How Can TCM Help with Diabetes?

A frequent question we get in the clinic is “Can you get me off my diabetes medicine?" The simple answer is “no”.  Acupuncture and herbs alone are potent allies in healing, but especially with diabetes, the choices you make each day have far more impact than anything anyone can give you. The more complete answer is “it depends”: 

  • on how long you have been taking medication for diabetes 
  • if that medication includes insulin or not AND most importantly,
  • how willing you are to make changes in your diet and lifestyle 

It is also important to know that we cannot make changes to prescription medications, so it’s important to work with your doctor as well as your acupuncturist when you decide that you are ready to make the changes you need for better health.  

So why try acupuncture and TCM for diabetes?  

  • Acupuncture helps regulate metabolism, pancreatic function, and  blood sugar levels1. There is a growing body of research into the mechanism of action behind the stimulation of points classically indicated for diabetes showing measurable changes in hormone levels, gastric function, and peripheral circulation2. Many of our patients report using less insulin while undergoing acupuncture for other reasons, even when the treatment of diabetes isn’t the primary focus.
  • Neuropathy is one of the most felt and debilitating aspects of uncontrolled diabetes—and acupuncture is one of the best treatments for neuropathy—not only providing pain relief but helping the nerves and surrounding tissues to repair themselves in many cases3.

Acupuncture and herbal medicine are not a “one-size fits all” treatment approach—each patient is unique and we chose our specific formulas and acupuncture points for each patient based on the presentation of the entire patient; not just a set cookie-cutter treatment. As a result, not only do we see the diabetes symptoms improve, the patient experiences better health overall. By choosing the right approach for each patient we avoid the spiral of “take this medication for this, and this medication for that, and this medication for the side effects of the first medication and yet another medication for the side effects of the second medication….” that so many patients experience.

Managing Diabetes IS possible—with the right lifestyle changes and supportive treatments!

Now as to the pesky diet and exercise thing:

If you continue to overload your body with too much of the wrong foods and not enough of the right exercise—even the best treatments and formulas, plus the medications your doctor prescribes—won’t be enough to keep the disease from progressing!

I highly recommend anyone who has diabetes or even a risk factor for diabetes (which is pretty much everyone) read “Why We Get Sick” by B. Bikman.  It’s a great book based on solid research that helps you understand what happens with diabetes and more importantly, what you can do to change it. If you need help getting off the sugar, we have amazing and compassionate coaching and nutrition partners who can help you!

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Sources:

1 Wang KX, Liang FX, Chen S, Luo ZH, Chen B, Chen ZQ, Zhang YL, Chen J, Gu XL, Zhou T, Yan P, Xu XY. Effect of electroacupuncture of "Biao-Ben" acupoints on renal function and hemorheology and eNOS level in patients with early diabetic nephropathy. Zhen Ci Yan Jiu. 2022 Jan 25;47(1):46-52. Chinese. doi: 10.13702/j.1000-0607.20210036. PMID: 35128870.

2 Wang H, Chen X, Chen C, Pan T, Li M, Yao L, Li X, Lu Q, Wang H, Wang Z. Electroacupuncture at Lower He-Sea and Front-Mu Acupoints Ameliorates Insulin Resistance in Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus by Regulating the Intestinal Flora and Gut Barrier. Diabetes Metab Syndr Obes. 2022 Jul 30;15:2265-2276. doi: 10.2147/DMSO.S374843. PMID: 35936053; PMCID: PMC9348137.

3 Dimitrova A, Murchison C, Oken B. Acupuncture for the Treatment of Peripheral Neuropathy: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. J Altern Complement Med. 2017 Mar;23(3):164-179. doi: 10.1089/acm.2016.0155. Epub 2017 Jan 23. PMID: 28112552; PMCID: PMC5359694.

Sure, maybe a little spontaneity is in order to spice things up a bit—but building your spice cabinet can add a little spunk to your immunity, kick up your body’s anti-inflammatory response, and perk up your metabolism, along with adding a lovely punch of flavor to any dish! If you're looking to add a little zest to your life—start with your plate. Dried herbs and spices are chock-full of healthy compounds that bring excitement to your palate and can be utilized for better health, too. Basically, if you have a well-stocked spice cabinet, you have a well-stocked arsenal for better health. 

