3 Healthy Summertime Mocktails – Guest Post by Jacqueline from Sweet Beet & Green Bean

3 Healthy Sumertime Mocktails Recipes

Jacqueline Gabardy, L.Ac.Today’s guest post was written by our Associate Acupuncturist Jacqueline Gabardy, L.Ac. who blogs about health, nutrition and recipes at Sweet Beet & Green Bean.
 

 Whether you don’t drink at all or you are just trying to cut back, mocktails are an alcohol-free, refreshing way to enjoy a drink with friends on a warm summer day.  These incorporate ingredients like aloe juice, raw apple cider vinegar, and coconut water, which all have important health benefits.  They’re super easy to make, too!

Are you a tired pregnant or nursing mom?   Trying to conceive?  Suffering from digestive problems or chronic pain?  Alcoholic drinks may be off limits for you, but these mocktails can actually help you feel bright and shiny without any side effects.

 

The Aloe-jito

Recipe
3-4 sprigs of fresh mint
1/2 a lime
1-2 tbsp sugar, honey, maple syrup or agave (to your taste)
2 oz aloe juice
Sparkling water

 

A take on the classic mojito, the aloe-jito uses aloe juice in place of rum.  Aloe Vera juice is a healing and soothing tonic in small amounts.  It can detoxify, moisten and cool the body, clear skin, and soothe the digestive tract.

Drinking aloe can relieve constipation because it has a mild laxative effect, so don’t overdo it on the dosage.  1-2 ounces per day is a enough for most people; you may want to start with a smaller dose if you are prone to loose stools.

To make this mocktail, use a tall glass and add the lime (cut into smaller pieces) and mint leaves into the bottom and muddle them well.  If you don’t have a muddler,  you can use the handle of a wooden spoon.  Once muddled well, add the sugar and mix well.  I have used raw honey for this before, but it doesn’t mix in quite that well; I find maple or agave syrup work better.  How much sugar you use will depend on your taste, I found 1 tablespoon to be plenty.  Then add a few ice cubes and pour over the aloe juice, top with sparkling water and garnish with a lime wedge and another sprig of mint.

You can also make this recipe without the aloe and it is still quite refreshing.

 

Strawberry Shrub Soda Recipe

Recipe
2-3 tbsp homemade strawberry shrub (see below)
About 8 oz sparkling water
 
Basic Shrub
1 part fruit
1 part vinegar
1 part sugar

 

Shrub is a traditional vinegar-based syrup that is often used to make soda.  In Chinese Medicine, small amounts of sour foods like vinegar are beneficial to the Liver system.  Especially healthy are the naturally fermented vinegars like raw apple cider vinegar which contains probiotics that support digestive health.  When added into the diet in small amounts, apple cider vinegar can support digestive and immune health.

By making shrub with apple cider vinegar it becomes much more palatable because of the hint of fruit flavor and sweetness.  Also, by mixing up a big batch of shrub it makes it much easier to incorporate into your daily diet or to serve to a big group of people.

The fruit for the shrub should be finely chopped up first and added in after the vinegar and sugars are mixed well; I find a mason jar is best for this.  Once mixed together, the shrub needs to sit in the fridge for at least 1 day but up to 1 week, the fruit flavor will intensify the longer it sits.  After a week, strain the mixture to remove the fruit.  You can use the fruit in a smoothie if you don’t want to waste it, but it’s a little sour to eat on its own and you can’t leave it in the shrub indefinitely.

I used local raw honey as the sugar in this recipe, and the apple cider vinegar dissolves it well, but granulated cane sugar, maple syrup or agave syrup would all work.  You can also try different variations of fruits and vinegars to see what you like the best!

I like to serve the shrub soda over a large ice cube and I find about 2-3 tablespoons of shrub per cup of sparkling water is the right balance.  Obviously you can play around with it and find what ratio works best for you.

 

Pina Colada Cooler Recipe

Recipe
1/2 cup frozen pineapple
1/2 banana
1/2 cup coconut water
1/4 cup coconut cream
ice cubes (optional)

 

While we usually don’t recommend too many cold foods to our patients, an icy beverage is sometimes the only thing that feels refreshing when the weather gets really hot.

This recipe is more or less a traditional Piña Colada without the rum.  Most traditional colada recipes just use coconut cream, which is a great source of healthy saturated fats and has anti-fungal properties, plus it serves as a delicious creamy alternative for those who are dairy sensitive.  I’ve also included some coconut water in this recipe because it’s so high in electrolytes that it works well to keep us hydrated during those hot summer days.  In addition to the usually pineapple and coconut ingredients, I’ve added in half a banana for a little extra sweetness and creaminess.

Preparation of this drink is as simple as blending all the ingredients together, and topping with a tropical drink umbrella if you have one on hand!  You can add a few ice cubes to the mix if you want it to be thicker and colder, but I didn’t find it needed them.

Try these and let us know what you think in the comments section!

