We have moved through the deep, nurturing, restful energy that Winter brings and now are shifting to the expansive, driving push that comes with Spring. We see this upward and outward energetic movement reflected in the flowers that bloom straight through the snow. This same energy is at play within our bodies too, affecting our Liver and Gallbladder organ systems most strongly. Symptoms like irritability, PMS, depression, anger, headache, high blood pressure, tendon injury, bloating, reflux, and eye issues all are indicative of Liver/Gallbladder disharmony and may pop up in Springtime.
Here are some strategies and lifestyle shifts to help you harmonize with the expansive energy of Spring:
This week, Raven got sick for the first time (at almost 14 months old). She had what we call in Chinese Medicine a "wind cold"....runny nose with clear discharge, congestion, fatigue, and a low fever. Here's what I did to help her kick it as quickly as possible.
1) Reframe: the first thing I did was take a moment to frame this sickness as an opportunity for her immune system to learn and be strengthened. Often parents get down on themselves thinking they did something "wrong", or spend their time worrying about the sickness getting worse. This makes the whole experience more traumatic for all involved...and is something that can totally be changed! Keep this in mind for the next time a sickness hits your home and notice the difference your mentality can make.
2) Take It Easy: I cancelled all of my obligations for the day that involved leaving the house. We snuggled, she took an extra nap, she nursed more than usual, and we read lots of books. You'd be amazed at how much of a difference it makes to truly slow down....I've seen this decrease the length and severity of illnesses time and time again.
3) Keep Food Simple: when a child (or anyone) is sick, it's best to shift to a diet of hydrating and simple foods to allow as much of the body's energy as possible to be devoted to the immune response, as opposed to digestion. Remove dairy products and processed sugars as well, as these will feed the pathogen and increase mucus production.
4) Chinese Herbs: I started Raven on CQ Jr at the first sign of symptoms, and switched to Sino Relief two days later, when all symptoms had passed except some lingering congestion. (Click the button below to learn more about each herb!)
5) Acupressure: I massaged and pressed on the acupuncture points shown below to support the immune response and increase lung function.
If you have questions about helping your child move through illness with ease, click the button below to connect with me!
I had a thought today. (Fair warning, this gets a little woo woo toward the end....so get ready 💫)
I often hear parents say things like:
🥦My child will NOT eat vegetables.
☕️I could never get my daughter to drink tea.
🧘🏻♀️Sitting still for any length of time just isn’t possible for my son.
All of these are beliefs that we as parents have, on some level, accepted as truth.
My thought today was this: What if we could DECIDE to make something else true?
In asking this question, I already know the answer because I’ve seen it unfold countless times. I’ve seen parents DECIDE to shift what is true for their families over and over again.
I’ve seen a child go from complete unwillingness to be touched for a treatment; to walking in, taking their shoes and socks off, and offering me their feet for acupressure. I’ve seen a child go from daily hyper-energy; to mom telling me “I can’t remember the last time he was hyper.” I’ve had moms come in and tell me their picky eater gets excited when it’s time to take their herbs.
So how does it happen? It starts by asking some questions. First of all, what have you decided is true about your children? (P.s. this same technique can be applied to relationships, business, personal growth, and essentially anything else).
So... what have you decided is true, whether consciously or unconsciously, for your family??
Once you have your answer, you begin to DECIDE to make something else be true. Ask yourself...what feels better? What feels more aligned with the goals I have for my family? What feels like an expression of our fullest potential?? What feels like a stepping stone on our path to health and wellness?
Then, play around with the limiting beliefs and resistance that are holding you in alignment with the OLD thought pattern.
And finally...ENVISION the NEW belief as if it were already true. What would it look and feel like? What would it mean for your child/family/you? Get clear and comfortable there, in that new reality you have just created
There are many truths that act as the foundation of Pediatric Chinese Medicine. This sentence is perhaps one of the most important.
In Chinese medicine, the Spleen is thought to govern the entire digestive process as well as absorption of nutrients. As this quote suggests, children have inherently weak Spleens for many reasons.
👉🏻 Before being born, a baby’s digestive system does not need to perform its function because baby gets all the nourishment it needs from the mother (through the umbilical cord).
👉🏻 Upon being born, a baby’s digestive system (Spleen) is immediately put to work. Eating and absorbing food in order to grow is THE main task an infants body needs to do, and do well.
👉🏻 The amount of food and nutrients a child takes in is quite astronomical in proportion to their small size.
👉🏻Because of the high burden on the Spleen, any small shift or irregularity in the life and surroundings of a child will be reflected in the digestion.
👉🏻 A weakened Spleen can lead to colic, excessive spit up/reflux, constipation, diarrhea, eczema, poor sleep habits, lethargy, failure to thrive, low immunity, food and environmental allergies and MORE.
It is SO crucial to support the Spleen of a child in any way possible. Pediatric Chinese medicine treatments are a great way to do this. If you have a child that is struggling with any of the above health issues, reach out to me to learn more about how Chinese medicine can help!!