Spices may consist of the bark, root, stem, seed, or flower of a plant, which are typically dried, and carry strong flavors and aromas. They can be added to a dish throughout the cooking process to further develop their flavors into whatever you are cooking. Many spices are high in vitamin and mineral content, are great sources of antioxidants and phytonutrients, boast antimicrobial properties, help to reduce inflammation, regulate blood sugar, and even improve digestion. Using spices is a great way to supercharge your diet, add more complex flavors, and reduce the need for extra salt and sugar. Here are just a few of our favorite spices to have on hand along with some of their health benefits: 

Chili Peppers: Fresh, dried, or powdered, chilies are guaranteed to add a little kick to any meal.  With anti-inflammatory properties and immune-boosting properties as well, chili peppers offer the component capsaicin, which has been shown to reduce and inhibit “Chemical P,”  the compound responsible for transmitting pain messages to the brain. This has been found helpful for joint pain, migraines, and neuropathy. The vibrant red color of chile peppers means it is rich in beta-carotene (precursor to Vitamin A), which also helps lower the risk of age-related diseases such as stroke, macular degeneration, and coronary artery disease.  Along with Vitamin C, your immune system gains a boost to fight off illness.

*A little secret - I keep a small container of red chili flakes in my purse so I can add some spicy pizazz to whatever I eat, even if I’m on the go.*   

Turmeric: A true “super spice” with a rich, earthy, and bitter profile, the golden-hued turmeric is commonly added to many meals such as curries, stews, and even smoothies! Its most active compound, curcumin, is known for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Curcumin can also increase the antioxidant capacity of the body, stimulating the activity of other antioxidants while fighting off free radicals. This can be highly beneficial for both brain and heart health. Curcumin only makes up about 3% of turmeric by weight and isn’t highly bioavailable, but you can increase its bioavailability by around 2000% by consuming it along with black pepper. 

Black Pepper: More than likely, you have some black pepper on hand. Piperine, the component in black pepper that makes curcumin more bioavailable, enhances the bioavailability of other important nutrients as well. It can also aid in digestion by boosting the activity of digestive enzymes.

Ginger: As most of us know, ginger is a go-to for an upset stomach and nausea. Spicy, peppery, yet sweet, ginger goes great with soups, marinades, dressings, desserts, and teas. Ginger has a calming effect on the lining of the digestive system. It also boasts anti-microbial properties which can help ward off infections. Loaded with nutrients and bioactive compounds, ginger offers powerful benefits to the body and brain by reducing oxidative stress and inflammation. 

Cardamom: Often found in pumpkin spice mixes, cardamom is a sweet, pungent spice that can fight inflammation, ease an upset stomach, and is high in magnesium and zinc. 

 

Try adding what sounds good to your favorite meals for a burst of new flavor!

Some other healthy spices you may consider using are cumin, mustard powder, cinnamon, cocoa, nutmeg, curry, and last but not least, garlic (just to name a few!). Think of what flavor combinations would elevate your dish—experimentation is key

Spices don’t just contribute to the flavor of food, they contribute nutrients, minerals, and antioxidants as well. With properties that fight inflammation, free radical damage, and oxidative stress—you and your taste buds will be doing a proverbial happy dance! 

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*Disclosure: All opinions reflected here are our own and we only recommend products we love and use ourselves. This post may contain affiliate links, that at no additional cost to you, may earn us a small commission.

Last night, I found myself thoroughly enjoying “building my box” of subscription groceries and realized how few people feel that way when grocery shopping. I consider myself a foodie; constantly conjuring recipes in my head and thinking of what I’d like to whip together for my next meal. However, trips to the grocery store are personally a little burdensome for me. It’s not just the large crowds that I prefer to avoid (it feels like the grocery store has become the # 1 attraction of any town since the pandemic hit), but also the limited supply, lack of variety for healthy snacks the whole family will like—you get the gist. 

Tasty, healthy, AND easy? It's possible!

