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Summer Sostice

June 22, 2013

DSC_0381

Around this time June 20th to June 23rd our natural world experiences a cyclic energetic shift: the Sumner Solstice , a time to celebrate the joy, warmth and laughter of summer. I suggest you take a moment to feel the sun and you will experience the Yang, expansive energy of our brightest star. Allow yourself to connect with the guiding star within you: your Heart and you will find the Sun alive right at the center of your chest! Summer is a period of luxurious growth, expansion, lightness, outward activity and creativity.

The I Ching (Book of changes) teaches us that “the Heavenly energy descends and the Earthly energy rises. When these energies merge there is intercourse between Heaven and Earth. As a result plants mature and animals, flowers and fruit appear abundantly”. For us women, it represents ovulation, fertility and the full moon.  This 2013, we will be blessed with a big, full moon right at the peak of Yang (Summer Solstice).

Attuning our energy with the energy of the season Summer brings an abundant variety of foods and our diets should reflect this. Farmer markets are great places to find the vegetables and fruits that Mother Earth is birthing for the season.

On the hottest days, we need to practice mindfulness in terms of types and quantity of foods that we choose to consume. Paul Pitchford in his wonderful book “Healing with whole Foods” suggests that we “create a cool atmosphere (picnics, patio meals) and serve more cooling fresh foods such as salads, sprouts (especially mung, soy and alfalfa), fruit, cucumber, tofu and flower and leaf herbal teas such as mint, chrysanthemum and chamomile”. Common fruits which cool summer heat are apples, watermelon, lemons and limes. Mung bean soup or tea is another specific remedy.

You may also want to add some spices to your food. I know this sounds starnge, especially during summertime! Yet, think about the ways in which we can mirror nature. At first, the effect of hot-flavored spices is to increase warmth, but ultimately they bring heat out to the surface of your body to be dispersed. With heat on the surface, one’s body mirrors the summer climate and therefore will be less affected by it. However and like with everything else in life, we always need to exercise balance; if too many dispersing foods are taken, then weakness and loss of Yang will result, and the ability to stay warm and vital in the cooler season is lost.

Some of the spices recommended for the season are: fresh (not dried) ginger, cayenne red pepper, horseradish and black pepper. Foods that are best to avoid during this season are those that cause sluggishness and make us feel heavy. Such foods include meats, excess of nuts, seeds and grains.

Remember to drink plenty of water. You may also want to add some electrolytes to your water bottle so that we make sure that you keep your body well hydrated and your energy levels stable.

 

The Fire of the Heart

According to Chinese Medicine, this season corresponds to Fire which is the element of the Heart.  Elemental Fire  has the capacity to bring warmth to our bodies and Light to our minds.   We all know that when out balance, Fire’s expansive and unpredictable nature can also burn an entire forest!  

Emotionally speaking, the warmth of Fire creates a safe  environment for our Hearts to open to sincere communication and thrive in the intimacy of our connection with self and others.  On the other hand, raging Fire born out of chronic fear, anger and or unchecked desires of the mind, may hurt a serene, accepting and warm Heart.  

E-motions may be defined as Energy in Motion. Understanding the pathways that these energies trace in our physical and more ethereal planes is key to maintain Heart health.  Below is a list of “tools” that I find helpful and inspiring to root my energy in the Heart rather than in the Head!

 

Tips for a healthy summer

~  To be in harmony with the atmosphere of summer you may want to rise early in the morning.

Face the rising sun: if for some reason you cannot see the sun just face East and connect with its rising energy.

~Take a mindful breath: feel your how your chest and abdomen expand as you breathe in and slightly contract as you breathe out. You don’t need to force the air in or out, just breath normally and above all joyfully.

~Feel your feet:  Bring your awareness to the ball of of your feet and feel “roots” growing out of that area. In Chinese medicine we call that area “Bubbling Spring”. Feel the Earth supporting you whether you are standing on actual soil, in the car, inside your apartment or in the street. Take a few moments to appreciate the miracle of your breath and the solid, nurturing motherly energy of the Earth.  

If you have a chance, stand barefoot on the grass (provided it is not too chilly or too wet). You can also do this simple exercise of “feeling your feet” before starting the car or as you are waiting for the bus.

