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No Sugar Challenge: Help The Hunger Project help the Hungry

Earlier this year, my friend and colleague Annabel Boys and I created the Sweet Charity Sugar Challenge. It came out of a little conversation we had around the holidays when we wanted to challenge each other to a few months of eating healthier with no added or processed sugar.

We did it, we went three months in 2017 without sugar. We also managed to include several courageous souls to challenge themselves as well, while giving something to a good cause.

Sweet Charity Challenge was able to raise almost $10,000 to benefit United World Schools in three months time!

During that period, The Hunger Project reached out to us because they were intrigued at what we were doing. They thought it was such a good idea to challenge ourselves toward better health, while helping better the world.

 

 

With World Hunger Day approaching, they wanted us to help them launch a fundraising campaign.

So here we are, two days from the date, Annabel and I have teamed up with them to launch the No Sugar Challenge!

It’s quite simple to join: you pledge to give up sugar for one week while fundraising for The Hunger Project to help end world hunger.

It’s giving up something small (but so beneficial for you) while giving away something BIG.

I have set up an easy way for you to donate and join!

Why give up sugar, even for a week, you ask?

If you have not heard, sugar is a major culprit to all kinds of conditions. From obesity, to diabetes, to heart disease, to name a few. Sugar is as addictive as cocaine, so it’s no wonder we are consuming so much of it without even realizing.

The World Health Organization recommends that we have no more than 25g of sugar per day. In the US, an average adult consumes 4-5 times that amount, up to 100-130g of sugar a day!

Sugar is found in most processed and packaged foods. Sugar is found in most of our meals. It’s no wonder we are getting bigger, and sicker by the day.

You will find that with less sugar in your diet, you will feel lighter, have more energy, sleep better, and possibly lose those extra pounds that have been hanging around.

Annabel and I will be their consultants/ coaches throughout the No Sugar Challenge. We have set up a Facebook group to help support the community and will be there daily! Once you pledge, you will enter the community!

 

Won’t you join us in helping the Hunger Project realize their goals?

To learn more about The Hunger Project, you can check out their website here.

To learn more about the No Sugar Challenge or to join, please click here!

 

Desert living = drinking more water

I just got back from a wonderful week in Death Valley National Park: the Hottest, Driest, Lowest place in the country (as they call it). Despite its name, however, we did find a lot of life there. We even found water: creeks, waterfalls, ponds. Who knew?! We also found lots and lots of salt (dehydrated salt water!).

But for sure, it was DRY. I was more thirsty there than I had been anywhere in my life. Naturally, I drank more water because my body demanded it. I felt parched from the inside out: it was rather bizarre.

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In an effort to stay hydrated, my family lived by the motto: “Drink before you’re thirsty!” throughout the week. We imagined ourselves as plants that would wilt in the hot sun (it was in the 90s during the day!). We were never far away from gallons of water. And ice.

Ironically, somewhere in the middle of the week, I came across this article that peaked my interest in this drinking more water thing. I don’t know if I can drink THAT much water a day, but I can certainly try to drink more than I normally do.

It’s again back to the Yin-Yang theory. Water is Yin. Heat is Yang. If there is too much of something, then there is an imbalance, which can end up in a dis-ease. Nourishing the body with water is one easy way to re-balance the Yin.

I am all in!

When a healer needs healing

I don’t get sick often, thankfully, but when I do, I fight it until I lose.

Today is that day. I am grateful for the understanding on the patients’ side. Thank you for allowing me to cancel on you the morning of your appointment. I need this day to heal, and hopefully, heal quickly.

A few things that I am learning from being a patient myself:

1. Listen to my mother. Thanks to technology, I am able to stay connected with my family who is 10,000 miles away on the other side of the globe. Within a few seconds, I am comforted and reminded by my mother’s words to: rest, drink warm water with lemon, and not work too hard.

2. Let the children take care of you. My sweet children covered me up in a blanket, made me tea, and rubbed my feet. They even walked the dog!

3. Sleep. Possibly the best medicine, if you can get it uninterrupted.

4. Get acupuncture. What else would I do but turn to what I know will help me best! I have an appointment at my previous home in Clintonville this morning. Looking forward to moving that Qi, and getting tonified.

