Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Resolution or Reflection?

Around the holidays people often start to think up their New Year's Resolutions: To lose weight, to eat more broccoli, to go to the gym every day, to be taller or shorter, to be...[fill in yours here]. The problem is, the middle of Winter is the WORST time to make major life altering decisions, unless you don't care whether they stick.

As I've mentioned in previous posts, energy moves in a particular way depending on the time of year. Winter is the time of hibernation. Things slow down and go inward to rest and restore. If you are trying to make a major change in your life, doesn't it make more sense to do it when energy is moving outward?

Spring is the perfect time to implement these changes. Winter is the time for reflection.

Look at yourself. Name 5 things that you really like, things that are already the way you want them to be. Examples could be "I'm really good at eating organic fruits and vegetables every day" or "I'm practicing yoga on a regular basis" or "I feel like I'm a really good parent to my kids." Whatever makes sense for you.

Then look again, and ask "What needs work?" There is nothing wrong with you, you are great, but what areas could use a little improvement? "I could drink less coffee and more water" or "I could be more compassionate with my [fill in the blank--parent, friend, spouse, sibling, coworker, etc.]" or "I could live my life with the goal of being healthy." Again, whatever makes sense for you.

You don't need to implement anything at this time. If you choose to start, start small. Trade one cup of coffee for one glass of water every day for a couple of weeks and see how that feels. Don't give it up completely or you'll be back to it at full tilt within a month. Baby steps are really the way to go in the Winter. If you choose to wait until Spring, just start imagining what life would be like if you made the changes you intend to make. Visualize your life with those changes and how good it will feel when you do implement them. Sometimes you need to start in the mind to make lasting changes in the body.

Whatever you choose to do, I hope your New Year brings you great health and much joy!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Knowledge is key, but it doesn't help unless you use it

I almost never get sick. I know all of the preventative tools: proper nutrition and supplementation, limiting sugar consumption, good solid sleep, hand washing, having joy in my life, minimizing stress and exercise. Knowing these things is one thing; using them is another.

I believe in the theory of 80:20. If you eat for health 80% of the time, then you can get away with less-than-clean eating 20% of the time and you will bounce back without a problem. For example, we have "treat night" in my house once a week. Most of the time we don't have dessert after dinner, we finish dinner and we're done. But once a week we allow ourselves to have carte blanche on what we have for dessert. It could be B & J's full-fat, full deliciousness ice cream (Phish Food is a personal favorite), it could be Halloween candy, cookies, the sky is the limit. Because we limit it to once a week, there is not that much damage done health-wise and it keeps us motivated to eat well the rest of the time. Occasionally there are extra treat nights or days (birthdays, holidays, special occasions) but for the most part we stick to once a week and we use reasonable portion sizes.

Recently, however, things have been a bit challenging.

First there was Halloween. Most people are challenged to eat well during this time with all of the temptation around. I usually do fine because we don't have any extra in the house and I don't believe in eating my kids' candy. They collected it, it is theirs. This year though, Halloween was essentially knocked out by a storm; many towns cancelled trick-or-treating due to power outages and downed wires. We did go trick-or-treating in another town, but since my son was a bit under the weather we didn't stay out very long. My husband promised him that if we couldn't go out on another night he would buy candy to put in both kids' bags to fill them up a little more. So now there was candy hanging out on our table (because of course it didn't go into their bags as quickly as it should have) so I was definitely exceeding my 20%.

During the above mentioned storm a large tree fell on not one, but BOTH of our cars. We got a rental (not covered by insurance) so my husband and I were juggling schedules a bit. Then my daughter got sick. Then my son. So we were also tag teaming who got to go to work and who stayed home. Stress was rising and exercise was nil.

Lastly I was staying up too late. Consistently. I was catching up on things that I couldn't get done during then day, then other things just for my pure enjoyement (I must have joy in my life!); this was probably the straw that broke my camel's back.

I got sick.

Earlier I mentioned that this almost never happens. Any one of the previously mentioned events could have easily been compensated for by any of my normally good habits, but all the bad piled up with the worse was a disaster waiting to happen. I let good habits fall away (I knew them, just wasn't using them) and ended up with a week of bronchitis.

