5 Elements Healthy Lifestyle Series

I am teaching a FREE introduction to a healthy lifestyle based on the 5 elements:

Wood

Fire

Earth

Metal

Water

Location:
Malibu Library
23519 Civic Center Way
Malibu CA

Dates:
Monday April 24
Monday May 1, 8, 15 and 22.

Time: 5:00-6:00PM

 

This series will offer participants a variety of new skills to help navigate lifestyle choices, reduce stress, and harmonize emotions.

Each element has a corresponding season, flavor, emotion, organ system and meridian channel.

Class will include a lecture, self-cultivation exercises and Q&A.

FREE classes at Grand Opening Kinetic Center

The Grand Opening of the Kinetic Center is this Thursday January 19th 5-8:30PM.

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WHERE: Located above the Malibu Healing Center, 21355 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu.

WHEN: I will be teaching a “Harmonizing Emotions with QiGong” class from 7-7:30PM.

WHAT: My class is designed to help you feel your internal state and then through movement, meditation and visualization harmonize your emotions.  Good for all ages.

Click here for the full schedule of events:

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Everything is FREE and there is valet parking and several fabulous raffle items.

Hope to see you there!

5:30-6:00PM Sound Bath Healing with Philipp Manser

6:00-6:30PM The 6 Health Secrets to Peak Performance with Sarah Murphy, ND & Jonci Jensen, ND

6:30-7:00PM Tai Chi with Mathew Cohen

7:00-7:30PM Harmonizing Emotions with QiGong with Abbey Seiden

7:30-8:30PM Bazilian Samba Dance Class with Ana

Healing Color Meditation


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  • Find a comfortable position and allow your body to relax.
  • Become aware of where you feel tension accumulated from the day’s activities.
  • As you inhale let a color come to mind.
  • Paint any areas of tension with that glorious bright color.
  • Take your time.
  • Inhale the color, allow it to wash over your body and then exhale the tension.
  • As you exhale image the dark and cloudy “gunk” from the day releasing.
  • To balance the internal organ of the body you can use the associated color of each system and breathe that color right into the organ.

Lungs and large intestine –> white (upper chest)

Kidneys and bladder –> blue/black (low back area)

Liver and gallbladder –> green (right side of abdomen)

Heart and small intestine –> red (center of chest)

Stomach and spleen –>  yellow (left side of abdomen)

  • Each time, breathe in the color and imagine painting the corresponding area of your body.
  • With each exhale, fully relax and allow the tension of the day melt away. You can imagine your exhale as heavy with dark and cloudy color.
  • This is a great meditation as part of a nighttime routine, and has also been shown to be helpful if you wake in the middle of the night to facilitate a return to restful sleep.
  • This exercise is designed to calm and settle the mind.
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California Cold Buster

As many of you know, I’ve spent nearly my entire life on the East Coast and have experienced firsthand the relentless and “chill you to the bone” Winters.  With extreme wind, cold, ice and snow, I would bundle in layers and brave Mother Nature’s worst.

Since moving out to sunny California in 2014,  I thought I was immune to the effects of cold weather because it simply does not get that cold, and it is very easy to eat a diet full of fresh, unprocessed foods to keep up my health.

Well about a month ago I caught whatever was going around, and developed a few new recipes that restored my health quickly and also tasted yummy.  I want to share my recipes with you all to try  when you feel under the weather or just need a little immune boost.

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Chicken Noodle Soup (Like Grandma Makes)

In a large pot add onions, carrots, celery, parsnip all diced to fill about 1/4 of the pot. Add a few pinches of good quality sea salt, then cover the veggies until they turn brightly covered and are aromatic.  Next gently place the chicken on top of the veggies.  A small chicken in cheese cloth (to contain the bones) or several chicken thighs, breasts will also work.  Try to choose free range and organic chicken if available.  Add water to fill the pot that has been pre-boiled, a few more pinches of high quality salt and fresh dill.  Bring the pot to a boil, reduce flame and simmer for about an hour or until chicken is cooked.  Strain and serve with egg noodles or rice.

 Lemon Grass/Scallion Noodle Soup

In a large pot add lemon grass stalks, chopped onions, carrots, celery,  and diced ginger and garlic to fill about 1/4 of the pot.  Add a few pinches of good quality sea salt, then cover the veggies and steam until you see a bright color and an sweet aroma. Add pre-boiled water to fill the pot and bring to a simmer for 20 minutes.  Strain the liquid and return to the pot, add chopped scallion and bok choy and cover for 5 minutes.  Serve with cubed tofu and rice noodles and hot chili paste on the side to be added to taste by the individual. Enjoy!

 

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Both of these dishes helped chase away my sickness within a few hours.  I enhanced the effects by wearing a hoody sweatshirt, getting under a ton of blankets and breaking a sweat.

Feel better quick!

On January 28, 2017 we will usher in the Year of the Fire Rooster!

Happy New Year!