5. Be patient. Of course I wish that I could wish this virus away into the thin cold wintry air, but it’s not as simple as that. Patience patience patience. You all show me that everyday, and now I get to practice and live it, too.

Stay well, and warm, and healthy, everyone!

With Gratitude,

Kit

 

Chinese Medicine Demystified

 

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There is a wonderful series of posts about Chinese Medicine written by Chris Kresser, a sort of mentor of mine (although he does not know this yet!). Chris is also a licensed acupuncturist in California. But he’s way more than that. He’s a pretty well sought- after integrative practitioner of Functional Medicine, an a New York Times best selling author of the Paleo Cure.

I wonder if he’s actually even practicing acupuncture at all with everything else that he does. But I am grateful that he spent time writing this series of articles demystifying Chinese Medicine for people who would like to know more about this form of healing arts without reading a big thick text book, or finding several research papers.

Chris talks about the origins of myths related to Qi, energy, and meridians. He also goes into depth about how acupuncture works from a Western point of view (i.e.how acupuncture helps stimulate the nervous system to release endorphins, norepinephrine and enkephalin). He talks about the physiology of pain and how acupuncture can help pain.

The last article of the series goes into why he thinks that acupuncture is an effective method of healthcare and how you can incorporate it into your lifeIMG_3797.

In short, he did such a good job that there is no reason for me to try to repeat what he said. So I hope that you will hop over to Chris’ site and read the articles for yourself and enjoy!

Have a wonderful week! Stay warm!

Kit

 

 

New Office Space, Same location

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This print is coming with us to the new space! It makes me so happy to look at it each day: peace and solitude, with light at the end of the tunnel.

(Carmel Mission, Carmel-by-the-Sea, California. 2014)

 

Hi all!

I apologize for being away from this blog space. There has been an inertia since my website went down a couple of months ago. But from now on, I plan to post more regularly, as I believe in frequent communication about health, and well-being.

Today’s post, however, is short and sweet.

It’s to announce that I have moved from my previous office space to a new one. Moving forward, I can be found at 2700 E. Main St, Suite 110 in downtown Bexley.

This new space gives us one more treatment room, which means that you will have more options when making appointments!

You are still encouraged to make appointments online. In a few weeks, once I get a hang of the new rhythm, I will change the settings so that more options will show up on Schedulicity. In the meantime, if you don’t see a suitable time for you on there, please email me directly, and we will find a spot for you!

Thank you for your patience, as we transition in real life, and virtually.

I continue to be honored and humbled to be part of your natural health and wellness team!

With gratitude,

Kit

Lessons from Clean Eating Challenge II

The pre-Thanksgiving Clean Eating Challenge week wrapped up just before we all enjoyed some much needed down time with family, friends, and lots of food! We had a good group of Challengers this time around (thanks to all who joined!). If you participated in it, I hope that you enjoyed it, and took some valuable lessons away from eating ‘clean’ for a week (or even a few days).

As we head into the holiday season, making good food choices is always a challenge. There are treats every where we look: in our home, at work, or at all the places we find ourselves shopping, partying, enjoying time with friends and family.

If you are like me, I would like to embark this holiday season with more mindfulness about food choices. Not only did the Challenges make me feel better physically, they also taught me that I am able to say NO to the foods that I do not NEED (like sugar, and processed foods). I also learned that shifting small habits can go a long way toward living a healthier life.

Here are some lessons I learned from the Challenges:

1. Eliminate un-wanted food items in the house. 

This gives you an opportunity to scan through your pantry and kitchen and really see what you have. If there are items that you know you should not eat (Halloween candy, for instance?), they can gracefully exit your world now.

2. Make meal plans that work for you and your family.

It’s a lot easier to include the whole family when trying to make healthy food choices. Delicious foods don’t have to be unhealthy. If you are looking for culinary inspirations, check out our Pinterest Board for Clean Eating Challenge.The endless delicious food choices may blow your mind!

3. Preparation is key. 

Preparing meals and snacks ahead of time helps making good choices that much easier. I made big pots of soups, and stews and froze portions for later meals. Having easy to grab items like fruits, and nuts decrease that desire for unhealthy snacks.

