Stone Soup for an Ice Storm


This week was a physically, mentally, and emotionally trying week for us as an ice storm, the likes of which our beautiful city had not seen in forty plus years, descended upon us. Despairing tree branches creaked and groaned under the heavy weight of an inch plus of seemingly innocent ice, as their weakest members fell with dread. The only other sounds were the whispers of sparkling red berried bushes, and tall grasses that crisped and crackled under the lowered rays of the sun. Animals and people alike, scattered to look for other means of shelter.

The first few nights without central heat that took down power lines and destroyed vehicles and homes, were devastating for several and inconvenient for most. Yet neighbours, friends, and family all joined in and found ways to help one another, lending strong arms to lift heavy branches off the streets, checking on one another with offers of food, clothing, light and shelter and through hopeful verbal exchanges.

As we were one of the fortunate ones to have a gas stove and fireplace, we opened up our home for communal comfort and warmth. Our visitors, many of whom had to cancel holiday dinner plans, brought what they had and we all joined together sharing stories under natural light by day, and later, candlelit dinners by night to create our very own “Stone Soup” experience. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stone_Soup

I wish you all the very best this holiday season, and as you navigate the experiences of the coming year, the ability to cherish new and beautiful moments, and the fortitude to move forward with light when there is dark.

 

Super Easy Rice and Vegetable Noodle Soup


If you’re looking for a fast and tasty lunch to warm up little tummies in the cold winter months, here’s a healthy recipe that’s tried and true in our household:

Ingredients:

2 cups rice pasta
6 cups water
1 vegetable bouillon cube (or prepared vegetable stock)
125g of firm organic tofu, diced
1/2 cup of organic broccoli/ peas/ edamame
1 tbsp of sesame oil

Optional: Add 1 tbsp of tamari sauce, dried seaweed, and/ or sliced ginger to taste for more adventurous eaters!

Directions:

Add pasta and vegetable bouillon cube
to a pot of water and bring to a boil. Turn down heat to medium and add in the rest of the ingredients for approximately 5-8 minutes.

Serve in soup bowl. Enjoy!

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Enhancing Fertility with Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine


Several years ago, I wrote an article on fertility for Vitality Magazine called:
Acupuncture and Herbs for Enhancing Fertility

As fertility enhancement and reproductive health is one of the top reasons people seek the advice of a Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner, I thought it would be helpful to re-post this information. It is my sincere hope that those who are currently having concerns over their reproductive health and/or ability to conceive, are educated about what options exist for them.

I will be posting future articles on other topics related to reproductive health. If there are any particular concerns you would like me to address, please feel free to comment in the comment section below.

Meling

Letting Go of the Past, Living in the Present


Today marks a special day for me and my family. On this day, August 20, 2009, I was a very pregnant woman on her due date. I was also a daughter who was about to lose her father after a relatively short yet intense battle with cancer.

Our story of a family going through the daily challenges of watching a loved one first become very ill, and then eventually pass away is not unique. So many, many people will endure this difficult process. Yet, there is so much to be learned from it…so much of our experiences that we can share and learn from one another. In the face of adversity our strength, our endurance, our spirit are tested. Decisions that need to be made over a person’s health and well-being, and also their eventual passing, are ones that no one can ever sufficiently prepare you for and will challenge your core values like nothing else.

There are many things that are said to one another over the course of a lifetime. There are many ups and downs that we as a family have weathered together. Storms of mistrust, separation, financial distress. And then there are the rainbows and pots of gold that come like a gift from the heavens: birth and prosperity and renewal of vows, renewal of love, renewal of spirit. All things are not black or white. Perspectives change, we grow, we unite, and we learn to care…once again.

Our family happens to be very close despite all our differences and so a lot has been shared over the years…it is surprising how life circumstances can bring a family together in ways they never thought possible. My father became closer to us in his last few years knowing that this was the only chance he would get to impart his vast knowledge to us, to share his beliefs, and to show us time and time again how much he really cared. I miss him now but am comforted by the thoughtful words, the warm embraces, and the daily expressions of love and hope we were able to exchange with one another. Love is so very healing.

