When it comes to food, I always advocate for organic whenever possible for several reasons. First, of course, is for your health and protection from chemicals. Pesticides are neurotoxic (toxic to the brain), carcinogenic (cancer-causing), hormone disrupting, and they destroy the microbiome of the gut. They were initially developed as nerve gas during WWII, which speaks volumes to their toxicity and danger. Exposure to high pesticide levels during pregnancy has been associated with lower IQ, increased risk of attention problems, and poorer cognitive function in their children. In adults, pesticides have been linked to neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. There are links between DDT (pesticide banned in 1972 but still present in the soil, and can be passed from mother to child) and high blood pressure as well. There is no question, pesticides are poison. They are harmful even in low levels.
The second reason I advocate for buying organic is the impact on global health. As toxic as pesticides are to the human body, we have to consider what they are doing to the animals that share our planet, both wild and domesticated. We should also consider how damaging they are to the beautiful and life-giving planet that we are blessed to inhabit.
Thirdly, we have the power to choose what we spend our money on. Everything you purchase (or don’t purchase) sends a message to the producer of that product, as well as to the whole industry. By purchasing organic foods, you are supporting the farmers and companies who value the health of their consumer. By avoiding pesticide-laden foods, you send a message that you will not support toxic food supply.
Finally, yet another amazing reason to choose organic is the bonus health benefits from elevated biotics that live on wild and organic produce. These microorganisms can be found on the skin of produce, and are able to withstand wind, rain, and environmental pollution. When eaten, elevated biotics go to the ileum (part of the small intestine) and create a bioidentical form of B-12. They can prevent scar tissue from forming in the intestinal tract and even reverse methylation issues.
Shop Organic on Any Budget
At this time, organic produce is more costly than pesticide-laden produce. This is a very real hurdle for a lot of people, so it’s important to understand the power of the choice you have when it comes to buying food. I consider buying organic produce to be an investment in my long-term health, which is invaluable. When I spend my money on organic produce, I know I am doing the best that I can for my body, my fellow Earth-dwellers, and for mother Earth herself.
To reduce your toxic load without breaking the bank, it is helpful to know which fruits and veggies contain the highest levels of pesticides. Strawberries, spinach, grapes, and potatoes are among the “dirtiest” foods in terms of pesticide levels, so buy organic whenever possible. On the other hand, avocado, mango, and onion are some of the “cleanest” options, containing lower levels of pesticides. These are okay to buy non-organic, if needed. I highly recommend using a produce rinse for all non-organic items so the bulk of the pesticides can be washed away.
To get the full “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean Fifteen” Pocket Guide, including a simple DIY recipe for a Natural Produce Rinse click here
There is arguably nothing more frustrating for a parent than a child that doesn't sleep well. To me, this is one of the more crucial issues that can arise, because a child needs sleep in order to grow and stay healthy, and a parent needs sleep in order to stay sane and aware. A huge amount of the body's detoxifying and healing occurs during sleep, between the hours of 11pm and 3 am. This is when the gallbladder and liver are most active energetically, releasing bile, making cellular repairs, building blood cells, and detoxing the blood. For all of these reasons, sleep problems should be taken very seriously.
Understanding a child's sleep issues can be a multi-faceted endeavor. There can be so many factors at play. For example, one child may have sluggish digestion (Earth element) that causes pain or discomfort at night, while another may have an imbalance of the Fire element that leads to night terrors. Here are a few things to try to get your sleepless child back to consistent peaceful slumber.
Reduce processed sugar and artificial colors
Processed sugar and artificial colors (Red 40) can cause hyperactivity, depressed immune function, mood swings, ADD/ADHD. Reducing or eliminating these from your child's diet is a huge step in the right direction, and sometimes this alone will make a huge difference.
