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Created by :

K. Natalia Foster

Tora W. Flint                        Nov  2012

Thanksgiving Food

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In Chinese Medicine, food is a part of the healing process.  Foods are categorized by temperature, flavor and therapeutic action.  Here is a partial list of common Thanksgiving foods and spices and their properties.  Enjoy!

-Natalia Foster, L.Ac.


Turkey - warm, sweet and tonifies qi

Butter - warm, sweet, tonifies yin, promotes blood circulation and counteracts cold

Whole wheat - cool, sweet, tonifies yin and counteracts heat

Spinach - cool, sweet, tonifies blood and yin, counteracts heat

String beans - neutral, sweet, tonifies yin

Carrots - neutral, sweet, tonifies qi, promotes qi circulation, counteracts heat and damp heat, clears toxin

Pumpkin - warm, sweet, tonifies qi, promotes blood circulation, counteracts cold and damp, resolves phlegm

Potato - nuetral, sweet, tonify qi and yin and conteract heats

Sweet potato - neutral, sweet, tonifies qi, blood and yin, removes toxins

Celery - cool, bitter, sweet counteracts heat and damp

Walnut - warm, sweet, tonifies yang and qi, lubricates the intestines, resolves phlegm

Chestnut - warm, sweet, tonifies yang and qi, circulate blood

Fig - neutral, sweet, tonifies qi and blood, counteracts heat and removes toxins

Mandarin orange - cool, sour and sweet, counteracts heat, resolves phlegm, slightly diuretic

Apple - cool, sour and sweet, tonifies yin and qi, counteracts heat and removes toxins

Pear - cool, sour and sweet, tonifies yin, counteracts heat, resolves phlegm, lubricate dryness

Persimmon - cold, sour and sweet, tonifies yin, counteracts heat, resolves phlegm

Cranberry - cold, sour and sweet, counteracts damp heat

Pepper - helps warm the interior

Garlic - hot, pungent, tonifies yang, circulates qi, counteracts damp, resolves phlegm, clears toxins

Cloves - warm, pungent, tonifies yang, counteracts cold, promotes blood circulation

Nutmeg -  warm, pungent, tonifies yang, counteracts cold, promotes qi and blood circulation

Rosemary - warm, pungent, tonifies yang, counteracts cold and damp, resolves phlegm

Eat Sweet Potato Everyday!

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For North Americans, it wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without Brussels sprouts, cranberries, and of course, sweet potatoes.  And for many Chinese, winter wouldn’t be called winter without snacking fresh baked sweet potatoes on the street.

Although we might only perceive sweet potato as a festive food or a seasonal snack, it deserves more of our attention and should be included in our regular diet.  In fact, eating sweet potatoes every day has been inferred as one of the reasons for the people living in Okinawa, Japan to have the longest average life expectancy in the world.

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), sweet potato is “neutral” in nature and has sweet taste.  It can tranquilize mind; preserve youthful skin; nourish spleen, stomach, kidneys; and relieve constipation; not to mention stave off hunger.

From western nutritional point of view, sweet potatoes contain vitamin B6 that can soothe mind as well as boost immunity.  While rich in linoleic acid and fiber, sweet potatoes not only mitigate constipation, but also eliminate the cholesterol inside blood vessel that help prevents arteriosclerosis and thrombosis.

“Unfortunately, since sweet potato also contains abundant of carbohydrate, which has been excluded from many people’s diets completely,” Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Practitioner said. “But if you can take a deeper look at the content of sweet potato, you will realize that sweet potato actually can assist dieters keep in shape.”

Here’s why:  Sweet potato is highly nutritious.  It is rich in sugar, fat, protein, carbohydrate, starch, vitamin A and C, calcium, phosphorus, zinc, iron, magnesium, and potassium.  Although its vitamin B1 and B2 content is six and three times higher than that of rice respectively, 100 grams (3.5 ounces) of sweet potatoes produce only 99 calories, a one-third of rice does.  Furthermore, as sweet potato is an alkaline food, it can help decrease body fat versus acid foods lead to deposit of fat in our body as fat facilitates acidity reduction.

Once called “food for poor people” and “war food” for its inexpensiveness and full feeling in Chinese culture, sweet potato has won a new title—The healthiest vegetable (ranked by World Health Organization in 2008)—that it had deserved for long.

Look for a last-minute easy sweet potato recipe for this Thanksgiving?  Try this super natural one: Hot Sweet Potato Milk.  It has no sugar, butter, or cream cheese added; guarantee healthy yet yummy!


Source :


Sweet Potato Soup

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1 ½ cups yellow split peas

Filtered water

Olive oil

½ tsp. powdered fennel

1 onion

One leek (finely chopped)

I celery stalk (sliced)

½ celery root (cubed)

3 sweet potatoes (cut in large chunks)

2 carrots (sliced)

~1 inch fresh ginger (minced)

1 cup coconut milk

2 bay leaves


Cook peas in a big pot about ½ filled with water for a half hour (or until peas start to soften)

Meanwhile, sauté in olive oil: fennel, onion, leek, celery, celery root.  Add to peas. 

Add sweet potatoes, carrots, ginger, coconut milk, bay leaves.  Let simmer for about an hour, or until sweet potato is soft.  Turn off flame and add miso to taste. 

Let cool a little, then scoop about half of soup into blender or food processor to puree. Combine the pureed mixture with the rest, or puree it all if you prefer it without the chunks.


Meet our intern

Yo San Clinic has an exceptional and diverse intern team. With various professional and educational backgrounds, our Traditional Chinese Medicine students bring a variety of experience, knowledge and care.  In our monthly newsletter, we will introduce you to our new interns and tell you a little bit about what makes them exceptional healers.


