I grew up with a clever rhyme about beans being a “magical fruit” due to the sounds they often produced after consumption.  Reflecting upon this still brings a chuckle but also is a reminder of how often flatulence, bloating, acid reflux and all sorts of bowel imbalances get normalized in American culture. In my practice, I often hear things like, “oh, this is just how I am” or “some amount of gas is normal, right?” In actuality, all of the above symptoms are signals that your digestion is less than optimal. Why does it matter? In short, poor digestion leads not only to discomfort and potentially embarrassing symptoms but also to systemic inflammation and can develop into more serious disease states. What can you do about it? While every individual is unique and is treated as such in clinic, what follows are a list of some common ways to optimize digestion on a day to day basis.

Build With Quality Raw Materials

Eat a balanced diet composed of fresh, organic vegetables (especially root veggies and dark leafy greens), fruits, nuts, seeds and grains along with grass fed or wild caught meats if you choose to eat meat. These foods provide nutrients for whole body health but also specifically B vitamins and minerals such as zinc and magnesium that are necessary for adequate production of stomach acid and proper assimilation of nutrients. Avoid conventionally grown (non -organic) foods along with processed foods and sugars as they often contain harmful pesticides and herbicides which are known to cause harm to the mucosa of your gut. This disruption of gut mucosa inhibits your ability to absorb nutrients and can further lead to autoimmune and more serious disease states. In addition, processed foods and sugars actually take more energy than they give, depleting your stores of B vitamins and minerals that are critical for normal digestion.

Simply Eat When You Eat

Let eating take center stage by settling down to nosh in a relaxed environment rather than eating while driving, standing or multi – tasking. Avoiding these activities when eating helps minimize the release of the stress hormone cortisol, which in turn helps to regulate levels of stomach acid to ensure proper digestion.  Focus on chewing each bite thoroughly in order to maximize the digestive process that starts in your mouth. Allowing this mindfulness to continue after meals aids in attuning to foods that may provoke digestive upset and would be best avoided or prepared in alternate ways.

Drink Up Between Meals

Imagine concocting a rich, savory stew then pouring a bucket of ice water into it. Ridiculous right? But that’s what we, often unknowingly, do at mealtimes.  Drinking copious amounts of liquids with meals, reduces the production of stomach acid and dilutes the chemical soup of digestive enzymes, stomach acid and bacteria that aid in processing food. Shoot for drinking liquids in between meals in order to stay hydrated but not interfere with the digestive symphony at mealtime. If you desire to have a beverage with meals, choose one with digestive properties such as a cup of ginger or lemon tea, kombucha or occasionally a small amount of beer or wine. If you feel that you need a beverage to swallow your food this is often an indication that you are not chewing your food thoroughly enough.

Befriend Fermented Foods

Have you ever wondered why those little pickles, famously called cornichons, always end up with the charcuterie, the miso soup gets served before your favorite sushi or a bratwurst is often blanketed in kraut? Traditional cultures have long known that the secret to good digestion lies in a bacterial process. Fermented foods are fairly ubiquitous in various cultures, most commonly known in the above examples along with kimchi, yogurt, kefir, apple cider vinegar and kombucha. These fermented foods and beverages contain the trifecta of factors necessary for proper digestion: acid, enzymes and probiotics. In addition, the beneficial bacteria they contain, often known as probiotics, contribute to a balanced gut microbiome. Modern research has shown that a healthy microbiome is involved in normal function of just about every bodily system and helps regulate normal immune, hormone and stress responses as well as brain function. Want to embrace the power of these foods and beverages? Try adding ¼ to 1/2c cup of unpasteurized, fermented veggies or beverages to each meal and observe how you feel. If you notice that adding fermented food increases your digestive symptoms this is often a clue that you may have a bacterial imbalance that would best be corrected via acupuncture, herbs and dietary change.

Sprout It Out

Grains, nuts, beans and seeds all are contained in a convenient protective coating in order that they may survive until conditions are ripe for germination. If these foods are consumed before they have the opportunity to be sprouted, the protective outer coatings can cause digestive distress and inflammation due to the phytates and lectins they contain.  Once again, we take the nod from traditional culinary systems and see that sprouting these foods not only removes the protective coating with its inflammatory compounds but also improves nutrient assimilation by creating digestive enzymes. Sprouting is fairly easy to do but pre-sprouted products are also available in most health food stores and even some major grocery chains. If you’re keen to give sprouting or fermenting a try, a great resource is the cookbook, Nourishing Traditionsby Sally Fallon.

