Thursday, August 9, 2012

Summer Salsa!

I love to cook but when summer rolls around I prefer to spend more time outdoors and less in the kitchen. This season’s recipe will free you from the stove without sacrificing nutrition.
In Chinese Medicine, we discourage the the consumption of too many raw foods as they can pose digestive problems for some people.  In the summer however, our systems can better handle the digestive requirements of some raw vegetables including the tomato which relieves dryness and thirst, builds yin fluids, purifies the blood and detoxifies the body in general.
What makes this condiment recipe all that much more special is the fact that one of my patients shared it with me. Thank- you Karine!


Summer Salsa
6 ripe, Italian tomatoes, diced or pulsed in the food processor for a few seconds.
1 can of pitted, black olives, chopped
3 strands of garlic flowers or 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped. (Garlic flowers are pictured on the right.)
1 -2 tbs small capers

Add the following herbs to taste: Coriander, basil, thyme
Juice of ½ lime and or lemon

(In case you have never heard of garlic flowers here's what they look like; pictured right.)


Toss all ingredients together in a medium sized bowl and serve with wheat-free crackers or as an accompaniment to whitefish!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Les 5 Questions les Plus Demandées Concernant l'Acupuncture


Au fait l’acupuncture est en plein essor, car de plus en plus de gens y ont recourt.  À mon avis il existe tout de même un manque d’information concernant cette pratique. Voici donc les 5 questions les plus demandées :

1. Est-ce que ce sera douloureux ?

Les gens les plus sensibles et particulièrement ceux qui craignent des aiguilles sont étonnamment surpris, ils se rendent compte à quel point les traitements d’acupuncture sont sans douleur.  Les aiguilles que nous utilisons sont aussi fines qu’un seul cheveu. Donc ces aiguilles permettent une insertion facile et sans douleur.  Il serait possible et normal que vous ayez l’impression de ressentir une légère piqûre.  Toutefois la majorité des gens disent ne rien sentir du tout.  Plusieurs patients trouvent les traitements tellement relaxant qu’ils s’endorment lors d’une séance.

 2. Vos aiguilles sont-elles stérilisées ?

Toutes les aiguilles sont pré-stérilisées et nous ne les utilisons qu’une seule fois.  Ces aiguilles sont jetables, donc nous en disposons dès qu’elles ont servies.

3. Est-ce que les traitements seront efficaces même si je n’y crois pas ?

Y croire n’a rien à voir avec l’efficacité des traitements. Plusieurs études ont démontrées que les enfants obtiennent souvent d’excellents résultats.  Certains animaux qui reçoivent des traitements d’acupuncture par des vétérinaires  n’ont aucune opinion concernant ce genre de traitement et les résultats sont considérables.

4. Combien de traitements aurais-je besoin ?

Tout dépend depuis combien de temps le problème persiste et aussi de l’état de santé du patient.  Ce ne sont que deux des facteurs qui pourraient déterminer le nombre de traitements.  Habituellement une personne en santé nécessitera moins de traitements qu’une personne qui a de lourds antécédents ou une condition chronique.
5. Que peut-on traiter avec l’acupuncture ?
En acupuncture nous pouvons offrir  une grande variété de traitements, en voici quelques uns;   les allergies, l’arthrose, les bouffées de chaleur et autres symptômes relatifs à la ménopause, les maux de dos, les maux de tête, les problèmes de digestion, l’élimination, la fatigue et le rajeunissement facial sont aussi des traitements pour lesquels les gens me consultent.  N’oublions pas que le système immunitaire a souvent besoin d’un coup de pouce lors des changements de saisons.

Un petit déjeuner 'médicinal'!


Petit Déjeuner aux Céréales D’avoine

Voici une excellente façon de commencer votre journée; et ce en vous préparant un bon bol de céréales d’avoine. Ce plat vous fournira l’énergie nécessaire pour partir votre journée du bon pied. Il est important que les organes de votre système digestif préparent et assurent une digestion efficace pour les repas à venir et cette recette favorisera et optimisera celle-ci.  Je cuisine cette recette presque chaque semaine.