Knowing how to fight the battle isn't enough, you've got to fight it every day, diligently, 80% of the time. Sometimes it is good to be reminded of why we work so hard to protect our health.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Fall thoughts

When fall hits you can feel a shift in the air--school is starting; even if you or your children aren't in school, there is that old familiar feeling. Even if it is still warm, the light is different in the sky. As an acupuncturist, this is when I tend to give my "fall dietary recommendations" like eating more warm foods to balance the cooling outside temperatures. But, I've decided not to go that route today. I'd like to talk instead about the shift in energy this time of year and how that can affect you.

Summer brings a rising energy that moves outward. People tend to spend more time outside being active; they tend to want foods that cool them down, like watermelon or ice cream (unless your acupuncturist has warned you that there is nothing worse for you than cold dairy...). In contrast to that, Fall is about gathering (I am skipping "Late Summer" for the purposes of this post). If you think about what the animals are doing in the fall, they are preparing for Winter. They are gathering food to store in their nests during their hibernation. They are trying to put on some fat to keep themselves warm when it is cold and snowy outside. They are starting to store up reserves so that they survive the long Winter.

Unlike animals, we have supermarkets and Winter coats, not to mention indoor heating and lighting. As a culture, we've moved away from the energetics of nature so that we can survive all year round without really changing any of our daily habits (aside from having to dress in layers and wear boots). However, that only means that we are less in tune with the energetics that surround us; it doesn't mean that they don't affect us.

As the days get shorter, and we get busier at work and at home, there is a sense of something building. As we move through our days in Fall, we tend to spend more time rushing around, trying to get everything done. Gone are the days of summer vacation, we are back to the regular routine. Take a moment to observe this in your life. Even if you are not aware of it, you are preparing for Winter in the sense that you have a drive to make everything happen right now because you won't have time later. When the days get shorter, so do tempers, perhaps. The "feel-good" sunshine is not around in the same doses and more and more people (especially here in the Northeast United States) suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.). If we were animals, we'd just sleep through the Winter and come out refreshed in Spring, ready to build our Vitamin D stores back up. But because for most of us that is not possible, we need to acknowledge that this might be our tendency and supplement against it (or build up enough with Summer sun exposure to be able to coast through the Winter).

This Gathering of Qi that happens in the Fall is an interesting phenomenon to observe in yourself and others. Being aware of it is the first step to keeping it from getting out of control. Deep breaths and other stress management techniques will be important to keep your Qi moving and prevent it from gathering and becoming stuck. You many notice feeling a little off balance, especially around the Autumnal Equinox. This is the best time to turn your attention inward and give yourself a bit of nourishing, physically, mentally and emotionally. It will make the swirl of the the season a little more tolerable.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Does your bucket fill or leak?

One of the wonderful things about the work that I do is the relationships I have with my patients and students. Part of the healing process is this relationship. If you don't like or don't connect with your health practitioner, whether a medical doctor, nutritionist, massage therapist or someone else, it can really affect your response to their care. Health in general is about balance; advice and treatment from a practitioner you connect to and trust is going to be much more beneficial to you than from someone you are skeptical about or don't particularly like.

When it comes to your health, your healthcare really needs to be a give and take. People come to see me to feel better, but they won't get the most out of their treatments unless they participate in their wellness. What they do when they are outside of my office affects them, positively or negatively. If they follow good diet and lifestyle habits, their treatments are going to last a lot longer than if I'm working against their bad habits.

I'll give an example. Fredina comes to see me for stress. She has a very high pressure job, she is living on very little sleep because of late hours and the sleep she does get is very poor quality, she eats nothing but fast food, sugar and caffeine, and she doesn't exercise. Coming to see me for stress management is a good start, but is not going to go very far or last very long if she is not dealing with some of the other contributing factors. Some people come to me to "fix" them, but that is not really what I do. I prefer to be in a partnership with a patient, help them make better choices with diet, exercise and lifestyle so that they feel better on a regular basis. Someone who comes to see me and wants me to do all the work, I refer to them as my "leaky buckets." They come, I fill them up and then they go back to their life which will deplete them again; all of my work leaks out of the hole in their bucket.

What if Fredina didn't realize that what she was doing was contributing to how she felt (or she knew but previously didn't know how to make proper adjustments)? If she decided to make changes, like improving her diet, reducing  (or eliminating) caffeine, trying to work in exercise on a regular basis, then the shifts that happened during her acupuncture treatments would last longer and would start to build up over time to the point where she didn't need to come in as often. I would be able to fill her bucket without everything leaking out all over.