Talk things through
If your child struggles to settle down at night, try to avoid punishing them or getting angry. Set the tone with your own energy. Speak calmly and take deep breaths, as it is proven that children will match the breathing rate of their parents, particularly their mothers. If your child starts telling your about their day, listen to them instead of chastising them for not being tired. The more a child worries or feels nervous, the more wound up they will become. Some children need to talk about their day so they can let go of emotions that might otherwise keep their minds racing.
Establish a "winding down" routine
Start a night time routine of massage, acupressure, reading stories, or listening to calming music. Children respond well to routine and consistency, and all of these activities will help to settle their yang energy from the day, and help them transition to the yin energy of the night
Acupuncture works phenomenally well for regulating circadian rhythms, and rebalancing the hormones and brain chemistry responsible for a good night's sleep. Remember, acupuncture can be done on children, and can be done without needles.
Diffuse Essential Oils
Essential oils can be effective in setting the tone for relaxation, and in maintaining peaceful sleep. Diffuse oils like vetiver, lavender, and chamomile during your child's bedtime routine, and through the night while they sleep. For a child with nightmares, juniper oil can be added to the mix.
Herbs like valerian, chamomile, and ashwaganda can be taken as tea or a tincture in the evening to calm and soothe. If your child is not thrilled by the taste, add a bit of raw honey to sweeten the flavor (raw honey is also great for sleep issues).
Turn Off Technology
The blue light from cell phones, tablets, TVs, and game consoles suppresses melatonin production. Melatonin controls your circadian rhythm (sleep cycle), so without it, it is hard to fall asleep and stay asleep. Technology also keeps your child's brain alert and stimulated, making sleep harder to attain. Institute a tech-free hour before bed, and ask children to keep their phones and other electronics out of the sleep area. Not only will this allow them to wind down, but it also means less EMF exposure too.
If your child is struggling to sleep at night, give some of these tips a try, or connect with Caitria for guidance.
One of the foundational concepts of Chinese Medicine is the 5 Element Theory. By way of this theory, a person can understand and categorize natural phenomena, health issues, behavior patterns, and relationships. Essentially, 5 Element Theory encourages a person to look to nature to understand themselves and others. The 5 Elements are wood, fire, earth, metal, and water. Each one comes with its own set of characteristics and attributes.
Wood holds the energy of growth, expansion, warming, multiplying. Its energy is found in the rising sun and the season of spring. In the body, it is the nervous system, responsible for growing and working constantly to sustain life. The energy of wood in the body resides in the liver and gallbladder. Thus, wood energy affects liver function, nerve function, ability to deal with toxins, ability to think clearly, and eyesight. In the mind, wood is observation, research, problem-solving, planning, strategizing and vigilant clarity.
Fire is bright, hot, consistent, substantial, loud, and obvious. It's energy manifests directionally in the south and in the season of summer. In the body, fire is found in the heart and small intestine. It governs the cardiovascular and endocrine systems. It houses our spirit and harmonizes our qi. Fire affects our ability to communicate with ourselves and with others. Fire brings our enjoyment in life, and guides us on our path of purpose.
Earth is. It is stillness, harmony, presence, nurturing, and support. It is the mid-point of balance, and therefore can be found in all places, and between each season. Earth energy's influence is at its peak during harvest season, a plentiful and fruitful time of peace and comfort. Earth energy holds and harmonizes everything, from the molecules in the body to the stars and planets of outer space. In the body, Earth is the flesh, and the digestive system. It affects metabolism, nutrient transport and absorption, and the beginning of the body's "composting" process.
Metal is everything that shrinks, retracts, freezes, conserves, and condenses. It's energy is alive in nature in the fall, and the western direction. It is present in the energy of perfecting, polishing, cutting, separating, and refining. Metal energy in the body is found in the skin and connective tissues or fascia. It is a connecting force between all the body's tissues. Metal energy resides in the lungs and is directed by the large intestine. Therefore, it affects our ability to breathe and to eliminate. It helps us discern what is needed from what is not.