Je préfère utiliser de l’avoine biologie et particulièrement l’avoine concassée. L’avoine contribue à calmer votre système nerveux, à balancer votre glande thyroïde  et aussi à lubrifier vos intestins.

 INGRÉDIENTS
  • 1 tasse d’avoine concassée
  • 4 tasses d’eau
  •  Une poignée de fruits frais ou secs selon vos goûts
  • Morceaux de pommes ou de raisins, des canneberges séchées ou des petits fruits...

Vous pouvez ajouter quelques protéines comme des amandes, des pacanes ou autres noix de votre choix.

Combinez l’avoine et l’eau dans un poêlon et amenez à ébullition.  Fermez et retirez le poêlon de la cuisinière.  Optimiser ce plat en y ajoutant les ingrédients de votre choix et laissez le tout reposer de 45 - 50 minutes tout en le couvrant.

Vous pouvez saupoudrer de graines de lin moulues et ajouter une touche de sirop d’érable,  un peu de lait d’amande ou de lait de riz rendra le tout homogène.

Vous obtiendrez 4 portions

Bon appétit !

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Mise à Jour de Votre Info-Lettre Santé!

Je suis en train de mettre les touches finales sur mon info lettre du printemps.  Inscrivez-vous pour recevoir des conseils, des recettes simples et santé et des capsules mieux vivre pour vous aider à atteindre vos objectifs ! C'est gratuit!

Ce mois-ci, je réponds aux 5 questions les plus fréquement demandées concernant l'acupuncture. Inscrivez-vous ici pour connaître les réponses!

Medicinal Breakfast

The purpose of eating an easily-metabolized breakfast is to give you energy all morning and to kick start your digestive organs, ensuring efficient digestion of lunch and dinner.  I have been making this delicious and wholesome breakfast for years and it is recommended  to use this recipe for 4-5 times per week. 

This recipe calls for steel cut oats, not oat flakes, and I use the organic kind.  In Chinese Medicine, oats help calm the nervous system, balance the thyroid, and lubricate the intestines.


Breakfast Oats
Ingredients
  • 1 Cup of organic, steel cut oats
  • 4 Cups water
  • A handful of the following in any combination: diced apple or raisins, dried cranberries, etc   
  • For some protein, add nuts of your choice.

Combine oats and water in a medium sized saucepan and bring to a full boil.  Turn off the heat, and immediately remove saucepan from element.  Add choice of optional ingredients and allow to sit, covered, for 45-50 mins.  You may sprinkle ground flax seed just before serving, add almond or rice milk and, if desired, sweeten with a bit of maple or agave syrup.  Heavenly!

Makes 4 -6 servings

The 5 Top Questions People ask me about Acupuncture

Acupuncture is steadily gaining in popularity as a health treatment.  Still, there are certain misconceptions about this amazing health option! I am often asked some of the following questions.

1. Will it hurt?
Even the most needle shy of my patients are surprised at how painless acupuncture treatments can be. The needles we use areas fine as a strand of hair. This makes for easy, pain-free insertion.  It is normal to feel a faint pricking sensation but many first timers report not feeling the needle at all.   Many patients find acupuncture so relaxing they fall asleep during the treatment!


2. Do you use sterilized needles?
Yes we do. We only use pre-sterilized, single use, disposable needles.

3. Will it work even if I don’t believe it will?
Belief has nothing to do with the efficacy of acupuncture. Beneficial results have been demonstrated on both children and animals.

4. How many treatments will I need?
How long the problem has been in existence and the general health of the patient are just two of the several factors that determine the number of treatments.  For example, a very healthy person with an acute muscular problem will need less treatment than someone with a longstanding chronic condition.

