Why we all should eliminate refined sugar from our diets

Sugar comes in all forms, the most beneficial are those from whole foods. These are the good sugars that are beneficial and necessary to our body – in moderation. It is the refined sugars that, frankly, have no place in our diet.

Refined sugar in your body

1. Increases inflammation in the body. Ingesting refined sugar triggers the release of inflammatory messengers called cytokines.

2. Mineral imbalance. “Refined sugar passes quickly into the bloodstream in large amounts, giving the stomach and pancreas shock. An acid condition forms which consumes the body’s minerals quickly” – Healing with whole foods. An example is a loss of calcium from the system resulting in bone problems.

3. Sugar has been known to compromise the immune system. It lowers the efficiency of white blood cells.

4. Excess sweet foods (or poor quality sweets) promote unhealthy mucus conditions in the body which makes a wonderful living situation for yeast and fungi.

5. Addictive. Dopamine is released in the reward centre of the brain when sugar is consumed. “Consuming sugar produces effects similar to that of cocaine, altering mood, possibly through its ability to induce reward and pleasure, leading to the seeking out of sugar”.

Health issues related to the intake of large amounts of refined sugar include but are not limited to: obesity, hypoglycaemia, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, tooth decay, bone loss, immune deficiency, anemia, male impotence, cancer, PMS, menstrual problems, yeast infections, herpes outbreaks, negative thoughts, loss of memory and concentration, fatty liver disease… to name a few.

Other words for sugar

Anhydrous dextrose, brown sugar, cane crystals, cane sugar, corn sweetener, corn syrup, corn syrup solids, crystal dextrose, evaporated cane juice, fructose sweetener, fruit juice concentrates, high-fructose corn syrup, honey, liquid fructose, malt syrup, maple syrup, molasses, raw sugar, syrup, white sugar, fructose, lactose, maltose, carbitol, diglycerides, disaccharides, erythritol, fructooligosaccharides, galactose, glucitol, glucoamine, hexitol, inversol, isomalt, maltodextrin, malted barley, malts, mannitol, nectars, pentose, raisin syrup, ribose rice syrup, rice malt, rice syrup solids, sorbitol, sorghum, sucanat, sucanet, xylitol and zylose.

References:

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/aug/25/is-sugar-really-as-addictive-as-cocaine-scientists-row-over-effect-on-body-and-brain

Healing with Whole Foods-Paul Pitchford

The Wisdom of Your Tongue

When you have an acupuncture treatment – no matter what part of the world – it is quite common for the practitioner to ask to see your tongue. It also is quite common for the patient to feel silly, surprised, or confused when you ask to see their tongue. That is until I explain why the tongue is so important to me.

The tongue is a micro system of the body, and contrary to popular belief,  all tongues are not the same.  The colour, size, coat, and moistness level all vary dependant on the person.  Even if there are a few physical symptoms that seem contradictory and make a diagnosis more difficult, a tongue is extremely reliable.

toungue

Lets start with Body Color:

This is the colour of the physical tongue, not the coat it may have.

  • Pale: Deficiency of Yang or Blood.
  • Red: Heat.
  • Deep-Red: Severe Heat.
  • Purple: Blood Stagnation.
  • Blue: Cold leading to Blood Stagnation.

Tongue Size:

I will go over only the common ones, because there are a lot!

  • Thin: Blood Deficiency, Chronic.
  • Swollen: Dampness or Phlegm.
  • Long: Heat.

  • Short:Cold, Extreme Yin Deficiency.
  • Cracked: A crack can indicate a few things, but the easiest to understand is if the crack is in the middle of your tongue can indicate stomach issues.
  • Toothmarks: These are along the sides of your teeth and look like your tongue has moulded your tongue. This indicates the very common Spleen Qi Deficiency.
  • Quivering: Also Spleen Qi Deficiency.

Tongue Coat:

A great example of this is that thick tongue coat you have that you try to brush off but never really goes away… well thats because it represents what is happening in your body.

