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About 8 months ago from Margaret Lee's Twitter via Instagram

I Love Green Smoothies! Do you?

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Green smoothies have become a healthy addiction for me, I have one every morning. It’s my version of a morning coffee to give me the needed energy and nutrients to start the day.

Smoothies are:

  • Great way to add greens and vegetables to your diet. Greens are alkalizing and healthy but most of us do not eat enough of them. It is much easier to drink your greens than to eat a salad for some.
  • Customize it with whatever flavour you want and add in superfoods to give your body a boost.
  • Easy, quick to make and portable so you can take it anywhere.

Many of you have asked what type of smoothies I drink before and after exercise. Below are two smoothies, one that is energizing for before a workout and another to replenish the body afterwards.

Energizing green smoothie:

  • 1 cup spinach/kale
/collard greens
  • 1 banana
  • 1 1/2 cup almond milk/hemp milk/water
  • 1 tsp spirulina
  • 1/2 tsp maca powder
  • 1 date (optional, for added sweetness and energy)

Rehydrating and Replenishing green smoothie:

  • 1 cup kale/spinach/collard greens
  • 1 orange
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 cup coconut water
  • 1 scoop of plant based protein or 1 cup greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp chia seeds

 

Frequently Asked Questions on Acupuncture

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Many of you have asked what is Acupuncture and what does it do? Here is a summary of what Acupuncture does and what it can treat.

Acupuncture is a therapy that has been used for many thousands of years to stimulate the body to heal and maintain good health. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), acupuncture points are located along pathways that run along the body where Qi (energy) flows. The foundation to good health is balanced and properly free flowing Qi. Pain and disease are the result when these channels become blocked and imbalanced. The goal of acupuncture is to bring balance to the energy pathways and support the body to heal itself.

In Western science, studies have shown that the majority of acupuncture points are located at trigger points, near nerve endings, in the area of peripheral nerves and motor points. Following a treatment, a variety of substances are released into the body such as endorphins, serotonin and neuropeptides/neurotransmitters to help relieve pain and aid in relaxation.

Sterilized one time use disposable needles are used to stimulate the points treating various health conditions, relieving pain and restoring overall health.

Some of the conditions that can benefit from Acupuncture:

- Pain relief of the neck, back, shoulder, injuries etc.

- Infertility

- Helps to relieve stress, anxiety, improve sleep

- Prenatal and postnatal care

- Boost energy and immunity

- PMS, menstrual disorders

- Headaches, migraines

- Menopausal conditions

- Weight management

- Digestive issues, IBS

 

A common usage for Acupuncture is for Pain therapy. How does it help with Pain?

• Reduces pain by releasing endorphins – natural pain killers produced by the body

• Reduces swelling

• Relaxes the muscles and relieves spasms

• Decreases inflammation

• Improves blood circulation

• Increases local microcirculation to help heal injuries and attract white blood cells to the area. This helps increase the rate of healing and reduces swelling/bruising.

 

When looking for a practitioner, make sure they are qualified trained professionals. Different countries, states, provinces will have their own regulatory board that governs the practice of Traditional Chinese Medicine/Acupuncture. Acupuncture is also covered under many work health insurance plans.

Acupuncture and Nutrition for Fertility

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Many studies have been done on the topic of how acupuncture helps to increase the chances of pregnancy. Below are some benefits:

  • Regulates the menstrual cycle
  • Improves blood circulation to the reproductive organs such as the ovaries and uterus for better response
  • Increases blood flow to the uterus resulting in improved endometrial lining. Increases implantation rates
  • Increases the production of neurotransmitters which helps maintain a healthy body and brain
  • Relieves stress, relaxes the body and mind by stabilizing the nervous system. Reducing stress and anxiety levels helps to relax the muscles and body giving the embryo a better chance for implantation
  • Promotes circulation in the pelvic cavity and help with ovarian function
  • Stimulates the body’s natural healing ability to rebalance both physical and emotional wellbeing.
  • Invigorates sperm for men, enhancing count and motility
  • Helps support IUI, IVF treatments

How Acupuncture helps for different stages of your pregnancy:

Prenatal: relaxation, release stress and tension, balance moods, relieve symptoms associated with pregnancy such as morning sickness, sleep disorders, moods, nausea, headaches, cramps, muscular pains etc.