4. Accountability is advantageous.

Tell friends and family that you are working on healthy food choices. It’s harder to ‘cheat’ when you have other eyes and ears on your decisions. That’s why participating in these Clean Eating Challenges as a group can work well for those of us who enjoy the support and accountability from others.

I plan to lead another Challenge in early 2015. Please let me know if you are interested in participating!

In good health and happy holidays!

Kit

NOTE: The advice shared in this document has not been evaluated by the FDA. The methods recommended are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease, nor is it intended to replace proper medical care. Seek medical advice if you are under medical care for serious medical conditions, pregnant, breast feeding, or postpartum.

Yin Yang: the foundation of life

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Dawn – Yang within Yin

The first lesson I learned in Acupuncture school was that of Yin-Yang (pronounced Yaang, similar to song).

It is, arguably, the most important concept in Chinese Medicine: all the theories, pathology, physiology and treatment plans can be explained according to the Yin-Yang theory. It is a very simple concept, and yet the most profound philosophy in existence. I thought it would be fun to introduce this concept to you, to help you understand a little bit of the Chinese Medicine theory, and the ubiquitous symbol we find anywhere and everywhere it seems.

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Noon – Yang within Yang

 

Simply put, Yin-Yang symbolizes the cyclical pattern of nature, and hence of life: one depends on the other, neither can exist without one another, one transforms into another, and the pattern continues.

Every phenomenon in the universe alternates through a cyclical movement of peaks and bases. The alternation of Yin and Yang is the motive force of its change and development. Day changes into night, summer into winter, growth into decay, and vice versa.

Here are some examples of Yin qualities: Darkness, Shade, Rest, Earth, Quiet, Moon, Water, Contraction, Blood, Interior, Cold, Wet, Slowness, Chronic conditions

Here are some examples of Yang qualities: Brightness, Sun, Activity, Energy, Rising, Fire, Qi, Hot, Dry, Rapidity, Acute conditions

But all the qualities are in relative terms. Nothing is totally Yang, or totally Yin, they can’t exist in isolation. Everything is interdependent, and can transform into each other. Since we are in the middle of a change of season, from summer to fall, I will use the seasons to illustrate the transformative nature of Yin-Yang:

Summer = Maximum Yang (Yang within Yang)

Autumn = Yin within Yang (Growth of Yin)

Winter = Yin within Yin (Maximum Yin)

Spring = Yang within Yin (Growth of Yang)

Clinically, Chinese Medicine diagnoses are based on the Yin-Yang theory. For example, an overly stressed individual (Excess Yang) can easily experience insomnia (damaged Yin).  In this case, one must decrease the Yang energy by nourishing the Yin. Lifestyle changes, and proper nutrition can help reverse the condition as well as Chinese medical modalities to help assuage the excess Yang while increasing the nourishing Yin.

The main goal of Chinese Medicine is to acknowledge the transformative nature of Yin and Yang and to implement the best treatments to achieve a balance between the two.

Simplify in September : Less is more

On the ferry to Beaver Island a few weeks ago, while trying to distract myself from possible seasickness, I asked the captain what was on the island that we should see.

He was focusing ahead on his job at hand, but I knew he heard me. I waited for a response, expecting to hear about a few good beaches, some friendly seafood shacks, perhaps a landmark or two. The pause lengthened, but before I repeated myself, the captain responded:

“There’s not really anything there. That’s why people go there.”

After an 8 hour drive from Ohio, and a two-plus-hour ferry ride (not my favorite form of transportation), I was apparently heading to an island of nothingness. It was either going to be the most amazing vacation week, or it was going to become a trying family vacation of bored children and annoyed adults. I wanted to ask the captain more questions, like, what do you mean there’s nothing there? Or, so what do people do when they actually get there? But when I looked at him again and saw that he was perfectly content with his answer, I stopped and decided that for the first time in my life, I was going to live the questions instead (after all, it’s always been my favorite mantra – thanks to Rainer Maria Rilke in Letters to a Young Poet). It was time to put it to use!

I won’t bore you with details of our week on the island, but I will tell you that from the moment of the captain’s answer, through the week of ‘nothingness’, I am more fired up than ever to head into my favorite month with one goal : simplify.

