08:15 08:15

13 Tips to Simplify Your Meals

By | 2018-05-21T12:38:35+00:00 May 20th, 2018|Categories: April's Blogs, Blogs, Holistic Living, Nutrition Articles|Tags: , , , , , , |Comments Off on 13 Tips to Simplify Your Meals

April Crowell, Dipl. ABT (NCCAOM), AOBTA CI & CP, CHN

“What’s for dinner?”

It’s a common question that can turn into an amusing (or annoying) game.  When you have a busy schedule it can be a daunting task to figure out how to eat well–let alone eat.  I’ll tell you a little secret–it’s all about habits.

Our culture has put emphasis on economy and convenience, at the cost of  our connection to self nourishment, and I’m not talking about restorative yoga.   Think about it.  We spend less time planning and preparing meals than any other culture in the world, and we have increasing disease and health costs that are directly related to dietary habits.  Diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, GERD (okay, there is a virus involved sometimes here, but I assure you, if you slow down how you eat, it improves considerably), kidney stones, ulcers, gout, heart disease–you get the picture.  We all know nutrition is important, what and how we eat is the basis for our energy, ability to health and overall health.

Wonderful.  So how do we start improving how we nourish ourselves?

Simple-create new habits that make better nourishment and eating habits a priority.

You will be hungry today, so why let that surprise you?  Why not plan for it instead? Your health and soul will thank you.   Let’s play with a few ideas.

1. Create time–If your current habits don’t allow you the time to menu plan, shop, prep and cook–budget some time.  Put it in your day planner or on your ‘to do’ list.  If you skip meals, put the time for them in your planner as well.  It usually takes me about 15 minutes to make a menu for the week and […]

06:34 06:34

Sprouts, A Deeper Look

By | 2018-05-03T13:02:44+00:00 May 2nd, 2018|Categories: Blogs, Holistic Living, Nutrition Articles|Tags: , , , , , |Comments Off on Sprouts, A Deeper Look

by Nathan Mandigo

A while ago I wrote on an article on the basics of sprouting (find it here) which mentioned just a few of the wonderful benefits that can be gained from sprouts.  Today I would like to take a deeper look at the benefits of sprouts and their amazing properties.

From a Western perspective, sprouts are very nutritious as they are a good source of many vitamins and trace minerals that many people in this country are deficient in, they have a low glycemic response, and are a good source of dietary fiber.  What makes sprouts most interesting from my perspective is the presence of a chemical called coumarin.

Coumarin is a naturally occurring, fragrant chemical present in most feed plants and several other common foods (like cinnamon (cassia sourced), strawberries and cherries).  A feed plant is any plant that is used to feed livestock or which graze lands are planted with, such as alfalfa or clover, two very common sprout seeds.  In concentrated forms, coumarin is toxic to the body and is one of the precursors used to make rat poison and blood thinners, that’s not the interesting part.  The interesting part is that coumarin in small quantities, as found in sprouts, increases our sensation of satiation.  It makes us feel fuller faster by making the body think we have eaten more than we have so we are less inclined to overeat.  Scientist believe this property in these plants was evolved as a way to stave off over feeding by grazing animals to give plants a chance to seed.  If you would like read more about coumarin, here is the wikipedia article.

From a Chinese medicine perspective, sprouts, are also an […]

13:06 13:06

Cherries! Nature’s Blood Cleanser

By | 2018-05-21T13:11:13+00:00 April 22nd, 2018|Categories: April's Blogs, Blogs, Chinese Medicine, Holistic Living, Nutrition Articles|Tags: , , , , , |Comments Off on Cherries! Nature’s Blood Cleanser

April Crowell, Dipl. ABT (NCCAOM), AOBTA CI & CP, CHN

It’s time for cherries!  If you’ve ever picked cherries, likely you have an appreciation for how much labor goes into caring for and harvesting the delicate, tart orbs that are available fresh for only a few weeks. Depending on the variety, a single cherry tree can produce about 30 lbs of fruit each year.   A single acre of land can be planted with several hundred trees. That’s a lot of little fruit, and although there are mechanical harvesters, most cherries are still picked by hand making them one of the most labor intensive fruits with the one of the shortest harvest season. But they are well worth it.

A little cherry history

Cherries are a drupe, meaning they have a pit in their center. Like other drupes, including apricots, nectarines, and peaches, they are a member of the rose family and are native to the western hemisphere of Europe and Asia. Written records of cherry farming date back to 72 BC Anatolia (modern day Turkey) and they found their way to America with the pilgrims.   Today, only about 15 of some 500 plus varieties are grown for the American consumer.  However, heirloom varieties are on the rise thanks to the natural food movements throughout the world and our nation.