Delivery: induce labour for late babies, relieve pain, ease labour pains and decrease labour time

Postnatal: stimulate the body’s the ability to heal faster after delivery, relieve stress, postnatal depression, muscular aches/pains, rebalance the body after giving birth

Benefits of a nutritional consult during pregnancy:

  • food plans available to those preparing for pregnancy and enhancing fertility
  • what to eat best for the baby and mother during pregnancy, reduce food cravings, ensure proper nutrients are eaten for proper development of the baby
  • postnatal diet plans for those breastfeeding, increase energy levels, strengthen and rebalance the body after giving birth

Benefits of Astragalus Root

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Astragalus root or huang qi has been used in Tradition Chinese Medicine (TCM) for many centuries. Its effects are warming, sweet and considered a restorative tonic according to TCM. This potent immune booster stimulates white blood cell activity to help the immune system fight colds. It also is an adaptogen that increases the body’s resistance to deal with stress.

This powerful root can be taken in tincture form, capsule, tea or added to food. Studies have show it to be very safe and have few side effects however as with many herbal supplements, caution must be taken to check with your health care provider before taking this. Pregnant or nursing women should not consume this root as well as those with immune system diseases (multiple sclerosis, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis etc)

Add this powerful immune booster to help fight off colds!

Acupuncture Helps with Poor Circulation in the Legs

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Ever wonder why your fingernails seem to grow faster than your toenails? They grow faster simply because the upper extremities are closer to the heart where there is better blood circulation. Proper circulation of the blood is very important to the overall health of yours cells in repair and regeneration. With better circulation the cells receive an ample supply of oxygen and nutrients as well as more efficient removal of waste products. This can prevent varicose veins, promote better healing, promote healthier muscles/tissues and regulate body temperature throughout the extremities.

Symptoms of Poor Circulation of the Legs:

  •        coldness of the feet
  •        colour changes in the skin- pale, blue, red
  •        cramping of legs and calves especially when walking long distances
  •        tingling and numbness in the feet or toes
  •        slower healing

Types of Treatment:

Acupuncture and Acupressure- Acupuncture and acupressure can help to increase blood flow. It promotes healthy blood circulation by stimulating specific points on the body. In Chinese Medicine when there is poor circulation, there is also a stagnation of blood, qi and energy which means these substances are not flowing as efficiently. By applying finger/hand pressure or needles to specific points it boosts blood flow.

Compression stockings- By wearing stockings it can provide support to the veins to promote more efficient pumping of blood back to the heart. This can help to decease edema in the legs as well.

Elevate the legs- This is recommended to people with poor leg circulation to lie with their feet elevated above the heart for 20-30 minutes each day which help fluids circulate back to the heart.

Physical exercise- Walking, running, biking are just some of the many exercises you can do to help encourage blood circulation. This helps to reduce water retention/edema, decrease tingling sensations and relieve cold feet.

Soaking the legs- This is great for those with cold feet. By soaking the legs and feet in warm water, the blood vessels relax which promote better blood circulation.

 

Superfood: Goji Berries

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In Traditional Chinese Medicine, goji berries have been used for medicine for thousands of years to treat a variety of health conditions. Ailments that can benefit from goji berries include eye health, diabetes, poor circulation, immune function etc. These are high in antioxidants that are key elements in preventing cell damage by free radicals. Its ORAC (oxygen radical absorbance capacity) according to US Department of Agriculture is around 10 times higher than that of blueberries, which makes this a superfood we all should incorporate into our diets.

Usually found dried, these red berries are a great addition your trail mix, oatmeal, cereal or salads. They are soft and chewy with a flavour profile between a raisin, cranberry and cherry. You can find goji berries at most natural health food stores in dried form but it is sold as a juice as well as freeze dried goji berry powder. Many products have been incorporating this berry in their cereals, teas and granola bars but check the labels before you purchase for the high sugar content in the prepackaged items.

