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The Taste of Your Food Affects How You Feel

Yi Xing  teapot

As many of you know, we offer an online course called Healthy Eating: The Five Element Way, where you can learn and practice how to combine foods in a way that balances the energy in your body. And a balanced body is a healthy body.

The course has a great Q&A section where you can ask us questions and interact with other students.

Here’s an interesting question someone asked in the course that we want to share with you.

Question: I have a question about ‘taste enhancement’. Since I have found I enjoy the addition of a sour component to several foods I often eat, does that indicate my liver may be out of balance? I would not describe the situation as being a craving as such. It seems like it is more of a flavor enhancement kind of thing.

Answer: Yes, your choice of adding the ‘sour’ taste to your food is an indication that your Liver could use some rebalancing—and enhancing the flavor of your meal with a bit more of the sour taste may be just what your Liver needs.

On the other hand, to make the point: If one were ‘craving’ sour food, that would indicate a more significant imbalance with the Liver energy, which might require a more vigorous technique like acupuncture or Chinese medicinal herbs to get the Liver rebalanced.

Keep an eye on your consumption of ‘sour tasting’ foods and see how much of them you’re choosing; perhaps make some notes in your food journal.

There are also Chi Kung exercises you can do to keep your Liver balanced; (we’re planning to show some in a future course). In the meantime, here’s a book to get started if you want to know more about Chi Kung.

Please let us know if you have any other questions.


Headaches and Stress

Is everything going on in the world these days giving you a headache? If so, you’re not the only one because this is National Headache Awareness Week.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that too many people today are suffering with all sorts of headaches. According to the National Institutes of Health the most common type of headache is a tension headache, which they say is often related to stress, depression or anxiety.

And why is there so much tension these days? I suppose everyone has their own answer to that question, but one thing is for sure: we’re all being affected.

The Stress Factor
Stress is a huge factor in peoples’ lives today; a trigger for headaches, and a catalyst for many other chronic illnesses. And how stress affects your health depends on how you respond to it.

We experience ‘global’ stress, like the oil spilling into the Gulf of Mexico, the conflict in the Middle East, the war in Afghanistan. And we feel it ‘locally’ in countless ways: driving in traffic, shopping in a crowded store, people we run into who are having a bad day, and the list goes on. Each of us has our own unique brew of stress to contend with and manage.

A Simple Step
We’re not the first generation to live in ‘exciting’ times.  Thousands of years ago Chinese Taoists counseled people living in stressful times who wanted peace in their lives to “Lay low.”

In those days that often meant retreating to the mountains. An option that we, in the 21st century, don’t find that appealing. So what to do? One simple step is to read “Hope For The Flowers” to get some inspiration and a fresh perspective for getting down and away from the ‘caterpillar pillar.’ 


What Do You Say?
Being able to talk in a healthy way — not in a blaming, ranting way — about what’s causing your stress is a huge advantage to you. Talking in a realistic way about your stress enables you to grapple with what’s causing it and figure out ways to diffuse it.
It’s healthy to talk about what’s stressing you out, even if you don’t see any way to change things. Noticing the patterns in your life that feed your stress is an important step toward understanding how to defuse the situations that cause it.

Those of you who come to BIOM for treatment know how much value I place on taking the time to talk about what’s going on. This kind of conversation helps me with a diagnosis, and perhaps creates for you an opportunity for healthy insight.

So who to talk to? Doctors and therapists are an obvious place to begin the conversation. Friends and family are an option too: provided the relationship is a ‘trusting’ one and your friend or family member is not too stressed

More Balance — Less Stress
When your body’s energy or Chi is balanced you have less stress. The body naturally can process a certain amount of stress when it’s balanced. That’s what a healthy nervous system is designed to do. 

Imagine a wetland - like those along the Gulf Coast or anywhere else: as long as it’s healthy it can handle a certain amount of toxicity or storm intensity, but only up to the point where it’s overwhelmed.  So too, your body can only tolerate a certain amount of stress, and beyond that point health begins to deteriorate.

The body is analogous to Nature because it is Nature - from it and of it.

Staying Sane In A Crazy World
So in a crazy world, how do you stay sane? ‘Breathe ... Consciously.’ This is what I call ‘foundational’ Chi Kung.

Take some minutes each day to breathe slowly and deeply, and pretty soon you’ll be saying to yourself: “I don’t feel as stressed out as I used to.”

And when you know how to avoid or minimize stress, you’ll be able to ‘celebrate’ National Headache Awareness Week next year ... because you won’t have any.

Get Ready for Spring and Surging Liver Energy

Spring is the time of forcing out new growth. This forcing power is what Oriental Medicine call ‘Liver’ energy, so it’s no surprise that the organ most affected in Spring is the Liver.

While Spring is a wonderfully energetic and creative time – following a long, dark Winter – it can also be very intense on your nerves and emotions.

This life-generating intensity of Spring fosters highly creative and expansive feelings—if your body is balanced enough to channel the energy of the season.

Snow melts,
And the village is overflowing—
with children.

— Issa

Be Ready To Grow
Visualize a strong, healthy tree. The existence of that tree depends on the health of its roots. Its roots provide the nourishment and balance needed to support its foliage and fruit.

In a similar way a strong, healthy Liver is a primary force affecting your health in Spring because it provides the energy needed to root, balance, and channel the energy in your body that bursts forth in Spring.

Imagine too how the forcing of Spring pushes out leaves from Winter’s barren branches. This same energy is coursing in your body through the channels, nerves and tendons.

To the extent your body is ‘balanced’ Spring is an exhilarating, creative time; to the extent it’s not …

Pay Attention To How You Feel
One sure sign that your Liver needs balancing or replenishing is if you experience the most common Liver-related discomfort in Spring — often described as: jagged, jittery, jumpy, tight, knotted, wiry, or fried nerves.

Spring Health Tip
During this time of seasonal transition, remain mindful of cold, making sure you don’t get too chilled. Your body is still vulnerable from the Winter and you don’t want to make it easy for a cold or flu to take hold.

Help Is Here
If you find yourself feeling jagged, jittery, jumpy, tight, knotted, wiry, or fried — or recognize it because of the effects it’s having on your emotions and relationships with others — there’s a reason for it: Spring is that time of year.

If you want relief, Oriental Medicine — acupuncture, Chinese medical herbs, diet & nutrition, and Chi Kung — can provide it.

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IMPORTANT: All information on this Web site is provided for educational use only and not meant to substitute for the advice of a local Oriental Medicine practitioner, biomedical doctor, experienced coach, or martial arts instructor.