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Stress and Digestion

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I hope you are all having a relaxing stress-free summer. I would like to take this opportunity to talk about stress and its effects on health. Stress is a natural human reaction and one that we do want to have at specific times, such as when we are being chased by a large wild animal. However, if we become unable to modulate our response to stress, all the other systems in our body stop functioning properly. First, our digestive system breaks down and we stop absorbing essential nutrients from our food, and are unable to eliminate toxins from our bodies. This leads to inflammation in our body, which, in turn, can lead to disease. In addition to our digestive system, our reproductive system also becomes affected.

Therefore, it is important to try to minimize stress levels by:

  1. Taking time for meditation or relaxation
  2. Getting enough sleep
  3. Exercising
  4. Eliminating foods that can cause stress, such as foods that are high in sugar and caffeine which can cause anxiety.
  5. Eating foods which are calming such as complex carbohydrates, which contain serotonin—a calming neurotransmitter. Complex carbohydrates are found in whole grains, such as brown rice, barley, millet, oats. Turkey is another source of tryptophan. Green tea and herbal teas such as chamomile are also very calming.

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Quote of the Month

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“The life of inner peace, being harmonious and without stress, is the easiest type of existence.”

—Norman Vincent Peale

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I am the mother of four daughters and a Certified Health Counselor, as well as a passionate advocate of organic and local food and a healthy lifestyle. I decided to become a health counselor to fulfill my passion of working with children and parents to improve their health and family life. Learn more about me at

Call to action: Want more information? Visit for recipes, resources, events, and to learn about our individual and group programs. Click here now!
In this issue:


Soothing and Calming Pear Congee:

Poached Pears:

  • 10 cups of water
  • 1 ½ cups maple sugar
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 8 slices of ginger, unpeeled
  • 6 Bosc pears
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  1. Combine water, sugar, cinnamon, and ginger in a large pot. Bring to a boil.
  2. Peel the pears and rub with lemon juice.
  3. Simmer pears in liquid until tender, 25–30 minutes. Remove pears and cut into ½" cubes.
  4. Boil liquid until reduced to syrupy consistency.


  • ½ cup short-grain brown rice
  • 5 cups water
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  1. Put rice and water in a large pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer 1 hour (until rice has the texture of porridge) stirring occasionally.
  2. Add the diced pears and syrup to rice. Cook another 10 minutes.

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