~Invite the Sun in: now that you are rooted on Earth, invite the Sun to visit the shrine of your Heart by breathing in through your nose and breathing out through your mouth. Feel the healing energy of this bright star flooding your lungs with millions of vibrating particles and activating your body as it runs through your veins, your organs, your bones, your flesh…Allow for the Heavenly energy of the Sun to bring inspiration and strength to your Body, Mind and Spirit.

If you would like to recite an invocation as you face the sun, you may want to explore this  “Harmonization with the Sun” prayer by Spiritual Teacher Hua-Ching Ni. It is short and very inspiring.

~Brush your skin! Yes! create your own inexpensive spa at home. Skin brushing will enhance circulation and stimulate a healthy  immune system. You will only need a loofah and enjoy these revitalizing and simple skin-dry-brushing tips.

~ Enjoy some outdoors life! Early morning and late afternoon Sun can be quite enjoyable!  Swimming, cycling, walking are excellent ways to get our summer CHI healthy and moving! Remember to take electrolytes with you since dehydration is one of the main causes for ER visits!

~ Meditation

I find sitting and walking meditation to be very helpful tools to focus my awareness towards those things that nourish my Heart versus those that deplete my energy. Kindness, gentleness and the exquisite power of the shinny Sun will assist us in transforming that which causes our hearts to overreact into fertile soil for the fruit of our own destiny to ripen to its fullest potential!

The Best of Tips: follow your intuition. Our ancestors will speak through our genes and will let us know what is the most appropriate way to live a joyful and healthy Summer!!!

For a joyful and balanced Heart!

Yamin Chehin, L.Ac, D.OM.

References Paul Pitchford: Healing with Whole Foods.Asian Traditions and Modern nutrition. Third edition Dr Maoshing Ni: The Yellow Emperor’s classic of Chinese Medicine. A new translation of the Neijing Suwen.

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Gifts of the Spring Season

March 19, 2013

Vernal Equinox and the Five Elements

On March 20th, and throughout this entire week for that matter, mother Earth will be going through her cyclical metabolic process or climatic shift called Equinox. The Vernal Equinox is the transition from Winter to Spring, or in the words of 5 elements theory, from Water to Wood.  As children of Mother Earth, our Body, Mind and Spirit also go through a metabolic shift as we adjust to the energies of the season.
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When ancient Chinese physicians spoke of the Five elements, they not only referred to the elements as found in Nature: wood, fire, earth, metal and water but also to Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water as the symbolic expression of how life moves and manifests on our planet and in our bodies and psyches.

Winter time is a propitious season to dwell and look deeply into our fears and habitual patterns.  It’s during that time that some of us hold tight to the aspiration to transform that energy into Wisdom, the virtue of Water, in the knowing that the manifesting power of the Spring would follow.

According to some scholars and practitioners of the Chinese meridian system like Loony S Jarret, the first acupuncture point of the Wood channel located very close to the Earth, around the area of the big toe, is called “Great Esteem”.  It refers to “self-esteem as the ability to stand up for the vision that emerges from the depths of the self”.  Remember that during the Winter season the seeds are nourished and protected by Mother Earth until it’s the right time, Spring, for them to manifest their potential into the world. 

Wisely, the Chinese chose to give the name of “Gate of Hope” to the last point of the wood meridian located on the rib cage under the diaphragm. The Gate of Hope empowers the quality of aspiration.  You can picture yourself growing out of your safe shell or seed of potential and joyfully stretching out towards your Heart, your inner sun.

Sometimes the transition from Winter to Spring may feel a little uncomfortable for some of us since the force of wood will push us to acknowledge and get in touch with areas or aspects of ourselves carefully swept under the rug during the dormant season of Winter. This may translate into a feeling of urgency to finish or start that one project already overcooking in the cauldron of our dreams.  Luckily, the Equinox is also a very propitious time to exercise equanimity, compassion and kindness to ourselves and the world around us!

It is also a time in which anger may come out a little bit easier than at other times; that is why the ancient advise us to arise early and go walking (or in modern times, we may go jogging, cycling, rowing…) in order to absorb the fresh, invigorating energy of the season so as to be able to course and transform the powerful energy of anger into discernment and understanding. Expressing ourselves both physically and emotionally is also a healthy way to course the Yang energy of a new sprout.

Spring Foods

The Spring is a propitious  time to attend to the Liver and Gall Bladder. Good time to cleanse the body of the fats and heavier foods of the Winter.
Some of us will undergo some form of “flu” that will invite us to make a pause and allow the junk to come out in the form of phlegm, loose stools and a bit of more sweating.

