This newsletter comes from northern Indiana just south of Lake Michigan.
Where have I been since the last newsletter? Mostly in Indiana and Kentucky.
A number of welcoming acupuncturists shared with me what they are doing and how they love where they live and work. I spent time with licensed acupuncturists who are finding ways to serve the underserved, those who do group treatments, and those who are of service through publication. Some work with doctors and some work with assistants, and some work with their families. Most everyone does more than one of these things.
In terms of being a tourist, things are a little less quiet east of the Mississippi. When I wanted to go to a national park during the government shutdown, there was often a state park next door to show the same landscape such as effigy mounds in Iowa. This segment of the trip has included visits to a number of churches and multiple monasteries, not all of them Christian. If you're curious to see where I've been, there is a slideshow below.
If you are still asking where I'm going to live in a few months or a year, know that this is an evolution. I’m here to feel it all out, ask for guidance, and be outdoors, even camping, as much as possible. I don’t expect clarity for some time yet.
You can be pretty sure my next newsletter will be from further south, in a warmer place. I hope you're finding some warm places also this fall.
What are you finding this fall in nature? Are you outdoors much? Are you in the sunlight when it is nice weather? This newsletter comes to you from a sunny day in Duluth, northeastern Minnesota. Great for camping, the area is currently having some warm days this fall. The leaves are just starting to change color and I’m looking forward to photographing the drive north of here along Lake Superior.
These past two weeks I traveled in Wyoming, South Dakota and Minnesota. The stars are bright, the towns are quiet and people are friendly. And the wind blows, a lot. For over two weeks Minnesota has shared some amazing sacred sites, and activities done by groups to access the divine such as pow wow, puja to a cow and, finally, a sweat lodge. The sacred sites include a Catholic shrine, petroglyphs, and battle memorials. There’s so much more, and so much I didn’t photograph out of respect, but here are a few pictures in the slideshow below.
The other part of this trip has been to feel out where to open a practice. In addition to talking with various health care practitioners, I've visited some towns' chambers of commerce, and people I’ve met are guiding me from place to place, helping me meet more people. In Rochester, Minnesota, I was able to talk with quite a few locals involved in health care, and even those not. There, it seemed everyone, even the owner of the town’s Ethiopian restaurant, was able to direct me to potential places to rent space to practice.
Along the way I’m meeting many people who care about organic food and herbalism which helps me feel like I could live in a place dominated by farms boasting GMO corn strains at the end of the field rows. In southern Minnesota, among the corn, I visited the forest and dug for twenty-five year old American ginseng with the man who planted the seeds.
Bottom line, there’s so much potential and need for Oriental medicine in the mid-west. There’s amazing natural beauty and there are some places with better economies than others. You are probably asking: can I give you any idea where I’m going to move to? My answer is that this is an evolution. I’m here to feel it all out. I don’t expect clarity for some time yet.
To get here I passed through Spokane, Washington and many cities in Montana on I-90. Have you ever been to Wyoming? Montana? If I had one thing to say it is that the mountains just go on and on and on. Sometimes they're close, sometimes I'm in them (gripping my steering wheel), and sometimes they're far away.
Besides scenery, what have I found? On the route I've visited around half-dozen acupuncturists and in terms of career I've also met with a doctor, administrator, massage therapist and even a park ranger who had great information to share on choice of location. I've seen growing economies, and seen other places where people will travel up to two hours each way to get oriental medicine care. There are really exciting ways that acupuncturists are living as involved community members bringing positive change in serving as board members and starting non-profits.
There's so much need for acupuncture and practical health care that I heard about the massage therapist in a supermarket parking lot in northern Wyoming in a town of 1800 people. Within a few minutes I was in her office chatting about serving the community with her profession and how to know a well-qualified acupuncturist (there's no state license yet in Wyoming).
For me it helps so much to be seeing these things first hand, the practitioners, the local people, and the landscape.
Next stop: Black Hills.
Graduation was last Friday, August 30th.
I really went for the gold in choosing an additional two years of school in order to earn a Doctor degree. Just a couple more small tasks and my diploma will be prepared for me!
Because the doctoral program is largely based on independent projects, what helped me complete all my work? It was largely my mindset, habits and ability to take action. Last winter some of my long-term projects were motivated with the desire to be finished with the projects by graduation day. From that feeling I would become enthusiastic and propelled to continue my writing for longer hours. It was my internal state that led to my achievement. If you keep this in mind, you too can be successful in any endeavor you choose.
For graduation my family came to town and we celebrated for a week. I captured this photograph of myself with the peak of Mt. Hood from behind the Timberline Lodge. See that road in the picture? I'll soon be on a road trip and I'll keep you informed with my blog and newsletter postcards.
If you're like most Americans, you probably enjoy iced drinks and ice cream in the summer. Do you ever take those first few sips and feel cold in your belly, but not actually feel cooler at your skin? In Chinese medicine this effect is not helpful because it just leads to cold inside the body. Did you ever wonder if there was any other delicious snack for hot weather? There is. One night this summer it was extra warm in the kitchen after the oven was on, and when I ate a couple pieces of this recipe, I felt cooler like I never had with an iced drink. Are you ready to try this rice cake, otherwise known as Mochi in Japanese?