Western nutritional highlights of cherries

Cherries range from a deep black/red to a golden yellow, and they are categorized as sweet or sour, even in western nutritional terms.  Raw cherries provide dietary fiber, vitamin C, vitamin A and minerals. Don’t look to cherries if you are seeking proteins, fats and or complex carbohydrates. That’s not their job–cherries clear and cleanse.

The healing energetics […]

11:45 11:45

Simple Steps for Dealing with Allergies

By | 2018-04-09T10:09:25+00:00 April 8th, 2018|Categories: Blogs, Chinese Medicine, Common Conditions, Holistic Living, Nutrition Articles, The Seasons|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |Comments Off on Simple Steps for Dealing with Allergies

April Crowell, Dipl. ABT (NCCAOM), AOBTA CI & CP, CHN

Red, itchy eyes, sore throat, sinus congestion, running nose, puffy face, congested ears, swollen lips, headaches. Although it may be true that certain seasons have a propensity to bombard us with excess pollen, or air particulates from farming, and pollution there isn’t really one season for allergies. Some people only suffer during a spring and/or autumn season while others may suffer all year long. Some people are allergic to only one thing, while others suffer from a multitude or combination of allergens. Whatever the individual pattern, it is estimated that nearly 50 million Americans suffer from allergies. It’s estimated that over-the-counter sales of allergies medicines should reach $14.7 billion dollars in 2015–that’s a lot of sneezing and muzzy headedness.

I used to believe that seasonal allergies were coming earlier every year.  Though this may be partly true, what I now see in my practice is that Boise’s air quality is declining enough that clients are suffering more and often longer with allergies–crud.

Allergies in the eyes of western medicine

Allergic rhinitis, or hay fever, is an example of compromised immunity. Basically, the immune system has a hyper response to a strong pathogen (pollen, an abundance of cat dander, etc) and this causes a rapid physiological changes resulting in itchy eyes and throat, sinus congestion, sneezing, asthma and even diarrhea.  Exposure to an allergen would cause a massive release of IgE antibodies which attach to white blood cells known as mast cells. These cells are mostly located in the lungs and upper respiratory tract, the lining of the stomach and the skin. When these cells are stimulated, they release a number of chemicals including histamine which produce the allergic symptoms.
An […]

09:05 09:05

Nourishing With Stinging Nettles

By | 2018-04-09T10:18:24+00:00 April 7th, 2018|Categories: Blogs, Common Conditions, Holistic Living, Nutrition Articles, The Seasons|Tags: , , , , , , , , |Comments Off on Nourishing With Stinging Nettles

April Crowell Dipl. ABT (NCCAOM), AOBTA CI & CP, CHN

Stinging nettles sting.

My first encounter with nettles was not pleasant, and at the time, I didn’t know enough to look for lamb’s quarter or dock to soothe the nettle’s sharp bite.  Instead, I chose to run screaming back to camp seeking my mother’s aid to treat the flaming red blisters on my legs.

Despite my first meeting with nettles, I have grown to love their amazing nutritional and healing properties.  They are one of the few herbs that I can recommend to almost anyone–young, old, weak, strong, nursing mothers and athletes.  To date, I  haven’t come up with someone that can’t benefit from nettles.

A bit of nettle history

Nettles have a long history of medicinal use–dating back to the bronze age. Native Americans used them to stop bleeding after child birth, Victorian women used nettle tinctures to thicken their hair.  Soups were used to build strength and stamina–the list is long as you will see below.

Nettles grow wild across Europe, America and parts of Canada. Many people harvest them fresh, but for ease (possibly I’m just lazy) I get my nettles dried and in bulk unless a local grower has some fresh available.   I use them regularly for my family, self and my clients.  All parts of the nettle plant have medicinal properties earning them a place of honor in my herbal cupboard.

