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Archive for the ‘Seasonal Living’ Category

Are you getting headaches with the change of season? Is your digestion upset? The answer might be waiting for you in your garden like mine is!  Chinese medicine has a long history of using food as medicine. It is thought to be the most important aspect of treating disease.

Foods are thought to have an inherent nature that can be either hot or cold. As Westerners we understand that foods you eat can have therapeutic properties. We drink lemon and honey for colds,  and chicken soup cures everything! Foods having energetic properties is a little harder to grasp.

Let break down basil in this context. Imagine you left your window open during the night and the air got unexpectedly cold. The next day your head feels tight and achy. The warm nature of the basil plant can relax and warm the body to relieve the discomfort. It’s also great for indigestion. Perhaps you were eating on the run and then felt your food just sat in your belly. The effects of the herbs will encourage normal digestion and ease your symptoms.

It’s warming, removes toxicity, actives the blood, encourages the qi to flow and dispels wind. In western terms it is an antioxidant, anticancer, antiviral and anti-microbial. It is useful to treat diarrhea, indigestion, excema, headaches, colds and flus. So go make that pesto and enjoy the healing effects of basil.

Lindsey Lawson MS EAMP is an Acupuncturist, Chinese Herbalist and Clinic Director at Glow Natural Health and Seattle Fertility Acupuncture. She is passionate about healthy, happy living. For an appointment call Glow at 206 568 7545

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Kapha Season in Seattle WALate winter and early spring are considered Kapha Season in Ayurveda. This means that we can adjust our daily lifestyle choices to find balance in body and mind. When one quality is present (for example, cold), we create balance by adding the opposite quality (hot).

Kapha dosha is dominated by the water and earth elements. If you mix water and earth, you create mud. It makes sense that kapha energy is heavy, sticky, lubricated, steady, cold and nurturing. Just like the fertile mud gives rise to beautiful plants and flowers, kapha energy stabilizes us for growth.

6 Tips for Kapha Season

1. Exercise every day! This is especially important for people with a Kapha-dominant constitution. Walking, swimming, biking, running and yoga are all good choices. Since we remove ama (toxins) through movement and sweat, this one tip will make a huge difference.

2. Add some spice to your life. Sprinkle cardamom, wasabi, cayenne, ginger, garlic, cloves, cinnamon, pepper and mustard seed on your food to add heat and spark agni, the all-important digestive fire. Foods that are dry, warm and spicy clear congestion and keep things moving.

3. Sip warm water. Warm foods and drinks are easier to digest and help keep us regular. Consider warm water with 1/4 tsp cayenne powder, 1 tbsp lemon juice, and 1 tsp raw honey for a detoxifying tea.

4. Breath freely by using a neti-pot. Since Kapha dominates the chest and upper stomach regions of the body, it’s wet and sticky nature causes mucus to get stuck. The neti-pot helps flush out mucus and seasonal allergens.

5. Favor light fruits like apples, pears, pomegranates and apricots. Avoid heavy fruits like bananas, avocado, pineapple, orange, dates and figs.

6. Declutter! Kapha-dominate people tend to collect things. This type of material “congestion” weighs us down. Instead, spend a few minutes each day recycling papers, donating clothes or cleaning things up. It will help you feel free and light in mind and body.

Incorporate these tips to breathe freely and enjoy balance during this beautiful season.

Nicole-200x300Nicole Perriella is an Ayurvedic Health Coach and Hatha Yoga Teacher at the Glow Natural Health Center in Seattle, WA.  Through diet, lifestyle, herbs, yoga, meditation and pranayama, Nicole guides clients to correct imbalances to look and feel their best. Her writing has been featured on Seattle Seedling, Ayurveda Apothecary and Everyday Ayurveda.  Learn more at www.nicoleperriella.com.

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Year of the Wood Green horse 2014 in Seattle WAJanuary 31st marks the Chinese New Year for 2014. It is the Year of the Wood Horse.  Horses are active and yang.  They are quick and full of energy.  Pair this with the element Wood and prepare to hang on. Wood is the element of movement and growth. It also governs new beginnings, the liver, and the color green.

The last two years have been about cutting away that which no longer serves you. The Metal Dragon and Water Snake years were about soul searching and carving out who are and are not.  There has been deep digging down into our depths and dredging them out. It has been a time of stillness. Outward movement has been hampered and humbled.

As we come out of that phase, the change to such yang energy might feel abrupt. Expect the unexpected. Projects that have been on hold might begin to move, and fast.

This is great time to introduce some liver cleansing exercise and foods into your life. The Wood Element governs the liver and the smooth flow of vital energy in the body. If the Qi is stuck and not flowing properly one might experience headaches, irritability, body pain or fatigue. So get out and move to welcome the Green Horse! Try our Long Life Kelp Noodles for a special New Years treat.

1531587_10151803540640458_458243146_aLindsey Lawson MS EAMP is an Acupuncturist, Chinese Herbalist and Clinic Director at Glow Natural Health and Seattle Fertility Acupuncturist. She is passionate about healthy, happy living, food and is a regular blogger.  For an appointment call Glow at 206 568 7545.