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The Chinese Theory of Five Elements suggests that a Fire Rooster Year will be full of laughter, excitement and upsurging energy.  It will present the challenge of maintaining our own sense of self and purpose in the face of others.

Traditionally the Rooster is viewed as a radiant creature, with a warm and meticulous energy. With a profound ability to manage others, the Rooster often appears as infallible and righteous.  However, when examined a bit further, it is revealed that the Rooster’s personality is often a cover for self-doubt and insecurity.  It is wise to be especially mindful this year with regard to others in positions of power.

Throughout this Rooster Year we will all be motivated by our own desire for personal advancement. With an orientation of self-love, we will be able to achieve new levels of success that will motivate and inspire others.

When an angry feeling arises as a reaction to the boastful Rooster, remember the individual is simply acting out his/her own feelings of inadequacy. We are entering a very important time for empathy for self and others.

If we are not mindful of the way we respond to those in power, this year will be an ongoing struggle to accomplish even small goals.

The key to growth in the Year of the Fire Rooster is a gentle awareness of self, especially in the presence of those in power.  Trust your own inner knowledge and let your knowing be your guide.

May you all experience good fortune and health in the upcoming Year of the Rooster.

Cheers,
Abbey

Holiday Sugar Cravings Remedy

 

I was first introduced to this “Sweet Vegetable” broth in 1997 when I studied at the International School of Shiatsu. This is a macrobiotic remedy to help when detoxing from sugar.  It really reduces sugar cravings while the body releases and detoxifies.

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Sweet Vegetable Drink

  • Carrots
  • Butternut Squash (or Pumpkin)
  • Onions
  • Green cabbage

Cut equal amounts of all 4 vegetables into 1/2 inch pieces. Add 4 times the amount of water to a pot. Bring to a boil, reduce flame, simmer 15-20 minutes. Strain and drink 1-2 cups daily. The broth can be stored in glass jars in the refrigerator for several days. Simply bring to boil to reheat and enjoy!

Mindful Moving Mood Mender

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In Traditional Chinese Medicine emotional health is the ability to feel all the emotions.  If you feel stuck in one emotion, my goal is to help you create movement internally.

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7 ways you can mind, move and mend your mood:

  1. Stop whatever you are doing. Close your eyes. Imagine the most beautiful person, place or thing you can summon. Breathe in that image . . . deep into your lungs, and, as you exhale let go of any dark thick yuckiness, on the next inhale fill that space with a clear fluffy white color.  Repeat 3 times.
  2. Get up from your seat. With your fists, invigorate your body by gently hitting your buttocks and down the backs of your legs with moderate force. Do this punching technique for 1 minutes. Sit back down. Notice if your lower body feels different.
  3. Change IT up! If you usually drive to work, park further away and walk the last 5 minutes.  If take the subway to work, ride your bike or brisk walk instead. If you normally buy lunch, bring lunch. Change something that increases your activity level on the way to or from the workplace.
  4. Be mindful of your diet and how it makes you feel.  Keep a little notebook in your pocket (or use the notes on your phone) and record how you feel before breakfast, what you eat, and how you feel after.  Choose foods that have proven to elevate your state of being and avoid foods that leave you feeling low and empty.
  5. Reach out to friends and family members. Plan fun social events that require you to do and experience new things. It’s time to move out of your comfort zone into something unfamiliar.
  6. Just like snakes shed their skin in times of renewal, you can renew yourself and help to exfoliate your skin by gently and briskly rubbing a wet washcloth with a little sea salt and olive oil on your body. This will increase circulation and leave you with a refreshed feeling.
  7. Go somewhere you have never been. Is there a specific destination that you have wanted to visit but still have not gone? Well, now is the time! Set the date and time and GO!

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A few local suggestions for #7

New York City

  • Check out the Irish Hunger Memorial in Battery Park
  • The pond at the entrance to Central Park at 86th and 5th Ave
  • The Staten Island Ferry across the Hudson River to say hello to the Statue of Liberty.

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Los Angeles

  • Pt. Dume Bluffs hiking trail, look down into the ocean at the top to have a peak at many sea lions, dolphins and  if you are lucky …  a whale!
  • Park at Saddle Peak overlook and take a stroll out to a 360 view with little effort in less than a half hour!
  • Check out Eagle Rock in Topanga State Park (no dogs allowed, sorry pups!)  And if you are feeling really adventurous keep going to Temescal Peak.

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Easing Tendonitis

In Chinese Medicine there can only be pain in a particular area of the body if there is a blockage.

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If everything is flowing freely there will be no pain.

Musicians, athletes, and computer users are often plagued with “tendonitis” as a result of repetitive strain. When we repeatedly use the same movement, the tendons and muscles fatigue and local inflammation and pain results.

For those suffering from “repetitive stain injury” it is common to feel there is no relief in sight.  Often people lose hope they will ever be pain free again.

By selecting tight points in the muscle area and releasing local constrictions inflammation is reduced. Using acupoints surrounding the area of pain will help move the stagnant blood and result in new fresh blood circulating to the injured area so it can heal faster and so you can get back to doing the activities you enjoy.