The topic of supporting the Spleen (Earth element) will be a heavy focus of my upcoming masterclass, Breaking the Cycle of Pediatric Illness. Click below to get more info!
Western medicine is beginning to realize what Chinese medicine has known for thousands of years....that unprocessed emotions and stress are reflected in the physical body. Chronic disease in adults can often be traced back to roots in unprocessed trauma, grief, fear, and stress.
When it comes to children, it’s possible to catch these patterns early. Children will often act out or become inconsolable when they are in digestive distress. We know this is true of colicky infants. We also know this happens when kids are “sugared up” after a birthday party or perhaps a day at grandma’s house. The Spleen, responsible for digestion and absorption of nutrients in Chinese medicine, can easily becomes weakened by poor diet, over-nutrition (eating too much), antibiotics and other medical interventions, perceived stress, and more!
Placing focus on nutrition and digestive health in children will reap enormous benefits for LIFE (including increased focus, balanced energy levels AND mood, improved sleep, and stronger immune function).
If you feel your child could benefit from some digestive support, and want to know more about what that might look like, click below to schedule a discovery consult with Caitria.
I get so many questions about food. The level of confusion, frustration, and guilt that exists around the subject of food can be really overwhelming, and it’s part of my mission to clear things up. Here are two of the most common questions I get...answered!
❓What age should my child start eating solids?
The digestive system of a young child is very sensitive, and is the foundation of health. Around 6 months, a child can begin playing with and exploring new tastes, textures, and flavors when it comes to food. However, there is no need for nourishment to come from this food until the age of 1 or even later (for a breastfed child). Let your child guide their own journey with food, rather than forcing something they are not ready for.
*this is a basic rule of thumb, and it may not apply to every child. For specific questions with feeding/weaning, reach out to me for a consult. I’d love to help you navigate this exciting time!!
❓Am I depriving my child of a normal life if I don’t feed them the standard American diet?
I get SO passionate about the answer to this question. NO!! By switching Cheeto’s for sweet potatoes and Skittles for raspberries, you are nourishing your child in a way that will allow them to grow, thrive, and become the best version of themselves. You are arming them with the internal tools to fight off disease, learn and retain information in school, and maintain emotional balance. If you feel like you are depriving your child by feeding them healing foods, I challenge you to flip your perspective.
Instead of believing this ⬇️⬇️⬇️
My child is missing out/I am keeping them from some form of normalcy or happiness....
DECIDE to believe this ⬇️⬇️⬇️
I am feeding my child in a way that will allow them to thrive and maintain/achieve optimal health. I show my child love by providing them with the nourishment that their body NEEDS.
If you have questions about ANYTHING related to food and optimal health for children, click the button below to schedule a discovery consult with Caitria.
2019 is the Year of the Brown Pig! There is lots to know about the energetic forecast for this year....here are the highlights:
🐷Pig is the final animal of the 12 animal system, meaning that this will be a year of completion, conclusion, and tying up loose ends in all aspects of life.
🐷A Pig year is a great time to nurture family and friend relationships, and to spend time at home rather than doing lots of traveling. Aligning with these values will have favorable outcomes this year.
🐷2019 will be a positive year for the disenfranchised, as Pig energy is full of generosity.
🐷This is a great year for cultivating skills like cooking, gardening, and home organization.
🐷Cooking with ginger, garlic, green onion, and cayenne pepper will ward off digestive strain and respiratory issues that are on the horizon this year. Eating for Kidney and Urinary Bladder health is important this year too, as Pig is a Water element animal (Kidney and Urinary Bladder are the organs associated with the element of water).
🐷This year is an opportunity to find strength through our yin/feminine nature. Do this by looking inward, processing and expressing emotions, acting with compassion, and nurturing others. Connect to your feminine power, y'all!!!
🐷Being that this year is about cooking, gathering for meals, and spending time at home, it will be important to balance this with nourishing movement like qi gong, yoga, and pilates to prevent weight gain around the midsection like our friend the pig. Moving the qi by receiving bodywork, massage, and acupuncture is also highly recommended.
Wishing you a year of great health and good fortune!
Caitria Thiele LAc MSOM
Kids get sick. That’s just a fact of life. So what can we do as parents to support and nurture our children’s bodies as they work hard to heal? Here’s a list of some do’s and don’ts for when sickness strikes.
Need additional support?
For those stubborn illnesses that require a little extra oomph, I am here to help :)
Click here to learn more about working with me!
A change of season is a time of great importance in Chinese Medicine. We are going from hot, external, expansive, yang energy to cool, internal, yin energy. In Autumn, the Lung and Large Intestine are the organs that are energetically affected. This can manifest as a weakened immune system, cough, colds, allergies, depression, or constipation. If you find yourself noticing these symptoms coming up as the season shifts, come on in for a tune-up treatment to help your body rebalance and adjust to the new seasonal energy.
