Friday, March 25, 2011


The collaboration of acupuncture with traditional Chinese medicine has become a more and more popular in our culture.  This form of alternative medicine has been known to relieve pain, provide therapeutic relief, and promote general healing of the body.  The goal of Chinese medicine is to work with the body holistically to reset its balance as opposed to common practice of Western medicine, which works more directly, focusing on one specific issue.

In an attempt to ease stress and bring peace to my everyday life, I decided to try this holistic approach.  After discussing my various health concerns, Mari tapped 16 needles into various energy pools throughout my body.  At first I was a little skeptical, but I became an instant believer when I felt discomfort in only two areas, which I found out later, are tied to my digestive system (a major area of concern for me).  After placing all of the needles, I was left to relax for about 20 minutes.  There was only a slight bit of discomfort, but the idea of trying this much different approach was appealing to me, even if some skeptics have claimed for it to only have a placebo effect on its patients.  In my opinion, the minimum amount of irritation was well worth it.  To supplement my weekly sessions, Mari also gave me two Chinese herbs to sooth and bring ease
to my body.

Within just one day after my first meeting with Mari, I felt relief from the tenseness I had been feeling in my back for months, as well as long awaited control over my digestive system.  Placebo effect or not, I have not felt this comfortable and balanced in years, and I am attributing it to acupuncture.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Spring Cleaning

Although the term ‘spring-cleaning’ usually means its time to de-junk the closet and make a trip (or 2) to Good Will, it is also a time to de-clutter our bodies.  By purifying the interworking of our organs, we are preparing ourselves for the new light season. Your liver works to naturally detox unwanted and unnecessary toxins from your body, and spring is a perfect time to help it do its job! 

According to many Chinese medicine believers, it is best to live a lifestyle that correlates with the seasons.  Your liver correlates itself with spring, so consuming foods that are easier for your liver to digest and metabolize, can create a more peaceful and productive digestive system.

There are many fresh flavors of spring that can give you a natural detox without having to put yourself through an intense cleanse or flush program.  Asparagus, for one, is known to flush out unwanted pollutants.  By adding one or more of these fresh spring fruits and veggies into your daily routine, your body will naturally run smoother, creating a happier and healthier you.

Spring Fruits and Vegetables
Bok Choy
Fava beans
Oranges (Navel and Valencia)
Passion fruit
Sugar snap peas
Sweet onions

Monday, March 21, 2011

Peeled - juice bar

This afternoon visited Peeled in Lincoln Park for the first time.  It was AMAZING!  Not only were they super friendly and knowledgeable, but their entire menu is 100% natural and organic so you know anything you choose will have nutritional benefits.

I was a little overwhelmed by all the options, so I ended up trying two different juices. I first tried G'Morning Love, which had almond milk, bananas, raw oats, hemp protein powder, maca, almonds, and cinnamon...awesome.  Then I tried Love Note with bananas, dates, coconut milk and Madagascar vanilla...even better.  They were both great, but were pretty similar, so I will definitely be going back to Peeled to try some new blends and some booster shots to help with energy.

Here is a link to their menu:

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Green Smoothies

Green smoothies are super easy and are full of antioxidants and nutrients.  Although they do not look like the most enticing meal, just close your eyes and your taste buds will thank you.  These smoothies have helped me with obnoxious digestion issues and have significantly increased my energy levels on a daily basis.  I experimented with recipes I found online and came up with what I think is the best (delicious and nutritious!).

Berry Green Smoothie
1 cup spinach                                                           
½ scoop vanilla whey protein powder           
1 tbsp flaxseed                                                           
½ cup blueberries                                                           
½ cup strawberries                                               
½ cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk                                                                       
3 prunes
1 cup water

After blending, I like to add about 8 chopped almonds for a little crunch.

Nutritional Information
Calories: 275
Fat: 9.65g
Protein: 14.1g
Carbohydrate: 37.75g
Fiber: 9g
Sugar: 17.55g
Cholesterol: 10mg
Sodium: 133mg

This recipe makes about 2 smoothies.  I usually plan on getting 2 meals out of it, but end up eating 1/2 before it even makes it out of the blender :)