Acupuncture is best used as one of many tools to help you find balance. It is not a magic pill that makes your symptoms go away forever (well sometimes it does, but it depends on the issue). Taking part in your own wellness program is the most powerful thing you can do for your health and longevity.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Express Yourself!

I had a patient today who reminded me of the importance of expressing one's emotions. When you don't express what you feel in some way, the Qi gets blocked or weakened. Depending on what your are suppressing, the emotion has to go somewhere and often goes to a place related to that emotion and its relative organ.

For example, my patient's emotion was a kind of sadness, but more feeling broken-hearted. The sense organ of the Heart is the tongue. My patient's symptom was related to her tongue. She had suppressed this emotion for many years and this symptom appeared a few years later. From a yogic perspective, the throat chakra (of which the tongue is a part) is related to self expression, using your voice, sending your voice outward. Because she was unwilling to express her broken-heartedness, energy got stuck and caused symptoms in her tongue-- the vehicle of speech!

Other emotions might show up in different places. Suppression of anger or frustration might manifest as headaches or tight neck and shoulders or teeth grinding/TMJ. These all relate to the Liver. The emotion of the Liver is anger, and the related frustration, unfulfilled desires as well as stress in general. Suppression of these emotions stagnates the Liver Qi. One of the Liver's jobs is to create a smooth flow of Qi through the body. If the Liver is stagnant, that will eventually affect every other organ. This is why there are so many stress related conditions these days. People aren't able to handle their stress and they eventually become symptomatic. And then they land on my table...

But back to emotions.

The Lungs are related to grief and sadness. When sadness or grief are prolonged, they will damage the Lung Qi and a person might have a harder time fighting off colds, flu and respiratory infections. They may find themselves plagued with chronic bronchitis or recurring bouts of pneumonia.

The Kidneys are related to fear and fright. People who have been exposed to fear for long term often have weak Kidney energy. For example, a child with an alcoholic parent, someone who was raped and can't move beyond the fear, someone in an abusive relationship, someone who grew up in a war zone. These people might be prone to symptoms such as lower back pain or weakness, urinary frequency, trouble staying asleep, knee problems, ear problems (infections, poor hearing, tinnitus).

The Spleen is related to overthinking, obsessing, worrying. These people might have chronic digestive problems, loose stools, low appetite, low energy. Have you known someone who gets stomachaches when they worry? That is the Spleen.

Lastly, the Heart feels all the emotions, but its specific emotion is Joy, more of the overexcitement moving toward mania type of joy. The Heart is also often affected by anxiety and nervousness. When these are unexpressed you might have palpitations, mental restlessness, trouble sleeping, tongue problems.

Emotions are an important part of being human. We experience all of these emotions at one time or another and it is fine to do so. When you experience a loss it is okay to feel sad. It is okay to feel angry or worried or scared. The problem is when we get stuck in these emotions and can't move past them; that is when they go inside to cause us harm.

So express yourself! Write about it. Talk about it. Process your emotions and let them go. Your body will thank you.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Five Elements of Acupuncture

As time goes by, practices change, perceptions shift and old ideas become new again. That is what has been happening for me with the Five Elements. I follow many different theories with my practice of acupuncture, getting information from the body as well as from questions I ask of my patients (and from their answers). I look at how their organs interact with each other based on TCM theory, but I haven't, until recently, put much thought into the Five Elements as elements and how their imbalances can disrupt the overall flow of Qi in the body.

Fire, Earth, Metal, Water and Wood are the Five Elements of East Asian Medicine and they are seen in the body in many ways. Each internal organ is related to an element and how each organ interacts with the other organs is related to how the elements relate to each other. Water controls Fire, for example. When a fire rages too hot dousing water on it will put it out. In this way the Kidney energy (Water) can keep Heart  energy (Fire) from rising (like heat does). If the Kidney energy is too weak, you see heat signs in the upper body (anxiety, agitation, insomnia, night sweats, hot flashes, flushed cheeks).

There are 2 cycles of how the internal organs interact: the Generating Cycle and the Controlling Cycle.

