Easy Healthy Ice Cream Recipe

If you have slightly over ripe bananas, do not throw them away. You’ll be throwing away the potential for frozen deliciousness.

My mother had recently found out that she had developed Type 2 diabetes. She changed her diet drastically and lost weight and stabilized her blood sugar. But when California summer became a blistering 98 degrees with 90% humidity, she just didn’t care what she ate, as long as it was cold or frozen. I didn’t want her to lose all the progress that she had made, so I rummaged through our freezer to see if I can make her something frozen and sweet but healthy at the same time.

Here’s the great thing about my mother: she hates wasting food. So when the bananas began to get brown spots, she peeled each one of them, and placed them in the freezer for later use. I saw those bananas and thought, “if it works in smoothies, why not ice cream?” Below is what I made for her… and she loved it!

Banana Ice Cream Recipe:

  • Peel any over ripe bananas and wrap them individually in cling wrap.
  • Place them in the freezer. Once they have become completely frozen, you can take one out.
  • Place the frozen banana in a blender.
  • Add a teaspoon of unsweetened cocoa powder and blend.

You will be left with a sweet frozen dessert that’s actually healthy for you.

If you add a 1/2 a tablespoon of nut butter to the above mix you could get something that tastes like a peanut butter cup… but frozen.

Want to get a little bit crazier? Add cinnamon.

There are so many flavors that you can create by just adding to a frozen banana. All you need is your imagination.

But here are some tips that would make your new frozen dessert a healthy supplement:

  • Add walnut butter to nourish the brain and keep your memory strong.
  • Add goji berries if you are feeling a bit anemic.
  • Add black sesame paste to strengthen your kidneys.
  • Add red bean paste (homemade is better because the canned ones have too much sugar) and reduce some swelling during those hot summer days.

The great thing is that bananas have a low glycemic index (over ripe bananas are a GI of 48) and have a nice punch of potassium. This dessert is great for those who are diabetic. This is also a great way to treat your kids without introducing white sugar into their diets.

Later, I found out that I’m not the only one who figured out the wonderfulness of bananas as a dessert. I’m allergic to bananas so, understandably, bananas are never really in my radar. If you want more ideas, there are many recipes, turning bananas into ice cream, online. Happy exploring!

Graceful Points

What To Expect At Your First Acupuncture Visit

You have gone from doctor to doctor and have taken pill after pill for a long time. After all of these ordeals, you have finally decided to go for alternative medical care. You think about getting acupuncture. Why not? All the celebs are getting into it these days and you also know some friends who swear by it. But you’re still hesitant because you don’t know what to expect.

The following is a guide to what you can expect at your first acupuncture visit.

First, you want to know about the needles. You don’t like flu shots so why in the world would you want to get more than one needle into your body?

Acupuncture needles are hair thin.

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The above picture is of an acupuncture needle and a hair from my head. These needles will be placed on and around the body determined by a well thought out diagnosis and treatment plan. You may feel a tiny pinch at times but the feeling should not last. Most people do not feel needles go in at all.

Let the acupuncturist know when you have a sharp pain that lasts more than a couple of seconds. That is not a feeling that we would like for you to experience. But if you experience a dull and heavy ache, almost like a muscle soreness, that is something we would like you to feel. That sensation is what we like to call, “arrival of qi.”

“Arrival of qi” is when the needle has accessed the appropriate point in the body and the body’s energy (the body is essentially electricity, or energy, contained in a carbon-based container) is meeting the point of the needle to activate its healing properties. But this is all after you have been properly assessed by the acupuncturist.

To diagnose you, the acupuncturist will be asking you seemingly unrelated questions to your health concern but for acupuncturists, it is crucial that we know it all. For instance, we will ask about your bowel movements and stool… a lot. We want to know when you poop, how often you poop, what your poop looks like, if your poop floats or sinks, etc. The reason this is so important is because your poop tells us what is going on in your body and essentially your whole body’s constitution.

After we have asked you everything about your bodily functions, you will be asked to stick out your tongue. This is the one time we wouldn’t mind Miley Cyrus sticking out her tongue because we truly want to see it. Why the tongue? It is the only muscle in the entire body that is visible to us. The shape, color, and coating of your tongue tells us more of what’s going on inside your body. We use it to confirm or contradict what we thought during the interviewing process.

TONGUE-DIAGNOSIS

The last thing to expect, before you are needled, is to have your pulse taken. We are taking your pulse for many reasons. We want to know your heart rate. Is it too slow, too fast or normal? We also want to know the quality of the pulse. Yes, the pulse has a quality other than to thump against our fingers. There are many words to describe many different types of pulses but it comes down to wanting to know if you have an excess or deficiency condition (learn more about that from this blog) and to confirm or contradict every other diagnostic tool that we used. We, as acupuncturists, are very thorough.

