Fasting

Fasting

Much talk on subject of fasting has been circulating on the internet so I decided to try a long fast. According to the literature on the subject, a person can go weeks and even months without food and can enjoy some astonishing health benefits as a result. There has been a fair amount of research on the subject and participants have been able to lower blood pressure and reverse cardiovascular disease, reverse diabetes, clear up asthma and chronic pulmonary conditions, loose tremendous amounts of weight and in some cases even shrink cancerous tumors.

Water only fasting for any longer than three days should be done under supervision of a qualified practitioner. I decided to try it, after having done many short fasts over the years. It was a very fascinating experience in which I learned a great deal about the process and the way the body cleanses and clears accumulations in the body. After eight days I decided I needed to be at full strength to do my job but I am glad that I had the experience.

It is interesting to know that research has shown that virtually everyone perceives themselves to be healthier than they actually are. An annual cleanse is a wise habit, even if you are healthy. There are times when the body tells us not to eat, such as when we get a stomach virus or food poisoning but we should also listen to the more subtle messages the body gives to let us know that we should give the digestive system a rest. Dietary recommendations are a large part of Chinese medicine and so many illness are directly related to the food we eat. Cleansing foods, bland food diets, and healing porridges are often prescribed in Traditional medicine.

The other principle of Chinese medicine is eat according to the seasons, eat the food that is grown locally, and maintain moderation in all things. Fasting is an extreme therapy that is useful or even necessary only when the condition is also extreme. For those who are looking for sound dietary principles, a look to Chinese medicine or other wisdom traditions will always provide a return to simple, logical, and balanced approach to the main staple of life.

Summer Diet & Garden Update

As you all know, I am a gardener. My small urban garden is essential as it is the canvas for my process of growth and understanding. Diet is the aspect of our lifestyle that has the greatest impact on our health and the garden provides the clues about what we should be eating at any given time.

20170531_071034

Beyond eating out of season, which we all do sometimes, there are many dieting fads circulating right now. For every research article you find that promotes one type of eating there is another article that completely contradicts it. When in doubt, I always return to the enduring and truly ancient Chinese medicine principles of balance, moderation, and harmony with the cycles of nature.

Chinese medicine has its roots in Taoism. Taoism is about living our lives respective of the ways and laws of the natural world. We modify our behavior to harmonize ourselves with the natural cycles of change that occur around us. We also consider the impact of our choices on the whole. The main changes we are looking at are the change212 of seasons, stages of life, and states of health.

The whole process is completely logical. In summer, living in a very hot and dry climate, we want to eat the foods that balance these extremes. If we want to be in harmonious balance with nature right now we should be eating foods in season, lots of juicy fresh fruits and vegetables, mostly raw foods, or lightly cooked foods through steaming or quick sauté. Avoid dry and baked foods in summer.

Right now the spring garden is being harvested, tomatoes, beans, tons of basil, zucchini, cucumbers, and mint. Growing forward, the only things that you can plant in June is Armenian or Asian cucumbers and  melons, well okay, okra but even I can’t go that far….

Anyway, Happy June Everyone!

Stay Cool with Chinese Herbs

As we all know, the torrid, oven-like heat of summer is fast approaching. Knowing a few simple things from Chinese herbal wisdom can do more than you might think to help keep you cool inside, while it is so very hot outside. For millennia, the Chinese have traditionally practiced using these herbs and herbal foods during the summer months, especially in southern China. There are actually many natural herbs and related ways that you can make use of to stay cool in a hot summer, but for simplicity’s sake we will focus on two of them.

chrysanthemumChrysanthemum flower makes a wonderful, fragrant, refreshing tea. Among its many benefits is its ability to cool the inner body. Chrysanthemum tea has long been one of the mainstays of China’s efforts to weather the summer heat. You may obtain it through North Scottsdale Acupuncture or through Chinese stores in this area. You just take a teaspoon or so of the dried, somewhat broken-up flowers and steep them as you would any other tea. For a more intense effect, you just double the amount of herb you use to make the tea. You can find out more about chrysanthemum and its cooling and other benefits by clicking on this link.

Mung beans have been the other great part of the Chinese actions toward natural summer internal
mung-porridge2 cooling. The main way this has been done is through mung bean soup. You can actually make mung bean tea by using mung bean powder. This is not easy to obtain in these parts, but you can try if you wish, and we will try to help you if you ask. To see a recipe for mung bean soup, please click on this link.