5. How much will it cost me to treat this problem with acupuncture?
Of course, the price is the practitioner’s fee multiplied by number of treatments, but the question should be, ‘what will it cost me if I don’t treat this problem with acupuncture?’ Things to consider are the real cost of days missed from work, the cost for over the counter and prescription drugs-including the price paid for their possible side effects, and even the cost of unnecessary surgery, including complications and rehabilitation and more time from work to recuperate.
When we take into account the real cost of treating many illnesses through conventional means, we can see just how cost effective the acupuncture option really is!
______________________________________________________________

Friday, March 30, 2012

Is Your Bowel Irritable? If so, you have more options than ever...

 
IBS stands for Irritable Bowl Syndrome, a condition so common in Canada that we have one of the highest rates of IBS in the world. April being IBS awareness month, I'd like to point out that a lot can be done to manage and prevent its uncomfortable symptoms without resorting to medication.

The symptoms of IBS include:

Cramping pain in your lower abdomen
Bloating and gas
Diarrhea or constipation, or bouts of both
Relief of pain after bowel movements
Feeling of incomplete emptying after bowel movements
Mucus in your stool

People with IBS may also have associated upper abdominal symptoms such as nausea and heartburn.
A diagnosis is made through process of elimination to rule out other possible conditions. Tests may include stool sample testing, blood and urine tests, ultrasound and x-rays.

While certain foods have been shown to trigger symptoms for many people, the exact cause of IBS in unknown. There is, however, a clear connection between prolonged anxiety and the chronic manifestation of IBS symptoms.

What you can do if you have IBS

Although certain medications are sometimes prescribed to alleviate particular symptoms, know that there is a lot you can do to treat and prevent IBS without drugs.

Take control through your diet
The first is diet. Your health care provider should recommend an elimination diet, where foods that are suspected of causing an allergic reaction are eliminated, then gradually added back to see which ones trigger symptoms. The most common culprits are dairy products, wheat, corn, peanuts, citrus, soy, eggs, fish, and tomatoes.

Feel better with supplements and herbs
Probiotics, ground flaxseed and peppermint oil capsules have all been shown to provide relief of the various symptoms of IBS.  Consult a knowledgeable healthcare provider for details and dosage.

Why stress management is the key
Getting regular exercise, engaging in calming activities and seeking counseling can all help lower the effects of stress on your body. This is an important step as it has been shown that stress causes chemical changes in the lining of the colon that increase IBS symptoms. Research suggests that there are direct links between the brain and the gastrointestinal system, which would explain why flare-ups of IBS are sometimes triggered by emotional upsets or stress.
Also documented is the fact that when a person is under stress, the body diverts blood flow away from the digestive system resulting in indigestion, diarrhea, constipation, and/or painful colon spasms.

IBS, stress and acupuncture
IBS patients get very good results with acupuncture because it regulates the energy and blood flow of all of the organs in the body, including those related to digestion.  Acupuncture has also been proven to have a long lasting effect on stress. In these ways, it has been very beneficial to many of my own patients in their management of IBS.  I have seen symptoms such as abdominal pain and bloating, heartburn, diarrhea and constipation, all disappear when dietary changes are combined with acupuncture treatments.

If you would like more information on how acupuncture and diet can help with IBS, you can reach me at (819) 681-8228 or via my website at www.acupuncturemonttremblant.com.
Be well and thrive!

Update on the latest newsletter

Hi!  I'm just putting the finishing touches on the April edition of my seasonal newsletter.  Here's a sneak preview of what you'll find inside.
  • The Answers to the top 5 Questions people ask me about Acupuncture.
  • Getting clear about IBS, (irritable bowel syndrome).  April is IBS awareness month.
  • A new event to attend in Mont-Tremblant.
  • Another tasty, easy, healthy recipe!
  • If you'd like to receive it, sign up here!



Sunday, February 19, 2012

"Walking Makes You Beautiful"

On a glorious winter day like today, we in Mont-Tremblant have several options when it comes to getting active out of doors. Yup, we can do it all, skiing, snowshoeing, skating, even kite-boarding but on a day like this, my husband and I usually just grab our coats and boots and head out the door for an invigorating 5 km walk to the mountain in the early-spring sunshine.

