One for the kids

I am asked more frequently about acupuncture for children. Yes, acupuncture is beneficial for kids. They haven’t had years to develop an imbalance and they shift rapidly with just a needle or two inserted and quickly removed.

If you had inhibitions about your first needling experience think about a child’s reaction! And many won’t sit or lie still for even a brief treatment. Much of the work that I do with children utilizes nutrition with the parents, energywork, acupressure, possibly herbal formulas and essential oils, or if they are old enough teaching children techniques to help themselves.

This workbook, My Helpful Healing Touch, A Guide for Empowering Children found its way into my office yesterday and I had to share it. It is a great introduction for adults that want basic information on energywork, but it was created to teach children tools to help themselves.

Children have a natural tendency to touch and I think they intuitively know it is healing. I sometimes work on parents whose children will come over and mirror the work that I am doing on either their parent or a toy. They get it. Some children will mimic each movement or touch on me that I am using on them. A little bit of Simon Says can be a good way to take the edge off of a new situation.

Helpful Healing Touch explains simply and eloquently energy and its flow, sensitivity, energy fields, chakras, feelings, love, breathing, meditation, mandalas, intuition, positive thoughts, and more. I was giggling through the book because this is the majority of the essential techniques I utilize with children and, yes, with you big kids too.

You can order it for the kid in you or the kids in your life!

Posted in acupuncture, Autism, breathing techniques, Education, emotional wellness, energy, exercise, Healthy Products, meditation | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Cultured veggies

On a whim a couple months ago, I decided to offer a class on fermented foods. Of all the topics I could speak on from stress reduction, energy work, positive thinking, meditation, acupuncture, nutrition, herbs, essential oils…you get the picture…I chose the most obscure topic.

It has turned out to be the best topic as well. I love to offer classes that supply tools so participants can maintain their own healing process. Culturing vegetables may seem a little out there but they are medicinally healing, easy to make, and with a little creativity a lot of fun in the kitchen.

Since offering several classes, people have given testimonials on their success incorporating the cultured veggies into their meals or supplement regime.

A woman in her early-thirties with an exacerbation of a chronic skin condition ate 2 tsp of the carrot ginger cultured veggies for 5 days. Her skin calmed down and her constipation disappeared. She was out of town and without her veggies and the condition returned at a less severe level. She is back taking the veggies and everything has balanced out.

Another woman in her early-thirties is experiencing an intense detox reaction of nausea and has needed to reduce her intake of cultured veggies and coconut kefir, but has noticed a reduction in the lymph swelling she has suffered from for years.

A three year old boy had a healing crisis of a very phlegmy cold as we are in the process of re-establishing his gut microflora. His will be a journey that I will be very excited to witness.

Others have no cravings for sweets or wine. I can attest to the effects of cultured veggies on cravings and on regulating bowel function. I was shocked I had no interest in a glass of wine, I couldn’t even force it down. The addition of coconut kefir and cultured veggies has helped in reducing my stress level, assimilate nutrients and improve digestion, maintain a rock solid immune system, and maintain weight.

How does a fermented vegetable do all this? You can learn about it at my class!

Saturday, November 6  at 4 pm (until about 5:30pm)

Elemental Health 2225 W. North Ave, Chicago, IL

$50 Go home with recipes, starter liquid for kefir, and exactly what you need to feel better. Pre-registration is required to hold your space. Please register online or at the office by November 3.

Cultured veggies will be available for purchase

$40 for a 4 pt variety pack or $19 per individual quart

Posted in Autism Recovery, Body Ecology, cravings, Detox, Foods:veggies, Healthy Products, probiotics, Raw Food, whole plant-based diet | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Born To Run

The Chicago Marathon is around the bend. A big cheer to old and new friends and to clients who are running, jogging, or walking marathons this weekend. These two quotes really sum up the a marathon.

To describe the agony of a marathon to someone who’s never run it is like trying to explain color to someone who was born blind. ~Jerome Drayton

A marathon is like life with its ups and downs, but once you’ve done it you feel that you can do anything.  ~unknown

My clients are keenly aware of the assistance their acupuncture treatments bring to their training and recovery. Acupuncture is one way to hasten the recovery from pain and inflammation that comes from running injuries and facilitates the body’s recuperative powers.

Acupuncturists can utilize various styles of techniques from needling to cupping to gua sha to herbal remedies including plasters. An herbal plaster is a natural medicinal patch adhesively applied to the affected area. Any of the techniques will help to vitalize and move the blood that creates the stagnation causing the pain sensation. 

Massage can help heal injuries as well. Many acupuncturists incorporate Tuina, a Chinese style invigorating energizing massage. Regular massage or myofascial massage are highly beneficial as well.  

