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Healthy Foods for Fall

traditional chinese medicine foods for fall

The season of fall brings cooler weather and shorter days. As with any season, the world adjusts accordingly. Plants begin to go dormant, animals begin scrounging for food to store to get them through the upcoming winter months and humans start winterizing everything.

As fall descends on the land, it reminds us we need to start cutting back on the numerous cooling foods that are consumed during the summer months. Things like raw foods, salads, juices and fruits should be decreased because they can create too much cold in the body, according to traditional Chinese medicine. continue reading »

The Easy Way to Grill or Roast Vegetables


The Easy Way to Grill or Roast Vegetables


Wash, slice or cube your vegetables.  As they have similar cooking times, group watery vegetables together: summer squashes, eggplant, peppers, tomato, asparagus.  String beans, broccoli and cauliflower take a little longer to cook, but if you roast all together, you can alter the size of the slices, so that the longer-cooking veg are thinner, or smaller. The more thoroughly cooked will have a more caramelized flavor, the others will be crispier: you may find certain preferences for each vegetable.  Add onion, scallion, leek, and/or garlic. I roast root vegetables together all winter long: carrots, beets, turnips, sweet potato. Add winter squashes, broccoli, or cauliflower.

Place your vegetables and marinade in a plastic bag or glass dish to marinade for the time you have available, an hour to a couple of days, or toss them all together in the pan, then spread them out for roasting.  Moderate heat works well.  Hotter works well toward crispy.

To start, just open your cupboards and use what you have.
If you’re ready for a change, check recipes or your supermarket condiment shelves.
Here are some ideas, try one from each line:

  • Any oil and vinegar based salad dressing, or your favorite bottled marinade
  • Extra virgin olive oil, avocado, sesame, coconut works great on root vegetables
  • Balsamic, red wine, apple cider vinegar, or your favorite flavored vinegar
  • Coconut amino acids (incredibly delicious!), soy sauce or tamari, Worcestershire, white Worcestershire
  • Your favorite fresh or dried herbs, bottled mixed herbs, seasoned salts (avoid MSG)
  • Salt and pepper, of course

Large slices work directly on the grill, smaller slices or cubes in a grilling basket, atop or folded into aluminum foil (here you can steam them in the extra marinade).

Oven (all year round!)   
Long slices, short slices, cubes, or even diced (more for saucing).  Use roasting pans if you are using any marinade other than oil alone, as sweeter ingredients like balsamic vinegar can make a mess of your pans.  The thicker metal will also hold up nicely to high heat, but any baking pan will work, Pyrex, glass, or metal.

Sweet potatoes or potatoes can be tossed in olive oil, salt and pepper.  Thinly sliced, they can be baked till soft, which takes less than 20 minutes at about 400 degrees, crispy takes a little longer (as do cubes), but pleases the crowd.

Kale chips are my favorite version of kale: wash, thoroughly dry, devein and tear the leaves into potato-chip size pieces.  Toss in a little olive oil and salt. Bake on a cookie sheet or roasting pan at 350 for no more than 11 minutes, turning once.  They come out dark green and crispy. Overcooked get brown, then black, very quickly.
Corn on the cob can be grilled in or out of the husk.  I love this flavor. I pull the dry outer leaves and trim the ends, cutting off any trailing silks, then rinse or soak the corn so that the husks don’t end up a black mess on your grill (and floors).  This method allows a lot of leeway in terms of attendance: turn once or twice.  If you are grilling husked corn, you’ll need to be more attentive, turning them evenly. There’s no need to cook corn longer than ten minutes.  Very fresh needs less.


As an important note: Nightshade vegetables can give some folks achy joints.
They are potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant. For people with recurring aches and pains, or those that come and go, seemingly without pattern,sometimes moving from joint to joint, I often suggest avoiding these vegetables for a couple of weeks, but I NEVER ask them to do that this time of year.  Who can avoid a sun-warmed tomato fresh off the vine?  If you are feeling achier now, this might be the cause, so pay attention to your eating habits, and consider this later in the autumn.