Tips to Align with Autumn's Seasonal Energy
Hippocrates was right on the money when he said, “Let food be thy medicine”. However, as much as we as adults may know this is true, it can be challenging to turn this ideal into reality with our children. Food refusal is arguably more common now than ever before, and can make mealtimes stressful and emotionally charged for parents and kiddos alike. So instead of waging World War III with your 5 year old over a bite of broccoli at dinner, check out these tips:
Keep fruit and/or veggies present at every meal
To clarify, this DOES NOT mean placing fruit/veggies on your child’s plate at every meal and forcing a bite. Even if it’s just a visual, like a bowl of clementines on the counter, or hummus and carrots on a tray with dinner, this is a great way to subtly expose your child to fresh produce in a non-threatening way. Eventually, this will spark their curiosity to reach into the bowl and see what those clementines are all about.
Find replacements for foods that need to be removed from your child’s diet
Hop on Pinterest or Google to find substitutes for pizza (ex. Fruit pizza with watermelon “crust”, or simply a crust that is whole food based with just a few ingredients), toaster waffles (check out Medical Medium’s Wild Blueberry Pancake recipe), etc.
Get creative with smoothies
Smoothies are a FABULOUS way to get lots of nutrients into your kiddo’s belly. You can cover up lots of greens and veggies with bananas, dates, and mangos. Use berries for color to make that spinach you snuck in even more incognito.
For a sweet treat, try nice cream
Blend up some frozen bananas for a healthy frozen treat. Get creative with flavors and add-ins that appeal to your child. Click here for 10 nice cream recipes.
Learn which textures your child likes and introduce new foods with that same texture (ex: french fries-baked squash, sweet potatoes, root vegetables
If your child loves french fries, try baked squash fries, sweet potato fries, and root veggie fries.
Use cookie cutters on melon or other food slices
Race car shaped watermelon is WAY more fun to eat...that’s just a fact :)
Use favorite colors to draw interest
As I mentioned in the smoothie tip above, you can use color to your advantage. Not only can you disguise greens and veggies with berries/fruit, you can also cater a smoothie or meal to your child’s favorite color. If they love purple, serve them a plate full of blackberries, a wild blueberry smoothie, raisins, grapes, and even purple heirloom carrots and potatoes (yes, these do exist!!!)
Make things sweet (honey, dates, bananas, maple syrup)
Kids love sweets, why fight it? Instead of using cane sugar when you’re baking muffins/cakes/cookies, use honey or maple syrup. Bonus Tip: make sure you’re using raw organic honey and 100% pure organic maple syrup so you avoid any fillers or adulterants that may be in conventional products.
Always have fruits and veggies available
When the snack attack hits, be prepared with fresh fruit and veggies for your kiddo to munch on. Keep a bowl of grapes on the counter, or designate a shelf/drawer in the fridge for cut/prepped berries, carrots, cucumber, peppers, apple slices, etc.
Casually praise your child when they make healthy food choices (empowering and offers them a feeling of control over their choices)
Let your child know how proud you are of their choice to have an apple for snack, or for finishing their green beans at dinner. This empowers them and reinforces their choice and is way more effective than drawing attention to what they’re not eating. Focusing on the negative usually leads to a mealtime standoff, and can turn a child off to those foods for life.
Talk to your child about what different foods can do for their body
Believe it or not, children like to hear about how foods can benefit their bodies. While they’re eating mango for a bedtime snack, tell them all about how it can help them sleep soundly at night. Sharing this info with them sets them up for a lifetime of viewing food as a tool for health and healing, which is invaluable. As an added bonus, parents end up learning more about how foods affect the body too!
Honor your child’s appetite (or lack thereof)
Forced eating can be really harmful to a child’s relationship with food, and their relationship with you. If they aren’t hungry, take a moment and talk to them about that. If their lack of appetite is due to not liking the food in front of them, DON’T be their short order cook. CHILDREN WILL NOT STARVE THEMSELVES. Missing a meal (or a few meals) will not derail their life, and it does not make you a bad parent. It’s better to just not make it a big deal, so you don’t end up rewarding undesired behavior with attention. If they truly are not hungry, that is okay too. If it becomes a pattern, connect with your child’s healthcare practitioner to dig a little deeper.
Establish a consistent routine for daily snacks and meals
Children thrive on routine. Do your best to serve meals at the same time each day, so they can get into the flow of knowing what to expect. Sporadic meals/snacks can also affect blood sugar levels, which in turn can affect behavior.
Recruit your child as your sous chef
Though it may take more time, and create more mess, cooking with your child is key. It teaches them valuable developmental skills, like measuring, hand eye coordination, and patience. It also familiarizes them with different foods, and the pride of having made their own meal may be enough to get them to try foods they otherwise wouldn’t. Best of all, it’s an opportunity to bond and spend quality time together.
Make food fun
Use funky cups, twisty straws,and forks shaped like a truck. Take a trip to the store and let your child choose the bowl and plate they want to eat their meals from. Teach simple math with grapes. Read books about talking produce. The possibilities are endless!!
What tips have worked for you and your picky eater? I’d love to hear your success stories. If you’d like more guidance and support for your child’s healing, let’s chat! I am SUPER passionate about helping make whole foods tasty and simple for families, because food truly is the foundation of health.