You may choose to to go on a Cleanse (either a lengthy 21 days one or a more moderate one-day cleanse), if you feel that your liver is somewhat burdened after the wintery heavy foods.  You can also use the following herbs to cleanse and tonify your wood element:

Dandelion is an overall liver cleanser and tonic. Particularly effective for PMS (pre menstrual syndrome), mood swings, bloating and breast tenderness

Peppermint is a mood-elevating, invigorating herb that can aid digestion, bloating and poor appetite.

Milk Thistle is the premier herb for anyone who has been exposed to toxic chemicals and should be taken for at least two months after exposure. In addition, for those who work with chemicals or are routinely exposed to pollution, milk thistle can be taken on a regular basis with a one week break every six weeks

The diet should be the lightest of the year and contain foods that emphasize the ascending and expansive qualities of the spring like:

~ Young plants
~ Fresh Greens
~ Sprouts
~ And immature wheat or other cereal grasses.

Of course, always listen to your own needs, especially in cases in which you may have certain food allergies!

Salty foods such as soy sauce, miso and sodium rich meats all have a strong component of sinking energy and it’s best to limit during this season. Instead, you can use pungent cooking herbs such as:

~ Basil
~ Fennel
~ Marjoram,
~ Rosemary
~ Bay leaf

Certain intensely pungent flavors are employed in the spring by Western folk healers as medicine: a week long daily dose of raw onions and garlic acts as a potion to rid the body of parasites (no romantic dates that week!).

Food preparation

Food preparation becomes simpler in the spring. Cook your food for a shorter time but at a higher temperature, in this way the food is not as thoroughly cooked, especially the inner part. If oil is used, a quick high-temperature sauté is appropriate. When cooking with water, light steaming or minimal simmering is ideal.

Treat yourself with a soothing and delicious tea!

Since coffee is not the most appropriate beverage for this time of the year, I suggest that you treat yourself with this “Liver calming” tea. It’s very simple to make; just gather the following ingredients and make an infusion.

* Mint leaves (fresh when possible)
* Goji berries (look for the ones that are red and not orange since the latter are treated with sulfur), and
* Rose buds

If you want, you may also add a few drops of fresh lemon to your tea. I truly enjoy this combination of herbs especially during Spring time!

In summary

According to Chinese Medicine, this is the most appropriate time of the year to reorganize our internal space by cleansing and nourishing our bodies and mind. This invitation will create a “pause” in our habit-energy which will allow us to shed new light into old assumptions about ourselves and others.

Through the “Gate of Hope”, the energy of this season as manifested by the Wood element presents us with the opportunity to discern our path, to stay clear on our direction, to move forward toward manifesting our dreams and to take a stand for what we believe is wholesome and  in accordance to our Destiny.

This is certainly a time for birth and renewal; may you enjoy every bit of it!

To our Health!

Yamin Chehin L.Ac, Dipl O.M


References

“Nourishing Destiny” Lonny S Jarret
“Love of Mother Universe” Hua-Ching Ni.
“Five Spirits” Lorie Eve Dechar.
“Healing with Whole foods. Oriental traditions and modern nutrition”, Paul Pitchford

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Vulvodynia

July 10, 2012

The term vulvodynia means pain or discomfort at the entranceway to the vagina.
The vulva is the external genitalia in women. The skin of the vulva can be quite sensitive. Because it is moist and frequently subjected to friction while sitting and moving, this area can be easily irritated.

Characteristics of Vulvodynia may vary from one woman to the next, what is very certain is that there is usually pain and possible burning of the vulva. The level of pain can change from mild to severe.

What causes vulvodynia?

Western medicine is still uncertain as to the cause of vulvodynia. One theory is that vulvodynia can be caused by oxalates.

Oxalate is an organic chemical that is found in many foods, especially those of plant origin. It is also a by-product of some metabolic processes in the body.
Oxalates (in the blood in the form of free oxalic acid) are ordinarily filtered by the kidneys into the urine, and eliminated from the body. If the kidneys do not filter fast enough, oxalates can form crystals that develop into painful kidney stones.
If the concentration of oxalates in the urine is too high, microscopic crystals can form in the bladder. Some cases of vulvodynia have been linked to microscopic oxalate crystals that irritate the nerves in the urethra.

