Lighten Up

Looking for some easy substitutes to reduce fat and calories in your cooking? 

  • Creamed soup = Mashed potato flakes, pureed white beans, or pureed carrots (add until you get the desired consistency)
  • Frosting = Whipped cream or homemade pudding
  • Canola oil = Greek yogurt – ¾ c yogurt per 1 c oil
  • Mayo = Greek yogurt, mashed avocado, olive oil, hummus, pesto, mustard, cottacge cheese, or almond butter (equal to the amount of mayo)
  • Tortillas = Lettuce leaf
  • Sour Cream = Greek Yogurt (1:1 ratio)
  • Mashed Potatoes = Mashed cauliflower, celery root, parsnip, or carrot (1:1 ratio)
  • Pasta = Spaghetti squash, zucchini, shredded cabbage, eggplant ribbons, bean sprouts
  • White Flour = Black bean puree (1:1 ratio)
  • Chocolate Chips = Carob Chips (1:1 ratio)
  • White Sugar = Cinnamon (1t cinnamon per 1 T sugar)
  • Heavy Whipping Cream = Evaporated milk (1:1 ratio)
  • Sugar = ¾ c honey: 1 c sugar; in baking reduce liquids by ¼ and mix in 1/4t baking soda per c honey used
  • Butter/Shortening = Applesauce, mashed avocado, or mashed banana (1:1 ratio)

Slow Down Weight Gain with Medicinal Mushrooms Used in Chinese Medicine


June 24, 2015 | by Josh L Davis

How Chinese Medicine Uses Mushroom to Help With Weight Loss

The human gut is home to over a trillion microbes, and it’s becoming increasingly clear that this swirling mass of life impacts our health in profound and important ways. Adding to this growing body of evidence, researchers have now apparently found that a certain type of mushroom, used in Chinese medicine for centuries, might alter this delicate bacterial composition in mice, helping them to slow weight gain.

The researchers, from Chang Gung University in Taiwan, found that the mushroomGanoderma lucidum reduced weight gain in mice fed a high fat diet compared to those eating the same diet but without the extract. Whether this study is transferable to humans is not yet known, though the results are intriguing. The study is published in Nature Communications.

The composition of the bacteria in your gut, known as the microbiome, is thought to at least in part contribute to obesity and weight gain. For example, earlier this year it was reported that an otherwise healthy-sized woman who received a fecal transplant – used to cure her from a chronic C. difficile infection – from her obese daughter later became obese herself. 

Considering that the bacteria in your gut contribute to nutrient acquisition and energy regulation, it may not come as a surprise that they could also have a role in weight gain. To test how the mushroom could influence the bacteria in the guts of mice, the researchers fed two groups of mice on a high fat diet. At the same time, they gave one group the mushroom extract and not the other.

What they found was that the mice on the diet and without the fungus gained a total of 42 grams over two months, while those also being fed the extract only gained 35 grams over the same period. So while it didn’t prevent weight gain, it certainly slowed it. Then, to test if this was indeed a result of an alteration to the animals’ microbiomes, the researchers gave a fecal transplant from the mushroom-fed mice to the others.

The procedure successfully transferred the benefit gained by eating the fungus to those that hadn’t fed on it, helping the obese mice to keep off the pounds, pointing quite firmly to a bacterial component. Before you get too excited, no one is suggesting that sprinkling the mushroom on all of your food will stop you from gaining weight. For a start, we currently do not know whether it will have the same impact on people, and additionally, the slimmest mice in the study were those that were simply fed a normal, healthy diet.      

Photo Credit: photo credit: Ganoderma lucidum mushroom being commercially grown. apiguide/


Exciting News

Affinity Acupuncture is thrilled with the great results so many clients have received with our fertility and facial rejuvenation treatments.  This weekend, William is traveling to Chicago for advanced training in the Mei-Zen techniques for face and neck cosmetic acupuncture, as well as infertility and obesity.

If you’re ready to take the next steps in looking and feeling younger, boosting your metabolism, and/or welcoming a new addition to your family, call us today to set up your appointment. We can be reached at 615-939-2787. Online scheduling is available through our website. 

Metabolism Magic

It all started with Halloween. Then there was Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, Valentine’s Day, and the ice storms.  The extra pounds we put on in the winter don’t just appear, and they don’t just disappear, either. At least, not in a safe, easy, permanent way.

The only permanent solution to weight loss is a lifestyle change. 

