A: With some quiet time.
There are plenty of books on alternative health out there, but author Aimee E. Raupp, MS, LAc, has managed to address the subject a little differently in her new book, Chill Out & Get Healthy: Live Clean to Be Strong and Stay Sexy. Where some books on natural health can be dry or even come across as didactic or preachy, Raupp’s tone is friendly, motivating, and humorously irreverent. And as a certified acupuncturist, herbalist, and licensed practitioner of Oriental medicine in Nyack, N.Y., and Manhattan, Raupp knows her stuff.
For more information or to follow her blog, visit aimeeraupp.com.
Q: What inspired you to write Chill Out & Get Healthy?
A: The overmedication of our society. I directed the book toward women because a large portion of my patient population consists of young, educated women seeking treatment for a plethora of illnesses, mainly stress related. I began to see a pattern: nearly every woman seeking treatment was being medicated (or prescribed a medication, yet didn’t want to take it) for a medical issue that—if only they were educated and pointed in the right direction—could be managed successfully on their own without the need for medication.
Q: What is the importance of chilling out, and how do we do it?
A: It’s been said that 60 to 90 percent of doctors’ visits are for a stress-related disorder. So chilling out is integral to optimal health. It doesn’t take much. Just five minutes one to two times per day. Find a quiet place (even if it’s the office bathroom), sit in a relaxed position, and just breathe deeply. These five minutes allow your body to break the aging and disease-causing stress cascade.
Q: What is “essence” and how do we build it?
A: Essence is to Chinese medicine what genetics is to Western medicine. In Chinese medicine theory, essence (aka jing) is an extremely precious substance that is the material basis for all life; it determines our constitution, our ability to reproduce, our growth and development, and our longevity. Through reckless living—say partying too much, not sleeping enough, being stressed out 20 hours per day—we can waste our essence and use it up prematurely.
This will cause us to age before our time and predispose us to disease and illness. However, if one lives peacefully (well, at least for the most part), manages their stress, sleeps seven to eight hours per night, and eats a clean and wholesome diet (free of processed foods and pesticides) they can not only preserve their essence, but build it.
Q: What are the most important foods we should include in our diets for healthful aging?
A: Antioxidant-rich foods, such as goji berries, walnuts, blueberries, kidney beans, artichokes, cranberries, avocados, spinach, potatoes (russet and sweet), green tea, mushrooms (maitake, shiitake, and reishi), and olive oil.
Q: What is the best way to deal with cravings for desserts and salty snack foods?
A: Cravings are usually due to a dip in blood sugar. The best way to keep your blood sugar even is to avoid refined and processed foods. Eat a clean diet, being sure to consume protein with every meal—2 to 3 ounces of protein is plenty. Snack on foods such as almonds, apples, and hummus, and be sure to drink plenty of water.
Q: What’s the most important thing for women to know about fertility?
A: The way you live your life—emotionally, nutritionally, physically—completely and totally affects your probability of getting pregnant easily and successfully, carrying a full-term pregnancy, and delivering a healthy baby.