Nightshades; everything you need to know.

Have you heard of Nightshades before? Nope, it actually isn’t a window covering specific to the night – surprising, right…?

Nightshades, also known as Solanaceae, are a family of flowering plants. They include a variety of plants such as; perennials, annuals, lianas, epiphytes, shrubs, trees, weeds, spices, medicinal plants, and ornamentals. Nightshades are unique because of the potent alkaloids they contain, some are so high they are actually toxic. ‘Alkaloids are nitrogenous organic substances produced by plants as a secondary metabolite and which have an intense physiological action on animals even at low doses’.

Some of the common house hold nightshades include but are not limited to;

  • Tomatoes
  • White Potatoes
  • Egg Plant
  • Bell Peppers
  • Chilli Peppers
  • Tobacco
  • Paprika
  • Cayenne Pepper

Note: Neither Sweet Potato nor Black Pepper are Nightshades, even though white potatoes and various peppers are. This is simply because the plant is different.

To humans, alkaloids can be desirable or toxic. A large portion of the population will not have an issue with nightshades, however, nightshades can have a negative impact on people with autoimmune diseases or even people with a sensitive digestive system.

Why?

Evidence has shown that people with Rheumatoid Arthritis have experienced increased joint pain and/or stiffness associated with Nightshades. Although there is not a singular reason as to why nightshades can increase joint pain, there are a few studies that explain it well. A study was done on mice with IBS (Inflammatory Bowel Syndrome), when the mice were fed potato skins the inflammation increase substantially. The higher the alkaloid content in the potato, the worse the inflammation.

This theory suggests that Nightshades were designed specifically to contain alkaloids for the simple reason that it is poisonous. It truly is an ingenious design. Nightshades contain alkaloids at different quantities that act as their very own pesticide. With this ability, they are able to preserve themselves longer and are less likely to be overtaken by mold or insects. The higher quantities tend to be in the leafs and stem; since we don’t eat that part of the plant and we are bigger than insects, the alkaline quantity tends not to bother most people. However, a connection between higher alkaloids in a plant and increased inflammation in autoimmune diseases is quite prevalent.

Another theory suggests it has to do with Vitamin D absorption. Although Vitamin D is a necessity, Nightshades can have a very potent quantity of Vitamin D3. This can actually prevent proper calcium metabolism, therefor causing the body to deposit calcium in the soft tissue.

I can’t stress enough that Nightshades do not have a negative effect on everyone. The people that will notice the negative side of nightshades are mostly either individuals with autoimmune deficient and/or digestive disturbances. Nightshades can be extremely high in nutrients and vitamins, therefor being beneficial to individuals who don’t suffer from an autoimmune disease. So, if you don’t have an autoimmune disease or digestive sensitivities, then just keep on doing what you’re doing with Nightshades. If you do have an autoimmune disease or digestive sensitivities, then I would highly suggest cutting out night shades for about two weeks completely, and then slowly introduce one at a time back into your diet. By doing this you will be able to notice if one particular item increases inflammation/stiffness/pain/digestive issues. Once you have identified the culprit, you can confidentiality have a positive impact on your own health.

My experience with Nightshades:

As you may know, I was diagnosed with an autoimmune immune disease when I was twelve. I learnt about Nightshades about six years ago and it was such a relief to be able to help pin point what caused stiffness and pain in my body. I totally eliminated Nightshades and then introduced them back into my diet one at a time. I have noticed that potatoes and peppers are the main culprits in the Nightshade family – I have an increased discomfort and stiffness within the hour after eating them. Whereas, with tomatoes, I notice no such thing. So feel free to play around and listen to your body, it will tell you which (if any) Nightshades should be eliminated.

References:

Healing with Whole Foods – Paul Pitchford

Plants of Canada

Paleoleap.com

Diagnosis diet.com

Why I’m in love with Ginger.

gingerFresh Ginger Root (Sheng Jiang) is a commonly used herb in Chinese Medicine. The reason I am so in love with ginger root is not only because of its many health benefits, but also because of the accessibility of it. Unlike multiple other TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) herbs, ginger root can be found at pretty much any and every grocery store. It is also wonderfully easy to cook with, juice and/or apply topically. Ginger’s properties in TCM include; pungent, warm, effects the Lung, Spleen and Stomach meridians. It warms the Lung to stop coughing, warms the middle to stop vomiting and energizes the middle. And lastly, it disperses wind-cold (common cold).

