The concept of gardening gives us an excellent illustration for the theories behind Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and acupuncture. Imagine you are a gardener whose job it is to help a garden thrive. To help nature along, you must provide necessities such as water and fertilizer. You must make sure plants receive the right amount of sun, and you must weed out any undesirable elements. Gardening takes time and effort, but the reward is a beautiful, healthy garden, abundant with flowers and vegetables.
Your body is just like a garden, and you and your acupuncturist are the gardeners. He or she will work closely with you to strengthen and balance your internal garden. By taking your entire self into account, your practitioner can help identify—and weed out—any imbalances that could cause problems.
Your goal is to learn how to cultivate and support your inner garden. Your acupuncturist’s goal is to nurture your inner ecosystem so that it can flourish—and you can enjoy health and harmony.
Nurturing your garden
Acupuncture isn’t a “quick fix.” It does, though, provide you with the tools and knowledge needed to nourish the garden within.
Your participation in the process is essential. After all, you wouldn’t simply plant seeds in the ground and expect them to bloom unattended. It’s the same with your health. Working with your acupuncturist and committing to long-term care can create positive changes for your overall health.
Sweet & Sour Chinese Cabbage
2 Tbs. tamari
2 Tbs. vinegar
1 1/2 Tbs. honey
1 Tbs. cornstarch
1 Tbs. sesame oil
1 Tbs. safflower oil
1/2 – 1 Tsp. hot red pepper flakes
1 Tbs. miso
2 pounds Chinese cabbage, sliced crosswise into 2-inch pieces
2-3 cups hot, cooked grains, such as millet, couscous, or brown rice
Mix together tamari, vinegar and honey. Stir in cornstarch. When it is dissolved, stir in sesame oil. Set aside. Heat oil in wok over moderate heat and add red pepper and miso. Stir-fry for a few seconds and add cabbage. Stir-fry for 2-3 minutes, until cabbage begins to wilt, then add tamari mixture. Cook for 1 minute, or until cabbage is glazed. Serve immediately, with hot, cooked grains.
You say tomato, I say health!
Did you know, that a tomato can be a partner in health? Tomatoes are rich in antioxidants, beta carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E, flavonoids and carotenoids, particularly Lycopene.
Lycopene is the substance that naturally occurs in a tomato. It is responsible for giving the tomato its red color, and protecting it from the harmful effects of UV rays.
Scientists have found that Lycopene can also protect the body. Concentrated in the prostate gland, it is used as a preventative against prostate cancer. It is also known to protect against mouth, lung, stomach, pancreas, bladder, colon and rectal cancers.
Lycopene, a powerful antioxidant, is 100 times more effective than vitamin E as a free radical scavenger and 56% more powerful than beta-carotene. Antioxidants “neutralize”, or render harmless, oxygen free radical molecules. These are highly reactive toxic by-products of biochemical reactions that occur as a part of normal cell metabolism and when our bodies are exposed to smoking, pollution and other damaging environmental influences.
As long as we are alive, we will have to contend with free radicals. Antioxidants help reduce the impact and minimize the damage free radicals cause when their numbers overwhelm our body’s capacity to deal with them.
Since Lycopene is fat-soluble, its use in tomato sauce improves the bio-availability of this beneficial carotenoid. The cooked tomatoes raise the levels of Lycopene in both the blood and immune cells. This suggests that eating small amounts can help protect the immune system.
According to Oriental nutrition, the tomato moistens the body by building Yin fluids, relieving dryness and thirst. It is also said to strengthen the stomach, cleanse the liver, purify the blood and act as an overall body detoxifier.
Page, N.D., L., Healthy Healing – a guide to self healing for everyone. Traditional Wisdom, Inc. 2002.Porrini, M., Effects of Processing on Bioavailability of the functional components in tomatoes.Kucuk, O., Evidence for reducing the risk of prostate cancer – a clinical trial. 90th Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research. 1999. Pitchford, P., Healing with Whole Foods – Oriental Traditions and Modern Nutrition. North Atlantic Books, 1993.
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