Triple Threat Chicken Recipes – 1 Bird, 3 Meals

One bird can feed 2 people for three days with a little creativity. Try these chicken recipes – they’re all easy, healthy, yummy, and frugal – it’s the total chicken package!

 Day 1: Roasted chicken

You can do this yourself (it’s not hard) or pick up a pre-cooked beauty at the grocery store on your way home. Did you know Whole Foods sells pre-cooked organic ones? That’s terrific if you’re exhausted and working late, but if you have time, try this:

A little rosemary on top makes for a beautiful and tasty presentation.

A little rosemary on top makes for a beautiful and tasty presentation.

Super-Easy Roast Chicken Recipe:

Preheat your oven to 350°F.
Rinse the chicken inside and out and pat it dry.
Rub the skin with butter or olive oil. Dust with salt & pepper. You can also try thyme, sage, and of course rosemary.
Roast for 20 min/lb. Some chicken recipes call for basting every 20 minutes after 40, but I don’t bother and it comes out fine.

Seriously – that’s it! If you can wiggle the drumstick easily, it’s cooked! You can also use a meat thermometer – the inside should be 165 degrees F.

For some variation, slide orange slices, lemon slices, or garlic cloves under the skin. You can also cut up apples and put them inside the bird.

Serve with some veggies (of course).

After dinner, remove all remaining meat from the bones. Stick it in the fridge for Day 2.
Throw the bones, vinegar, and some veggies into a crockpot to start a broth (instructions here) for Day 3.

Day 2: Chicken Salad

Chop the leftover meat into small pieces. Combine with:

chopped celery
chopped dried cranberries (or raisins)
chopped nuts (I love Trader Joe’s rosemary almonds but plain almonds, walnuts & pecans are lovely too)
just enough mayo to moisten (making your own is much healthier)
salt & pepper (omit salt if using seasoned nuts)

This batch contained lots of smoked almonds and *wow* it was delicious!

This batch contained lots of smoked almonds. Delicious!

Serve the chicken salad as a sandwich, or over a green salad. You can also use tortillas or butter lettuce as a wrap.

Has your broth been cooking for more than 24 hrs? If so, use a slotted spoon to remove the solids (bones and veggies – these are nutritionally tapped out at this point), and pour the remaining liquid into a medium soup pot, which goes in the fridge for Day 3.

 

This batch of homemade chicken noodle soup contained chunks of chicken meat, celery, some leftover bacon, and pepper. Re-using an almond butter jar makes getting to work spill-free!

This brew of homemade chicken noodle soup contained chunks of chicken meat, celery, some leftover bacon, and pepper. Re-using an almond butter jar makes getting to work spill-free!

Day 3: Chicken Soup

Remove the congealed fat (white disk on top) from the broth. Put the broth on the stove, and add veggies, pasta or quinoa, and spices. This can be super-hearty with kale and sweet potatoes, or light nourishment for someone fighting a cold. Have fun experimenting! If you don’t want chicken a third day in your week, the broth will freeze beautifully. Just chill it in the fridge and remove the fat layer from the chicken jello before transferring it to the freezer.

Got any favorite chicken recipes of your own? Please share!

Acupuncture for Weight Loss

I get a lot of questions about acupuncture for weight loss, and I figured it was time to say something about it here.

Weight Loss Isn’t Always About Eating Less and Exercising More

Acupuncture for weight loss!

Acupuncture for weight loss!

If you have an oral fixation, or if your hunger sensation seems to be “off,” there’s an acupuncture point for that.

If you stress eat, I have some terrific acupuncture-based anti-anxiety solutions for you.

If you are too sedentary because of chronic pain, my acupuncture and medical massage can relieve that and get you able to exercise.

If you have a Damp accumulation (a Chinese medicine concept), acupuncture is ideal.

If you are overeating because your digestion is poor, so your body is starving for nutrients, I can help with that. I take a two-pronged approach of improving your digestion through acupuncture, plus doing some nutrition analysis and getting you onto a more nourishing diet, with a better nutrient to calorie ratio.

If you’re packing on extra fat because of toxins (chemical exposure, dietary, etc.) being stored in adipose tissue, acupuncture is fantastic for detoxing.

If your metabolism is slow due to thyroid or other hormonal issues like PCOS, we can work with that, too, but acupuncture is not a magic bullet (keep reading for a metabolism reality check).