These aches may also be caused by some apparently innocuous food, which you would have difficulty sleuthing out.  We do a Food Inflammation finger-prick test here.  Most results reveal only a couple of items that really need to be avoided to improve body-wide symptoms.  There is often a suspected food, such as dairy or gluten, but the unexpected shows up in most tests: lettuce, basil, salmon, and artichoke among them. The test empowers you with information to make your own choices, taking the guess-work out of food planning.

Five Reasons to Get Acupuncture for Low Back Pain

Statistics show eight out of 10 people will experience low back pain at some point during their life. Seeking medical treatment for back pain is very common. Typically back pain is fleeting and can be easily resolved with rest, heat and an occasional anti-inflammatory like ibuprofen. However, once the damage is done, the recurrence of back pain can be as high as 50 percent. Part of this is because as we age, things like muscles and tendons become less flexible and pliable. It is also very well known in the United States, people are too sedentary and this leads to excess weight gain that can create added pressure on the body, especially the low back. continue reading »

Listen Better

8 Little-Known Facts About #Sunscreens

EWG’s 2015 Guide to Sunscreens­little­known­facts­about­sunscreens


Eight Little-Known Facts About Sunscreens

Do you depend on sunscreen for skin protection? Millions of Americans do, but they shouldn’t. The rate of melanoma diagnosis is increasing. The consensus among scientists is that sunscreens alone cannot reverse this trend. Yet a good sunscreen can play role in preventing sunburns that are a major risk factor for melanoma – provided you use it correctly. Sunscreen should be just one tool in your arsenal. These eight little known facts about sunscreens will help you spot problem products and avoid getting burned.

1. There’s no proof that sunscreens prevent most skin cancer. Rates of melanoma – the most deadly form of skin cancer – have tripled over the past 35 years. Most scientists and public health agencies – including the FDA itself – have found very little evidence that sunscreen prevents most types of skin cancer.

2. Don’t be fooled by high SPF High-SPF products tempt people to apply too little sunscreen and stay in the sun too long. The FDA has proposed prohibiting the sale of sunscreens with SPF values greater than 50+, calling higher SPF values “inherently misleading,” but it has not issued a regulation that carries the force of law. Twelve percent of sunscreens we evaluated this year advertise SPF values greater than 50+.

3. The common sunscreen additive vitamin A may speed development of skin cancer. The sunscreen industry adds a form of vitamin A to 19 percent of beach and sport Sunscreen Chemicals Nanoparticles in Sunscreens Getting enough vitamin D EWG’s methodology for assessing sunscreens, 17 percent of moisturizers with SPF and 13 percent of lip products in this year’s database. Retinyl palmitate is an antioxidant that combats skin aging. But studies by federal government scientists indicate that it may trigger development of skin tumors and lesions when used on skin in the presence of sunlight. Other governments warn that cosmetics may expose people to unsafe amounts of vitamin A They recommend against using vitamin-A-laden cosmetics on the lips and over large portions of the body. EWG recommends that consumers avoid sunscreens, lip products and skin lotions that contain vitamin A, also called retinyl palmitate, retinyl acetate, retinyl linoleate and retinol.

4. European sunscreens provide better UVA protection. In Europe, sunscreen makers can formulate their products with any of seven chemicals that filter UVA rays. American manufacturers can use only three UVAfiltering ingredients. They have been waiting for years for FDA approval to use sunscreen ingredients widely available in Europe. The FDA has asked the makers of European sunscreen chemicals for more safety data, but until the FDA approves these ingredients and lifts restrictions on combining certain active ingredients, American consumers will be hard-pressed to find sunscreens with the strongest UVA protection.

5. Sunscreen doesn’t protect skin from all types of sun damage. The sun’s ultraviolet radiation generates free radicals that damage DNA and skin cells, accelerate skin aging and may cause skin cancer. American sunscreens can reduce these damages, but not as effectively as they prevent sunburn. People can run into problems if they pick a sunscreen with poor UVA protection, apply too little or reapply it infrequently. The FDA should strengthen its regulations to ensure that sunscreens offer better protection from skin damage.

