All and One
February, 9th 2015This month, as we find ourselves walking along the path from our New Years Day to the celebration of the Chinese New Year in just a few weeks, I thought it would be a good time to discuss what many of us have set out to practice in our annual resolutions: healthy eating. I have a great deal of personal experience struggling with overeating, binge eating and being overweight for most of my life. I have walked a long way down the path of healing these wounds and I wanted to share my insights, both personally and professionally, here with you.
And instead of reading about it in detail, you can listen to a recent interview with me on a new podcast, the Everyday Acupuncture Podcast, hosted by my colleague, Michael Max, in St. Louis, MO.
In the interview I tell the story of my out-of-control relationship with food and the steps I took to bring my body & mind back towards balance. It was a lengthy process, but one that you might find interesting if you’ve had experiences with food addiction or have struggled with the very temporary results of fad dieting.
Please take some time to listen to my interview. In it, we discuss in detail the importance of eating meals at regular intervals, of not eating an abundance of cold foods or ice water, and above all how important mindfulness is in one’s approach to their food. Check it out:
To learn more, check out my post about Chinese medicine guidelines for healthy eating, or read about my personal struggle with food and being overweight. My hope in sharing this is that it might give people who really struggle hope that there is a sustainable way to move toward a healthier, happier life.
If you have a real desire to do the work needed to lose weight and practice a healthy relationship with food, I would be more than happy to be part of your support network by providing acupuncture, herbal therapy and most importantly an empathetic ear. Call or visit our website to book an acupuncture appointment or free consultation at our clinic in NE Portland.Read more
February, 8th 2015
While what we eat is certainly important, good nutrition is much more than putting the right things in our mouths. Food needs time to be digested and absorbed well so we can benefit from all the energy and nutrients it contains. Good eating habits are the bedrock of a healthy diet. How we eat is as important as what we eat. Below are some fundamental guidelines based on Chinese medicine principles that will help you achieve better digestion, sleep and overall well being.
- Don’t worry so much Stress created by trying to adhere to a rigid or overly restrictive diet is detrimental to good digestion. It is far better to be imperfect and enjoy your food. Remember, food is not your enemy, it is what supplies us with the nourishment to go out and live our lives. When it comes to trying to eat in a healthy way, make sure to be gentle with yourself.
- Create Space for Meals It takes a lot of energy to digest a meal. Eating and digesting is best done in a state of calm and relaxation. Do your best to create a healthy environment in which to eat and digest. Try to avoid watching television, reading or doing work. Share meals with good friends and family members who relax you. After eating, spend a bit of time relaxing before jumping back into your long to do list.
- Eating as Meditation Pay attention to your food. Strive to make eating a multisensory experience by noticing how your food looks, feels, smells, and tastes. Listen to yourself chew. Eating is a pleasurable activity that is best savored.
- Eat Slowly Chew each bite thoroughly. Breathe. Take one bite at a time.
- Regularity The Spleen and Stomach, the primary digestive organs in Chinese medicine, like routine. Eating regular meals at consistent times each day helps them function optimally.
- Balance and Moderation Chinese medicine is fundamentally based on the concepts of balance and moderation. Strive for a balance between the amount you eat and your activity level. Be moderate in the amount you eat at any one sitting, stopping before you are stuffed. Experiment with leaving the table while still slightly hungry.
- Evolution not Revolution Make changes to your diet gradually, giving yourself time to adjust. Move slowly towards healthier eating habits that you can maintain for the rest of your life. And be gentle with yourself when you make a mistake, there is always tomorrow.
Xander Kahn is a licensed acupuncturist and board certified herbalist at All and One Acupuncture in NE Portland. If you are ready to make changes to your diet or digestive health, Xander can help guide you through the process. Call All and One Acupuncture today to schedule a free consultation or appointment.Read more
February, 8th 2015
My Heart “Beets” for you Valentine Brownies *
Recipe by: Eva Whitburn, Nutritional Intern at All and One Acupuncture
Gluten, grain, and dairy free
5 oz dark chocolate, 72% or higher cocoa content
¼ cup coconut oil
1/3 cup coconut nectar or honey
2 omega-3, cage free eggs
¼ tsp almond extract
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup almond flour
2 Tbl coconut flour
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 ½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
1 ½ cups pureed beets (to roast your own see below; or use canned or frozen).
To roast the beets: preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash 4 small or 2 medium beets and wrap in foil. Place on baking sheet. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until a fork easily pierces the beet. Set aside to cool. Use a paper towel to peel off skin. Place beets in blender or food processor and puree.