Water is our essence. It is found in the energy of sinking, fluidity, softness, and dormancy. It is found in the northern direction, and the season of winter. Water energy is gentle and flowing, yet powerful. It provides no resistance, so nothing can resist it. Water energy is the power of creation and life-giving force. In the body, water holds our DNA, and manifests in the kidneys and bladder. It affects the health of our kidneys, bones, marrow, brain, urinary and reproductive systems. It also governs our ability to hear and listen. Water energy is found in dreams, instincts, hope, and foresight.
These elements are continuously interacting with each other on all levels. When one of these elements become energetically deficient or excessive, a certain set of symptoms will arise within the physical body. The more we understand the 5 Elements, the more we can understand our body's state of wellness/unwellness and adjust our lifestyle accordingly. This type of healing is subtle, natural, effective, and nourishing.
In the weeks to come, I will be writing a series of blog posts on different aspects of 5 Element living. Feel free to comment with questions or requests for new information, as this helps me share the content that will benefit you the most!
Coming into the season of Christmas cookies and baked goods EVERYWHERE.....I am SO excited to have discovered a fabulous blend of herbs called Sweet Change. I heard several rave reviews about it before I was finally moved to try it out myself, and boy was I glad I did!!! Sweet Change was created to help eliminate cravings, support blood sugar levels, detoxify the liver, combat stress eating, and calm the mind!!! Doesn't that just sound like a holiday life-saver!!!! Not only will this be a great addition to your life, but it also makes a wonderful gift for your sister with a sweet tooth, or your friend who is making a New Year's resolution to eat healthier.
Lets talk about taste. The blend of herbs in Sweet Change are bitter by design, on par with the wisdom of Chinese Medicine. Different tastes and flavors have specific effects on the organs in the human body. The flavor and tastes of a food, spice, or herb help to determine the therapeutic effect. For more info about how Sweet Change helps to rebalance the flavor spectrum of the American diet, click here. Basically, Sweet Change provides a flavor that is missing from the average diet, and makes it easier to make healthier, fresher food choices. To me, the bitter taste was very palatable, didn't linger on the tongue, and I even noticed a hint of a maple syrup aftertaste :)
After implementing Sweet Change into my daily routine, I noticed myself having way less interest in both sweet and salty treats that before would have tempted me. The batch of brownies on the counter at Grandma's house didn't even make me think twice. The herb blend was created for food cravings, but people have also been having luck with using it to curb other negative habits like smoking or alcohol overconsumption.
I can't wait to hear YOUR success stories about this amazing herb!!! Contact me here to get more info or purchase Sweet Change today!!!
This past week, during the Thanksgiving holiday, I got to experience something I had never felt before...severe sciatica. In the middle of my 31st week of pregnancy, baby decided to snuggle herself right up onto my sciatic nerve! After spending Thanksgiving limping, and even crawling at times due to intense pain, I decided I should practice what I preach, and initiate some self care. I asked for help from my friend and fellow acupuncturist, and was just amazed at the results!! We began treatment with the intention of encouraging the baby to reposition herself so she was not pressing on my sciatic nerve. After putting in a few needles to activate the meridian that affects the uterus, my friend left me alone to rest. Within just a couple of minutes, I felt the baby start moving!! By the time I got up off the treatment table half an hour later, my pain had decreased by more than half. Baby continued moving the rest of the evening, and by the morning I could walk normally again. Even though Chinese Medicine has been a part of my life for many years, it just never ceases to amaze me when I feel the results firsthand. My hope is that by sharing these stories, I'll encourage and inspire others to step out of their comfort zone and give acupuncture/Chinese Medicine the chance to change their lives too!!