Preheat the oven to 375°F and oil a two or three 8”x8” baking pans, or larger pans. Use more or bigger pans if you want thinner mochi. Thicker mochi is more traditionally cake-like and thinner mochi allows a more even balance of fruit and cake.
In a saucepan on low heat, melt the butter. In a mixing bowl, mix the rice flour with spices and dried goji berries. In the saucepan, when the butter is melted, stir in the eggs and coconut milk. Add the liquid to the flour mixture. Combine until smooth. Pour into baking pans and sprinkle with fruit.
Place in the oven and bake approximately 25 minutes until the center is visibly finished puffing and settles down.
It’s August and it’s hot outside. Are you drinking extra water right now? Maybe you also have iced coffee to cool down? Do you wonder how to get the most from your water drinking? Do you feel bloated after drinking water? Do you notice a sinking down feeling when you take your first sips of an iced beverage? At this time of year we all need to drink more water. If you would like to make the most of your water drinking, here are some tips for optimal hydration now and all year. As you’ll see, staying hydrated is as much about eliminating water as it is about taking water into the body.
Drink one cup of hot water first thing in the morning In today’s culture, it is common to drink ice water, ice beverages and ice cream. We are making little blocks of ice inside our bodies and we still feel hot when the weather is hot. In Chinese medicine, hot and cold imbalance is one of the main the founding factors of disease. Prevent disease by having hot water first thing in the morning.
Water yourself thoroughly Your body is like a plant. You need thorough watering in order to thrive. Too much water will make you soggy. Too little at a time will keep you in a state of dehydration. When will your body imbibe the most? Approximately two hours after lunch, on an empty stomach, drink 3-4 cups of water and you’ll water yourself through and through.
Drink water on an empty stomach Each and every cell in our bodies needs water and produces waste material. Imagine what your house would be like if you didn’t take out the garbage and sweep? Your cells need water to clean house. Drink between meals and allow your body to flush out.
Request room temperature beverages Iced beverages promote cold and wet conditions. Literally the “soil” of your body becomes soggy and pools of water form. Water likes to flow downward. Once that water is there, it’s hard to move it. Sometimes the body tries, and sometimes it just lets it sit there for a while. Sooner or later, something happens with those extra fluids. If you’ve ever noticed that ponds like to grow all sorts of fragrant things, attract bugs, and smell pretty strange. Some common outcomes of extra pooling water are swelling legs, swelling prostate that retains urine, ovarian cysts, or foot fungus. So, the next time you’re at a restaurant request water without ice and feel your body acclimate naturally from drinking room temperature water.
Move your body Moving the limbs moves the lymph, the water streets of the body. Remember the taking out the garbage analogy? If the garbage truck didn’t come, you’d have a large pile of trash outside your house. Exercise is like the garbage truck coming to your house and clearing things up. You don’t need to be a fitness junkie! Walking in your neighborhood is a simple and practical activity. What's important is to move your whole body 30-40 minutes five times per week.
What are you passionate about?
What do you feel is really worth it in your life?
Clean, healthy food/air/water?
Here's a picture of me stringing up prayer flags this past weekend at a memorial for 50.000 bees killed by pesticides. Each person's prayer was unique and I was amazed as they wrote them one-by-one in front of me. The reporter happened to capture this flag in my hands quoting a passionate person: Gandhi ("Be the change you wish to see in the world.")
If you feel strongly about physical, mental, emotional or spiritual health, you might like to read further in this post.
If you answered "yes" to any of the questions above, then consider attending a Qi Gong meditation class that strengthens the whole body and builds community among those who practice. Qi Gong master Daniel Villasenor's student Rose Allen will be teaching classes for three weeks this month before Daniel comes to town to teach at the end of the month.
Saturday, July 6th ~ 8:00 to 9:30 a.m. ~ Morning Medical with Internal Alchemy
Sunday, July 7th ~ 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. at Laurelhurst Park ~ Morning Medical Practice – no charge
Tuesday, July 9th ~ 7:30 to 9:00 a.m. ~ Morning Medical with Internal Alchemy
Thursday, July 11th ~ 5:45 to 7:15 p.m. ~ Morning Medical with Internal Alchemy
Saturday, July 13th ~ 8:00 to 9:30 a.m. ~ Yang Tonifying Form
Sunday, July 14th ~ 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. at Laurelhurst Park ~ Morning Medical Practice – no charge
Tuesday, July 16th ~ 7:30 to 9:00 a.m. ~ Yang Tonifying Form
Thursday, July 18th ~ 5:45 to 7:15 p.m. ~ Yang Tonifying Form
Saturday, July 20th ~ 8:00 to 9:30 a.m. ~ Yin Tonifying Form
Tuesday, July 23rd ~ 7:30 to 9:00 a.m. ~ Yin Tonifying Form
Thursday, July 25th ~ 5:45 to 7:15 p.m. ~ Yin Tonifying Form
Daniel’s Workshop ~ Saturday the 27th & Sunday the 28th
Cost $10 per class
Location: Soma Space ~ 4050 NE Broadway Street ~ PDX 97232 ~ 503.804.7660 ~ www.SomaSpace.usFree on-street parking; 1 block from I-84, MAX line and bus transit mall
While last month I featured fava beans that are shaped like a half-moon, now we are at full-sun time of year. This week we have the longest day of the year, the solstice. For the solstice I'm sharing a recipe of very round and full beans: garbanzo beans, or chick peas.