 

Nancy’s Velvety Spinach Soup Recipe

Nancy’s version of Velvety Spinach Soup:

1 quart of fresh baby spinach, packed

3 tbsp chopped onion 2 tbsp coconut oil

Heat oil and sauté onions until translucent, add spinach or other greens and sauté until wilted

In blender:

1 15-oz can of black beans

12-oz Organic beef broth

12-oz coconut milk

1 tbsp curry

Dash of cumin

Dash of cinnamon

Spinach and onions

*If you have digestive distress you can add one Umeboshi Plum (“Japanese Alka-seltzer”)

Blend on soup setting

What is great about this recipe?

Coconut oil – antiinflammatory

Coconut milk – nondairy healthy fat to give the soup a silky smooth texture

Black beans are tonic to the Kidneys according to Chinese medicine

Curry – antiinflammatory

Beef broth is an overall strengthening food and contains B12

Finally – the flavor is truly delicious!

If you want to sample more good things from Nancy Brem, L.Ac., book an appointment online.

Springtime: Liver Detox Time

Springtime is liver detox time! Even the healthiest among us benefit greatly from at least one detox per year, and spring is the best time for this, and detoxing the liver is the best detox of all. After all, the liver is of course the organ in charge of detoxifying the body as a whole. And thus, helping clean itself out thoroughly will put it in a position to do its work for us optimally during the rest of the year. Here is what I recommend:

Follow this routine for a minimum of two full weeks.

Omit animal products (fish, meats, eggs, and dairy) for the full two weeks. Also omit grains except for millet and quinoa, (millet and quinoa are the only grains that do not cause inflammation in the body). No sugar, alcohol, or medications that are not absolutely necessary.

Three times daily take one  of the Detox beverages described below. You want to eat large quantities of cruciferous vegetables (cabbage, kale, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and cauliflower). Do not eat these foods raw as they contain compounds that affect the thyroid. Cooking them neutralizes those compounds but preserves the compounds that are detoxifying. You also want to take in good fats for energy such as avocado, coconut oil and coconut milk, macadamia nuts, Brazil nuts, and so on. Take plenty of fiber. Fiber binds to toxins and cholesterol, flushing them out of the body through the colon. Drink plenty of water. Warm water with lemon taken with meals can help you digest better.

 Warning: you may feel awful for the first 3 days as the body releases toxins but should notice a significant shift after that.

 

 

Liver detox #1 – 3 times daily (or alternate with #2)

2 oz. cranberry juice (unsweetened)

½ tbsp Braggs apple cider vinegar

½ tbsp lemon juice

8 oz. water

 

 

 

 

Liver detox #2

  • Water – 500 ml (filtered)
  • Fresh lemons – 6
  • Ginger root – 4 to 5 inches
  • Grapefruits – 3
  • Flaxseed oil – 3 tbsp
  • Garlic cloves – 4
  • Cumin powder – 3 to 4 pinches
  • Fresh Mint – 3 to 4 leaves (optional) 

Directions:

Extract the lemon juice and grape fruit juice and keep them aside. In a blender, add some water and grated ginger and garlic pieces. Blend well and filter the juice into a container. Combine the two juices with water and blend this mixture with the flaxseed oil and cumin powder for 40 to 45 seconds. Pour the juice in a glass, garnish with mint leaves and serve.

Benefits:

This recipe comprises no preservatives and only fresh fruits, vegetables, and a small quantity of flaxseed oil and cumin powder which supply the liver with much-needed vitamins and cleansing agents that help flush out toxins from the liver.

Bieler’s Broth
The Original Healing Soup

Uses: The original recipe was developed by Maverick Physician Henry Bieler to heal a variety of illnesses. Many times the soup was used as a fast or a general detox.