Taking in Mt-Tremblant by foot.
When I was in my 20's someone once told me, "walking makes you beautiful". Although that was enough of a motivator for me to continue the practice into my advanced years, there are plenty of other factors that make walking the best exercise around.

Because it is a cardiovascular exercise, walking actually protects your heart.  It helps with depression, improves self esteem  and boosts the immune system.   It increases your muscle strength, flexibility, coordination and alleviates low back pain.

It is a natural movement that relaxes you, thus, lowering anxiety and hypertension.  Of course it can also help maintain a healthy body weight and it does wonders for bone density.

It costs nothing to perform, can be practiced almost anywhere and requires no equipment, memberships or fancy clothing.  Just getting outside for an hour of brisk walking practically guarantees me a sound night's sleep.

Walking may be something of a lost art,  awaiting rediscovery by those who, like myself, have done it all, and are still more interested in experiencing nature at the pace of a footfall rather than at the speed of a free-fall. 


Sunday, January 29, 2012

Inscrivez-vous à mon info-lettre,

 Inscrivez-vous à mon info-lettre, pour recevoir des conseils, des recettes simples et santé et des capsules mieux vivre pour vous aider à atteindre vos objectifs ! C'est gratuit!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Recette de la Saison- La Soupe aux Fêves Noires


Une bonne soupe aux fèves noires riches en protéines à savourer en plein hiver et qui saura rassasier les plus gourmands. 

En Médecine Chinoise, les fèves noires sont bénéfiques pour vos reins et aussi pour votre système reproducteur. Une petite quantité d’algues sera suffisante pour rehausser la saveur et aussi pour stimuler l’énergie de vos reins.

Tout d’abord vous devez faire tremper 1 tasse de fèves noires toute une nuit. Rincer, couvrir et ensuite faire cuire environ 30 minutes-vous obtiendrez environs 2 tasses de fèves. Vous pouvez aussi utiliser des fèves noires et des tomates en conserve ce qui vous fera épargner du temps.

2 gros oignons coupés grossièrement
1 tasse de champignons coupés grossièrement
2 gousses d’ail émincées
1 à 2 litres de bouillon de poulet ou de légumes
3/4 tasse de tomates en morceaux à l’étuvée
Un petit morceau d’algue séchée
Assaisonnez à votre goût en ajoutant sauce Worcestershire, sauce chili ou de la pâte de curry.

Faire revenir les oignons, l’ail et les champignons dans une huile de qualité. Passez au robot culinaire les légumes en ajoutant les fèves afin d’obtenir une purée. Remettre le tout dans votre chaudron, ajouter le bouillon,  l’algue séchée ainsi que les tomates. Laisse mijoter à feu doux environ 30 minutes. Cette soupe sera plus savoureuse si vous la réfrigérer toute une nuit avant de la déguster.

Bon Appétit !

Acupression Pour le Bas de Dos


Prendre soin de vos reins est important pendant la saison hivernale. Voici, une extrait de mon info-lettre d'hiver au sujet de l'art de l'automassage chinois, l'acupression. Pour recevoir mon info-lettre, inscrivez-vous ici, c'est facile et c'est gratuit!



Les reins gouvernent la région lombaire. Le méridien de la Vessie fait partie du réseau du Rein et en acupuncture, nous sélectionnons celui-ci pour traiter les maux de dos. Les techniques d’acupression sont basées sur les mêmes principes que celui de l’acupuncture. Ce qui implique ‘‘un auto-massage’’, plutôt que l’utilisation d’aiguilles.

Avant tout... Un peu de théorie !
Selon la Médecine Chinoise, nos problèmes de santé sont le résultat des blocages énergétiques. Cette énergie circule à travers notre corps par des réseaux que l’on nomme ‘‘les méridiens’’. Sur chaque méridien il y a des points d’énergie que nous pouvons stimuler afin d’en faciliter la circulation.

Lorsque vous pratiquerez l’acupression assurez-vous d’être détendu, que vos épaules soient relaxes et que votre respiration soit régulière.


