Playing in the Hay: An Unconventional Cure for Hay Fever

I had the privilege to visit Green Acres Farm Sanctuary on Saturday. It was a work party I found out about from PAWAPortland Animal Welfare Advocates. We got to do lots of hay clean up for composting and then put down fresh hay for the animals to roll around in and munch on. It was awesome to see how happy the ducks and chickens were with their new fresh spaces. And it was super awesome to see such a fun group of people working together to help out some amazing rescue animals. 

What I really was the most surprised with was how my hay fever was totally non-existent. I used have severe allergies to grasses and hay and when I was a kid going to a farm if I touched anything I would practically just break out in hives. I honestly believe that because I have a super clean and anti-inflammatory diet that my allergies have disappeared. It was only more of a confirmation to see such a drastic change when I was just playing (well working) in the hay!!!

Hershey the Calf at Green Acres Farm Sanctuary

Hershey the Calf at Green Acres Farm Sanctuary

So what the hay… try to go vegan and see how much better you feel! Go vegan for this “little” guy named Hershey, he’s a steer at Green Acres who is only a year old. He was brought in by someone at a veal auction that was disturbed how the animals were treated and brought to the Sanctuary when he was only 3 days old!!! He is awesome and wants to play and is doing amazing because of dedicated animal lovers!

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NW VEG VANCOUVER POTLUCK AND CHINESE MEDICINE TALK

NW Veg Business Member

Thursday, March 26 (6:30 PM)

Join us for a community potluck followed by a presentation on Traditional Chinese Medicine Perspective on Healthly Vegan Living by Genevieve Johnson, L.Ac., acupuncturist and herbalist. Genevieve will also give us a demonstration of how to balance our foods using a Chinese Medicine Perspective.

Genevieve Johnson, L.Ac. is an acupuncturist and herbalist that focuses on plant-based nutrition and a healthy lifestyle for optimal well-being. She first became a vegetarian at the age of 12 when she was given her first pet, Buddy a parakeet. A few years later she decided to go vegan. When she was in college she had great success with acupuncture, herbs and diet dramatically impacting her health and decided to become an acupuncturist. She has worked in a variety of clinical settings ranging from hospitals to drug rehab facilities and private practice. She now practices at Portland Family Acupuncture in SE and downtown. Genevieve has lots of great recipes and resources available on her website veganacupuncture.com.

Come to the potluck at 6:30, the talk at 7:30, or both! The potluck and demo will be in the Oak and Elm Rooms at the Marshall Center, 1009 E. McLoughlin, Vancouver, WA 98663 [see map]. This is just over the I-5 Bridge – very quick to reach from Portland.
For the potluck, please bring a plant-based (no animal products, including honey) main dish, salad, or dessert; a card listing its ingredients; and plates and utensils for your use. Need plant-based ideas? Click here. If you come alone, figure the amount to serve 4-6; increase the amount 4 servings for each additional person in your party/family. Northwest VEG potlucks are alcohol-free events. For more information email info@nwveg.org. A donation of $2-5 is suggested to help cover the cost of the room rental.

Sprouting is EASY!!!!

Sprouting is Fun and Easy!!!

Sprouting is Fun and Easy!!!

I used to be intimidated by making my own sprouts… now it is a serious addiction. I read this awesome book over the winter called Indoor Gardening: Seed to Salad in Seven Days by Peter Burke. It makes sprouting super fun and easy! I used to sprout in a mason jar and sometimes my sprouts would smell strange or start to look like I really shouldn’t eat them. Then I read the Indoor Gardening Book and it made so much sense. Now I sprout in potting soil with kelp flakes at the bottom, cover with wet newspaper for 4 days (leave them in the cupboard to do their magical sprouting) and then let them hang out near a window to grow and green up for 3-5 days and I have beautiful, delicious sprouts! I just cut them fresh as I want to eat them or add to smoothies. The best part is that when I am done I have a super nutrient rich soil and nitrogen block to add to my compost bin or mix directly into my garden soil. It is a win win situation… it feeds me, my garden, cleans the indoor air and really adds to the feng shui in my home.

I really like Peter’s book because he makes sprouting really user friendly and he breaks it down to be super simple. He has trouble-shooting guides and even recommendations for the types of sprouts that work the best. Pictured above are peas, daikon radish, sunflower, alfalfa, and kale sprouts! I usually start 2 pots every other day so I have a constant supply going. Sprouts are so good for you and have all the nutrients of the adult plant jam packed into the tiny one you are about to harvest… how awesome!!! They are a great food especially over the winter and spring since that is what nature is getting ready to do anyway! I love them and I hope you do too!