Which foods are high in Oxalate?

The most problematic foods are nuts; citrus fruits; wheat products; tea; cocoa products; spices such as ginger, pepper, and cinnamon; soy and peanut products; and tomatoes. For a complete and detailed list on foods that are low, moderate or high in oxalates, please follow this link.

How can Chinese Medicine help?

From the Eastern point of view, the root cause behind this condition may vary from one woman to the next, so differential diagnosis is essential for each woman. Two women with the same diagnosis may have completely different dis-harmonies, so treatment is very unique to the patient’s personal body care.
Once we come up with a diagnosis we will recommend a series of acupuncture treatments and more than likely a course of herbal remedies to help your body come back to a healthy balance.

Do I have to live with this pain forever?

Definitely not!!! Here are some tips and resources:

* Take “moon baths” and allow the Yin energy of the moon to nourish your whole body!

* Explore Acupuncture and Herbal formulas to restore balance.

* Follow a low oxalate diet for at least one month. Click here for low oxalate foods recipes!.
Would you like to search for specific foods on a pdf chart?. Please, click here

* Explore with Calcium Citrate supplements, which work by increasing the solubility of oxalates in the urine. This article may help you asses whether this approach is the right one for you.

* Follow these Self- Care practices recommendations which may help you reduce pain and inflammation.

* ALWAYS follow your own inner guidance to make the healthiest choices for your Body and Soul!

I wish you an inspiring and powerful journey!

Yamin


References:
- The Vulvar Pain Foundation
- Vulvodynia, Oxalates, and Diet by J. Byron for med-owl.com
- The low Oxalate Diet. University of Pittsburgh Medical Center
- Seek Wellness.
- The home of the Oxalate Diet: http://www.lowoxalate.info/

