Happy Chinese New Year!

February 3, 2011 Leave a comment

by, chooyutshing @flickr.com

 

Today marks the eve’ of the Chinese New Year; the year of the Rabbit!  For the next 15 days; until the Full moon, those who celebrate the Chinese New Year will take part in many different traditional celebrations & parties.  But where do these traditions come from and what do they entail?  Check out my previous post from the 2009 for more info on this.  Just click here.

For those who are born in the year of the Rabbit are in for a very fortunate future, the rabbit in Chinese mythology is thought to be the ’emblem of longevity’.  The rabbit possesses great graciousness, kindheartedness, good manners and a sensitivity to beauty.  In addition a person born under the sign of the rabbit; is a good friend, sensitive, soft-spoken, amiable, elegant, reserved, cautious, artistic, thorough, tender, self-assured, shy, astute, compassionate, lucky, flexible.  But just like anybody, they will have their ‘down side’ as well and can be moody, detached, superficial, self-indulgent, opportunistic, stubborn.

A child born in the Rabbit’s year will have a sweet disposition. Even-tempered and obedient, he will be sensitive to the moods of his parents and act accordingly. He may or may not be talkative, but he won’t be rowdy or offensive. He can sit quietly and concentrate on one toy or game at a time.

Usually he is a light sleeper and may fret a lot when he is sick. He will be easy to discipline and should have little trouble fitting in at school. He learns his lessons well and with ease. But although he has better than average manners, this does not mean he will not be argumentative in his own soft-spoken way. He can grasp both sides of a question quickly and debate his point with intelligence.

At times, it will be difficult to decipher his thoughts or deeds. Smooth at masking his feelings, the Rabbit will only say what he knows will please you and thus maneuver you to his way of thinking without your even noticing it.

He will be able to fend for himself and protect his possessions. Remarkably observant, he can calculate his chances for getting his way. Instead of directly resisting rules, the subtle Rabbit will carefully devise ways around them. In short, this polite little angel is going to bargain for a better deal every time (www.theholidayspot.com; Feb. 2, 2011).

He can take reproach with a defiant or philosophical sort of indifference. Shrugging off his setbacks, the Rabbit will patiently start again from square one. Helpful at home, conforming in school and well-tuned to his environment, this child will know his way around people and problems. Rest assured he will be well-liked and accepted in all circles (.

Each year is marked by a different animal in the Chinese Zodiac; and each year is blessed with it’s own theme based on the ‘personality’ of the zodiac sign.  So what will this year bring us with the energy of the rabbit?

This year we are under the influence of the Metal Rabbit.  The rabbit in general will bring us a year of peace and tranquility, a time to recharge our batteries and refresh our spirits; something we can probably all use especially after the ‘ferocious’ year of the Tiger.  In addition, the Metal element will bring a competitive edge to the tranquil bunny.

From one website:

A placid year, very much welcomed and needed after the ferocious year of the Tiger. We should go off to some quiet spot to lick our wounds and get some rest after all the battles of the previous year.

Good taste and refinement will shine on everything and people will acknowledge that persuasion is better than force. A congenial time in which diplomacy, international relations and politics will be given a front seat again. We will act with discretion and make reasonable concessions without too much difficulty.

A time to watch out that we do not become too indulgent. The influence of the Rabbit tends to spoil those who like too much comfort and thus impair their effectiveness and sense of duty.

Law and order will be lax; rules and regulations will not be rigidly enforced. No one seems very inclined to bother with these unpleasant realities. They are busy enjoying themselves, entertaining others or simply taking it easy. The scene is quiet and calm, even deteriorating to the point of somnolence. We will all have a tendency to put off disagreeable tasks as long as possible

Money can be made without too much labor. Our life style will be languid and leisurely as we allow ourselves the luxuries we have always craved for. A temperate year with unhurried pace. For once, it may seem possible for us to be carefree and happy without too many annoyances (www.theholidayspot.com; Feb. 2, 2011).

For more reading on the personality of the rabbit and what is to come, click the link above or just simply google chinese astrology…  I am a sucker for these kinds of things.