Although I began using Instacart religiously for grocery delivery before the shutdown of 2020, I found that there just tended to be too many items kicked out of my cart due to limited supply.  Oftentimes, I’d end up with less than half of my order and had no real way to gauge that other than just crossing my fingers and hoping the items I selected would be in stock. I still order this way from time to time, but it’s frustrating knowing that whatever I need the most may not be included—sometimes sending my carefully planned weekly menu into chaos!

Enter Imperfect Foods. I came across their ad on Instagram and signed up for my first box in the spring of 2021. With Imperfect, you can select a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly box and skip anytime you choose. I chose the weekly option and waited reluctantly for the shopping window to open so that I could see what items they had to choose from. When it was time to shop, I was so pleasantly surprised! Right at my fingertips, I had options from organic to gluten-free, from vegan offerings to grass-fed beef and Chilean sea bass! I had an assortment of vegetables and fruits to choose from that I can rarely find at the store. They have healthier options for chips, candies, and cookies using organic ingredients and no additives. They also have juices without additional sugars, a variety of kombucha and seltzer flavors, cold brew coffee, dairy-free milk alternatives, and organic ginger beer. Everything is delivered to your door in a box—and refrigerated or frozen items are neatly packed in insulated silver liners with a gel freezer pack to keep them nice and cool.  Exactly how “imperfect” can you expect your foods to be? Well, they may have cosmetic quirks (that you probably wouldn’t even notice in a store), irregular sizes, or be surplus items. Their structure reduces both food and packaging waste while keeping prices reasonable—it’s a win-win!

We found many healthy instant meals!

Now having been happily on the Imperfect Foods bandwagon for about a year, I added another subscription service last week, and am thrilled with it as well. My teenage daughter has been complaining about school lunches lately. She’s never really been one to eat school lunch in the first place—she’s almost always taken a lunchbox; but now that she works and gets home much later in the day, that extra little bit of sleep she may be able to squeeze in in the morning has become oh-so-important and lunch becomes an afterthought first thing in the morning. She expressed interest in taking a filling protein shake to school, but she gets tired of those pretty quickly and doesn’t want to deal with the extra bulk of carrying a lunch box around all day when her backpack already weighs a ton.

Yes, Imperfect Foods does have excellent lunch options, but for extra ease and convenience, I also checked out Revive Superfoods. Revive Superfoods offers prepared breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack options. Superfood ingredients are flash-frozen at peak nutrition and are either ready to eat or ready to eat in a matter of minutes, eliminating prep time and headache. I chose the 12 item box to start, and have loaded up on superfood smoothies and super meals for both my daughter and myself. I opted to do this subscription once monthly for the time being but just may increase my frequency now that I’ve tried a couple of items and loved them. Both of our energy levels have been rather sustainable throughout the day. We stay fuller longer, and with options like the Morning Mocha smoothie, I’ve kept my latest commitment of going caffeine-free without feeling like I’m missing out on my cup of morning Joe.

Family cooking time is back on the menu!

There are quite a few other similar subscription services out there, I suggest you explore to find the best fit for you. For me, Imperfect Foods and Revive Superfoods have not disappointed and have created more excitement for me when it comes to planning meals and ordering groceries for the family. Dietary and nutritional needs are easily met, the whole family now has healthy snacks and meals with zero complaints, I get to avoid long lines and bare shelves, and my food budget goes further. All of my in-store grocery shopping grievances have been solved!

Our staff loves Imperfect Foods so much that I have 3 different referral links to share with you if you’d like to try it out as well (and save some cash while you’re at it!): 

Referral Link #1

Referral link #2

Referral Link #3 

For our Egg Shakshuka recipe using Imperfect Foods items, click here.

If you’d like to try out Revive Superfoods, use this link https://revivesuperfoods.com/ref/306250/ for 50% off your first order

I hope you’ll love these subscription services as much as we do. If you’ve been looking for an easy way to fill your fridge and pantry with healthier options for everyone in the household, check out these subscription services—you’ll be glad you did!