Le 40ième point du méridien de la Vessie se nomme ‘’40 Vessie’’ . Ce point soulage les maux de dos aïgues, les entorses ainsi que les spasmes musculaires.

Afin de la localiser 40 Vessie (BL40), référez-vous à l’illustration ci –haut. Veuillez vous asseoir, en vous assurant que vos genoux ont un angle de 90 degrés et que vos pieds soient bien à plat au sol.

Si vous avez mal du côté droit vous devez commencer par stimuler ‘’le point’’ du côté opposé, donc du côté gauche. C’est une règle de base en acupression.
Vous devez masser ce point en un mouvement circulaire avec un ou deux doigts et ce pour quelques minutes, jusqu’à ce que vous ayez une sensation d’engourdissement. Balayez doucement du revers de la main l’endroit que vous venez de stimuler et répétez avec un ou deux doigts de l’autre côté.

5 Façons de Prendre Soin de Vos Reins cet Hiver

Si vous avez déjà éprouvé des maux soit avec vos os, vos dents, vos genoux, le bas de votre dos ou bien des problèmes urinaires, vous serez certainement intéressés d’apprendre que selon la Médecine Chinoise,  ces maux sont reliés à un déséquilibre au niveau des reins.  Le réseau rénal étant un centre d’énergie vital, pourrait facilement s’affaiblir ou être perturbé en ces temps plus froids généralement associés à nos saisons hivernales.
Pour plus d’informations, je vous invite à consulter la section entitulée 'The Kidney Network',  vous y trouverez plus de détails qui toutefois seront en anglais.

Voici donc quelques conseils afin de prévenir et d’éviter l’affaiblissement de vos reins.


  • Assurez-vous que le bas de votre dos soit bien protégé du froid et que vos pieds soient bien au sec et au chaud. Car si le froid et l’humidité s’infiltraient, ils pourraient occasionner de l’inconfort. Il faut aussi être conscient que se tenir debout durant une trop longue période, pourrait engendrer des difficultés et que le surmenage serait aussi un facteur non négligeable.

  • Consommer des aliments que vous cuisinerez à basse température et ce avec un minimum d’eau. Pour se faire vous pouvez utiliser un ‘’crock-pot’’ et ‘’une marguerite’’.

  • De bonnes soupes maison, des noix grillées et des grains entiers sont aussi d’excellents aliments à déguster par une froide journée d’hiver. Les aliments séchés, les algues, les fèves noires et les légumes verts tel que le chou, le rapini et le chou frisé aussi appelé kale, fortifieront votre système rénal durant la saison hivernale. Un peu de sel pourrait également être bénéfique mais assurez vous qu’il soit utilisé en petite quantité.

  • N’hésitez pas à communiquer avec moi afin d’obtenir une consultation pour des traitements d’acupuncture, afin de stimuler, équilibrer et fortifier vos reins.

Friday, January 20, 2012

The Kidney Network

Our Kidneys are the furnaces, the powerhouses of our body and their health is directly related to our longevity.   Caring for them is vital-especially now because they are most susceptible during the winter months.  If we understand how Kidney energy works, we can take steps to preserve it and enjoy a healthier, longer life.  Here's a short overview.

 
Imbalances of the Kidney system show up as all bone problems, problems with the teeth, knees, and low back, urinary infections, reproductive problems, poor growth and development and excessive fear and insecurity.

In Chinese medicine, each organ network represents a complete set of physiological and psychological functions rather than a specific physical structure.  The Kidney stores essence, or jing, which is life energy. This essence is what we inherit from our parents as well as what we acquire from our environment once we are born. 

By storing essence, the Kidney controls human growth, development and the reproductive system.  Because essence gives rise to bone marrow and spinal cord fluid, the Kidney’s health has a direct influence over the brain, influencing mental faculties, concentration and memory. This is the link between Kidney health and Alzheimer’s disease.   A stockpile of good Kidney essence is evident in someone with ample stamina, luxuriant hair, sexual potency, strong teeth, acute hearing and agility of mind.

