Archive for tag: nutrition

This and That

Site Visit

The site visit wasn't as bad as everyone made it sound like it would be. I think the university and the students were well prepared for the members of the accreditation site team. The program has made improvements since they last came and I feel confident we met their standards. The program is still new and it does have its growing pains (such that I felt with having to make up an extra credit of Biomedical Science). However, the school itself is prestigious and the teachers in the program are top notch. 

Nutrition 101

Speaking of top notch, our Western Nutrition class is great. Dr. Keith Hartley, a National DC grad, teaches the class. He makes the class enjoyable because he lectures in terms not above our head and shares clinical information useful in real life encounters. There are some classes that give all the facts but don't present them in a manner that can be utilized outside the classroom, but not this Nutrition class. It is enjoyable because not only do we learn but also Dr. Hartley loves to answer questions.

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We have learned about digestion and all the mechanisms involved. We also have learned amino acids, carbohydrates, fats, and my favorite, the vitamins. We discussed water soluble and fat-soluble vitamins as well as minerals. We have talked about the different forms of vitamins and why some brands are cheaper than others, probably because they don't have the active form of the vitamin, which makes it almost impossible for the body to utilize and therefore is flushed down the drain.

Journal Club

Another neat thing we do is something called Journal Club. Dr. Hartley used to do these in his undergrad days, and what they are is just that, discussing journal articles. Each student gathers an article based on nutrition that they are interested in and passes it along to each student and Dr. Hartley. The next week, after having read the article, the chosen student also gathers articles that either support or disregard the topic. They then present the additional articles to the class and everyone discuses the topic.

For instance, Dr. Hartley prepped us with an article about the Atkins diet. The next week he shared articles that were in favor and against the diet. It is a fun way to keep up to date on research and not have to do all the work.

So needless to say, now that the trimester is coming to an end, it's the 14th week and finals are near, I won't mind studying because I really like all my classes this trimester. I hope you all had fun learning about my classes this trimester and let me know if you have any questions.

Elizabeth -Dr -Jia -Xu

The pictures posted are of Dr. Hartley teaching and Dr. Jia Xu, my Friday clinician, who I have blogged about in the past.

Spring Cleanse

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Hey, everyone! I was thinking I would do a follow-up to last week's blog about diet and cleansing.

In TCM, there are many foods you can eat throughout the year to support your body and each organ system in its season. In TCM, every food has a particular nature or "flavor" associated with it, such as plum = sour, and carrots = sweet, and so on. They may also have a temperature associated with them such as warm, hot, cool, or cold. In each season, an individual would want to eat foods that would support or nourish the organ system of the season.

For example, Summer belongs to the Heart and the Heart's flavor is bitter. It would greatly benefit an individual to eat more bitter foods. Eating light meals and "very little to no" cold foods would be best. Since Summer is such a yang part of the year when everything is in blooming and in motion, we don't want to hamper our systems with cold food that would "put the fire out."  

Many of the patients in clinic ask what they should eat. I try to inform them that in TCM we believe one should not eat cold, raw foods, dairy, or too much spicy food, and to minimize alcohol consumption to one glass of red wine a day and remove coffee from the diet. If you think of your digestive system as a pot of boiling water just think what will happen when you consume cold foods; it's going to steam and eventually could kill the digestive "fire." This can lead to many bowel problems such as IBS, diarrhea, gas, bloating, and even constipation. It really makes sense when you think of it like that. The other foods I have listed may cause damp or heat and these can cause imbalance in the body as well.

Elizabeth -flowers _veggies

TCM, along with all the other natural health programs here at National, believe the body should be balanced. If the body is not in balance, a person is going to feel sick or have other symptoms that disrupt their daily life. Fatigues, allergies, gastrointestinal problems, headaches, can all be symptoms of a body out of balance. One way to help your body ease back into balance is with a cleanse.

By cleansing, one is "giving their body a break." With a whole body detox, the major organ systems being cleansed are liver, GI tract, gall bladder, kidney, bladder, lungs, skin, and lymph - and even the mind. There are many detoxes out there, but it is best to discuss which one is best for you with a doctor. Also, once you start a cleanse, you should always follow through with the whole program. The Liver goes through two phases in detoxification. During Phase 1, enzymes called cytochrome 450 help detox many substances such as caffeine, alcohol, or environmental toxins. The enzymes cause a reaction in the liver that makes these substances more water-soluble. In Phase 2, the substances from Phase 1 are acted upon by more liver enzymes, which convert them into water-soluble compounds that can be easily eliminated through the urine, stool or sweat. If one does not follow through with the full program, the toxins may not be flushed out of the body and cause more damage.

One must also include many vitamins and antioxidants, as well as plenty of water, in the diet to support the body's functioning. Including light exercise or meditation helps the body become more efficient at eliminating toxins, and sweating always adds to the removal whether it be from exercising or a sauna. 

Eat to good health!

Spring Renewal

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Ahh, spring, what a wonderful season to experience nature's entire awakening after the long cold winter. This weekend was a wonderfully warm one, almost too warm to be called spring. It was in the 90s this weekend and I definitely wanted to enjoy it while I could, in-between studying of course. My husband and I like to enjoy the many parks around where we live. We get to enjoy nature while getting a little exercise by walking around the lake. All of the trees are green and a few flowers are starting to bloom and in Chinese medicine the body is similarly renewing itself.  

Springtime in Chinese medicine belongs to the Liver. The Liver is associated with the element Wind. Wind is fast and free flowing and it is said, "Wind is the leader of the hundred diseases." Many disorders that occur in the spring are linked with Wind Heat or Wind Cold. In biomedical terms, these may present as the common cold, allergies, asthma, and even eczema or urticaria. Each of these disorders may present differently in each person depending on their underlying constitution.

Lisa -Bridge

Nevertheless, one way to support the Liver in springtime is with your diet. Since Liver is in charge of free coursing the qi, we want to nourish the yang qi with our diet. (In Chinese Medicine the Qi is yang and the Blood is yin). We also want to strengthen the immune system because old diseases can be provoked due to the active liver qi in the spring. For example, if one did not eat according to season, they may have caused injury that will manifest itself in the spring. Foods to incorporate into one's diet during the spring include scallion, garlic, chives, and kale; these foods nourish the yang. One will also want to eat less sour food such as pickles, plum and Hawthorne because too much will cause stomach upset. Incorporate foods that are sweet in nature such as yam, fruit, beets, spinach, and carrot. Sweet food does not refer to candy, ice cream or pastries; these foods will lower your immune system and cause damp in Chinese medicine. Also avoid cold foods and heavy or spicy foods that can be detrimental to the Liver and Spleen.

Cleansing may also offer your body and Liver benefit. Currently, National has a Spring Cleanse meeting with support from one of the naturopathic medicine teachers who has given ideas and options for cleansing. I personally have used cleanses and I believe they are a great way to jump start your spring, but I believe they should be supervised by a physician.

National also offers a fresh foods delivery from a local farm that carries organic fruits, veggies and meats as a great way to start your spring off to a healthy start!