6. Some sunscreen ingredients disrupt hormones and cause skin allergies. There is no perfect sunscreen. Americans must choose between “chemical” sunscreens, which have inferior stability, penetrate the skin and may disrupt the body’s hormone system, and “mineral” sunscreens, made with zinc and titanium, often “micronized” or made up of nanoparticles. New evidence suggests that FDA should consider the hazards posed by inactive sunscreen ingredients that may trigger allergies.

7. Mineral sunscreens contain nano-particles. Most zinc oxide and titanium dioxide-based sunscreens contain nanoparticles one-twentieth the width of a human hair, to reduce or eliminate the chalky white tint that larger particles leave on the skin. Based on the available information, EWG gives a favorable rating to mineral sunscreens, but the FDA should restrict the use of unstable or UV-reactive forms of minerals that would lessen skin protection.

8. If you avoid sun, check your vitamin D levels. Sunshine causes the body to produce vitamin D, a critical function that sunscreen appears to inhibit. Vitamin D, technically a hormone, strengthens bones and the immune system and reduces risks of breast, colon, kidney and ovarian cancers and perhaps other disorders. About 25 percent of Americans have borderline low levels of vitamin D, and eight percent have a serious deficiency. Breast-fed infants, people with darker skin and people who have limited sun exposure are at greatest risk for vitamin D deficiency. Many people can’t or shouldn’t rely on the sun for vitamin D. Check with your doctor to find out whether you should get a vitamin D test or take seasonal or yearround supplements.

Should You be taking Anti-Depressants?

Psychiatric drugs kill 500k+ Western adults annually, few positive benefits – leading scientist

Published time: May 13, 2015 13:46
Edited time: May 14, 2015 06:22

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Reuters / Siphiwe Sibeko

Reuters / Siphiwe Sibeko


Psychiatric drugs lead to the deaths of over 500,000 people aged 65 and over annually in the West, a Danish scientist says. He warns the benefits of these drugs are “minimal,” and have been vastly overstated.

Research director at Denmark’s Nordic Cochrane Centre, Professor Peter Gøtzsche, says the use of most antidepressants and dementia drugs could be halted without inflicting harm on patients. The Danish scientist’s views were published in the British Medical Journal on Tuesday.

His scathing analysis will likely prove controversial among traditional medics. However, concern is mounting among doctors and scientists worldwide that psychiatric medication is doing more harm than good. In particular, they say antipsychotic drugs have been overprescribed to many dementia patients in a bid to calm agitated behavior.

Gøtzsche warns psychiatric drugs kill patients year in year out, and hold few positive benefits. He says in excess of half a million citizens across the Western world aged 65 and over die annually as a result of taking these drugs.

“Their benefits would need to be colossal to justify this, but they are minimal,” he writes.

“Given their lack of benefit, I estimate we could stop almost all psychotropic drugs without causing harm.”

Gøtzsche, who is also a clinical trials expert, says drug trials funded by big pharmaceutical companies tend to produce biased results because many patients took other medication prior to the tests.

He says patients cease taking the old drugs and then experience a phase of withdrawal prior to taking the trial pharmaceuticals, which appear highly beneficial at first.

The Danish professor also warns fatalities from suicides in clinical trials are significantly under-reported.

In the case of antidepressants venlafaxine and fluoxetine, Gøtzsche casts doubt over their efficacy. He said depression lifts in placebo groups given fake tablets almost as promptly as groups who partake in official clinical tests.

He also stressed the results of trials of drugs used to treat schizophrenia are disconcerting, while those for ADHD are ambiguous.

Commenting on the negative side effects of such pharmaceutical drugs, Gøtzsche argued the “short-term relief” appears to be replaced by “long term harm.”

“Animal studies strongly suggest that these drugs can produce brain damage, which is probably the case for all psychotropic drugs,” he said.

“Given their lack of benefit, I estimate we could stop almost all psychotropic drugs without causing harm – by dropping all antidepressants, ADHD drugs and dementia drugs … and using only a fraction of the antipsychotics and benzodiazepines we currently use.”