The essences we are born with are considered finite and their decline marks the aging and degeneration process.  Though there is not much we can do about congenital essence, there is certainly a lot we can do to supplement the essences we gain from the quality of the air we breathe, the food we eat, our ability to handle stress and emotional strain, including our spiritual outlook and our lifestyle choices. 


The Kidneys are the main source of warmth and animation for all the other Organ networks.  At the same time, they also see to the moistening and regenerative requirements of the whole body. 
The warming and activating aspect of the Kidney network is damaged by overexposure to cold weather and by ingestion of iced or refrigerated foods. All medications, recreational drugs, food additives and pollution damage the moistening, regenerative capacities of the Kidneys.

Lack of sleep, excessive exercise and overwork will all deplete the Kidney’s storehouse of essence and contribute to acceleration the aging process.

According to the 5 Elements System, Kidney energy responds to the following set of vibrational correspondences.

KIDNEY ORGAN NETWORK ASSOCIATIONS

YANG ORGAN
BLADDER
ELEMENT
WATER (SNOW)
SEASON
WINTER
INFLUENTIAL WEATHER
COLD
COLOUR
BLACK, DARK BLUE
FLAVOUR
SALTY
ORIENTATION
NORTH
GRAIN
BEANS
BODILY ORIFICE
EARS
DYNAMIC ENERGY
WILLPOWER
ODOUR
PUTRID
SOUND
GROANING
EMOTION
FEAR


Note the other 4 Organs, (Liver, Heart, Spleen and Lungs) each have their own set of correspondences, ie element, season, colour, etc, not shown here.

This chart can be seen as a guide to healing through therapeutic use of food, flavour or colour, for example.  It can also be used as a guide for diagnosis of Kidney imbalances based on observation of certain odors, sounds and predominant emotions. The five elements system has extensive applications that offer a unique perspective on the correspondences of every facet of life.

For more suggestions on how to protect and enhance Kidney health, sign up for my newsletter by visiting my FB page!


Rosemary McDonough All rights reserved.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Acupressure for Acute Low Back Pain



Chinese medical culture is replete with home remedies and it has always been about prevention and self-healing. Acupressure techniques are based on the same principals as acupuncture but involve auto-massaging the points as opposed to needling them.  When properly done, acupressure has been shown to be quite effective in treating many imbalances.

In Chinese medicine, all pain and illness are understood to be the result of blockages in the energetic system of the human body. This system is mapped out in the form of energetic pathways or meridians that flow in different directions throughout the body. On each of these meridians are points where energy can accumulate and, when stimulated, can regulate the energetic flow. 

When performing acupressure on yourself or others, be sure you are as calm as possible, that your shoulders are relaxed and that your breathing is even.

Urinary Bladder 40

The bladder meridian is often used to reinforce the kidneys. Stimulation of the 40th point on the Urinary Bladder or UB 40, (Wei Zhong, meaning “bend middle”) is used for acute low back pain, sprain, muscle spasms, etc.

To find this point: Sit down with knees bent and feet flat on the floor.  UB 40  is at the midpoint of the transverse crease behind the knee.  This point is good if you have lower back pain, sore feet, plantar fasciitis and /or cramped calf muscles.

If you have pain on one side of the body, begin stimulating UB 40 on the opposite side. This is a general rule in acupressure.  Massage point in circular motions with one or two fingers for a few minutes until point feels almost numb. Then brush the area with your hands gently and repeat on the other side.

I was taught acupressure in 1999 by Dr Effie Chow, licensed acupuncturist and Qi Gong Grandmaster.  It is a worthwhile self-care practice and can also be used to help others.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

CELIAC DIS-EASE

Do you have any of the following symptoms? Abdominal pain and bloating, unexplained weight loss, diarrhea, excessive flatulence, nausea, vomiting? 

