Have all of the events of the past few weeks begun to take their toll? Have you noticed yourself or a loved one becoming obsessed with watching the same news reports over and over?
When we learn about disturbing events and news, such as we have heard in the last few weeks, it can be extremely hard for us to process it. We all know someone, or have an acquaintance that knows someone who has been affected by the flooding, is in the path of a hurricane or are fighting fires out west. Many of us are feeling helpless to do anything. The more we watch and hear, the more we feel despair, fear, anger, grief, and discouragement. When emotions overwhelm us, there can be a ripple effect to the physical body, which may manifest as back pain, headaches, digestive issues, insomnia, high blood pressure, or a number of other symptoms.
In the clinic over the years, we have noticed that when news of a natural disaster or other troubling event is on everyone’s mind, people tend to come into the clinic with their sympathetic nervous system activated. The sympathetic nervous system, which activates the “fight or flight” response, is there to help us defend ourselves and keep ourselves safe. Problem is that our nervous system does not know the difference between hearing of a threat on the other side of the world, or a natural disaster three states over from one that is happening directly to us. Our nervous systems tend to react the same.
Ways to cope:
- Exercise – Exercise, including yoga and stretching, is a great way to release stress.
- Meditation – Meditation allows the mind to relax. Visit our blog for some easy meditation and breathing exercises.
- Rational/discursive thought - Engage your rational thinking self to make sense and put things into perspective. Try this exercise next time North Korea launches a missile, or makes a threat. Ask and research: 1) How far is the United States from North Korea? 2) What is the size of the North Korean economy, relative to its the United States, and South Korea, Japan, China?
- Acupuncture - We have helped many people through stress, trauma, and negative thoughts from these types of events using acupuncture.
Acupuncture supports the body’s ability to heal naturally by regulating the nervous system which stimulates our “fight or flight” response when we are stressed, and also regulates the hormones that are produced by the body in response to the nervous system such as endorphins, cortisol, adrenaline, and thyroid hormones. The use of acupuncture has been scientifically proven to reduce anxiety levels and stress in individuals. These studies found that acupuncture relieved symptoms such as migraines, anxiety, depression, insomnia, and pain resulting from post traumatic stress. The improvements due to acupuncture were also found to be very rapid, significant, and long lasting. As the mind and body are able to spend more time out of the “fight or flight” response, our minds start to retrain to remain calmer even when things get stressful.
Acupuncture for Stress Relief – A Special Offer
If you or a loved one are dealing with heightened anxiety, grief, or despair associated with current events, we would love to help. Red Earth Acupuncture is offering 30 minute stress relief treatments for $45 between now and September 15, 2017, with Red Earth donating $10 of each treatment to The Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund. If you know someone who is directly affected by the floods, fires or hurricanes and they have evacuated to our area, we will offer a FREE treatment for them during this time. Please call 770-783-1663 to schedule an appointment with Rawls. This offer is open to new and existing patients and is subject to schedule availability.
Have you been missing emails and emailed appointment reminders from us? We've had some recent issues that are causing our emails to go into Spam and if you use Gmail for your email, this has been a real problem. We have almost resolved the issues, but in the meantime, here's what you can do to continue getting our emails in your Inbox instead of your Spam folder.
- Check your Spam folder to see if our emails are going there, mark them as “Not Spam”.
- Go to the Gmail Settings (the gearbox at top right). Click “Settings” and then “Filters and Blocked Addresses”.
- Set up a filter so that email from *@redearthacupuncture.com and click “Create filter from this search”. Then click the checkbox for “Never send it to Spam”.
- Set up a second filter so that email from *@server.redearthacupuncture.com is also not sent to Spam in the same way you created the first one.
We apologize for the inconvenience. We've got our best folks working on it and hope to have it resolved soon.
Potatoes are an important food staple and the number one vegetable crop in the world. There are more than 5000 varieties potatoes around the world that range in size, shape, color, starch content and flavor. The potato belongs to the Solanaceae or nightshade family whose other members include tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, and tomatillos. Potatoes are technically tubers and not root vegetables. Essentially, they are enlarged stems that are higher in starch and complex carbohydrates.
Potatoes originated in the Andean mountain region of South America. Researchers estimate that potatoes have been cultivated by the Indians living in these areas for somewhere between 4,000 and 7,000 years. Since potatoes are good sources of vitamin C, they were subsequently used on Spanish ships to prevent scurvy. They were introduced into Europe via Spain. The potato was first brought to the United States in the early 18th century by Irish immigrants who settled in New England. People in this country were slow to adopt the "Irish potato" and large scale cultivation of potatoes did not occur in the U.S. until the 19th century.
Health Benefits of Potatoes
Unfortunately, most people eat potatoes in the form of greasy French fries or potato chips. But take away the extra fat and deep frying, and a baked potato is an exceptionally healthful low calorie, high fiber food that offers significant protection against cardiovascular disease and cancer. In a future newsletter we will talk about cooking oils and how to select healthy oils for different types of cooking – including frying.
