New Moon and Kidney Energy (Yogapuncture for Fertility)

Seed

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Have you ever held a seed in your hand before placing it in the dirt and marveled at its size? How can something so tiny possibly hold everything it needs to create a whole other plant that will bear roots, leaves, flowers and fruit? It almost seems inconceivable. This is the energetics of the water element, of the kidney/urinary bladder system. For ease I will simply refer to all of this as Kidney energy but all of the associations are included. (to be clear we are talking about the energetics of the kidneys as is related to Chinese Medicine not your physical organs) Just like a seed the kidneys are often referred to as “the root of life”. This is where our essence or Jing is stored. Think of essence like a seed- everything is there to create life. The essence we hold in our bodies comes from 2 places: our parents’ energy at conception (genetics) and energy of our lifestyle (food and movement). The energy of our lifestyle is considered most important because it is constantly being replenished whereas the energy from our parents is set and finite.

What this basically means is that the Kidney system is the foundation of the rest of the organ systems. The function of the kidneys is to store the essence as well as govern birth, growth, reproduction and development, produce marrow, fill up the brain, and control the bones. The energy of the kidney’s open into the ears, manifest in the hair and house the will power (perhaps that’s why we feel compelled to start New Year’s resolutions in the winter months).

In the fall the plants have given the last energy to the last harvest and as the coldness sets in the leaves and fruit dry out, shrivel up and shrink. Any seeds remaining from this fruit might be lucky to settle into the earth and sleep during winter. Because summer is the winter’s opposition we might think of the summer time as the place to fill up our energetic savings account to hold us through the winter. Being that the kidneys are our body’s foundation for every other activity our body needs to function and thrive it is especially important to be kind to our kidneys. And just like seeds, our bodies need periods of rest in order to thrive. The tulip is a great example, as bulbs must be planted at the right time in fall and then need so much time to settle in coldness in order to emerge again in the spring.

When we think of the kidney energy and how it relates to fertility it can be seen as the foundation. By nourishing the kidneys we are building our reserves for high egg quality, a smooth pregnancy and post partum.

Associations for Kidney System

Element: Water                                                          Organs: Kidney/Urinary Bladder

Emotion: Fear                                                             Color: Black/Blue

Sound: Groaning                                                        Taste: Salt

Function: Storing                                                         Direction: North

Manifests in Hair                                                        Controls the Low back Bones and Marrow

Balance/Opposition: Summer/Heart/Joy/Fire           Time: Urinary Bladder 3-5pm Kidney 5-7pm

Drawing with Skeleton, Acupuncture Point KI17 Shangqu, 3D Illust

The kidney channel starts on the sole of the foot and works its way up the inner thigh, torso and ends just under the collar bones. The kidney channel is the yin organ and the urinary bladder channel the yang organ.

The urinary bladder channel starts at the inside corner of the eye and goes up the skull down the back to the back of the knee then up the back to the calf and ends at the outside edge of the pinky toe on each side. This channel has the most points of any channel 67 in all and is the most grounding in nature. The energy is so grounding in fact that burning an herb called Moxa over the last point on this channel is quite effective in bringing a breech or malposition baby into a more favorable position. The urinary bladder channel also has what are called “Shu points” along the back about 1.5 inches lateral of the spine. Each Shu point correlates to an organ and when these points are stimulated it nourishes the corresponding organ.

Because the bulk of our essence comes from food let’s start here. The kidneys are nourished by slow cooked foods, think crock pots, roasted meats and veggies etc. Red meat and meat with the bone in are especially strengthening to the kidneys. Don’t throw the bones away but rather make a nourishing stock for soups or even when cooking rice to give it more flavor. Foods that are kidney shaped also nourish the kidneys; kidney beans are an easy example. Foods that are rich deep colors are also especially nourishing to the kidneys, bonus points if they are black or blue as this is the color of the kidneys. Black beans, kidney beans, eggplant, dark leafy green veggies like spinach, kale, chard and dates. Foods with a natural salty flavor are also helpful such as seaweed and seafood. Walnuts are also said to lubricate the joints and strengthen the lower back (where the kidneys reside). A common herbal prescription to strengthen the lower back is to eat one walnut a day. Incorporating bell peppers, tomatoes, broccoli, kiwi, citrus foods helps with the absorbtion of iron from beans, whole grains and meat.