There are some simple things you can do to boost your metabolism, though, and help make it easier to bring your body from sweater hidden to swimsuit ready. Acupuncture and some herbal formulas used in Traditional Chinese Medicine can help boost your metabolism, balancing out your body for easier weight loss. Affinity Acupuncture in Brentwood has cost-savings packages available, and convenient evening and weekend hours. To learn more, call us at 615-939-2787.

Additionally, adding the following foods to your diet can boost metabolism, improving your health from the inside out: 

Hot Peppers
Citrus Fruit

Detox Diets – A Silver Bullet or Flawed Fad?

We are constantly inundated with the latest, greatest “solutions” for what to eat and what to omit from our diets for wellness and weight loss. Try this and you’ll lose 20 lbs. in a month, or try that and take inches off of your waistline in no time. What we don’t hear is that almost 100 million Americans are on a diet at any given time, and the weight loss industry makes $20 billion dollars a year. That’s not a typo – $20,000,000,000.

One of the latest trends that has people buzzing is detoxing, which comes in many forms – elimination diets, juicing, special shakes, and so on. Do they work? For some people, yes – to a certain degree. Cutting out certain foods for a few weeks may remove your brain’s “dependence” on them. Certain foods trigger happy chemicals in our brain, leading to cravings. And you may lose several pounds during the diet, but you’re likely to put the weight back on once you return to your old eating habits. 

For others, the effects can be harmful. They become extremely fatigued, which can exacerbate existing medical conditions. Or, they end up craving certain foods so much that they jump off the wagon and binge. 

As far as actually detoxing the body goes, your body is pretty good at detoxing itself. The liver, kidneys, and other organs flush toxins from our systems. And detox diets don’t actually flush fat from the body. 

That being said, doing a detox for a few weeks once or even twice a year is probably ok (so is consulting with your doctor), but keep your expectations realistic. 

When it comes to your health, there are no silver bullets.

It takes time to gain weight. It takes time to lose weight. Most chronic conditions take a lot of time to develop, and a lot of time to recover from (if full recovery is even an option). 

If you want permanent results, you need to make permanent changes – and you probably already know what they are. 

1) Eliminate, or at least reduce, sugar and artificial sweetener from your diet. Sugar leads to inflammation, which leads to a laundry list of physical problems. Many sugar substitutes, especially artificial ones, are also problematic. Do you really need two spoons of sugar or caramel syrup in your morning coffee? 

2) Stand up for what you believe in – your health. Sedentary lifestyles lead to long-term health problems, and some of them are permanent. Standing desks are actually a trend that have legitimate health benefits. 

3) Shop and eat seasonally and locally. When you can, buy organic produce and free-range protein. Better still, start a vegetable garden in your own yard – gardening is some of the best exercise out there. 

4) Be present in the moment. Adopt a few quick mantras that you can incorporate into your day. Practice deep breathing. Thousands of cultures have practiced these traditions for millions of years for a reason. 

5) Spend quality time with people. Humans are social creatures. There are health benefits to live, in-person social time. Smiles, laughter, and hugs actually have positive physical effects on the body. 

6) Cut the crap. Fast-food chains like McDonald’s are losing money because people are opting for healthier alternatives. There are better convenience foods available, but those can have long term effects on the body, as well. 

7) Invest in yourself. If you can afford a daily cup of coffee from a popular chain or weekly take out, you can afford a gym membership, monthly massage, or acupuncture session. They might not be daily indulgences, but they have long-term benefits for your body. If you want more energy, better circulation, restful sleep, and dozens of other benefits, those things come from exercise and Complimentary Alternative Medicine. (Acupuncture can also help jump start stagnated metabolism.) 

8) Limit alcohol. There are health benefits to having a glass of wine or a beer as often as daily, but mixed drinks are empty calories, and mixing alcohol with energy drinks confuses the body. 

9) Reduce or eliminate packaged, refined foods and food products. Need to make meal prep easier? Take an hour over the weekend to cut up all of your vegetables for the week. It reduces cooking time dramatically. Crock pots are your friend. 

10) Sleep. You can do everything else under the sun, but if you don’t give your body the rest it needs, you won’t get the best results from your body. 

Yes, it takes time to prepare food. Yes, it takes time to get prolonged results from exercise, massage therapy, and acupuncture. But you get lasting results. You get more energy to do the things that require your attention on a daily basis. Ideally, you get to keep more money in your pocket in the short and long run because you’ve taken the steps to prevent chronic conditions. 

Take care of yourself. You deserve it.