Pregnancy

Ginger Carrot Soup

If you have ever read any of my other blogs, then you know I love soup! This recipe is one of my favorites in the winter and at least one of my children love it.I can usually entice both of them to eat carrots thanks to the variety of colors they come in. One loves purple carrots and the other likes them in all colors.

                                                                                       Health Benefits of Carrots

Carrots have long been hailed for benefiting eyesight due to their high content of beta-carotine which is converted to Vitamin A in the liver. A study found that people who consumed a large amount of beta-carotine had a 40 percent lower risk of macular degeneration than those who consumed smaller amounts. Carrots are one of the only plants known to produce falcarinol, a natural pesticide that protects its roots from fungal disease. It is believed that this natural component is what helps lower the risk of lung cancer, breast cancer and colon cancer in some studies. Another really great reason to eat carrots, is its ability to slow down the aging process. The high levels of beta-carotine act as an antioxidant which helps slow down the aging of cells. Who doesnt want that?

                                                                                       Health Benefits of Ginger Ginger has long been used by Chinese Medicine Practitioners for its many medicinal properties. A few of its many uses are for digestion, reducing nausea and to help combat the flu and the common cold. You will often find it accompanying your sushi in a pickled form to help aid in digestion. Gingerol is the main bioactive compund in ginger which gives it is anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. In my clinic I often perscribe it in its raw form boiled with hot water in the morning to help stimulate the appetite for those who skip breakfast due to a lack of appetite. It can greatly help morning sickness as well if the pattern which is causing the nausea is due to cold. Otherwise you better try peppermint. This can be determined by a qualified Chinese Medicine Practitioner. For morning sickness, I suggest a ginger tea raw or prepared along side Ginger Essential Oil used aromatically. Its ani-inflammatory effects can help reduce muscle pain due to excersing. One study showed, consuming 2 grams of ginger per day for 11 days significantly reduced pain from working out. For this same reason, it can also benefit arthritis, fibromyalgia, alzheimers and many other inflammatory conditions. The active ingredient, Gingerol, can help lower the risk of infections. It can inhibit the growth of many different types of bacteria making this root a highly important addition to your daily regimen during cold and flu season.

Together ginger and carrots rock! I hope you and your family enjoy my recipe as much as we do! One batch goes in just a day and fills us with a ton of beta-carotine/gingerol power coursing through our system, doing what they do best. I haven’t even gone into the goodness of the garlic, onion, celery, chicken stock and avacado oil in this recipe! Yikes! So much goodness!

Recipe

10-12 whole carrots of any color peeled and chopped 3-4 cloves of garlic minced 1/2 an onion diced 2 celery sticks chopped

1TBS of minced raw ginger 2 TBS of Avacado oil 4-5 cups of organic chicken stock or chicken bone broth 1tsp sea salt to taste (adjust to your liking) 21 season salute (trader joes) 1/4 tsp of cumin 1/4 tsp black pepper sprinkle of cinnamon

In a pressure cooker or regular pot, sautée the onions, garlic, celery and ginger until softened. Add in the seasonings, carrots and stock. If making in pressure cooker, cook at high pressure for 10 minutes. If in a regular pot, cook until carrots have softened. About 15-20 minutes. Blend in vitamix, blender or with a hand blender and enjoy!

If your interested in learning more about how Chinese Medicine and Nutrition can benefit you, contact Chantal at freeflowhealth@gmail.com or call 619-793-7030.

Postpartum Acupuncture

12 month program: A treatment once a month along with herbs and dietary recommendations to aid you in making a full recovery. Schedule here: www.freeflowhealthacupuncture.fullslate.com

 

Postpartum acupuncture is a key part of recovery after birth. The postpartum period itself is often ignored in our culture. East Asian medicine views this time as one of the MOST important times in a women’s life that will help determine their health for years to come. The focus is on nourishing the mother and nourishing the mother to help nourish the child. The postpartum period is considered to be a minimum of 4 months following delivery. The first month being the most important time to take special care of oneself. It is not until the end of the 4th month that the Yin and Blood become full again, and the womb and the meridians have recovered. We offer well mama and baby visits in the postpartum phase.

