Seasonal Recipe: Protect Your Lungs

Pear Image.jpg

In Chinese medicine the Lung (the delicate organ) is easily damaged by "dry evil," which is generally at its height in Autumn. Nothing brings more dryness to the lungs than a big fire. If you've  had a dry throat, hoarse voice, cough, dry nose, or any other signs that you are being parched from the ongoing smoke in our region, this is a great simple recipe you can make at home. You can eat one baked pear a day while they are in season. I just picked a bowl from our tree this morning. I doubt it is a coincidence that Pears, which resemble a lung grow at the hottest/driest time of year.

Medicinal action of pears: Cold and sweet. Regenerates body fluids, quenches thirst, relieves restlessness, clears heat, lubricates the lungs and throat, dissolves mucus, and descends qi (stops cough).

Cautions: Pregnant women should refrain from eating too many pears due to its cold nature. 

Baked Pear Recipe
4 medium pears
1 T butter (moisten lungs)
2 T brown sugar (generate fluids, moisten lung)
1/8 t vanilla extract or even better a 1/2 vanilla bean split lengthwise and scraped. (yummy flavor)
1 T fresh lemon juice
2-3 Cardamom pods (or 4-6 if you tends towards being cold even in this heat) (warming, but mostly adds a lovely flavor)
1/4 cup water

Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees. Lightly butter the bottom of a ceramic baking dish. Mix the brown sugar, lemon juice, vanilla, and cardamom together in a large bowl. Halve and and core the pears and gently toss them in the mixture.

Arrange the pears in the baking dish with the 1/4 cup of water on the bottom. Place the cut-side down into the water and pour the remaining brown sugar mix over the top of the pears. Cut the 1 T of butter and sprinkle is on top of the pears. 

Roast for 20 minutes, then gently turn them over and spoon some of the cooking liquid over them. Continue roasting, basting them once or twice more until they are tender and golden. 20-30 minutes total baking time. 

Part 2 - Welcome Spring! Understand How To Choose A Cleanse.

At this time of year I get a lot of questions about cleanses. There are so many detox programs out there, and it can be overwhelming to research the various options. Here are a few quick and dirty tips to help you find the right one. 


Understand the different ways the body naturally disposes of toxins. 

The body has many different ways to eliminate unwanted substances for you. The pathways include: 

  • The Liver, which detoxified the blood.

  • Your Skin, which excretes "toxins" through sweat.

  • The Kidneys, which excrete toxins through urine.

  • Your Digestive System, which excretes waste through feces.

Understand the goal of the detox program. 

  • Is this program removing sources of toxins through my diet?

  • Is this program eliminating foods which can cause stress on the detox pathways (such as the liver)? Is the removal of food going to ease the function of the detox pathway?

  • Is this program adding foods and nutrients to my diet to support the detox pathways and increase their function?

Know what foods and substances to avoid during a cleanse. 

  • Preservatives, coloring, and chemicals need to be avoided while you are doing a cleanse.

  • Sugar, refined grains, caffeine, alcohol, and trans-fats can decrease liver function.

Know what foods to eat. 

Fruits and vegetables (organic if possible) are not as taxing on the liver as other foods. Some can even improve liver function, such as beets, carrots, dandelion greens, and artichokes. 

Know what nutrients you need. 

Your body needs vitamins, minerals, and protein for optimal functioning. When your detox pathways are working to rid the body of waste, providing the proper nutrients to do the job can make a difference. For instance, fiber can aid in detoxifying the body by binding chemicals, fats, and metals in the gastrointestinal tract to cleanse the body of unwanted substances through feces. 

The importance of drinking water. 

Drinking plenty of water is essential during a cleanse because many of the pathways, such as sweat, urine, and feces rely on proper hydration to complete their physiological role. For most people the goal is between 2-3 liters a day through the detox process. 

If you want to have a more detailed conversation about what detox program is right for you, schedule an appointment today. My approach is to use whole foods, rather than supplements or nutraceuticals. We will go over your health history and have a detailed conversation about the foods that are helpful and which ones to avoid based on your western medical history, the Chinese medicine diagnosis, and your physiological constitution. 

Part 1 - Welcome Spring! Hello Allergies. What can you do?

Welcome flower buds, greener grass, flowing streams, and more sun! Also welcome tree pollen, flower pollen, grass pollen, and mold spores. If you are really getting into the Spring spirit, then I can probably add dust to the mix too after that deep clean. 

Have you started sneezing yet?  

What are allergies? "Allergies" are a general term that means your immune system is overreacting to what is usually a benign substance. 

Now is the time to get ahead of your allergies!

In order to address the allergy, you need to remove or decrease your exposure. When there is less to react too, there will be less reaction. In other words, any decrease in the overall allergic load will decrease full body symptom expression. The easiest place to begin is in your home.  

Step 1 - Decrease your exposure at home. 

  • Put a fresh pillowcase on your pillow each night.

  • Wash your hair before bed. (Think about all of the dust and pollen you collect during the day).

  • Avoid your food sensitivities and foods high in histamine, such as cheese, some wines, certain kinds of fish such as tuna and mackerel.

  • Use "Free and Clear" laundry detergent, and "Fragrance Free" cleaning products. This will reduce the chemical load in your home. A simple and effective cleaning product to switch too is baking soda and vinegar.

  • Get a HEPA filter for your bedroom. Not all HEPA filters are created alike. Its worth doing your research to find the best one for your home and needs.

Step 2 - Eat Foods That Improve Your Immune Response

  • Include more anti-oxidants rich foods in your diet, such as green, red, and yellow vegetables.

  • Essential fatty acids are also high in anti-oxidants. These include flaxseed oil, borage oil, evening primrose oil, grass fed/grass finished animals, and cold water fish (sardines).

  • Oats and Barley contain a fiber called beta-glucan that is an antimicrobial and has antioxidant properties.

  • Your skin is a first line of defense, and to keep it healthy the body needs its daily dose of Vitamin A. The best way to give yourself Vitamin A is through food. Some options include - Vegetables: kale, sweet potato, mustard greens, beet greens, carrots, dandelion greens. Fruits: Persimmon. Mango, Papaya.

  • Mushrooms increase the production of white blood cells. Shiitake, Maitake, and Reishi pack the biggest immunity punch.

  • Onion and garlic are particularly antiallergenic because they inhibit inflammatory enzymes.

Step 3 - Reduce intake of foods that increase your histamine production. 

  • Foods that are rich in Tryptophan encourage histamine production. When histamine is released, your eyes water, your nose runs, and you start sneezing. These foods include cottage cheese, liver, peanuts, turkey, lamb, tuna, beef, salmon, and cashews.

  • Buy (when possible) pasture raised, grass fed and grass finished meats. Animal Fats, especially grain fed beef, pork, and lamb generally increase inflammatory prostaglandins, and should therefore be kept to a minimum.

How Can Chinese Medicine Help? 

If you feel that you have tried everything under the sun to manage your allergies and seasonal sensitivities, schedule an appointment soon!  We will work together to map out the rooted causes that continue to manifest as branch symptoms, such as runny nose, scratchy throat, sneezing, foggy brain, headaches, watery eyes, poor sleep. 

The three main organs that play a role in allergies are the bowels, the liver, and the adrenal glands.

Thus, treatment strategies will include: improving the good gut bacteria in your belly and ensuring your bowel movements are healthy; reducing the load on your liver's filtration process as well as addressing the Chinese medicine pathologies that tax the liver's physiological role; and reducing the amount of cortisol secreted into your system. 

Ready to get started? I want you to be able to enjoy the beautiful Spring weather, allergy free!