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basil2by Nicole Perriella

It’s basil season, and I can’t get enough. This fragrant and delicious herb makes any meal feel alive and fresh. This week I made a Spinach and Basil Pesto using produce from my Tiny’s Organic CSA bag. The recipe is so easy and goes with everything. First I put the pesto over quinoa pasta. The next day I put it over mayacoba beans and broiled asparagus. I’m excited to try it on pizza and other grilled veggies. The major hit of nutrients (calcium, fiber, folic acid, magnesium, lutein, vitamins A & C) explains the happy glow after eating. For a fun, fresh dose of summer, just add ingredients and blend.

Spinach and Basil Pesto
2 cups spinach leaves (more…)

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By Nicole Perriella, Ayurvedic Practitioner

In Seattle, dreams of summer strolls and fresh berries at the farmers market dance in our heads all winter long.  As the days get longer and we leave our jackets at home, we embrace the ancient secrets of Ayurveda to balance our bodies.  An Ayurvedic seasonal routine helps us achieve the peaceful mind, abundant energy and gorgeous glow that we all desire.  Instinctually, we know that we don’t want to eat the same foods, dress the same way or have the same routines every day for the entire year.  We adapt to seasonal cycles because these external forces create internal changes as well.  Summer is known as the “Pitta season” because it is dominated by the fire element.

In Ayurveda, when one quality increases, we add the opposite quality to achieve a healthy balance.  For example, when tea is too hot, we add ice (or time) to bring down the heat.  Similarly, in the warm summer months, we benefit from adding cooling spices, foods, activities and routines to our busy lives.  Cooling spices include fennel, coriander, peppermint and rose.  Cucumber, cilantro, mint, coconut water, lettuce, peas, apples, strawberries and figs are refreshing food choices for summer.  These make delicious additions to a smoothie, soup, salad or stir fry.

CAUTION!  You may notice that your Pitta is aggravated if you’re feeling angry, competitive, jealous or flustered.  You may suffer from acne breakouts or red, irritated skin.  Sour belching, heartburn, loose stools and excess sweating or thirst are other signs of Pitta imbalance.  (more…)

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The transition into the harvest time and the Earth Element reminds us to take some time, step back, and Earth Element pumpkinsenjoy the season. Not that it’s too difficult for me. I’ve always loved this time of year. I call it the dog days of summer. For someone who is often busy and can easily over schedule, I have no problem soaking in the last warm days and relaxing. I like to sit around and watch the tomatoes ripen. (Well, they’re ripening for me but they’re in my greenhouse so don’t feel bad if yours aren’t.)

My family and I headed out to Remlinger farms today for some U pick pumpkins, corn maze ,and the whole meal deal. It spit rain, but we were  more soaked in sun and it was even too warm for coats! When I really should have done something else, it was the perfect thing to do to regain balance. The crisp air and typically funny extended family time left a lot to be thankful for.

Questions to ask yourself: Are you content this season? Are you able to harvest what has been sown? Are your relationships reciprocal? These are all important measures of the health of your earth element.

How’s your digestion? The Chinese Spleen and Stomach are in charge of the storage and movement of nourishment and relate to the Earth element.  Imbalances here can result in diarrhea, constipation, gas, bloating, low energy and more.

Keep your Earth Element in balance by eating your food lightly cooked. Raw food is difficult for your body to process because it must expend energy to first “heat” the food up. It’s also important to chew your food so that your body can break it down more easily. Enzymes in your saliva are an important first phase in your digestion.

Earth Associations: Color: Yellow/ brown  Smell: Fragrant  Sound: Singing  Emotion: Worry/ Over thinking

Do your Earth element a favor, call to schedule a seasonal acupuncture tune up, be grateful and sing!!!

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11/26/10

It’s amazing how a few events can shift the energy of the moment. One minute we had trees changing colors and unseasonably warm weather and the next a wind storm where all the leaves dropped. This was then quickly followed up with an early season snowstorm that had us holed up and drinking hot cocoa.

Our bodies feel the shift and ideally are in harmony with it. Winter is the season of water in Chinese medicine. It’s about introspection and stillness. It’s about deep contemplation as opposed to the activity of summer. The kidneys and bladder rule this element. It’s important to rest and build this energy because maintains  our deep reserves.

Constantly relying on these reserves can lead to adrenal fatigue. When we refuse to slow down and rest our body feels a state of constant flight of fight. The adrenal glands secrete adrenaline at inappropriate times. Often this manifests as insomnia with frequent waking in the night with an inability to fall back to sleep.

To be in harmony with the season:

-Take some time to hibernate amongst the chaos of the holidays. Mediate on finding stillness within.

-Catch up on your sleep. The trees do it so should you.

– Celebrate. The winter solstice is the time of yang within the yin. The spark of fire is a reminder of the summer to come as the days begin to get longer again.

– Eat rich stews to stoke the inner fire. Steamed walnuts are especially strengthening for the water element.

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