How to Control Your Hunger

I often hear, “I have trouble losing weight even though I exercise and choose healthy foods” and “I’m always hungry”.  The good news is that there are some ways to fix this problem! Here are my tips:

  • Rate your hunger – before a meal ask yourself how hungry you are and rate it on a scale of 1-10 (10 being the most hungry you’ve ever felt), and fill your plate accordingly. After you’ve finished, let your food settle at least 10 minutes and rate your hunger again. If you’re still hungry then grab a little more and repeat the process. The key here is to listen to your body and make the connection with your brain, versus letting your emotions determine your hunger.
  • Skip the scheduled meals – what I mean is that it’s okay to skip a meal if you simply aren’t hungry. Occasionally we’ll eat heavy one day and the next day the body doesn’t need as much food for fuel and you may not feel hungry until well into the afternoon. Sometime in our life we’ve been conditioned to eat at scheduled meals – breakfast, lunch, and dinner – whether we’re hungry or not. I’ve learned from my toddler that eating at scheduled meals doesn’t work and always ends up in a battle, instead I wait until she tells me she’s hungry. Kids know their body way more than we give them credit for and we can learn a lot about food from the habits of our children!
  • Eat more fat – fatty foods take longer to digest and therefore make us feel full faster and for a longer period of time. Whereas carbs are used for quick energy and make us hungry again in a short time. Healthy fats include avocado, nuts, seeds, cheese, dark chocolate, fish, eggs, full-fat yogurt, coconut and coconut oil, and extra virgin olive oil (think salad dressing). Plus they make our skin glow!
  • Reduce acidic, spicy, and greasy foods – according to Chinese food therapy, we say foods that are acidic, spicy, and greasy cause an excess of fire in the stomach. When we have a fire-y stomach it burns through food so fast that it causes a constant hunger to keep fueling the fire. If you are feeling this way then try to cool the stomach down by eating watermelon, cucumber, and celery (feel free to add some real peanut butter to your celery; Buddy’s Nut Butter is my personal favorite!).
  • Choose fresh, whole foods – often times after a meal we feel unsatisfied and find ourselves going back to the kitchen for more. This is your body’s way of telling you that it’s missing some key nutrients and it won’t be satisfied until you give it what it needs. Skip the processed foods and always choose fresh ingredients.

Spring Headaches

Headache acupuncture apple valley mn

Anyone who’s had a headache knows how debilitating they can be. And whether you have chronic headaches, or just get one occasionally, you may have already noticed they seem to be getting worse lately.

spring headaches acupunctureHeadaches are common in the spring months of March, April, and May and every acupuncturist will tell you that we see a rise in patients with such symptoms during that time. Here’s why:

Each season has a set of organs associated with it. And whatever organ imbalance you have, you’ll likely feels its effects during its respective season. The organs of spring are Liver and Gallbladder which are responsible for moving Qi in the body. When Qi’s ability to move freely is prohibited (called Qi Stagnation) the symptoms we experience are headaches, pain and tension in the neck and shoulders, changes in digestion and bowel movements, menstrual issues, and waking up around 3am.

The best way to avoid headaches any time of the year is to keep your Qi moving. This can be done through exercise, and of course, acupuncture treatments! In addition, do things that get you excited such as getting together with friends, lots of laughter, and eating a healthy diet consisting of whole foods.

The most common cause of Qi Stagnation is stress, so finding ways to reduce stress or at least learning to cope with it better, can also be helpful for the long term. Although coffee, alcohol, and sugar, provide short term relief of Qi Stagnation, if too much is consumed they can actually make symptoms worse over time, so for many people it’s best to avoid them altogether.

To learn more about what imbalances you may have and how to correct them, schedule your appointment online today! Schedule Now


Hot Flashes and Acupuncture

shutterstock_558781672For most women, menopause includes symptoms of hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, anxiety, dryness and more. Many women dread this change in their life, but interestingly not every woman or culture experiences the same symptoms. Reasons could range from lifestyle, diet, genetics, and the individuals expectation and perception of menopause.

If you’ve read my article on Aging Cycles then you know a little about how I view and treat menopause. The symptoms of menopause come from two main sources – Yin Deficiency and/or Qi Stagnation with Heat. Let me briefly explain each of those:

Yin Deficiency: Yin is the substance of the body that is responsible for cooling, moisturizing, and calming. Around the age of 50 Yin takes a huge nose dive, almost as if it has run its course, and then we lose all of the wonderful qualities that Yin provides us. Yin does come back eventually but it takes a little more effort on our part to keep it strong.

Qi Stagnation with Heat: what makes the symptoms of a Yin deficiency worse is when we add stress to the mix! Let me explain… normally our Qi circulates freely along meridians in the body. When we have outside stresses like work, kids at college, kids planning a wedding, and aging parents, the Qi starts to get tense and stagnate. The stagnant Qi festers creating a ball of hot energy that explodes occasionally or even several times a day. When that ball of energy explodes we get hot, anxious, and wake up in the middle of night (commonly 3am).