Importance of an Alkaline Diet

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What we eat greatly affects our body pH levels and when we are within our ideal pH level, we feel healthier. The pH level of blood is about 7.4 (range 7.35-7.45) and the closer you are to the ideal range, the healthier you’ll be with better digestive, cardiovascular and mental functioning. pH is the measurement of acidity/alkalinity of a solution on a scale of 0-14. The lower the pH, the more acidic the solution and the higher the pH, the more alkaline the solution. Your body’s ‘inner’ environment needs to be slightly alkaline and the ‘outer’ a little acidic. The outer environment refers to the outer skin and digestive tract. A healthy intestinal and bowel flora needs a slightly acidic nature to thrive. However when the pH level inside the human body is too acidic (blood, tissues, organs etc) it becomes an environment for the growth of bacteria, viruses and illness. Oxygen molecules are destroyed and tissues corrode when the pH is too acidic and this creates a breeding ground for diseases.

Health issues such as low energy, inflammation, unwanted weight gain and poor digestion can be the result of the body being too acidic. If the body’s pH is more acidic long term, it may lead to heart disease and cancer. Many medical studies have found that an imbalanced pH in the body can be correlated to almost all health conditions.

What can you do? 

Eat an alkaline diet: It is important what kinds of foods you eat and the amount of water you drink. Some foods which are acid forming include: processed foods, most meats, dairy products, alcohol, coffee etc. Try to avoid these acidic foods and instead consume more alkaline foods to help balance the pH. Alkaline foods include vegetables, nuts and seeds, green drinks etc. Ideally is it best to eat about 75% alkaline foods and 25% acidic forming foods.

Food combining:  Proper food combining reduces putrefaction and thus helps to maintain a more alkaline environment. 

Control emotions:  Stay positive. Negative emotions create a more acidic environment in the body. Practice deep breathing, meditation, yoga or anything that calms your mind to help you remain positive.

Which Detox is Right For You?

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With spring in the air, many of us are starting to think about getting healthier, feeling more energized and possibly losing a few extra pounds. But how do you know which detox is right for you with so many options? Are there detoxes you want to try but don’t know where to start? From your basic cleanse to raw food cleanses to liver/colon cleanses, they all have one goal in mind– to remove toxic substances from the body. Although our body naturally filters and cleanses the body on a regular basis, sometimes we need that extra push.

To do this you can need to reduce the amount of toxins you ingest and eat foods rich in antioxidants and vitamins to help with the detoxification process. Also increasing fiber and water intake will help to facilitate bowel movements and urination where toxins can be removed.

Detox diets allow our body to repair and heal in order to function more efficiently which allows for better nutrient absorption and strengthens us. These cleansing programs are designed to help your body’s natural detoxification process.

Below are a few types of detoxes:

Basic Cleanse: The basis of this diet is to eat as fresh and unprocessed as possible. Eat foods which naturally help the body to detoxify and eliminate processed sugars, alcohol, caffeine, nicotine and chemical additives.

  • good for those who have never done a cleanse before or those who eat a diet high in fat, sugar, salt with little fruits and vegetables or indulge in alcohol. Also good for those who are feeling low in energy, bloated and stressed

Raw Food Cleanse: Based on eating raw fresh fruits and vegetables. Natural enzymes are present in fresh foods to help us digest and absorb nutrients properly. When we eat processed food or cooked food, it denatures these important enzymes which can cause our digestive system to overwork resulting in digestive issues. By eating a more raw based diet, it helps to rebalance the body’s pH (too much acidity in the body can result in disease)

  • Good for those with digestive issues (bloated stomach, gas, acid reflux, bowel irregularity, food sensitivities), weight gain and low energy.

Liver Cleanse: One of the largest and also one of the most important organs in the body. The liver has many functions such as to detoxify toxic substances, processes protein, carbohydrates and fats, produces bile etc.