So now that you know what to expect, go and see your local acupuncturist and experience the greatness that is Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Graceful Points

Last Spire Review: Days 3 – 5

I deeply regret to inform you that I will be returning my Spire as it does not serve the purpose that I longed for. Below are the reasons why I am giving up the Spire long before I had planned to:

  1. It only holds 6 hours of memory.
    • This is a problem because most people are at work for 9 hours. Meaning, for  9 hours, they will not be looking at their phones, wondering if their Spire is working.
    • Another disappointing outcome is that the device cannot work without your  Spire being continuously linked to the app. This means that you will not get your notifications when the device is not linked up to the app. Problematic if you don’t carry your phone with your everywhere you go.
  2. The app drains battery life of phone.
    • I had left my Spire on the charger during the night and left the app on the phone. My phone was fully charged before I went to sleep. I woke up to the battery being at 48% without being used all night. I am trying to reduce stress, not add to it. I do not need the added stress of having to be concerned with charging my phone constantly.
  3. Does not have the ability to track everything at once.
    • This limitation I understand but it’s still a limitation. If your Spire is tracking your breathing it will not track your activity (walking). If your spire is tracking your activity, it will not track your breathing. I see this as a flaw because there are times when we are off rushing somewhere and stressed at the same time. I may need a reminder to breathe during this time but the Spire won’t do it.
  4. Does not track your activity well and yet it tracks too well.
    • Let me explain. When I’m walking around, it doesn’t track my steps very well. And yet, when I’m sitting on my couch, my little movements or even my breathing counts as being active, so it doesn’t remind me to stand and stretch after having watched an entire movie.

I was desperately hoping that this device worked but unfortunately it does not do what needs to be done. I still support Spire and their innovations because they are going in the right direction, but I cannot, with good conscience, recommend this to my patients until all the kinks have been worked out.

Spire Review: Day 2

This is day 2 of using the Spire. I forgot to mention in the previous post as to the convenience of charging the Spire. It comes with a wireless charging platform, which also comes with an extra USB port so that you can charge your other devices without taking an extra outlet. Convenient!

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I’m not sure of how long it keeps its charge but the packaging says that it shouldn’t need a charge for about 4 days. The length of battery life is also dependent upon how often you have your Spire notifying you. Currently, I have it notify me every hour as to being sedentary, not taking a deep breath and being tense or stressed out. I also enabled it to track my location so I know where I’m the most stressed.

Back to how it functions.

Well, I already found a problem with the Spire. I purposely decided to watch a movie to see if it would buzz me when I was sedentary for longer than an hour. I watched Gravity, which is 1.5 hours long, for the first time. I know. I’m late in the game to be watching Gravity but that isn’t the point. It is longer than an hour and it didn’t buzz. I’m not particularly proud of this but when I choose to be, I am a champion couch potato, especially when I have a good book. I need a nagging piece of tech to get me off my hiney, and so far, it turns out that the Spire is not that tech.

It did, however, buzz to let me know that I was feeling tense for longer than 4 minutes (video about menstruation can be some serious business). As I am using the Spire for stress management and not fitness, I do not believe that the Spire deserves to be tossed away like yesterday’s sushi just yet. With the helpful reminder, I realized that I was breathing shallowly and I took a deep breath. It is still useful for the purpose that I intended it for.

Also, the Spire is quite comfortable to wear. Just don’t wear it on the waist band of your yoga pants. Unless you have absolutely zero fat around your waist, it bends into your waist crease when you sit and it can’t read your breathing pattern properly. It is best to wear it with a waist band not made of Spandex.

Spire Review: Day 1

If you’ve read my article, “You’re Breathing Incorrectly,” you’ve probably guessed that I believe breathing is essential to one’s health. I tell most of my patients that they need to breathe more often and also teach them how to do so. Unfortunately, something as easy as breathing is not easy to do properly or continuously. My patients breathe well during the treatments because I’m overseeing their breathing but they can’t take me with them to remind them to do so everyday, throughout the day. Conundrum! Then I came across a little article about a device that you wear all day that tells reminds you to breathe called the Spire.

If you’ve ever heard of a Fitbit or Jawbone Up, then you will be familiar with the concept of a wearable tracker. Spire is another wearable tracker designed specifically for managing stress through breathing. When I found out about it, I thought, “Great! This would be really helpful to my patients!” The problem was that I didn’t know how it worked or if it worked the way I wanted it to work. I’m not about to recommend a device without knowing its effectiveness.

So here I am, wearing a Spire on my waistband to test out its effectiveness. I just received it in the mail yesterday. By the way, I have not been sponsored by Spire or have I received this for free.

The packaging, by the way, is beautiful.

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As you can see, very simple design and pleasing to look at. The device is quite small and is to be worn either on the waistband or on the bra, if you are a female. The side that looks like a pebble is to be worn against the skin.

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It measures the movement of your chest or your stomach to see the rate of your breathing. An app is to be downloaded to track everything that it measures.

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So what exactly does the Spire keep a track of? It keeps track of the duration or what they like to call streaks when you were calm, focused and active. You can also set up the Spire to vibrate or buzz you for different notifications that you set. For instance, you can set it up to let you know if you haven’t taken a deep breath in 60 minutes or have been sedentary for 30 minutes. You can also set goals for yourself, such as wanting to be calm for at least 90 minutes a day or take 10,000 steps a day.

Since I just started using my Spire, I don’t quite know if it is effective. What I do know, so far, is that it is comfortable to wear but you cannot wear it at night. Since I have been writing this article for awhile, it has buzzed to let me know that I’ve been sedentary for too long.

I will wear the Spire for 3 weeks and evaluate its effectiveness based on the rubric below:

  • Effectiveness (does it remind me at times that I told it to, has my stress decreased…)
  • Accuracy
  • Comfort

The Spire can be bought for $149.95 and offers a 30 day money back guarantee. If you would like to know more about the Spire and how they came up with their technology, please go to this link.