Maybe you’ve been following that laughably outdated “food pyramid,” or haven’t yet heard that the War on Fat was misguided and has created a nation of obese diabetics. In that case, I can help you with some nutritional guidance (hint: Good fats are needed to form membranes on cells, insulation for nerves, padding for organs, etc. When we don’t eat enough fat, the body stores it, thinking we are starving. Good fats: Seeds, nuts, avocado, coconut oil, olive oil, grass-fed beef, fish, etc. Bad fats are trans, fried, fake “foods” like margarine, canola oil, etc. There are lots of different types of healthy diets, but one thing they all agree on is eating lots of veggies!).

weight-loss-cartoon-the-invisible-man-and-wonder-womanOf course there’s always the possibility that you aren’t actually overweight, but have a body dysmorphia issue (Hint: Do your friends and family insist you look slim, and can’t believe you’re “dieting?”). Acupuncture and counseling can help with that, too.

In short, it’s good, but acupuncture for weight loss is not magical. Personally, I used to be a body-builder (my workouts were 1.5hrs, 6 days a week) and personal trainer. I was also a rock-climber and martial artist, and played paintball in the woods for fun. In other words, I was very fit. After a car accident left me unable to walk more than 10 minutes at a time, let alone work out, I was in pretty much constant agony. This was before I knew how to knit, so I just laid on the couch and watched movies, read books, and ate. I started packing on weight, but I figured it was no big deal. Once my back healed I’d just work it off, right?

Fast forward to ten years later. My back recovered (yay for acupuncture and Osteopathic medical massage!), but my metabolism had been wrecked. I was back in the gym and lifting. I was getting stronger, and building endurance and stability. I felt good, but sometimes my energy was low, and I hit a plateau where I just COULD NOT shed a pound. Muscle is heavier than fat, so I didn’t worry at first, but come on… as active as I was, my belly should have been retreating. It’s frankly embarrassing to be a health care provider who needs to lose weight.

Unfortunately, years of starving myself had gotten me to a point where I had tuned my cells to be far, far too efficient. If there wasn’t enough food coming in, they certainly weren’t going to use what they had stored… what if things got *worse*!?

By the way, I had no idea what my daily calorie count was at the time. It was only after I started tracking with MyFitnessPal about a year ago that I realized how low I was averaging… about 800-1000 per day. That is simply not enough. I boosted up to 1500-1800, but the counting & tracking made me crazy. Eventually I decided to quit counting and just eat whenever my body asked for fuel (what a concept!). After years of perpetual hunger, it was such a blessing to be allowed to nourish myself. I try to make good quality choices (sometimes I’m better at that than others) but I quit beating myself up for mistakes.

I still haven’t slimmed down past my initial 50 lb weight loss. It will take a while for my metabolism to correct, if it ever does. But I’m eating close to twice as much as I used to, and I haven’t *gained* an ounce. I’m working out three times a week, plus LARPing or hiking or whatever on weekends. My energy is better. I can lift more weight. :)

I am not thrilled with my physique right now. Honestly, it’s hard to look in the mirror and see this belly when I used to be so ripped. But I’m *okay* with it. What’s more important is that I feel better. I am working hard at staying active (SO important!) and making healthy, non-toxic food choices. That’s the best I can do right now for me.

mostly_water

 

As for you, come on in. Let’s talk about the various reasons you want to lose weight, and how I can help. I can’t promise you’ll drop 30 lbs in 30 days (in fact I guarantee you won’t – that’s dangerous as hell!), but I do promise to guide you in the right direction.

Posture: It does a body good!

Posture does more than make you look good: It’s important for your health! Being bent over creates tremendous stress on our muscles, squishes our organs, and blocks blood flow. I also affects our mood and digestion.

Modern-evolution

We all sit too much. And that tends to lead to slumping. At work, at home, in the car… it’s actually gotten worse as technology has gotten better. We’re not even staring at computer screens over a desk anymore – we’re looking down at laptops and phones, and as a result, our collective necks are becoming permanently bent!

Posture2

There’s a funny sort of cascade that happens when you are out of whack. A forward head posture, for example, is very common. In that position, the muscles that flex the neck are underworked. The muscles on the back of the neck are overstretched and cranky. The hips tend to shift to compensate, and you get a similar pattern at the pelvis.

 

 

Picture a string running from the base of your spine, up through the top of your head. Imagine yourself pulled up by that string. You will naturally straighten, and your shoulders will relax into their proper position. I like this much better than the rigid shoulders that can happen from just trying to “stand up straight.”

