The Beauty of Stir Fry

Summer is the time of fresh produce, and we all love hitting up farmer’s markets and local stores for the freshest vegetables of the season. What’s one of our favorite things to make with all of these vegetables? Stir fry! Stir fry points of power:

1 – Simplicity –  Your grocery list, like the ingredients, is as raw and simple as it comes… just about any type of veggies, some lean meat (if you like), garlic, chicken/vegetable stock, oil and a good hot wok and you are set. The cooking is easy and the key is high heat, frequently tossing some garlic and a touch of oil in with each bunch of veggies and cooking the firmer veggies (e.g. cauliflower, carrots) a little longer. Popping the lid over the wok will cook and soften things a little quicker.

2 – Cleans you – If you are on cleanse, trying to eat healthier, carnivore to the end, vegetarian, gluten-free, dairy-free, anti-inflammatory, you name it…the basic stir fry can satisfy all the above diets. One of the cleanest and healthiest meals on the planet…go ahead and pick up an issue of your “Clean Eating” magazine or a copy of your cleanse diet and the stir fry is your go-to without sacrificing flavor or creativity.

3 – Cleans your fridge – Yes! The added bonus with cooking up a stir fry is it is the perfect way to clean out the fridge and use those aging  vegetables and that half-empty broth container. Basically empty the veggie drawer (with some minor prepping) into that stir fry. The stir fry is not picky about what you put in it, it welcomes all veggies with open handles.


How Stress Affects Your Liver

In Chinese medicine, each of our organs has a physical and energetic function that define their role in keeping the body in balance. They all work together in harmony, and when one organ becomes out of balance, each of the other organs have to work harder to compensate for that. If this imbalance continues for too long, chronic issues can develop.

The Liver organ is responsible for the smooth movement of qi in the body. Qi is defined as the “energy” or “life force” within us, and by nature, wants to flow unobstructed through meridians in the body. The Liver is also the organ that is first affected by stress in our lives. During high times of stress or overwork, our Liver qi becomes stagnant.

Signs of Liver qi stagnation include muscle tightness and tension, irritability, and PMS symptoms in women. It can also create excess heat in the body, which can manifest as high blood pressure, red face, and headaches.

How do we soothe our Livers and prevent qi stagnation? There are many things we can do. Acupuncture is a wonderful way to move Liver qi and address the root cause of the problem, stress. Exercise, deep breathing, getting adequate rest and sleep, and practicing meditation are all good techniques to help soothe the Liver. Letting go of mistakes made in the past, working through feelings of guilt and fear, and avoiding obsessing about events that might occur in the future are also ways to help keep the flow of qi moving and fluid, rather than stuck and stagnant.

Tip: Liver 3 is a great acupressure point to help move Liver qi. It is on the top of the foot, between the big toe and the second toe. Move about an inch up from the crease between these two toes, and feel for the most tender spot, using firm pressure to massage the point. Your Liver will thank you!

How Herbal Formulas Make You Better, Faster

People know a lot about acupuncture, and after their first appointment, they can’t wait to come back. They learn how non-invasive and effective it is, and they love the way they feel when they walk out after a treatment. Acupuncture is familiar in Portland. But what about Chinese herbs?

We often hear patients say “I don’t really like to take anything” when it comes to their health. We get that. There are so many products out there, so many supplements and prescription medications. It’s hard to know what is right and what’s safe for you. But the truth is, sometimes the body needs a little more help. We are hard on our bodies, and people can develop various deficiencies as a result. To correct a deficiency, you need to give the body what it needs, address things from an internal perspective. This is where Chinese herbs and supplements come in. They can help speed up your healing process and push you past a plateau you might have reached in your recovery.

We are all familiar with taking a prescription medication. We are accustomed to taking a tiny pill once or  twice a day, and waiting for symptoms to subside without thinking too much about it. Chinese herbal formulas are a little different. We take them more often, they are primarily plant-based, and they sometimes smell and taste funny. They also come in various forms:

Capsules or tablets (referred to as patents or teapills) are most commonly taken at our clinic. They are easy to take, easy to pack with you to work or school, and don’t have much taste.
Granules are the powder form of formula. They are mixed with hot water and patients drink them as a tea.
Bulk herbal formulas are a mixture of whole herbs, decocted in hot water and also drunk as a tea.

Most of us don’t like taking pills. And although taking an herbal formula might seem like a lot of work in the moment, the long-term gains are huge. Back to our beloved analogy….you change the oil in your car, why wouldn’t you want to do maintenance on your body to keep it in top form? A few more reasons why herbal formulas are so awesome:

– The formulas are balanced, so there are little to no side effects
– They are natural, often plant-based, and not synthetically engineered, so our bodies process them like a food!
– They correct the ROOT of the problem so it goes away, not just treat the SYMPTOMS
– By correcting the root of the problem, you avoid taking pills the rest of your life!

In Chinese medicine, we are always striving to treat the root of the problem and restore balance to the body. Think of acupuncture as primarily treating the acute and the excess conditions. Chinese herbs and supplements treat the chronic and deficient conditions. Both methods aim to create more balance in your body, and make for a very powerful approach to healing!

Vitamin D for your health and happiness

It is amazing how many people are affected by the Northwest weather. One great tool to help maintain your outlook on these rainy days, is vitamin D. Vitamin D helps to regulate the brain’s neurotransmitters, like serotonin, melatonin and dopamine, which in turn improves your mood. Other benefits of a healthy vitamin D regimen include prevention of osteoporosis, improved immune system and prevention of allergies. There are some other compelling research findings that link low vitamin D levels to an increased risk of heart attack in men as well as high blood pressure.

Our amazing bodies naturally produce vitamin D when we are exposed to sunshine. It can also come from foods such as fish, fish liver oils, and egg yolks, as well as from fortified dairy and grain products.

How much should you take? The Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) recommended daily intake of vitamin D is 600 IU for people ages 1 to 70, and 800 IU after age 70. However evidence suggests the optimal intake is higher between 800–1,000 IU for adults.

Get your Vitamin D!