Most of my patients that have hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms have both of those imbalances. Symptoms do eventually even out but the time can be shortened by doing a few simple steps:

  • Acupuncture – helps the body to return to homeostasis
  • Herbs – my go-to for hot flashes because they work so well! I have a few formulas that I often prescribe based on symptoms
  • Reduce stress
  • Reduce coffee – makes us hot and creates a Yin Deficiency over time
  • Reduce sugar – also creates a Yin Deficiency and stagnates our Qi

Doing a combination of those can greatly reduce the symptoms of menopause before, during, and after, so ask your practitioner to help you find the best combo for your individual needs. Book your appointment online today!



Alicia’s Famous Macaroons


I serve these delicious bite sized goodies at almost every occasion and if you’ve been to a clinic event of mine in the past few years then you too know how good these really are! With the holiday season in full swing (and several patients asking me for the recipe this week) I thought I should share it with all of you! What I love the most about these macaroons is that they are small, not too sugary, and super easy to make with minimal ingredients. Enjoy!


7oz box almond paste

2/3 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup egg whites

7oz shredded sweetened coconut

3/4 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees with rack in center. Line baking sheet with a silicone baking sheet (they tend to stick to aluminum or parchment paper).

Add almond paste and sugar to a mixing bowl. Beat until the texture of crumbs. With mixer on low, slowly add egg whites and beat until mixed. Beat on high for 3 minutes until a creamy paste is formed, scraping down the bowl 2-3 times.

Fold in coconut and chocolate chips.

Drop tablespoon size dollops of batter onto baking sheet, 2 inches apart.

Bake 17 minutes until lightly golden (oven times vary so watch them carefully!). Let cool completely then remove carefully.

Store in refrigerator for up to 5 days. Can also be frozen.


How Does Acupuncture Work?


It’s a medicine that has been used for at least 2000 years, and for a while it seemed like its mechanisms were a mystery, but through research there continues to be more light shed on the topic. Here’s what we know today:

We each have 365+ acupuncture points strategically placed on the surface of the body. Locations of acupuncture points contain a high concentration of nerves, blood vessels, lymphatic vessels, and mast cells. Ancient Chinese physicians recognized that these acupuncture points could be stimulated to relieve pain and treat internal organ problems.

  • Acupuncture promotes blood flow – this is probably the most significant because the body needs blood and it’s nutrients to heal every aspect of the body
  • Acupuncture stimulates the body’s own need to heal itself – needles create “micro-traumas” that the body responds to by awakening the nervous system, the immune system, and the endocrine system (hormones) to promote widespread homeostasis
  • Acupuncture releases natural painkillers – inserting a needle sends a signal through the nervous system to the brain to release endorphins that provide an analgesic effect, which can be much more effective than medications!
  • Acupuncture relaxes shortened muscles – this in turn releases pressure on joints and allows for more blood flow to heal the area
  • Acupuncture reduces stress – acupuncture stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system (this part of the nervous system is often referred to “rest and digest” or “calm and connect”). Impaired parasympathetic function is seen in a wide range of autoimmune diseases.

Stay tuned in the following weeks to learn about how acupuncture works for specific conditions, including pain!

Aging Cycles – did you really just age overnight?


Have you ever woken up in the morning to feel like you’ve somehow aged overnight?! It’s the most common comment I get – “one day I woke up and suddenly I had more aches and pains, and then I looked in the mirror to find several new wrinkles.” What happened?

You likely just went through an aging cycle! In the Nei Jing, a book written several thousand years ago about the concepts of Chinese medicine, it explains that every 7 years a female goes through a transition (8 years for men), give or take.

In our youth, Yin and Yang gradually build up and we become stronger and stronger, and eventually becoming our strongest and most fertile in our 20s. Around age 35 Yang gradually begins to decline, showing the first signs of aging – a declining digestion and beginnings of wrinkles and loss of firmness. At age 42 Yin starts it’s decline showing symptoms of anxiety, dryness, and insomnia.

Sometime between 48 and 56 the Yin will take a huge hit when menopause begins. This major decline of Yin brings hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, anxiety, and dryness. For some, these symptoms are short lived, but others still deal with them for years and even decades!

The key to longevity and feeling great at every stage is maintaining a healthy balance of Yin and Yang. Be kind to your Yang in your 30s by eating well and exercising. And in your 40s and 50s be sure to get plenty of rest, hydration, and reduce stress! Specifically for nourishing our Yin it’s important to reduce coffee and sugar. If you can’t live without the caffeine then try switching to green tea, it has a cooling effect on the body so it won’t increase hot flashes as much as coffee does.

Acupuncture and herbs work wonders for reducing the symptoms of aging; especially hot flashes, insomnia, and anxiety!

For more information on balancing your Yin and Yang Contact Us today and schedule your first acupuncture appointment!