These are the symptoms of celiac disease also known as Sprue Celiac (celiac, derived from Greek to mean suffering of the bowels).  It is a medical condition in which the absorptive surface of the small intestine, the villi, is damaged by a substance called gluten. This results in an inability of the body to absorb nutrients: protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals which are necessary for good health.

It is estimated that 1 in 133 persons in Canada are affected by celiac disease. Many more are sufferers that remain undiagnosed or misdiagnosed because celiac factors may resemble those of other conditions such as stomach ulcers and irritable bowel syndrome.
Cross section of normal and damaged intestinal villi.

What is gluten?
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, triticale and, barley. It is the gluten in the flour that helps bread and other baked goods bind and prevents crumbling. This feature has made gluten widely used in the production of many processed and packaged foods.

Celiac disease, is usually diagnosed through blood testing. It seems there are varying degrees of gluten intolerance and because some results are negative or inconclusive, it looks like there is a growing need for more precise testing in this area.

According to the Canadian Celiac Association, when test results are unclear and the patient’s symptoms improve while not eating gluten, this is known as “non-celiac gluten sensitivity”

Whatever the diagnosis or degree of sensitivity, it may be interesting to note that acupuncture concerns itself mainly with the symptoms that each patient presents and treats accordingly.  Bloating, abdominal pain, gas and diarrhea are all symptoms of an imbalance in Spleen energy and each is very treatable with acupuncture. In the Chinese medicine model, the Spleen is responsible for the assimilation of all that we ingest. Because the functioning of the small intestine's villi are impaired by gluten, so is the body’s capacity to absorb and assimilate nutrients.

Acupuncture works to reduce or eliminate the intestinal inflammation, hereby reducing abdominal pain while strengthening the functioning energy of the Spleen, Stomach and entire digestive system.  We often see a return of vital energy and ability to gain weight when acupuncture is used as an adjunct to dietary alterations. Good results can also be had with acupuncture even when a gluten-free diet does not seem to help.

Remember, there are solutions to dealing with celiac dis-ease. Take the first step, start adjusting your diet using the celiac diet suggestions, and see your doctor to get tested.  Consider that acupuncture can provide immediate relief and is widely used as an excellent adjunct therapy to support and maintain good digestive health.

For more information please refer to  http://www.celiac.ca/ 
For a personal account about how my family has had to adjust to this condition, please read my blog entry here.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Our Gluten-Free Christmas!

 
This past holiday season was, for our family, gluten-free because my daughter, Leandra is gluten sensitive.  Although she has not had a firm diagnosis of celiac disease, she feels much better if she avoids different sources of gluten.
What is Celiac?
Celiac dis-ease is a medical condition in which the absorptive surface of the small intestine is damaged by a substance called gluten. This results in an inability of the body to absorb nutrients: protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals, which are necessary for good health.
It is estimated that 1 in 133 persons in Canada are affected by celiac disease. Many more are sufferers that remain undiagnosed.

What is gluten?
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, triticale and, barley. It is the gluten in the flour that helps bread and other baked goods bind and prevents crumbling. This feature has made gluten widely used in the production of many processed and packaged foods.

What are the symptoms of Celiac?
The symptoms of this allergy (for that is exactly what it is) include any of the following;
anemia, chronic diarrhea, weight loss, fatigue, cramps and bloating, and irritability.
The diagnosis is made on the basis of blood tests, though Leandra’s results were not conclusive, they did  indicate a gluten sensitivity.
Treatment
If you have celiac, you must follow a gluten free diet as this is the best way to both avoid experiencing the very uncomfortable and painful reactions and to protect your system from long term damage.  Although there is no cure for celiac dis-ease, acupuncture can be of great relief as it can reduce intestinal inflammation and strengthen the body’s immune system.The patients I treat for symptoms related to celiac benefit from a reduction or elimination in abdominal pain, bloating and fatigue.  They sleep better and feel calmer. Please read my blog here for an explanation of how acupuncturists understand and treat celiac.
Naturally, I advise patients who have not yet had a diagnosis to get tested and to eliminate gluten in all its forms.  
I had no idea just how tricky this task could be until my own home became a gluten free zone.