Potatoes are an excellent source of vitamin B6, potassium, magnesium and vitamin C, as well as dietary fiber and pantothenic acid. Potatoes also contain a variety of phytonutrients that have antioxidant activity with some darker skinned potatoes containing more antioxidants than others.
Vitamin B6 is involved in more than 100 enzymatic reactions, is essential for the formation of virtually all new cells in the body and plays numerous roles in our nervous system, many of which involve neurological (brain cell) activity. B6 is necessary for the creation of certain neurotransmitters that the nervous system relies on to transmit messages from one nerve to the next. Some of these neurotransmitters include serotonin, a lack of which is linked to depression; melatonin, the hormone needed for a good night's sleep; epinephrine and norepinephrine, hormones that help us respond to stress; and GABA, which is needed for normal brain function.
From Smashed, Mashed, Boiled and Baked by Raghavan Iyer.
For the Salad
- 1½ pounds new red potatoes
- 6 medium-size to large red radishes, scrubbed, trimmed, and thinly sliced
- 4 ribs celery, leaves discarded, thinly sliced
- 1 large English cucumber, peeled, cut in half lengthwise, seeds discarded, and thinly sliced
- 4 scallions, beards trimmed, green tops and white bulbs thinly sliced
- ¼ cup baby capers, drained
- ¼ cup finely chopped fresh dill
- ½ cup finely chopped fresh chives
For the Dressing
- 6 anchovy fillets
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 2 large cloves garlic, crushed
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup canola oil
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon coarse sea or kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon coarsely cracked black peppercorns
- To make the salad, scrub the potatoes well under running water, cut them in half, and place them in a medium-size saucepan. Cover them with cold water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Briskly boil the potatoes, uncovered, until they are just tender but still firm, 12 to 15 minutes. Take care not to overcook the potatoes.
- Drain the potatoes in a colander and rinse them under cold running water to cool them down. Give the colander a few good shakes to rid the potatoes of excess water, and transfer them to a large bowl. Add the radishes, celery, cucumber, scallions, capers, dill, and chives to the potatoes.
- To make the dressing, place the anchovy fillets, egg yolks, mustard, and garlic in a blender jar and puree, turning off the blender and scraping the inside of the jar as needed, until smooth. Combine the two oils together in a small bowl. With the blender on low speed, drizzle the oils through the hole in the cover in a steady stream. Once the oils are added, you will have a thick emulsion, which is your own homemade mayonnaise. Add the Worcestershire, lemon juice, cayenne, salt, and peppercorns and pulse the dressing to ensure a smooth mix.
- Pour the dressing over the salad and give it all a good toss. Serve at room temperature, but because this is a mayonnaise-based salad, do not leave it at room temperature for long periods of time.
Mark your calendar: November 4, 2017
Red Earth Anniversary Celebration & Patient Appreciation Day
Red Earth is excited to be celebrating it's 10th Anniversary this year and what better way to celebrate that to invite all of the patients who have sustained us over the years to say “Thank You.” We are working out all of the details to be shared soon, and you can be sure it will be fun and festive with lots of good food and entertainment. Please make plans to join us!
Mingle Mangle is a warm zucchini salad that can be served as a first course or warm salad.
Serves 4 to 6
- 1 Tblsp unsalted butter
- 2 shallots minced
- 2/3 cup heavy or whipping cream
- ¼ cup plus 1 Tblsp chopped fresh basil
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp red wine vinegar
- ¼ tsp hot pepper sauce
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- ¾ pound zucchini, trimmed, cut into 1/8 inch thick rounds
- 2 med ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded, cubed
- Melt the butter in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook 1 minute. Add the cream and ¼ cup basil. Heat to boiling; reduce the heat. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until thick, about 10 minutes.
- Add the lemon juice, vinegar, hot pepper sauce, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the zucchini and toss till well coated. Add the tomatoes; toss lightly. Simmer for 5 - 10 minutes just until zucchini is softened a little. Sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon of basil. Serve immediately.
Indian Spiced Eggplant
Prep Time: 20 min.
Cook Time: 25 min
2 1/2 tsp garam masala
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp turmeric
1 1/2 cups water
2 tblsp coconut or other sugar
2 tblsp red wine vinegar
2 medium eggplants (about 1 1/2 lbs)
1/4 cup unsalted butter or Earth Balance Buttery Spread
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- In a small bowl combine the garam masala, coriander and turmeric. In a measuring cup combine water, sugar and vinegar.
- Cut eggplant into 2 inch peices.
- Heat the butter in a large skillet over med. heat. Add the spices and cook, stirring until fragrant - about 1 minute. Add eggplant and salt and toss to coat with the spice mixture.
