Food is medicine part 3

Are you familiar with the spice cinnamon?

You have most likely enjoyed a cinnamon bun, apple pie or chai tea; all of these have a strong cinnamon flavor, but did you also know it is used as a medicinal herb?

Cinnamon is a common house hold spice, often used in powder form. Perhaps you have also seen cinnamon sticks in the spice section of your grocery store. The cinnamon stick is actually the inner bark of the tree which is peeled off and curls up as it dries.

Cinnamon is sweet, spicy, and hot.

Because of these warm and stimulating properties cinnamon is often used to improve circulation (alleviate pain) and ease digestive complaints. It is a powerful antiseptic, and has antiviral and antifungal properties.

There have been numerous clinical studies that show cinnamon can dramatically decrease glucose and insulin levels. Which means it may be a great herb to consider if you are diabetic.

Because cinnamon can also connect with the uterus, both in a warming and invigorating fashion, it can be used to bring on a delayed menstrual cycle but should be used with caution in high doses during pregnancy.

A personal note:

A few years ago, I spent time in India, a country that uses a lot of cinnamon! A woman I met along the way, would have us over a few times a week to practice henna, and would also invite us into the kitchen to help prepare chai tea. Here is a simple and delicious recipe which can be consumed to aid digestion and warm up the body.

  • 1 part crushed cinnamon bark
  • 1 part crushed ginger root
  • ¼ part crushed cardamom pods
  • ¼ part cloves
  • ¼ part crushed black peppercorns
  • 1 tbsp. Black tea (Darjeeling if available)
  • Honey to taste

Bring 2 cups of water to a boil, add the first 5 herbs and let simmer about 20 minutes. Remove from heat, add black tea, cover and steep for 5 minutes. Strain, sweeten to taste.

Food is medicine part 2

What is all this hype about turmeric?

Well, let me tell you a little bit about it and maybe you will get hyped up too!

Turmeric is an herb that is widely used across eastern and western herbal medicine. This root originates from Southeast Asia but grows in tropical locations all around the world. In Chinese medicine we use this herb to promote movement and healing in the body, eliminate pain, stop bleeding, and control inflammation.

Typically you will see turmeric in powdered form in the spice section of the grocery store, some will even carry the actual root in the produce section.

In my opinion, one of the most notable benefits of turmeric is its anti-inflammatory properties, or should I say inflammatory moderating properties. You see, inflammation is a necessary and life-saving function performed by the body when needed, however, often time’s inflammation becomes chronic which can then manifest into disease.

When taking over the counter NSAIDS (like Advil) to reduce pain and inflammation, you are actually stopping all of the inflammatory responses in the body, even the good ones!

Inflammation plays a significant role in diseases such as cancer, type 2 diabetes, asthma, arthritis, autoimmune conditions, skin ailments and more.

Turmeric is also known for its support in gut and liver health, healing wounds, ulcers, heart health, insulin resistance, and improved memory.

The main constituent of turmeric (i.e. the most medicinally beneficial part) is called curcumin. Often time’s supplements will extract this specific component of turmeric in order to “give you only the good stuff’.

However, plant medicine is rarely used by taking out specific components of an individual plant, and more often by consuming the entire herb as its many different constituents work in various miraculous ways in the body and have been consumed this way for thousands of years.

Curcumin becomes more available for absorption in the body by adding fresh ground pepper or by heating up with oil before ingestion.

Get in touch and let’s chat more about herbs and your health!

To book your initial consultation please call +1 (778) 717-2001

Food is Medicine Part 1

There are a many different theories and a lot of different people telling you how to eat healthy. Most of these theories have credibility to them but it is also important to understand that there is no right way to eat, and that as an individual it is up to you to find your happy balance.

That is one of the beautiful things about Chinese medicine diet therapy. Just as treatments are tailored to an individual, proper diet is deciphered by how you are feeling in a day to day basis.

For example, you would choose a certain food if you are feeling bloated, and would choose a different food if you were feeling irritated and stressed.

We look at food as having different properties and functions as we consume it.

Take cucumber for example, this vegetable is cooling and water dense; consider ginger, it is warm and spicy. If you were feeling very bloated and having loose stools, you would likely avoid cucumber. If you had recently consumed hot and spicy food and your stomach was upset, you would likely avoid ginger.

Alternatively, if you are outside enjoying the sun and it is hot out or you have a sunburn, cucumber could be a great choice. If you have some abdominal discomfort and are feeling nauseas, ginger tea could work well.

As you may be able to tell, you are making choices based on how you are feeling.

Often we will do things the other way around and eat food we crave. Chinese medicine diet therapy suggests we listen to our bodies, consider any symptoms or messages that are coming up, and then eat and drink accordingly.

I will be exploring in more detail over the next few weeks this topic.

Are you getting enough Magnesium?

Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in the body.

Typically, if eating a healthy diet, you should be consuming your daily intake of magnesium. Occasionally due to poor absorption through the digestive tract or over use of other supplements your body will have lowered levels of this mineral. It is estimated that 70-80% of adults (more often women) have a magnesium deficiency.

What are some of the signs you may be deficient in magnesium?

  • hypertension and cardiovascular disease
  • kidney and liver damage
  • migraine headaches
  • restless leg syndrome
  • worsened PMS symptoms
  • behavioral disorders and mood swings
  • insomnia and trouble sleeping
  • osteoporosis
  • tooth cavities
  • muscle weakness and cramps

There are many different forms of magnesium supplements.

The absorption rate and bioavailability depends on the form and dosage you take. Occasionally magnesium consumed in a large quantity can loosen the stools. To find one that is suitable for you, check in with your health care provider.

You can also find magnesium in foods such as whole grains, leafy greens (spinach and chard are great), almonds, cashews, and avocados to name a few! Unfortunately due to modern farming practices levels of magnesium in food is becoming less and less. It is best to stick to organic is possible as practices such as using pesticides or not rotating crops diminish the nutrients in the soil.

What can magnesium help you with?

  • Calming the nerves
  • Helps increase energy
  • Treats insomnia and improves sleep quality
  • Relieves constipation by relaxing the digestive muscles
  • Relaxes tense and sore muscles

Curious if magnesium can help you?

Call +1 (778) 717-2001 now to book your initial consultation with me.