The Kidney energy can also be associated with the beginning of your cycle or menstruation. Day 1 is the first day of your period.

The kidneys are damaged by coldness so it is especially important to stay away from cold foods. Energetically speaking raw food is cold in nature so save salads for the summer months or later in your cycle when it is more appropriate. Avoid eating foods directly from the refrigerator or freezer. Stay away from ice in your drinks and ice cream. Dairy should be omitted completely with PCOS and avoid soy (read labels as most packaged foods contain soy) due to the phytoestrogens soy can deregulate a cycle. Keep the belly and low back warm especially in the winter months and start of your cycle. You might place your hand on your abdomen and notice the quality of the temperature of your skin, does it feel cool to the touch or warm? If you notice your belly is cool you might enjoy warm baths or hot water bottle over the abdomen especially in the first half of your cycle. Cold foods inhibit circulation and can contribute to cramping and clots in your menses.

New Moon

The new moon is when the moon is completely hidden from view. It is a time of turning inward and is why the Kidney energy of Chinese Medicine is relevant. The new moon is also the time of renewal and setting intentions. If we didn’t have schedules to live by we would also sleep slightly longer during the new moon as the sky is darker and invites us to rest more. This is a restorative time.

Homework Pose for the Week: Constructive Rest Pose

Constructive Rest Pose is said to be the equivalent to 2 hours of sleep when held for 10 minutes. If you notice midafternoon fatigue use 5-10 minutes of your lunch break to practice constructive rest pose, this is also a nice way to end the day before bed and you could even practice in bed and drift right off to sleep.

How to do it:

Lay on a flat surface with your knees bent. Bring your feet out about shoulder width apart. Turn your toes in (slightly pigeon toed) If there is any discomfort in your lower back walk your feet either further away from your body or closer to your body depending on what feels better to you. Slide your shoulders down away from your ears and rest with your arms at your sides just far enough away from your body so that your palms can comfortably rest racing up. Slide your chin slightly towards your chest to lengthen the back of the neck. Close your eyes and practice deep breathing for 5-10 minutes.

To come out of the pose:

Take a stretch if you feel its needed. Protect your back and roll onto your side. Rest for a moment on your side if you aren’t fully alert and when ready press yourself back to a seated posture.

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Acupressure for the Week: KD6

KD6

This point is located on what is known as the conception vessel in Chinese Medicine. What better point to stimulate when preparing the body for pregnancy? This point has many benefits, opening the body to conception is one and can also be used to combat nausea during pregnancy as well as for insomnia, prolapse of the uterus, constipation, frequency of urination and sore throat. It is a safe acu-point to use through out your cycle and during pregnancy.

Located in the hollow just under the inner ankle bone. Sitting with the soles of feet together and legs in a diamond is an ideal position to access this point. Hold this point for 1-3 minutes as well.

Located in the hollow just under the inner ankle bone. Sitting with the soles of feet together and legs in a diamond is an ideal position to access this point. Hold this point for 1-3 minutes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What’s for Dinner when Spring is springing

Its been quite a productive day that almost calls for celebration after a pretty challenging week last week (thanks Pink Moon). I was expecting to see instant green after all the rain we have been getting and was a little surprised when it didn’t happen right away. It got me thinking about the gentle balance of spring. The cloudy, rainy days still call for a little rest. There is so much happening under the surface and like a small child that needs frequent naps so does all the new growth around us. So do we! (no matter how stir crazy we feel) A little sunshine after the rain is when the magic happens but without either we wouldn’t get to enjoy all the vibrant, fresh, young green shoots around us and all the flowers that, in their own time bloom so beautifully for us. So be kind to yourself if you’re feeling inspired to move and do and if you’re still needing a little hibernation. :)

This week’s menus comes with a few requests, some solid repeats and something new. What are you cooking?