The Generating Cycle is one of support, where each organ feeds and is fed by another organ. Fire feeds Earth which feeds Metal which feeds Water which feeds Wood which feeds Fire. Water feeds the trees which burn down and feed the earth from which metal is made (from the minerals) and then condensation happens on the metal to water the wood again. (For you visual folks, imagine a circle, each element makes up a part of the circle.)

The Controlling Cycle is one of balance, making sure nobody gets over or under fed. Water controls Fire which controls Metal which controls Wood which controls Earth which controls Water. Water douses Fire which can melt Metal which can chop down Wood which can grow and take up the Earth which can dry up Water. (Visual folks, imagine a 5 pointed star, each element sits at one of the points.)

Each of these elements have a pulse quality associated with them. When I feel someone's pulse, I'm not counting beats per minute, I'm noticing the overall quality of the pulse. Does it feel weak, strong or moderate? Is it wide or thin? Is it superficial or deep? Is it "slippery," "wiry," "choppy," "surging," or any of a number of other poetic descriptions for pulse qualities. Some of these qualities relate to different elements as well. Common ones are "wiry" for Wood, "slippery" for Earth and sometimes I feel what I describe as a "metallic" quality which clearly relates to Metal. When I feel one of these qualities in someone's pulse (usually when I'm rechecking the pulse after the needles are in) I start to look at how these elements relate to each other. If I feel a wiriness in the Spleen pulse, for example, I look to balance the Wood on the Spleen channel or meridian. By using the Controlling Cycle, Metal controls Wood so I could use the Metal point on the Spleen Channel. Or by using the Generating Cycle, Wood is fed by Water, so by draining Water I can "weaken" Wood so that it is not so strong. I usually ask the body which one to do by seeing which one improves the pulse the most.

This is not a new concept. Many practitioners practice Five Element acupuncture or Five Phase acupuncture exclusively. But I tend to live in the grey area, not submitting to any one way of thought but encompassing many. Rather than staying right on the straight and narrow path I like to veer off and see what lies to either side. I'm a meanderer, a go with the flow type of person. I like to see where the journey will take me and soak up as much as I can along the way. I'm revisiting the Five Elements on this leg of my journey. Who knows where I'll go next!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Letting the Qi Flow

Balance in the body is a matter of proper Qi flow. When Qi is flowing properly everything feels good. If you have areas or organs that have too much, too little or stagnant Qi, your body tells you through symptoms.

But that is just internal Qi. What about that which connects us all, Universal Qi? We do not exist in a vacuum, we are constantly interacting with our environment (environmental Qi), other people and their Qi, the Qi that enters us through food, drink and products we use on our bodies (lotions, shampoos, sun screen, etc). There is so much to contend with on a daily basis, not to mention our own thoughts and emotions (yes, also Qi).

How do you present yourself to the world on a daily basis? Is your Qi out there for all to see or are you more reserved? Do you open yourself up to be all you that you can or does fear get in the way? Our own internal monologue can be a stagnating factor in our overall health. What kind of messages do you give yourself all day long and where did you learn those messages? Are you repeating them because they are actually true or because you've come to believe them through repetition? How does that make you feel? If you feed yourself negative messages all day long, you probably don't feel very good. If the messages are positive, and you have an "I can do it" attitude (as my kids learn at their taekwondo classes), you will feel able to conquer the world.

I was recently presented with just this issue. A couple of months ago I received a call from VoiceAmerica radio network asking if I would be interested in hosting a radio show on their Health and Wellness Network. My first thoughts were "What? Me? How could I do that? Who would want to listen to me talk?" and so on. As the fear started bubbling up (fear of public speaking especially) I observed this happening and what it was doing in my body (tight chest, racing thoughts, heat rising). I stopped, took a deep breath and decided that I wasn't going to let fear stand in the way of what could be an amazing opportunity. How wonderful would it be to talk about what I love, what i'm passionate about, to people who actually want to listen (my family is very polite but I know I often annoy them with my rantings about healthy eating and natural medicine). This could be an incredible opportunity to share natural medicine with people who might not know there are other options out there.

When I let go of my fear, everything opened up. My internal Qi started flowing as well as Universal Qi into and out of my body and mind. I felt grounded, connected and free.

When you open yourself up to the possibility of what could be, possibilities can become realities.
My radio show starts next week. Stay tuned!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

My Therapeutic Process

I was talking with a colleague the other day and it got me thinking: what is my therapeutic process? How do I come up with a treatment plan for my patients that is truly the best thing for them? What is it about what I do that makes them feel better?