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Summer Solstice

June 21, 2012

DSC_0381 Around this time June 20th to June 23rd our natural world experiences a cyclic energetic shift: the Sumner Solstice , a time to celebrate the joy, warmth and laughter of summer. Take a moment to feel the sun and you will experience the Yang, expansive energy of our brightest star. Allow yourself to connect with the guiding star within you: your Heart and you will find the Sun alive right at the center of your chest! Summer is a period of luxurious growth, expansion, lightness, outward activity and creativity. The I Ching (Book of changes) teaches us that “the Heavenly energy descends and the Earthly energy rises. When these energies merge there is intercourse between Heaven and Earth. As a result plants mature and animals, flowers and fruit appear abundantly”. For us women, it represents ovulation, fertility and the full moon.  This 2013, we will be blessed with a big, full moon right at the peak of Yang (Summer Solstice). Attuning our energy with the energy of the season Summer brings an abundant variety of foods and our diets should reflect this. Farmer markets are great places to find the vegetables and fruits that Mother Earth is birthing for the season. On the hottest days, we need to practice mindfulness in terms of types and quantity of foods that we choose to consume. Paul Pitchford in his wonderful book “Healing with whole Foods” suggests that we “create a cool atmosphere (picnics, patio meals) and serve more cooling fresh foods such as salads, sprouts (especially mung, soy and alfalfa), fruit, cucumber, tofu and flower and leaf herbal teas such as mint, chrysanthemum and chamomile”. Common fruits which cool summer heat are apples, watermelon, lemons and limes. Mung bean soup or tea is another specific remedy. You may also want to add some spices to your food. I know this sounds weird, especially during summertime! Yet, think about the ways in which we can mirror nature. At first, the effect of hot-flavored spices is to increase warmth, but ultimately they bring heat out to the surface of your body to be dispersed. With heat on the surface, one’s body mirrors the summer climate and therefore will be less affected by it. However and like with everything else in life, we always need to exercise balance; if too many dispersing foods are taken, then weakness and loss of Yang will result, and the ability to stay warm and vital in the cooler season is lost. Some of the spices recommended for the season are: fresh (not dried) ginger, cayenne red pepper, horseradish and black pepper. Foods that are best to avoid during this season are those that cause sluggishness and make us feel heavy. Such foods include meats, excess of nuts, seeds and grains. Remember to drink plenty of water. You may also want to add some electrolytes to your water bottle so that we make sure that you keep your body well hydrated and your energy levels stable. The Fire of the Heart According to Chinese Medicine, this season corresponds to Fire which is the element of the Heart.  Elemental Fire  has the capacity to bring warmth to our bodies and Light to our minds.   We all know that when out balance, Fire’s expansive and unpredictable nature can also burn an entire forest!   Emotionally speaking, the warmth of Fire creates a safe  environment for our Hearts to open to sincere communication and thrive in the intimacy of our connection with self and others.  On the other hand, raging Fire born out of chronic fear, anger and or unchecked desires of the mind, may hurt a serene, accepting and warm Heart.   E-motions may be defined as Energy in Motion. Understanding the pathways that these energies trace in our physical and more ethereal planes is key to maintain Heart health.  Below is a list of “tools” that I find helpful and inspiring to root my energy in the Heart rather than in the Head! Tips for a healthy summer ~  To be in harmony with the atmosphere of summer you may want to rise early in the morning.Face the rising sun: if for some reason you cannot see the sun just face East and connect with its rising energy. ~Take a mindful breath: feel your how your chest and abdomen expand as you breathe in and slightly contract as you breathe out. You don’t need to force the air in or out, just breath normally and above all joyfully. ~Feel your feet:  Bring your awareness to the ball of of your feet and feel “roots” growing out of that area. In Chinese medicine we call that area “Bubbling Spring”. Feel the Earth supporting you whether you are standing on actual soil, in the car, inside your apartment or in the street. Take a few moments to appreciate the miracle of your breath and the solid, nurturing motherly energy of the Earth.  if you have a chance, stand barefoot on the grass (provided it is not too chilly or too wet). You can also do this simple exercise of “feeling your feet” before starting the car or as you are waiting for the bus. ~Invite the Sun in: now that you are rooted on Earth, invite the Sun to visit the shrine of your Heart by breathing in through your nose and breathing out through your mouth. Feel the healing energy of this bright star flooding your lungs with millions of vibrating particles and activating your body as it runs through your veins, your organs, your bones, your flesh…Allow for the Heavenly energy of the Sun to bring inspiration and strength to your Body, Mind and Spirit. If you would like to recite an invocation as you face the sun, you may want to explore this  “Harmonization with the Sun” prayer by Spiritual Teacher Hua-Ching Ni. It is short and very inspiring. ~Brush your skin! Yes! create your own inexpensive spa at home. Skin brushing will enhance circulation and stimulate a healthy  immune system. You will only need a loofah and enjoy these revitalizing and simple skin-dry-brushing tips. ~ Enjoy some outdoors life! Early morning and late afternoon Sun can be quite enjoyable!  Swimming, cycling, walking are excellent ways to get our summer CHI healthy and moving! Remember to take electrolytes with you since dehydration is one of the main causes for ER visits! ~ Meditation I find sitting and walking meditation to be very helpful tools to focus my awareness towards those things that nourish my Heart versus those that deplete my energy. Kindness, gentleness and the exquisite power of the shinny Sun will assist us in transforming that which causes our hearts to overreact into fertile soil for the fruit of our own destiny to ripen to its fullest potential! The Best of Tips: follow your intuition. Our ancestors will speak through our genes and will let us know what is the most appropriate way to live a joyful and healthy Summer!!!

For a joyful and balanced Heart!

Yamin Chehin, L.Ac, D.OM.

References Paul Pitchford: Healing with Whole Foods.Asian Traditions and Modern nutrition. Third edition Dr Maoshing Ni: The Yellow Emperor’s classic of Chinese Medicine. A new translation of the Neijing Suwen.

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Healthy Nutrition to prevent and reduce incidence of Uterine Fibroids

March 29, 2012

Uterine fibroids, like breast fibro cysts, may be a product of estrogen dominance (too much estrogen). Estrogens are made within our bodies and outside our bodies.
Within our bodies, estrogen is manufactured mostly in the ovaries and by the placenta, when a woman is pregnant. The liver, breasts and adrenal glands also contribute to estrogen production, although in smaller quantities.

Multiple dietary and nutritional factors have the ability to influence estrogen synthesis, as well as estrogen metabolism.”Incorporating dietary changes with the use of select nutritional supplements can have profound effects in beneficially influencing estrogen balance and thus preventing estrogen-related”.

Our first step is to Detoxify our bodies, or better yet, give a brake and a hand to our Liver for it to be able to perform the Detox job it was assigned the moment we were born into this world!