What does Vegan Acupuncture mean anyway?

I first moved to Portland 10 years ago to attend graduate school for Traditional Chinese Medicine at OCOM. There were two things that greatly surprised me: that Portland was a vegan mecca and that I would face many challenges as a vegan at a school for TCM.

Unfortunately veganism is not something that is looked very highly upon in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Acupuncturists will often say that if someone is vegan or vegetarian that they are “blood deficient” or need to build up the blood. Why is that? It is because in TCM we look at the nature of the foods we eat as important to our health. If someone has a weak constitution or recovering from an illness or surgery they need strong, nutrient rich foods to build them back up… i.e.. animal products (this is the theory anyway). Now I am a vegan and was a vegan many years before I went to school for TCM and I have studied vegan nutrition extensively along with nutrition from a TCM perspective. There are many other foods that nourish the blood and are super nutrient rich that are plant-based. I will get to those shortly, but first I want to talk a little bit about the theory that makes many TCM practitioners believe you have to eat animal products to be healthy and build the blood.

In TCM theory our blood is made by the Spleen (this is obviously much different than what we know of the spleen in western physiology). The Spleen and our digestion need to have digestive fire in order to transform the foods we eat into the essence that will become the blood.  Animal products already have a warming nature (they are mostly warm-blooded and active creatures) so the pathway is shorter in that they turn into blood faster than eating plants. This is where the theory of TCM directly conflicts with my personal beliefs and clinical experience.

I get around this cognitive dissonance by eating plant foods that build my blood. Below is a list of foods that build the blood.

Blood Building Foods: dark leafy greens (kale, collards, mustard greens, beet greens, parsley, cilantro, nettles, dandelion greens), beets, carrots, black sesame seeds, blackstrap molasses, goji berries, kidney beans, legumes, peanut skin, avocado, apricot, grapes, almonds, and brown rice. You can see from this list that it’s pretty easy to get lots of blood building nutrient dense foods in a vegan diet. My favorite way to get lots of those dark leafy greens is through green smoothies!!!

Enjoying a Green Smoothie

Clinical Experience: many people that I treat have chronic pain, allergies, fatigue, digestive issues, and trouble maintaining a healthy weight. These are all symptoms usually related to diet and lifestyle or inflammation in the body. When I can get someone to cut out processed foods and animal products the results are amazing! I get to see people totally transform and feel better than ever before. This is what inspires me everyday and makes me so grateful to be able to help people heal themselves.

Hemp Maca Power Smoothie

When I don’t have time to make breakfast or I am just wanting something a little lighter so I can go to yoga class and not feel like I have a brick in my stomach I like to make this power smoothie. It is really simple and gives me lots of great energy throughout the day.

Hemp Maca Power SmoothieHere is the recipe:

  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • 1 tablespoon maca powder
  • 2 tablespoons hemp seeds
  • 1 apple
  • 1 banana
  • 2 cups water

Just place all ingredients in blender and blend to desired consistency. Since maca has a slightly bitter flavor you can even add some dates for sweetness. I love using maca since it is warming in nature and helps to tonify the yang (hot and energizing part of our constitution). It is also considered an adaptogenic herb meaning it regulates your nervous system to maintain homeostasis in the body.

Hope you enjoy this smoothie as much as I do!

Yummy Smoothie Time!!

Yummy Smoothie Time!!

 

 

New Year New You

Sunrise

The New Year inspires change and reflection. It is a time to look at the past year retrospectively and decide what we would like to change and focus on for the upcoming year. We tend to make New Year “resolutions,” but what does a resolution mean? It is a solution to a problem. What do you see as a problem or something you would like to improve on this coming year? For me since I am kind of a health fanatic I almost always choose something impossible and then it’s easy to feel like I have failed in my attempts. So what have I learned all these years of making resolutions? I have learned to set more realistic goals and make slight changes to facilitate the bigger picture of what I have in mind. This year I decided to do more yoga and seek out more health care for myself. As a new mother and healthcare practitioner it is really easy for me to just focus on others. One valuable lesson that I am learning everyday is that the more I can give myself the more I am able to give others. I recently joined a local yoga studio, Yoga Refuge and feel so much more vibrant when I can take that time for myself to honor my body and spirit. And as far as getting more health care I am not talking about going to the hospital to get every test under the sun. I am talking about preventative health care. Getting health care and body work that is rewarding because it instantly makes me feel better. I am blessed to work at An Sen Clinic (Integrative Medicine Clinic at 4424 NE Glisan) as an acupuncturist with other great practitioners that have wholistic health care in mind. If you want to do one simple thing for yourself this coming year just come in and we can help you get your health on track.