Posts Tagged ‘Healthy Eating’

5 Ways to Connect with the Water Element for Winter

By Rhiannon Griffiths

This post was first published as a guest post on Aussie health blog This Is Lifeblood – it is most definitely Winter here in the Northern Hemisphere, that cold, still, watery, dark Yin time. I often write about the Water Element, as Water is my constitutional element (or CF), but Winter is the season of the Water Element, and it is important to connect in with this energy now, at its most potent, whatever your own Element is.

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Water CF Element Five Elements Chinese Medicine

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1. Slow Down & Think Hibernation

The quickest way to connect with the Water Element at any time of the year, but particularly as we move into Water’s season of Winter, is to slow down! Many of us will have been super busy and outwardly sociable during the Summer, with lots of outdoor gatherings with family and friends. Winter is about stillness, coolness, darkness, hibernation – think about what nature is doing at the moment, everything is retracting inwards, seeds of potential are underneath the ground, barely a bud or leaf above soil, and animals are retreating to warm safe spaces. The Water Element will respond beautifully to increased rest in warm safe spaces! Up your commitment to quiet self-care, scale back your social commitments, and keep the Kidneys warm – no crop tops or showing your midriff! Just remember, the energy you conserve during the Winter, becomes the pot of Qi you have for the following Summer – it’s well worth topping yourself up now!

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2. Activate the Water Element Taste

Each of the Five Elements has a “taste” associated with it. Fire is bitter, Earth is sweet, Metal is pungent, Wood is sour, and Water is salty. Salt is a hot topic in health circles, and many people avoid salt at all costs. Processed table salt is not advisable, especially if you have high blood pressure, but in Chinese Medicine, we know that the Water Element and its associated organ, the Kidneys, actually NEED some salt to be supported and function correctly. Add a touch more sea salt or pink himalayan salt to your Winter cooking, or opt for something naturally salty like miso – it is warm, sweet and salty in terms of Chinese Food Energetics. It goes straight to the Water Element organ of the Kidneys, helping to activate their function of fluid control within the body.

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3. Warm the Qi with Food Energetics

As seen above, we can affect the balance in our bodies with that we eat. During Winter we need to reduce raw and cold food intake, cutting down on salads and turning to physically warm dishes like soups, stews and risottos. Apart from being warming, they also have a very “watery” aspect to them, which automatically connects in to the Water Element. Adding energetically hot spices like garlic, cayenne, chilli, ginger, or cinnamon is important in Winter as the temperatures drop down. But note, if you have a tendency to run towards being a hot person, go easy with those very heating spices, even in Winter – nourishing your Yin with rest, and gently warming with thyme, sage or rosemary should be a good balance for you.

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4. Reign in the Fear & Ramp up the Reassurance

The emotion associated with the Water Element is Fear (or conversely, complete lack of it!). This element is all about risk assessing and then reassuring. In Winter, my fear tends to crank up a few notches, as the weather gets worse with snow and ice in the UK – it is riskier to travel, there is more disruption, more uncertainty, and my Water Element has a bit of a wobble! It might not be about the weather, but notice if fear is creeping in and holding you back, this exercise may help you reign in the fear. Write down the issue you are fearful about. Then divide the page in two, with a line down the centre. On the left, write down everything you can think of that is the “worst case scenario”, what you are afraid will happen, what could go wrong, what is stopping you. Once you have really connected into the fear of that column, and exhausted all the potential options (remember, the Water Element WILL find ALL the possible risks, so to harness the positive side of this power, you need to do the same!), turn to the right hand column. You may find it helpful to switch seats or go into a different room for the right hand column – be in a different energetic space!

For each of the risks or fears you wrote down on the left, write down ONE thing that you COULD do, if indeed the worst thing were to happen. For example, it could be the idea of moving to another city is too scary for you, despite your heart knowing it is what you want to do. So in the left column you might write, “I could move away and then not have enough money to support myself”; then in the right column, one thing you COULD do if that were to happen would be “I could find a flatmate”, or “I could move back home with my folks”, or “I could be creative with coming up with new revenue streams”… whatever feels congruent and true to you – this is not a BS exercise, else your Water Element will not feel reassured enough. It must feel as true as possible.

You should find that by connecting to the Water Elements resourcefulness in coming up with contingency plans, you can prove to yourself (and your Water) that even if the worst thing happened, you WILL be ok. Give it a try, it can be really liberating to write it all down and visually see if the bad thing happened, it really wouldn’t be such a big deal – and this is coming from a Water CF girl, who does the risk assessing thing constantly!!