Stimulates Digestion

Ginger helps to stimulate digestion, therefor helps ease digestive discomforts. It is not just that ginger stimulates digestion, but that it aids in assimilation of nutrients making them more “bioavailable” in the blood stream. Also, with it being warm and pungent in nature, it helps to unclog the channels.

“Fresh ginger is used to break down high-protein foods… and lessen the effect of uric acids in the body from eating these foods.” (Healing with Whole Foods). Adding ginger, cumin, and coriander with bean dishes diminishes problems with flatulence. You can also add ginger to mucus-forming foods, such as milk, yogurt, sour cream, kefir, etc. to help with digestion.

IMG_0687Nausea

Ginger also has the ability to combat nausea, which can range from morning sickness to the flu, and even chemotherapy. Fresh ginger is so effective at decreasing nausea because it helps regulate the direction of Stomach Qi. The stomachs natural direction of Qi is downward, so when vomiting begins that can mean Rebellious Stomach Qi, by introducing ginger into you tea or diet during that time it will significantly help decrease vomiting and nausea. Because fresh ginger root is pungent and warming, which is downward, it is a popular kitchen medicine in the east for nausea and vomiting.

Disperse Wind-Cold Invasion

A wind cold invasion, also known as the common cold, is almost defenseless against ginger. As stated above, ginger helps to warm the lungs and disperse phlegm. I don’t know about you, but I love anything that helps me get over a cold in a natural way and quickly!

Anti Inflammatory

As you may know, from discussion or previous posts, I have had a bit of experience personally with inflammation in the past. Reason #174 why I love Ginger – drum roll please…. Ginger has anti-inflammatory agents. It also has been known to treat hypertension, although must be avoided if there are heat signs.

Reduce Toxicity

In Chinese medicine fresh ginger root is used to reduce toxicity, both medical and seafood. That is why it is common in Chinese culture to steam fish with ginger root and green onion, because ginger is an antidote to fish poisoning. It is also why Japanese eat pickled ginger and horseradish/wasabi with sushi, also because raw fish has such cold energy, it needs balance by warming.

Cold Signs

 

IMG_8871If you are similar to me and you love anything warm and tend to shy away from cold ginger root is for you. I for one, use ginger to help with PMS symptoms including muscle aches and nausea. I also use ginger in my komutcha to help warm my body. I am chronically yang deficient, as I learnt more about ginger; it quickly became my best friend.

 

Cautions

Ginger should not be used in excess if you experience a lot of heat signs.

Fresh Ginger Root Tea

IMG_0706.PNG

Place a few fresh ginger slices or diced fresh ginger into 12 oz of water.

Bring to a boil.

Steep till cool enough to drink.

Sweeten with honey.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

References:
Healing with Whole Foods – Paul Pitchford
Acupuncture Desk Reference – David J Kuoch
The Foundations of Chinese Medicine – Maciocia

My Meditation Process

I have been having quite a few patients ask about my meditation routine lately. So I thought I would write a bit of a break down of my process. Remember, this is what works for me, it might not work for you and that’s okay.

So, I have meditated off and on for years, mostly in yoga, and then here or there for five(ish) minutes. It wasn’t until probably about a year ago that I started to honestly have meditation as a regular practice in my life. It takes a while, or at least for me it did, to actually get to the point of seeing how beneficial meditation can be. I knew the benefits for a long time, but it wasn’t until I really started craving meditating that I started to feel and experience the benefits.

I learned to meditating in silence, and that is what I always go to. I am fortunate because I am a very visual person and can see my breath traveling though my body. From my head to my feet, down into the roots that are grounding me to the earth. It wasn’t until I was in Victoria in September, that I did a guided meditation. It was wonderful! I can see how it is a really nice way to start meditating. But for me, silence is still my favourite.