Yoga employs specific stretching that is much needed for any level of athlete, increasing flexibility, core strength, balance and a calm centered mind.  

Moving the energy and blood with a combination of preventative and intervening modalities like acupuncture, massage and yoga will help you bounce right back from injury and fatigue right back into your running shoes.

If you are in Chicago, Allyu Spa is just one of the spas that has a great special for the marathoner in your life. Check their current promotion.

Posted in acupuncture, athlete, Chicago marathon, cupping, massage, running, yoga | Leave a comment


Breath is the bridge which connects life to consciousness, which unites your body to your thoughts. ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

Breathing. Seems simple enough, but most of us do not breathe correctly or efficiently. We all know breath is needed to live but do you know what it does for a body? for a mind? for a spirit? Here is the condensed list of benefits:

  • Gives you more energy
  • Reduces mental and physical fatigue therefore reducing the need for stimulants and drugs
  • Eliminates toxins and waste
  • Improves blood circulation, relieves congestion, increases supply of blood to muscles and bones
  • Increases oxygen and nutrient supply to all the cells of the body. The brain and eyes need much oxygen!
  • Correct breathing (depending on technique) can calm or stimulate the central nervous system and balance the brain hemispheres
  • Better breathing opens up and balances the subtle energies of the body
  • Using the diaphram with proper breath massages the internal organs improving their function.
  • Facilitates the movement of the lymph throughout the body which eliminates toxins and improves the immune system
  • Shallow breathing puts stress on the organs of elimination
  • Along with a balanced alkaline diet, toxic carbon dioxide will be eliminated more readily through the breath
  • Improves the appearance of the skin, reduces wrinkles thanks to better blood circulation
  • Relax deeper
  • Recover faster from stress, exertion and injury
  • Reduces muscular spasm, tension, adhesions, and fibrosity

Feel like improving your breathing? Here are three options to activate relaxation and quiet your mind.
The yogic breath Sit with your neck, head, and spine in alignment. Place your hands on your chest and breath in and out through your nose, feeling your chest expand. Repeat 3-4 times. Now place your hands on your belly and inhale through your nostrils, letting your belly expand with air. Exhale through your nose and press in slightly with your hands. Repeat 3-4 times. Next, place your left palm on your chest and your right palm on your belly. As you inhale through your nose let your belly expand and then bring your breath up into your chest, feeling your ribs expand. Exhale through your nose, releasing your breath from your chest, then your stomach. Repeat 3-4 times. Now close your eyes, rest your hands on your lap, and repeat 10 times. 

Alternate nostril breathing Place your right index finger and middle finger on the bridge of your nose. Close the right nostril with your thumb, inhale and at the top of the inhalation, close your left nostril with your ring finger. Release your thumb and exhale through the right nostril. Inhale through the right nostril and at the top of the exhalation close the right side with your thumb. Release your ring finger from your left nostril. Repeat 6-12 times.

Left nostril breathing Close your right nostril. Breathe in through your left nostril and out through your left nostril. Repeat this 10-20 times.


Posted in benefits of breathing, breathing, breathing techniques | Leave a comment

Garden Trout

I had a smoked trout salad a couple weeks ago which reminded me that I really like trout. I rarely eat meat, but when I do it is something I crave and works well with my body which would be trout, turkey or duck. In the company of others, I may deviate from those.
No, the trout was not grown in a garden, but the rest of the ingredients were! So after buying a large bag of veggies at the farmer’s market, I stopped by Whole Foods crossing my finger there was fresh trout in the case. YESSSS!

Even though the temperatures here have been hot and humid, I turned on my stove and baked my trout while I minced veggies. The veggies and herbs filled 2/3 of the bowl and I was still mincing so I had to nix some of the veggies to keep room for the fish!

I minced:
1 medium raw orange bell pepper
1 small raw red onion (size of maybe 2 golf balls)
1 small thumb of fresh ginger
1 Tbsp or so of fresh Italian parsley
15-20 steamed green beans

I julienned:
5 leaves of raw swiss chard, stems removed

Tossed in leaves from several sprigs of fresh thyme

Added a few dashes of Himalayan sea salt, a splash of coconut oil, juice of half a lemon

The trout was on 375 til done, maybe 15-20 minutes. I let it cool while I continued to mince, julienne, toss and squeeze; then I added it in large pieces removing any missed bones.
I like the sweetness of the bell pepper, green bean and trout against the pungency of the ginger and thyme with the slight bitterness of the chard and parsley. Nice harmony of flavors!

Dinner for the hot, humid week is served!

