March has been an interesting and exciting month, I attended a course on psychotherapy which was a refresher to what I learnt on my degree and then nipped off to Rome for a few days with Mr SH. Whilst in Rome we visited a little restaurant for an evening meal, the type where all the locals appeared to frequent. Restaurants like this always appeal because you can be assured of good quality wholesome food and a warm welcome, and this restaurant did not disappoint. It was whilst dining I realised that even though it was winter…ish the local people still ate a good variety of fresh fish, lots of fruit / vegetables and very little sweet foods. The people also ate heartily and took the time to enjoy their food, with no eating on the run. This approach to food and eating is at the heart of Traditional Chinese Medicine, its not only about the food we eat but how we eat. Sitting down with family or friends at a table relaxing, catching up with the day and eating good food is key to your digestive system. In Traditional Chinese Medicine the vast majority of complaints that people attend my clinic with, are based around digestive disharmony, and this is caused by several reasons such as poor quality food, stress and lifestyle. Of course I always have my radar on high alert in case my clients have any red flag symptoms, in which case they are referred straight to a conventional medical practitioner. But in most cases taking baby steps to make changes to support the digestive system sees results very quickly.
And whilst we are discussing the digestive system an interesting article was published in the UK by The Guardian newspaper (see article here) regarding gut health and microbes. Unless you have been living on the moon you will no doubt have heard of probiotics, and the yoghurt drinks such as Yakult or Actimel. Whilst these do contain a probiotic they also contain alot of sugar which is not what the 21st century diet needs and they are very expensive. However, there are other ways to get your probiotics which are not as expensive and contain far less sugar. Fermented foods are a great way to get your probiotics and a nutritionist friend has method to make sauerkraut which is inexpensive and fully of friendly bacteria (see recipe here) and if sauerkraut doesn’t appeal to you then consider making kefir, sourdough or other fermented foods. There are plenty of good recipes on the internet.
Don’t forget that once you start consuming your friendly gut bacteria (probiotics) you need to feed them with prebiotics such as artichoke, leeks, celery, onions and garlic. That way you’ll keep them happy and help your digestive system do its work. One thing to add about your friendly gut bacteria…they hate junk food so avoid the junk once you have started looking after your gut, otherwise the gas you may produce will not be pleasant….!
Before I finish off this monthly blog don’t forget that April is stress awareness month, so have a look at my article on stress and anxiety. I also have to mention this fascinating piece of research and the huge implications on how conventional medicine will treat disease, but it’s not new…. well not in Traditional Chinese Medicine, because it’s the organ system known as the San Jiao and it’s been known about for thousand’s of years. I use the acupuncture points on the San Jiao a lot because they are great for IBS, Stress, Migraines / Headaches, Ear and Eye Problems including Tinnitus, and Muscular Skeletal Problems. So next time you get acupuncture ask your practitioner about the San Jiao channel and watch their face light up when they talk about it, we really do love the San Jiao.
Happy Easter Everyone….