Conquering Your Sugar Cravings

My sister sent me a rum cake. She makes them every year; the recipe, I believe, involves super-moist cake mix, vanilla pudding mix, and a lot of butter and rum poured over the top. It’s loaded with everything a self-respecting acupuncturist would avoid putting in her body. It’s obscenely delicious. And, in the name of holiday stress, celebration, and family tradition, I pretty much ate the whole thing.

The holidays are like that. And that’s fine. The entire purpose of holidays is to get us out of our daily rut, shake things up a little, and give us permission to enjoy pleasures that we don’t indulge in every day. Continue reading

It’s not so much WHAT you eat…

A number of years ago I took a nutrition class taught by a macrobiotic counselor. He told us a story about two women who were so excited about their results with macrobiotics that they gave gift certificates to their husbands, whom they were sure would feel so much better if they just ate better.

These guys were hard-working McDonalds and Taco Bell kind of guys. They were not going to touch steamed pumpkin, barley and hijiki seaweed with a ten foot pole. So the counselor told them this: Eat whatever you usually eat. Just do two things. First, eat at the same times every day. Continue reading

Eating Habits for Healthy Digestion, Energy, and Weight: from Chinese Medicine

Classical Chinese medical texts talk a lot about food — and more about eating habits than about what you actually eat. The idea is that your body can process and use food much better when it is relaxed and not strained. And there’s a lot to that (see the previous article for more on this!)

For optimal health, Chinese medicine warns against (are you ready?): eating standing up, eating on the run, eating in a hurry, eating while reading or studying, eating while working, going back to work right after eating, eating on an erratic schedule, eating late at night, and eating while upset or stressed. Continue reading

Worrying, Studying, Sugar, and your “Spleen”

Somehow I’d expected acupuncture school to be a place where we learned healthy habits and practiced balance; but, dealing with the same time-and-money constraints as any other graduate school program, it looked more like this:

Back to back classes. Late night studying. Constant testing (and I mean constant, several exams a week, many of them practicals). We crammed our heads full of too much information. We worried and stressed, a lot, about our next tests and presentations — all the more so because we knew we needed to know this stuff, and know it well, to be good practitioners. We ate in a mad dash between classes, or as unobtrusively as possible at our desks during lecture. Continue reading

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and Acupuncture

Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or IBS, is an increasingly common digestive complaint. People with IBS suffer from abdominal pain, cramping or discomfort, along with diarrhea, constipation, or both. They may also experience a number of other gastrointestinal symptoms. People often feel worse when under physical or emotional stress, before or during the menstrual period, although sometimes the disorder seems to have a completely illogical life of its own.

In Western medicine, IBS is considered a “functional disorder” – meaning there is no observable physical problem in the digestive system. It is thought to be some form of miscommunication between the brain, peripheral nervous system, and digestive organs, which messes up the regulation of digestive functions. Continue reading

Late Summer, Humidity, and Digestion

The summer is flying by! In fact, in Chinese medicine land, it’s already a new season: Late Summer. In my estimation, Late Summer begins right around the time the 7-year-olds start practicing football in the field near my house. It’s an amazing thing, seeing these little kids fully decked out in football padding.

Late Summer in Chinese medicine is governed by the Earth element. In practical terms, this is the season when the earth offers us heaps of fresh, nutritious food and a general sense of abundance. Emotionally, this element is associated with nurturing, nourishing, and grounding. Late Summer is a good time for relaxing, eating fresh food, and being with family and friends. Continue reading