Eating Seasonally

I have found this spring that cleansing has been about the only way I could loose even small amounts of weight. As I go towards summer I am finding I can eat a wider variety of foods, just as there are wider varieties found in nature. At this point I am still gluten free and I do dairy free 90% of the time (I have to have some chai on occasion!).

I am thinking about the fact that in fall and winter the root vegetables come out. Many of these are harder to digest or are not on the diets of those who are doing low carb. I wonder if in the fall, when these foods naturally arrive, do our bodies accept them differently?

I do know that in winter, I will allow myself my gluten. It may be in cookies or pies that I make or in sourdough bread that I make, but I know I will have it. That’s what gets me through all these other times without bread. It seems that in winter my body wants to stock up and wants warmer carbohydrates. I’ll have to see how I do.

Raw Milk Debates in Washington State

I’m a huge fan of drinking raw milk. As a child I never enjoyed milk but I love the flavor of it raw. I suppose my body knew something my brain didn’t at the time.

I purchase from a small dairy in Washington State. I buy from a local milk group but I used to be able to purchase it at my local Whole Foods which was very convenient if I didn’t plan well for a week. Unfortunately Whole Foods has stopped carrying raw milk. Further, the local dairy has had some issues with the Department of Agriculture. Recently they were accused of being the source of a small (three people over three months) e coli outbreak. Of course this has caused law makers to consider whether raw milk should be legal.

I only drink raw milk from a small farm that I, or someone I know has visited. I wouldn’t consider drinking raw milk from a large production dairy. While I talk about how I love it, as healthcare provider I don’t specifically talk about the potential health benefits. I am more likely to point out that the heat from pasturization kills many of the good vitamins your body needs. However, I do want the choice to drink raw milk. Outlawing it suggests that I, as a consumer and healthcare provider, do not have the intelligence to choose what to put in my body.

No one has to agree with my choices. Even if I get sick, I do have good health insurance and I know many health care providers who can help me through that too. There is no argument for keeping me from drinking what I want. It’s not going to hurt anyone else. To this date, I have been sick less often. My husband continues to drink his pasturized 1% milk. He use to get sick less than I did. This last year he has gotten sick more. I suspect this will be a longer term pattern.

Raw Milk advocates are not saying that everyone needs to drink raw milk. We merely want choice. In many places, where there aren’t a lot of small farmers producing raw milk we sort of hope that everyone else keeps on doing what they are doing!

Thanks to Kimberly Hartke for running this article on what’s happening with raw milk in Washington State.

Broth: Perfect Balance

As an acupuncturist, I see the world through the eyes of the paradigm that we learn in acupuncture school. I am not classically trained, but from what I understand in classical acupuncture, there is the theory that in the beginning there is the Tao. Within the Tao is everything. All of our opposites are included in the Tao: heaven and earth, male and female, yin and yang. Additionally, within all males there is some female energy. Within earth there is heavenly energy. Within yang there is yin. Nothing is ever completely just one thing. There is always a little kernel of it’s opposite within the first.

Foods also tend to be yin foods or yang foods. Some foods are very warming. Others are cooling. At the most basic level, this is how herbal medicine is categorized. Of course, as you mix herbs and foods, things become very complex. Yin and Yang are not the only opposites that are encompassed by the Tao.

Learning more about traditional diets, via the Weston A Price Foundation, I have found that within my own body, that saturated fats tend to boost yang energy. This is the warming energy of the body. It is the energy that keeps us moving, gives us the motivation and warms our bodies. Traditional acupuncturist will often recommend a bit of meat products to those who are yang deficient, usually in a soup or stew with vegetables to help boost yang. I used to think it was the meat but as I eat and consider the nuances of food a bit more, I believe the saturated fats tend to be yang.

Marrow, however, tends to be yin. Marrow is a very earthy thing within the body. It is deep and it doesn’t move much. In the thought process that like builds like, marrow is yin. Gelatin is often a yin substance as well.

Consider broth. I heard a lot about broth as a sacred food at this year’s Weston A Price Conference. Good broth, as they say, can almost raise the dead. Broth is cooked from the bones and feet and anything else that is tossed into the pot. This gives it a great mix of saturated fat (required to gel and make the yin tonic gelatin) as well as marrow from the bones.

Traditional acupuncturists always recommended eating soups and stews. In the Western World, we are taught that this is because the water catches the vitamins from the food so that they are not lost. Additionally the food is cooked and easy to digest. Instead, I think it is because the ancients knew the importance of broth and added it to as much of their cooking as they could. Broth doesn’t just tonify the yin or the yang. It builds both. Someone who is very ill often needs both to be built up. Another advantage of broth is that those things that build yin are often hard to digest, but broth is not.

Bone broth is now my number one most recommended food. So many patients have deficient yin or yang (or both), particularly with the poor eating habits in today’s world. Broth can be such a great help.

imarenegade_150This post is part of Fight Back Friday at Food Renegade.

New Years

So how many people had New Year’s Resolutions? It’s now January 4th. How many people have already broken them? Consider why you can’t stick with them rather than beating yourself up. Maybe the Resolution isn’t quite the right one for you. For instance, I can’t stick to a resolution to loose weight but I can stick to one to increase the health of my gut. I’ve been working with GAPS for the last four days and some of them were hard, because I felt pretty lousy. I’m perking up again and while I’m not quite satisfied with the food where I’m at (I need more recipes!), I know I can stick to this. It’s not about where the scale heads but building health.