At long last, we are seeing and experiencing the sunshine that Indian summer brings to our lovely community. With the Autumn Equinox behind us, it is not uncommon to feel a damp chill in the early mornings and late afternoons. During this change of seasons, faced with the likelihood of erratic temperatures, we are increasingly vulnerable to the common cold. I have already started seeing patients presenting at my clinic with light asthma, chills, neck aches, sore throats and sniffles. The Chinese believe it is most important to keep the back of one’s neck covered to protect from “the disease of the thousand evil winds”.
The cause of the common cold, as well as its cure, still remains a mystery to modern medicine. However, when we look to nature, we see Oriental medical thinking at its best. The Chinese character for wind is combined with the character for evil, so together they form the word evil wind, or the Oriental equivalent of the common cold. This evil wind is able to penetrate the body through the back of the neck when there is a deficiency of Qi or Lifeforce.
We all posses an invisible powerful layer of Qi around our bodies. Think of this defensive Qi as a protective energy shield. When this outer protection becomes weakened by poor dietary habits, lack of sleep, inadequate exercise, lifestyle excess, exposure to pathogens or erratic temperatures, evil wind is able to penetrate our body due to deficiency of Qi. This explains the high collars of traditional Oriental coats and jackets. Great care is taken to protect the vulnerable back of the neck. The lung transporting points of the back are located very close to the base of the neck, supporting the belief that we often suffer from stiffness of the neck and shoulders, sore throats, as well as stuffy or runny noses, at the beginning of a cold. Most of us posses within our bodies all the resources needed to overcome a common cold. My approach to treatment is to strengthen the body’s curative mechanisms, and watch as the immune system takes over to heal from within. One way to heal from the common cold is to make sure we use food as medicine.
I support shopping at the local farmers’ market on weekends. If you are able to prepare for the week ahead of time, it is very easy to prepare a pot of warming soup before the onrush of Monday morning. If you can, buy organic fruits and vegetables whenever possible do so.
During the busy week, I always have on hand what I need to put together quick and healthy, delicious meals. Healthy choices are immediately awaiting you. This way, you can eat nourishing, EnerQi lifting foods while supporting local organic farmers. By keeping our bodies healthy and strong, our minds work better, as does our immune system.
Then we have the power to contribute positively to our families and our communities.
It really is all about convenience. Here are some easy and favorite nourishing recipes that I am cooking up in my autumn and winter kitchen.
SEASONAL CLEANSING SOUP
- Bring 1 gallon of Alkaline or bottled water to a boil in a large stock pot.
- Add as many chopped, varied, seasonal, colored vegetables (making sure to include dark, leafy greens) as you can to the water. Include scallions, leeks or onions and fresh garlic to your taste preference.
- Allow to simmer for 20 minutes.
- Take off heat and allow the vegetables to blanch until the water cools.
- Add chopped fresh parsley or cilantro and the juice of 1 lemon.
- Season with sea salt and/or pepper.
*Throughout the week, you may add to the stock pot or your individual bowl: fish, chicken, saffron rice, lentils, a poached egg: feel free to experiment with anything that sounds good and is healthy.
- 1 large eggplant or 4 small ones of varied colors, cut into cubes
- 1 large sweet onion, coarsely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, pressed
- Chopped fresh tomatoes to your taste preference
- 1 chopped green pepper
- 1 chopped red pepper
- 1 or 2 cups of diced mushrooms
- 3 or 4 green zucchinis sliced to medium thickness.
- 1 can tomato paste
- 1/8-cup of olive oil
- 1/8-cup of balsamic vinegar, plus a splash, if needed
- Sea salt to taste
- 1 large, fresh rosemary sprig
- In large stock pot, sauté garlic, onions and mushrooms in olive oil until onions are translucent and golden.
- Add the tomatoes, rosemary sprig and the red and green peppers; cook the mixture over moderate to high heat; sauté until softened. (You may need to add more olive oil.)
- Pour in 1/8-cup of balsamic vinegar, stirring well.