“This would lead to healthier and more long-lived populations.”

Gøtzsche says psychotropic drugs are “immensely harmful” if used for prolonged periods.

“They should almost exclusively be used in acute situations and always with a firm plan for tapering off, which can be difficult for many patients,” he adds.

Gøtzsche’s views are sharply contradicted by many experts in the field of mental health. But others, including a diverse group of medical experts and institutions affiliated with the Nordic Cochrane Centre, argue otherwise. The Nordic Cochrane Centre is an independent research hub dedicated to scrutinizing and monitoring the effects of health care.

The debate on psychiatric drugs has gathered momentum in recent times. In the discussion, published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), Gøtzsche’s arguments are contradicted by Professor of Mood Disorders Allan Young and John Crace. Crace, himself a psychiatric patient, writes for the Guardian.

Crace and Young say a broad body of research indicates the drugs are effective and that they are just as helpful as drugs for other ailments. They also argue mental health conditions are the fifth most significant contributor to disabilities worldwide.

While Gøtzsche stresses clinical trials bankrolled by pharma giants churn out skewered results, Young and Crace say the efficacy and safety of psychiatric medication continues to be monitored after research trials come to a close.

However, both Young and Crace acknowledge concern over the side effects and effectiveness of psychiatric medication.

“For some critics, the onus often seems to be on the drug needing to prove innocence from causing harm rather than a balanced approach to evaluating the available evidence,” they write.

“Whether concerns are genuine or an expression of prejudice is not clear, but over time many concerns have been found to be overinflated.”

The BMJ discussion is a preamble to the Maudsley debate at Kings College London on Wednesday. The debate takes place three times a year at the university’s Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN).

Wednesday’s debate focuses on the impacts of psychiatric medications, and poses the question of whether they prove more destructive for patients than beneficial.


Acupuncture, Chinese Herbs, and Bach Flower Remedies offer healthy, balanced alternatives.  We are here to help, if you have questions or concerns.

Scientists Are Worried About GMOs, You Should Be Too!

I have a passionate concern for #GMOs, what they are doing to the ecosystem of our whole planet, and what they can do to us.

There is some confusion as to what a Genetically Modified Organism is.  This is a relatively new, scientific process.  Basically, a scientist inserts a foreign gene into the DNA of another species, most often an animal gene into a plant, or a plant gene into an animal, in order to alter the characteristic of that species: to make a certain plant resistant to certain parasites, or to increase muscle growth in animals.  This helps increase our food stock, and the profits of the companies who produce the patented genetic change.

Please note, this is not the same as genetically engineered food.  Arguably ALL of our food supply is genetically engineered: choosing which steer breeds to which cows, cross-pollinating plants, grafting tees: thousands of years of human farming have completely altered our planet’s original ecosystem into our current food supply.  Even Heritage breeds and seeds have likely known some human modification in their long histories.  GMO’s are our modern “Frankenfood:” take out the test-tubes and the electron microscopes, and boldly go where no man had even considered going in the past.

I won’t get started on a long diatribe here.  This is a profit-driven enterprise.  The farmers are promised a more resilient, higher yield crop, which generally does not materialize, and they are stuck in the cycle of purchasing more seed and fertilizer from this company year after year, often to the point of bancrupcy.  The seeds spread to neighboring farms, whether or not they want them, and those farmers have been sued for possessing seeds they did not purchase.  There are many films and articles on this foul cycle.  Give yourself a little time to search YouTube.

My concern is that the products from this process are ubiquitous in our American food supply – most other countries have banned their production and our major food producers provide GMO-free versions of their products in Europe and other areas, but not here in the USA – and in our farming landscape.  We cannot know how far-reaching the effects of this “experiment” may go, how every plant and animal on the planet may one day feel the influence of the re-engineering of massive fields of US crops.  The birds and the bees are dining there, then flying elsewhere.  We are eating innumerable GMO genes daily, in processed products laced with corn syrup and starches, soy oil and lecithins, cottonseed & canola oils.  We reach for beautiful, “natural ” fruits and vegetables, like papaya, pineapple, tomatoes, potatoes, and summer squashes that have been genetically modified for years (and were never labeled as such in this country).