So, to start, I sit on my meditation mat and burn some sage and then ring my singing bowl. These two rituals have just started up since I moved into our new home and I have a specific meditation space. I find this to be a nice way to start the meditation process, both sage and the singing bowl help to clear any negative energy.

Now, I sit cross legged with my spine straight/core activated/shoulders down and take about 5 nice deep breaths. As I take these 17777014_10212524140999130_529392115_obreaths, I invite only the highest and brightest to guide me. This helps to get me centred and release any stress/worries/pain, etc. From this point I begin to watch my breath travel up and down my body. As I exhale, I watch the air and negative energy travel down my body into the ground. When I inhale, I watch the clean, bright, positive energy travel from the ground up through my body to my head.

I do a combination of diaphragm and thoracic breathing.

  • Diaphragm breathing is when your belly pushes out with the inhale and in with the exhale. Usually we only use Thoracic breathing in our every day lives so its nice to take time to focus on diaphragmatic breathing.
  • Thoracic breathing is when the diaphragm doesn’t descend when we inhale, therefor the chest must expand to accommodate.

I have found a huge part of of my meditation practice is gratitude. If I feel a pain in my shoulder while I am meditating (and actually in my everyday life now) I thank it and give it permission to leave. If my mind wanders off to a thought or task that needs to be accomplished, I give it gratitude and release it. I then bring myself back to my breath, back to centre. As I’m writing this I know it can sound kind of “hokey”, but I tell you it works really well for me. Everything we experience is for a reason, so I have come to appreciate the fact that giving it gratitude is extremely important – in my opinion.

In a world where we are always connected, I strongly suggest everyone take up a meditation practice. We all have that ability to connect to our higher self, we just need to take advantage of it. If a silent meditation isn’t for you, there are other types of meditation such as walking meditation or guided meditation. Find whats best for you. If you are looking for a guided meditation, there are lots of podcasts or on iTunes that you can test and see what works.

Good luck and don’t be upset if you aren’t really focused when you start meditating. Spoiler–you likely won’t be. But, just let your ego go. You know the one telling you you’re doing it wrong or not “good enough”. Put your thoughts, ego, and phone on the shelf for ten minutes and enjoy the process!

Peace and love,

Taylore

nelson

-Herniated Disc-

I’m sure we all know someone who has a herniated disc or perhaps you have herniated a disc yourself. Unfortunately, in our society with the lifestyle we lead, disc issues are far too common.  I will focus primarily on herniated disc syndrome in the low back.

What is a Herniated Disc?

A herniated disc can sometimes be referred to as a slipped disc or a ruptured disc. But really they all mean the same thing. A disc is the rubbery cushion between the vertebrae, it’s there to help with impact from our day-to-day lives as well as make it so we can easily move without having our vertebra grinding on each other as we move. If you imagine the disc as a jelly donut, the outside (annulus) is harder than the inside (nucleus). With repetitive strain and impact the jelly from the donut will eventually protrude out one side of the donut. This is the same for a disc. There is not one specific direction in which a disc jajawill herniate.

Once the disc has herniated, it can irritate near by nerves, and that is when you will have numbness or tingling sensations. Fortunately, not all people who have a herniated disc will experience numbness and tingling. “A study showed that as many as 1/3 to 1/2 of healthy asymptomatic young men consisted of having a disc bulge or herniation”.

Where does it happen? 

You can herniate a disc anywhere along the spine. There are 23 discs in the human spine: 6dddd in the neck (cervical region), 12 in the middle back (thoracic region), and 5 in the lower back (lumbar region). Although neither the Sacrum nor the connection between the skull-C1 and C1-C2 have discs.

Are you at a higher risk?

  • People who spend a lot of time sitting and leaning forward. Studies show, the highest amount of pressure measured within the intervertebral disc occurs while sitting.
  • Years of repetitive motion can gradually break down the annulus fibrosis, which will make it more vulnerable. Unfortunately, at that point any minor stress can induce a disc herniation or bulge.
  • If you are over weight your chances of a herniated disc can increase. In the body, the discs are partially supported by the pressure created by the abdominal muscles and organs; this pressure helps to keep the discs in place. Carrying around extra weight constantly strains your back— you’re practically doing heavy lifting all the time!

