Stick it to me

24 Jun

I had acupuncture for the first time last Friday during the $25 special being run by Golden Cabinet Chinese Medicine. I had read lots of good things about acupuncture treatments helping migraines, plus the Fitnessista seems to adore it, so I swallowed hard and made an appointment. Needles and I are not exactly close friends. In fact, I would call us mortal enemies. I have twice fainted from being stuck (once getting my ears pierced at 21 — I’m a wild and crazy gal, clearly), and when I don’t actually lose consciousness, I flip out like a crack fiend going through withdrawals. Or something. Anyway, I don’t like being poked by metal things. My migraines have been so insane lately, though, that I’m pretty much willing to try anything.

And you know what? I didn’t die. Actually, I had an extremely positive experience. Curtis, the acupuncturist, was great to work with. He made me feel relaxed and took the whole thing slowly because of my phobia. Since all the needles were on my back or my left ear (for realsies), I couldn’t see them go in, so once I got used to the feeling (which isn’t really pain, but rather just an odd tingling-pressure-thing), I felt very comfortable. The whole day following, I was in an exceptional mood. Not that I’m a total cranky pants in general life, but I don’t tend to be all sunshine and rainbows on a typical day, so I really enjoyed the feeling. Did it cure my migraines? I actually got one the next day but haven’t had another since. Of course, a week isn’t really very long to judge that kind of thing, but six pain-free days in a row is a lot for me this time of year. I’ll talk more about that in another post.

I decided to experiment with some of Curtis’ food and lifestyle recommendations this week, just to see how they did me. Let’s start with breakfast:

Yes, that is miso soup. I read on his blog (and several others that discuss traditional Chinese medicine and diet) that soup is a great breakfast. I know miso is Japanese, not Chinese, but my goal was to incorporate these ideas into my own lifestyle. During the work week, I enjoyed a warming, soothing bowl of soup featuring the following: about a tablespoon or so of white miso, one cup of spinach, coconut rice, and as much sriracha as I felt like using. Coconut rice was ridiculously easy to make: bring one can of light coconut milk to boil in a pot, add 2/3 cup of brown rice, and cook until it’s tender. Done. I used a quarter of what resulted for each serving, and it was amazing, seriously. I think I’ll do the same thing again next week. I also had a cup of my favorite Choice Premium Japanese Green Tea and a banana.

Curtis also recommended a “blood nourishing” meal following the end of my most special lady time each month. His recommendation included beef, which obviously doesn’t fly in my kitchen, so I read up on some iron-loaded options and made yet another variation on X’s Spicy Portobello Chili. This time, I used black beans, black eyed peas, and lentils for the legumes, and I cooked it up in the crockpot. (Pre-cook the beans but not the lentils and then throw everything in for about 4 hours on high.) I served mine atop a baked potato coated in nutritional yeast:

Unfortunately for my sensitive stomach, I made the beans from scratch but only soaked them for four hours prior. Apparently, I need to stick with the overnight method, as the tummy-attacking enzymes need far longer than four hours to die off. It still tasted delicious, though, and didn’t bother the boy, but I could only eat the meal twice. On Wednesday, I stuck with my potato but topped it with another quickie peanut sauce:

This was unmeasured amounts of peanut butter, nutritional yeast, sriracha, Newman’s Own Lighten Up Low Fat Sesame Ginger Dressing, and ground ginger. It was surprisingly good and filling, though it doesn’t touch my favorite version. Look for another peanut sauce dish soon.

So what’s the verdict? I felt good replenishing my lost iron through the chili (when it wasn’t angering my stomach) and the spinach in my soup. I will try to stick to this idea in the future. I loved — loved loved loved — starting the day with miso soup instead of oatmeal or something carbier. It was a major winner. I am still dreaming up next week’s variation!

Have you ever eaten soup (or something else weird) for breakfast? Tell me about it!

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