Sports Medicine Broth

Joint injuries sometimes stall out in their healing if certain resources are lacking in the bloodstream for thorough physical repair. This results in long term pain and discomfort and the development of arthritis as we age. Fortunately, there are simple things we can do at home to aid healing.

Ayurveda & Integrative Medical Care

In India, herbal medicine is effectively used as the first line of treatment of many syndromes for which most Americans commonly wouldn't think about consulting with an herbalist. First hand, I witnessed the effective treatment of cardiovascular disease, typhoid fever, mumps, diabetic neuropathy, recurrent urinary tract infections, hemorrhoids, lactation issues, insomnia, glaucoma, retinopathies, even myopia.

Cavegirl Chicken Pate

This simple recipe will help you get your caveman on--with refined elegance. I call it Cavegirl Pate. It's delicious and easy, a gateway recipe for would-be organ meat eaters.

Chicken livers are probably the most palatable "starter" organs. They are iron-rich and nourish blood, containing all nine amino acids, some in quite high levels. One serving of livers contains 100% RDA of vitamin A and an impressive dose of 4 of the much-needed B vitamins. That's helpful to support vision, the immune system, brain, nervous system and muscles.

Prayer Flags

Things to do when you are grieving:

#1. Lie in bed for several weeks. Check.

#2. Start small. Integrate. Try to remember to eat. Stare at the wall or out the window a bunch. Stagger outside, stare at a tree, the sky, stagger back in. Just don't move to fast or go too far. Don't buffer the pain. The reason it hurts so much is because there is so much love abound in the first place: for the lost loved one, within the family, within the community.... You get the idea. This part seems to take awhile.

#3. Make prayer flags. 135 feet or so of them.

It's easy enough.

Buy cheap fabric. Cut it into whatever size you like. (Mine are 5 x 6in.) Pick a meaningful symbol and get to work with Sharpies. I picked runes that a traditional teacher taught me. But, I also made a few sets with Sanskrit to give as gifts.  This is the "prayer" part of "prayer flags." Pay attention while you write. Saturate in the meaning.

Sew it on the cheapest bias tape you can find with a zigzag stitch. It helps to measure and sew the lengths of bias tape together first so you don't have to start and stop. Then, you can sew and sew. (Or, cry and cry.) Another opportunity to pay attention, to saturate, etc.

The bias tape folds naturally over the top of the flag. Leave some long ends to make it easy to tie up. They roll up nicely to give as gifts.

Digestive Pickle Recipe

Part of traditional East Asian medical food cure theory is eating so that all six tastes--sweet, sour, salty, bitter, spicy and astringent--are present in each meal. These tastes answer different needs in the body and mind. Therefore, the presence of all six in your bowl gives a sense of satisfaction when eating.

Most of us find sweet and salty tastes readily in our diets. Spicy, bitter and astringent are only needed in very small quantities. But, what about sour?

Recently in the clinic, I have had many requests for pickle recipes. In the Ayurvedic tradition, the sour taste is a combination of Earth and Fire elements. It generally lowers vata dosha while increasing digestion, absorption and assimilation of nutrients.

The Chinese tradition recommends for us to have a small bite or two of something pickled or fermented a little while before a main meal as a digestive aid. Fermented foods include yogurt, kefir, miso, citrus fruits, and live vinegar. In moderation, this digestive fire enhances our digestive capacity--or, agni--but, in excess can interrupt other functions in the body and disturb the mind. The sour taste stimulates salivation, promotes appetite and sharpens the mind. Sour foods are generally carminative and diaphoretic, rajasic in nature.

Pickles are quite easy to make at home. There are slow-cured pickles and fast ones, vinegar-based pickles and brine-based ones. A handy tool for pickle preparation is a Japanese pickle press, which are easy to find online. However, no fancy equipment is necessary to get some delicious pickles going in your own kitchen. Any deep bowl with a plate that fits inside the opening on top will do (to push the food contents below the liquid).

The recipe below is very adaptable. Use your favorite vinegar and play with the vegetable combinations. Some Chinese herbs lend themselves well to pickling, such as Solomon's Seal (Polygonatum multiflorum).

Ume Vinegar Pickles

1 part ume plum vinegar
2-3 parts water (depending on personal preference)

napa cabbage
 
carrot

fresh, young ginger

Let napa cabbage and carrot (or your favorite veggies) sit out on the counter 1-2 days, or until slightly limp. Peel and thinly slice cabbage, carrot and ginger. Place vegetables in a non-reactive (not metal!) pickle press or ceramic bowl. Cover completely with solution of ume plum vinegar and water. Place a plate or cover of some sort over vegetables to press them below the surface of the liquid. Use a weight of some kind to hold them down. Refrigerate.

Pickles will be ready for use in about a day and will keep for 2 weeks or more. If you are careful to keep veggies completely submerged, the life of your pickles will be greatly extended. If a white scum develops, that indicates that not enough vinegar was used or they have been contaminated.

Note: Once submerged in the ume/water solution, the veggies will lose mass dramatically. If you had leftover cabbage or carrot during preparation that would not fit into the container, reserve it. In a day or two, it may easily fit into the jar!

One more thing! Tweak your brine ratio to suit your taste. If you happen to find your result too strong, simply rinse pickles before serving.