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I’ve been a fermentation enthusiast for years.  You name it I’ve pickled it! And after all my ferments, vegetables ginger beer, kombucha, and kimchi, kefir remains my all time favorite. For those of you not aware of the wonderful tradition and art of fermentation… Fermentation is a traditional way to process food (and some herbs) to preserve or create new foods, like alcohol or sour pickles. During the fermentation process bacteria, yeast, and other microrganisms break down foods, through this producing acids and alcohols which also help to prevent food spoilage. So for example, yogurt is a way of preventing the spoilage of milk and sour pickles are a way to enjoy crispy local cucumbers in the middle of the winter. When

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It’s time for a gut check. Are you one of the millions (yes, millions) who are struggling with digestive issues like Crohn’s, colitis, Leaky Gut Syndrome, or any of the collection of symptoms that make up IBS? If so, you already know how much of an impact it can have on your life. Flare-ups can come without warning, ranging in severity from uncomfortable to downright debilitating. You may also know that a healthy, or unhealthy, GI system plays a key role in maintaining overall health, affecting among other things, the immune system, weight regulation, and emotional well-being, not simply digestion.[1] If any of this concerns you, there’s a word you should get to know: PROBIOTICS. What are Probiotics?  Not just

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There are many reasons to love smoothies; they’re delicious, healthy, and portable! A well-made smoothie can provide you with a serving, two, or three of your daily requirements of fruit and vegetables, all in one glass. It’s the perfect no-mess commuter breakfast, lunch-when-there’s-no-time-for lunch, and that extra boost needed to get from work to the gym. And, depending on your recipe, they’re even pretty colors! But did you know, you can take that smoothie to the next level by adding some amazing herbs? To boost your smoothie’s “super powers”, consider these two herbs for starters, easily found at a health food store. Wolf berries or Gou Ji berries (often spelled Gouji or Goji) give a real power house kick of

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Acupuncture offers an effective drug free treatment for allergies.  So you can smell the flowers without worrying about being too drowsy and foggy brained. Acupuncture is different than taking a pill Antihistamines are commonly taken for allergies.  These are medicines which block the chemicals called histamines that cause the symptoms of allergies. Acupuncture is different than taking a pill.  Rather than a medication that will temporarily block a receptor, histamine in the case of allergies, acupuncture works to regulate the body’s functioning. The goals is for long term improvement from the acupuncture treatment. How does acupuncture work? The idea is that acupuncture helps to reset the body and remind it how to be healthy. As balance is achieved, your body

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Bacteria are everywhere. In the soil, on our skin, in our guts, in our eyes, and reproductive organs. Everywhere. In fact, our bodies have more than 10 times the amount of microbial life in us than our own cells. In the last century, bacteria have gotten a bad wrap. Many bacteria are needed for healthy digestion, immune system function, and healthy reproduction among others. So rather than having a war on bacteria, cohabitation with bacteria is gaining ground in the scientific world. Recently in the New York Times, the author Michael Pollan wrote a piece about our the latest information regarding the microbiome, the life of the microbes that live with us, and theories on how they help us stay

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Nobody debates that a healthy diet includes a lot of vegetables. But how to eat them is another story. Chinese medicine has long been an advocate of eating cooked vegetables over raw. This is because cooked vegetables are easier to digest, allowing the body to more easily absorb the nutrients. And cooked vegetables are easier on the digestive system preventing unwanted symptoms like bloating (more on this below). In this week’s Times, an article examines how cooking vegetables can improve their vitamin absorbability. As one can expect, not all vegetables or vitamins in the vegetables act alike. For example, boiling and steaming vegetables can help with the release of fat soluble vitamins like Vitamin A, D, E, and K as

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Kombucha is experiencing a revitalization as a healthy tonic beverage. While only recently gaining the popular spotlight, kombucha is believed to have first developed in China over 2000 years ago.  From there it spread throughout Asia, and within the last century, to the West. Some have said that kombucha can help with many types of illnesses, from insomnia, to poor digestion, and even reduce of gray hairs.  So does it do all that?  Let’s start with a little background. What is kombucha? Kombucha is a delicious fermented tea beverage. Its taste is both sweet and sour. Known as hóngchájùn (red tea fungus) in Chinese, the English word has been traced to Japanese etymology. The term “red tea fungus” can be

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Yesterday in the Times there was an informative article about the corruption issues with organic food production. Big companies have been getting into the organic market for years because it makes big profits. The author highlights how many corporations don’t care much about organic standards and healthy food. They care more about their profits. For example many organic companies would be happy to have additives and herbicides, not caring about pollution or quality of the produce.  As long as it increases profits. There are exceptions. Eden organic (I love their beans) maintains pride in their product and organic food. As a consumer it is hard to know what to purchase. My recommendation is to skip organic and go directly to

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As we all know that the change of season can easily cause a common cold.   Eating soup is a good way to boost up your qi. There is no big secret to vegetable soup.  I eat it all the time, especially during the change of seasons to prevent colds from coming on.  I particularly like it during the colder months, summer to fall, because it helps to warm the body and open the respiratory system with aromatic vegetables. Ingredients: 1 large yellow onion 4 carrots 2 turnips 2 celery stalks 1 bay leaf fresh parsley 1 teaspoon of sea salt or kosher salt optional: broccoli stalks, cauliflower leaves, turnip greens, or any root vegetable The simple directions for vegetable soup

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Cholesterol is a serious problem which many people are faced with.  In this post I will describe the what I have done to lower my cholesterol.   You can read my last post to understand how Chinese medicine describes the problem. The Combination to Lower Cholesterol: Food Choices, Exercising, and Chinese Herbs The best way to address cholesterol is through a combination of lifestyle approaches.  Each one will help bring down the cholesterol a little.  So combined, they can have a dramatic effect. Food Choices: A Guide 1. “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.”   Michael Pollan. This is easy, and hard.  Easy because the concept is so simple.  Hard, because our food supply system favors industrial processed packaged

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