To make the brownies:
- Preheat oven 350 degrees F. Grease an 8×8 pan and set aside.
- In a double boiler, gently melt the chocolate. (If you don’t have a double boiler then fill a skillet with a few inches of water and set a small pot in the water, place over very low heat). Add the coconut oil and coconut nectar or honey. Mix until fully combined. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
- In a small bowl combine the eggs, vanilla, and almond extracts. Add the cooled chocolate mixture.
- In a medium bowl, combine almond flour, coconut flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Pour in the wet ingredients and mix until fully combined. Mix in the pureed beets.
- Pour battered into pan and bake for 25 minutes or until fully set. Cool in the pan and cut into 12 squares.
1 Brownie: Calories 168 Fat: 10 g carbohydrates; 12 g protein: 4 g Fiber: 4 g
Keep your New Year’s resolution to eat healthier this year by incorporating healthy treats into your diet, starting with Valentine’s Day.
The key is using nutrient-dense ingredients, small portions, and eating them with joy, savoring every bite with no guilt afterward.
Instead of the usual empty calorie, sugar-filled, binge-fest that we normally engage in on February 14th, take the opportunity to create a sweet treat that is also nutritious and will leave you feeling satisfied and energized, like these brownies.
They are filled with protein, healthy fat, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Plus, I used a low glycemic sweetener, so you won’t have a sugar crash a few hours after eating one.
Both dark chocolate and beets are loaded with nutrients that provide powerful health benefits, being especially protective against cardiovascular disease.
Why They’re Healthy:
Benefits of beets
Think of beets as red spinach. This crimson vegetable is one of the best sources of both folate and betaine. These two nutrients work together to lower your blood levels of homocysteine, an inflammatory compound that can damage your arteries and increase your risk of heart disease.
Beets contain betaine, a substance that relaxes the mind and is used in other forms to treat depression. It also contains tryptophan, which is also found in chocolate and contributes to a sense of well being.
Chocolate for heart health
Dark chocolate improves several important risk factors for cardiovascular disease. It lowers the susceptibility of LDL to oxidative damage while increasing HDL.
The bioactive compounds in cocoa can improve blood flow in the arteries and cause a small but statistically significant decrease in blood pressure.
Quality dark chocolate is rich in Fiber, Iron, Magnesium, Copper, Manganese and a few other minerals.
To receive all of the benefits of eating chocolate, choose quality….organic, dark chocolate with 70% or higher cocoa content. Pick up some today and make these brownies for someone special.
February, 6th 2015
Do you set your New Year’s Resolutions full of determination and vigor but then lose steam by February? As we move days and weeks away from January 1st, it can be challenging to stay motivated and on track with your resolutions. And although changing behaviors takes dedication, these three tools can help you stay on target with your resolutions.
1. Work on one specific, realistic resolution at a time
Maybe the issue isn’t your determination or follow-through. Perhaps your initial goals were too ambitious or numerous, thus setting you up to feel overwhelmed or defeated from the get-go. When setting your goals, keep them simple, focused, and attainable. Work on one resolution at a time. If you haven’t exercised or eaten well in the past few years, it doesn’t make sense to set the goal of running a marathon and overhauling you diet all at once. Maybe just set the goal of exercising three times a week for a minimum of 45 minutes. Look over your goals, and re-adjustment them to so they are concrete and manageable. It’s ok to re-evaluate your resolutions as you go along
Staying accountable is probably the most important aspect for following through on your resolutions. Accountability will help you stay focused when your internal motivation starts to wane. There are many ways to build a structure of accountability with your goals, and the more accountability you create the more likely you are to succeed.
One method of accountability includes setting up a system of rewards for yourself when you reach milestones and penalties when you miss goals. For instance, some people make a pact with a friend or co-worker that they have to pay the other person a sizable amount of money–say $20 or $50–each time they skip their planned workout routine. But rewards and penalties don’t have to revolve around money or purchases. Perhaps you have to do an extra chore that another family member does each time you miss the gym, but each week you do three workouts you get to take an extra hour for something you enjoy doing
The best methods of accountability include bringing in a few reliable people to help support your progress. This can be a trust worthy friend with whom you can meet weekly to review goals and progress. If you have a dependable friend, family member, or colleague with some similar resolutions, you can schedule time to work together towards your shared goals (workout and cooking buddies are the best). And depending on your goals, many professionals can help keep you accountable: life coaches, personal trainers, therapists, nutritionists, and (ahem) acupuncturists can all help support your progress.