Ingredients (organic when possible):
Serving suggestion: Eat this dish with a small side salad of lettuce, tomato and cucumber. Dish the dal onto jasmine or basmati rice. Top with all of the following: cilantro, plain yogurt and chutneys of your choice.
If not using canned chickpeas, preparation of chickpeas begins 2-3 days prior to making the dal.
Preparing tomatoes (the purpose is to remove the skins and seeds and not yet cook the tomatoes)
Boil water and using a fork, tongs or a slotted spoon, immerse each tomato for a few seconds and remove. Peel the tomato, remove the seeds and chop.
Preparing the dal
Tip: this can be done while the chickpeas are cooking or the canned chickpeas are heating in two or more cups of water.
You are ready to serve!
Have you ever cooked with some whole grains or beans and a few hours later felt .... uncomfortable? What about nuts? Do some trail mixes or breakfast cereals seem especially tough to chew? Have you noticed that after some meals you've felt energized and after others you've felt drained and maybe even in pain? In trying to feel better did you take some medications that didn't seem to help or had undesirable side-effects?
Read on to find out how to avoid or reduce uncomfortable problems with beans, whole grains and nuts.
Look for freshness - Most beans, grains and nuts come in a dried form. Since they can keep on the shelf for years, it's not always easy to tell how fresh they are. To gain skills at identifying a healthy seed, browse at stores that sell mostly organic bulk grains and then compare how the same grains look on the shelf in a bag at another store. You may start to notice the go-to store for organics has larger, plumper, shinier beans and grains. In the case of nuts, they contain much more oils and will therefore smell more fresh showing they are not rancid.
Be careful about storage - beans, grains and nuts are all seeds. Seeds contain molecules essential to sprout a new life of a plant including fats that are easily broken down at warm temperatures and with too much light. When these fats are no longer intact, your body can't use them so they become irritants to the digestive system rather than helpful food. If there is too much wetness or dryness grains and beans will grow mold or become too dry to eventually eat. To preserve freshness, store seeds in a dry, cool, dark place in non-plastic containers.
Soak overnight - Once a colleague from India urged me to soak my lentils for even a short time before cooking because it would be more healthy than not soaking. Think about the qualities of a seed. A seed is an energy storage package. It's dormant until water gives it the signal to grow. By soaking seeds you allow them to begin to moisten and come alive and change their chemistry to make the stored food more available for the growing plant. People eat seeds because they provide energy, but if they are too dense and unactivated, your body will become tired just trying to get the energy out of them! Before making any recipe with whole grains, soak your grains in water overnight at room temperature in the dark.
Sprout - Sprouting beans, grains and nuts is important because it allows them to auto-activate more fully. One benefit of this process is reducing phytic acid content of the grains. Phytic acid is present in varying amounts in beans, whole grains and nuts and reduces the ability of the body to absorb minerals. Sprouting time varies from overnight soaking for quinoa, to several days for almonds. After soaking for 6-8 hours, rinse in a strainer and place the strainer containing grains or seeds on a large bowl and cover with a plate in order to keep them in the dark. Rinse every few hours and watch for changes in shape such as a sprout beginning to emerge.
Some people are more sensitive than others to grains, beans and nuts. With these tips, you can experiment and learn to identify what works best for you and your digestion.
On this date one year ago I was home from my externship in China. It took a while to slow down again after weeks of taking copious and quick notes and walking quickly everywhere in large crowds while dodging chaotic traffic.
Maybe the most significant thing was readjusting my stomach. Once home my stomach was grateful to be able to cook at home again after living in a hotel.
Here I offer a recipe for a tasty, festive dish with fresh in-season fava beans.
1. Shell the fava beans. Bring at least one quart of water to a boil. Have ready a metal strainer and a large bowl of cold water. When the water boils, put the beans into the pot for 30-60 seconds. Strain and quickly immerse in cold water. After the beans are cool, peel off the skins, putting them one-by-one into a small bowl or cup. Pour olive oil over them.
2. Cut the cheese into small cubes similar in size to the olives.
3. Skewer on each single toothpick: one piece of cheese, one fava bean, one olive. When you’ve finished creating the skewers, drizzle olive oil over the top and serve.
I'm a Licensed Acupuncturist who loves to cook and share tips on Chinese medicine. Lately I've been on a road trip. Please subscribe to my newsletter for news on feeling your best!