The Importance of Nutrition


March is National Nutrition Month and everyone knows how important nutrition is to live a long and healthy life…but do you? Do you have a hard time making healthy eating decisions? People are eating more processed food than ever and over the next decade, it’s almost certain that we will have more and more autoimmune diseases and illnesses related to the foods you put in your body. I decided to look into some scary facts about three commonly eaten processed foods – maybe this will help you make a better decisions about what goes in your body!

Processed Meats: Such as hotdogs, salami, sausage, bacon, and ham greatly increase the risk of many chronic diseases including high blood pressure, heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and bowel and stomach cancer. A statement from the World Health Organization (WHO) research agency classified processed meats as carcinogenic. It also found that eating 50 grams daily increased the risk of colorectal cancer by 18%. Yikes.

Healthy Alternative: Avoid pre-packaged stuff and deli counters – roast a chicken on the weekend and use that meat for sandwiches or salads for the week. If you’re short on time, buy an already roasted chicken.

Potato Chips: A 2011 study in “The New England Journal of Medicine” found that the link between potato chips and weight gain was stronger than the link between weight gain and other dietary components, including processed meats and sugar-sweetened beverages. Not only did they find that daily consumption of a single ounce of potato chips led to almost 2lbs over four years, it increased the risk of diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and some forms of cancer. Eeek.

Health Alternative: Unsalted (or lightly sea salted) Air-popped popcorn is a better option, providing extra fiber. It’s also very easy to pop your own popcorn using coconut oil and kernels popped in a brown paper bag! That way you don’t get any of the bad stuff from pre-packed popcorn!

Soda: A Danish study revealed that people that drank a regular soda every day for six months saw a 132-142% increase in liver fat, a 117-221% increase in skeletal fat, and about a 30% increase in both triglyceride blood fats and other organ fat. Their consumption also led to an 11% increase in cholesterol, compared with the people who drank other beverages such as water or milk. Gasp.

Healthy Alternative: For the soda drinker – try sparkling mineral water. For the something sweet drinker – try homemade lemonade using honey instead of sugar. For the caffeine drinker – try homemade iced tea using honey instead of sugar.



According to Psychology Today, “Mindfulness is a state of active, open attention on the present.  When you’re mindful, you observe your thoughts and feeling from a distance, without judging them good or bad.  Instead of letting your life pass you by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to experience.”

Could something as simple as being aware help you sleep better, stress less, improve focus, feel better??

The Facts:

  • A study in people who eat out frequently found that eating mindfully resulted in people eating 20% fewer calories.
  • A US study found that just four days of 20 minutes per day mindfulness training improved working memory and the ability to sustain attention.
  • A study from Northeastern University found that people who practice mindfulness are five times more likely to behave compassionately towards others.
  • A recent review of nearly 50 scientific studies found that mindfulness was as effective as all anti-depressants in helping depression, but with no side effects.


Need help getting started?  Try these simple steps:

  1. Walk with no destination in mind.  Let go of all thought of a schedule or an agenda, and simple allow yourself to “go with the flow”.  Take in your surrounding and reward yourself, there is nowhere more important for you to be than right her, right now.
  2. Eat your food and consume your drink as if they were your last.  Even if dinner was Chinese takeout, how would you eat it if you know it were your last?  Would you savor each bite, maybe slow down to enjoy the meal more?  Try being thankful for the meal and those who prepared it, thinking of the farmer who grew the vegetables to the chef who prepared it.
  3. Before bed, take 15-20 minutes to sit in silence.  Breathe deep and notice everything around you.  Notice how soft or firm your bed is.  Let go and simply be.

Where’s the Beef?


Haven’t you heard? Beef is the new Salmon! Before you rush to your nearest grocery store and pick up some steaks for dinner, I’m not talking about your run of the mill cow. I’m talking about 100% grass fed, organic beef.

Grass feeding not only improves the quality of the beef, but alosm aces it more nutritious. Organic grass fed beef has been found rich in omega-3 fats, vitamin E, beta-carotene, and CLA.

The amount of fat in grass fed beef is also less. Studies have found it contains about the same amount of fat as skinless chicken breast. The cholesterol content of grass-fed beef is 22-39% lower than conventional beef. This also means fewer calories! In some areas, grass fed cows have 100% the daily requirement of omega-3. You will want to check with your local farms for specific Nutritional content. Here’s my list of favorite growers and restaurants they service:

Local Farms: Deep Creek Ranch, Deep Roots Meat, Lake Meadows Naturals, Grandmother’s Farm

Local Restaurants: Ravenous Pig, K Restaurant, Harmony Market, B&B Junction, Funky Monkey, JW Primo, Rusty Spoon

Interview with the Doctor #1

Determining if Acupuncture is a good option for you can be a daunting task.  Join us in learning the answers to frequently asked questions in a video blog series with Constance Fraatz, AP/DOM.