Acupuncture often follows something called the Root and Branch Theory, where the Root is the cause of a particular condition and the Branch is how it manifests. For example, someone could come in with headaches (Branch) but they are due to stress (Root). By treating the Root, the Branch often goes away. But what do you do when you don't know what the Root of a condition is? Following Traditional Chinese Medical (TCM) theory, you come up with a Pattern of Disharmony based on the full constellation of patient symptoms. In theory, when you make your TCM diagnosis, you pick points that will help balance that diagnosis and the patient should improve. You look for confirmation from the patient in terms of symptom improvement and you might also check the pulse and possibly the hara (abdomen) for confirmation as well. Then sometimes you hit that plateau point where the patient is better, but not completely. What then?

I listen to the body. The body has all the answers, you just need to know how to communicate with it. When practicing yoga you can notice your breath, your thoughts or pay attention to the sensation in your muscles to get feedback on how much to push or not push your body; when gauging someone else's body, I'll check their pulse. So many times I'll feel the pulse on someone, after I've put the needles in, and a particular organ is still not balancing the way I would like. At that point I start checking points on the organ's corresponding meridian (energy channel) that I think should correct the problem. Usually it works but sometimes it doesn't. So then I start checking points that I wouldn't normally think to use, often still on that same meridian, and I'll find the one that is exactly what the patient needs. I treat that point and the pulse improves and so does the patient. The body knows what it needs.

I also listen to my gut. Here is where the water gets a little murky. Sometimes I'm treating a patient and something inside me starts telling me to use a certain point. There may or may not be a "theoretical" reason behind it, but that little voice gets louder and louder until I either use the point or I ignore the voice and leave the treatment room. I've found over the years, however, that if I end up ignoring the voice that I always end up being wrong. Flat out. Sometimes something happens during the session where the patient feels good except for one area that is still bothering them; if I had treated that point it would have affected that exact area and it would no longer bother them (kick self for not listening). I'm not sure if it is universal wisdom that is entering my consciousness or if it is just me being present with the patient and tuning in to their needs, but in any case I've learned to listen to my gut.

I try to remove my ego from the treatment room. When I can be fully present with a patient, the solution reveals itself in some way. Sometimes the patient tells me which points to use: "It hurts here" as they are pointing to an exact acupuncture point or meridian. Sometimes a concept comes to me out of the blue that exactly applies to this person at this moment (universal wisdom streaming in? Good neuronal firing?). Sometimes I just have a sense that this person should not be treated directly and I will use points that will affect the necessary area without actually needling that area. Those treatments often have the most powerful results. How do I know when to do that and when not to? I'm not sure. I guess my inner voice just knows her stuff.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Probiotics and Chinese Medicine

Many of you have heard about probiotics. For those of you who haven't, probiotics are beneficial bacteria. We all have them in our intestines and women have them inside their vaginas (lack of these beneficial bacteria is what leads to yeast infections).  Antibiotics kill bacteria when there is an infection in your body, but they are often non-discriminating and kill off the good bacteria as well as the bad. This is why many people experience digestive symptoms after taking antibiotics. Probiotics are used to replenish the good bacteria that you have lost. However, antibiotics are not the only thing that can deplete us of our good bacteria. Poor diet and stress can also do that over time.

But let's look at the Eastern perspective.

According to Chinese Medicine, digestion is the realm of the Spleen. When the Spleen is functioning properly it separates the "pure" from the "turbid" in the food that we eat; the pure is transformed into the Qi and the Blood and the turbid becomes waste. When the Spleen is weak or over burdened with too much sugar, refined, raw or cold foods, you experience symptoms such as bloating, fatigue, loose stools, constipation, flatulence and lots of phlegm (like chronic sinus congestion). Antibiotics are seen as very cold (since they attack infections which are hot) so they easily damage the Spleen, causing many of the above symptoms. Probiotics, since they aid digestion, are seen as a Spleen tonic. They warm and improve the Spleen's function thereby repairing the damage that antibiotics cause.