Can Acupuncture Help?

Acupuncture has been known to help alleviate pain, numbness, or tingling associated with herniated discs. The beauty of acupuncture is that the way the meridians flow, there are points that can actually help with back pain on your feet and hands. So for a severely acute case, the distal (hand and feet) points would be predominantly used to help alleviate pain.

In order for a disc to become herniated, there tend to be an imbalance between specific muscles. By addressing the motor points of the anterior and posterior muscles, it will help realign the spine. By properly realigning the spine, it will take any unnecessary pressure of your disc. Also, when you do come in for acupuncture, it is extremely important to let me know if you have a herniated and if you know which way it has herniated. This lets me know if I am able to needle along the spine as well.

 

Seeing your doctor, diligent acupuncture treatments and specific exercises can help you recover much quicker than if you were to just lie around. So, I have put together a little video of exercises to help with a herniated disc. Enjoy!

 

Resources:
Sports Medicine Acupuncture Manual
SpineUniverse.com
The Acupuncture Handbook of Sports Injuries and Pain
Yoga Body

 

PMS…

“Premenstrual syndrome” (PMS) is the cyclic recurrence of a group of symptoms that peak 7 to 10 days before menstruation and disappear a few hours after the onset of the menstrual flow. It is occurrent with an imbalance of estrogen and progesterone levels.

This condition is characterized by multiple and diverse symptoms including, but not limited to: breast tenderness, transient weight gain, bloating, constipation, insomnia, acne, headache, pelvic pain, irritability, depression, mood swings, poor concentration, confusion, social withdrawal, impulsiveness and appetite changes. In all there are about 150 symptoms that fall into the PMS category. While many women experience mild symptoms of short duration, other women have more severe symptoms that last for many days and temporarily disturb their every day life.

new-girl-gif1.gif

It is so very common when I am chatting with a new patients, to hear them say “yeah..” to the following questions; bloating? cramping? moodiness? cravings?, etc. We are taught that women just have to deal with menstruation as an unpleasant time of the month (for both women and men), when in actuality, menstruation shouldn’t be that bad…. Thats right, I said it!

“One study found that acupuncture quelled symptoms in 78 percent of women.”

In Chinese Medicine, there are a few pathologies and organs that might be the culprit to your PMS symptoms. Today, I am going to discuss the most common – the Liver. The Liver (not your physical organ) is in charge of free flow of energy in the body, it is also very important in holding Blood, hence the link to menstruation. The Liver is also connected quite closely to stress and agitation. So when the Liver fails to move the Qi properly throughout the body during menstruation, this is where the moodiness comes from.

Acupuncture not only improves the circulation of Qi, it also elevates endorphins in the body which leads to a better mood and decreased pain. Acupuncture can help alleviate bloating and regulates bowels as well.

Exercise is important to alleviate PMS symptoms, as is diet. Regulating emotions and Energetic-Person_1.jpgstress on a regular basis can also help decrease PMS symptoms.

So instead of covering up the symptoms with Birth Control or medication, come in for an acupuncture treatment to see a decrease in PMS symptoms.

It is important to remember that there are about six different pathologies in Chinese Medicine that lead to PMS, so not every treatment will be the same between people. And that it may take a few cycles to notice a difference, but don’t give up hope ladies. You can have a cycle that has a decrease in moodiness, cravings and bloating!

 

Resources: yinyanghouse.com, http://www.shen-nong.com/eng/exam/specialties_womenpms_treatment_acupunture.html, foundations of TCM.

A Tale of Work-Life Balance

This is not a typical post for me, it’s not about Acupuncture or Chinese Medicine modalities. It’s not about eating properly or exercising. It’s something that I have been working through myself the last few months – work-life balance.