Dr. Bieler’s Health Broth
Adapted from “Food is Your Best Medicine” (see below)
Wonderful for a Fall or Winter Detox
·   3 stalks of celery
·   3 whole zucchini
·   2 cups of string beans
·   1 cup of (Italian)parsley


Dr. Henry Beiler created a vitamin and nutrient rich soup to heal his patients. Bieler’s broth contains zucchini and string beans, which are rich sources of organic potassium and sodium. The liver and probably other organs use those elements to clean and revitalize the body. Occasionally, when you’re sick, the best thing to do is not eat. Drink Dr. Bieler’s healing broth recipe for energy, weight loss, and cleansing

Directions for making the broth:
Put a cup of water into a stockpot. Put the string beans in first and steam for about 5 minutes. Then put in the celery and zucchini into the pot and steam for another 5 – 7 minutes or until tender, but still crisp. Do not overcook.

Then put the vegetable water and the cooked vegetables together into the blender. Blend until liquefied. Add a teaspoon of raw unsalted butter and a large handful of parsley. Blend again until parsley is liquefied. You can thin the soup to a thinner consistency if you prefer.

Dosage: Drink 2 cups a day of the broth/soup for an excellent way to stay healthy.
*Optional: add 1 clove of garlic.

** You can use this to make Miso Soup – use Miso Master brand chick pea miso, from Whole Foods in the cooler section. Dissolve one teaspoon in a cup of soup. Tastes delicious.

To schedule an appointment with Nancy, you can book an appointment online.

Chicken Feet Stock

This soup is so healthy because you are slow-cooking chicken feet, which are very rich in collagen. Collagen helps repair joints, improve the skin, heals gut inflammation and anything you can think of that is dependent on collagen. It forms a major part of connective tissue throughout the body, even including being a part of artery walls.

Chicken Feet Stock

Place 6-8 chicken feet (Asian market or Whole Foods by Special Order) in a muslin or cheesecloth bag or some other system.

Place herbs if you decide to use them, also in the bag.

Place a whole chicken in the pot along with the bag of 6-8 chicken feet and cook over a low setting for 12 – 24 hours. You can add any other beef bones or vegetables you obtain as well.

Fill pot with water an inch or more above the “stuff” inside, or just use 4 quarts of water…depends on what “Stuff” you use…some stuff will just float…

Cook on lowest setting all night long and as long as convenient the next day (try for 24 hours..). Remove “stuff” and strain the liquid into containers. Freeze what you will not eat in the next 5 days. You can then use this as the base for your miso soup or for any other purpose….sooooo healthy!

And I recommend…

The best pro-biotic source if you are not allergic to soy:

Miso soup – buy fresh miso from the cold section of the market (not the dry packaged stuff)…start with ½ tsp and work your way up to one tsp per day in soup (great for breakfast). Dissolve in hot (not boiling) liquid.

If you wish to sample more good things from Nancy Brem, L.Ac., you may do so by

Stovetop Super-Supplement

There is a way to make your own vitamin super-supplement which is simply a byproduct of cooking up some very tasty, healthy vegetables for you and yours. And this supplement will outperform almost anything you can buy at any vitamin store or health food store vitamin section. And it won’t cost you much either.

Experts have stated that the most nutritious of all vegetables is none other than the lowly collard greens. Now, collard greens by themselves taste all right to most people, but that’s all that most will say about them. But if you boil up some collard greens mixed with red chard, along with some reasonably significant amount of butter or oil, then the taste equation improves greatly. And if you add some other vegetables to the mix—such as onion, garlic, ginger, potato, carrot, what-have-you, along with your chosen spices—then the taste starts becoming truly sublime.

A major element in why the taste gets so satisfying is that the nutrition level rises with the additions. The main thing that increases the nutrition level of collard greens—and indeed any vegetable—is the addition of butter, oil, or anything which contains healthy fats. These natural fats contain relatively large amounts of the fat-soluble vitamins A and D, which are crucial in the assimilation of water-soluble vitamins such as C and the B group, as well as being critical in assimilating minerals. Vegetables contain high levels of the water-soluble vitamins, but are low in the fat-soluble vitamins needed to make them go into and stay within our cells. This is why green drinks—for example—amount to expensive urine without also simultaneously ingesting some kind of fat, especially animal fats such as butter.

So if you brew up the above vegetables and additions—and you may need to allow the collard greens, if they are the more fibrous kind, to cook awhile before adding the chard, though not always—you will have a very nutritious and satisfyingly tasty meal. But what you will also have is the leftover water, which is now a Super-Supplement! Whatever you do, don’t throw this water away. Drink some of this super-juice with or after your meal, and/or in the morning after storing it in the fridge overnight.
And then see if you’ve ever taken into your body anything in your life which so quickly and so thoroughly and healthily makes your cells start dancing!

