Summer Solstice

During the summer solstice your yang energy reaches its peak. It is important to harness the peak of this yang energy, because as summer shifts into fall yang energy will decline. This great abundance of yang energy will translate throughout your body because during this season you are active and growing.

According to five element theory, during the summer the organ that receives extra energy is the heart. When the seasons change so do the organs we should focus on in the body. You should focus on the heart during summer. Feed the heart heart-nourishing foods and make sure to remain active so the heart receives positive energy. continue reading »

Heart Afire: The Fire Element

The organs in Chinese medicine are more than just a physical representation. The organs include not only their physiological function, but also their mental, emotional, spiritual and elemental qualities that align with nature and the seasons. Let’s explore the heart.

The heart season is summer, and heart is considered the most yang: hot, bountiful and abundant. Yang is what is bright, moving, outward, hot and loud. Yin is what is more inward, still, dark and cooler. The color of the heart is associated with red, the climate is heat, the flavor is bitter and it’s paired organ is the small intestine (many urinary issues are due to “heart fire” heat descending). The sense aligned with heart is the tongue, and the vessels associated with heart are the tissues. The heart sound is laughing, and the emotion is joy. The heart houses what is known as the shen, which is the mind and spirit. continue reading »

Fighting Flu Season with Acupuncture

While the flu is actually not a season, we have become programmed to think of it as the months of November through March. On average, the flu hospitalizes thousands every year, especially the young and elderly. There are also a number of deaths related to the flu, mostly due to people already having compromised immune systems.

The flu, also known as influenza, is a highly contagious respiratory infection that is caused by a number of viruses. To date, there are approximately 26 to 30 different known strains of the flu virus. This is one of the reasons the flu vaccine has only mild efficacy. The flu vaccine itself, typically only covers five to seven strains of the flu.  Symptoms of the flu include fever, coughing, a sore throat, fatigue, muscle aches, pains, runny nose and watery eyes. continue reading »

Gluten Free Halloween Monster Cake Pops


 AniBakes™ Gluten Free Chocolate AniCake™  Halloween Monster Cake Pops

10/18/2016 1:20 AM by Anali Garcia, D.O.M., A.P.
I love Halloween!  I still remember my first Halloween like it was yesterday…I strutted into the Autumn evening garbed in  a red clown suit with white polka dots; and colored my cheeks cherry-apple red with mama’s borrowed lipstick.  I grew up in a very small town, so it was normal to hit every single house within walking distance.  Friendly neighbors greeted us at every home with treats to spare.  Of course, I highly favored anything with chocolate.  I also adored the homemade candies and treats many of the elderly grandmas would lovingly craft for their mini ghoulish visitors.  This recipe is in honor of those inventive grannies, who would lovingly pinch our cheeks and inquire twinkle-eyed and smiling, “Well, well…what do we have here??  And just WHAT are you supposed to be??”  Because no Halloween would be complete without a collection of spooky phantoms and monsters..what better way to celebrate than with these scrumptious, little cake pop goblins that you will want to..well..gobble right up!  Build your own delightfully edible Halloween creatures with AniBakes™ Gluten Free Chocolate AniCake™ with Triple Cocoa Frosting Mix.  These yummy cake pops are also dairy free, and made with Non-GMO ingredients.

What you will need:

One box of  AniBakes™ Gluten Free Chocolate AniCake™ with Triple Cocoa Frosting Mix.

24 ounces of Dairy Free Semisweet Chocolate Chips

Lollipop Sticks (approximately 50)

1   Large Egg

1   1/4 tsp vanilla

1/4 cup vegetable oil

2/3 cup warm water

1/2 cup almond milk or other non-dairy milk alternative

2  1/2 Tbsp of non-hydrogenated shortening

2  1/2 Tbsp of non-dairy butter (we like Earth Balance®

2  1/2 Tbsp of non-hydrogenated shortening

2  1/2 Tbsp of Earth Balance® (or other non-dairy butter)

Parchment paper

Cookie Sheet

Styrofoam Holder (can be a styrofoam block or an empty styrofoam egg carton)

Decorations as desired…we went nuts in the aisles of our local arts and crafts store, Michael’s®



Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease and flour one 9″ round pan.

AniCake™ Batter Mix prep:

Mix egg, vanilla, oil, water, and almond milk together, then add to AniBakes™ Gluten Free Chocolate AniCake™ batter mix.  Mix well.  Pour into prepared pan and bake for 35-40 minutes.  Cake is done when a toothpick comes out with just a few moist crumbs clinging to bottom.  Cool 5 minutes in pan, then invert on a wire rack to finish cooling.

While cake is cooling, prepare frosting mix as follows:

Cut the non-dairy butter with non-hydrogenated shortening into small pieces into your frosting mix.  Add approximately 2 Tbsp of water.  You want a THICK, creamy frosting that is not as spreadable for this portion of the recipe.

Once cake is completely cool, crumble the cake into small pieces in a large mixing bowl.  Then add approximately 6-8 Tbsp of frosting slowly to your cake crumbles, mixing with your hands…add just enough frosting to get a mass of cake that  binds to itself when you squeeze it together…not too dry and crumbly, not too smushy or moist.

Cover your cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Next, measure one heaping Tbsp of your above cake/frosting mixture, roll the mass tightly between your palms to form a little ball, and place on cookie sheet.  Prepare rest of mixture in same manner, then move the cookie sheet lined with cake pops into the refrigerator.  Allow to chill for one hour.

Melt dairy free chocolate chips in a glass microwave safe bowl on defrost setting, stirring occasionally.

Now you are ready to begin the dipping process!  Remove the cake pop balls from refrigerator 5 or 10 at a time, to ensure they stay firm and chilled while you are working.  Insert a lollipop stick firmly and carefully into each ball, and dip into melted chocolate to cover.  Carefully remove the cake pop from melted chocolate and swirl sideways to remove excess.  Poke the cake pop stick into your styrofoam holder to secure, and leave to cool.

Once the melted chocolate cools and hardens, you are ready to decorate!! Mix 1/8 cup of remaining frosting with a few drops of water until you get a more spreadable, glossy frosting mix.  You can use this small remnant of frosting to glue and bind decorations to your cake pops.  Let your imagination take control; get in touch with your inner goblin!  We also used the tip of a fork dipped in frosting to make swirls of hair, spikes, beards, and moustaches on our delicious ghouls.  Enjoy!

Makes approximately 40  cake pops.


May they R.I.M.B.

(Rest in My Belly)  🙂


7 Ways to Communicate Healthy Habits to Your Kids


As the school year resumes, so should your family make efforts to resume healthy habits. We all tend to enjoy summer-vacation months by indulging a little. Maybe you had one too many backyard barbecues, or three too many trips to the favorite ice cream shop down the street. Regardless of your summer vices, you can return to your healthy habits, and re-introduce them into your children’s lives! continue reading »