- Add the chopped eggplant, zucchini and the tomato paste, along with more balsamic vinegar if mixture is too thick.
- Cook until vegetables are tender and soft.
- Season with sea salt, to taste.
*Keep for up to one week in the refrigerator and reheat, or freeze remaining portion. Eat over spaghetti squash, zucchini, baked garlic potato or fresh spinach.
ALMOST POTATO CHIPS
Use thin-sliced yams, sweet potatoes, Yukon gold, red or creamier white potato.
- Use 1 potato for each person – they go fast!
- Thinly slice your potatoes and place on a foil-lined cookie sheet.
- Sprinkle with olive oil.
- Place in preheated 375-degree oven for 30-45 minutes, or until chips are brown and crisp. Season with sea salt.
*Serve with hummus, yogurt dip or ketchup.
SWEETS FOR THE SWEET: 3 WINNING HEALTHY AUTUMN/WINTER DESSERTS
1. Baked apples with nuts and raisins
2. Pear sauce (like applesauce!) over crumbled ginger snaps or vanilla yogurt
3. Warm winter-fruit compotes
*Add cinnamon, cinnamon, cinnamon!
(A bit is brandy or cognac is warming as well.)
DON’T FORGET! STRIVE TO INCLUDE THESE FOODS IN YOUR DAILY DIET CHOICES:
7 heart-healthy high-protein foods:
- 1 cup soybeans or edamame
- 1 cup cooked pasta
- 1 cup kidney beans, canned
- 1 large egg
- 1 ounce almonds, cashews, walnuts, brazil nuts, pumpkin seeds
- 1 medium slice of tofu
- 1 cup of cooked spinach or other leafy greens
Omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA, from flax seeds and flax oil.
*Fatty acids support: heart health, memory, inflammatory response and the nervous system. They also keep your skin soft and supple.
JUST IN CASE:
My go-to list for preventive herbals/homeopathics cold/sniffle/flu remedies include:
- Gan Mao Ling: Take at the first sign of scratchy throat 2-6x/day
- Oscillococcinum: Dissolve entire contents of one tube sublingually or in your mouth every 6 hours up to 3xs/day for the first day (no food or drink 15 minutes before or after).
- Traumeel: For body aches, muscular pain or inflammation: 1-2 tablets dissolved sublingually or in mouth up to 3x/day.
- Emergen-C: Dissolve in water and drink throughout the day.
- Zinc: 30 mcg, 1x/day with food.
- Wellness Formula: 2x/day, morning and evening.
Apply sesame seed oil on damp skin after a warm bath to nourish all seven layers of the skin. Ayurvedic massage often incorporates sesame seed oil because of its heavy qualities and calming elements. Sesame oil is also heating and important to incorporate to keep skin healthy and vibrant during the cool autumn and winter seasons. Remember to massage in upward, circular motions toward the heart.
WORTH CHECKING OUT:
Eco-wine: Organic wine whose grapes are grown without genetically modified seeds, free from fertilizers, sewage sludge and conventional pesticides. These wines contain no added sulfates. Research has shown that drinking moderate amounts of red wine is good for your heart. It may also protect against neurological diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, as well as inhibit certain types of cancers.
*Find these wines at Jimbo’s Naturally and Whole Foods, as well as other health food stores.
MORE GRAPE GOODNESS:
Instead of wine, first Blush Grape Juice is another heart-healthy, antioxidant-rich way to get the nutrition you need, while enjoying some of the most delicious cabernet, anti-alcohol grape juice around. Read more at: ww.firstblushjuice.com.
Make sure to review Chapter 10 from my book, The EnerQi Connection, to gain a deeper understanding of the vital importance of colors and foods. This chapter provides insight into why we make the decisions we make, and how we can elicit change through powerful mental and physical choices as we maintain balance and harmony within.
Now is a great time to make your fall/winter tune-up acupuncture appointment, if you have not already done so. Remember, it’s all about balance! Please feel free to email me with any questions, concerns or ideas you have! www.balancedenerqi.com