Thank you all!

February 11th, 2013

I’ve been so busy with new clients since you all got busy on my internet pages that the winter newsletter hasn’t even materialised – so whilst the spring one is on its way I thought some of you might be wondering where my total had got to!  I had 32 likes on my facebook page, 2 recommendations and 8 comments on my blog. By my reckoning that is £22. I’m going to double it in view of lots more comments to come! Thanks everyone who has taken part…I really appreciate it and I know MoxAfrica will too…

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50 ways to love your liver: how to eat (part 2)

January 26th, 2013

Pay attention to posture: Eating at our desks or on our laps in front of the TV doesn’t really help our digestive systems work at their best. If you have any digestive issues at all then these habits need to go. It is no different to putting a chink in a hose pipe. Sitting straight gives our stomach, small intestine, liver and gallbladder room to do their work and sufficient oxygen will be available to assist them.

Learn how to breathe: It’s amazing how something we can’t live without is done so badly by so many! Take time to notice how you are breathing – are you breathing into the top of the lungs only, or are your breaths like those of someone who has just run somewhere because stress you are stressed? Taking the breath into the diaphragm might not be easy for everyone – but it will help to ensure that there are no blockages here – a key place for digestive issues. Taking 5 or so deep diaphragmatic breaths will actually improve the metabolism – very important if you are trying to lose weight but equally important for general health and well being.

Pay attention to how food makes you feel: Take some time to notice how you feel about food – both before and after. As a rule if the idea of a food makes you feel good but eating it makes you feel sluggish afterwards then it isn’t beneficial to your system. I think this is probably one of the hardest lessons to learn when changing a diet – quite often we don’t really feel like the healthy option – yet after we have eaten it we actually feel better. No regrets! The complete opposite of what happens when we go for the unhealthy option.  Taking time to notice how you feel after food will eventually help you to start focusing on this benefit before you eat – rather than getting consumed by the thought of taste pleasures.

I hope these tips are useful!


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50 ways to love your liver: dandelion coffee (and other drinks)

January 24th, 2013

One of the best natural remedies for the liver is dandelion – both the leaves and the root. Its benefits are too wide ranging to list here, but weight loss and constipation are two of the more commonly cited. Dandelion coffee is dried and you can buy it in the form of Dandelion Coffee from a health food shop. It is nothing like real coffee although I suppose they share a bitter taste…I find it has a slight hint of chocolate flavour, but I can’t guarantee everyone will think that! 

I had a packet of it in my cupboard for about six months before I finally got round to buying a cheap coffee grinder so that I could actually make a drink with it. I kept thinking about all that it entailed and deciding it wasn’t something that could find its way into my lifestyle. How wrong I was! It has become an after dinner ritual this month – although I did nearly ruin a pan the other night when I forgot about it, so putting a timer on is recommended.

I grind up enough for three or four cups and store in a tupperware pot. I put 1-2 tsp in a pan with a couple of mugs of water and bring to simmer, then I just leave it on very low for half an hour and strain through a tea seive. I serve mine with rice milk but it can be taken plain or with other milk/milk substitutes.

If you are struggling to find replacements for tea and coffee because you’ve given up caffeine some other ideas are:

  • Green Tea (decaffeinated is available in some outlets) is a powerful antioxidant
  • Carrot Juice is full of vitamin A and Beta Carotene which are beneficial to the liver (add aloe vera juice for a powerful liver juice – or if you are constpitated)
  • Lemongrass tea or fennel tea aid digestion
  • Nettle tea is a powerful blood cleanser – its a bit early for fresh nettles but come the spring get picking!

It might take time to get used to these drinks but just think about how you are benefiting your system!

Happy drinking


50 ways to love your liver: Getting started

January 15th, 2013

Detox is a difficult subject to advise on because everybody will have different diets to start with and different levels of commitment. Also, because detoxing can cause symptoms you may need to see a nutritionist for advice on what supplements to take. I believe that too much too soon can cause quite a big stress to the system so it is best to do things in stages.  If you are having acupuncture treatment with me I can advise on what is best for you, based on my understanding of your constitution within Chinese medicine.