Posted in Fish, Foods, Foods:salad, Foods:veggies, Raw Food | Leave a comment

Squash Blossoms

The squash blossoms I picked up from the farmer’s market Thursday were on my mind when I went out for Italian last night. I didn’t want to batter and fry them and I didn’t want to make a summer soup.

I decided the flat, square homemade noodles that accompanied the abundance of everything else would be amazing with a chiffonade of blossoms and a little cheese. I headed out to Saturday’s farmer’s market on a mission for local cheeses! Not my usual food of choice but I was inspired!

Here is what I did:

Olive oil
1 Tbs unsalted butter
1 medium red onion, finely chopped
1 stalk of celery, finely chopped
2 patty pan squash, finely chopped
small handful of Italian parsley, finely chopped
10 zucchini blossoms, quartered from stem to tip
Himalayan sea salt
5-10saffron threads
2 cups vegetable broth, preferably homemade
1 egg yolk
½ lb. pappardelle
Pecorino Romano, finely grated
Small wheel of chevre

Heat a large pot of salted water over high heat for your pasta.

In a large skillet, warm a small amount of olive oil and the butter over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, patty pan squash, and Italian parsley, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are translucent. Add the zucchini blossoms, a pinch or two of salt, and the saffron, and stir gently to mix. Add about ¾ cup of broth, and stir to combine. Raise the heat to medium-high and add the rest of the broth a splash or two at a time, taking about 5-8 minutes to add it all. Stir frequently. Allow the sauce to simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated and only a small amount of thickened broth remains in the pan. Remove from the heat.

In a small bowl, whisk the egg yolk slightly with a fork.

Cook the pasta until tender but al dente. When the pasta is almost ready, place the zucchini blossom sauce back over medium heat. Use a small measuring spoon, scoop up about 3 Tbs of pasta water and, whisking constantly with a fork, gradually add the hot water to the egg yolk: together, they should make a loose, pale yellow liquid. Pour this mixture into the sauce in the skillet, add small pieces of chevre, stirring well. Using tongs or a spider, scoop the finished pasta from its pot into the skillet, and toss with the sauce over medium heat for about 30 seconds.

Posted in Foods, Foods:pasta, Italian, squash blossoms | Leave a comment

Autumn Classes! Fermented Foods in the Kitchen

What have you been looking for? An easy detox, improved digestion, more stable mood, greater energy?
Join me in the kitchen and I will teach you how to accomplish this and more!
Kefir is chock full of probiotics-all the good bacteria your digestive tract needs. Much of your immune system and serotonin production is housed in your gut. Reestablishing the microflora ecosystem will help you feel healthier, happier, more balanced.

  • Promotes Healthy Detox
  • Rehydrates the Body
  • Aids in Weight Loss
  • Enhances Mood
  • Boosts Energy
  • Reduces Allergies and Candida symptoms
  • Makes a good hangover cure
  • Lifts Depression, Fatigue and much more!
Cultured or Fermented veggies, think sauerkraut and kim chi, are also probiotic-rich. They keep for months in your fridge, just a small amount is medicinal and

  • Helps heal your stomach, liver and intestines
  • Clears your skin
  • Improves your energy
  • Tones your intestines and flattens your stomach
  • Eases digestion
  • Eliminates joint pain
  • Enhances immunity

We will get creative in the kitchen
  • Learn to make kefir with young coconut water from the mineral rich coconuts at your local market
  • Learn to culture your favorite veggies

COMING UP! Saturday, November 6 at 4 pm

Elemental Health 2225 W. North Ave, Chicago
$50 Go home with recipes, starter liquid and exactly what you need to feel better!
Pre-registration by November 3 required to hold your space. No refund on cancellation. No walk-in registration

Past classes at Elemental Health

Sunday, September 12 at 6 pm or Tuesday, September 14 at 6:30 pm

VITAL JUICE exclusive class for subscribers
Sunday, September 19 at 4 pm. Pre-register

Past classes at Be Optimal Holistic Health

Saturday, October 9 at 2 pmBe Optimal Holistic Health Center 1249 Waukegan Road, Glenview

Posted in coconut, cravings, Detox, diet, Education, Event, Foods, Foods:veggies, kefir, serotonin | 3 Comments

Gazpacho Memories

The humidity of this current summer has called for some cool creative cooking or uncooking as the case may be. I have lived off salad greens with homemade dressings, smoothies, and gazpacho.

This last batch of gazpacho took me back East to my days in Boston. The summers I spent there weren’t unbearable, but I would make gallons of gazpacho with my handy dandy handblender. Returning with bags of produce from Haymarket, I spent my weekends and every evening in the kitchen combining this amazing bounty into dinners. I would sit on my back porch sipping the cool liquid with a little jalapeno bite while my cats lounged under or chased squirrels in our canopy of trees.

