Spring Into the Season of Renewal with Free Flowing Qi
Margaret Lee’s personal experience with acupuncture and eating a whole foods diet led her on the path to helping others achieve optimal health. Now as an acupuncturist and a holistic nutritionist, she shares with us how she incorporates both Traditional Chinese Medicine and holistic nutrition into her own “spring clean” routine and practice.
Our theme this issue is “spring cleaning”. When you spring clean, you go deeper than you usually do in order to create a clear, clean space for welcoming the new year. How do you believe your work relates to “going deeper” when it comes to health and wellness?
I’ll incorporate Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) theories into my “spring clean” routine. Each season has its own energy affecting our body and organs. Spring is the season related to the liver meridian and its Qi. It is a time of renewal, where there is an upward and outward movement of energy. It’s also a potent time to release any physical, emotional or energetic manifestations of misalignment to support the liver.
In TCM, certain foods and flavours help the body bring balance back to particular organs. During spring, I’ll eat more foods that have an upward growing energy such as young greens, microgreens and sprouts. They’re easily digested and match the energy of spring. Foods sweet and pungent in nature are helpful in regulating liver Qi as well as a little bit of sour-natured foods. Supporting the liver will improve its natural ability in detoxification.
I’ll also incorporate acupuncture, journaling, and increase my time in nature to "spring clean" all areas holistically.
You are both an acupuncturist and a holistic nutritionist. How do these things fit together? Why do you choose to practice these two modalities?
Both acupuncture and holistic nutrition look at the human body as a whole when it comes to healing. The mind and body are so interconnected that in order to heal fully, we need to heal as a whole. Physical conditions can manifest into emotional issues and chronic emotional issues can manifest into physical conditions. Living a healthy life goes beyond what we put on our plate and the number of calories we burn at the gym. We radiate what we put into our mind, body and soul.
I’ve combined holistic nutrition with acupuncture because both can help people achieve optimal health holistically. As a firm believer that prevention is the key to a vibrant life, these modalities can help improve the quality of your life. They can also complement western medicine in many cases.
When it comes to acupuncture, could you describe what you do as if you were trying to describe it to a child?
Acupuncture is used to stimulate the body’s Qi and clear blocked energy to promote well-being. It is not a quick fix. It is a modality of healing which assists and stimulates the body’s natural ability to heal itself.
What does the average person NOT understand about acupuncture?
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the foundation to good health is balanced and free flowing Qi (life force) along the meridians. The goal of acupuncture is to bring balance to the energy pathways and support the body to heal itself. It involves the insertion of sterilized disposable needles at specific points along the body’s energy pathways to regulate Qi flow. Acupuncture helps to release the body’s natural painkillers (endorphins), immune system cells, neurotransmitters and hormones to stimulate the body in healing. It can help in a range of conditions including various pain and muscular conditions, stress, anxiety, insomnia, menstrual/ menopausal symptoms, infertility and digestive disorders.
What does it mean to practice “holistic nutrition”?
Holistic nutrition is recognizing that we are all individuals with different needs, it’s not a one size fits all methodology. Our bodies are unique and each requires an individualized approach for preventing, healing and promoting good health. The same symptom may have a different root cause in another individual.
Holistic nutrition looks at the person as a whole including diet, lifestyle, mental and emotional state. It focuses on eating natural whole foods to improve one’s health and providing the body with what it needs to heal.
What’s your philosophy around eating?
Listening to the body, finding the right balance and what works for me is key. Generally I’ll eat whole foods with a plant-based focus because my body feels at its best. I’ll include complex carbohydrates, healthy fats, and lean protein with plenty of water along with a few indulgences because it feeds the soul.
What has inspired you to do the work you do?
I grew up in a household eating mostly whole unprocessed food, cooking from scratch and using foods/herbs for healing. I have personally experienced the benefits of acupuncture and eating a whole foods diet and this has led me on a path to helping others achieve optimal health. Whether it’s holistic nutrition or acupuncture, education and guidance is important. It empowers individuals to take ownership of their health.
Listening to the body, finding the right balance and what works for me is key.
What gifts do you believe Traditional Chinese medicine has to offer Westerners?
Traditional Chinese Medicine is still mainly used as an alternative or complementary modality to Western medicine. However it has gained popularity over the years and I see more people incorporating TCM into their lifestyle as a way to rebalance and manage their health. It can help maintain and improve quality of life as well as decrease many symptoms for those suffering with health conditions.
What’s the one thing you believe our readers could do to initiate a “spring cleaning” in their lives?
Have a glass of warm water with freshly squeezed lemon juice every morning.