*Postpartum acupuncture and herbs treat: *retained placenta *low milk supply *plugged milk ducts/ mastitis/ thrush *postpartum depression *C-Section pain and healing *trauma from birth *prolapsed uterus or rectum *fatigue/stress *headaches *hormonal imbalance *promote overall recovery

In traditional Chinese medicine, rebuilding mom in the postpartum period is crucial for her future health. After giving birth, there is a deficiency of Qi and Blood in the body, and the meridians and channels of the lower abdomen, particularly the uterus, are thought to be open and somewhat weak. traditionally in the period after giving birth ,women follow strict guidelines regarding diet and lifestyle in order to support the return of health and vitality. Taking time to care for and nourish one’s health after childbirth can have a great impact on a woman’s health far into the future. A growing number of women are choosing to have their placenta encapsulated. This ancient Chinese remedy can have powerful effects on lactation, postpartum pain, bleeding, mood, and overall recovery. Research and information on the benefits of placenta encapsulation here. Ask your Midwife or Doula about it, or ask us for a referral. It took nine months to get this way, and it takes time to feel like yourself again. Diet and lifestyle recommendations will be made for at home care. When we feel our best, we are able to give our best!

Postpartum Resources Check out my other blogs on Postpartum Care along with some great recipes: http://www.freeflowhealthacupuncture.com/blog/

Books: https://www.amazon.com/First-Forty-Days-Essential-Nourishing/dp/1617691836

https://www.amazon.com/Cherish-First-Six-Weeks-Confident/dp/0307987272

Postpartum Fitness Program: https://www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=birthfit%20san%20diego

Taking care of yourself: Stressed out Mama

As an Acupuncturist. I hope to exude health, calm and balance to all of my patients. However, I am a mother of two children under the age of 4. When I am in my office, I believe I do exude all of the qualities I hope to help my patients achieve because it is the place I feel the most relaxed. Outside of the office has been a whole different story for me since the birth of my second son. January of this year I found that I had been in the worse shape of my life physically, mentally and emotionally. I kept hearing myself say "I have never been so stressed out and overwhelmed in my life."  I was experiencing migraines 2 to 3 times a week, digestive issues, and anxiety. All of this had been going on for almost a year. Of course I was completely sleep deprived on top of being acupuncture, yoga, proper diet and water intake deprived. I knew I did not like where this was heading and that I had to begin taking control of my health before I ended up somewhere I certainly did not want to be. Not to mention, I always prided myself on practicing what I preach. I began receiving acupuncture again, drinking tons of water, taking my magnesium tea before bed and after a few weeks my headaches began to go away. I haven't had a migraine in several months now. The yoga is on hold for the time being but once both kids are in school, it is the first thing I will bring back regularly into my life. I try to do at least 10 sun salutations a day but it doesn't always happen, especially when my boys are around and mistake me for a jungle gym. As a practitioner that works with a lot of fertility issues, I put a lot of time and thought into doing research for my patients to assure I am doing all that I can to help them regain balance and optimal health. I realized how important it is that I do this for myself as well so that I can be the best mother and wife for my children and husband. I am still working on the balance and trying desperately to reduce the levels of stress that come along with parenthood and running your own practice. This may be a life long journey. I am so blessed to have a supportive husband who gives me the time I need to take care of myself.

What I do notice in my practice is that I see so many moms prenatally and then either never again or not until the next pregnancy. I was guilty of this as well. Chinese Medicine has been an invaluable tool for me to get back on the path to regaining my balance and I should have resumed treatments directly after the birth of my son. It is definitely one of the tools that has helped stop the chronic migraines. When I am consistent with treatments my sleep improves and I feel better able to manage the stress in my life.  There is so much required of your body after you have a child and you are nursing around the clock all on the least amount of sleep you have ever experienced for an extended period of time. Do yourself and your family a favor and take care of yourself first so that you can take care of them to your fullest potential!

Nourishing Coconut Beet Soup

I recently made some of my favorite soup to nourish a dear friend of mine who just had a baby. This soup sounds strange but believe me it is delicious and super good for you. In Chinese Medicine there is the idea that things in nature that resemble certain parts of the body are useful in curing issues with those parts of the body. In Western medicine this concept was developed by Paracelsus stating that "nature marks each growth according to it's curative benefit". Later this became to be known as the Doctrine of Signatures. Just looking at a beet tells you exactly what it is useful for, building blood. This concept is further proven by the fact that beets contain many blood building minerals such as iron, folate and manganese. It is known to purify blood to aid in detoxification, increase blood flow which helps lower blood pressure and helps with constipation due to it's high fiber content. You can see why this would be beneficial for a new mom. Coconut is specifically beneficial for building Yin which comprises the fluids of the body, one of which is blood. The fat in coconut oil is unique and different from most all other fats and possesses many health giving properties such as relieving pain and irritation from hemorrhoids, reducing inflammation and improving absorption of many vitamins and minerals. In Aryuvedic tradition, it is often suggested to women to improve milk supply,  as the milk that a mother produces is directly made from Yin/Blood.  In terms of fertility, signs of abundant yin can be seen leading up to ovulation in the amount of fertile mucus that is produced.  When yin is depleted, your body shows signs of heating up, as Yin is the cooling and moistening system of the body.