So today with my hand dandy Blendtec blender I conjured up some memories with 3 Beefsteak tomatoes, 1 red pepper, ½ medium yellow onion, ½ English cucumber, juice of 1 lemon and 1 lime, ½ cup liquid from some jalapeno sweet pickles (Can use a sliver of jalapeno and a dollop of honey), ½ cup Italian parsley (stems and leaves), 8-10 small red dandelion leaves, a pinch or two of pink Himalayan salt, 1 cup or more of water. (From the veggies above, I minced by hand ½ a tomato, ¼ red pepper, ¼ of the cucumber and added those to the pureed mix)

Thanks to the dandelion leaves this version won’t be the light bright red of a traditional gazpacho, it will be brown. The dandelion leaves are internally cooling and a diuretic and a great toning medicinal for the Liver, high in Vitamins A, K and calcium and iron. The parsley is high in Vitamins C and A and folic acid and increase the antioxidant capacity of the blood.

Blendtec Home TB-621-20 1,560-Watt Total Blender, Black

Posted in antioxidants, Detox, Foods:soup, Foods:veggies, Raw Food, Vegan, whole plant-based diet | Leave a comment

Bastille Day

I am a francophile. I celebrate Bastille Day. It is one of my favorite days to create food and share with others. Marinated beans, pates, fruit, cheese, crusty bread and wine. Accordion and piano cafe music. Friends. 
That day’s event over 220 years ago is seen as the symbol for the uprising of the modern nation. At the foundation of all that cooking and celebrating I do each year, I envision  that this year will be the uprising of a more enlightened consciousness. 
So here’s some food to create and share as you envision that uprising.


Marinated White Beans
Sometimes creative cooks don’t write recipes down. When the person who enjoyed this left my circle, I stopped making it and the mental recipe vanished. This is pretty close:

1 cup of white beans, dried
4 cups of water
1/2 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic

Wash the beans and soak overnight. Combine the beans with the water, oil and garlic and salt. Simmer until tender up to 2 hours. You do this slowly because you want them intact. Try a few; you want them tender not mushy or soft. Drain and remove the garlic cloves. Place beans in a bowl.
 1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup of white wine vinegar (sometimes I used tarragon vinegar)
3 T. chopped parsley
several sprigs of chopped rosemary
salt and pepper

Mix all the marinade ingredients and pour over the bowl of beans. This should completely or just cover the beans. Cover the bowl and refrigerate overnight.

Fava beans and Olives
I wasn’t a big fava bean fan but with olives anything is amazing! 

2 cups of cooked fava beans
1 cup of green olives, pitted and sliced (get some good ones from the olive bar at your local grocer or deli)
Olive oil
Combine the four ingredients. Place in baking dish large enough that everything is just one layer. Bake for 30 minutes at 350. Watch it closely and stir occasionally. Garnish with chopped parsley and lemon slices. 

You can also puree either of these beans, fresh herbs, garlic and olive oil and make a bean pate. YUM! slather it on crusty bread or flax or sprouted crackers with olives and tomatoes!

Figs and Fennel
Figs are one of those short season fruits. Right now is the time to grab a pint of Black Mission Figs, a bulb of Fennel and a Red Pepper and make this salad.
6 large figs, I prefer Black Mission

Olive Oil and Balsamic vinegar and salt

2 T. minced sweet onion or shallot

Slice in rounds about 1/4″ thick. Place on plate, drizzle with oil and vinegar, cover with the onion or shallot, sprinkle with salt. Marinate at room temp for an hour

Red Peppers
You can buy these already roasted and marinated or you can do this yourself:
2 peppers, slice and core out seeds, stem and white part
Coat with olive oil
Place cut side down on foiled baking sheet.
Bake at 350 for 15 to 20 min til peppers soften and skin starts to raise. Remove from oven and place peppers in covered dish to steam the skin separate. When peppers are cool enough to hold, remove the skins.
2 roasted peppers
2 T minced onion or shallot
Olive Oil and Balsamic vinegar and salt
Toss the roasted peppers with shallots, oil and vinegar and salt to taste. Marinate for 1 hour.

1 small fennel bulb, trim top down to the bulb
Olive oil and Balsamic vinegar and salt
Cut into paper thin slices until you have a 1/2 cup of shavings. Place fennel into bowl of cold water and will keep for a few hours. 

Reduce some balsamic vinegar until you have about a tablespoon of glaze, mix with a 1/4 cup of oil (fennel oil if you have it). Pat the fennel shavings dry and toss with this oil and glaze.

Place a few fig rounds on a plate, place the peppers over the figs and top with another fig round and stack the fennel shavings on the top of it all!

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