I’ve been dealing with excessive hair loss over the years, which was exacerbated by having Master O. It does bother the vain side of me, but more than that, it makes me wonder what else is going on in my body that it feels the need to shed hair to get my attention. Hair loss is not uncommon. It is normal to lose between 50-100 hairs per day1, and shed more during changes of season. When you are faced with this issue, it is important to look at the possible causes, and rule out problems like underactive thyroid function, or low iron. It is also important to look at whether your hair is falling out at the root, or the hair shaft is breaking off, and the condition of your scalp. I have been able to rule out most of these issues over the years for myself, but nothing seems to be making a difference.
Various health professionals I have spoken to (myself included-nothing like giving yourself a consultation, I figure I’m ok so long as I don’t answer myself back) have come up with different suggestions, which I have tried and admittedly forgotten to keep implementing, perhaps because they didn’t really work. Anyway, after talking with my fellow Naturopath at the health food store, the wonderfully talented Miss Andrea Begic at http://andreabegic.com/about-us.html, she read my pulses. This is a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) diagnosis technique, where, with three fingers you feel the wrists, adjacent to the blood pulse. From this technique, a practitioner can gauge the qi (or chi) within different organ systems. Andrea then said ‘Hun, all your pulses are deficient; you need some major nourishment in the form of warming Jing foods’.
Jing is the deep vital energy of the body. It is deeper than yin, yang and qi energy. Factors that deplete Jing include2:
*Stress, fear, insecurity, and overwork
*Women who don’t rebuild soon after childbirth, or who have had “too many” children for their body constitution
*Men who lose too much semen, especially in old age
*Drugs and alcohol, coffee, toxins in food and water, heavy metals such as mercury and lead and aluminum (like in cooking ware)
* Excessive sweet-flavoured food
*Too much dietary protein.
For me, the penny dropped. Of course this must be it. I spent much of my 20’s burning the proverbial candle at both ends, and then I have devoted the first couple of years of my 30’s, giving my all to growing, birthing and feeding Master O. I’ve also had, for someone who should know better, a shameful history of sugar and coffee consumption over the years. Bad Naturopath. The damage has obviously been done. No wonder my hair follicles have made a suicide pact with each other, randomly dying out in high volume each day.
So Andrea and I started to discuss my options when it comes to consuming warming Jing foods. Thankfully I am not vegetarian at the moment because she rattled off a few examples, including eggs (yay! I love eggs), royal jelly, ghee (also called clarified butter), making soups with bones in them, and then ORGAN MEATS (arrrggghhhh!). I did not grow up on organ meats; don’t know how to prepare them. Nothing. Nada. I have eaten them on occasion, always with a memory of distaste for the texture.
Anyway, committed to getting this health issue under control, I took myself and Master O off to the Jean Talon Markets yesterday, a hub of food activity in Montreal, and purchased among other things, some pesticide/hormone free lamb liver. I then brought it home determined to make it delicious. Well at least palatable. Ok, really I was happy to settle for edible. In fact, truth be told, if I could get it down and keep it down I would be stoked. It’s not that I am a squeamish person, far from it. But there is something about the texture of organ meats that makes me anxious. Whatever I did with this liver, it had to be good and distracting. Here is the flavour filled recipe I went with:
I sat down to eat it with mashed potatoes and salad, and I took one bite. The flavour was fine, the sight of it, nauseating, the texture-gag inducing. Oh dear. Disappointed, I put it in the fridge to try again tomorrow, and settled for left over vegetable soup.
Determined to eat my Jing food, I decided to try that universal Mum trick of hiding food in food to get your kids to eat it. I did the very Mexican thing of wrapping the caramelised liver and onions in a tortilla, and buried it under green salad.
Then I sat in front of my computer, got engrossed in a project, oblivious to what I was putting in my mouth, and began to eat. This is not a habit I recommend, in fact, the opposite, we should savour our food, chew slowly and be mindful of every bite. I just needed to get that liver down though. Work on the finesse of it later. Well, two tortillas gone, and only one dry reach, I hereby declare this a success! And that is how you dress up liver to get it down. Now let’s wait and see if my hair wants to live.
UPDATE: I’ve since spoken to my Mother about making liver more palatable, and she shared with me a trick. She said slice the liver up finely, then soak it in milk for at least two hours. I’m pleased to report that it works. Subsequent liver eating episodes have proven to me that the liver is even less like liver if you soak it for at least eight hours in milk in the fridge. I’d like to say I discovered this from rigorous experiments, but really, I forgot about the liver soaking one time. Then simply fry up the drained-of-milk liver with chopped garlic and parsley. Email me if you want that recipe! email@example.com
- Pitchford, Paul (2002)Healing with Whole Foods, 3rd Edition, North Atlantic Books,pg 360-361.