The change of seasons can be a tough time health-wise for lots of people, if they are not prepared and proactive about their self care. In Chinese medicine, the season of Fall is related to the lungs energetically. This means that physical issues relating to the lungs, such as colds, cough, weak immune function, or even bronchitis can arise. This also means that emotional releases of grief or "letting go" may come up for us as we shift into Fall energy. From a Chinese medicine perspective, the chilly winds that blow the leaves from the trees can also carry pathogens into our bodies, and cause chronic pain to worsen, or new aches to arise. The beauty of knowing these things, is that we can prepare and support our bodies to ensure a more graceful and easeful transition! First of all, an easy and important tip: protect your neck!!! In TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine), the neck is called the "wind gate". If not protected with a scarf, hat, coat, and/or hood, the neck is vulnerable to winds that carry pathogens into the body. We have all experienced this at one time or another, where we have been outside in windy weather without a coat, and afterwards feel achy or "chilled to the bone", and then wake up sick the next day! So, remember your scarf when you head outside!
Here are some self care practices to consider this fall for immune system support and maximum health:
*Keep in mind, this list is a great place to start, but there are TONS of other ways to support your body that are specific to your individual needs. I would love to assist in this process in any way that I can!
I found myself thinking today as I was doing some meal prepping for the week, "If the people who think vegans only eat leaves and twigs could see this food, they'd be shocked!" Among the meals on my counter were zucchini chickpea scramble, mini veggie frittatas, creamy potato kale soup, and vegan queso. Every single meal is whole food based, gluten free, vegan, and organic!!! I am feeling very blessed to be surrounded by such nourishing and healing food, and wanted to share these delicious recipes with anyone who has the desire to eat for health, but feels it is out of their reach. I have included the links below...enjoy!!!
As an acupuncturist, by far the most common question I am asked is "What can you use it for?" The answer is, truly, just about everything. Acupuncture is a component of Traditional Chinese Medicine which uses a completely different medical model to diagnose and treat disease than Western medicine. A basic concept of TCM is that physical disease, pain, and emotional/mental disharmony can be attributed to an imbalance of the body's natural healing energy that flows through pathways within the body. For example, sciatic pain can be caused by a blockage of energy in the pathway, or meridian, that runs through that area of the body (the hip/buttock area). Acupuncture uses hair-thin, sterile needles to direct the flow of this energy through the meridians of the body. It assists in restoring balance, which allows for the body's natural healing ability to work as it's meant to. In the example of sciatic pain, acupuncture needles would be inserted strategically to rebalance the meridians that are blocked or out of balance. Another way to look at this concept is by referring to the energetic flow in the body as electricity (which it more or less is). In an electric circuit, if a blockage is present, the flow of electricity will be altered. Removing the blockage to restore the flow of electricity will allow the circuit to perform as it was intended to.
Acupuncture is widely known to be effective for conditions such as insomnia, infertility, PTSD, body pain, IBS, GERD, migraines, PMS, neuropathy, nausea, depression, anxiety, and so many more. Even more exciting news is that all of this healing can be achieved without surgical intervention or prescription medication!!!
I invite you to begin your journey of working WITH your body's natural healing abilities, and look forward to guiding you as move into a space of empowered mental, physical, and emotional wellness.
As an Animal Communicator and Intuitive Guide, I am able to tune in energetically to the messages from animals, spirit guides, our higher self/consciousness, Angels, Archangels, nature spirits and elementals, ancestors and Earth consciousness. I do this by stepping out of my mind consciousness and entering my heart space where I am free from judgement, doubt, bias, and preconceived notions. This beautiful, healing space holds a dominant vibration of love, which allows clear messages for the highest good of the client to flow through me. Being that this connection is energetic and vibrational in nature, physical proximity plays no part in its quality or depth. I am able to tune in and receive messages for a giraffe in Africa with the same clarity as a horse standing next to me in a barn. This allows me to share my gifts with humans and animals across the globe, which is a piece of my divine purpose and opportunity on Earth in this lifetime.
Phone sessions are an extremely convenient option for both parties, as there is no travel time. This allows you to snuggle up in the comfort of your favorite chair while receiving beautiful messages from your animal companion or intuitive guidance team. It doesn't get much better than that!!!
Caitria is a licensed acupuncturist, Chinese herbalist, and intuitive guide. She specializes in pediatrics, pregnancy, and postpartum care. Caitria LOVES to share information to empower YOU, wherever you are on your healing journey.