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This is a recipe I make often, sometimes as a stew and sometimes as a soup. I hope you like it!
Healthy lentil stew
1 cup of red lentils, picked and rinsed.
1/4 of chopped onion
1 teaspoon of cumin
1 teaspoon of chili pepper powder
1 teaspoon of freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon of olive or grapeseed oil
1/2 pound of fresh spinach
1/2 pound of firm tofu, cubed.
1 cup of tomato paste (or fresh tomatoes, blended)
3 cups of vegetal broth or water
Sauté onion and garlic in oil at medium heat, then add cumin and chili powder, stir in tomato paste, and cook a few minutes. Add broth, water, red lentils, and diced carrot, and simmer for 30 minutes. Add diced tofu and salt to taste, adjust the liquid. (e.g. more water to get a more soupy, less water for a stew type of meal) Add about a half pound of spinach at the very end.
Squeeze a few drops of lemon juice to taste.
Recipe modified from cooking.nytimes.com
Traditional Chinese Medicine is a medical system that is thousands of years old and incorporates many different modalities. TCM theory emphasizes that Mother Nature provides the right kind of food for the right kind of environment. For instance, if the weather is cold, then warming, nutrient-dense foods are best for the body. Likewise, when summer rolls around, it is best to partake of cooling foods and foods that are abundant during this season.
Summer is a time of great abundance. Or as the Chinese refer to it, the time of utmost yang. The days are longer and warmer. And everything and everybody seems to be more active. The warmth of the summer sun encourages growth and maturation. In TCM, summer relates to the element of fire and the heart and small intestine energetic pathways or meridians. Because summer is a time of growth, many fruits and vegetables become abundant during the season. And because the season tends to be the warmest, it is important to stay cool and hydrated.
The body is thought to contain a substance the Chinese call Qi (pronounced “chee”). This Qi is frequently translated into the term energy in English. When a person’s Qi is low, then a deficiency develops. Conversely, when there is an excess of Qi, problems may arise indicative of this. Sweat is the fluid of the heart. When a person sweats excessively, the Qi of the heart becomes scattered and weak. This can weaken the mind and cause symptoms like depression, restlessness, insomnia and irritability. But this can be countered by eating foods salty and sour in nature. This includes foods such as miso, pickles, lemons, limes and sour plums.
The summer months are generally hot and therefore the body needs to be kept cool. This is the perfect time to eat more raw foods that clear heat. But as with anything, don’t overdo it. Too much cold or raw foods can wreak havoc on the digestive tract causing spasms, tightness and contractions. This will make the body work harder to warm the food being eaten, which can then deplete the Qi of the spleen and stomach meridians. Therefore cooked foods and even soups are still recommended during the warm summer months. They are usually made with seasonally-available foods or eaten at room temperature to avoid any digestive conflict.
It is best to avoid heavy, greasy and fried foods during the summer months, as they can clog up the digestive system. They can also create excess phlegm in the lungs leading to respiratory problems. And when cooking during the season of summer, it is best to create meals quickly and simply by grilling or stir frying.
Examples of foods beneficial for the summer months include peppers, eggplant, cabbage, kale, broccoli, spinach, melons of all kinds, beets, berries, pineapple, cucumbers, grapefruit and mushrooms. If you need more help understanding or designing a proper seasonal-eating plan, contact your local acupuncturist or TCM practitioner. They will definitely be able to help you identify what plan works best for you.
Below is a organized PDF grocery list to help make shopping easier!
Everybody knows you should see your family physician at least once a year and your dentist at least twice a year. But not everybody knows about acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine and the many benefits it can provide for you. If you start incorporating acupuncture into your health and wellness regime, you may not have to rely on the family physician so much for those minor little issues. Let’s look at how getting regular acupuncture treatments can help you stay happy and healthy. continue reading
In a study conducted by researchers from the Physical Education Institute at Zhengzhou University, Traditional Chinese Medicine was investigated to see how it affected athletes suffering from motor impairment due to injury. Participants in the study suffered from limited range of motion in a number of joints, including the neck, upper and lower limbs. The researchers administered acupuncture and herbs, alone or in combination, to their different groups. The participants reported increased range of motion and decreased soreness after receiving treatment. Those who received herbs and acupuncture reported greater healing and relief, with a total effectiveness rate of 84.4 percent overall. This study shows the combination of acupuncture and herbs is highly effective for the treatment of physical mobility impairment caused by participating in sports.
Sports injuries occur frequently from participating in organized sports, competitions or even backyard games. These injuries can range from minor to severe and they can occur for a multitude of reasons.
Sports injuries are typically categorized as acute or chronic. An acute sports injury is usually one that involves a single blow or application of force, like being tackled. Chronic sports injuries occur when an area is overused or abused for long periods of time. This can happen with sports like tennis, weight lifting, running, etc. Sprains and strains around joints tend to be the most common types of sports related injuries.
Most people who suffer from sports related injuries implement the use of R.I.C.E. (rest, ice, compression, elevation) almost immediately after the injury occurs. And while all of these may be necessary in the beginning, using ice long-term is actually detrimental to the tissue because it impedes blood flow. This is where acupuncture can be very beneficial for treating sports injuries.
Many athletes, professional and amateur, are now utilizing acupuncture and some of the other modalities associated with Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) to help them heal more quickly. Acupuncture has a very successful history of treating sports related injuries and many professional teams now have licensed acupuncturists on staff. Using acupuncture to treat injuries has been around for centuries. It began with martial arts and it is still one of the primary means of healing used.
Acupuncture can help reduce swelling, decrease pain, decrease inflammation and increase blood flow to the injured area. Recent studies, like the one above, show that acupuncture is very effective at treating sprains, strains, aches, pains, swollen muscles and even shin splints. And as an added bonus, regular acupuncture treatments can improve performance and give athletes a competitive edge.
Acupuncture of sports related knee and wrist strains
Photos taken by Integral Alternative Medicine