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There are so many aspects of our health that can spiral out of control when we have an unhealthy gut. Over the past couple of decades, studies have linked the gut microbiome to nearly every biological function carried out in the human body.  An unhealthy gut can affect our mood, quality of sleep, mental health, immune system, skin, hormone levels, and absorption of nutrients. 

Although there are many fad diets and designer supplements geared towards improving gut health, as well as conflicting advice abound on the internet, there are quite a few ways to naturally improve your gut microbiome that can easily be incorporated into your every day routine: 

  1. Avoid sugar and processed foods

Sugar, artificial sweeteners, preservatives, and other additives can contribute to unhealthy bacteria in the gut. 

  1. Stay hydrated

Making sure you drink plenty of water throughout the day benefits the mucosal lining of the intestines and also helps to promote the balance of good bacteria in the gut.

  1. Include local, organic veggies into your diet

Visit the farmer’s market and take a hard pass on gut damaging pesticides (or better yet, get your own garden growing!).  Beneficial microbes from the soil they are grown in is an added bonus. For those of you who are local, check out Hardin County Farmers Market - Farmers Market, Vegetables. Opening day this year is Apr 2, 2022. 

  1. Test your gut microbiome

Often the best way to get to the root of a problem is to be backed with information.  Vibrant Wellness, for instance, provides a thorough and highly accurate analysis of your gut microbiome and includes dietary and supplement recommendations based on your own specific needs. For more information, visit Gut Zoomer – Vibrant Wellness (vibrant-wellness.com). These tests are available through Raja Wellness. 

  1. Incorporate bone broth into your diet

Bone broth has a wide array of health benefits for the body, especially the gut. It contains minerals and nutrients in a highly available form that is easily absorbed by the body which are building blocks for the cells of the gut lining, and also helps to reduce inflammation of the gut. Check out our Spring Chicken Bone Broth recipe here!

  1. Include fermented foods in your diet

Fermented foods provide probiotics that are beneficial to digestive health and add to the healthy bacteria in your gut.

  1. Exercise

Exercise is a great way to reduce stress and improve sleep quality which also affects gut health in their own capacities. Exercise has also been shown to positively impact gut microbial composition. If you need a little assistance and are looking for a low-impact and friendly routine, consider joining one of our yoga classes with Nikki at Raja Wellness!

  1. Try acupuncture! 

Acupuncture releases endorphins that trigger the body’s unique healing capabilities. Not only can acupuncture help reduce inflammation, stimulate the central nervous system, and reduce pain and stress—it also has a positive effect on the functioning of your organs and can help to restore balance to the gut.
Aside from gut health affecting how you feel overall, it affects how your body functions as well. Upgrade your microbiome by incorporating these tips into your daily routine and notice a positive difference in your overall well-being. For more assistance, book an appointment at Raja Wellness by exploring www.rajawellness.com, emailing us at info@rajawellness.com, or call our office at 270-506-3853.

Getting our kids to eat healthily doesn’t have to be a nightmarish challenge. You don’t have to be a chef to make delicious meals the family will enjoy; you don’t have to be a master negotiator either. Getting our families to eat more healthily often starts with what is most readily available in the home and our own habits and attitudes when it comes to food. Children often mimic us caregivers—so leading by example can be very effective (for all of us!).

Here are a few tips and reminders to help instill those healthy habits—easily!