I have always loved September. Not only because the month signifies a new beginning of me going around the sun once more, it also signifies the harvest, and a transition from summer to fall.  The earth seems to thrive during this time: fruits and flowers are enjoying the last hoorah.

This September, after our quiet, tranquil and simple week on Beaver Island, I am re-energized to focus on simplifying my life. Because, truly, less is more. I saw and lived it so clearly during our week on the island (that really did not have a lot going on just like the captain said, but it had everything. And more).

I want to de-clutter in all the ways that I can. Not only will this effort re-center my mental and physical well-being as I move forward, it will help me be the best practitioner that I can be to help you, my community, heal yourselves, and feel better as a result.

It’s a win-win, as they say.

What do I plan to do to simplify?

Here’s a list (in progress):

  1. Getting rid of distractions to my day (goodbye Facebook app, and more, on my phone). Designate times for checking email and social media to maximize productivity.
  2. Donating unused items to Goodwill. The less clutter in the house, the less clutter in the brain.
  3. Saying “No” more than “Yes”.  Prioritizing commitments and tasks allow for best efforts. 
  4. Jumping back on the Clean Eating Challenge! Some of you who joined me last time will be joining me again (thank you!). And those of you who would like to start, please do!  Eating Clean means eating simply. 

Happy September to you all. What simple things can you adjust this month to make your life simpler, easier and more meaningful?

Youtube Videos about Chinese Medicine and More

Hello hello!

Sorry it’s been a while since I posted on the blog. Summer was a busy one, I am sure you will agree.

This is a quick post to share with you that our YouTube channel now has a few recommended videos related to Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine. I am liking the fact that if I find something interesting, I can add it there and you can watch it whenever you’d like.

I am also pleased that a short video about my practice is up as well. The talented photographer/ videographer  Jodi Miller helped me put it together. It’s super short (1:23), and super succinct. I hope you enjoy it.

If you have time, I particularly like the BBC documentary:  The Science of Acupuncture. It’s well done, and well worth 58 minutes of your time!  I have also created another playlist for healthy/clean eating related videos that I find useful and inspiring. Technology can be very helpful if we choose to use it correctly!

The easy way to get to the YouTube channel is to go on the Bexley Acupuncture website. The YouTube icon is the top right hand corner. Just click it, and go! I will be adding more videos on there frequently.

That’s it for now. I will be back soon with another informative post.

Stay well!

Kit

Dara the Darista and her Dips, plus a recipe!

Even though I have not met Dara in person, I already like her. Her delicious dips are to die for, and oh so good for you.

In honor of the upcoming Clean Eating Challenge, I asked Dara to share with us how she got to be the Darista that she is today. Ironically, the place that inspired her to move toward this culinary journey is my home-country: Thailand. I am sure she and I will have a lot to talk about when we finally meet!
Here is Dara, in her own words. I enjoyed reading her stories and her wisdom. I hope you will, too.
You can get her dips at stores around Columbus, and at Bexley Natural Market for the locals! Be sure to try her recipe at the end of this post. It looks scrumptious!
1. Tell us a little about what you do, and how you got there.

I currently own and operate Darista Dips—a trio of all-natural take home dips that focus on local and organic ingredients to create unique, bold flavors. I have been on a journey to open Darista Café and had run a seasonal pop-up for two years out of the Hills Market in Worthington. It went amazingly well and we were on a path to securing a permanent home for the cafe, however we couldn’t secure the funding we needed, so that’s when I decided to reverse my business plan (wholesale, then brick and mortar.) The risk was significantly less. When I first met the Hills Market team back in 2011, Kyle Baker, Vice President of Hills Worthington, was the one who encouraged me to start thinking of ways to get my brand on the shelves, especially in preparation for the pop-up.

My background is in advertising and design. I used to be the Creative Director at a local agency here in Columbus. The concept of Darista Cafe was born on my trip to Thailand in 2006. I have been fortunate enough to travel to over 19 countries, where I like to say, “I travel the world on my taste buds,” and had the unique opportunity to immerse myself with local culture through the lens of food. It was here where beautiful friendships were born and this incredible cross-cultural exchange would happen.

