“I'm about to teach you the secret weapon
of some of the most beautiful women in the world.”
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“French women swear by it to combat cellulite, Brazilian women do it to improve their circulation and reduce water retention. Normally, masseuses go to their house, or they'll go to a clinic, but it’s not a relaxing afternoon at the spa; this is a beauty treatment.
Here in the states, we think lymphatic massage is just for cancer or trauma patients. Not so, it's also a really chic beauty secret, especially overseas, and popular with people who want to detox internally.”
Her voice lowered as she leaned in, a look of seriousness washed across her face
A word of caution: Don't take this lightly. Even though there isn't much pressure being applied, consider this a serious massage. It's moving toxins in your entire body, which can be a really big shock
It can make you feel sick afterward (just like a detox), anything from being a little run-down to flu-like symptoms.”
Nearly three years have passed since I sat with my new physical therapist, pen, and paper in hand.
“When our bodies swell, it's one of two things: Edema (water) and Lymphedema (lymph, water, cellular debris, protein, and fat). In the case of Edema, gravity will be your friend. If you prop your leg up for a while, pretty soon it'll be back to normal. Draining lymph requires a
To drain lymph is a process; to clear one area, others need to first be cleared so there will be space for the lymph to go. For example, you can't clear a leg without first clearing your abdomen.
The lymphatic system is in a very thin space, just under the skin. So you're not massaging with a lot of pressure, instead a very light touch. Like you would if you were petting a cat. Do you have a cat?”
“We have four. Oh, and two dogs.”
She smiled, “Let's get started.”
A continuation today of a short series about the lymphatic system
In Part I: A bit about my journey with lymphedema. Also an overview of its primary purposes, and how fluid is returned to our circulatory system
My favorite visual: Picture a city, the circulatory system is the maze of streets and alleys, whereas the lymphatic system is the network of sewer pipes running underground
A key component of our immune system
Besides returning fluid back to the circulatory system, the lymphatic system also helps cleanse our body of bacteria.
For example, let's say you had a cut, and bacteria have now made their way into the tissues of the infected area. White blood cells will come out in full force to battle it. As the fluid is draining back into the lymph system (think: when it's raining, and water runs down the sewer), the bacteria will be drawn in as well
So now we have lymph filled with protein, water, plasma, cellular waste, and bacteria. It will pass through a series of lymph nodes (we have 600+) on its way back to the heart. They'll do their best to filter and destroy as much of the bacteria as possible
That way, the fluid returning to the circulatory system will be good as new
This is why keeping our lymphatic system functioning at its peak is so important. The stronger it is, the more resilient and reactive our immune response and defense will be
What happens when our lymph system becomes stagnant? Why do we have to take care of our bodies in a different way than our grandparents took care of theirs?
“Just about anything can be called a taco, which essentially means ‘sandwich.'
You take a tortilla, and you put some stuff in it, and you eat it; that’s a taco. (If you roll the tortilla, it’s a burrito, which appears to have been created in the American Southwest; if you layer food on top of it, it’s an enchilada; if you crisp it up and use it as a kind of plate, it’s a tostada; if you cut it into pieces and bake or fry it, it’s a chip; and so on.)” ~ Mark Bittman
Without too valiant an effort, it's possible to create a really great taco at home.
A good taco starts with a good tortilla, and there's nothing like one made of corn. (Your best bet to buy them at a Mexican grocery)
After that it's loaded with a few key components, something crunchy (lettuce or cabbage are typical), then protein, some moisture (think sour cream or guacamole), and maybe cheese. Salsa for hints of brightness and additional heat
Skinless chicken thighs work well for this recipe, because they have more internal fat, more flavor, and they'll hold up better than breasts to the long slow-cooking
The seasonings can be varied as you like. I see the spice mixes here as suggestions rather than ironclad recipes to follow.
References used for this series include The One Simple Thing Podcast – Julia Loggins .. Lymphatic System (Human Body Systems) by Julie McDowell and Michael Windelspect .. How the Immune System Works by Lauren Sompayrac .. LiveScience.com .. National Lymphedema Network
— — —
~ Adapted from Simply Recipes
Slow Cooker Shredded Chicken Tacos
- 2 Tbsp chili powder (heat preference of your choice)
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp fine grain sea salt
- 1 ½ tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp allspice, or a scant pinch of ground cloves
- 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs (don't remove any excess fat)
- ¾ cup pineapple juice
- 2 Tbsp tomato paste
- The rest
- Corn tortillas
- Finely shredded cabbage or lettuce
- Thinly sliced radishes
- Chopped avocado
- Lime wedges
- shredded cheese
- chopped tomatoes
- In a small to medium-sized bowl, add the spices and combine
- Coat chicken with the spice blend by dredging the thighs in the spice mix. Place them in the slow cooker
- Pour the pineapple juice over the chicken and add the tomato paste to the juice.
- Cover and cook in the slow cooker for 3 hours on high (or 6 hours on low)
- When the chicken is done, it should be fork-tender. Using two forks, shred the meat completely in the slow cooker's bowl.
- Use the taco meat with heated and softened corn tortillas, sprinkle with lime juice, adding toppings as you'd like