Western uses and nutritional profile

Long inhale and go….  Asthma, chronic cough, any lung disorder, hives, shingles, eczema, diabetes, uterine bleeding, chronic nose bleeds, allergies, gout, heart failure, spasms urinary and kidney stones, urinary tract infections,  strengthen hair, heal wounds, replenishing after surgery, fluid retention, rheumatism, arthritis,  reduce edema and bloating, build teeth and bones, balance mood swings, […]

07:16 07:16

Turmeric–Golden Healing Herb

By | 2018-04-09T10:10:31+00:00 March 22nd, 2018|Categories: Blogs, Chinese Medicine, Common Conditions, Herbs & Spices, Holistic Living, Nutrition Articles|Tags: , , , , |Comments Off on Turmeric–Golden Healing Herb

Tyra Burgess, Dipl. ABT (NCCAOM)

 

Turmeric is a prevalent and powerful herb, with a long history of medicinal and culinary uses dating back at least 4000 years.  Rhizoma curcumae longae, is a member of the Zingiberaceae/Ginger family, that is packed with curcumin which gives the root its deep golden yellow color and lead to the name “Indian saffron”.  In Auyruvedic medicine turmeric is called haldi,  and in Traditional Chinese Medicine, Jiang Huang.  There are over 130 species of turmeric and India produces nearly 80% of all turmeric, and many of us know it as a one of the spices, along with coriander and cumin, that make up the loved seasoning curry, but this herb has wonderful medicinal properties that make it well worth having in your cupboard.

Turmeric’s healing properties

Turmeric has a peppery, acrid, warm, and bitter flavor.  Turmeric is helpful to almost every system in the body, and has been researched and used by every modality on the planet. In Eastern medicine, the herb is indicated in the stagnation of blood and Qi. TCM uses it for conditions such as amenorrhea, dysmenorrhea, tumors, and traumatic injury where there is pain and swelling from stagnation.  Ayurvedically, turmeric is used to treat a wide variety of conditions ranging from arthritis to ulcers, gas, hepatitis, diabetes, menstrual issues and to prevent and treat intestinal parasites.

 

With the help of Western Science, it has been determined that there are over 100 isolated components in this miracle plant that are helpful in medicine and powerful in Pharmacology. In Western Herbology, this plant is used as an anti-Inflammatory, antiarthritic, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-septic, antioxidant, topical antibacterial and antifungal, antifertility, hypotensive, anti-atherosclerotic, it has tumor preventing activity, choleretic, stimulates digestive enzymes, a carminative, a hepatoprotective, a nephroprotective, radioprotective, […]

09:33 09:33

Elderberry Syrup and Tea for Colds and Flu

By | 2018-05-21T11:56:24+00:00 October 27th, 2017|Categories: Blogs, Nutrition Articles|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |Comments Off on Elderberry Syrup and Tea for Colds and Flu

As Autumn creeps in I stock my cupboards with a few items to prevent and treat colds and flu. Gan Mao Ling, Kwan Loong oil, vitamin C, Immustim or Wellness Formula, to name a few, but one of my favorites is simple and reliable elderberry tea and syrup.

All parts of the elder plant have a long history in folk medicine. The flower is used to promote sweating and resolve phlegm from exterior pathogens. The inner bark and root are used as strong emetics and to relieve stubborn constipation. The leaves and berries can be made into poultices with vinegar or honey to relieve damp heat in the skin such as poison ivy.

Elderberry syrup is one of the first things that I reach for when someone is starting to fight a cold or flu. From a Chinese medicine perspective there are two major reasons that we get sick: either our system is weak and susceptible to exterior invasion (Lung qi and wei qi deficiency) or the pathogen is exceptionally strong relative to us (think of plagues). Elderberry helps to strengthen any Lung deficiency condition, giving your immune system a powerful boost. It is antiviral and anti-infective, perfect for fighting off those pesky viruses. The berry also has expectorant, diaphoretic and diuretic properties to help move fluids, the bowels and relieve phlegm. It even helps treat food poisoning. Elderberry is high in calcium, vitamins A, C and B6 and iron—and, best of all, it’s tasty and kids don’t usually mind it.

So how do I use it?
I start to use elderberry tea (often mixed with other teas like berry or nettles) several times a week at the start of school or weather transitions. The syrup is handy for […]

13:10 13:10

12 Tips For Handling Heartburn And Indigestion

By | 2017-09-22T08:56:06+00:00 September 20th, 2017|Categories: April's Blogs, Blogs, Chinese Medicine, Common Conditions, Holistic Living, Nutrition Articles|Tags: , , , , , , , , |Comments Off on 12 Tips For Handling Heartburn And Indigestion

April Crowell, Dipl. ABT (NCCAOM), AOBTA CI & CP, CHN

Digestive disturbances affect nearly everyone at some point in their life and it’s estimated that 40% of Americans will suffer from heartburn at least once each month–ouch.  In fact, the proton pump inhibitor drugs (think Nexium and Prevacid) are the third largest class of drugs sold in America each year.    The following recommendations are beneficial for any level of digestive vibrancy, whether you have excellent digestion and want to make the most of a healthy system or you are treating chronic or debilitating digestive issues.  Honestly, I know of no condition that will not improve or benefit from the simple habits listed below.