1-Day-Detox:
You may want to follow this for at least one solid week:

_ ½ a squeezed lemon with a pinch of cayenne pepper in a cup of warm water. Take upon waking, first thing in the morning

_ Vegetable Juice: 24 oz. Make the juice from cabbage, cucumber, carrot/greens, celery, turnip, asparagus, beet/greens, parsley, apple, aloe vera, ½ ginger root. (Split up into 3 portions and drink thorough the day).

_ Vegetable Broth: 24oz. You can make the broth from as many of the following items:
collards, Swiss chard, kale, mustard greens, cabbage, dandelion, brussel sprout, Swiss chard, watercress, seaweed (any type), shitake mushroom, cilantro, garlic, leek, fennel, (1/4 spoon), anise (1-2 pieces), ginger (3 slices), turmeric (1/4 spoon). (Divide into 3 portions and drink thorough the day).

_ Supplement with 1tsp of either flax seed oil or deep sea fish oil.

_ 1 cup of liquid before bed time: 8oz of warm water,1tsp of baking soda, 1 tsp apple cider vinegar, 1 tsp maple syrup.

14-DAY DETOX WITH MEAL REPLACEMENTS
For more information about this option, please visit my website

NUTRITIONAL RE-ADJUSTMENT
Since the uterus is estrogen–sensitive, any dietary approach that counteracts estrogen dominance often works for fibroids.
I usually recommend a diet centered on:

. Whole foods,
. Fresh fruits and vegetables,
. Nuts and seeds,
. Whole grains
. Good quality proteins (lean/organic) and healthy fats.
. Organic fruits and vegetables, are always the best choice.

ANTI-ESTROGENIC FOODS
Anti-estrogenic foods are found in fiber-rich diets. These kind of diets can assist in extracting excessive estrogen stores from the body.

Why Phytoestrogens?
Phytoestrogens are fiber-rich foods which have shown to decrease the effects of estrogen levels naturally by blocking the estrogen receptors on the cells in fibroids and other estrogen-sensitive tissues.
Studies have shown that eating soy and flax helps the body produce smaller amounts of unhealthy estrogens. Flaxseed is high in both fiber and omega-3 fats, which help reduce inflammation and tumor growth throughout the body and rid the body of toxins, including excess estrogen.
The two main classes of phytoestrogens are the isoflavones and lignans.

Lignins, found in all whole grains, are anti-estrogenic. Lignins are present in decreasing order in:

. flaxseed,
. rye,
. buckwheat,
. millet,
. oats,
. barley,
. brown rice.
. corn,

Also….
. Incorporate pinto beans, split peas, lima beans, black beans and kidney beans into your diet to diminish estrogen levels and thwart fibroid growth. Eat at least one helping of beans every day.

. Eat one serving of nattokinase soy beans every day to help shrink fibroid tissue.

Isoflavones- Soy is perhaps the most common food source of isoflavones, but others include:

. legumes,
. alfalfa,
. clover,
. licorice (already present in most of your herbal formula), and
. kudzu root (also known as Ge Gen)

Other beneficial Phytonutrients are:

. Curcumin is a polyphenol complex from the curry spice turmeric.
. Rosemary may also enhance estrogen detoxification.

What about MEAT?
If possible, eliminate or reduce meats from your diet and increase your intake of fresh fruit and vegetables to keep estrogen levels at an all-time low.

Get enough Omega-3 fats. The main source of omega-3s are fatty fish (especially wild salmon), eggs, nuts, seeds, sea vegetables, and green leafy vegetables like spinach, broccoli, cabbage, collards, and kale.
Unprocessed vegetable oils (most notably flaxseed, macadamia nut, and hempseed oils) are also good sources.

There has been an increasing concern about mercury found in fish which has proven to stay in a your bloodstream for over a year. Fish that’s high in mercury includes white tuna, shark, frozen swordfish and marlin.
Fish that contain low levels of mercury include salmon, flounder, trout, haddock, tilapia, and canned chunk light tuna (not albacore)
.

Experts recommend to incorporate a serving of fish into your diet at least three times a week. They also suggest to include helpings of salmon, mackerel and cold-water fish to reduce inflamed tissues and fibroid irritation.
Always follow your local government advisory. If in doubt, take good quality fish oil supplements instead. I like Metagenics and Designs for Health.

WHAT SHOULD YOU DRINK?

. Drink pure, filtered water. Good hydration is essential for your body to thrive! Dr Northrup recommends one ounce of water per every two pounds of weight. For example, if you weigh 140 pounds, drink 70 oz of water per day. (1 cup contains around 8 oz of water).