Gardening in the New Age

 

The Autumn Equinox

Patio Garden

We are approaching the Autumn Equinox on September 23rd, at 7:29pm here in Phoenix, AZ. This marks the beginning of a new cycle in the garden, and for me, a new cycle in my personal development. I am just now making my private garden a public creation to share, inspire, and, motivate a conscious evolution in anyone who is interested. The Garden provides a wonderful metaphor for all the creative processes of life and humankind. We plant the seed of an idea, we nurture that idea and it germinates. Gradually, and in its own time, it grows into something beautiful and eventually it bears fruit. After the harvest, we begin a new cycle. This is the Autumn Equinox.

 

Why garden?

Do you know the difference between fresh-from-the-garden produce and commercially raised produce? Do you know that most of the produce we buy is picked long before we ever see it in the store and long before it is ripe? The sun ripening the fruit creates the sweetness and nutrient density of the fruit or vegetable. Most produce is artificially ripened and is not nearly as vitalized as home grown food. The difference is extraordinary, remember?

Humankind and Nature have been disconnected for quite some time now. We did not know how special that connection was and some of us are now rediscovering what was lost. In our Egoic attempt to master Nature we denied ourselves the nurture of Nature’s beauty, vitality, teachings, cycles, not to mention high quality nutrition. In the absence of all this we easily forget about these things. We took them for granted and we did not understand how valuable it was.  When you encounter authentic vitality, if you are awake and looking through the eyes of your Spirit-self, you can see it. You can see it in the Light in someone’s eyes, you can taste it in fresh Garden food, you can find it within yourself. The Autumn Equinox can represent our regeneration and re-entry into the Spiritualized world of Nature. Here in AZ we have an abundance of sun light and we can garden all year round, yet most people seem to think you can’t garden here.

Why the “New Age”?

Tower Garden

I call this the New Age for many reasons. First, it is a new cycle, which began in the year 2000 but that is  along story, not a topic for now.  I call this the New Age because humankind has reached a turning point in our relationship to Nature and the Cosmos. In Science we are gaining knowledge that changes our understanding of ourselves in relation to the Universe. Our consciousness expands when we realize that how big the Cosmos is. This can serve our expansion but only if we actively engage in seeking Truth and Understanding.

I also call this the New Age because we have a new motivation to garden. Through gardening we re-spiritualize the earth, ourselves, and our nourishment. We also want to look at doing this in new ways. Specifically here in AZ, the traditional in-the-ground garden does not work but there are new methods that make great use of that bright and ever present sunlight. My garden is on the South West corner of my home and I just create shade. There is no reason not to grow your own food or visit your local Farmer’s Market to eat truly vitalized food. Many of us are suffering from the absence of Nature in our lives. Yet there are many simple ways to bring it back into our lives.

 

Genesa Crystal

So, I invite you to set an intention for this new cycle. Plant the idea for a new creative project and nurture the seed. I will post regular photos of the Garden as it grows and you are welcome to comment and share your own new development.

 

 

 

If you wish to set up an office visit with me, you can do so by

Acupuncture for Weight Loss

acupuncture for weight lossLoosing weight has traditionally been one of the most difficult human endeavors. Unfortunately, as we all know, putting the weight on is far too easy. As a result, 70% of the American population is seriously over-weight or obese. This is a percentage that is difficult to digest, (sorry about the pun). The fact that food is so cheap and Americans are so eager to get the most food for least amount of money has made the all-you-can-eat and Super sized meals a family favorite. While folks are saving money on food they are paying dearly in health. The advent of processed foods means that now you can get high blood sugar after every meal. For those who do not yet know it, this is a really bad thing.

How do we gain weight? It is simple, when you eat starchy, high carbohydrate or high sugar foods and beverages blood sugar levels rise too high for the body to metabolize. The surge in insulin causes your body to grabon to that excess glucose and store it as fat. The biggest problem for people trying to loose weight is that the media has been telling them to cut calories.

Cutting calories will not allow you to loose weight unless you cut the right calories, namely carbohydrates and sugar. The thing that most people cut is fat. Fat and protein are the main nutrients that you need to consume in order to loose weight. It is so frustrating that popular media does not spread this well studied, well known fact. [Read more…]