Aperitif anyone?

Digestive bitters, traditionally derived from plants such as gentian root, have long been utilized to improve digestion, often in pre- dinner cocktails. Their efficacy lies in the ability of the plants’ bitter compounds, once detected by taste buds, to signal a release of stomach acid enzymes, and bile thus priming the body for digestion. Prepared bitters are widely available in a variety of flavors but check to make sure they are free of artificial colorings or flavors. If you feel inspired, you can also make your own concoction.  And no booze is necessary to enjoy. Try a bit of your favorite bitters in a small amount of sparkling or still water with a wedge of citrus. Refreshing and effective!

Harness The Power of Herbs

Once again, we look to the wisdom of cultures past who have traditionally incorporated herbs and spices into daily cooking not only for their flavor but also for their digestive benefits. Chances are you may have some helpful medicine hiding out in your cupboard or fridge right now!  In fact, many commonly used herbs such as ginger, cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, fennel, black and red peppers, and various mints have powerful digestive properties. If you’d like to explore utilizing culinary herbs as medicine, a great resource is Alchemy of Herbsby Rosalee De La Foret.  This book provides great insight and recipes on how to incorporate common herbs into your diet and also speaks to the unique properties of each herb that may make them more suited to one type of person over the other. If this peaks your interest in utilizing herbs more intensively as medicine, keep in mind that practicing herbal medicine safely and effectively takes years of study. Therefore, it is best to seek guidance from a trained herbalist if you wish to incorporate more concentrated forms of herbs such as pills, powders or tinctures into your treatment regime. A trained professional can best assess what combination of herbs will best support your unique constitution and chief complaints.

Back Away From The Tums!

Antacids and Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs) are often used to treat acid reflux or indigestion. Initially these might sound like a helpful solution as they can neutralize acidity but they in truth make reflux even worse. Here’s why: Adequate levels of stomach acid are crucial to breaking down food, in particular proteins and fats. When the pH of the stomach becomes more basic, food (especially proteins and minerals) will sit and essentially compost, creating heat that rises up in the form of bloating or reflux. In addition, low stomach acid levels leave your body more prone to pathogenic bacteria such as H. Pylori which can cause and exacerbate acid reflux. So instead of reaching for an antacid, focus on utilizing a fermented food or digestive bitters with each meal to help restore the proper balance of stomach acid and bacteria. Sometimes these measures are enough to correct reflux but more stubborn cases respond best to a regime of herbs, acupuncture and dietary change.

Give It a Rest

Minimize snacking between meals and stop eating at least 2-3 hours before bedtime to allow your digestive system a chance to rest and reboot. In addition, implementing periods of intermittent fasting of 12 or more hours per day has been shown to not only improve digestion but also to lower insulin and cortisol levels, improve mental clarity and help maintain healthy weight. If you are drawn to try intermittent fasting start slowly, fasting 8-10 hours per day between dinner and breakfast. If you do not experience weakness, headaches or dizziness you can increase the length of the fast slowly. Some patients report feeling their best fasting 14-16 hours per day, but every individual can have a different response to extended fasts. Please note that intermittent fasting is not indicated for everyone. If you are a diabetic, elderly, frail or have a history of eating disorders intermittent fasting is not advised without the supervision of a medical provider.

While this list contains only a handful of suggestions, even these can be overwhelming for some individuals. If you feel led to experiment with some changes, try integrating just one this week and observe how it impacts your digestion and overall well – being. Then try adding in other tools, one at a time. Many patients find it helpful to keep a journal in order to keep track of  strategies they’ve implemented along with the symptomatic changes they’ve observed. Finally, in all things the key to change is mindfulness. Keep paying attention and your body’s inherent wisdom will start to point you to lifegiving dietary rhythms and a more harmonious digestive system!

Restoration: Winter’s Invitation



The thought of Winter might bring to mind images of still and snowy landscapes, relaxing days on skis and skates or perhaps a bear slumbering away in the safety of its den. In nature, Winter is a season of quiet, of storage, of renewal and a preparation for the rebirth of Spring. It is a time where the lifegiving energy of plants goes inward and many animals burrow away in states of hibernation to rest and await the exuberance of a new season.