Chicken Curry with broccoli slaw, broccoli, orange peppers and rice

Asian fried rice and beans

Hamburgers with mushrooms and onions, side of sweet potato fries

Jumbo Scallops with creamed kale and noodles

Trader Joe’s Palak paneer

What’s For Dinner in Spring When You Don’t Feel Like Cooking

How did your no white sugar challenge go? I did fairly well. I was able to easily avoid and not feel sad about several sweets put before me. I did take my daughter out for ice cream on Sunday and while it was good I don’t know if it was quite worth feeling like a brick was sitting in my guts the rest of the evening. :)

This week my husband won’t be home for half the week for dinner time. I don’t know about you but for some reason when he’s not around I have zero desire to cook dinner even though there are still 3 of us that need to eat!

Here is the plan for the week. What are your favorite quick and easy dinners?

Bachelorette Macaroni (I ate this quite a bit in my early 20s. Mac and cheese with tuna, broccoli and spinach. One pot and you’re done.)

Skillet Gnocchi with Chard and White Beans (one of my favorite dinners)

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Fish Tacos with Kiwi Salsa

Potstickers with Rice, avocado and bok choy (we bake the pot stickers and mix the bok choy and avocado with the rice with a little soy sauce and gyoza sauce)

Kids choice (I’m sure this will end of being pancakes of some kind)

 

 

What’s for dinner in the spring

We ended up having a whole meatless week around here until Saturday when my daughter requested burgers on the grill and promptly ate 2! How is that for balance? Everything from last week was quite delicious I could almost do a redo. I can’t even choose a favorite it was all so good. 


We didn’t get to the baked chicken yet so that will be in queue this week for sure plus:

Cauliflower pizza 

Lemon chicken asparagus stir fry

Green lentil curry 

Palak paneer cheater dinner from Trader Joe’s 

I have another challenge for you this week if you would like to join me. In January I gave up white sugar as a way to reset after the holidays. I felt fantastic after the initial detox. Sugar is tough to kick! I’ve slowly fallen back into old habits and am looking forward to getting back to the lightness I felt when sugar didn’t have such a grip on me. The first few days are tough I won’t lie but it does get easier. I didn’t give up honey in my tea in the morning and things like that. Let me know if you’d like to join me! 🙂
Have a great week!

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What’s for Dinner in Spring

I love how paying attention to what’s happening in our environment adds many levels of richness to my life. I was driving this morning to have breakfast with my brother and sister and along the side of the road almost hidden were tiny baby buds. It was so cool to see spring coming to life. It almost makes the gloomy rainy days worth it! :) We started a row of onions, carrots and lettuce last week outside and I can’t wait to find some sprouts. Our indoor starts are looking happy so far too. 😉

This week we are going to have some meatless options and some sour dishes for spring. I hope you are feeling a little lighter this week now that we are officially in the spring season.

What’s for dinner:

Asian Style Fried Rice and Beans

One Pot Cheesey Mexican lentils, black beans and rice

Spinach and Lemon Soup with Orzo with a side salad

Italian Baked Chicken with Green Lentil Mash

Artichoke Spinach Ricotta Calzones

 

Sneaky Greens for Picky Eaters

My daughter I’m discovering is a unicorn eater. She has her favorite go to carbs like most kids but she will pretty effortlessly eat just about anything in front of her. My son started out this way and as he nears 2 has discovered the words No! and Yucky! I have no idea where :)

In an effort to get him to eat more than yogurt, cheese, crackers and seaweed I’ve been inspired by this weeks “eat your greens” challenge.

Magic Spring Muffins

 

When I get back from a yoga class my son and I usually share a protein shake of some sort. I switched them over to green shakes this weekend and he no longer was so excited about them when they weren’t chocolate. Yesterday I threw in some cocoa powder and dates and we were back in business. I realize that even lots of “grown ups” aren’t huge fans of veggies and as a once very picky eater myself (sorry mom) I am sharing these 2 recipes to help you get more greens into your lives.