These small yet beautiful exchanges are possible if we can really accept that the present is all we really have and learn to let go. Let go of past dreams that no longer live up to our present dreams. Let go of painful experiences and hurtful words that have no importance in the now. Let go of wants, needs, desires. Allow love to enter in all its beautiful ways and fill the void of emptiness and despair.

A wonderful blogger and former classmate, Leigh has this to share about letting go of the past in her August 19th post on Lost Causes

A part of me feels infused with the energy and spirit of my father today. I see him sometimes as a fluttering Monarch butterfly, light and free; a sweet singing songbird stopping by for a nibble of bird seed. I see him in the eyes of a passing stranger, older yet wiser. I see him in the eyes of my baby, whose smile and bright eyed innocence is so clear and strong and true. Our loved ones still exist for us in these daily happenings. I will savour these moments. They are my father’s presence in my every day.

With hope and love,
Meling

Chocolate Mint Smoothie Stunner


The smoothie of the day (this recipe was adapted from an amazing dessert salad suggested by Dr. Aviva Romm on her Facebook page)

I can attest that this is indeed both healthy and delicious!!

Ingredients (makes 6-8 servings):
3 cups of mixed berries (blueberries, strawberries, blackberries)
1 cup of fresh mint
3 cups of almond milk
2-4 stalks of celery
1 cup of orange juice
1 banana
1 handful of cacao nibs

Almond Cherry Berry Energy Smoothie


This protein-packed delicious smoothie proved to be another real hit with the family! While I found it initially a bit too thick (kids loved it as a dessert!), I added the orange juice (indicated below) and this seemed to round out the flavor and correct the consistency. You can adjust the taste with less orange juice and more almond milk as you wish. Enjoy!

-m.

Almond Cherry Berry Energy Smoothie

Ingredients (for approximately 6-8 glasses):

-5 cups frozen cherries, blueberries, and strawberries

-1/2 banana

-3 stalks celery

-2 cups orange juice

-3 cups almond milk

-approximately 6-10 almonds

-1 teaspoon flax seed

-2 tablespoons of Vega Energizing Smoothie protein supplement*

* optional

Natural TCM Cures for Migraine Sufferers


Do you suffer from chronic migraines? If so, you’ve probably already tried to identify the triggers and experimented with medications to see what can put you out of your misery.  You may even be suffering from one now.

Migraines are severe headaches that can be accompanied by nausea, vomiting and sensitivity to light. They can be due to several factors, including but not limited to: chronic stress; poor posture; dehydration; strenuous exercise (including sexual activity), delayed or skipped meals; changes in weather, temperature, and barometric pressure; hormonal fluctuations; smoking; sensitivity to certain foods and drinks (caffeine, sweeteners, red wine, aged cheeses, cold cuts, and other foods containing tyramine), and food additives (such as MSG).

For female migraine sufferers, you may also want to check out this article that describes the effect of salt intake on eliciting a premenstrual migraine and susceptibility when estrogen and progesterone are at their lowest levels.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), a holistic approach is used to address headaches and migraines. The treatments are carefully tailored to your specific set of symptoms and the specific location of your pain. Acupuncture can be used to relieve local and generalized pain areas, reduce stress, and relax tight and sore muscles in the neck, shoulders and back. The most effective way TCM can address migraines is by preventing them from occurring in future. If a migraine is in full swing, one or two points can be very effective in reducing the severity of the pain.

In addition to acupuncture and tuina (massage), treatment for migraines from a TCM perspective would involve observing dietary habits and eliminating aggravating substances, such as the foods listed above, completely. In TCM, these foods are considered “damp and heavy” in nature and can directly contribute to a chronic migraine pattern if left unchecked. One might also be prescribed herbs and dietary therapy to eliminate the “damp” qualities of the foods previously ingested, and improve proper digestion and metabolism.

Common acupressure points for migraines and headache that you can use on yourself are: Yintang, Taiyang, UB2, UB 10, GB 14, GB 20, GB 21, LI4, LV3, ST 40, and GB 41. Apply even pressure with your index finger on the points and any localized areas of pain and move in a circular fashion. You can do this for a few minutes on each point and repeat several times throughout the course of the day. To locate these points yourself, you can refer to this great interactive tool on Qi Journal.com