  1. Lead by example: Do you display healthy eating habits? Do you choose whole, healthy foods instead of chips or sweets? Is it considered a “treat” when you all sit down for a healthy meal for dinner, or do you save that term for the Friday night take-out pizza or greasy bag of burgers from the drive-thru? Do your kids see you choosing water when you’re thirsty or guzzling back a can of soda? Kids are easily influenced by what goes on in their personal environments; and the choices we make in front of them about food and drink should be considered just as much as, say—not letting a curse word slip in front of them.  
  1. Involve the family in meal planning: Meal planning can be quite fun, and involving everyone ensures that each family member has something to look forward to when it comes to sitting down at the table for a family meal.  If one family member wants a dish that another family member isn’t so crazy about, think of a simple variation you can make so that it’s more enjoyable for them and you don’t have to cook a separate meal. 
  1. Offer (healthy) options: Providing options gives your child the autonomy they crave, while helping you have some control of the nutritional value of their food. Offer things that you know they like—such as apple slices or whole grain crackers with almond butter for a snack. If there’s a vegetable they really like, offer to serve it a couple of different ways with your meal and see which they prefer. Offering choices doesn’t just give them a sense of inclusiveness and independence, it is also is a time saver for you. Instead of scrambling to find a replacement when your kid turns a nose up to something, you can have more confidence about your kid actually eating what you serve them. 
  1. Mix things up: You may have a picky eater, but you don’t have to surrender!  Preparing foods they may not typically love but in different ways may just pique their curiosity.  Consider using different seasonings or methods of cooking, or even making the food more visually appealing and fun for kids. Try using small cookie cutters in shapes or characters they like; or little colorful silicone cups. The key is not to force it. Invite your kids to try something new and different and if they prefer not to try it—describe what it tasted like and tell them why you liked it. 
  1.  Educate your kids about food and where it comes from. Have you ever taken your child to a farmer’s market? This is a great way to learn about where food comes from, the care that is taken in growing and harvesting it, and opens lines of communication with local farmers; and your kid will likely enjoy the experience! There’s also the visual and learning aspect—the colors of homegrown fruits and vegetables are often more vibrant! I also recently learned from our friends at Living Water Ranch that the yellowish tint I’ve noticed in the beef fat means high beta-carotene content. This shows you that beef is a good source of Vitamin A. Even us adults can learn new things at the farmer’s market! Spending some family time at a farmer’s market can make for some great memories and can also be educational (and not to mention, quite affordable!)

These changes may need to be done gradually, and it may take some time for everyone to adjust. If the habits have been in place for a while, just remember to practice patience, understanding, and open dialogue, and the payoff will be huge—with better nutrition, overall health, improved energy, money, and time savings in the end. Eating healthy won’t seem like a “downer” or “punishment”; but a real treat that can be easily shared among the family—and can instill healthy habits that can last a lifetime.

Heart disease is a leading cause of death in the US; more than 800,000 people die of heart attacks alone each year. 1 in 3 deaths in the US are linked to heart disease in most statistical data reviewed. This vital organ is often neglected or inadvertently stressed with poor diet and lifestyle habits. Strokes, heart failure, and many other cardiovascular-related issues are all attributed to poor heart health. Worse yet, it is misunderstood as “only” a pump—when it has other key functions in our body.

Most everyone has heard: reducing cholesterol to healthy levels and maintaining healthy blood pressure are keys to good heart health. Less discussed is the role of Heart Rate Variability (HRV), the variation in time between each heartbeat, as a measure of health. Higher HRV is associated with decreased risks of heart attack, stroke and diabetes. And low cholesterol and blood pressure alone are not enough to maintain a healthy HRV because HRV is largely regulated by the balance of the autonomic nervous system. HRV used to only be measurable with an EKG; but many of today’s wearable fitness devices are accurate enough to give a reasonable estimate of HRV, especially those that have the ability to add data from a Holter monitor or finger sensor.

Yoga and tai chi have a long history of improving health and research is clear that both can directly improve HRV and coherence with consistent practice. Consistent quality sleep, limiting alcohol consumption, regular exercise, drinking adequate water, and focusing on eating real, fresh food with an emphasis on vegetables and healthy fats, also help protect heart health. 

How else can you help maintain health HRV? Well, acupuncture has consistently been shown to improve HRV even when the focus of the treatment is on other complaints.  When it is focused on regulating nervous system balance and heart function, it’s even more effective. Frequency Specific PEMF has also shown to regulate the autonomic nervous system and therefore HRV.  Another great way to improve HRV through enhanced coherence is our equine programs. Just simply being in physical proximity to a horse has been shown to increase coherence and HRV. Add to that the benefits of the meditation and tai chi that we teach with the equine exercises, and you have tools to take home with you to continue to improve your heart health and well-being.

If you want to learn more about heart health I recommend the HeartMath Institute. They are a leading researcher in heart health and generous with their free products to support public health. They offer a number of free classes and publications to help people learn practices to improve their HRV and even have tools for sale to help them measure their progress. This link here is one of my favorite, 10 HeartMath Practices | HeartMath Institute.