Chew your food —Let’s start at the beginning.  Besides the teeth mechanically breaking down the food, salivary amylase is added in the mouth to break down starches.  This enzyme is not found in the stomach–it has to be added into the food in the mouth.  Although the stomach churns to help break food down, it doesn’t have teeth and large chunks of food overly burden the stomach causing gas, bloating, and acid re-flux.   The physical act of chew also triggers mass peristalsis in the colon–meaning you will move your bowels more regularly.  Ideally, you should chew your food about 30 times, so put your fork down between each bite and savor your food.

Have a seat–“Li proceeds Qi.” Literally, where your intention goes your Qi (energy & manifestation)  will follow.  If your intention is to eat a meal, assist your body by sitting down, relaxing and enjoying your food.  If your attention is rushed or focused elsewhere Qi won’t readily flow into your digestive organs to help properly transform the food. Voila–you now have […]

10:21 10:21

Surviving Summer Heat

By | 2017-06-30T12:24:09+00:00 June 30th, 2017|Categories: April's Blogs, Blogs, Chinese Medicine, Holistic Living, Nutrition Articles|Tags: , , , , , , |Comments Off on Surviving Summer Heat

April Crowell, Dipl. ABT (NCCAOM), AOBTA CI & CP, CHN

We love our Summers and the sunshine here in Boise.  It’s time to be in the garden, rivers and mountains.  The temperature can swing nearly 40 degrees from sun up to sundown, and then there is that spell in July and August where it hangs out above 100 and never seems to cool off—ack, melt.  Occasionally, we spend too much time in the sun, or the season changes so rapidly that we have problems adapting. You may experience a little ‘Summer Heat’ invasion.

Each of the 5 Seasons in Chinese medicine has a climatic nature.  Spring relates to Wind, Autumn to Dryness, Winter to Cold, Late Summer  (the transition of seasons) relates to Dampness, and Summer corresponds to Heat. These climates are simply part of the  nature of the season and Chinese medicine practitioners observe these climatic influences and their behaviors in the body as they can become a source of disease or disharmony.  For example, Wind can be involved in many forms of headaches, allergies and palsies.  Any of these climatic conditions can pop up in any season due to rapid weather changes, change in location, etc.  Heat is most likely to affect us during the Summer and the Summer organs are most vulnerable to Heat, and the 6th Pernicious Influence–Summer Heat.

 Summer Heat is an exterior pathogen

Exterior pathogens or the 6 Pernicious Influences or 6 Evils are hot, cold, wind, damp, dry and summer heat.  They are acute in nature and come on quickly. They invade our bodies either because the pathogen is excessively strong compared to normal Wei Qi (immunity), like in the cases of plagues,  or our Wei Qi is too […]

09:23 09:23

Drink More Coffee!

By | 2017-02-28T09:28:24+00:00 February 28th, 2017|Categories: Blogs, Herbs & Spices, Nutrition Articles|Tags: , , , , , |Comments Off on Drink More Coffee!

Guest blogger William Habblett

Harmony Landscape and Design, llc

Did you know coffee is good for us? Well, I don’t know about it being ingested; I’m a horticulturist, not a health practitioner, so I will leave that discussion up to you and your health care practitioner. When it comes to the garden and plant beds, coffee grounds can be you and your plant’s new best friend. Not to mention, that it is a great way to recycle coffee grounds if you are not set up for composting in your landscape.

A few years ago, I started listening to people using coffee grounds around their blueberries and other acid loving plants, and they were touting how great their plants were doing. Well, the scientific data doesn’t necessarily support the acidic action to the soil profile. It would most likely only be in the immediate area of the grounds themselves. However, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t some great benefits to laying out the coffee grounds.

Coffee grounds themselves are comprised of nitrogen rich proteins, lipids, fatty acids, and cellulose that are great for your plants and the soil environment that they are added to. Over time, beneficial fungi and bacteria break down the different compounds for plant availability and improve microorganism soil life. It also increases the availability of soil bound nutrients such as phosphorous, zinc and iron –alleviating a common problem in our alkaline soils.

It has also been […]