Here’s another link:  http://pages.infinit.net/garrick/chinese/rabbit.html

So, whether you are taking part in the festivities or not, get ready for a great year!  I am especially looking forward to the year to come as I will be going through some big life changes and I surely could use some peacefulness and tranquility in the process as well as a nice recharge to my battery!  Coming up this year, I will be graduating with a Master’s in Oriental Medicine, getting my Acupuncture license, starting my own business, moving back in with my boyfriend (after 3 years of living long distance and finishing school) & becoming an Aunt (hopefully in the next 7 days! An early congrats to Aaron and Erika Hill!)  Anyway, the list goes on and certainly change is in the air, so it’s nice to know that their will be a fluidity and sense of ease that comes with the rabbit.

Till next time…  Happy New Year!

Erin

Sources:

2011 is the year of the rabbit. (2011, February 2). Retrieved from http://www.theholidayspot.com/chinese_new_year/more_zodiacs/rabbit.htm

Chinese zodiac. (2011, February 2). Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_Zodiac

 

 

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GMO’s Taking Over

January 31, 2011 Leave a comment

By, ConstructionDealMarketing @flickr.com

In the wake of a 12-year battle to keep Monsanto’s Genetically Engineered (GE) crops from contaminating the nation’s 25,000 organic farms and ranches, America’s organic consumers and producers are facing betrayal. A self-appointed cabal of the Organic Elite, spearheaded by Whole Foods Market, Organic Valley, and Stonyfield Farm, has decided it’s time to surrender to Monsanto. Top executives from these companies have publicly admitted that they no longer oppose the mass commercialization of GE crops, such as Monsanto’s controversial Roundup Ready alfalfa, and are prepared to sit down and cut a deal for “coexistence” with Monsanto and USDA biotech cheerleader Tom Vilsack (examiner.com, 2011)

Continue reading on Examiner.com: Whole Foods and other organic groceries cave in to Monsanto and GMO products – National Finance Examiner | Examiner.com http://www.examiner.com/finance-examiner-in-national/whole-foods-and-other-organic-groceries-cave-to-monsanto-and-gmo-products#ixzz1CYfiOlay

Just when I thought we were on the right path, and there were still some company’s out there trying to support health, nutrition and wellbeing.  Once again, big corporations who are more interested in their income than health, win again.  I am a subscriber to the Environmental Working Group e-mail serve and every so often they send letters out concerning petitions and other chances for us to sign letters supporting healthy eating, environmental sustainability, non-toxic babies you name it.  Recently the past 4 that I have received from them are regarding the laws pertaining to GMO’s (genetically modified foods) and Monsanto.  I did my part and sent a letter to the government, hoping that enough people may do the same in order to make a difference; however, it still seems that as progressive as we (I) think we are in supporting healthy, non genetically modified, pesticide and chemical free foods, we are still under the big hand of those in control (those who make the decisions also control the $, i.e. big corps & big pharma).

So, in an effort to support your own health and those closest to you; family and friends, spread the word and get informed.  Read your labels, research where your food comes from; find out if it’s organic or ‘natural’ and what exactly that means.  A little knowledge can go a long way and your health and wellbeing depends on it.  We are what we eat; literally, and if we keep pumping ourselves full of non-nutrient dense foods, filled with chemicals; how are our bodies supposed to thrive?

And to lighten things up a bit after that depressing news; this all reminds me of a scene in the new show Portlandia… and yes, though a little extreme, those of you who do live in Portland or are familiar with it know that it isn’t too far off.  Love it!

 

 

Source:

Schortgen, K. (2011, January 28). Whole foods and other organic groceries cave in to monsanto and gmo products [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://www.examiner.com/finance-examiner-in-national/whole-foods-and-other-organic-groceries-cave-to-monsanto-and-gmo-products

 

RIP Jack LaLanne

January 24, 2011 Leave a comment

Here’s a little tribute to the late and great juice-master himself…

I’ll take it as a sign to cut sugar for the next week and thereafter.  I’m usually pretty good about not taking in any refined sugars, but for some reason the past week has not been pretty and I have been paying for it.  Here’s to a new week; who’s with me.  Rest in peace Jack Lallane.

 

A Dream Job

November 30, 2010 Leave a comment

by, Megan Mallen @ Flickr

While I do believe I will be happy working just about anywhere I end up, deep down I secretly think Lisa Ripi (see New York Times article below) has created something of a dream job…

Before I started acupuncture school I always considered getting into sports medicine and seriously considered going to physical therapy school.  My undergraduate degree was from Univ. of Colorado @ Boulder in Integrative Physiology and they had an amazing sports medicine program that I was fortunate to be a part of.   Growing up I participated in many sports as well as spending much of my teens skiing for the US Development Freestyle Ski Team.  An athlete myself I have always wanted to work with athletes and hope to do so in the future (maybe sooner than later as I will graduate in just under a year).