I recommend that you get a water double filter. “Aquasana” filters have very good reviews. Make sure to avoid plastic water bottles since they tend to leach plastic into the water, a dangerous xenoestrogen which has the potential to create hormonal imbalances. You can get a stainless steel water bottle.

An Unhealthy food plan approach- What could make you sick?

. First and foremost, avoid Xenoestrogens (estrogens not produced by our bodies).

. Avoid preservatives and other chemicals, such as artificial sweeteners, should be avoided because they affect blood sugar levels and hormonal balance. Foods high in fat should also not be consumed.

. Avoid Sodas. This includes Diet soda which contains aspartame.

. Avoid Caffeine: You may want to enjoy green tea instead which is quite rich in antioxidants! Limit your intake of green tea to 2 cups a day.

. Refined carbs, such as white bread, pasta and rice, should be limited. These foods lack nutrients, such as iron and B vitamins. Rye and whole-wheat sourdough breads are good options. Always choose whole grains over refined ones.

. Minimize consumption of sweets. I would rather eliminate them altogether. They create havoc in our bodies; they specially interfere with insulin levels which in turn will create imbalances in our hormonal environment making it harder to create a healthy environment in the uterus.
If craving sweets, you may want try small portions of dark chocolate with higher cacao content (50% or more).

. Avoid chemical additives such as aspartame and MSG.

. Avoid partially hydrogenated fats: which occur mainly in packaged foods.

. Avoid high-fat milk and cheeses. These foods tend to create dampness in your body. I suggest you have Almond milk (unsweetened) or rice milk.

LAST BUT NOT LEAST……

Get enough natural light. Light is a nutrient that affects our overall health. Make sure to enjoy the morning or evening hours or use full-spectrum light bulbs that recreate all the frequencies of natural light.

Exercise! Movement is inherent to our human race. Have fun walking uphill, visiting the trees or walking on soft sand by the ocean. All of these activities will allow for blood flow in your pelvic area, a cost-effective way to reduce stagnation in your creative uterus!

…AND ALWAYS REMEMBER….

The Uterus is energetically related to our innermost sense of self and our inner world. It is symbolic of our dreams and all that we want and need to give birth to….

Let’s honor our wombs by listening to its messages!!

With you, Yamin Chehin L.Ac.;Dipl O.M.


References
“Nutritional Influences on Estrogen Metabolism” By Douglas C. Hall, M. D. http://www.funimky.com/research_estrogen.htm
“Mother-Daughter wisdom” Christiane Northrup
“The Tao of Fertility”, Daoshing Ni

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Winter Solstice

December 18, 2010

Around this time Dec 20, 21 our natural world experiences a cyclic energetic shift: the Winter Solstice: darkness giving way to light. Hua-Ching Ni in his book “Love of Mother Universe” speaks of the Winter Solstice as the “Festival of Wisdom”…an equivalent to a time of conception and initiation in Nature’s womb”. During these days you may observe that Nature feels silent as if awaiting the shift….

Would you like to take a deep breath now?….How are you feeling today?

If we pay attention to life during Winter, we will observe that “all things in Nature wither, return home, hide and enter a resting period. This is a time when Yin dominates Yang. Therefore Chinese Medicine suggests that we be mindful on how we use our Yang energy” . To harmonize with the energy of Winter we may want to emphasize the Yin aspects of our body and mind: we allow ourselves to be more receptive, introspective and storage oriented.
Warm, hearty soups, whole grains and roasted nuts sound good on cold days. Dried foods, small dark beans, seaweeds and steamed winter greens fortify the Kidneys (the organ that corresponds to winter time according to Chinese Medicine). You may want to cook foods longer, at lower temperatures and with less water. Thich Nhat Hanh’s wise teachings recommend us to eat mindfully. Here is one out of many of the beautiful verses that we can “digest” as we eat: “In this food I see clearly the presence of the entire Universe supporting my existence” .

During this shift in Nature’s metabolism, fresh energies are issued forth which we can use to help us prepare for the upcoming cycle and for physical and spiritual renewal. The Renewal Ceremony is a supportive practice to do at this time in front of your shrine or facing the early morning sun out in nature. It can help refresh and refocus your direction.
You can also use the ceremonial Yule Log as a metaphor for the new light coming forth into the next cycle. It’s always a very simple yet deep way to re connect with the light inside!

