Savory Chickpea Stew

In an earlier post with a recipe for Red Cabbage Salad I referenced the macrobiotic chef I interned with who made delicious meals for the students at my acupuncture college, Pacific College of Oriental Medicine. I was able to wrangle a few recipes from Nancy for some of my favorite dishes. This Chickpea Stew can also be made as a soup, omitting the squash and the seitan. Its a hearty, one-dish meal, for autumn and winter.In Chinese dietary therapy, we recommend eating differently during each season. In the spring and summer one eats lighter foods and above ground crops. In the autumn the yin begins to rise. Yin energy represents darkness, cold, quiescence, feminine, earth, sweet, substance and blood. During the autumn season the cool yin begins…

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Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine for Patients with Blood Cancers

I am giving a talk about acupuncture and Chinese medicine for patients with lymphomas and blood cancers on Monday, September 12 at 5p at the Wellness Resource Center, 50 Doctor's Drive, West Annex, Asheville, 28801.This will be for a family support group for patients with blood cancers and their caregivers, offered through Mission Hospitals Cancer Services and The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.    "This group is for people living with Leukemia, Lymphoma, Multiple Myeloma, Myelodysplastic Syndrome, or Primary Amyloidosis and also their caregivers who live in the Asheville area and surrounding counties of western North Carolina." Group Facilitators:   Leslie Verner, RN, BSN, OCN, CCRP - Cancer Outreach Coordinator                                               Jere Howell, MS -Clinical Psychologist       Date:  Monday, Sept 12, 2011       (Meets the 2nd Monday of every month)       Time:  4:00…

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Developing a Loving Kindness Practice

A few months ago I finished a book I had been reading by His Holiness the Dalai Lama: How to Expand Love.  Since reading the book a year ago, I have been working on developing a personal or loving-kindness practice. My goal is to being to feel loving-kindness towards all living beings. A lofty goal to achieve, I have taken the first step at the beginning.A loving-kindness meditation I was recently taught begins with thinking of a loved one and feeling the loving-kindness one feels towards that being: wishing this being love, peace, happiness, security and freedom from suffering, pain, and harm. The idea is to experience the depth and feeling of loving-kindness. Next one moves to a teacher or master, someone one respects, and again feeling…

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Herbal Poison Ivy Remedy

I learned a couple of herbal poison ivy remedies in a Kitchen Herbs class I took a few years back. I don't have any feedback as to efficacy, so please add comments with your experiences.There are two easily accessible Chinese herbs that treat poison ivy. Both are weeds that are ubiquitous in the summer. The first is Ge Gen, or Kudzu powder. You will find this in the macrobiotic section of natural foods stores. Ge Gen is the root of the kudzu vine, which grows over everything in the Southeastern United States: trees, bushes, signs and telephone poles.You'll find the second in your backyard lawn: dandelion.You can take dandelion and kudzu internally as a tea. Kudzu is a white powder, and can be used to thicken sauces.…

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Warm Up Your Fruit Smoothies With a Little Ginger

I was in Greenlife (Wholefoods) yesterday and noticed a juicing demonstration in the produce section. I know many like to juice, especially in the summer. As a vegan, lately I have been relying on fruit smoothies as a valuable source of protein: they are a convenient way to take protein powder. However, in Chinese dietary therapy, we advise against consuming cold, raw foods. So I advise adding a little ginger to warm them up. Here's why:In Chinese medicine, the Spleen system is responsible for digestive function. The Chinese Spleen system includes other functions, including aspects of the immune system. We consider digestion a warm transformation: heat is required to break down foods into nutrients the body can absorb, and waste for excretion. Ingesting cold, raw foods weakens…

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Your Body is Your Garden: We Must Cultivate Our Health

I spent this holiday weekend planting my vegetable garden. Yes its a late start, but I'm actually right on time for a crop of fall vegetables: spinach, chard, peas, beans, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli, lettuce, parsley and cilantro. I'm a novice gardener so it's a bit of Plant and Pray. I picked up a couple of vegetable gardening books, one of which, Dick Raymond's Joy of Gardening has become my new vegetable growing bible. I'm realizing why I haven't had auspicious success in my past efforts. Gardening is work. You don't just put seeds in the ground and wait to pick. There are a many techniques and cultivation methods one must employ to achieve a bountiful harvest.While remarking about this to a patient today, and it occurred…

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FDA Warns Against Anemia Drugs for Cancer Patients: Chinese Medicine Effective Treatment

The FDA issued a strong warning that will go on labels for three widely used drugs that treat anemia for cancer and dialysis patients: Procrit, Aranesp and Epogen, saying the drugs cause stokes and cardiac problems and speed the growth of malignant tumors. Fortunately for these patients there is a safer therapy available that effectively increases blood cell production: Chinese medicine.Several organizations have endorsed the use of acupuncture for cancer treatment. The National Cancer Institute notes western studies are beginning to be done that show efficacy of acupuncture in increasing blood cell counts:Scientific studies on the use of acupuncture to treat cancer and side effects of cancer began only recently. Laboratory and animal studies suggest that acupuncture can reduce vomiting caused by chemotherapy and may help the…

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Acupuncture Reduces MS Symptoms and Improves Quality of Life

I'm going to be speaking to members of the Asheville MS Support Group on Thursday June 9th, 1:30-2:30 at West End Bakery on Haywood Road. In preparation I spent afternoon yesterday googling to see what is on the Internet showing acupuncture's effectiveness in treating MS. I posted many links on my facebook page and thought I would also include them on my blog so that they could be easily referenced in the future.The MS Trust, a charity in the UK includes this thoughtful discussion about acupuncture for treating MS. Acupuncturist and author Jill Brooks includes a list of MS symptoms that respond well and those that have a mixed efficacy for acupuncture treatment.Alien Sheng sums up acupuncture benefits for MS patients for the American Chronicle:Acupuncture treatments for…

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Impermanance. Or Change You Can Believe In

I woke up this morning with a moment of clarity about impermanence. Impermanence is a Buddhist concept that many westerner's have difficulty grasping. But this morning I saw clearly how our refusal to accept impermanence maintains the bondage of our suffering.We try to achieve materialist goals we set for ourselves: home ownership, a new car, steady, rewarding employment and so on. I'm not saying its wrong to strive for these achievements, but our mistaken belief that once achieved these things will last leads to our suffering when we lose them.I suppose the recent tsunami in Japan, tornado's in Alabama and other southeastern states, and flooding along the Mississippi has made me realize how quickly we can lose everything we've worked for.Home ownership is an American dream, and…

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Boston – Style Baked Beans & Blue Cornbread

These baked beans are not really baked, but they are easy and mouth-watering delicious. I like to make a large quantity as beans freeze well, and these are winners at potlucks. I team it with Blue Cornbread, a favorite quickbread of mine that I've been baking for many years.The (not) baked beans recipe comes from my dog eared and adored cookbook (the velveteen rabbit on my cookbook shelf), Peter Berley's The Modern Vegetarian Kitchen. Peter was the executive chef at NYC's Angelica Kitchen, my favorite vegetarian restaurant there, a standard established in 1976. The Angelica Home Kitchen cookbook is my also often used but not so dog eared favorite.Boston (not) Baked BeansI've used lots of combinations of beans here, all work well, so it's really up to…

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