A Therapeutic, High Protein Granola for Early Spring

A photograph of homemade granola

Another beautiful weekend of perfect, early Spring weather!

My bees have been gathering pollen from local willow, crocus and daffodils; I can’t wait to taste the honey!  A few bumble bees about too.I spent some of the weekend digging in the last of the teapot, bumble bee houses that I started off over Winter thanks to a huge teapot donation from a very generous client!  Fingers crossed for tenants!

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Early Spring; a balancing act!

A photo of Lilla slacklining.

It’s that time of year again! Some days still feel like Winter and then the weather throws a day of pure early Spring!

Today was definitely Spring. My bees agreed and were out in force; honey bees on the snow drops, daffodils and willow and some bumble bees on the crocuses. I’m making some nests for bumblebees; digging cracked teapots stuffed with old nest material into an overgrown bank. I can’t wait to see if I get some takers!

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The Same IVF Drugs-Just much Cheaper.

A photo of a smiling woman getting an injection.

I’ve been working with clients for over fifteen years to help optimise their chances of a successful pregnancy with IVF.

At the moment here in South Cumbria we are benefiting from one of the best NHS funded IVF schedules in the country. It seems strange to think that something as fundamental as IVF treatment could have such varying NHS support from one region to another, but it really does.

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Two Late-Winter Soups to fight Infection

A photograph of two homemade soups.

Another late Winter day, but I felt the first hint of Spring around the corner last Wednesday!

It’s difficult to define what made it happen, but suddenly I looked at my garden in a slightly different way; I noticed bulbs pushing through, bird song and I had my first urge to start tidying things up. Right on cue my hens started laying properly again. I think day length has something to do with it; and something to do with the quality of light.

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A Therapeutic Soup for a Grey, January Day

A photograph of homemade soup.

Today was a warm day for this time of year, but in all other respects pretty typical for a January day; wet, grey and still dark in the mornings and early afternoons.

There was still a bit of light when I got home this afternoon and I wandered down to the bottom of the garden to check up on my chickens and see what was still growing in the vegetable patch for dinner.

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Acupuncture for stopping smoking.

A photograph of a woman leaping with joy.

It’s a new year! So I’m really pleased to see new clients coming to see me to help them finally stop smoking.

This is a real joy for me because if I can help stop someone smoking then they will be achieving something that will truly improve their quality (and very probably quantity!) of life.

It’s often a surprise to realise how Acupuncture is still a very current and developing field of medicine, with new acupuncture points still being discovered, and new uses found for established points. Acupuncture use to help with addiction is a good example of this.

It was a Dr Wen, a neurosurgeon working with post-operative pain in the 1970s, who first reported that an acupuncture point in the ear was reducing opiate cravings in his patients.
Lincoln Hospital in the States took his research up and developed it into a system of 5 acupuncture points in the ear and this protocol has been used world-wide ever since.

I learnt this protocol 20 years ago and have been using it ever since in my own practice.

I’m not an expert in the field of addiction, but I’ve worked for 12 years or so treating people in residential detox centres and training the true experts to use the 5 point protocol; and for the last 18 years I’ve had my own clients with addiction or compulsion problems of every type imaginable. So, with that caveat, these are my thoughts;

The key issue to stopping smoking is this:

Identify what it is that you feel smoking is doing to help you. Then realise that it isn’t doing that at all.

I know that that’s easier said than done, but that really is the key!

Some people I see stop smoking after their first acupuncture treatment as if by magic!
Other people need a bit more support to keep it up until they can manage on their own.

There are key acupuncture points which help with cravings and detox. There are points which help with relaxation, sleep, mood control and stress.

Talking to the right person or just having some time and space to really think things through, will let you start leaving old patterns of thinking and behaving behind and move forwards at last.

Good luck! And Happy New Year!

Anti-inflammatory dinners

A photograph of a collection of home-grown squash.

Most people who know me suffer my obsession with pumpkins! It starts about now when the beauties are brought in from the garden, through Winter as I cook them, save the seeds then agonise over which to keep for growing the following Spring, Spring of course when the seeds are sown, and Summer when they are coaxed along with numerous  cunning tricks and treats!

It’s not actually just pumpkins. It’s courgettes, gourds, squash of all types (and marrows when the courgettes get away unnoticed and reappear a foot long!) I have to confess that marrows are my least favourite – but even they have some uses. Winter squash are my true obsession amongst which various types of pumpkin all rate highly!

Pumpkins are truly important in Chinese Medicine, and Autumn is their particularly useful time of year. In Autumn, Chinese Medicine predicts that people are especially vulnerable to lung and skin problems. It’s the season of coughs and colds; the start or worsening of phlegm related problems – sinusitis, asthma, rhinitis, vertigo and sickness. It’s also the season of eczema, psoriasis and all sorts of odd rashes and sores.

Pumpkins to the rescue! (or at least part of the rescue!). Pumpkins are sweet, round and (often) orange, which are all Spleen related attributes. In Chinese Medicine theory nourishing the spleen helps the Lungs et voila!
Plus, of course, they are packed full of an amazing quantity of vitamins and minerals and taste delicious. if this doesn’t sway you then their seeds also have a track history of curing worms, especially tape and round worm – see?!

I tested the anti fungal, viral, bacterial  and worm (slug actually in this instance) properties of pumpkins this Summer when I tragically caught a growing squash with the lawn mower.

After I had calmed down I brought out some pumpkin seed oil and swabbed my pumpkin’s wounds. I braced myself for disaster over the coming days –  but no! the squash grew on undeterred. The scars never regained the right colour but seemed to resist infection perfectly. The survivor is the beautiful green lobular pumpkin in the front row of the photo above.

At last! On to something useful! Here comes a recipe containing foods and herbs and spices which are medicinally therapeutic  from a Chinese Medicine perspective, and also makes a perfect anti – inflammatory dinner.

Heat up some oil –  Coconut oil is a good one to heat up and contains Lauric acid – good for infections.

cook some chopped onion in the hot oil until soft and a bit brown then add lots of chopped up veg and herbs and spices. You really don’t have to be too careful which, but if they’re denser like butternut squash, cook for a bit longer than leafy veg like broccoli or spinach. Here’s how;

Start with lots of chopped garlic, root ginger, fresh turmeric if you have it,
then add ground cumin, a few squashed green cardamom pods, ground coriander, crushed, chopped or dried chillies, depending on how hot you like things.
Add some marigold bouillon powder

next the veg;
I like to use winter squash (of course) cut into chunks, sweet potato, carrots
then add some or all of;
french beans, celery, broccoli, or cauliflower
then spinach, chard or pak choi
I like to add loads of chopped parsley

Add a little water and cook until the veg are nearly cooked through (this won’t take long)

Add a tin of coconut if you like it.

Bring back to a simmer

slide in some big chunks of fish. I like naturally smoked haddock – just boned.

cook until the fish is cooked through (about five to ten mins depending how big your chunks are)
Try not to break up the chunks of fish too much if you stir.

Delicious, easy, uses up all your veg left overs, and perfectly anti – inflammatory.

Don’t forget to keep your pumpkin or squash seeds for growing next year!

Ps I know its not right to have favourites, but the tastiest pumpkins are the grey lobular French ones if you can find one!