  • Yellow: Heat.
  • White: Cold.

Sometimes the coat is only on specific parts of your tongue too.

Tongue Moisture:

  • Too Wet: Dampness, Yang Deficiency.
  • Too Dry: Heat or Yin Deficiency.
  • Slippery/Sticky: Phlegm/Dampness.

Organs on the Tongue:

  • tongue_diagnosisCentre: Spleen/Stomach
  • Sides: Liver/ GallBladder
  • Root/Back: Kidney, Bladder, Intestines
  • Tip: Heart
  • Between tip and centre: Lung

 

I know that is a lot to take in, so here is an example.

If two people come in experiencing pain, I will look to see what the tongue looks like. If one is purple that represents a Blood Stagnation and will require a different treatment than patient #2 with the pale tongue. The second patients’ tongue would  indicate a Blood Deficiency. Even though both patients come in with the same complaint, it would be a different treatment because of how the tongue looks.

 

“When the Liver is harmonious, there is never stress or tension” – Dealing with Liver Qi Stagnation

When you hear Liver Qi ‘chee’ Stagnation, what do you think? Probably the first few thoughts that come to mind are “well I have no idea at all”, “that’s not a thing”, and/or “um… what’s wrong with my liver?”

Well, in Chinese Medicine your Liver has a very specific action on the Qi –or energy- of your body. When I speak about the Liver, Spleen, Heart, etc., it isn’t your physical heart or liver- the anatomy of those organs is probably fine- it is the Chinese Medicine aspect of the energy of the meridian and TCM organ. Each meridian is associated with an organ, hence its name.

Now that you know I’m not talking about your physical liver, we can talk about what exactly Liver Qi Stagnation is!

Your Liver is a huge player in TCM, it controls the smooth flow of Qi in your body, stores blood, controls sinews, opens into the eyes, and is affected by anger. Today, we are going to only focus on the smooth flow of Qi. The smooth flow of Liver-Qi is essential to all physiological processes throughout the whole body, in every organ and part of the body. So…. When Liver Qi becomes stagnant, there is a lot of disharmony that may occur.

Common symptoms of Liver Qi Stagnation include; PMS, distended breast before period, irritability, depression, moodiness, feeling ‘wound up’, sighing, abdominal distention, irregular periods, and potentially feeling like there is a lump in your throat.

Like the majority of our society, I am or have experienced most of those symptoms at a variety of different times. Due to our hectic lifestyles, it is quite common for people to have an underlying Liver Qi stagnation. When the Liver Qi is not moving as it should, it will slowly start to effect the Spleen, Heart, and so on. That is when the bloating, poor digestion, poor sleep, head aches can come into play.

There are a few things you can do to help yourself and your Liver. By releasing endorphins and regulating Qi, acupuncture is huge in regulating the smooth flow of Liver Qi. Reducing stressors in your life will also help- take up walking in nature, meditation, and exercise. Really, whatever it might be to help you release that stress and irritability will be huge. And of course your diet will greatly affect your Liver Qi.

Eating in moderation, not eating late meals or being stressed during or after the meal. Eating pungent such as lemon and onions as well as raw foods are ‘anti-stagnant’ and will help the Liver-Qi flow smoothly. I drink lemon water every morning, it is a wonderful way to start the day and help regulate Liver Qi. Bitter foods will also help resolve Liver-Qi stagnation.

Some suggested foods are; onions, small amounts of citrus, garlic, asparagus, sp-qiturmeric, chestnuts, beets, cabbage, celery, carrots, and dill. And now some foods to decrease or restrict include; cheese, eggs, deep fried foods, beer, spicy meals, pizza, nuts, refined sugars, and raw vegetable juices.

If any of these symptoms sound like you, I would highly suggest incorporating a few of these dietary and lifestyle adaptations along with acupuncture. I know it helped me!

References:

Healing with Whole Foods – Paul Pitchford

Foundations of Chinese Medicine – Giovanni Maciocia