In our modern world where productivity is often praised as the highest goal, the quiet rhythms of winter may not often be valued. Wisdom traditions however have long known that winters’ rest and restoration is a prerequisite for summers bounty. One might say that winter holds the potential for summers growth in its storehouses of water and nutrients. If you doubt the truth in this, talk to any seasoned farmer or gardener and they’ll be quick to affirm that any patch of ground that isn’t amended and allowed to rest won’t be worth “a hill of beans”.

Similarly, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has long understood that without proper rest and renewal our health will begin to fail. Taking the cue from nature, TCM prioritizes the Winter season to focus on restoration and highlights the importance of nourishing two organ systems in particular, the Kidneys and the Urinary Bladder. In TCM both organs are associated with the Water element, their renewal analogous to filling of lakes and reservoirs or a deepening snowpack in order to nourish growth in the hot days of Summer. From a Western Biomedical viewpoint, the association of the kidneys and bladder to water will perhaps make intuitive sense as both organs are involved in fluid metabolism and urine production. The kidneys remove waste products from the blood and send them via urine to the bladder which marvelously expands to store this waste until we reach the nearest loo.  However. There’s more to the story…


In TCM the kidneys are also grouped with the adrenal glands and are collectively regarded as the roots or energy storehouses of the body, that govern growth, bone health, reproduction and aging in the body. A quick review of modern physiology will help remind us why the ancients held these organs in such high esteem and prioritized the importance of their revitalization.

The adrenal glands, also known as the suprarenal glands as they sit atop the kidneys, produce an array of valuable hormones including cortisol, DHEA, epinephrine, norepinephrine and aldosterone that regulate:

  • immune function
  • metabolism and healthy weight
  • blood pressure
  • response to stress

The kidneys also serve a variety of critical functions including:

  • filtering the blood and removing waste products from the body via urine
  • removing toxins and drugs from the body
  • modulating the levels of potassium, calcium, sodium and phosphorus.
  • balancing the fluids in the skin and rest of the body
  • releasing hormones that regulate blood pressure
  • producing an active form of vitamin D that promotes strong, healthy bones
  • releasing hormones that control the production of red blood cells

When the adrenal glands, kidneys or bladder are in states of dysfunction a myriad of debilitating conditions can ensue including: osteoporosis, nerve damage, high blood pressure, nutritional problems, cardiovascular disease, extreme fatigue, urinary disease, hormone imbalance and even life-threatening kidney failure.


THE GOOD NEWS IS THAT THERE IS MUCH WE CAN DO TO SUPPORT THE HEALTH OF OUR “WATER” ORGANS! Check out the following tips on how you can fill up your own reservoirs today…



PRIORITIZE THIS! If we don’t have a “well” to draw from we will most certainly experience disease in one form or another so recharge your vitality by…

*Getting to bed well before midnight and allowing yourself as much sleep as you need.

* Giving yourself permission to take breaks and short naps as needed

* Letting go of  tasks or relationships that are energy drains

* Getting massage, acupuncture or other bodywork to help support your body’s built in systems of renewal

* Planning a day or weekend away by yourself or with an encouraging companion where the only goal is to simply enjoy and unwind…no work allowed!



*Make soup the star of supper:

Focus on rich and warming organic bone or root broth – based soups. These one – pot meals provide vitamins, minerals and collagen to help energize and nourish bones, joints, skin, smooth muscle (your bladder thanks you!) teeth and raw materials to support healthy organ function.So, load up that slow cooker with quality raw materials in the morning and ladle up a heaping, hot bowl to enjoy fireside come evening!

 *Include dark colored produce and grains in your diet:

You’ve likely heard the nutritional advice to “eat the rainbow”, which is wise as various colors of plants contain different phytochemicals with unique nutritional benefits. In TCM, Winter is associated with the colors black and blue (picture the depths of the ocean) and is a time to highlight the antioxidant rich plants such as blue and blackberries, black rice and sesame seeds, dark leafy greens and beans, dark purple cabbages and cauliflower, dark mushrooms and seaweeds. These dark pigmented plants contain the highest amounts of antioxidants called anthocyanins, which are incredibly cell protective, prevent urinary and other infections, aid detoxification, lower cholesterol and are powerful cancer fighters. The value of these rich pigments is not recent news, in ancient China black rice was so valued for its nutritional content that it was forbidden for anyone to eat except for the Emperors…and thus it developed its alias as “forbidden rice”. Thankfully this superfood is available to even us commoners these days!