Although we were aware of Leandra’s condition last Christmas, I was honestly not prepared for the changes necessary in order to meet with her dietary requirements.  The devil is in the details as they say, and the turkey stuffing, gravy and desserts I made all contained gluten - even the apple berry crisp, and when Leandra came home for Christmas break that year, she was forced to pass on every single one of them.
That one meal made me realize that going gluten free involved a lot more than just holding back the bread!  I had a lot to learn. And learn I did.  This year, I was determined that things would be much, much different.
Resources That Saved Us
First, I armed myself with a book I now recommend to all my patients and friends. It is Paul Pitchford’s classic, “Healing With Whole Foods”.  This book has become my bible to better health using food as medicine.  His opening chapter explains for instance, why we should ALL be eliminating wheat, in the form it is currently available, from our diet - gluten sensitive or not!  His point is that wheat flour, in all its processed forms is devoid of most of the nutrients that is naturally found in the wheat bud. 

He also states that wheat is a common allergen but that practically NO ONE reacts to wheat sprouts. So sprouting is next on my list of new ways to prepare healthy food, and shall certainly be the subject of a blog in the near future.

Another indispensable resource has been www. westonaprice.org- a website devoted to healthy eating based on the research of the diets of traditional populations by Dr  Weston A Price.  This foundation encourages the use of fermented foods and suggests that sourdough bread may possibly be tolerated by most celiac sufferers - although they caution that the subject still needs further testing.

So I have begun concocting gluten free recipes from scratch. And rethinking even the most basic dinner menus and shopping lists.  I have to admit, I find grocery shopping much more of an adventure these days-a treasure hunt of sorts with prizes so rare and elusive that I actually rejoice upon finding them. Xantham powder, sorghum flour, almond flour - these once unheard of ingredients now form the basis of what I call 'alternative' baking.

Gluten free themed blogs are all the rage, it seems, and a blogger named Karina, has become my ‘go to’ source for amazing gluten and dairy free recipes. Yes, Leandra is lactose intolerant as well-another  condition common to gluten sensitive folks.  Karina turns out daily recipes here.  I think she makes a fantastic contribution. My first ever attempt at her flour-less chocolate cake turned out to be a hit!




This Christmas, our whole family enjoyed a totally gluten free dinner, complete with all the trimmings and unctuous desserts.  Leandra and I got to spend quality time together in the kitchen trying out new recipes.  It really was a lot of fun.

Here are a few tips I thought would be useful if you or someone you care for needs to go gluten-free:


  • Not all gluten free products are good for you! In fact, most commercially available products are laden with sugar and made with harmful trans fats.

  • Read labels and check for common gluten sources as wheat, spelt, rye, oats and barley, (including beer) and triticale.

  • Hidden sources of gluten are soup mixes, salad dressings, sauces, prepared meats, salad dressings, as well as lipstick, certain vitamins, medications, stamps and envelopes you have to lick, and even Play-Doh.)

  •  Going gluten free has become something of a weight-loss fad. Great care must be taken to regain certain nutrients that are lost in the absence of grains that contain gluten. Get informed and get educated.

Please use the above mentioned resources in your journey to better intestinal health.  Begin with a visit to www.celiac.com for a complete list of foods that contain gluten, as well as often surprising and hidden sources of gluten.  And read further on how acupuncture can help with Celiac and gluten sensitivity here.

    Friday, January 6, 2012

    What's YOUR definition of balance?

    A new patient left a wonderful message on my telephone yesterday.  She wanted to make an appointment she said, because this was the year she was finally going to get balanced with acupuncture!

    It got me to thinking how people are really coming to understand how important being in balance is to one’s good health- and how acupuncture is a great way to achieve that balance. 

    What does being in balance mean, though?  I think we all have our own parameters for that.  Mine are changing as I grow and explore and learn on physical, emotional and spiritual levels.

    What does being in balance mean for you?