I returned from Thailand feeling inspired that I needed to somehow translate my world journey, my experience to the plate. Whether it’s marrying kaffir and coconut  flavors in a braise to create a latin arepa with coconut curry pork, to recreating dishes that I shared with friends in Spain. I wanted to build these world flavors while sourcing locally. This is where Darista Cafe, world inspired, local fare was born.

2. What inspired you to make your products?

First, anyone will tell you, I’m a grazer and a snacker. I love to eat small amounts of many things. Potlucks might be my favorite gatherings. Needless to say, I’m a dipper. I love to dip.

Some were happy accidents! The Garlicky Kale Yogurt Dip was merely a result of “what’s left in the fridge.” After one of our pop-ups I had a few pounds of Wishwell Farm kale left. I blended it with Snowville Creamery Vanilla Yogurt (didn’t realize it was vanilla at that time) and other reachable spices. Loved it and made it again with regular yogurt. I missed the sweetness (that the vanilla gave,) so I added Honeyrun Farm honey to the recipe.
And others were world inspiration. The Moroccan Carrot and Roasted Beet Hummus really reflect our brand of “world-inspired”— where we take inspiration from flavors from around the world to give bright, bold flavor profiles. When I create new dishes, I usually get inspired around an ingredient. In the Moroccan’s case, harissa was my main squeeze. My intention was to offer a taste of Morocco with carrots being the hero ingredient.

 

3. If you could design a perfect meal, what would it be?

My perfect meal would be a large table with a huge spread, filled with my favorite things. A table that brings together family and friends where they can all dive in and sample amazing dishes. Small amounts of many things:) It probably would not make sense, nor would the food items complement one another, but it would be globally represented. A worldly tapas extravaganza!
Non-negotiable items at this perfect meal include: Pain au Chocolat paired with a macchiato , crusty french baquette with brie, iberico, manchego, goat-blue (any cheese really,) Tortilla Española, Mediterranean and Turkish salads, chicken makhani, Thai coconut curry, tostones, guacamole. And deviled eggs. One big mess, huh? and throughout this journey, I would love to have a beverage selection of: Rockmill Brewery Saison, a lovely Rose, Vinho Verde and Sauvignon Blanc, and a bold, spicy tempranillo red!
(not drinking all at one time, of course, but just to have options)
4. How do you stay healthy in life, and in business?  Any advice you could give to encourage others to eat and live better?

I try to find balance in everything I do, personally and professionally. It’s hard to do and I’m not always good at it. I keep coming back to “sustainability.” Create reasonable goals through eating, exercise and social engagement. Nothing in excess…We do not “diet” and we are not die hard weightlifters;)

On Food: When it comes to nurturing the body and soul, I do focus a lot on food. For me, it’s very important to know where my food comes from—one of the reasons I am a huge fan of forming relationships with our local farmers. One, they are awesome people, my heros. And they are working crazy hard to bring you the best, most nutritious and delicious produce and meat they can grow and raise. Not only you are getting the most nutrients out of each berry or vegetable (since they pick it at their prime,) but you are also keeping the dollars here locally and supporting our economy. And you get the benefit of learning their growing methods.

In our family, we eat and prepare fresh items from scratch. In the summer, we even grow some of our food in our tiny garden. We avoid a lot of artificial/pre-packaged preservative/mass-produced items and eat a lot of organic. It can seem intimidating to create many items from scratch, but the key is to plan and make it easy on yourself. Choose a day to prep for the week. For example, on Sunday, make salad dressing to last you the week, cook a large back of grains to add into your salads or meals, roast almonds for 9 minutes in your 350 degree oven and create your favorite granola recipe so you have snacks for the next two weeks. Then your Monday can easily be roasting or grilling chicken and serve it over that couscous or quinoa. Tuesday, grab your lettuce greens, dress them and garnish with cheese and toasted almonds; and so on.

Now, I’m not going to lie. We still indulge on pizza, brats and burgers, but we are super ok with that and love it.