*Bring on the bitters!

The bitter flavor is often left out in the standard western diet in favor of sugar or salt. This is unfortunate as bitter compounds have a slew of health benefits. TCM holds that bitter flavors have a downward and clearing action. Probably the most familiar application of this are digestive bitter tinctures that sometimes show up in aperitifs. This time old tradition was and is still used because upon tasting bitter compounds our digestive systems begin to excrete acid, enzymes and bile in preparation to digest whatever meal was to follow. But bitters go beyond digestion. Bitter compounds have also been shown to help regulate immune function and to help improve the detoxification capability of the kidneys and liver! Great! How do you work these helpful compounds in? They are found in great amounts in leafy greens, root vegetables and in the skins of citrus fruit. Unsure of how to use citrus peel? Try including the zest of citrus in your favorite dressings or dishes, add some orange or tangerine peel when brewing herbal tea or simply eat a bit of the natural “wrapper” with that next delicious orange.

*Just One Cup thanks… and Hold the Goodies:

Allow your adrenal glands a chance to be restored by minimizing caffeine and refined   sugars, both of which cause excess cortisol releases, taxing the precious adrenals. Stick to one cup of coffee or caffeinated tea in the morning when your cortisol naturally peaks and if you want a second cup, switch to warming herbal teas such as ginger, cinnamon, clove or orange that are nourishing but don’t cause cortisol spikes and adrenal depletion.



We are designed to move daily for health, but winter is a time to focus on moving in ways that conserve and restore energy. Consider the following …

*Reduce the intensity of your workouts at least one-two days per week to allow for repair and recovery

*Include practices such as yoga, qi gong or stretching that serve to balance, strengthen and restore the body, mind spirit connection

*Practice self-massage – soak your feet in mineral or Epsom salts (skip if prone to loose stools as Epsom salts are laxatives) and follow up with massage by rolling a golf or tennis ball on the soles of your feet. This acupressure technique will help to bring balance to the entire body and strengthen both the kidneys and bladder as their nerve pathways run through the soles of your feet.   Spend a little extra time massaging Kidney 1, also known as Bubbling Springs using the guide for location. In TCM this point is well known for its ability to for cleanse, rejuvenate and awaken up the entire body.



In TCM the ears are associated with kidney health so the relative quiet of winter is an excellent time to nourish your spirit via reflective questioning and listening. Spiritual traditions have long known that without these intentional and meditative “pauses” it is difficult to be aware of and learn from where we’ve been in order to thoughtfully decide where we’d like to go.

 In your reflections you might consider the following meditations…

*What slowing and nurturing rhythms help me to feel calm, peaceful and nourished? How can I be intentional to engage one of these practices this week ?

*What draining habits or relationships am I being invited to let go of or address that I might rest and experience peace more completely? What is a next step I can take  toward being free of these obstacles in order to experience restoration?

 *What tools, support or perspective do I desire to help develop more resilience to stressors?Whether you’re already engaging in restorative practices or haven’t even begun to consider them, be encouraged that any ways you choose to replenish your well of reserves today will provide refreshment come Spring and Summer. Purpose to include even one small, 2 minute change this week that can intentionally nourish your mind, body and spirit!

NOTE: As with all our posts, the information presented here is not intended for diagnosis or treatment. If you are need of support in your healing journey, please don’t hesitate to reach out for our help. We’d be happy to schedule an appointment or give you referrals as needed. You are not alone!


Creating Healthy Habits That Stick!

A new year is here, ripe with fresh opportunities to cultivate changes for a more balanced and vibrant life. Why is this important to consider?


Research indicates that what we think about and how we spend our time determines who we will become. In other words, the daily choices we make and habits we follow are forming who we will be for better …or for worse.