The first building block for imbalance started about three years ago, I was in my third year of the Acupuncture program – now since I was at school thIMG_0849.JPGe imbalance wasn’t undesirable yet. However, once I graduated, moved back to Stettler and started studying for my national exams…that’s when it really hit the fan.I kept saying “just until I’m registered”. I was studying 9-12 hour days, four days a week and working the other three. My social outings consisted of getting people to quiz me. At this point in time, this behaviour was a necessity in order to successfully pass all my exams. But after eight months of constant studying and work, it was becoming normal for me. So, once I became registered I began working seven days a week – with the odd day off of course. And what did I say then? “Just until I build up my clientele”. I did this for another year.

I have always been very aware of what I eat and how active I am, but in the whirlpool of building a career I lost sight of my physical goals. I started to eat not the best foods for my body which would translate into physical pain. Night shades (bell peppers, potatoes, etc.) create inflammation in the body, which for having arthritis is a really good way to develop unnecessary pain.

As my back began to hurt more, from unnecessary stress and improper diet, my work outs diminished. I felt I had ‘no time’ to relax or meditate. One day I was on my way to work in Wetaskiwin and had taken two Advil (I hadn’t had any NSAIDs since I was 18)  for the drive, I felt almost ashamed that I had taken medication after how successful the holistic approach had been in the past. I asked myself, who am I?

I love eating healthy, exercising, acupuncture, outdoors and spending quality time with the ones I love. If it wasn’t for my love of acupuncture, I would not have been doing anything I truly enjoyed in life anymore. It was at that point that I realized that I wasn’t my priority.  My physical, emotional, and spiritual well being had been put on the back burner for much too long.

IMG_6047.jpgSo, right then I decided to decrease my working days to five days a week, make time for more than work in my life. We booked our 18 day trip to Thailand/Philippines the next week.

As some of you may know, I am in love with travelling. My perspective on so many things in life was developed while travelling. After being in my happy place for 18 days, it was a nice reset button. Don’t get me wrong – it is still a work in progress. I have to be very conscious about all my decisions. I began going to physio, chiro, and acupuncture on a regular basis. I used to say “My health needs to get back to how it was in Edmonton”. But in life you can’t move backwards, you can only continue on, slowly, one step at a time. It may not be easy, but it is always worth it. People usually need that breaking point in order to re-evaluate their lives, all breaking points are different for each person and for each phase you are at in your life. Mine right now is taking medication to do something that I have complete control over. But what if we didn’t have to reach our breaking point to change…?

So today, take a minute to evaluate each part of your life and see if you are truly happy with how much you spend on each; spiritual, mental, emotional, physical, relationships, etc. Be conscious of your choices, evaluate your happy scale on a regular basis, not just when you are saying ‘Hello!’ to your breaking point.

This was my experience, and I will leave you with a quote from my favourite book (The Four Agreements). “Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick.  Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgement, self-abuse, and regret.”

Do your best, and love yourself. The rest will come…

nelson

Cupping Therapy

I absolutely love cupping – for so many different reasons! I will tell you why I love it so much in a bit, but first… what exactly is cupping?

What is it?

Cupping is a modality that is associated with acupuncture and traditional Chinese

Cupping

Retain Cupping

medicine. The first documented treatment with cupping dates back to 300AD. It includes using a glass, bamboo, or metal jar – I use glass- and creating suction with it to then be placed on the skin. The suction is created by lighting an alcohol swab, putting fire into the cup, and then removing the fire and quickly placing the cup on the skin – therefor effectively suctioning to your skin. But don’t worry, the flame is never near the skin or the patient nor is it lit throughout the duration of the cupping session. It is common to get marks from the cups – this is good! Coloring can vary from a bit darker than skin color to dark purple depending on the pathology. The discoloration is temporary and can last from minutes to several days.

What are the different types of cupping?

There are a number of different techniques when it comes to cupping but the ones I use most common in clinic are retain, slide, and bleed cupping.

Retain cupping is when the cup is placed on the skin in a specific area and is left

IMG_5293

Bleed Cupping for low back pain.

for a certain amount of time. Usually between 10-15 minutes. Whereas slide cupping is gently moving the cups across the skin. Bleed cupping is using a lancet to make a small incision in a specific area and placing the cup over the incision. This can be extremely beneficial for certain pathologies – I have found with sacroiliac joint pain it is very useful.

Why cup?