We have no data on how these genes effect our overall health, but our overall health is on the decline (not so in other countries).  US Cancer, obesity and Diabetes rates are alarmingly high, and climbing yearly.

I consider it one of my duties as a Healthcare Professional to inform my patients and the general public about the very real dangers we are in the midst of, and the possibly perilous experiment we have begun with our planet.  I will continue to pass on information I think might help you understand the overall threat or your personal risks.

As such, here is a starter list to help you understand why these crops were chosen (no screaming liberals on this site):


Here is a short video about why the effects are scary, pertaining to the newest GMO crops:

Why scientists are worried about the GMO apple and potato


Here is the official, third-party verified list of #CertifiedGMOFree foods, including specific brands:


Please take a look, inform yourselves, read your food labels, buy Organic.  Take your health, and the health of our planet, very seriously.

And be well.

I’m here to help.

12 Truths You May Not Remember About Who You Really Are

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  1. You are ever-expanding.

The Universe is always expanding and as a piece of the Universe, you are also ever-expanding, giving birth to new ideas, desires and dreams.

The problem is you are taught from a young age to squash your desires and conform to the status quo and the expectations of others.

The gap between what your soul really wants and the conformist way you are living your life creates huge internal unrest and unhappiness.

  1. Your purpose is to be you.

You are not here simply to buy a large house, get in shape, get to the top of a career ladder and pull together a wedding. While accomplishing your goals and dreams can be a rewarding and beautiful part of your life, it is just the icing on the cake.

Your true purpose is to be you – your own unique blend of passions, interests, ideas, quirks and gifts. Your mission is to discover more about who you are, to love yourself and others at the deepest level, to experience joy and happiness, and to learn and grow into the highest embodiment of you. Mission accepted?

  1. You are the essence beneath your labels and titles.

You may take on many titles, labels and roles in your life, but do not confuse them with your true identity. Your true essence is deep and unchanging.

You can be the owner of a thriving business or unemployed, married or single, fit or unhealthy, happy or depressed, but you are still the same you. Your spirit endures.

  1. You are eternal.

Your energy existed before you were here in this physical body, and your energy will continue to exist after you have finished experiencing life in this physical body.

  1. You have the power to create your world.

You are the author of your life story and you hold the pen. Start by getting clearer on what you want, and choosing thoughts, words and actions that support your desires.

  1. You are naturally entitled to wellbeing, happiness, love and abundance.

You are not meant to feel tired, broke, unloved, unhappy and anxious all the time. This is what happens when you are trapped by limiting beliefs, frozen by fear and stubbornly ignoring your inner spirit and its burning desires.

You are love, peace and happiness. It’s just buried under layers of self-loathing, false perception and fear.

  1. Everything in life is a lesson you were meant to learn.

You are here to grow into the highest embodiment of yourself, and you cannot do that without learning certain lessons from life. See your life experiences as lessons you needed to learn to blossom into your best self.

But be aware – if you don’t learn the lesson, you will continue to experience the same pain, conflicts and negative outcomes over and over again.

  1. You are perfect just as you are.

You are as the Universe created you – so who are you to judge that you’re not good enough, beautiful enough, talented enough or deserving? You may make mistakes as you navigate the world, but it doesn’t make you inherently bad.

You may have caught a glimpse of your true divine nature when you’ve been dancing, creating, making love, laughing, watching a sunset or lost in the flow of doing something you love.

  1. Your natural state is love.

If you can break the habit of judging and criticizing, labeling people and putting them in boxes, you will become aware of the same light shining within every single one of us. You will open yourself up to more love and become love itself.

  1. You are much safer than you think.

Your fears and worries about the world are like a horror movie projection in your mind – they are not real.

Your true self is strong, secure and invulnerable. It cannot be harmed by other people’s opinions or external circumstances.

  1. The world is a reflection of you.

You see what you expect to see, and you get back the energy you put out.

