On my travels last week, on holiday away from the clinic, I spent quite a lot of time in various train stations – Southampton Airport, Southampton Central, Marylebone, Victoria, Charing Cross to name but a few… And I may be biased as it is my “home station” but Oxford always comes out on top with the choice of good nourishment available to hop on the train with…
at Oxford Railway Station always makes me smile – a place so healthy and in sync with the way I try to live my life, that I sometimes pop there even if I’m just shopping in town and not travelling on the train!
Don’t get me wrong, I love a good almond croissant or pain au raisin once in a while as a treat – just not every day, and I certainly don’t want to be forced into having to choose something of that ilk purely because I’m held to ransom by the train station highwayman, en route to somewhere else. The fact that I can choose a juice or smoothie that I would make myself at home (no additives or refined sugar etc), or pick up something else delicious and healthy like a Nakd bar (cold-pressed raw food with no dairy, wheat, gluten or added/refined sugar) makes me feel REALLY good… I can arrive at my destination feeling full of energy, totally guilt free, with no crazy peaks or troughs in sugar levels to contend with later in the day – I can just get on and enjoy gorgeous time with wonderful friends! Plus, everything is super scrummy – no “yucky” health foods here, all yum!
My favourite drink to pick up from this fabulous Oxfordshire couple, is a beetroot, celery, carrot, apple & ginger juice – full of anti-oxidants, vitamins & goodness for cells in the body… beetroot is neutral and sweet in Chinese Food Energetics, it nourishes blood by entering the Heart & Liver, encourages Qi (energy) circulation and counteracts cold – which makes it perfect for this chilly time of year, and additionally balances out the other energetically cooler ingredients in the juice – celery and apple… the ginger also helps this, as it is energetically hot and counteracts cold and phlegm, making it a must-add for juices in the winter.
Though a word of caution for people who are energetically hot in themselves, or have a relative deficiency of Yin (the cooling, moisturising, nourishing energy in the body), as too much ginger (or any other energetically hot foods such as chilli or garlic) will cause you to become too hot – creating more hot flushes, migraines, disturbed sleep or difficulty falling asleep…
I also opt to add an extra shot of spirulina (blue-green algae) to the juice for extra blood nourishment – in terms of Chinese Food Energetics, it is cool in temperature, has a slightly salty flavour and goes to the Liver. It boosts Blood, Yin and Jing (the innate essence and energy reserves we are born with), and regulates removal of toxins from the body.
In conventional medicine spirulina is rich in protein, vitamins, minerals, and carotenoids, antioxidants that can help protect cells from damage. It contains nutrients, including B complex vitamins, beta-carotene, vitamin E, manganese, zinc, copper, iron, selenium, and essential fatty acids. Everyone can benefit from adding more blue-green algaes to their diet (chlorella is another good example), but particularly women with heavy periods, vegetarians, vegans or those who don’t eat much meat, and people with a high amount of stress could also benefit – see the download section of the website for the relevant info sheets.
And next time you’re travelling somewhere, look out for ways you can get more goodness on the go – if you’re going via Oxford railway station, lucky you – visit vitaburst and tell them Rhiannon sent you!
If you want more information about Chinese Food Energetics, or how Chinese Medicine theory could improve your health and lifestyle, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://www.rhiannongriffiths.com
© Rhiannon Griffiths 2011
Autumn is finally here after a hot start to October. The conkers and acorns are scattered on the ground, between amber leaves that crunch loudly underfoot. The last few weeks have had harvest festivals aplenty, with huge tables groaning under the weight of fresh fruit and vegetables in a vibrant multitude of colour and shape, the apples, pumpkins, squash and marrows all taking centre-stage.
This season is associated with the Metal element in Chinese Medicine, and the organs connected with the element and season are the Lungs and Large Intestine – hence all the colds, coughs and upset stomachs we can suffer in Autumn, as we head towards Winter. It is the season of harvest, when all the growth and energy of Spring & Summer comes to fruition. The goodness of the past seasons gets stored in the fruits before the trees discard the leaves, husks and stalks; they let go of everything they don’t need, and this is something we should also do at this time of the year, physically and emotionally. It is no surprise we can feel a little sad (a Metal emotion) as we go into Autumn, we grieve the loss of the Summer light, love, warmth and joy – acupuncture can help us move more fluidly through this process, creating a healthy platform for Winter ahead.
Be mindful of your breathing in Autumn – meditation or yoga can allow you to “connect” and this is important to nourish the Metal Element; get outdoors on bright days and breathe deeply, on your outbreath “let go” of emotions and issues you no longer need to hold on to… don’t be surprised if your bowels follow suit afterwards! It is a perfect time for this kind of psyche-soma detox!
We can benefit greatly from the Qi stored in fruits and seeds in Autumn, nourishing our bodies through Chinese nutrition. Watch the video blog below showing what I made with the beautiful fresh bounty I picked up at the Waddesdon Manor Apple and Autumn Fruits Fair on a sunny autumn Saturday morning this month – a Pumpkin & Apple Breakfast Loaf – and learn the energetic properties of pumpkin and apple (walnuts too!), and how this Chinese Food Energetics theory can help us take care of ourselves this season.
The Belle De Boskoop apples from the Eythrope Orchard at Waddesdon Manor were chosen as they are both cooking and eating apples – less sweet than most eating apples, and they would also keep their form when used in baking. Similarly, the pumpkin from Claydon House Kitchen Garden was grown to be naturally sweet and perfect for baking. All food nourishes our digestive system (Stomach and Spleen – Earth Element organs), but both apples and pumpkin take their route into the body via these Earth organs, AND the Lungs and Large Intestine (Metal Element) – doubly nourishing Qi in Metal’s seasonal time of Autumn.
If you would like the recipe so that you can make it yourself and nourish your own qi on these chilly autumn mornings, please email me at email@example.com with the title “pumpkin recipe”. And if you would like more information about how acupuncture and Chinese Medicine can support you and your immune system in this Autumnal transition and for the Winter months ahead, please visit the website.
© Rhiannon Griffiths 2011