Eggs and kale are good for blood deficiency - something I've been working on with my acupuncturist.
Although the idea of sticking needles into one's body sounds like a painful and unpleasant experience, acupuncture is something that I've wanted to incorporate into my life for a while. I've noticed that since my lovely kidney infection (more on that here) my energy has plummeted, and I don't go around with the same vigor that I once had. I've also been feeling pain in my wrist and shoulders since farming, and just wanted an overall health boost. I stumbled upon Maine Center for Acupuncture, a local acupuncture clinic that offers community acupuncture for a sliding scale rate, which has been allowing me to go as frequently as I need to. Acupuncture is an integral part of Traditional Chinese Medicine, which I have been learning a lot about too, thanks to various books given to me by my acupuncturist. It's been interesting reading the information about different conditions and comparing and contrasting their recommendations and thoughts with ayurveda. Acupuncture is also used to treat a variety of health concerns, including anxiety, the common cold, digestive trouble, headache, general pain, stress, and urinary tract infections.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (or TCM for short) has some ways of gathering information about a person's overall health that are similar to what an ayurvedic practitioner would use. My acupuncturist checked my tongue's shape and coloration, similiar to ayurvedic tongue ama diagnosis, and my pulse. Here they're listening for more than a heart rate -- different strengths in different locations along your wrist can show indications of imbalances or deficiencies. She also felt areas of my stomach for signs of tenderness.
After asking me some background questions and checking my pulse, tongue, and points of tenderness, my acupuncturist said it seemed like I have a blood deficiency and a yin and yang deficiency. Since each organ has it's own yin and yang, my kidneys also showed signs of deficiency. I wasn't surprised about the blood deficiency - although I haven't been anemic for a while according to blood tests, I was anemic when I was really young and again as a teenager.
As someone who is very proactive with her health, I wondered about dietary and lifestyle changes I could make to help speed along better energy and overall health in addition to keeping regular acupuncture appointments. Through reading the books that my acupuncturist gave me, I learned that a lot of healing could be done through including various foods into one's diet.
In my day to day eating habits, I'm focusing on helping my blood deficiency. Besides a low iron count, symptoms of a blood deficiency, according to TCM, are:
- dry skin
- tingling and numbness in hands and feet
- pale complexion
- weak pulse and pale tongue
- heart palpitations
- dizziness or black spots in vision upon standing too quickly
- forgetfulness or not remembering things as well as you once did
- adzuki beans, black beans, pinto beans, and lentils
- dark leafy greens like kale, collards, and spinach
- seaweed (especially arame)
- dried figs and prunes
- nuts and seeds like walnuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and almonds
- grains like (gluten free) oats and millet
Here's an example of an iron hearty breakfast: Three corn tortillas (20% iron) with 2 eggs (18%), and iron rich kale with carrots, onions, and summer squash.
The recipe can vary -- just steam up the veggies in a little water and add some salt and spices, depending on your tastes. In a cast iron skillet, warm up a bit of olive oil and crack open two eggs, cook until the yolks have just hardly set so they have a lovely run to them when you cut into them. When the eggs are done, warm up the corn tortillas on the skillet as well, for about a minute on each side. This will keep you full and nourished until lunch time!
Have you ever changed your diet to improve your health? Was it hard? Do you prefer to include nutrients that you need through whole food or with vitamins? What foods make you feel good and nourished?