Unity Community Acupuncture Newsletter October 2016:
Pumpkin Spice Flavored Acupuncture Edition
It may still be hitting what feels like 80+ degrees in the afternoon, but autumn is definitely upon us here in the Mile High City. The leaves are slowly starting to change, mornings are cool and crisp, the Broncos are already 3-0, it’s getting darker earlier, sniffling and sneezing and boxes of tissue abound at the office, and pumpkin-flavored everything has overtaken your local Trader Joe’s. One of the beautiful things about Chinese Medicine is that it’s really great at addressing the changing of the seasons and what we can do to maximize our chances of staying healthy and thriving through the seasonal shift.
Here are a few quick pointers that we hope you’ll find helpful:
- Enjoy eating seasonally. Sweet potatoes, yams, kabocha squash, spaghetti squash, pumpkins, pears, parsnips, rutabaga, turnips, cauliflower, brussels sprouts… Hungry yet? And it doesn’t need to be complicated. Roasted brussel sprouts with garlic, parsley, olive oil and lemon juice. Roasted root vegetables. Butternut squash soup. Marinara sauce with fresh vegetables and ground buffalo over spaghetti squash. Endless combinations that don’t need to take a lot of brainpower or skill. Squashes and sweet potatoes are some of the most nourishing foods according to Chinese dietary therapy. Eat ’em!
- Be mindful of dryness. In Chinese medicine, autumn is associated with the element of metal and the Lung organ (summer = fire/heart, late summer = earth/spleen + stomach, winter = water/kidneys, spring = wood/liver). We’ll be seeing this all around us pretty soon – with the leaves starting to slowly turn color, wither, dry out and fall to the ground. Plus, we get a double-dose of dryness here in Colorado because we’re living in a high-desert climate. Dry nasal passages, dry skin, dry hair, dry cough, a weak voice, and constipation can all be signs of a dryness pattern. Excess coffee intake (coffee is energetically hot and dry), alcohol intake (there’s a reason why it’s called “fire water”), and tobacco & marijuana use can all exacerbate a dryness pattern. Dryness also can play a role in certain psycho-emotional patterns, such as feeling overly anxious, busy, and speedy. But fear not! Oftentimes we can help course-correct a dryness pattern with acupuncture, nourishing and moistening Chinese herbs, and lifestyle modification. As far as diet goes: two fruit that can help with dryness are Pears and Apples (which happen to be in season right now).
- Keep your body warm. Hands, feet, head, back of neck and upper shoulders. The Kidney meridian, which is particularly sensitive to cold, starts at the bottom of the foot and travels all the way up the inside of the legs. Try not to leave the house in the morning with wet hair and an exposed head if it’s chilly outside.
- The emotions or psychological aspect which is associated with autumn and the metal element are grief/sadness and letting go. In autumn, the leaves, flowers, and grasses wither and die, then go back to the earth. It is a natural process of ending, and it’s also a beautiful and difficult metaphor for our own emotional and psychological lives. Entering into the autumn season, with the busyness and frenetic pace of the summer/fire season drawing to a close, don’t be surprised if you find yourself in a more contemplative space. If you find yourself revisiting old losses, or struggling deeply with current losses and transitions: be gentle with yourself. Talk to someone if necessary. Give yourself space and time to have your own unique experience, whatever that may be.
Your health and vital life energy can be likened to a bank account.
Restful sleep, balanced eating, exercise, good relationships, caring for our emotional and psychological selves – all of these things keep the bank account full and happy. Lack of sleep, poor diet, overwork, runaway stress, too much busyness – all take away from our bank accounts, eventually putting us into the negative. When we’re “in the negative,” so to speak, that’s when we become more susceptible to getting rundown and picking up something yucky from our coworkers, friends, partners, and kids. Although there are no guarantees in life, and you can still manage to get ill even if you do everything “right”. If your bank account is fairly full, then hopefully the illness won’t last as long or be as severe. Getting acupuncture and practicing good self-care during the autumn season keeps your bank account full.
Fermentation! What the heck is it? Why is everyone telling me I need more kimchi or kombucha in my life?! On Saturday, November 12th we will be holding a fermentation workshop at Unity Community Acupuncture. In this workshop we will discuss the process of fermenting food, the health benefits of adding fermented foods to your diet, and how you can easily ferment foods in your own home using simple ingredients. We’re even going to make sauerkraut! Spots will be limited. Stay tuned for more details!
Starting October 4th, Brandee and Kailey will be following an anti-inflammatory diet for the next 30 days. Nagging pains, digestive distress, weight gain, headaches, low energy, depression and anxiety, skin issues, allergies, and infertility are just a few of the conditions that can benefit from eliminating certain food groups from the diet. For the next 30 days, we will be avoiding all added sugars, alcohol, grains, legumes, dairy, and preservatives such as MSG. We understand that dietary change can be incredibly difficult, both logistically and emotionally, so we’re undertaking this grand experiment to help us better support and understand our patients. If you’re interested in learning about the particular program we’ll be following, visit www.whole30.com for more information. If you are interested in following the program along with us, let us know! And please refrain from bringing any pumpkin lattes, doughnuts, cookies, and ice cream into the clinic for the entire month of October! 🙂 We’ll give an update in our next newsletter on what the process was like for us.