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5. Have Acupuncture!

And of course, having acupuncture will immediately connect us into the Water Element ready for Winter! There are specific points we call “horary points”, which have particular potency during their specific season. Don’t forget each of us has ALL of the Five Elements – Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal & Water – within us, we just tend to have ONE of the Elements that we resonate most with, or is like our default setting… (read more in my FREE ebook to see what Element you might be!)… So although this post is particularly relevant to those Water CFs (constitutional factors or constitutional Elements) amongst us, we can ALL benefit from connecting in with the Water Element in Winter.

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© Rhiannon Griffiths 2013

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Awesome Aussies – Shakti Grace

By Rhiannon Griffiths

Welcome to yet another fabulously magical interview with a wonderful health-focused woman I met on my travels to Australia. The third vlog in my “Awesome Aussies” blog series is Shakti Grace, the Holistic Chef Australia, and I adored chatting to this chick – we could have chatted all night (Aussie time of course!)

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awesome aussies

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Who is Shakti? She is a holistic chef and creator of “Shakti’s Superfood Blend”… having been a private professional chef for people and musicians all over the world, her focus is now on getting the healthy and holistic message out to the general public through her series of superfood workshops. Her latest lot have just gone tri-state, so book your place now! She is also on the highly esteemed cooking stage at this weekend’s Mind Body Soul exhibition in Sydney!

In Australia we met up: in Sydney – Shakti very kindly collected me from the airport, and we went straight to the quirky vintage “Nourishing Quarter” in Surrey Hills to share some amazing, healthy, clean food (including a delicious raw mango cheesecake!)… a perfect, beautiful, kindred evening in a brand new city!

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shakti & me

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We met online via (my new obsession) Instagram (I am @rg_acupuncture & Shakti is @theholisticchef), and instantly hit it off, through a love of healthy food that nourishes on all levels – physical, emotional and spiritual. Hear in this video below about what makes her Superblend so special (clue: high vibrations, & cracked cell walls!), and how we are both big fans of Chinese Food Energetics, acupuncture and Eastern philosophy!

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[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FA5IUAaA0xI%5D

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Don’t forget to visit Shakti’s website for more information about her Superfood Blend and how you can purchase it online in Australia – I know there’s a BIG new batch just arrived with her, so it couldn’t be a better time to give your body a boost!

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The Holistic Chef Shakti Grace

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© Rhiannon Griffiths 2013

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Winter Christmas Baking

By Rhiannon Griffiths

As I mentioned last week, I LOVE Christmas, and for us in the Northern Hemisphere, the festive period occurs in the depths of Winter – the time of most Yin, and it is associated with the Water Element, and it’s organs of the Kidneys and Bladder. As I say in the video below, it is the darkest and coldest time of the year, where we need to eat warming, nourishing foods that will increase our Yang, increase the blood and Qi circulation in our bodies, sustaining us through the season.  The easiest way to get more Yang in to our diets is through energetically warming or hot spices as outlined in Chinese Food Energetics.

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[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0WrHeRS2aOw%5D

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Recipe for Winter Christmas Cookies:

1/4 cup of coconut oil

1/2 cup of good / local / raw honey

1/4 cup of pure molasses (all the nutrients & minerals are in there!)

2 & 1/2 cups of rice flour

Pinch of baking soda (optional)

2 tsp ground mixed spice

1 tsp cinnamon (I LOVE cinnamon!)

Pinch of sea salt (again, optional)

Splash of water if the mixture is too dry to get into a ball to roll out

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Christmas Cookies

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Method:

1. Measure out the coconut oil, molasses & honey, place them in a bowl & mix together.

2. Measure all the dry ingredients into a separate bowl.

3. Then sift all the dry ingredients into the bowl containing the wet mixture.

4. Mix together until a ball can be formed – add a splash of water if necessary.

5. Create a ball of cookie dough with your hands & place on to cling film on the counter.

6. Roll out to around the thickness of a £1 coin, cut out shapes & place on baking sheet.

7. Bake in the oven at 180 degrees C (350 degrees F), for around 10 mins, but check!

8. Leave to cool on a rack & ENJOY!

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Energetics:

Coconut Oil – warm, sweet, tonifies Qi & Blood

Molasses – warm, sweet, nourishes the Kidneys & Lungs, boosts Qi & Blood

Honey – sweet, supports the Lungs, tonifies Qi & promotes Blood circulation

Rice Flour – warm, sweet, nourishes Qi & Blood

Nutmeg – warm, pungent, boosts Yang, Qi & Blood circulation & counteracts Cold

Cinnamon – Hot, pungent, sweet, supports Kidneys & Lungs, boosts Qi & Yang, & counteracts the Cold & Damp, and promotes Qi & Blood circulation

Coriander Seed – pungent, sour, counteracts the Cold, & helps circulation of Qi

Dill Seed – warm, goes to the Kidneys, tonifies Yang, counteracts the Cold, promotes Qi

Ginger – hot, boosts Yang, circulates Qi & Blood, counteracts Cold, resolves Phlegm.