Sneaky Smoothie

Sneaky Smoothie

Chocolate “green” smoothie

What you need:

  • cup of packed spinach or greens of your choice
  • 1 banana
  • 3 dates
  • 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
  • 1 scoop of collagen
  • 2 cups water

blend everything until smooth ( you could add a nut milk or honey for extra sweetness if you need to)

you could also switch out strawberries or raspberries for the banana to mix it up

Enjoy!

Magic Spring Muffins

Magic Spring Muffins

Magic Spring Muffins

We used maple syrup as this is technically in season right now but you could also use honey too.

What you need:

  • 1 cup packed peas or spinach ( I used spinach)
  • 1 cup milk of your choice, I used ripple plant based milk
  • 1/4 melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup (or more to taste) maple syrup
  • 2 ripe smashed bananas
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups flour of your choice
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2.5 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips

What to do:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 and line muffin tin.
  2. Put spinach, milk in blender and blend until smooth. Add coconut oil, bananas, syrup, and vanilla to blender and blend until smooth again.
  3. Add dry ingredients in mixing bowl and whisk to combine.
  4. Add wet ingredients to dry and stir until green and creamy.
  5. Pour in muffin tin 3/4 of the way full.
  6. Bake 15-18 minutes.

Enjoy!

 

 

What’s for dinner: eat your greens

Tomorrow is officially the first day of spring! To celebrate I challenge you to eat some greens everyday this week and notice how you feel. I find if I buy a big bag of greens at Costco it makes me motivated to get through it before it goes bad. Greens don’t just have to be leafy- broccoli, asparagus, peppers, green beans count too! 

We are having a Green Day around here and started the day with a bed of sautéed greens for a left over bean burger, a little cheese, salsa and fried egg on top. 


After a quick hike we had a smoothie with a cup of spinach, strawberries, 1/2 banana, water and a scoop of powdered gelatin.


Lunch was leftover chili with green peppers and an avocado. 

Dinner is shredded chicken over Asian slaw salad. 

The nature of spring is to flourish. I hope you are feeling that way! 

Here’s what’s on the menu this week:

(Hubby requested) BLT with roasted pepper and tomatoes soup with a few handfuls of baby chard thrown into the soup

Kale salad with cilantro tuna

Surprise meatloaf (this has a hidden hard boiled egg inside I’ll post a picture and maybe recipe after my husband makes it) with a side of asparagus and a few veggies hidden in the loaf too.

Rice cakes (not the stale crunchy kind) with steamed broccoli 

What are your favorite green recipes? 

What’s for Dinner, Preparing for Spring

Sorry for the late posting I was trying to take a break from screens as much as I could after the time change to help with the transition. So far so good around here. I think the key was having everyone staying up too late on Saturday :)

Happy “worm” full moon last Friday also. My daughter and I started watching the moon just about a year ago and have really enjoyed learning what native cultures have named the full moons of each month and what they represent. The worm moon is so named because March is the month when the ground starts to thaw and soften allowing the worms to move to the surface and giving birds their food source back. It also means that garden planting is just around the corner! If you don’t have a garden or space for a garden I encourage you to try growing something even if its in a pot, the wonderment and deliciousness never cease to amaze us. I was just reading last week that traditionally peas are sown on St. Patrick’s day. We might give that a go.

sugar snow

Its a strange sight to see snow again, it was kind of nice believing that winter was over now that we had adjusted to warmer weather. These March snows actually help the sap move in the maple trees to give more maple syrup. I just recently found this granola recipe and its the best one I’ve tried out, super yummy and delicious, if you want to pay homage to the maple syrup season this is a great recipe for it! Are you feeling your body’s own internal movement of fluid? Anxious to be outside? That’s the liver qi rising up and out after our winter rest. You can learn more about what that all means and how to get the most out of Spring at Yogapuncture for Spring this Saturday afternoon 3-6p at OhmMother Yoga. I’d love to see you there!

Here’s what’s on the menu this week around here:

Beef Chili

Mushroom Raveoli with spinach and mushrooms

Black Bean burgers

Cod and almond green beans

What are you cooking?