If you start expecting more love, friendliness, open-heartedness, support, abundance and success – and start embodying these qualities yourself – you will start to encounter them flooding into your life.

  1. You have access to all the answers you seek.

If you can learn to trust in yourself and listen to your inner voice and intuition, you will be amazed at the infinite storehouse of wisdom, guidance and ideas you possesses.

Access the answers you seek through prayer, meditation, journaling or asking the Universe for signs.


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About the Author

Elyse Gorman

Elyse Gorman is a writer and life coach at She is passionate about helping people discover their inner spirit, create their dreams and expand their happiness. For free updates and tips, sign up to her newsletter here.


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Nantucket’s slurpee wave photos

Yes, it’s been ridiculously cold, for too long now…but it this environment does create beauty along with challenges.

Just for the fun of it: Amazing images of ice-thickened waves on Nantucket:

Sniff Neroli to ease menopause, increase libido and reduce blood pressure!

Aromatherapy of Neroli Oil Influences Select Issues Menopausal Women

 From Emerson Ecologics Women’s Health Resources, 2 February, 2015



Yeon Choi S, Kang P, Su Lee H, Hee Seol G



Effects of inhalation of essential oil of Citrus aurantium L. var. amara on menopausal symptoms, stress, and estrogen in postmenopausal women: A randomized controlled trial. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med 2014;2014:796518


This double-blind, randomized, controlled trial was designed to assess the inhalation of neroli oil and its effects on menopausal symptoms, stress and estrogen levels in postmenopausal women. Neroli oil was dissolved in almond oil at concentrations of 0.1% and 0.5%. Participants were randomly assigned to receive either the 0.1% or the 0.5% or an almond oil control group. Participants in the three groups received 10 bottles, each containing 1 mL of the neroli oil in almond oil or the almond oil only. Each individual was self-treated for 10 sessions twice daily for five consecutive days. Each participant decanted the 1 mL of oil onto a fragrance pad while sitting, with the pad 30 cm away from the nose for five minutes. Pre-trial and day six surveys and measurements were performed.



A total of 81 South Korean women 65 years old or less were included if they had been through natural menopause, had not used hormone replacement therapy or aromatherapy in the previous six weeks, had no history of psychiatric illness, were not on any medications for anxiety or depression, had normal olfactory function and were free of aromatherapy allergies.


Primary Outcome:  

Primary outcomes were the effects of neroli oil on menopause symptoms, stress and serum estrogen level in postmenopausal women. Measurements used were the menopause-specific quality of life questionnaire (MENQOL) and the stress and sexual visual analog scale (VAS). Other measurements included blood pressure, pulse rate, serum cortisol and estrogen levels. The MENQOL is a self-reported survey consisting of 29 items, including 16 in the physical domain, 7 in the psychological domain, 3 in the vasomotor domain and 3 in the sexual function domain. Subjects scored each item on a scale ranging from a 2 (“not bothered at all”) to an 8 (“extremely bothered”).

Key Findings: 

Compared with the control group, both the 0.1% and the 0.5% inhaled essential oil of neroli groups showed significant improvements in the physical domain score of the MENQOL and in sexual desire.


The 0.5% neroli group also resulted in significantly lower systolic blood pressure compared with the control group (an increase of 6.68 mmHg in the control group vs a decrease of 2.89 mmHg in the 0.1% and 5.92 mmHg in the 0.5% group). The two neroli groups showed significantly lower diastolic blood pressure compared to the control group (an increase of 7.34 mmHg in the control group and a decrease of 2.43 mmHg in the 0.1% and 3.18 in the 0.5% group). There was a trend towards improvement in pulse rate especially with a decrease of 1.92 beats/minute in the 05% neroli group. Serum cortisol and estrogen levels decreased slightly but none of the differences were statistically significant.


Practice Implications:

It’s always a pleasure to see a simple home treatment for any health problem. This short study highlights the potential benefits of neroli aromatherapy to significantly improve menopause symptoms, increase libido and reduce blood pressure. This will be an appealing approach to some.