Cloves – warming, boosts Kidneys & Yang, counteracts the Cold & promotes Qi circulation

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And if you don’t fancy baking or eating something sweet to nourish you over the festive period, then why not check out a blog post from this time last year to see how you can get all of the sweetness but none of the sugar – although I reckon this recipe here comes close to that, why not have your cake & eat it too?!!

Acupuncture can help you through the Winter with the challenges of the season – coughs, colds, chest weakness, asthma, circulation issues, constantly feeling cold, low mood, Seasonal Affective Disorder, digestive issues, and so on – contact me here for more information. Sending you so much goodness and cheer for a VERY MERRY Christmas – keep well, keep warm, and ENJOY! xx

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© Rhiannon Griffiths 2012

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Err, What’s Up Doc?!

By Rhiannon Griffiths

For those staunch followers of the blog, you may remember last Autumn when I did some baking with seasonal produce, making a breakfast loaf that had all the right energetics for nourishing the digestive system, the Lungs, and resolving phlegm – all things that are needed to maintain health during the Autumn and into Winter.

Back in April, I did another short film about Spring and food, but with one thing and another it has taken me some time to edit it and get it online. In it, I have once again taken the principles of Chinese Food Energetics (see previous post if you don’t know what I mean by this), and come up with a recipe with spring carrots (that’s where the Bugs Bunny title catchphrase comes in – sorry, I couldn’t resist it!) and green tea, that is just perfect for the season, the season’s organs, and essentially moving that Qi! And, don’t forget, I wrote about this season a while back, in the Woody Springtime blog post, so get the lowdown about what Spring means in Chinese medicine, right there…

As for here, I am going to keep the writing brief, as the explanations are in the video below, but I thought I would share the energetics of the ingredients, so you can keep track with my rambling! But ensuring the smooth flow of Qi in the body can help with stress, depression, headaches, irritable bowel syndrome (also listen to my recent interview on BBC Radio Oxford about how acupuncture can help IBS), period pain and bloating.

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[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7aIbFJ5kSiA%5D

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Carrots = neutral in temperature, sweet in flavour, route into the body via Stomach, Lungs & Liver, tonifying & circulating Qi in the body.

Green Tea = cool in temperature, bitter & sweet in flavour, affects the Liver, helping smooth the circulation of Qi.

Raisins = boost Qi, has the Liver as one of its energetic organ routes into the body.

Almonds = help circulation of Qi, boost levels of Qi, resolve Phlegm.

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Breakfast = energy packed, ground almonds add protein, builds Qi for your day.

Elevenses = mid-morning snack, moving & smoothing Qi, reducing stress levels.

Afternoon Tea = picks you up during the 4pm energy lull, boosting Qi & getting Qi moving.

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If you would like to make the recipe, visit the downloads page of the website and click the thumbnail! Acupuncture works on the principles of Chinese Medicine, and as acupuncturists we can use this theory to guide our lifestyle and dietary choices. In short, we can complement our treatments with recipes and foods that will further enhance what we wish to do with the Qi (or energy) in our bodies – move it, boost it, nourish it, and so on. The good news is, that YOU can do that too, in your own home! To discuss more about how Chinese Food Energetics could help you towards better health, contact me, or leave a comment below! Happy Spring Baking!

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© Rhiannon Griffiths 2012

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The Sunshine Award

By Rhiannon Griffiths

I was awarded The Sunshine Award last week! But what is this you may ask?! The Sunshine Award is awarded to bloggers who positively and creatively inspire others in the blogosphere! Amazingly humbled to receive this “award of the people”!

 

 

 

As with all the greatest things, with honour comes responsibility, there are rules to being nominated and things I now have to do! The rules of the Sunshine Award are as follows:

Thank the person who gave you the award; write a post about it; answer the questions below; then nominate ten other bloggers, link their blogs, and let them know you have awarded them with the Sunshine Award!