On the whole, in Chinese nutrition we look at removing excess yin and excess yang foods from the diet to enable it to heal. These mostly correspond with modern detox diets which generally see these foods as more difficult to digest, nutritionally pointless or toxic. If what the body has to process is easy to digest, healing can take place in the liver. Here are the foods to think about removing:-

  • Sugar, including honey and syrups
  • Caffeine
  • Alcohol
  • Dairy products (butter, milk, cream, yoghurt) and other mouldy/damp foods such as peanuts, dried fruit, dried herbs. If you want to keep some dairy in the diet make it natural goat’s yoghurt. When reintroducing try to use yoghurt more than the others.
  • White bread and white flour products (or all gluten based grains if you are gluten free)
  • Red meat (and for a proper detox also remove chicken and eggs for a while)

A diet based on wholesome grains, fish, vegatables and fruit is what forms the bulk of most detox diets. But for some people this is a huge amount of change to implement. I would suggest choosing one or two items to get started. If you are game for helping your liver even more, add another two a fortnight later and so on.

The ideal would be to work towards going without the majority of any of these products for a period of 2-5 weeks – but even 3 days would be better than nothing. And a ten week period without one of these will help you liver more than doing nothing at all!

If you are going to choose a couple of these to start with there are two ways you can go – the easy way or the hard way. Of course the hard way will be better for you! You may have heard that we crave things that are particularly bad for us because going without it initiates a detox response (craving the substance the body is addicted to). So if there is something on this list that you think you absolutely cannot live without then the chances are this is doing your system more harm than any of the others. This is optimum one to remove from the diet!

Happy detoxing!


50 ways to love your liver: how to eat (part I)

January 7th, 2013

Before you even go down the road of adjusting your diet I think it’s really important to look at how you eat. The liver plays a central role in digestion and there are many things you can do to ease the digestive processes and boost the quality of the blood that is produced in your system.

Here are three top tips that you can put into action right now. If you want to also look at what to eat stay tuned for more 50 ways blogs…


You may find Nigella Lawson completely over the top, but she does have something right in that food should be a sensual experience. In Chinese medicine the stomach channel starts at the eye, before travelling around the nose and mouth, down the neck and into the stomach itself. Too often we eat without even looking at our food (eating a sandwich whilst driving for example). If we eat things out of a packet we don’t really smell the food either. If we eat processed food this reduces our ability to taste healthy things like vegetables properly – and then we just crave salty, sugary things instead. If we don’t engage the senses we are bypassing important aspects of the digestive system.


All stress (even good stress) is seen as stress by the body and when it is in flight or fight mode digestion will be compromised. My colleagues at Pure Body Balance say that you wouldn’t stop to pick and eat an apple if you were running away from danger. So true! If the body is in flight or fight mode the digestion suddenly gets less attention. If you have a stressful job or a stressful life just spend a few minutes relaxing before you eat. This can be as simple as just sitting quietly for 2 minutes and taking a few deep breaths.


We digest at all levels – mentally we digest information and physically we digest our food. If you are working or reading whilst eating you are digesting at the mental level and this will take energy away from the physical act of digestion. Try to give time specifically to eating – just like you give time to filling your car up at the petrol station.

50 ways to love your liver: symptom checker

January 3rd, 2013

Because the liver is responsible for detoxifying the system, many symptoms people experience are a result of this process being compromised. If the liver can’t do its job, it starts asking other parts of the body to do it for it. For example, spots and acne will be a way in which the skin can release toxins to help the liver. Weight gain is a way of the body storing toxins in a safe way – when the liver is unable to fully detoxify them.

Other symptoms that can be related to the liver include:

  • Menstrual problems, including painful periods and PMS
  • Fertility problems
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Headaches and migraine
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • Being unable to deal with stress
  • Angry outbursts, feelings of frustration
  • Digestive complaints
  • Sinus congestion
  • Food allergies

This list isn’t exhaustive but includes those I most commonly see in the Twelve Rivers clinics. I would include support to the liver in most treatment plans if these symptoms were presenting – in addition to constitutional support.

If you would like any more information, please feel free to contact me

All the best


There must be 50 ways to love your liver…

January 2nd, 2013

Wooohooo! It’s love your liver month – time to make a new plan stan!

I’m so excited because after ten days of relative excess I am devouring brown rice, fish and vegetables and it feels GREAT!