3. Be kind
Yes, even with specific, attainable goals and accountability, there will be times that you slack off or lose focus. Maybe you catch a cold, so you take some time off from the gym to get well, and then your whole workout momentum is lost. So what? You can beat yourself up, or you can be kind to yourself. Don’t focus on berating yourself; just try again. Changing your routine doesn’t usually happen in one elegant burst of self-discipline. It usually takes many attempts, and missteps are an important part of the process. Congratulate yourself for your efforts, and then move on to your next attempt.
If you are interested in getting support with your health-related goals this year, the team at All and One Acupuncture in NE Portland can help! Call us for a consultation to learn how we can help promote your well being wherever you are in your process.Read more
January, 31st 2015
Acute traumatic injuries such as ankle sprains are painful and can impact our ability to accomplish daily tasks for weeks and months. When improperly treated, they can eventually lead to other painful conditions or a limitation in range of motion. Biomedicine treats these sorts of injuries the same way it has for decades: using rest, ice, compression and elevation (RICE) in order to reduce pain, swelling and inflammation. While briefly resting and elevating the injury makes sense when it comes to treating an acute injury, icing and compression of the injured tissues have some real drawbacks according to Chinese medical theory. Let’s take a look at the acute inflammatory process to see why that is so.
The inflammatory process is the mechanism our bodies have evolved in order to repair and replace damaged tissues. When we injure ourselves there is an increase in the flow of blood to the site of injury. This additional blood brings in chemicals that mediate inflammation, as well as fresh cellular supplies to the damaged tissue to aid in repair, resulting in swelling of the affected area. Using ice and compression inhibits this process, which can adversely prolong inflammation, resulting in chronic pain or weakness of an injured area. This is one way a simple ankle sprain can persist through years or even decades as a “bad ankle.”
Even Dr. Gabe Mirkin, the doctor who coined the acronym RICE in his 1978 book on sports medicine, has come to the conclusion that icing hinders proper healing.
So what are we to do when facing a sports injury? Nothing? Of course not! Chinese physicians and martial arts experts have come up with some amazingly effective ways for dealing with sports injuries, including certain acupuncture and massage techniques and topical herbal therapies that excel at reducing pain and swelling while increasing circulation so that the acute inflammatory response can work for us, heal our injury and not linger to cause chronic problems later on in life.
One such topical therapy is called San Huang San (三黄散 – “Three Yellow Powder”), which contains three ingredients that are yellow in color. These powerful herbs (Chinese rhubarb root, Phellodendron & Scutellaria) are amazingly efficient as a substitute for icing a new sports injury. We sell it at the clinic for this purpose. It’s called “Not Ice,” for obvious reasons. Because, as Chinese sports medicine authority Tom Bisio says, “Ice is for dead people.” (For more on how Chinese medicine treats trauma, check out this great podcast episode.
So the next time you injure yourself (and let’s hope you don’t!), stop by All and One Acupuncture in NE Portland for an acupuncture session and some “Not Ice”. See how much faster you can be back out there doing what you love!Read more
January, 2nd 2015
According to acupuncture and Chinese medicine, emotions originate internally from different organs inside the body. Conditions and events in the external world may provoke specific reactions but, ultimately, each person is responsible for the emotion generated. Any addiction, whether to drugs, alcohol, food, work, or other activity or substance, effectively blocks intelligence and suppresses healing abilities. Through these behaviors we choose to rely on the demands of addiction to dictate our lives, rather than taking responsibility to conduct ourselves in a healthy, life-affirming way.
Is there a body/mind connection to willpower? According to the principles of acupuncture and Chinese medicine, there is. Willpower, or “zhi,” is said to reside in the kidneys, and the state of the kidney qi directly correlates to the fortitude of our willpower.
The zhi represents willpower, drive and determination. It manifests as the urge to persist in one’s efforts and, when in deficiency, feelings of defeat, pessimism and depression may occur. Without strong willpower or zhi, one may easily succumb to the temptations of addiction. Acupuncture can help cleanse and re-balance your body and mind to overcome a variety of addictions, and can help manage cravings. The safe space provided during treatment is both literal and metaphorical.
In Chinese medicine, there is a protective layer around the exterior of the body called Wei Qi, or defensive energy. Nourishing Qi can greatly enhance the body’s ability to thrive in times of stress and can aid in healing, prevent illness and increase vitality. Recharging your battery and regeneration of vital energy, Qi, will help you live, look and feel your best!