There are so many wonderful reasons to use cupping. A few include:

  1. Muscle Tension: The suction in the cups causes the skin and superficial muscle layr to be lightly pulled up into the cup. Cupping is wonderful in that it is much like the inverse of massage – rather than applying pressure to muscles, it uses gentle pressure to pull them upward.
  2. Common Cold: Similar to Gua Sha, cupping can be effective to help overcome a common cold. By placing cups over specific acupuncture points on the back it will help remove the cold from the body.
  3. Respiratory Conditions: Similar to treatment for the common cold, the cups would be placed over specific acupuncture points. It can help control a patients asthma and
    IMG_3725

    Fire Cupping.

    other respiratory issues.

 

Cupping therapy is not for pregnant women and patients who bleed easily and/or cannot stop bleeding. In addition, cups should not be applied to areas of the body with skin ulcers, edema, infection or large blood vessels. Everyone else, enjoy!

At Goodsense, in Stettler, you can now book a 30minute session for just cupping! A great alternative to acupuncture for muscle tension if needles concern you or if you are looking for a shorter treatment session.

Exciting News!

After careful consideration and great excitement, I have decided to pursue my acupuncture career full time at Goodsense Healthcare & Happiness Boutique in Stettler. I feel so grateful for the wonderful opportunity and patients I have experienced at Refresh Wellness Centre.

The transition will take place April 1st, 2016. All the practitioners at Refresh are up to date on patient files.

 

cropped-taylorestuckey6-e1436280391894.pngNew Hours of Operation in Stettler:

            Sunday: 11am -4pm

            Monday: 12pm-7pm

            Tuesday: 2pm-9pm

            Wednesday: 6:30am-2pm

            Thursday: 9:30am-12pm, 2pm-8pm

 

4804 50 St, Stettler, AB

1-403-742-4852

http://goodsensehealthhappinessboutique.schedulista.com

Gua Sha, what is it?

For those of you who have came in for a treatment with me, you have likely experienced gua sha already. For the rest of you, time to learn something new!

Gua sha –pronounced ‘Gwa-shaw” – is an ancient modality that is part of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). It produces transitory therapeutic pethiciae, which is a fancy way of saying little red dots caused by breaking the capillaries in the area. I will explain further down in greater detail why this is so beneficial.

What to expect?

IMG_3758

Gua sha for sore traps.

First, the practitioner will lubricate the specific area – I tend to use a coconut oil mixture. Then, you will experience a rubbing or scraping sensation with a specific gua sha tool repeatedly over the effected area. Be sure to keep an open mind and let your practitioner know if the pressure is too much. It feels better than it sounds! Here are a few different reasons to love gua sha….

 

PAIN:

Blood flow is deceased anytime we experience a spasm or injury. Therefor, both uric and lactic acid can get trapped underneath the skin or within a tight muscle. This is because of the lack of drainage caused by the decreased blood flow. We use Gua sha specifically to move Qi and Blood in these types of situations. Studies have found that gua sha increases surface blood circulation by 400% for 7.5 minutes following a treatment. In that same study, two days after the treatment including gua sha, the patient had decreased pain. I have found gua sha to be very effective for neck and upper back pain, it allows me to be able to get into the muscles and fascia in such a small area.

 

AUTOIMMUNE:

Gua sha also benefits the immune system and has an anti-inflammatory effect. Gua sha can reduce inflammatory symptoms of chronic illness. And Guasha can actually help treat symptoms of hepatitis – this is because of the anti-inflammatory quality that gua sha has. Other Autoimmune diseases gua sha is effective on are; Asthma, Crohns disease, Colitis, Lupus, Rheumatoid arthritis, Sarcoidosis etc.

 

ACUTE INFECTIOUS ILLNESSES IE “The Cold”:

Well gua sha can actually reduce your fever and alter the course of an acute infectious illness. Gau sha translates directly from Chinese as, “to scrape away fever.” Traditional Chinese Medicine believes that illnesses such as colds get trapped on the exterior of our bodies, this is where they meet our immune system. This is why we suffer effects on the exterior of our bodies. For example, when we get colds, we feel them as aches in our necks, headaches, and runny noses. By using  gua sha, along with Acupuncture, it will actually expel your cold and help you along a quicker recovery. Gua sha is my go to when I catch a cold!