Of course in about 5 minutes you may find yourself back in the familiar slouch. Pull up on that string again! It takes practice, but like any habit, it gets easier the more you do it, and eventually it’ll be automatic. Yes, your postural muscles will be weak at first, but they’ll get stronger. Stick with it!

Top 8 reasons to use good posture:

1) Create confidence and elevate your mood. The link between mind and body goes both ways… you can literally lift your spirits by lifting your head!

Posture12) Reduce pain in the neck and shoulders. Your trapezious muscles get pulled tight when you slump forward, which causes all sorts of inappropriate tension.  And as you can see, keeping your head aligned is the best way to distribute the weight of your skull. A forward neck posture creates leverage that works against your body.

 

3) The individual bones of your spine – both neck and back – will be able to move more freely. This means less chance of spinal injuries or pinched nerves, and can prevent fusion between bones as you age.

4) You’ll look slimmer! Most of those “before and after” weight loss poses can be achieved with nothing more than good posture and different lighting.

5) Increase the flow of blood and cerebrospinal fluid. If you’re a collapsed beanbag, various pathways can be cut off, preventing your body from working as it should.

6) Give your digestive organs room to move. Remember, they have to push food around, from the stomach on down, to mix it with the different stages of digestive enzymes and extract nutrients and water.

7) Make a better impression on the people you meet.

8) Look up and see the beautiful world around you! The sidewalk isn’t nearly as attractive as the people, architecture, and nature around you.

Keep at it. Keep reminding yourself… eventually it will become second nature. Good posture is so important, and it may be the single simplest, free thing we can do for ourselves.

 

Damp (a Chinese medicine concept)

I’ve talked briefly before about Fall in the Pacific Northwest, but let’s get into some more details about how the weather here literally leads to Damp in our bodies. I was out playing in our great outdoors, and on the way back, a fellow adventurer asked me if the soggy Portland climate affected how I practiced. It was an interesting question, so I figured I’d share my response.

In Chinese medicine, you can be “invaded” by EPIs – External Pernicious Influences:  Heat, Cold, Damp, Dryness, and Wind (There are actually two types of Heat, but I’m simplifying here). Damp Heat infection examples include yeast and urinary tract infections. Damp Heat in the Gall Bladder* can cause jaundice.

Damp can also start internally. Remember that in this system we have energetic organs* with special duties. The Spleen transforms food into energy (I think they actually meant the pancreas!), and is important in fluid management. If the Spleen fails, or if there is an invasion, fluids accumulate into Damp. A classically Damp body is overweight. Other symptoms include heavy limbs, stiffness, and edema (fluid retention). Damp left unchecked can further consolidate into Phlegm. This may be literal mucus or lipomas (fatty tumors), or “invisible Phlegm” like brain fog or even depression.

Oregon is, of course, a very wet place! Whether the rain itself penetrates us, or the fact that hiking isn’t as much fun when you have to slosh through the mud… either way, living here can definitely contribute to obesity. Alcohol and dairy are the two biggest Damp culprits in our diet. Microbrew and local cheese, anyone?

Be sure to get off the couch and enjoy the sun when you can. Try not to get soaked – a light rain jacket and hat can really make a difference. Nourish your Spleen with hearty cooked vegetables. This is especially important going into Fall and Winter, but don’t neglect them in favor of a completely raw diet even in the Summer.

Acupuncture is a great way to drain Damp, clear Heat, and restore balance to your system. Please ask if you have any questions!

* Energetic organs are typically capitalized to emphasize their distinct nature from our literal, anatomical organs.

 

 

Sp-9 – “Damp,” blood sugar, infections, edema

The Spleen* likes to be warm and dry. With our wet weather here, lots of Portland people have Damp issues.  Sp-9  (Yin Ling Quan) will drain damp, usually through urination. It can be used to treat bladder & urinary tract infections, chronic yeast infections, hepatitis, jaundice, and leg edema. It’s also a good long term treatment point for diabetes.

Sp-9Sp-9 lies in the depression posterior and inferior to the medial condyle of the tibia. The easiest way to find it is to run your thumb up the edge of the bone on the inside of your lower leg until it falls into a hole. It will drain damp, usually through urination. It can be used to treat bladder & urinary tract infections, chronic yeast infections, hepatitis, jaundice, and leg edema. If this Sp-9 is active (meaning, it needs some attention!), it’ll be quite sore.

Press gently for 10-20 seconds, with healing intention.

* Remember that in Chinese medicine, the Spleen is an energetic concept and should not be confused with your anatomical organ, the spleen.