Several approaches may be used when treating addictions, generally starting with therapies that help cleanse and balance. Sometimes a vague, uneasy sensation takes over after or during the process of releasing an addiction. Perhaps for the workaholic patient, it is strange and alarming to experience leisure time. Addicts require fortitude to find replacements for the dependence on substances or addictive behaviors. This is why willpower, or zhi, needs treatment, to provide support and determination to discover the power within oneself–a universal necessity for overcoming any addiction.
To aid your transformation from addiction and addictive behaviors to healthier practices, try focusing on routine. Routine provides stability, and a new routine is necessary to break old habits. If your first thought in the morning is to reach for a cigarette, replace that action with another, healthier ritual.
The replacement ritual could be anything from reaching for warm water with lemon and a pinch of cayenne to refresh your system, or singing your favorite song or stating out loud your plans for the day. As long as the action is positive and consistent, it will serve your new routine and changing thought processes.
Deep breathing with visualization can also strengthen willpower and be used as a tool to curb hunger and cravings. Most patients report a marked decline in appetite and cravings with acupuncture treatment alone, but special herbs, healing foods and exercises can definitely enhance the efficacy of the treatments.
Everyone experiences addiction in different ways, with varying symptoms, and treatment is adjusted to the individual needs of the person seeking treatment. Some respond better to a sudden, jarring change in habits, whereas others may require a slower process to adjust to the changes that must be made. At some point during the detoxification process, the next step necessary to your healing will be addressed, helping to ensure that your strengthened willpower and emotional balance lasts a lifetime.
Are there cravings or an addiction you are working to overcome? Call All and One Acupuncture in NE Portland today to learn how acupuncture and Chinese medicine can help you reach optimum health. Our talented, compassionate acupuncturists have experience with addiction support.Read more
December, 27th 2014
In an effort to better describe the diagnosis and treatment of male-specific health issues that arise during mid-life, a new term has been coined in the medical community–andropause. Though it is often referred to as “male menopause,” andropause is more than the male equivalent of menopause, as it presents its own unique set of symptoms, causes and patterns of onset.
Andropause refers to the process a man undergoes when the body produces fewer androgens (male hormones). The hormone most strongly affected is testosterone, as it is the most dominant of all the male hormones we know of. Testosterone not only plays a vital role in male development, it greatly affects the overall health of a man’s body and mind.
Testosterone directly influences many bodily functions and organs, including the heart, prostate, muscles, blood sugar, fat metabolism, bone density, libido, and mental cognition. Sudden mood changes, depression and anger also may result from andropause. The decline of testosterone production gradually starts in the early thirties and continues through the mid-fifties.
In contrast to menopause, which happens over a much shorter period of time, the signs of andropause creep up gradually, making an accurate diagnosis tricky. Signs and symptoms of andropause can include loss of libido, enlarged prostate, weight gain, osteoporosis, sterility, urinary problems and infections, and digestive problems.
According to Culley C. Carson, M.D., Boston University, School of Medicine, it is estimated that more than 60 percent of men over age 65 have free testosterone levels below the normal values of men in the 30 to 35 age range. While the incremental loss of testosterone represents the natural life cycle in an aging, healthy male, more severe levels of decrease can prove detrimental.
According to classical texts, the physical and emotional effects of aging in general occur largely due to, but not limited to, the decline of the Mingmen Fire. Also known as the Ministerial Fire, it resides near the spine, between the two kidneys and at the level of the umbilicus. This life-giving force is the fuel from which all the organs of the body draw from. For instance, the Mingmen Fire provides the warmth and energy needed to stimulate the large intestine. Once in motion, it can perform its job of excreting waste from the body.
One reason why a man may experience the loss of libido or infertility in his middle or later years is due to the waning of the Mingmen Fire. If this is the case and the fire is out, other signs such as frequent urination, sore lower back or knees and/or lethargy may also be present.
For men, the onset of andropause may be gradual and, as such, the symptoms hard to diagnose. The natural decline of the Mingmen Fire or Ministerial Fire may also compound or worsen symptoms of andropause. When the Ministerial Fire is out, the body becomes cold and old age sets in. However, long before that, many of the mild to more severe conditions may respond very well to different acupuncture and Oriental medicine therapies.
Call today to learn more about andropause and how All and One Acupuncture in Portland can best support your healthcare goals.Read more
December, 21st 2014
Oregon Health Plan offers some coverage for acupuncture. But getting access to acupuncture on OHP has been challenging. All and One Acupuncture has been participating with OHP this past year, and we are still learning how to navigate the system by trial and error. It’s a whole different set of rules compared to the standard medical insurance plans we have billed over the past several years. We truly want affordable access to acupuncture for as many people in Portland and beyond as possible, so this post is designed to help those with OHP understand the process for getting acupuncture coverage. If you have OHP and want to use it for acupuncture, here are your steps before booking your acupuncture appointment:
Contact OHP and ask if your specific plan has acupuncture coverage. There are many plans under OHP, and not all will cover acupuncture.
