Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Back From The Beyond

Sorry to have disappeared for such a long time. There have been some big changes around here that have taken most of my energy, the chief one being that I am pregnant! Now that I’m well past the first trimester, I am planning on being more regular with my posts here.

In the next few months, I’m planning on writing a series of posts about Real Food 102: moving beyond the basics, to introduce the idea of traditonal foods and their importance. I will go over bone broth, fermented veggies, soaking and sprouting grains, legumes and nuts to reduce phytic acid, how to use natural sweeteners to their best advantage, and “good” and “bad” fats. If there is enough interest, I would also like to offer a hands-on workshop going over these basics for people in the Santa Barbara area.

If you have any questions or topics you’d like to see me address in the next few months, please let me know. I love answering questions!

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There is No One Way to be Beautiful

This post is very personal and was quite challenging for me. Please keep that in mind when commenting.

Like so many women (and men) I have struggled for a long time with self-image issues. Surely I don’t need to detail the rantings of the demonic monkey on my back, the cultural expectations, the long naked look in a full-length mirror. With or without a bikini on. I’m sure that most of us have some passing familiarity with the feelings of inadequacy, doubt, and shame that come from comparing the ideal of beauty (or fitness or motherhood) that are projected upon us by the prevailing cultural norms. I don’t want to go into all that, there are so many who have detailed the body image struggle before me so much better than I ever could. I want to talk about the beginnings of seeing beauty. That first tantalizing glimpse of the goddess within.

This past Saturday, I was treated to an amazing and eye-opening experience that forced me to ask myself a difficult question: if all the women around me are beautiful in all their diversity of shapes, sizes and ages, why am I not also beautiful in my own eyes? I was in a Korean spa, a most un-American tradition where a bunch of women gather in large rooms to bathe, soak in pools of warm, cold or herbal water, luxuriate in saunas and steam rooms, and scrub their skin until it is as smooth and shiny as a newborn. Oh, and all this is done while completely naked. Stepping into the room for the first time was daunting as my doubts rose to my mind and my monkey shrieked that I was too pudgy, too pale, too hairy and I was met with… complete indifference from the other women. I was just another woman sharing in the ritual of bathing. As I looked around, half expecting to be met with the hard, flat gaze of judgment reached and found lacking, I was met only with smiles and the hints of similar doubts hiding in the other women’s eyes. And I was struck by their beauty, over and over. The older Korean women scrubbing each other’s backs and chatting aimiably; the round-bellied women with stretch marks bearing the signs of childbirth; the incredibly varied shapes of each woman; the different color of skin. All were so very womanly. It was this undeniable womanliness that transcended shape or size and suffused each one with remarkable beauty.

There is no one way to be beautiful.

How does this fit in to a blog about health and acupuncture? In a number of ways. As I’ve said before, health is so much more than just the absence of disease. Health is vibrancy of the whole person, body, mind and spirit. When something as inescapable as our very body causes us suffering, that suffering is not healthy. A wonderful blogger posed the question, why does body image matter? One of her beautiful and well-thought out answers to that question was, ” because we cannot thrive and blossom if we hate ourselves”. And isn’t that what all this is about? Isn’t that true health?

Many of us work so hard to eat right and exercise right in order to be healthy and fit, but often it is the specter of body image chasing us toward the thin ideal we are working towards. And just to be clear, there is a difference between health and fitness. Fitness implies a certain body shape and athleticism to it, but one can have both without being truly healthy. There is much disagreement on this, but I believe that one can be healthy without being skinny or an athlete. A certain degree of fitness is a huge part of health, especially cardiovascular and musculoskeletal health, but not all of us are going to be triathletes. Not everyone who is thin is healthy. Not every healthy body is thin. Not all of us are going to be size 2 or even size 12. Push yourself to be healthy without the attachment to looking a certain way- they are not the same thing. As you refine how you eat (by not eating refined foods!) and how you exercise, your body will find its healthy balance. It may be skinnier than you are now, but then again it may not be. Being healthy depends on what we nourish ourselves with: our food, exercise, sleep, thoughts and emotions.