The new year has arrived, and many of us have finalized our resolutions list and are ready to put our plans into action for a flourishing year ahead. More often than not, we aim to focus on our health—and make up for any detrimental behaviors we participated in prior. And let’s face it—while some of us have become rather health-conscious over the past couple years; some of us have picked up or over-indulged in some less than desirable habits recently, especially considering the stress we’ve all been under (crazy times!). Let’s rethink that alcoholic drink into something that nourishes the body and spirit

It can seem difficult to cut back. There will always be a hard week, a reason to celebrate, a social function where drinks are flowing, an encounter with the in-laws (yikes!). You get the idea; things that prompt a drink are plentiful. But the health benefits of not only cutting back your alcohol intake, but replacing it with something that’s good for you are even more plentiful, and it doesn’t have to feel awkward or like you’re making a sacrifice.  

Let’s start with Kombucha! Kombucha is a great replacement for an alcoholic beverage when you’re craving a tangy, refreshing beverage. It’s made from a base of green or black tea and sugar, and is fermented from a week, up to a month. The fermentation process does produce a TRACE amount of alcohol. Less than 0.5%. But that process also creates that zingy flavor that pleases a refined palate with a little “kick.”

Kombucha is high in polyphenols—which promote gut, brain, and heart health. It’s also rich in B vitamins and contains compounds that in some studies have been associated with improved GI and liver function. Be careful to choose kombucha with no added sugar, or if you’re up for trying something new, you may enjoy making your own kombucha at home. 

If you enjoy the art and ritual of creating a cocktail, consider hand-crafting a delicious mocktail instead.  Make one for yourself after a long day and enjoy as you begin to wind down, or offer mocktails the next time you host a dinner for friends at your home! It’s fun to play around with ingredients and cater to your own personal taste. If you love to cook, up your game by pairing a thoughtfully crafted mocktail with your best dinner recipe.  Keeping it more simple, try serving some tacos and pair with this tasty and easy “margarita” recipe

Ice

4 lime wedges

1 ½ oz fresh lime juice

1 ½ oz fresh lemon juice

3 oz simple syrup

1 ½ oz sparkling water

2 tbsp kosher salt (I highly recommend the Margarita Sea Salt blend at Raja Goods! It’s a course, smoked chipotle salt)

Place salt on a plate and set aside. Place a lime wedge over the rim of your margarita glass, swiping it around the glass until the rim is wet. Turn the glass upside down, setting the rim into the salt. Repeat with a second glass. Pour lime juice, lemon juice, simple syrup, and sparkling water in a cocktail shaker filled with ice . Put the top on the cocktail shaker and shake to combine and chill.  Pour into glasses and garnish with a slice of lime.  Enjoy! 

Here at Raja Wellness and our new store, Raja Goods—we have a special love for mocktails. We offer blends made from high quality, adaptogenic herbs to be enjoyed along with their many health benefits.  Be sure to ask about our mocktails at your next visit! 

If you’re reluctant to miss out on your favorite spirits, you may want to check out www.ritualzeroproof.com. They offer replacements that taste just like the real thing! Add to a healthy mocktail and you won’t miss a bit of the flavor from your favorite drink. 

Remember, big improvements come from small adjustments. Consider rethinking your drink as a resolution this year. Cheers! 

I think it’s safe to say that we’ve all heard of (and many have experienced) the “winter blues.” Seasonal Affective Disorder, the slow-brewing storm of improper sleep, lack of motivation, increased anxiety, and the feeling that our happiness switch has been dimmed, is the result of fewer daylight hours—affecting our circadian rhythm and serotonin output, all typically during the busiest time of the year. Here we are, showing up to work and family events, conjuring up all of the energy we have to make hors’ d'oeuvres for the holiday potluck while checking off our shopping lists, keeping up our day-to-day chores, making travel plans, working overtime, etc….all while we try our best to hide our fatigue and lackluster zest for life. Seasonal Affective Disorder is only reported to affect about 10% of the population, but the reality is that the changing of the season, cold dreary weather, and increased daily demands put a lot of us in “overdrive” mode—much more of us than the 10% reported.