During pregnancy, Qi and blood become fully abundant resulting in thicker hair and nails and that glow that so many talk about. During the birth process, a woman loses a lot of qi and blood. This can show up postpartum with symptoms such as hair loss, anxiety, depression, low milk supply, fatigue, and memory loss. It is important to get on top of replenishing immediately postpartum in order to feel well and nourished.

This recipe is beneficial for everyone, whether it be fertility issues, pregnancy, postpartum recovery, menopause or general wellbeing. It is nutritious and absolutely delicious.

Coconut Beet Soup

ingredients:

2 to 3 small sized beets or one large beet cooked, chopped and peeled

2 to 3 cloves of minced garlic

1 tbs chicken or vegetable better than boullian (contains no msg) or even better homemade chicken stock.

1 can full fat coconut milk

1 tbs of virgin, unrefined organic coconut oil

sea salt to desired taste

Directions:

Wash and cook beets in about 4 cups of water. I use a pressure cooker which takes about 12 minutes. Run beets under cold water and remove the skin and chop. If using boullian, reserve 2 cups of water from the cooked beets and set aside. In a medium sized pot, melt the coconut oil and add the garlic until it becomes fragrant. Add the beet water, the boullian and the sea salt. To that, add the chopped beets. Using a handheld blender, puree the beets. To finish off add the coconut milk. Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Acupuncture To Prepare For Labor

Did you know acupuncture can help you prepare for timely labor and delivery? Beginning at 36 weeks, acupuncture is administered on a weekly basis as a safe and effective treatment to encourage natural labor. Studies show (see abstract below) that gently needling specific points on the body can help: *reduce the length of labor *prevent overdue births *accelerate cervical ripening and dilation

I'd like to emphasize that the intention is to encourage your body to go into labor naturally as well as to encourage a natural progression through each stage of labor. It is not meant to induce labor as is done with pitocin. Often times when the body is not prepared for labor, yet forced into it, there is not a smooth progression. Contractions can slow down causing dilation to slow down leading to the need for interventions.

It is also important to note the other major benefits of receiving acupuncture in order to prepare for labor. Acupuncture puts you in a state of relaxation, benefits sleep, and reduces pain. Mom does best when going into labor in a relaxed, restful state of being as does baby.

If you are close to 36 weeks, I encourage you to schedule your appointment today. If you know of anyone who is pregnant, please share this information with them. It can make a world of difference in their birthing experience.

Acupuncture for cervical ripening and induction of labor at term--a randomized controlled trial. Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Vienna, Austria. OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to evaluate whether acupuncture at term can influence cervical ripening, induce labor and thus reduce the need for postdates induction. METHODS: On the estimated date of confinement (EDC) women were prospectively randomized to an acupuncture group (AG) or a control group (CG). Data of 45 women were evaluated (AG, n = 25; CG, n = 20). Inclusion criteria were as follows: confirmed EDC, uncomplicated course of pregnancy, singleton pregnancy in cephalic presentation. Exclusion criteria were as follows: cervical dilation > 3 cm, active labor, premature rupture of membranes, previous cesarean section, pathologies in mother or fetus. Women were examined at 2-day intervals. The cervical length was measured with vaginal ultrasonography, cervical mucus was obtained for a fetal Fibronectin test and the cervical status was assessed according to the Bishop score. In the AG, the points Hegu (Large Intestine 4) and Sanyinjiao (Spleen 6) were pierced on both sides every second day. If women were not delivered 10 days after EDC, labor was induced by administering vaginal prostaglandin tablets. RESULTS: The cervical length in the AG was shorter than that in the CG on day 6 and day 8 after EDC (P = 0.04 for both). In the AG the time period from the first positive Fibronectin test to delivery was 2.3 days, while that in the CG was 4.2 days (P = 0.08). The time period from EDC to delivery was on average 5.0 days in the AG and 7.9 days in the CG (P = 0.03). Labor was induced in 20% of women in the AG (n = 5) and in 35% in the CG (n = 7) (P = 0.3). Overall duration of labor, and first and second stage of labor were not different in the two groups. In 56% of women who underwent acupuncture (n = 14) and in 65% of controls (n = 13), Oxytocin was used to augment labor. (P = 0.54). CONCLUSION: Acupuncture at points LI4 and SP 6 supports cervical ripening at term and can shorten the time interval between the EDC and the actual time of delivery.