These days Acupuncture is getting into the mainstream and articles like this are both great for the publicity of a great health care modality and can be a huge benefit to athletes of all types.

New York Times:  Acupuncturist Lisa Ripi Treats 40 NFL Players in 4 Cities

Till next time,

~be well~

Erin

 

 

Treating Eczema

November 15, 2010 Leave a comment

By, clevercupcakes @ flickr

As if people suffering from Eczema really want more to deal with, a study recently published in the British Journal of Dermatology claims that using emollient skin lotions that contain Sodium Laurel Sulfates (SLS) on eczematous skin might exacerbate the problem.  What’s more, people who have itchy/eczematous skin apply these lotions liberally as a means to soothe the skin & it’s one of the commonly prescribed forms of treatment regarding eczema.

“Our study has found that rubbing aqueous cream containing SLS into the skin thins this protective barrier, making the skin more susceptible to irritation by chemicals.

“So to use this cream on eczematous skin, which is already thin and vulnerable to irritation, is likely to make the condition even worse.”

Postgraduate researcher Manda Tsang worked on the project as part of her PhD CASE studentship funded by the Biotechnology & Biological Sciences Research Council with York Pharma Plc.

Tsang said: “Eczema affects around 30 per cent of the population, an increase from around five per cent a generation ago.

“This is due to a combination of genetic and environmental factors, such as central heating and carpets that can encourage dust mites, and using more creams and cosmetics that can thin the skin if used too frequently (University of Bath, 2010).

Being a victim of skin issues (basically all my life), I suffered from eczema that got progressively worse in my early twenties and lasted up until this past year.  Thankfully, I have been lucky enough to manage it on my own through chinese medicine, chinese herbs, acupuncture, diet and lifestyle… but it took years of me trying product after product and consulting doctor after doctor  to realize that nobody actually did know how to help me.

Eczema is right up there with asthma and allergies; these three disorders actually make up what we refer to as the Atopic Triad (they are commonly found in conjunction with one another and are very obscure disorders that are affecting more and more people).  Steroid creams have their place in treatment and can be very helpful, however, research shows these are only safe to use for two weeks at a time, not a lifetime.  We can identify the things that exacerbate these conditions (sometimes) & work to avoid them; but sometimes it is so many different things causing the eczema that sifting through them can be exhausting, frustrating and time-consuming.  Not to mention the fact that it could be the very thing that we think is helping, which is making it worse… much worse.  Case in point, sodium laurel sulfate’s (SLS); commonly found in all sorts of dermatologic & cosmetic products.  It has been shown to cause a short list of health issues including organ system toxicity, skin irritation, endocrine disruption and has been linked to cancer.  If you don’t believe me, check out the Environmental Working Group’s cosmetic’s database:  Skin Deep.

For me, eczema was a huge struggle, I spent years of sleepless nights, had the pleasure of feeling ‘crazy’ itchy, a sensation that still haunts me to this day, I had numerous patches of eczema pretty much covering all of my limbs and the frustration of not finding help everywhere I looked.  I found relief in steroid creams and the only information I could get from my allergist was a blood test that told us my IgE (that’s the allergy Immunoglobulin that tells you there is an allergic reaction happening in the body) levels were through the roof, but no insight as to what to do about it.  So, I sought care under an acupuncturist and herbalist, changed my diet (cut out grains and most sugars), moved out of the house I was living in and stopped using ANY and all lotions on my skin.  Knock on wood, here I am 8 years later (finally) without a spot of eczema and able to sleep.  Anyway, I’ll get off my soapbox, but if there is something positive to take away from all of this, I now have a great appreciation for what I’ve learned through that process and I currently have a couple of cases in clinic who have skin disorders and I’m really enjoying the chance to work with them.  We learn the best from our own life experiences and I only hope I can use mine to help others in need.