At Raja Wellness, we understand the importance of self-care during this season, and we are here to help you through it.  Here are a few things we have to offer that can help to significantly improve the “winter blues” along with some proactive things you can do at home: 

#1: Move Your Body 

Yes, as you’ve heard time and time again, one of the best ways to improve your mood is to get moving! Outside exercise during the day is optimal since you can get some sunshine in as well, but indoor exercise will also help improve feelings of gloom.  You don’t have to have a gym membership, or even a whole lot of extra time each day.  Setting aside 10-15 minutes for a quick and easy routine can work wonders when done consistently. 

There are so many ways to incorporate more movement into your daily life without it taking time away from the rest of your responsibilities. You may choose to follow along to a YouTube video based on your current fitness level, spend a little extra time outdoors walking a local trail or playing a sport, park further away than usual at the grocery store, or even break out in a song and dance while folding laundry.  When able to make the extra time, in-person classes not only offer socialization, but extra support and individual attention as well.  

We’re also excited to announce that our newest member of the Raja Wellness team, Nikki Prell, is now offering yoga classes at our Magnolia location! These classes focus on breath, mindfulness, and gentle movement. 

To view schedule and join us, BOOK HERE

Or,  for at-home gentle exercise, check out qigong18.com

#2: Soak Up Some Rays!

The sun DOES still come out in the winter!  It may not be bathing suit weather, but a little sunlight goes a long way to helping to offset the winter blues, even when we’re bundled up and trying to stay warm. When you’re indoors, consider opening the blinds for natural lighting. Natural sunlight helps to regulate our sleep-wake cycles, which are thrown off when the shorter winter days roll in.

When we spend more time indoors and out of the cold, our daily dose of vitamin D is decreased. Actual direct sunshine is the best way to supply Vitamin D— the “sunshine vitamin”, which is produced naturally in the body when the skin is exposed to UV light. It plays a critical role in our overall health, and helps the body to function at its best. 

#3: Eat Healthy Foods that Nourish the Body! (and keep track of it!)

A good idea in general, if we’re being honest.  Eating healthfully and mindfully has so many important health benefits—and improving your mood is one of them! Have you ever tracked your eating habits by keeping a food journal (or using a food-tracking app)? This is an excellent way to not only give yourself a visual of what you’re taking in and where you can make adjustments, but also to help identify and eliminate the things that make you feel sluggish, bloated, possibly even a little cranky. When tracking your food intake, be sure to make a note of how you feel after each meal or snack.  

Incorporating foods rich in Vitamin D can be helpful in fighting off the winter blues. Some of these foods include: 

  • Fatty fish
  • Mushrooms
  • Egg yolks
  • Red meat
  • Liver

#4 Do you REALLY know how your body reacts to certain foods? Are you aware of what nutrients your body is deficient in? Do you know what your body needs so that you feel your best? The truth is, that there is no one perfect cookie cutter diet for everyone.  We all have our individual needs, sensitivities, and beliefs—While mindfulness and tracking your intake can be helpful, if you need a more personalized approach in your journey to feeling better (and improving your mood!) through diet, check out our trusted partner, Sakina Bunch.  Sakina is a Holistic Coach and Wellness advocate, and can help get you back on track through personalized nutrition coaching, cooking classes, and more!

#5 Find out how holistic therapies can help you navigate the winter blues! 

Acupuncture, herbal medicine, Frequency Specific Microcurrent, reiki, and even aromatherapy can help significantly reduce feelings of stress, depression, and anxiety. By bringing the body back into balance and releasing feel-good endorphins, your mood will be lifted as will your sense of well-being. To find out more about these therapies and how they can help you, book a free 15 minute consultation with us here!

Small, consistent changes can help to boost your mood and support your overall health.  Consider putting these suggestions into action and see what improvements follow!  