I am finding that the real question is not, “why am I not thin?” but a whole slew of much more diffucult and personal questions. What is keeping me from health? What beliefs are being played out? What am I getting out of being less: less healthy, less vibrant, less me? Does being unhealthy get me attention or love that would otherwise be lacking? Is it the comfort of being someplace familiar (even if I don’t like it) where I am not forced to grow or change? Are there beliefs of unworthiness, feeling fundamentally broken or lacking? What is keeping me from loving my body, from loving myself wholly and without reservation or caveat or condition? What is underneath the self-loathing? Try writing a letter to your body and see what comes up. It may surprise you. I know it surprised me.

Also worth considering is acupuncture. Five Element acupuncture changed my life many years ago and continues to help me evolve consciously into the person and practitioner I aspire to be. I feel so strongly that it makes me a better person, or rather that it makes me a better me. In Five Element acupuncture, the practitioner seeks out the core of the spirit and carefully crafts treatments from that deep place. Patterns that unconsciously play out as issues of self-worth, self-esteem and dis-embodiment are addressed and can be dismantled. When an element is out of balance in ourselves, we are not living from a space of unlimited potential and are not fulfilling the destiny of our highest selves. In the context of body image issues, if the Wood element is not healthy we may not be able to “see” ourselves properly or without distortion (Wood governs vision on all levels). If Metal is out of balance, we may have low self-worth because we cannot percieve our own value. If Fire is out of balance, our Heart is not at home in our body and we may look for love in all the wrong places/ people because we cannot give it to ourselves. In Earth we see issues of nourishment, when it is out of balance we may find that we are never satiated by food or that we look to food for the comfort we can’t recieve elsewhere. Eating disorders tend to rise out of this element as well. When Water is the core issue, there may be intense feelings of anxiety or powerlessness driving the car. Your practitioner will help identify what is out of balance and help balance it. However, it is still vitally important to continue practicing compassion, acceptance and self-love on your own.

As much as I sometimes long for it, I’m realizing that there is no one right way to be healthy, just as there is no one right body type or one right diet. That would be too easy. It is hard and tedious work to figure out what is right for me, to find my balancing place of health. Last Saturday I got a glimpse into what it feels like to see myself as being beautiful. Not because I am thin or strong or curvy or any other cultural ideal of beauty. Just because I am a woman. And that is beautiful.

How Not to Fall Off the Dietary Wagon

One of the things that can make changing one’s diet difficult to stick with is a lack of resources. When you’re used to having cereal for breakfast, pasta for lunch and pizza for dinner, suddenly having to go gluten-free can seem daunting and confusing. I wanted to put together a list of things that I’ve found particularly helpful to myself during a diet transition.

-Remember to be patient and compassionate with yourself, you may not be perfect 100% of the time, but always strive towards that.

-Eat every 2 hours. This is particularly important for anyone with adrenal fatigue, but even if your adrenals are fine, eating every 2 hours keeps your blood sugar at a stable level. When you are transitioning your diet, you might find yourself feeling more hungry than normal or less hungry than normal as your body adjusts to new and different fuel sources, and it is important to keep high protein snacks at hand and to keep munching regularly. This will help keep sugar and carb cravings at bay.

Full English breakfast

-Eat breakfast. Especially a warm, cooked breakfast. I’ve found high-protein breakfasts to be essential to my energy levels and set the stage for even blood-sugar levels throughout the entire day.

-Have your biggest meal be early in the day, either breakfast or lunch. Keep dinner light and easy to digest so that it doesn’t affect your quality of sleep or your appetite in the morning.

-Yes, alcohol counts as sugar. Yes, beer has gluten in it. That doesn’t mean you can never have these things, but that you should be aware and conscious of their consumption.

-When you are craving sugar, your body is sending you a signal that it wants fuel. When your body wants fuel, give it the long lasting type like protein and fats. Nut butters are a great way to combat cravings.

