasion of wind or wind-heat in the body, so we try to release it. Other foods that help clear (foods with a bitter flavor) are celery, radish, chrysanthemum flowers, and to a lesser extent apples, pears, and most leafy green vegetables. Depending on what type of allergy you have, many people find that local honey or bee pollen helps reduce allergic reactions. A little bit of lemon juice or high quality vinegar may also help the situation, and high quality olive oil is another good spring tonic. Sweating can be beneficial if you do not have a weak constitution, and if spicy food agrees with you it can help promote the elimination of mucus clogging up the respiratory system and promote sweating.

Acupuncture is also a great form of treatment for those suffering from allergies.

Posted: January 19, 2016 By: Comment: 0

Medicinal Remedies for a Cold, 1/ 19/ 11

A couple nice teas to help you fight a northwest cold:
If you have a cold with clear mucus and no sore throat:
Make a strong tea with honey, cinnamon, ginger, and some pepper or chili. Drink 3-4 cups/ day for a few days. This will work best if you can start it when you first feel your body fighting with the cold, but it will also help after it has taken hold.

If you have a cold with yellowish mucus and a sore throat, rather use this recipe:
Make a strong tea with honey, mint (lots of mint), chrysanthemum (optional), ginger (a little), and pepper or chili (a little). Drink 3-4 cups/ day.

Posted: January 19, 2016 By: Comment: 0

Chinese/ Taoist Principles for Maintaining Health Through the Seasons, 12/18/10

When crafting a seasonal lifestyle from a Taoist (i.e. Chinese medicine) perspective, we need to understand the energetic aspects of each season. This is the same as understanding the energetics of what are known as the Five Elements or Five Phases. This is the foundation. This understanding will allow us to discern guiding principles for each season. Once we have established these principles, we can translate them into the realms of diet and activity to give us the specific ways we should adapt to each season. If we explore the energetic nature of our constitutional health issues, we can also use these principles to support our health in this more macro scale, but this is beyond the scope of this post, so we will focus on application to the seasons. This post is more concerned with the energetics of seasonal living. For more specific dietary suggestions, see
this post
Note: Because we are speaking in English we translate these Chinese characters/ concepts into English, but we must be careful not to impose our English mind’s understanding of these words and concepts onto the Taoist understanding of them. Let the paradigms and their respective concepts and ways of thinking dwell in their respective spheres. This will help us avert some of the confusion that surrounds these ideas and allow us to grasp them more fully.

As I see it, our general task is to nourish yin and preserve yang. Yang is the vitality of life, and without yang there is no life. Yin is what feeds and supports yang. When our yin is depleted, we have no foundation for our vitality and it disperses. In general, cooked foods are much easier for us to digest and their nutrients are easier to assimilate.

Winter is the expression of the predominance of shui, the water phase/ element. It has a yin, cold, consolidating, still nature. Life is still on the surface and potent on the interior, hibernating and waiting for the rise of yang to manifest its potential. Our principles are:
1) Nourish the yin. (Rest. Eat nourishing whole foods. Warm, cooked foods including soups and stews are best. Take time for quiet sitting and activities like reading and the arts.)
2) Preserve the yang. (Refrain from excessive vigorous activities that deplete our reserves. Eat warming foods. Protect ourselves from the harsh weather.)
3) Activate the yang to balance the abundance of yin. (Use gentle activities such as walking, qi gong, tai chi, and yoga to keep our energy circulating, build warmth in our body, and counter the accumulation of stagnation that can build up from too much stillness and cold. The yang of movement generates heat that counteracts the cold of yin.)

Spring reflects the bursting forth of yang from the depths of yin. It is a young yang full of vitality and vigor. It expresses the nature of mu, the wood phase/ element. It has a pointed outward nature. The buds and shoots appear. Our principles are:
1) Incite the yang. (Get outside, be active. It is a time for vigorous activity within reason. We must awaken ourselves from the hibernation of winter. A little bit of sour food such as vinegar or lemon can be beneficial.)
2) Move the stagnation/ accumulation from winter. (Be active. Eat lighter foods that will help clear and activate, such as fresh greens. Bitter foods such as radishes can help us clear out accumulation. Steaming and light saute are appropriate methods of cooking for spring.)
3) Regulate the yang. (We want to tap into this upsurge of yang, but we don’t want to let it get out of control or become chaotic. Be purposeful in action and don’t go beyond a healthy limit. Spring initiates what will be the year’s growth. We should make sure our actions and decisions are in line with the growth we want to cultivate.)

Summer expresses the predominance of huo, the fire phase/ element. It is the culmination of yang, heat, expansive, free flowing, open. Life is in the exterior. The flowers open and blossom, revealing what was hidden. The potential is manifest. Our principles are:
1) Nourish the yin to balance the yang. (Eat some foods of a yin, cooling nature such as fresh fruits and vegetables and eat less warming foods. Bitter foods such as radishes, celery, apples, and pears can also help us to clear excess heat. In summer we can eat a little more raw foods if our digestion is able to handle them. Refrain from activity that is too yang during the extreme yang weather- try not to perform vigorous activity under the full heat of the sun. Too much yang depletes the yin.)
2) Nourish the yang. (It is a time to be outside enjoying the weather and our social life. Whereas winter is a time to rest and be inside, summer is a time to be active and outside. The yang is abundant, and we should soak it up.)

Late Summer illustrates the nature of tu, the earth phase/ element. This is the shift that comes after the dry heat of July and August and turns into the more humid, damp heat of September. It is still warm, but the dew collects on the grass in the morning and the nights are a little cooler. The harvest comes in. Life is abundant, still, full. The yang has reached its zenith and has not quite turned inward on itself. Our principles are:
1) Harvest the abundance of qi. (Eat well of the fresh harvest. We are building up the reserves that must last the winter. It is a time to begin building the winter coat as the cold will soon approach. We should be active, but not necessarily vigorous. It is good to be outside, getting those last rays of sunshine before the yin seasons dominate.)

Fall is the manifestation of a predominance of jin, the metal phase/ element. It is the time when the yang begins to recede back into the interior. The yin is growing and dominating. It is has an inward movement, refinement, contraction, a letting go of what is unnecessary. Life is moving back inside towards the roots. The leaves are shed and the vitality is returning into the roots. Our principles are:
1) Support the yin. (We should mirror this inward movement with gentle activities such as quiet sitting, meditation, soft qi gong, and other quiet reflective activities. It is a good time for taking some solitary space to reconnect with what is essential in us. Just as nature is returning to its roots, we too can come down for the summer heights back into our roots. It is a time of refinement, shedding the excesses of the past year’s growth.)
2) Guard the yang. (As yin begins to dominate, we must protect our yang. We should spend more time inside and not expose ourselves to the harsh wind and rain and cold that comes in with the fall. We should remove the clearing, cooling, yin foods from our diet and eat more building foods such as root vegetables, legumes, squash, whole grains.)
3) Nourish the yin. (Foods rich in nutrients and micro-nutrients will help us nourish the yin. These include animal foods such as meat, fish, dairy etc, legumes, and micro-algae among many others. Stews, soups, congee, and other warming cooking methods are more beneficial).

Posted: January 19, 2016 By: Comment: 0