On Exercise: I’m also a runner. I’ve run two marathons, but will say those shoes are retired and a bit dusty. I try to run at least 2-3 times a week—it clears my mind. And for additional “therapy” I dance flamenco (a Spanish dance) once a week. My husband and I walk and bike almost everywhere. If we could get rid of the concept of a car, I totally would. There’s something to be said about the experience and intake when you can absorb everything around you—from the music birds create to the social interaction of other pedestrians you pass by. Something you would not get from a car.

My strategy is to create reasonable goals (not always the case for me, as I seem to like to overwhelm myself). For instance, if you tie yourself to certain criteria to equate to success, it may result negatively. If you mentally commit to run 3 miles, 5 days a week, well, that can be a difficult routine for one’s lifestyle. What if you miss a day, and then another. Now you are feeling awful about yourself because you trained your mind that this is your “healthy.” And you may just fall off this routine entirely, resulting in no exercise. I’m not about excess. It’s about sustainability and that’s how I try to stay healthy. Where things become automated and integrated into my daily routine. Give yourself wiggle room.

On Engagement: I bought a book for my husband (who is nerded out on urban planning,) called Happy City, by Charles Montgomery. It talks about how lives can be transformed through urban design. I’m a true believer that your environment design and lifestyle is critical to healthy living and happiness. For instance, being able to come home from work and engage with the neighbors for 15 minutes before you dive into house work, or walking to your nearest cafe and meeting new people in your neighborhood—social engagement and activity does increase one’s quality of life. Being involved in our community and engaging with the neighborhood definitely contributes to our wellness.

1. Identify your strengths and find support to help in areas your not well-versed in, so you can grow and focus on what you do best. Be informed of those areas you’re not strong in, but do not burden yourself to take those on. Align yourself with valuable partnerships to help grow you and your business. I can identify with those areas immediately when I say to myself “you’re spending/wasting too much time on this.” And that’s my cue to seek help.

2. Lead with an open heart. I sometimes find myself bundled. I say “my creative pores are clogged.” When I am jumbled like this, I know that I am not good to the rest of the world, nor am I open to receive or be truly receptive to opportunities or little things that bring happiness. When you are purely “open” and cleansed, that’s when the “magic” happens. Align yourself with the universe and send out your positive energy, it will be received.

3. Be nimble. Often we have a strict vision of what our dreams, life or family should look like. It will almost never pan out that way and if you are open and receptive, a new direction will be introduced that can lead you to that path, or detour to something even more magnificent. Always consider. Always take that meeting. I never visioned myself in a pop-up. However, it took me on this journey I could have never mapped out for myself. I found a new niche, explored new concepts and met some incredible people, who I have developed strong partnerships with.

SEARED SALMON, HERBED QUINOA + DARISTA DIPS GARLICKY KALE YOGURT DIP

4 (6-ounce) salmon fillets, skin on

2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

1¼ cup quinoa

1½ cup vegetable broth

Dressing and filling:

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

Zest and juice from 1 lemon

½ cup fresh basil leaves chopped

¼ cup flat-leaf parsley chopped

2 tbsp fresh mint chopped

4 shaved radish

cup cherry tomatoes, halved

½ tsp kosher salt

Feta crumbles (optional)

Pepper to taste

Parsley for garnish

{Yields: 4 servings}

For the quinoa: Rinse quinoa in cold water and strain in a fine sieve until water runs clear. In a medium saucepan, bring broth and quinoa to a boil over medium-high heat. Cover and reduce the heat. Simmer until all the liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Set aside for 5 minutes and fluff with a fork.

In a bowl, whisk together olive oil, lemon zest and juice, herbs, salt and pepper. Toss with quinoa and add the rest of the ingredients. Season to taste.

For the salmon: Heat a large non-stick pan over high heat with olive oil (coat pan evenly.) Season the salmon with salt and pepper. When oil is almost smoking hot, place salmon skin side down in pan. Do not move fillet or over crowd pan. Lower heat to medium. Allow to cook for about 5 minutes or until golden brown on the bottom. Turn the salmon (away from you to avoid splashing oil) and sear until just cooked, about 4 minutes, or until just barely pink in the center. Serve immediately with the skin side up.

To plate: Place 1-cup mound of quinoa on center of plate. Top with salmon and drizzle Garlicky Kale Yogurt Dip over top. Garnish with parsley.