Once determining that you have coverage, contact your acupuncturist and ask if they participate in your specific OHP plan. All and One Acupuncture participates in most OHP plans. However, even though we are enrolled with OHP, we also have to enroll individually with each specific plan. Many Portland acupuncturists are finding it challenging to enroll with all the OHP plans.
Ask your acupuncturist if your specific condition will be covered. OHP authorizes acupuncture treatment for a limited scope of health issues. In the experience of All and One Acupuncture, this can vary by plan as well.
Ok you have determined that you have acupuncture coverage, and that your acupuncturist is in your plan and believes that your reason for seeking treatment will be covered. Now you have to go see your primary care provider. Your doctor will have to prepare and submit a pre-authorization for acupuncture. Your doctor will have specify the number of visits and your reason for seeking acupuncture. It can take a month or more for OHP to process and authorize your treatments.
Once this process is complete, you are covered for acupuncture, and you can book your appointment. Yay!
As you may imagine, there can be some problems with this process. Sometimes OHP says they never received the doctor’s authorization after several attempts of the doctor to submit their paperwork. Sometimes the doctor will request 12 visits, and OHP will only authorize 1 visit, requiring you to go back to your doctor. Sometimes OHP will tell you (the insured) different information from what they tell us (the provider). It can be frustrating. When this happens, the only thing to do is get on the phone with OHP. Then we will get on the phone with them, and so forth, until everyone is getting the same information. It can be time consuming, but All and One Acupuncture will work with you to make this process as clear as possible.
And if all else fails, All and One Acupuncture has a discount for OHP patients because sometimes this process is a headache.
If we can help you with your acupuncture insurance needs, call us at 503-281-6909. All and One Acupuncture also offers free acupuncture and wellness consultations. We are in northeast Portland at 2906 NE Glisan.Read more
December, 18th 2014
Good nutrition remains a cornerstone of good health, no matter what stage of life we are in. During major life transitions such as menopause and andropause, your dietary needs tend to change.
Eating well is an art that should bring you as much pleasure as nourishment. Yet somehow this art can become complicated rather quickly. You can integrate nutritional recommendations from acupuncture and Chinese medicine into your diet to ease you through the changes your body goes through during mid-life.
One of the first things to consider is the time of your meal. According to the acupuncture and Chinese medicine circadian clock theory, the most appropriate time to eat breakfast is between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. This is the time of the Stomach, when the energy in this organ is at its fullest, making it ready to receive food. Consider breakfast as the nutritional foundation for your day.
Every two hours, a different organ is poised for peak performance. Eating at the hour of the Stomach provides your body with the optimal energy needed to start the digestive process. The next 2-hour block of time, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., is the hour of the Spleen. The Spleen initiates the next phase of digestion, which further reinforces eating breakfast earlier.
Calcium is one of the most important nutrients for maintaining healthy bones and teeth. During menopause and andropause, the risk of developing osteoporosis increases. The best way to ensure your body has enough calcium is through foods rich in this nutrient. Vitamin D also aids in calcium absorption. One of the best ways to support the production of vitamin D is through adequate sunlight exposure. Try to get at least 15 minutes of sun each day. Foods high in calcium include fish with bones (such as sardines), broccoli, beans, lentils, almonds, milk, yogurt, and walnuts. Both men and women should feature foods in their diets to support the skeletal system, kidney health, and brain function during the middle years.
Regardless of your gender, or how old you are, make an effort to seek out new foods and styles of cooking. Eating a varied diet is the best way to ensure you receive all of the many nutrients your body needs. The next time you make a salad, for instance, pick one vegetable for each color of the rainbow. You can apply this concept to your meals by enjoying dishes with different colored vegetables or by using new spices. Eating is an everyday activity and one way to keep your life exciting through all phases of life is through eating interesting food.
If you want to learn how acupuncture and Chinese dietary therapy can boost your well being, contact All and One Acupuncture in Northeast Portland for a free consultation!Read more
December, 15th 2014
To celebrate our lovely new acupuncture clinic at 2906 NE Glisan we are planning our Open House party for Friday, January 16th. Please join us for an evening of yummy food, tours of the new clinic, and the company of our stellar team!Read more