Till next time,

~be well~

Erin

Sources:

University of Bath (2010, November 13). Creams used to treat eczema could make it worse, study      suggests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 14, 2010, from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101018074536.htm

SKOG

September 27, 2010 Leave a comment

Coming soon November 2010… a new kind of training system that will give you the body you’ve always wanted, the flexibility, the strength and the confidence you never knew you could have.  I know I sound like one of those cheesy infomercials… & wait for it… that is what I’ll be; however, it really is all it’s cracked up to be and truly something you will want to try out for yourself!  Health is not just about the mental, emotional & spiritual body, but the physical as well.  In training the physical body, we can improve our mood, improve memory & sleep, not to mention it further enhances our ability to maintain a healthy body, mind & spirit.  Many of us know this, but finding a way to exercise that is fun, gets results and is something you can do at home in a short amount of time without a whole bunch of equipment is a whole different thing; and Kettlebell *the SKOG system* defines that. 

As a part-time job while I’m not treating people in the clinic (with Acupuncture, chinese herbs and bodywork), I train people at Spinach Gym in downtown Portland.  We are a Kettlebell gym and coming soon in November 2010 we will be releasing the SKOG Kettlebell System; a set of workout DVD’s, and yes, that is me in the video. 

So ask yourself one thing… Do you want to get in the best shape of your life? 

I can honestly tell you that I have never been as fit as I am right now since starting Kettlebell training. In addition I also feel the best emotionally and mentally than I have since I can remember, and I owe it all to Kettlebell and the Skogg’s *Michael & Sue; the owner’s of SKOG and Spinach Gym*!

I have been an athlete all my life and a member of the US Freestyle Development Ski Team and I have never loved training as much or felt as fit as I do now with Kettlebells.  If you want to lose weight, improve your stamina, increase your performance for any sport, Kettlebell will do that for you.  It truly is all it’s talked up to be! 

If you are in the Portland area, try it for yourself; sign up for a Free Week at Spinach Gym on 11th & Everett, & ask about our new 60 day challenge, or just stop by to say hi.  I’m telling you, you won’t regret it… and if you do, I’ll personally buy you a cupcake from across the street.

For more personal testimony, please check out this blog, written by one of our members; Lisa Collins LMT:  How To Get in the Best Shape of Your Life

Till next time…

~be well~

Erin

Soy & Your Health…

September 20, 2010 Leave a comment

Anti-nutrient, check… Genetically modified, check… questionable marketing, CHECK!

For years Soy has been hailed as a healthy food that everyone simply must add into their diet; but has it lived up to its expectations?  Soy proponents offer a list of health benefits including (and not limited to), protection against breast, colon &  prostate cancer, as well as osteoporosis & asthma, just to name a few.  I’m sure you’ve even heard that a little soy milk might even be good for premenstrual cramps.  The industry has boomed in the past 10 or so years and marketing continues to promote the product as a healthy food when in fact they are missing out on a very important element…. it’s the fermented soy that has the health benefits… and not all soy is fermented!  Soy milk, yogurt, ice-cream, cheese… yep, you guessed it, non-fermented soy.  Have we been mildly deceived this whole time?  I guess one could argue they (the soy marketing guru’s) have been telling the truth this whole time, just not the whole truth… and after all, we never asked.

“The vast majority of soy at your local market is not a health food. The exception is fermented soy, which I’ll explain more about later and even worse GMO soy that is contaminated with large pesticide residues as the reason it is GMO is so they can spray the potent toxic herbicide Roundup on them to improve crop production by killing the weeds.

Unlike the Asian culture, where people eat small amounts of whole non-GMO soybean products, western food processors separate the soybean into two golden commodities—protein and oil. And there is nothing natural or safe about these products” (Mercola, 2010).

In addition to this; non-fermented soy has been linked to a laundry list of health disorders such as breast cancer, kidney stones, infant abnormalities and brain damage. Not to mention it is notoriously genetically modified as well as an anti-nutrient (meaning it interferes with the bodies normal ability to absorb other nutrients and can disrupt digestion as well as your vitamin/mineral/amino acid absorption).

If you are drinking & eating soy products because you are dairy free (lactose intolerant), nowadays there are many other options out there..  For example  rice, nut and coconut alternatives are generally easy to find at your local grocer and if not, there is always the option to ask for it.  For more information about soy and your health, please refer to the article cited below, it goes into much more detail on what types of soy products are healthy (fermented), why it’s good for you and more specifics on why unfermented soy is so unhealthy.  In addition, he (Dr. Mercola) shares a long list of other links for more information on such topics as, soy and kidney health, soy and cancer or soy and childhood development. 

Until next time…

~be well~

Erin

Sources:

The truth about soy: what the latest research says.  (2010, September).  Dr. Mercola Newsletter.  Retrieved from http://www.mercola.com/article/soy/index.htm

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