So, THANK YOU Maisie Villegas – my very new, but already very dear friend; a doula extraordinaire, student acupuncturist, fellow paediatric diploma student, and big lover of tea and cake! As she mentioned in her own Sunshine Award blog, when nominating this blog, we do practice very different styles of acupuncture – my Five Element and TCM integrated approach, always gives us something to talk about, bringing a slightly different viewpoint to the same issue… plus, I can talk about Chinese Medicine ALL DAY, so it is always great to find someone new to do that with!

Favourite Colour: Green – fresh, calming and about life and growth… the colour of the Wood Element in Chinese Medicine, and of course, my leaf logo!

Favourite Animal: Birds – they have a magic all of their own, graceful and beautiful.

Favourite Number: 7, it is very me.

Favourite Non-Alcoholic Drink: Tea – in Chinese food energetics, black tea is bitter & sweet, which benefits the Heart & Stomach – this is why you feel so calm & contented when you have a good cuppa! Green tea has a more cooling energy & it moves Qi, which makes it a great stress buster!

Facebook or Twitter: Facebook definitely – good for more photos, but more importantly you can write much much more! I am a huge rambler – yes, you knew that already I’m sure! – and need more room to express myself! The 140 characters is always a HUGE challenge!

My Passion: Acupuncture, Chinese medicine, holistic health, emotions, Five Elements, Chinese food energetics… living life slightly differently, with huge benefits and rewards on many levels.

Getting or Giving Presents: Giving presents – especially those you put tons of thought into, the really unusual, quirky, poignant and personal ones.

Favourite Pattern: I do like the Orla Kiely leaf pattern, but then I do have a penchant for leaves! It is a lovely mixture of 70s retro (which I adore!), with a modern twist.

Favourite Day of the Week: Sunday – love waking up late (topping up that yin!), watching “Something for the Weekend” (though next week I will be switching over to “Sunday Brunch” on Channel 4!), having a walk in the village, having a cuppa or a bite to eat in the local cafe, roast with the family… easy sunday things 🙂

Favourite Flower: Sunflowers or gerberas – the bright yellow makes me smile, and they kind of look like they have little faces! They bring cheer to a room, and I love giving them as presents, it’s like giving a bunch of joy!

The following are my nominations for handing over the baton for The Sunshine Award:

Intelligent Running – let’s get one thing straight, I am NOT a runner, I don’t do running… but I do enjoy George’s blog for his boundless enthusiasm and positivity for health, nutrition, living well, and of course, running! His example (business wise and personally) keeps me striving to be better! And I wish I had his energy, incredible!!

Emma Martin: Mission to Motherhood – fabulously honest and funny blog about my Bournemouth uni buddy’s journey into motherhood. The challenges of being a working mummy, learning as a family at every stage, astute reflections on being with her beautiful boy Phoenix. It’s a joy to read.

Little Mountain Homeopathy – as part of the paediatrics diploma I am doing this year, I am learning more about homeopathy and how it can slot in very nicely alongside acupuncture in the natural treatment of children. This blog has some very good information set out in a very accessible way.

Polly’s Path – a blog that follows Polly’s journey to heal herself of cancer naturally. There are raw recipes, inspiration on how to live a life you love, anecdotal accounts of her journey thus far… she always has something positive to share!

The Pink Peril – my childhood friend Rachel is running the London marathon for the first time! The blog traces her steps from novice to expert, ready for 22nd April, with a lovely dose of humour and reality! She is raising money for The Outward Bound Trust, a cause close to her heart.

Integrative Nutrition Blog – I LOVE this blog, a mixture of recipes, healthy tips, lifestyle advice… they advocate nutrition on all levels, what you eat, what you think, what you study, what you do… just excellent.

On the Road with the Urban Psychic – my good friend Amy Holland is a fabulously talented medium, as well as being a highly qualified psychotherapist and healer. This blog follows the adventures in the “psychic bus” that locals will recognise driving around Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire!

Raymond Blanc – a local celebrity around these parts, and I have been lucky enough to meet the funny, passionate chef – he even winked at me! And the food at Le Manoir is just beautiful. You can hear him talking through his blog (and his twitter feed!), and it always makes me laugh, even if its not always meant to!

MindBodyGreen – a collection of blog posts from a variety of authors on yoga and wellness. I love dipping in and out of these writings, there is always something that is applicable to your day, invoking self-reflection, growth, and development.

Build Your Dream Practice – Kevin Doherty has a whole host of great tips and tricks for marketing your alternative practice… great if you’re new to social media and general marketing strategies, or if you’re an old hand like me, it just keeps you on track!

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© Rhiannon Griffiths 2011

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