You may have already set some “resolutions” for the New Year or perhaps are still considering what healthy changes you’d like to incorporate into your daily rhythms. Whatever your good intentions, consider applying these science – backed tips to help your new habits survive the long haul…


  1. Create GOALS that are MEASURABLE and EASILY ACHIEVED IN 2-3 MINUTES. Why? HABITS STICK when we FEEL SUCCESSFUL! When we succeed at something it positively reshapes the way we view ourselves which encourages more healthy habits. Starting small may seem silly but oftentimes people create goals that are unrealistic then feel defeated when they don’t achieve them and subsequently give up entirely. Want to avoid that pitfall? Consider modeling your goals after the following examples…If you want to work out more, consider a goal of doing simple exercises for 2 minutes 1-2 x/week. Similarly, if you want to include more healthy food options consider a goal of eating 1-2 vegetables / week. Small successes really do compound to create big, long term dividends!
  2. REWARD THE NEW BEHAVIOR IMMEDIATELY and TANGIBLY. Why? Our brains respond to a rewarded behavior by releasing This helps us FEEL HAPPY and creates a DESIRE to do the SAME BEHAVIOR AGAIN to receive the reward. It’s important to make the reward VISIBLE and TANGIBLE as our brains are encouraged by VISUAL PROGRESS which drives us to repeat the new behavior. Consider keeping a tally sheet, marking a calendar or a using a marble jar to keep track of your successes. Be sure to make a check mark or add a marble to the jar IMMEDIATELY after doing the new habit. This will help your brain connect the new behavior with the reward. After you’ve accumulated a week’s worth of marks or marbles you might reward yourself with something that aligns with the overall goal. For example, if your intent is to implement stress reduction practices such as prayer or meditation you might reward yourself by getting a massage, taking a luxurious bath, or downloading some new music that is calming or brings you joy. After completing your daily goal for a longer period of time such as a month, you might consider treating yourself to a relaxing weekend away.
  3. Make NEW HABITS YOU’D LIKE TO CREATE OBVIOUS AND APPEALING and keep HABITS YOU’D LIKE TO GET RID OF OUT OF SIGHT AND UNATTRACTIVE. Why? Our brains follow the path of least resistance so whatever is most visible and easily accessed is what we will innately choose. Therefore, if your intent is to read more in place of scrolling on social media you might create a special reading area or room and leave engaging books in plain view while keeping your cell phone turned off and in another room. You can also PIGGYBACK A NEW BEHAVIOR ONTO AN ESTABLISHED HABIT. This established habit will act as a CUE to remind you to implement the new behavior you’d like to establish until it too becomes engrained. For example, if you regularly have tea or coffee in the morning, utilize the time it takes for water to boil to pray, meditate, make a healthy lunch or do some simple exercises. Following this with your favorite healthy morning beverage can also serve as the reward for the new behavior!

Whatever new habits you are being encouraged to develop, know that you hold incredible power and freedom to change the trajectory of your life through your daily thoughts and the choices.

How will you harness this power to grow in 2021?



Clear, J. (2018). Atomic habits: Tiny changes, remarkable results : an easy & proven way to build good habits & break bad ones. New York: Avery, an imprint of Penguin Random House.

Fogg, B. J. (2019). Tiny Habits: The Small Changes That Change Everything. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.



Ah… autumn is in full swing which means changing leaves, cool, crisp days and all the pumpkin spice you can handle.

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the season of autumn is an opportunity to intentionally nourish and detoxify the lungs and large intestine.  And whew! With a global pandemic, cold and flu season around the corner and unprecedented wildfires and smoke in the Western US there couldn’t be a better time to focus on the health of these vital organs!

The lungs and large intestine both share the functions of taking in nourishment via water and oxygen or nutrients and filtering out toxins that don’t serve us. When these organs are in a state of dis-ease, respiration and elimination are often impaired, and the immune system can become weakened leaving us susceptible to pathogenic invasions, cancers and autoimmune conditions. Yikes!

Since food can be such incredible DAILY medicine, what follows are some general guidelines to optimize lung and large intestine health, that will also benefit your overall well – being!