Even without antibiotic use the Spleen can become damaged. As I mentioned before poor diet can affect the Spleen, but emotions can also cause injure it. The Spleen is vulnerable to over-thinking, obsessive thinking, too much mental or physical work. When you are stuck in your head, it is not good for your Spleen. When your Spleen is damaged by your emotions, you might experience a "knot" in your stomach, or bowel irregularities (incomplete bowel movements, alternating between loose and hard stools) or when it is really chronic, more extreme conditions like Irritable Bowel Syndrome or Colitis. Probiotics can help with many of these conditions by regulating the bowel movements, seen by Chinese Medicine as improving Spleen function.

According to the Western view of physiology, about 70% of your immune system is found in your gastrointestinal tract. According to the Eastern view of physiology, the Spleen makes the Wei Qi (see Nov. 1st blog entry). Either way, your digestive system plays a huge role in the state of your immune system. Regular probiotic intake can play a big part in keeping your immune system healthy. Probiotics are found mostly in fermented foods, like saurkraut, high quality yogurt, kefir, natto, miso, kombucha as well as in raw dairy products. You can also buy probiotic supplements in your local natural food store or vitamin store.

Keep your Spleen and your immune system happy by eating warm, cooked, easily digestible foods and probiotics. A little goes a long way to keeping you healthy!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Balance of Yin and Yang

Happy New Year! Now that "holiday eating" is behind us we can start to look ahead at health in the new year (of course the Chinese new year is not for another month...). Winter is the time when our energy retreats inward, think hibernation. It is cold and dark outside so we tend to spend more time indoors where it is warm. Unless you wear shorts and a T-shirt in the snow, the key to health in the winter is not to encourage more cold by eating a lot of raw, chilled or frozen foods. Think stews, soups and tea!

Health is about balance. Too much of a good thing is still too much and can cause problems. When it comes to heat (Yang) and cold (Yin) in the body the same is true. If either is out of balance, we are out of balance. Too much heat (or not enough cool) and we dry up; too much cool (or not enough heat) and we can't get warm and get very damp and phlegmy.  In either case we can end up with blockages in our energy flow. Qi flows best with just enough heat and cool.

How do I know that I have "just enough?"

When you experience symptoms (like those I'm about to list) you know that you are out of balance. If you are symptom free, you are balanced.

If you have too much heat (excess yang) you might experience: headaches, red face, sweats (or sweat easily with little or no exertion),  high blood pressure, dark concentrated urine, stomach pain/pressure, acid reflux, constipation, heavy menstrual flow, overly strong libido, acne.

If you have not enough cool (deficient yin) you might experience: insomnia, night sweats, dry skin, hot flashes (with or without sweats), hot hands, feet and chest.

If you have too much cold ("excess yin")*, you might experience: lower back pain that is better with heat, difficulty getting warm, poor digestion, loose or watery stools, infertility, frequent urination, painful menstrual periods, fixed joint pain.
*Clinically you don't typically see "excess yin," but you can have excess cold that comes from the enviornment or from eating too much cold, raw or chilled/frozen food.

If you have not enough heat (deficient yang), you might experience: chronic lower back pain that is better with heat, 5am diarrhea, loose/watery stools with undigested food in the stools, low or no libido, edema especially in the lower body, frequent copious urination, poor digestion.

So what can I do?

In addition to seeing an acupuncturist to get your exact diagnosis, you can start with some basic wisdom. If you seem to fall into the excess yang or deficient yin category, you can probably get away with eating more cooling foods. However, you still don't want to overdo it or you will find yourself in the "too much cold" category. Avoid spicy foods as well since they may exacerbate your symptoms. Aim for "cooling" foods, like:

cucumbers, asparagus, celery, button mushrooms, yogurt (good yogurt, not yoplait), amaranth, millet, wild rice, apple, avocado, blueberry, pear, lima beans, mung beans, chammomile and peppermint.

If you seem to fall into the "excess yin" or deficient yang category, eating warming foods is in your best interest. Most of your food should be cooked and warm when you eat it. If you do eat raw food, like fruit, make sure that it is at least room temperature. "Warming" food examples:

meat, chicken, turkey, ham, shrimp, lobster, oats, quinoa, sweet rice, kale, leek, onion, pepper, squash, sweet potato, blackberry, cherry, date, basil, cardamon, cinnamon, clove, cumin, fresh ginger (dry is hotter than fresh and better for excess cold), nutmeg, oregano, miso, walnut, jasmine, black beans, chestnut, coconut and coconut milk. 

Eat for health!