Ancient Grains



High in fiber and rich in minerals, ancient grains are making their way into our pantries.  Like Chinese Medicine, these food plants have been consumed for thousands of years and are a staple in many other countries as opposed to a novelty like they are here.  Don’t know which one’s for you or what to do with it?  Let us help!

Amaranth:  Amaranth is often called a pseudo-grain because it acts more like an herb or a vegetable.  This gluten free grain is a great source of complete protein as well as fiber, folic acid, potassium, calcium, and minerals such as iron, magnesium, phosphorous, copper, and manganese.  Traditionally eaten as a breakfast porridge, amaranth is great even “popped” like popcorn.

How to cook it:  6 cups of water for 1 cup of amaranth.  Gently boil for 15-20 minutes, rinse and fluff.


Millet:  Millet is another gluten-free option with a sweet nut-like flavor.  It is particularly high in magnesium and b-vitamins.  Traditionally it is served as a side dish or added to soups.

How to cook it:  2.5 parts water to 1 part millet.  Lower heat and simmer for 25 minutes with the lid on.


Kamut:  A distant relative to wheat, kamut is believed to have originated in the Egyptian Empire.  It is naturally sweet which makes it great for baking and boasts 65% more amino acids than wheat.  High levels of selenium make it a great antioxidant as well, particularly for those suffering hypothyroidism.

How to cook it:  It is best to soak kamut overnight.  Use 3 parts water to 1 part kamut and bring to a boil  Reduce heat and allow to simmer for 30-40 minutes.


Spelt:  Dating back to 5000 B.C. this wheat cousin DOES contain gluten.  Though it tends to be easier to digest than wheat, it is not suitable for those with celiac disease.  Spelt is a high source of fiber as well s containing plenty of protein, folate, magnesium, and selenium.

How to cook it: You can use spelt flour in baking.  It is commonly found in cereals, breads, pastas, and crackers.

Holiday Foods You Can Indulge on Without Gaining Holiday Weight

It’s about this time of year that you start googling ways to avoid the holiday weight gain. Sure, you could start getting up earlier to exercise, say no to that second slice of pumpkin pie or even eat a granola bar so you’re not as hungry for Thanksgiving dinner, but who are we kidding? If I’m getting up early, its to peruse the catalogs for my son’s Christmas presents. Pumpkin pie is literally at every holiday gathering. I’m pretty sure eating one slice at every party doesn’t count as dieting. As for eating before Thanksgiving dinner – snacking before dinner never stopped me from enjoying my fill at Thanksgiving – and 2 hours later, and the next day, and the next week!

Here’s a list of holiday foods you don’t have to feel guilty about – and will even help you avoid those holiday pounds:

1. Pomegranate
Pomegranates are high in antioxidants which fight inflammation – the leading cause of obesity-related diseases.

2. Turkey
Turkey’s have less than 12% of the recommended daily allowance of saturated fat per 4 ounce serving.
They pack plenty of protein and vitamin B to keep your energy up through all your holiday shopping.

3. Artichoke
Now we’re not talking about the dip, but Artichokes contain tons of fiber, which help stave off hunger.
They also contain inulin, which has clinically shown to lower blood sugar.

4. Dark Chocolate
70% or darker is the key here. Eating a thumb full before and after meals can actually cut your appetite by 50%!

5. Butternut Squash
Squash is a calorie bargain! Substituting this yummy gourd for sweet potato can cut your calorie intake by 100 per cup!

Traveling Through Art to Oriental Medicine

People often ask me what made me decide to “abandon Art” to become an Acupuncturist.  I’ve been an artist ever since I can remember and in ernest at age 12 when I won my first award.  I have a Bachelor’s and a Masters in Fine Art and I’ve taught at the University of New Mexico and the Atlanta College of Art.  I marketed my work over the course of 27 years exhibiting in New Mexico, Atlanta, Maine, and Pennsylvania.

It seems I’ve been all my life an artist, still am though I rarely now touch a brush to canvas. I have a new canvas, new materials and new tools these days that are just as fulfilling as my old ones. The canvas is the patient.  They are an already existing painting that has its own color, rhythm, and light that create a certain pattern. It is a very creative act to discern that pattern and from there to see where and how it became disharmonious causing their health to falter. The medium is Oriental Medicine with it’s 3,500 years of experimentation, experience and knowledge. The tools of course are needles, tui na (chinese medical massage), cupping, moxibustion, and custom herbal formulas.

I will always love Art.  It is part of all of us!  As an artist I never knew if my paintings ever really made an impact on anyone’s life.  The real difference for me between Art and Oriental Medicine is that I know this medicine makes a difference in the world.  I get to see that and be part of that every day.  In many ways, my Art career was a training ground for what I was meant to do!  I love what I do and I feel so blessed that I am able to do it!!!

~ Constance Fraatz, AP/DOM

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