-Supplements are a good way to help curb particularly sharp cravings. If you are finding yourself constantly tempted by sweets and carbs, consider supplements to take the edge off.

-Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. Whether it is advice, recipes, hints and tricks, or herbal and supplementary help, my colleagues and I are here to support you.

Basics of Real Food:

Real food is food that is unrefined, whole and health-giving. You might even say that it is old-fashioned. Eating this way requires more work and forethought than microwaving a TV dinner, but is infinately more satisfying. I actually love learning old-timey food skills like making yogurt and sourkraut and freshly baked sourdough breads.

www.nourishedkitchen.com is a great resource for starting out on the real food lifestyle with lots of tips on how to make the transition, what is most important, and how to make a food dollar stretch while not buying processed anything. She also has great recipes, including one for bone broth.

www.cheeseslave.com is another real food blog that also has some very interesting information on the writer’s experience with trying different methods for hormone balancing

www.gapsdiet.com is the website full of information on the GAPS diet. This is what I recommend people do if they are suffering from allergies, asthma or gastro-intestinal issues. It is a very intensive healing diet that is done for a limited time to restore gut health.

www.butterbeliever.com fun real foods resource with lots of good ideas and topics of discussion.

Food and Recipes:

www.comfybelly.com is my new favorite recipe site for gluten-free, often grain-free and refined sugar-free dessert recipes (and more)

www.glutenfreegoddess.blogspot.com while not my favorite, has some very tasty looking recipes and is a good source of gluten-free information

www.101cookbooks.com is a wonderful recipe blog full of healthy and tasty foods. You can find something for everyone on this site

www.healthhomehappy.com is a great resource for GAPS followers and other grain-free folk with good recipes and great information. Meal plans are available, which can be a real help for figuring out how and what to eat. She also has an e-book for people on the GAPS intro diet, which I’ve heard is incredibly helpful and takes a lot of the work out of it.

www.glutenfreegirl.com is a great resource and collection of recipes. Also, they tell good stories.

www.100daysofrealfood.com educational and budget-conscious

Living Social Deal

Living Social Deal

We’re so excited to be running a deal with livingsocial! This is a particularly good deal for new patients, but anyone is welcome to buy. If you know someone who could benefit from acpuncture, this would be a great way to try it out.

 

 

Independent Deal!

Big news!

We’re being featured in the new Santa Barbara Independent Deals! It’s like a groupon, only more local. This is a great opportunity to introduce people to the benefits of acupuncture while saving money. Includeded in this deal is the first visit including detailed intake and treatment, nutritional and herbal consultations, a personalized wellness plan, and a follow-up treatment! All for the price of the initial visit.

http://sbindeals.com/engine/SplashDetails.aspx?contestid=39157&productid=5132012

Study Reveals Acupuncture Effect on Pain

This is an interesting article talking about how acupuncture has measurable physical effects on our perception of pain. Many critics of acupuncture say that there is no scientific proof that acupuncture works and that its effects are all part of the placebo effect. However, a functional MRI (known as an fMRI) reveals that under acupuncture, the brain changes the way it responds to pain and lessens the overall sensation of it.

Take a look at the article below:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/8168134/Acupunctures-effect-isnt-just-psychological.html

Welcome!

Welcome to Davidson Acupuncture, a new integrative medicine clinic in Santa Barbara!

To celebrate the New Year, we are offering a special deal!

A little about us:

We are a husband and wife team living and practicing in Santa Barbara, California.

Bill teaches Kung Fu and Qi Gong for health. Contact us for a schedule of upcoming classes.

Cathryn is in the office Tuesdays and Thursdays for acupuncture, herbal and dietary consultations. To make an appointment, call 805-328-3817

It is our goal to keep this blog updated frequently, to answer questions when they arise, and to keep you informed and educated about how to maximize your health potential. On this blog you’ll see articles and links to studies about acupuncture and Chinese medicine, and also some tips on seasonal living, recipes, and nutritional insights. If there is a topic that you would like to see us address, please let us know and we’ll do our best to answer your questions.

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