- Stir in vinegar mixture and simmer covered, without stirring, for 10 minutes or until eggplant is just tender.
- Uncover skillet and cook at a rapid simmer, without stirring, until most of the liquid is evaporated - about 15 minutes.
- Remove skillet from heat and let sit for 5 minutes. Serve over basmati rice and sprinkle with cilantro.
Vegetables & Preparation Methods
By now everyone knows that eating more vegetables and fruits is beneficial for our health. The World Health Organization estimates that nearly three million lives would be saved each year if more were eaten, and that low intakes may cause nearly 20% of gastrointestinal cancers, 31% of heart disease, and 11% of strokes. Most “standard” dietary recommendations suggest at least five servings of vegetables and fruits daily, however many studies show that more is better. The benefits of eating a wide variety of vegetables and fruits are many, including:
- Reduced obesity and hypertension
- Reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes
- Improved mental/cognitive performance
- Improved lung function, particularly those with COPD
- Reduced adverse effects of environmental pollutants
- Reduced risk of cancer
What to look for
It is best to eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables; variety in color being one of the more important characteristics. The color of a fruit or vegetables can be a good indicator of the nutrients it contains, and therefore by eating a wide variety in color, you are getting a wide variety of nutrients.
Much conventionally grown produce contains pesticides and chemical fertilizers, so you want to make sure to understand which fruits and vegetables are most likely to be grown this way. The Environmental Working Group publishes a list called “The Dirty Dozen” and “Clean Fifteen” that is helpful in determining which you should buy organic and which are relatively safe to eat conventionally grown. If you download the guide from their website, there is this handy cutout that you can keep in your purse or wallet to reference when you get to the market (see photo). Several studies have shown that organic produce contains more nutrients than conventionally grown produce and also has fewer toxic metal residues. And organically grown produce is just better for our environment and maintains soil quality by including lots or organic matter that nourishes the soil. Eating mostly organic produce is especially important for women who intend to become pregnant or are already pregnant.
Look for vegetables and fruits that are in season, fresh and ripe. We have a few local farmers markets in our area that are definitely worth a visit, so be sure to check out the PTC Farmers Market, or the Fayetteville Market. We've mentioned before that attuning your body the the seasons is important to maintain balance in our health. While its nice that we can get a variety of fruits and vegetables from all over the world at the supermarket, it's best to stick with those that would normally be found in your area and to pass on those that have been picked unripe and shipped across the world. It is best to eat fruit fully ripened to get the most antioxidants.
Keep your cool this summer with this cooling cucumber water. It's super easy to make and is so refreshing.
When selecting cucumbers for your water, choose organic ones that are green in color, feel firm to the touch, and are round at both ends. Don’t use cucumbers that are yellow, have soft spots, or look wrinkly at the ends.
- 1 medium organic cucumber
- 2 quarts of filtered water
Peel strips lengthwise and discard. Then slice the cucumber into rounds and place in filtered water. Let steep for 1 hour and enjoy.
Continuing with “What to Eat” as a part of a healthy diet, we look at legumes. Beans, peas, lentils, and peanuts are a source of high quality nourishment, and have often been called the poor man's meat. When served with whole grains and a small amount of animal protein with good quality animal fat, we are talking about an ideal, low-cost diet.
Legumes contain protein, fiber, with boatloads of minerals, such as magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, iron and molybdenum, as well as B vitamins such as folate and thiamine. Legumes also contain both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, with kidney and pinto beans particularly high in omega-3. They are particularly good for the heart given the soluable and insoluable fiber that helps keep artery clogging cholesterol in check, and the magnesium and potassium that are frequently lacking in the American diet yet are vital for the normal functioning of the heart and circulatory system. These minerals help to regulate blood pressure as well as electrical impulses of nerves and muscle (including heart) contraction. Legumes, particularly lentils, contain high amounts of B vitamins which convert homocysteine in the bloodstream to a form that is not harmful. Homocysteine which is a byproduct of protein metabolism can damage arterial walls and is a very predictive marker of heart disease.
So why do we hear that legumes are bad? Well, if you go back to our article on grains, some of the same caveats apply. Like grains, legumes contain anti-nutrients such as phytates and trypsin inhibitors, and some have specialized complex sugars that can wreak havoc on our gut without proper preparation. Phytic acid also prevents the proper absorption of some minerals, especially iron and zinc. The good news is that we clever humans devised ways to prepare legumes so they are safe, savory and nutritious.
How to Prepare Legumes
Softer legumes, such as lentils and peas, are easily prepared by soaking for several hours before cooking gently until soft. The soaking helps break down the phytic acid, and gentle cooking makes the protein digestible, especially if served with digestion-enhancing spices, pickles, chutneys or fermented dairy products such as yogurt or sour cream. Indian spices are particularly helpful to enhance digestion.