To your Wisdom!

~Yamin

h1

Healthy Summertime with Chinese Medicine

July 10, 2010

chinese medicine, pomegranate, summer diet, summer foods

Summer is here! Our garden is bursting out with chamomile flowers, baby pomegranates are proudly standing in the bushy green tree, baby guavas are blooming out of their flowers…
The “Morning Glory” found a crack through my herbal pharmacy window and is slithering along bottled herbal tinctures and essential oils…
Our wolfie-dogs choose to stay outside and sleep right on the dirt under the moonless sky… My patients celebrate this time of the year by wearing lighter clothes and brighter colors.

The scent of summer ascends from Mother Earth in its full potential EVEN when it is rather chilly in coastal LA…

No wonder the Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Medicine (1st century BCE) teaches us that “[In the three months of summer] Heavenly energy descends and the Earthly energy rises. When these two energies merge there is intercourse between Heaven and Earth. As a result plants mature and animals, flowers and fruit appear abundantly”(1).
No doubt, Summer is a period of luxurious growth!

When we practice Taoist and Chinese Medicine and Lifestyle, we pay attention to the seasonal cycles. We do this just because we are another expression of this marriage between Heaven and Earth and as such, we have the potential to mirror and manifest the cyclical changes that Mother Earth will consistently go through.

Movement Tips

Tip #1: To be in harmony with the atmosphere of summer you may want to awaken early in the morning and reach for the also awakening sun for nourishment.

~ Face the rising sun: if for some reason you cannot see the sun just face East and connect with its rising energy.

~Take a mindful breath: feel your chest and abdomen expanding as you breathe in and slightly contracting as you breathe out. You don’t need to force the air in or out, just breath normally and above all joyfully.

~Feel your feet: if you have a chance, stand barefoot on the grass (provided it is not too chilly or too wet). You can also do this simple exercise before starting the car engine or as you are waiting for the bus.

Bring your awareness to the ball of of your feet and feel “roots” growing out of that area. In Chinese medicine we call that area “Bubbling Spring”. Feel the Earth supporting you whether you are standing on the actual soil inside the car, your apartment or in the street.

Take a few moments to appreciate the miracle of your breath and the solid, nurturing motherly energy of the Earth.

~Invite the Sun in: now that you are rooted on Earth, invite the Sun to visit your shrine by breathing in through your nose and breathing out through your mouth.
Feel the healing energy of this bright star flooding your lungs with millions of vibrating particles and activating your body as it runs through your veins, your organs, your bones, your flesh…Allow for the Heavenly energy of the Sun to bring inspiration and strength to your Body, Mind and Spirit.

If you would like to recite an invocation as you face the sun, you may want to explore the “Harmonization with the Sun” by Spiritual Teacher Hua-Ching Ni. It is short and very inspiring.

Tip#2: Brush your skin! Yes! create your own inexpensive spa at home. Skin brushing will enhance circulation and stimulate your immunity so you can enjoy the summer at your best potential!
Just get a loofah and enjoy these revitalizing and simple skin-dry-brushing tips.

Tip#4: Enjoy some outdoors life! Early morning and late afternoon Sun can be quite enjoyable! I am planning to walk with the wolves (it’s rather hot for running!) at least once a week. Swimming, cycling, walking are also excellent ways to get our summer CHI healthy and moving!
Remember to take electrolytes with you since dehydration is one of the main causes for ER visits!

Tip#3: What about my diet?
Mother Earth is bursting out in bright colors. I am sure that you are too getting the brightest colors out of your closet! It only makes sense to follow Paul Pitchford’s recommendations to “use plenty of brightly colored summer fruits and vegetables”(2). I truly enjoy his tips on “Summer Food and Preparation”, always handy when we run out of ideas!

My dear friend and colleague Kirsten Cowan L.Ac also has quite smart and simple tips in case a heat wave attempts to leave your body dehydrated and weak.

The Best of Tips: follow your intuition.
Our ancestors will speak through our genes and will let us know what is the most appropriate way to live a joyful and healthy Summer!!!

To your abundant Health!

Yamin Chehin, L.Ac.


References:
(1). “The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Medicine”, translated by Maoshing Ni, Ph.D.
(2) “Healing with Whole Foods” by Paul Pitchford, page 331.

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