  1. Pungent Flavors: radishes, onions, garlic, hot peppers, horseradish, ginger

Pungent or spicy flavors have a dispersing or moving nature and can help to break up and clear out excess mucous and phlegm. If left unchecked phlegm can impede proper organ function and provide a breeding ground for pathogenic bacteria, viruses and fungi. In TCM the lungs are said to “open” to the nasal passages and radishes, horseradish and ginger are especially helpful at relieving sinus congestion. These can be grated and added to food or juiced for extra potency. Use these and hot peppers with caution if you tend to have a “hot” constitution (red face, chest, sweat easily) or excessively dry throat.  Regular consumption of the particularly pungent allium family, that includes garlic, onions, leeks and chives has been associated with significant reduction in cancers of the esophagus, stomach and colon, lung, breast, pancreas and prostate. With the incidence of various cancers on the rise, be sure to include these tasty, sulfur rich foods on a daily basis!

  1. White Colored Produce: daikon radish, turnips, white fleshed fruits such as apples and pears, onions, garlic, white pepper and mushrooms

According to TCM, white is the color associated with the autumn season and interestingly, if you explore your local farmers market, many white or white fleshed foods can be found this season. Apples and pears have the ability to mitigate dryness that often accompanies the season and are rich in pectin, a soluble fiber that helps feed beneficial gut bacteria, normalizes digestion and aids in detoxification. These fall favorites are also rich in antioxidants such as quercetin that reduce inflammation and slow aging and their skins contain valuable insoluble fiber…so leave those peels on! Turnips are high in immune boosting Vitamin C, rich in fiber and as a cruciferous vegetable have been linked with cancer prevention. While Shitake and Maitake mushrooms are well known for their immune supportive beta glucans, the more commonly found Crimini or white button mushrooms are also wonderful choices. These little guys are an affordable and excellent source of immune supportive Vitamin D and are rich in trace minerals, B vitamins, fiber and protein. Consider adding to your next soup, stir fry or simply as a meat alternative.

  1. Cruciferous and Orange Root Vegetables – cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, brussels sprouts, kale, turnip and mustard greens, carrot, pumpkin and winter squash

Vegetables in both of these categories are rich in protective antioxidants such as beta- carotene which helps to nourish healthy mucosal membranes, boost immune function and has been linked to the reduced incidence of both lung and colon cancers. The green cruciferous veggies are also rich in chlorophyll and sulfur compounds which help to inhibit viruses and aid the body in detoxifying harmful chemicals that are ingested, inhaled or absorbed on a daily basis. Boost your capacity to cleanse naturally by adding in at least one cruciferous vegetable per day, ideally steamed or sautéed rather than raw to optimize absorption. Pumpkin, carrots, and other squashes are strengthening to the digestive tract and help to regulate bowel movements. They may be easily prepared by baking or consider utilizing them either chopped or puréed in soups for a delicious autumnal meal.

  1. Mucilaginous Foods: seaweeds, flaxseed, okra, slippery elm and marshmallow root

For proper function, the lungs and large intestine both require the maintenance of a light, and moist protective mucosal coating. The mucous layers that line our respiratory and digestive systems act as protective barriers from pathogenic or toxic substances that can be taken in via air, water or food. Supporting mucosal health protects not only the health of the lung and large intestine but also our entire bodies.  Foods that are rich in mucilage have the ability to sweep out old and pathogenic mucous and help to restore a clean and healthy mucosal layer. These foods are likely less common in your diet so try working them in via the following suggestions. Seaweeds can be added to soups or eaten as a snack, flax seed can be ground and added to oats, okra is a natural thickener for soups (think gumbo!) and slippery elm and marshmallow root can be purchased raw or found in many prepared organic teas.

  1. Fiber Rich Foods: fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, whole grains

Fiber is found only in plants and is interesting in that while it is indigestible by our bodies, it plays a critical role in human health. Almost all plant foods contain both soluble and insoluble fiber that occur in varying proportions.  Soluble fiber dissolves in water and is helpful in maintaining normal cholesterol and glucose levels and is found in foods such as apples, citrus, carrots peas, oats, garlic and onions. In addition, soluble fiber plays the vital role of feeding beneficial gut bacteria which aid in nutrient assimilation, hormone and immune modulation, cancer prevention, regulation of inflammation and maintenance of healthy weight. Insoluble fiber is found in the bran of grains and plant cell walls, does not dissolve in water, helps to create the bulk of stool and to regulate normal movement through the digestive tract. Studies indicate that high fiber diets have value in preventing various cancers, diabetes, heart conditions and are helpful in maintaining a healthy weight.  To maximize the health benefits of fiber, shoot for 30g/day of a mix of insoluble and soluble fibers. To get started you might utilize a fiber calculator to see how much fiber you are already getting per day.  If you fall short consider slowly adding in high fiber sprouted legumes for one meal or mix in ground hemp, flax, nuts or seeds to your oatmeal or salad or switch out white rice for quinoa.  In general, the more you can stick to an unprocessed plant – based diet the more easily you’ll reach the 30g/day mark and reap the health benefits of fiber!



