Viewing entries tagged
Mindful Wellness

5 Habits For a Healthy Summer

5 Habits For a Healthy Summer

Summer is the season of joy, movement, energy, and activity! Staying in harmony with the seasons is an age old tradition according to Chinese Medicine. Follow these tips to stay balanced this summer.

1. Get Outdoors

Enjoy this nice weather while we have it. For those of us that tend to spend all day in an office, hidden from the sun, it's important we get outdoors when we can to stay balanced this season. The sun offers us a good dose of vitamin D, which is important to prevent depression, and ensure good kidney function. If you're the type of person that feels cold all the time, getting more sun is one of the easiest and most natural ways to warm your body up. Just set a reminder on your phone every 2 hours to go outside and get some fresh air. It will not only keep you balanced this summer, but you may find you're more productive too!

2. Socialize 

For many of us this can can be as simple as enjoying drinks with friends, camping, having a BBQ, or a day at the beach. The one thing these activities all have in common is - more time spent with the people you love. The season of summer resonates with Fire, the elemental nature of the Heart organ, which is nurtured by the emotion of Joy in Chinese Medicine. During the summer, you will want to nourish your Heart by socializing, and experiencing more joy with the people you love. Camping is great for this, because we tend to gather in groups around a campfire - indirectly nourishing your Heart and Fire element.

3. Eat Fruit

Fruit is naturally "in-season" during the summer months. Of course in North America we can get fruit all year around but Summer offers fruit which has been picked ripe, and grown locally, improving the health of the fruit and its benefits to our bodies. Summer in general is the season when the amount of energy we receive from the sun is strongest, warming our bodies up, and boosting our energy as we experience more daytime. Given this increase in warmth in our bodies, this makes eating raw fruit a viable option as our bodies have more warming "Yang" energy to transform the raw fruit into vital nutrients. It's also a great way to stay hydrated if you're spending much of your time outdoors. BBQ tends to create toxic heat in the body. You may experience more nose bleeds this time of the year, mild afternoon fever, sweating more easily, or a desire for cold drinks. These are all signs that there could be excess heat in the body. Good fruit options for clearing heat are pears, cantaloupe, watermelon, and bananas. Caution to those who are pregnant, and individuals who feel cold all the time, or have a weak digestive system as these foods may be contraindicated.

4. Exercise

It's important that we exercise throughout the year, but Summer is the season we should be most active according to Chinese Medicine. If you're finding it difficult to exercise at the end of a long day, try waking up earlier to go for a quick run. The sun rises earlier this time of year, which shortens our natural sleeping patterns, and makes it easier to be an early bird.

5. Realize Your Potential 

Summer being the most expansive, and energetic of all, is the season when our goals, visions, and dreams should be realized. Whatever dreams you've been holding onto for the past year, or visions you have for your life's potential, don't hold them back anymore, put them into action. The joy and satisfaction from making your vision or dream a reality, will boost your spirit and nourish your Heart. Ultimately, making you realize that any dream you have, big or small, can come true. Summer is the season to live your life with joy, happiness, and love. Go out, and do that which satisfies you deep within your heart. Make your dreams a reality this summer.

Sign up for health tips to balance your soul!

Name *
Name

Food As Medicine - Weight Loss

Food As Medicine - Weight Loss

Author: Justin Lee

Each food has the potential to influence your health in the right or wrong direction. Whether you suffer from being overweight, low in energy, or have a general sluggish feeling all the time, there are foods that are right for you. By understanding our imbalances from a Traditional Chinese Medicine(TCM) perspective, we can then use a TCM food therapy approach to eating healthy and rebalancing the body. 

Food therapy is all about eating according to your body's needs. If you are trying to lose weight or boost your overall energy, it's important that the digestive system - the Spleen/Stomach - is supported for optimal digestion. People who tend to crave sweets tend to have a weakness in their Spleen/Stomach. The Stomach is responsible for taking in food, and rotting and ripening it. It's important that we chew our foods so that this process can flow smoothly. The Spleen's job is to then take the digested food, and transform it into vital nutrients. However, foods that damage these organs are refined sugars, greasy/oily foods, and foods that are cold in temperature. Refined sugars have been stripped of all nutrients and fiber, and actually overload the Spleen, making it unable to transform and transport. Cold foods tend to slow down digestion to a hault, making you feel heavy, sluggish, tired, and bloated as these foods sit in your body unable to be processed. You want to think of your digestive system like a furnace that needs to be kept warm all the time. Cold foods put out your digestive flames making it harder for you to process the foods you eat. Cold drinks do the same thing, except in the form of liquids - leading to water retention or what we call "dampness".

Another big issue with trying to lose weight is eating at the right times. 7-9AM is the optimal time for the Stomach to receive food, and so breakfast should be your biggest meal, while dinner should be a smaller meal as 7-9PM is when your Stomach is weakest according to TCM. Being mindful of your eating habits can help improve how much your body is going to absorb from the foods you eat. We always recommend in TCM to eat in a calm environment, where you can focus on your food alone without distraction. Eating in a hurry, or while working on the computer or checking your phone actually divides your energy and makes it more difficult for your Spleen/Stomach to do its job efficiently.

In TCM, people with weak spleens should eat everything cooked. By doing so, this optimizes nutrient absorption and the elimination of dampness. Earth vegetables are great for boosting the Spleen - carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes, squash, turnips, beets & more. These foods give us energy, eliminate waste, and ultimately help your body to drop the excess weight.

It's interesting to note that the element of the stomach/spleen in TCM is Earth - hence why "earthy" vegetables help boost our spleen. Organic makes it even better as these vegetables are grown in a healthy, nutrient rich "earth" environment. Feel free to follow Justin on Instagram @acu_soul for more health tips on food from a TCM perspective.

Sign up for health tips to balance your soul!

Name *
Name