In addition to using modalities like acupuncture and massage there are specific QiGong exercises that help tendonitis and food choices that will further strengthen the area and increase circulation.

QiGong

For example, a QiGong exercise that provides fast relief is a hand loosening exercise.  Fold your thumb into the center of your hand then close each finger to cover your thumb.  Slowly open each finger to an outstretch palm, you will immediately feel a rush of warmth to your hand. Repeat as needed.

Food Choices

Food recommendation that benefits inflammation vary greatly.  Some practitioners instruct patients to avoid foods that trigger inflammation such as: stimulates, alcohol, night shades, shellfish, and spices.

To see if these suggestions are affect you specifically, try a week of abstinence from the food/drink, and then reintroduce the item and notice if you feel a difference.  I have one patient who felt markedly better after she stopped drinking her daily chai latte.  The warming spices in the latte plus the sugar before breakfast were aggravating her tendonitis (and her skin).  She still enjoys her favorite drink, just not as frequently!

What I have found to work effectively for most people suffering with tendonitis is to increase the foods that lubricate and nourish the tendons, muscles and blood.

For a vegetarian diet these include: dark beans like black and aduki, sea vegetables rich in nutrients like kombu and hijiki, and plenty of blood tonics like warm broths and root vegetable purees.

If you consume animal protein nothing works faster than beef as it fills up the depleted blood and lubricates the tendons according to the dietary recommendations of Traditional Chinese Medicine.

The idea of eating beef not working for ya?  Then try a beef broth with plenty of sweet potato or parsnips to sweeten it up.

 

 

 

Eating for Your Health Goals

So often patients ask: What does Chinese medicine have to say about diet?

The simple answer is balance.

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You want balance in every meal.

Each and every meal should include protein, carbohydrate, fat and, don’t forget, flavor!

When deciding how much you should consume you can use this simple guideline:

Each meal should contain a portion of protein the size of the palm of your hand, approximately a cup of carbohydrates, and small amount of high quality fat.

Imagine a freshly prepared meal consisting of a portion of tofu, fish, poultry or beef, a lovely display of leafy green vegetables and a scoop of quinoa drizzled with olive oil garnished with avocado, cilantro and lime.

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Sounds good doesn’t it?

But what if you have a very specific health goal, then how do you adjust your diet to support your intended lifestyle shift?

Here are a few examples . . .

Health goal: to reduce your overall intake of caffeine.

  1. Make sure to have protein at every meal. This will help equalize blood sugar levels and prevent weight gain as you reduce the caffeine in your diet.
  2. Reduce caffeine intake GRADUALLY a 25% decrease each week. Do not stop “cold turkey,” trust me, you will feel miserable.
  3. Replace the routine of sipping coffee with a healthier alternative. Try green tea or for even less caffeine Kukicha (twig) tea, or any tasty herbal tea with lemon ginger or peppermint. They sell sample packets so you can try a variety and decide which ones you like.
  4. Monitor your mood and energy level. This will help keep track of your progress and keep you on top of your health goal.

Health goal: to make better food choices when away from the kitchen.

  • Start with a food diary to collect the facts.  Where and when do you eat, and how does that make you feel?  You will record the time of the day, what you consumed, and how you felt.  Then it’s time to analyze your choices.  Slowly and methodically identify your unhealthy choices and make an effort to move toward more healthy foods.
  • Pack a lunch when you leave home. If possible, try to pre-plan your lunch meal by bringing leftovers from the previous night’s dinner or a homemade sandwich.
  • Find a local, organic and fresh food whenever possible.  Avoid prepackaged and processed foods. Fresh is always best!
  • Continue to monitor your progress. Reward yourself for you efforts and make course corrections along the way if you fall off track.

What is YOUR specific health goal?  

Post a comment and I will add suggestions in response.

Let’s get going TODAY on the path to a happier and healthier you!

Training For That Big Race?

You strive to enhance physical performance with diet

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but how do you know what to eat?

 

According to the principles of Chinese Medicine it is recommended:

  1. Eat warm cooked foods to nourish blood and soothe tendons.
  2. Minimize cold uncooked vegetables like salads, carrot sticks, and sushi to help muscles, especially if the weather is cold.
  3. Try to minimize refined foods like sugar.  Instead choose whole foods.

These recommendations will make your core energy stronger. You will have more warmth and circulation to the areas you are challenging with exercise. There will be more Qi (vital energy) for your lungs to move the air and a greater vitality and endurance for your workout.

To help facilitate dietary changes set out a timeline for training and realistically plan when you will have time to cook for yourself and when you will be purchasing already made foods.

Here are several things you can do to enhance your training and racing performance:

  • Do not skip pre-workout meals
  • Drink adequate fluids to replace what is lost to sweat while training.
  • Do not miss out on very necessary carbohydrates during workouts and races.
  • Be sure to replenish post workouts with whole food choices.
  • And do not try something NEW on a race day.