Each year as the days get short and colder, how to stay well comes to the front of many people's minds. Here is a summary of my favorite winter wellness practices:

1.) Supplement Vitamin D: Because of where we live, it is impossible to get vitamin D from the sun right now. Even on those rare warm sunny days—the angle of the sun at our latitude makes it a poor source of natural vitamin D. There is so much research out there on the topic, and admittedly, it can be confusing because the study results are mixed, but over and over again when looking at hospitalizations due to infections—low vitamin D levels seem to be prevalent among those who end up in the hospital. In the absence of any research showing a risk of vitamin D supplementation—especially when you check it to be sure you are in the normal ranges, I fall on the side of supporting supplemental D and personally prefer the liquid supplements for ease of use and ability of the body to utilize them. Metagenics has a great liquid product with a slightly minty taste or for those who need or prefer a Vegan Source—Pure Encapsulations has an excellent option.  There are foods that are high in D as well including: cold-water fish like salmon, herring and sardines, egg yolks, and mushrooms. Cod liver oil is another great source of vitamin D and I love the quality of the Standard Process products.

Speaking of sunlight, or lack of it, this is a time of year when many people struggle with mood changes. Full-spectrum lights, even just a desk sized one can give a huge boost in mood to those who struggle with Seasonal Affective Disorder or even just minor mood drops with the long, dark nights. People who work late shifts also can benefit from these lights throughout the year to offset the lack of sunlight they may struggle with due to trying to get enough sleep.

2) Stay Active: Exercise is so important to immune function—so as the weather gets cold and it's harder to get outside, find ways to be more active. This is a great time of year to try a class like yoga, tai chi, dance or even working with a personal trainer. Don't know where to start? Give us a call and we can recommend one of our classes, or help connect you with some of the great trainers in the area. Just 20-30 minutes per day of exercise has tons of benefits and will help with all aspects of your health. 

3) Use immune boosting herbs like elderberry, echinacea or andrographis for those times when you will be around a lot of people, are under additional stress, or the kids come home with a cold. I prefer elderberry for kids and for adults on medications because it is safe with most medications, gentle for kids and easy to get in gummies that are easy to take.  Echinacea is great for adults, especially those who tend to get respiratory infections. Some people have been told to take it once they get sick, but research shows it is most effective taken as a preventative.  This is an herb where quality of production is really important. Real echinacea will make your tongue tingle if you take a tincture or hold the capsule in your mouth for a little bit.  If your tongue doesn't tingle, it's not the real deal.  For this reason we love MediHerb's products.  Andrographis is another powerhouse and is often combined with Echinacea as in MediHerb's Andrographis Complex. This is my favorite for personal use, but it's important to note that if you do take this one for more than a week or two at a time you should add a little supplemental zinc because andrographis does increase the rate at which your body uses zinc.

Teas are another option for adding some herbal vitality to your diet but in general will be a lower dosage and more gentle option. These are great for people taking medications, kids, and those who are more sensitive in general to the effects of herbs or medications. Elderberry is the most tasty tea option, but there are some blends with echinacea that are palatable, if not "yummy" to drink (remember that tongue tingle—it's a very unique sensation!). Buddha Teas makes some great winter blends with elderberry, hibiscus (naturally high in C and antioxidants).

Those are my main vitamins and herbs for prevention—I don't typically recommend taking zinc or vitamin C daily because most people get enough of those with a healthy diet from food and generally only need extra when they are sick. If you are taking prescription meds, I do recommend reaching out to us to be sure your prescriptions are safe with any supplements you want to take. Part of our training as herbalists includes understanding the pharmacology of the herbs so we can be aware of potential interactions. 

If you have a fullscript account with us, you can find the links to order the products I mentioned here: https://us.fullscript.com/protocols/rajawellness-immune-boosting-protocol

 If you don't have an account you can use that same link to create one.

Yours in Wellness,

Jenny-Marie

The products and statements made about specific products on this web site have not been evaluated by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease. All information provided on this web site or any information contained on or in any product label or packaging is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosis or treatment of any health problem. Always consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new vitamins, supplements, diet, or exercise program, before taking any medication, or if you have or suspect you might have a health problem. Any testimonials on this web site are based on individual results and do not constitute a guarantee that you will achieve the same results.
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