It isn’t just traditionally detox time because the shops don’t know what else to plug at this time of year and the majority of us have consumed too much over the festive period but also because this is the most important time seasonally to love your liver. This is something the Chinese have known for thousands of years – before we ever fully understood the scientific processes at work in the organ with chief responsibility for detoxifying the system.

This is because the liver gives us our capacity for action (think about how far you move on a bad hangover) and is associated with the season of action – spring. If the liver is nice and healthy you will be able to move into the yang of spring more easily than you will if the liver is taxed. All of our energy will necessarily have to step up a notch as spring arrives and loving your liver for the next few weeks will make all the difference to the spring in your step…

So, I’m going to find 50 ways to love your liver this month…

Before I begin looking at how to eat and what to eat over the next few weeks there is a very simple thing you can start with right now. Buy some organic lemons and when you get up tomorrow morning have warm water and a slice of lemon – before you do anything else. If you are feeling particularly toxic you can replace some of those cups of tea with hot water and lemon throughout the day. If you are quite a cold person add some ginger too…

Whilst many people think of lemon as being acidic it is actually alkalising for the liver. You may find this drink causes some reflux and belching – but this is the body starting to move stagnant energy. The less stagnation and blockages, the better everything flows in the system…and the better you will feel.

Try and it and see…


Gluten free stuffing recipe

December 22nd, 2012

Hi all-

Just before I sign out for my Christmas break I thought I would share this recipe. Its for anyone who is Gluten free or for those of you who bloat when you eat bread and would like to save room for your pudding at Christmas dinner! It can also be served as an accompaniment to any meal and is great for the liver as it is more alkaline than other grains.

It is a traditional stuffing recipe (learned from my Nan – who was 100 this year!) and I’ve just replaced breadcrumbs with millet.

1 cup millet, rinsed
2.5 cups Chicken or Vegetable Stock
1 large bunch parsley, finley chopped
2 sprigs thyme, leaves removed
1 onion, finely chopped
1 small cooking apple, peeled, cored and finely chopped
Juice of half a lemon
Salt and Pepper
Simply place all ingredients in a pan and stir. Bring to the boil. Turn down the heat and simmer for 20 minutes or so, or until the stock has been absorbed. Stir occassionally to prevent sticking.  Grease a flat baking dish and spread the mixture in the dish and bake in the oven for around 40 minnutes – or until the top has become firm and slightly crusty.

Happy Christmas,



Help me to help a worthwhile charity this Christmas

December 17th, 2012

Please help me help MoxAfrica – a wonderful charity doing some fantastic work with TB in Africa – using moxibustion (that stuff everybody loves the smell of!). Read about it here:-

If you can spare a little bit of time to help me improve my word of mouse, I can ensure continued business in 2013 and therefore I can happily spare some money for a worthy cause!

I’ll pay 50p to MoxAfrica if you ‘Like’ my facebook page at:

I’ll pay another £1.00 to MoxAfrica if you leave a recommendation on my facebook page (url above)

I’ll pay 50p to MoxAfrica if you comment on my blog at

I’ll pay £1.50 to MoxAfrica if you leave a google review via your Gmail account. Go here and scroll down to ‘Write a Review’ :

I will update you all in mid January

Many thanks everyone!



Have we evolved to cope with Christmas?

December 14th, 2012

Dear all,

I know I wasn’t alone this morning when I woke up and assumed I was awake in the middle of the night.

In the grand scheme of human life on earth it really was only 5 minutes ago that we didn’t have access to electricity – and therefore would have lived as nature intended – in tune with the seasons. Like every other living thing in the winter months, we would have bedded down and preserved our resources.

It is ironic really that the darkest two weeks of the year are now probably our busiest. A few hundred years ago we wouldn’t have been able to run around like headless chickens, shopping, wrapping and baking well into the evening hours. Although we may well have gathered together to keep warm we can’t possibly have evolved sufficiently since then to cope with all that is required these days in order to come together and share the festive season.

So, as we enter the midwinter fortnight please pay some thought to your needs…and in amongst the craziness just find some time – any time – to be still and relax. Do some yoga, meditate, watch a naff Christmas movie or stare at a wall, it really doesn’t matter. Just do something to balance all that activity!

Happy Christmas everyone 🙂