  1. Refined Sugars, Pocessed and Fried foods, Alcohol

These “party foods” are all inflammatory in nature and tend to cause the production of pathogenic mucous and suppress immune function. In addition, these essentially “dead foods” contain little to no nutrition and cause a net loss of nutrients as they require B vitamins, zinc and minerals in order to be digested. If these foods make up more than 20% of your diet, consider swapping out one processed meal per week with an unprocessed vegetable – based meal to start. Or for a larger step, consider limiting these foods and alcohol to just the weekends or special occasions. Even small steps can help to reduce your inflammatory load and benefit your overall health today!

  1. Animal Dairy

Dairy, especially pasteurized, can cause congestion and excess mucous production in some individuals. Telltale signs of an intolerance to dairy include sinus congestion, runny nose, headache, phlegm that can’t be cleared from your throat or digestive disturbances. If you are still inclined to eat dairy, consider raw (unpasteurized) forms or fermented products such as unsweetened yogurt of kefir that still contain enzymatic activity and beneficial bacteria respectively. You might also consider sourcing goat or sheep -based products as their proteins are more similar to those found in human milk and tend to cause less reactivity. For a more sustainable alternative, there are also a wide variety of plant- based yogurts and milks that may be more easily digested and tolerated. If you’re lost and don’t know where to look, the suggested alternatives above can be often found at your local health food store or farmers market.

  1. Non – Organic and Grain Fed Animals

Animals, including humans, store toxins in their fat. Therefore, when we consume conventionally raised (non -organic) meats we end up taking in whatever toxins were stored in that tissue such as antibiotics, hormones, chemicals and pesticides. Since the goal is to help aid detoxification and not impede it, be intentional to choose 100% organically fed animals. Also opt for animals that are 100% grass fed or wild caught fish from sustainable sources as they contain anti-inflammatory Omega -3 oils linked with a myriad of health benefits. Conversely, grain fed animals contain high amounts of pro- inflammatory Omega -6 fats that when consumed in excess have been linked with increased incidences of diabetes, obesity, heart disease, arthritis, autoimmune conditions, mood disorders and cancer. Yikes! For a more cost- effective, sustainable and health boosting alternative you might also consider substituting a fiber rich, plant -based protein such as lentils for one meal a day or week. Think hearty lentil soup, three bean chili or black bean tacos!


As you eat to nurture your lungs and large intestine, note that their physiology is a reminder that autumn is a season of refinement for not just body but mind and spirit as well. A call to create life giving rhythms that filter out obstacles to healing and embrace what serves to nourish us and create well -being amidst turbulent times. So, as you take in dietary nourishment you might consider what specific activities, places, people, readings, meditations nourish your soul? And similarly, as you notice your body’s processes of elimination, what patterns, habits or unhealthy relationships are you being invited to let go of in this season?


Please note that the information listed above is not intended to diagnose or treat. To set up a consultation to determine the most applicable dietary protocol for your constitution you may contact Dr. Schmidt here….  https://kairoscw.com/bianca-schmidt/



 Donaldson, M. S. (2004). Nutrition and cancer: a review of the evidence for an anti-cancer diet. Nutrition journal3(1), 19

Elizabeth, L., Machado, P., Zinöcker, M., Baker, P., & Lawrence, M. (2020). Ultra-processed foods and health outcomes: a narrative review. Nutrients12(7), 1955.

Hanson, C., Lyden, E., Rennard, S., Mannino, D. M., Rutten, E. P., Hopkins, R., & Young, R. (2016). The relationship between dietary fiber intake and lung function in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys. Annals of the American Thoracic Society13(5), 643-650.

 Pitchford, P. (2002). Healing with whole foods: Asian traditions and modern nutrition. 3rd ed., rev., updated, and expanded. Berkeley, Calif.: North Atlantic Books.


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