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Acupressure for Labor & Birth: A Couples’ Workshop, 9/26 6:30-9:30pm

Event: Acupressure for Labor & Birth, Prenatal Acupuncture

Acupressure for Labor & Birth: A Couples’ Workshop
Abigail Morgan, L.Ac., Licensed Acupuncturist and Herbalist and mother of two, will lead a workshop on 9/26/13 from 6:30-9:30pm, on how to support your partner during labor and birth using simple acupressure techniques. Learn how to use your hands to give physical support to your partner during the birth process. What points can help reduce pain, soothe anxiety, bring baby down, make contractions stronger? We will go over good body mechanics for the partner, and do lots of hands-on work to help each couple find ways to use this ancient method to enhance the labor process. Becca Gordon, doula/childbirth educator/yoga instructor, will co-teach this class and bring a fresh perspective to supporting the birth process. You will leave with a detailed handout of the techniques we learned in class, as well as questions to discuss with your partner during the rest of your pregnancy.
This class is designed for couples, but we define “couple” loosely; if you’d like to bring your sister/mother/friend/doula instead of a partner, that’s fine with us. Please be informed that this is not a professional-development class for birth professionals – Abigail offers that workshop at other times – but we do welcome doulas if they are accompanying a pregnant client.
When: Thursday, 9/26/13; 6:30-9:30pm

Location: FLOAT, 800 S. Central Avenue (at Windsor), Suite 302, Glendale, CA 91204. Parking is free in the garage under our building, but be sure to arrive no later than 6:45 pm.

Cost: $100 per couple (we accept all credit cards, checks and cash; payment in advance is required by 9/25)

Sign Up / More Info: 818-392-8797 or frontdesk@floatchinesemedicalarts.com – Call or email us today!

We hope to see you there!

Post by Abigail Morgan, L.Ac. of FLOAT: Chinese Medical Arts.

How Does Acupuncture Help Fertility?

Perhaps you’ve noticed an increase in the number of baby shower invites you’ve received lately.   You’re having trouble jogging around the reservoir without bumping into double strollers.  And friends who were on the Career Track have made the shift to the Baby Track.  It’s no secret there’s a baby boom going on in the United States – and it seems to be magnified in our major cities.

A recent Los Angeles Magazine article by Monica Corcoran Harel subtitled “One Woman’s Window Into L.A’s Booming Fertility Industry” profiles Ms. Harel’s journey to conceive – the happy ending (spoiler alert!) involves Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine.  Harel’s piece cites, “the number of women over 40 in California giving birth increased by 300 percent in the 1990s.”

When I started specializing in Women’s Health and the Childbearing Cycle, I knew I’d be getting referrals from existing patients, obstetricians, midwives and doulas, but I never expected to get patients sent directly to me by their Reproductive Endocrinologists (fertility doctors).  When you help a woman who’s been trying to conceive for 4 years finally get pregnant, they don’t hesitate to tell all their friends (and doctors).

I treat many women over 40 who are using various forms of ART (Assisted Reproductive Technology), but I also treat a lot of women (and some men) who have been diagnosed with “unexplained infertility”  – in other words, “you still have plenty of eggs and your hormone levels are normal (even over 40), so we don’t know why you’re not getting pregnant.”  This is one area where Oriental Medicine really shines.

But how, exactly, can needles and herbs help you get – and stay – pregnant?  Let me explain the basics.

Acupuncture is one technique of Traditional Oriental Medicine.  It involves the insertion of sterile, stainless steel needles at specific points on the channels through which Qi (or energy) flows.  Stimulating these points helps restore the normal flow of Qi in the body so the internal organs and body systems can work together in harmony.  Restoring Qi flow helps to regulate the female hormones, can lower FSH levels, and break up masses (such as cysts, polyps or fibroids).  Acupuncture does this without any drugs or side effects.

In Oriental Medicine, herbal formulas are used to facilitate the body’s own restorative processes.  Acupuncturists in California are highly trained in the science of herbal medicine and a pharmacopeia that consists of about 500 Chinese herbs.  Chinese herbal formulas contain combinations of roots, seeds, grains, flowers, berries, fruit, bark, leaves, stems, shells, nuts, resin, or seaweed.  The goal of Chinese herbal medicine is to treat the root of a problem, rather than simply medicating its symptoms.  In so doing, the patient’s body is stimulated to heal itself.

  • Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine nourish and moves the blood; increasing blood flow to the uterus can enhance implantation of an embryo in the endometrium (uterine lining).
  • Acupuncture helps reduce stress – and if you’ve ever struggled to get pregnant or know someone who has, you know how stressful it can be.
  • Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine help improve egg quality (this takes at least 90 days), which is important for women of “advanced maternal age” (35 and over).  We’re born with all the eggs we’ll ever have, and unfortunately, these eggs don’t get any younger.
  • Acupuncture, herbal medicine, good nutrition and moxibustion are excellent for helping women enhance their fertility in the months leading up to a couples’ attempt to get pregnant – whether there are known fertility problems or not.
  • Acupuncture helps IVF (in vitro fertilization) work better.  A well-known study showed that “clinical pregnancies were documented in 34 of 80 patients (42.5%) in the acupuncture group, whereas pregnancy rate was only 26.3% (21 out of 80 patients) in the control group.”  (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11937123)
  • Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine help reduce the nasty side effects of the fertility drugs that are sometimes necessary to help women get pregnant, especially the cocktail of drugs used with IVF.

Sometimes, in the desire to get pregnant and have a baby, it’s easy to lose track of oneself.  I often see women becoming hyper-focused on those lines on the pee sticks, the fertile signs, and the image of a baby, baby, baby.  It’s easy to lose track of the fact that as childbearing women, we are our child’s house: everything we put into our bodies, the state of our emotional, physical and mental health affects not only our ability to conceive but also the way we grow the child inside us.  The beauty of Traditional Chinese Medicine is that it takes the whole person into consideration; we do not only treat the disease or problem (i.e. infertility, endometriosis, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome), we treat the person’s whole ecosystem.

Learn more about using Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine to boost fertility here.

(Post by Abigail Morgan, L.Ac, of FLOAT: Chinese Medical Arts.)