Cathleen Jenkins


Cathleen Jenkins has been teaching exercise for 22 years.  Her inspiration to study human movement began at the Joffrey School of Ballet in New York, where she studied intensively until she was 15 years old.  She graduated from Barnard College, Columbia University with a degree in Anthropology and Dance.  There, she studied functional anatomy, Contact Improvisation, classical and post-modern dance with various mentors. She went on to complete 2 years of post-baccalaureate work in the health sciences at City College, while she taught group and one-on-one exercise in many NYC health clubs.   She performed as a dancer at the Minor Latham Playhouse, and a theater artist (actor/poet/singer) in numerous NYC venues including, The Theatre Row Theatre, Theater for the New City, and The Actors’ Studio, where she remains a lifetime member.

In order to learn more about the therapeutic potential of movement, Cathleen sought out a variety of experiences in health care settings.  These include teaching dance/performance to physically challenged children under the mentorship of a Physical Therapist, and working as a PT Aide at a hospital affiliated sports medicine clinic in San Francisco.

In 2001, she moved to Los Angeles, where she discovered her love for the Pilates exercise method. Cathy became certified through a year-long program taught by Jill Cassady, an instructor mentored directly by Romana Kryzanowska, the protégé of Joseph Pilates. While the classical style and its exercises gave her a great foundation, they weren’t accessible enough.  She searched for a deeper, more specific understanding of the intent behind Pilates’ technique, and the freedom to modify exercises. She wanted to share Pilates in way that invited students to truly understand the alignment shifts they were making and gain the confidence necessary to make lasting change.  She has taught in various settings including wellness clinics under the direction of Chiropractors, Physical Therapists and Acupuncturists. She designed the Pilates program for a local LA health club and trained other instructors, in addition to continually studying with her mentors.  She teaches private and semi-private sessions in her own studio located in the Westwood area of Los Angeles.

Cathy is currently a 3rd year graduate student at Yo San University in Los Angeles. She plans to combine Traditional Chinese Medicine with her experience in exercise and structural alignment by specializing in Orthopedics while also incorporating her experience in the creative arts to treat psychological/stress related disorders.


To book an appointment with Cathleen, call us at (310) 577-3006.

Meet our Doctoral Candidate

rochan 2Rochan Olson L.Ac. grew up in the mid-west.  She received her BA at Montana State University in technical theater.  After graduation she traveled around the states working in various theaters as an equity Stage Manager.  After spending a year and half on a cruise ship as the manager for Dance Company, she finally reached her burn out point.  Rochan then at the behest of a friend moved to Los Angeles to “find herself”.   When in La she worked as a lighting sales rep and started school for massage therapy.  Always the nurturer and care giver, working on and taking care of her cast, crew and family, this was the next natural step and her path to healing had begun.  As a massage therapist she would hear many health complaints and complications from her clients.  Their frustration with current medical treatments made her think there had to be a better way to heal and maintain a healthy life.  After taking a continuing education class at Yo San, she had her “Ah Ha moment”, and knew this was the answer.  She enrolled in Yo San’s program that spring and started her path to becoming an acupuncturist.   After a year she made the commitment to move back to LA and become a full time student.  She graduated in 2011, passed her boards and now has a practice in Hollywood’s Larchmont area.  She sees a wide variety of issues and has had great results with chronic conditions like Chronic Fatigue syndrome and those mysterious illnesses that Western medicine does seem to help with.  She loves helping people and believes she has found her passion.

Now enrolled in Yo San’s doctoral program for Healthy Aging and Longevity, she is looking to further her knowledge and skills.  Rochan is looking to focus her doctorate on both the prevention and management of osteoporosis.  This is a topic near and dear to her, for her grandmother passed away in severe pain from a crumbling spine and her mother is headed down the same road. She hopes to help those with this problem as well as other problems caused by declining health and wellness.  Rochan believes to help her patients live healthier lives with less medical intervention, there needs to be collaboration between Western and Eastern medicines as well as with the patient. Rochan is currently treating patients on Sunday mornings at Yo San University Clinic. 


Yo San's Doctoral Students are Blazing Paths for Acupuncture Research:


In March of 2012 Yo San graduated its first Doctoral Cohort.  Each student submitted a capstone project presenting initial research on a particular women's health issue and the effects of acupuncture and Chinese Herbs.  These capstone projects are available here and our newsletters will feature abstracts for you to enjoy.


The Role of Vitamin D in Fertility and Gestational Development: Eastern and Western Perspectives by Paula D. Kunkel, L.Ac.FABORM, MT(ASCP)


A great deal of research and theorization has been generated regarding factors influencing human fertility and gestational development. Complementary medicine, including the acupuncture and herbal treatment methods of Traditional Chinese Medicine, is often sought out and concurrently used with allopathic medicine by individuals seeking reproductive assistance. The impact of serum vitamin D levels on physiological functioning is one factor that has been and continues to be investigated for its impact on the reproductive system as well as for overall health. The current study utilized grounded theory method to review existing literature for the purpose of generating a clearer understanding of vitamin D's influence in fertility and gestational development from both Western and Eastern medical perspectives. Qualitative data were complied and analyzed to discover common themes as well as differences in medical philosophical perspectives.

Clinic Hours

Yo San Clinic is Open 7 Days a Week!

Monday through Friday  - 8 am to 9 pm

Saturday - 8:30 am to 5:30 pm

Sunday - 1:30 pm to 5:30 pm


Healthy Aging Clinic & Fertility Clinic

Sunday - 8:30 am to 1:30 pm

Tel: (310) 577-3006

Fax: (310) 577-3033


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Yo San Community Clinic
13315 West Washington Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90066

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