So, now that you know a little more about what the amazing GUA SHA can do. From a common cold to muscle pains to a chronic disease, gua sha can help!

IMG_4975

Three different types of gua sha tools (sand stone, ceramic, metal)

Refrerences

The Foundations of Chinese Medicine: A comprehensive Text – Giovanni Maciocia

http://www.pacificcollege.edu/news/press-releases/2015/05/05/science-gua-sha

http://www.medigogy.com/archives/science-gua-sha-anti-inflammation-and-immune-protection

Fall Equinox Cleanse

With the equinox approaching, it is a great time to do a cleanse! An autumn fast eliminates the residue from excess sweet and cooling foods we tend to enjoy in the summer, and helps our body prepare for the storage season of winter. I personally don’t think you should just do any cleanse just any time of the year. I also don’t think that a cleanse should be a scary thing or make you not want to leave your house. Depending on if we are going into summer or winter will determine the type of cleanse I choose.

steamingIn the autumn I promote a steamed vegetable cleanse, this cleanse is particularity beneficial to the colon due to the increase in fiber. The reason I like steamed vegetables at this time of year is because it is getting colder out and our body is trying to prepare for winter – a juice cleanse or complete fast would not be as beneficial at this time in the year as it would be in the transition from cold to warm weather.

Why cleanse?

  1. Well, because a lot of the food we eat today is not actually that good for us (sadly not surprising..). A lot of our everyday typical foods are made in factories, gmo, have pesticides… it goes on. We need to give our body a chance to eliminate the toxins a few times a year for ultimate health.
  2. Virtually every religious and healing tradition recommends fasting for therapeutic or spiritual advantages.
  3. To overcome emotional attachment to food – ah yes… this one I think we all know about. When you’re tired/ angry/ sad do you reach for a particular food? This is not a healthy attachment, a cleanse will help reset your body in a way.
  4. Between seasons, we eat and live differently in Canada where we have a very extreme difference between summer and winter. I like doing a spring cleaning and fall flush to help my body prepare.

Any Cautions?

  1. I would recommend avoiding a cleanse in the middle of winter on a very cold day – or any cold weather actually. If you really want to, do a 1-2 day cleanse, an extended fast could be harmful.Six-Top-Cleansing-Foods
  2. Do not cleanse during pregnancy or lactation. You need to nourish your body at that time with a health building diet.
  3. It is not advised to cleanse during a serious physical or mental degeneration – unless advised by your doctor.
  4. It is important to remember that a cleanse is to remove the toxins from your body. Not every cleanse is appropriate for every person. Just like in Acupuncture, we treat each person differently and so does food. It can depend on your emotional state, your blood type and your constitution what cleanse will and will not be beneficial.

I tend to do a juice cleanse around the spring equinox or summer solstice and a steamed vegetable cleanse around the fall equinox. I do this because a liquid cleanse is more cleansing and alkaline forming whereas a steamed vegetable cleanse is building and acid forming. I also enjoy using the equinox and solstice as my cleanse time because it is a time full of movement and self cleansing.

TWO CLEANSE OPTIONS:

Steamed Vegetable Cleanse

  • If you have been over eating – especially sweets, nuts, beans, grains, dairy or eggs. (See why this cleanse is awesome for after summer!)
  • Take at most three different vegetables at a time.
  • Lightly steam vegetables.
  • Drink water or herbal tea according to thirst.
  • 3-5 days.

Whole Grain Fast

  • If you want to improve metal focus.
  • 3 days.
  • Rice, Millet.
  • Water or grain beverage between meals.
  • Can eat sourdough bread (naturally leavened bread of unrefined grains).
  • Can add black peppercorn, fennel, cumin, and/or ginger.
  • A mug bean and rice fast is commonly used by yogis and referred to as ‘the food of the gods’.

There will be more cleanses when spring comes, I promise! Join me and give one of these cleanses a shot and see how you feel.

nelson

“A healthy outside starts from the inside” – Robert Urich