  • good for those with changes in skin, tiredness, indigestion, headaches, indulge in alcohol etc

Colon Cleanse: After nutrients are absorbed, the colon helps to eliminate wastes. Slow moving bowel movements can lead to toxins building up and getting reabsorbed into the bloodstream. When it is not working properly, there will be symptoms such as constipation, diarrhea, IBS, allergies, etc.

  • Good for those with sluggish bowel movements, constipation, diarrhea, skin issues etc.

There are also other specific cleanses targeted for :

  • Weight Management
  • Carbohydrate or Sugar addictions
  • Clearer skin
  • Increased energy

Who would benefit from doing a detox?
The majority of us would feel benefits from eating healthier and giving our bodies a rest from overworking as a result from processing toxins. If you’ve been eating a high fat, sugar or salt diet with little fruits and vegetables recently or indulged in alcohol, a cleanse may be helpful to get your body back to feeling healthier.

To read more about detox diets and what the benefits are:

Acupuncture Helps to Improve Chances of Fertility

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For those who are looking for answers on how to improve their chances of fertility, acupuncture is becoming an increasingly popular form of therapy for many women.

Acupuncture can help improve your chances of fertility by:

  • increasing blood flow to the uterus resulting in improved endometrial lining
  • promote circulation in the pelvic cavity and help with ovarian function
  • reduce stress and anxiety levels which relaxes the muscles/body giving the embryo a better chance for implantation
  • stimulate the body’s natural healing ability to rebalance both physical and emotional wellbeing

During the consult, the practitioner will assess and pinpoint the areas of imbalance which may be contributing to infertility. Treatment points will vary from person to person and can differ between treatments depending on the condition. However most points stimulate the female reproductive organs to help increase circulation to those areas and promote better function.

With a series of treatments, acupuncture helps to enhance overall health and by doing so, many have gained better sleep and digestion, less anxiety and stress, more energy etc. These positive benefits all help to increase the chances of conceiving

 

In a study of 160 women, published April 2002 in the reproductive journal Fertility and Sterility, a group of German researchers found that adding acupuncture to the traditional IVF treatment protocols substantially increased pregnancy success.

In this study one group of 80 patients received two, 25-minute acupuncture treatments — one prior to having fertilized embryos transferred into their uterus, and one directly afterwards. The second group of 80, who also underwent embryo transfer, received no acupuncture treatments.

The result: While women in both groups got pregnant, the rate was significantly higher in the acupuncture group – 34 pregnancies, compared with 21 in the women who received IVF alone.

To read more about this study on WedMD, visit:

Eat According to the Changing Seasons- Autumn

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Autumn is a time of change when our body has to adapt to the changing temperatures of heat to colder autumn air. During this time it is important to change our diets with seasonal foods to prepare our bodies for winter, boost our immune and stay healthy.

 
In Traditional Chinese Medicine ( TCM) it is believed that ‘food is medicine’ and ‘medicine is food’.  If we eat according to the seasons, the body will be able to transition through the changes easier because we are in harmony with the environment. This diet is based on a balance between yin and yang which are the two opposite forces of nature. If there is an imbalance, it can lead to disease and illness.  Yang foods are warm, dry, light and expansive while Yin foods are cool, dark, watery and contracting.

 
Certain areas of the body are more sensitive during this transition phase such as the lungs and large intestine according to TCM. Colds, respiratory issues and constipation are more common during this time of the year but it can be prevented by eating more fiber rich foods and drinking more water. Many people tend to eat more during this time of the year because of the cold weather and it’s important not to overeat as this can create poor bowel elimination which in turn can affect the skin due to toxins building up.

 
In autumn and winter when the weather is cooler and drier, we need to keep ourselves warm and prevent dryness. We do this by eating more root based vegetables such as potatoes, pumpkin, squash, turnips or broccoli and cabbage to name a few. Fruits which are beneficial during autumn include apples and grapes. Soups are also very nourishing as they can contain meats, vegetables and carbohydrates all in one to help warm your body.

 
If you eat in harmony with the environment, it can help prevent a lot of unnecessary illnesses as well boost your immune system to remain healthy throughout the winter season.
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