Meet Lauren Kaneko-Jones: Licensed Acupuncturist and Seasonal Wellness Expert
What is seasonal wellness exactly? Seasonal wellness expert Lauren Kaneko-Jones of Well in the West explains, “The shifts within the year all have parallels for how to do self-care differently during different seasons of the year or seasons of life.” In a nutshell, seasonal wellness is listening to our bodies as the seasons change.
She shares, “When we allow the gentle shifts of the seasons of the year to guide us through change, life gets much easier. The seasons of life get easier too. As humans it is common for people to stay longer than they want in a state of being stuck. Seasonal wellness help to support ourselves through the changes.”
In our Soup for the Soul: Immunity-Boosting Bone Broth workshop, we learned how to make this tasty bone broth from Lauren herself. Here, she shares her go-to broth recipe along with other tips to keep us well this season.
Where did you grow up? What was your experience with food during your childhood?
I grew up in Berkeley CA and was a very picky eater as a kid. I liked pretty plain food. My brother always made fun of me for ordering plain udon when we would go out for Japanese food. I liked to bake and have always enjoyed the sweet reward of a delicious baking project.
How would you describe your wellness journey?
Both my parents dealt with illness since I was young. I had a bout of pretty serious illness my freshman year of high school and again in college. Wellness has come to me out of the desire to live well and not fall into the chronic disease lifestyle that my parents had to deal with. Acupuncture and Chinese medicine have been pivotal in helping me stay well.
How did you first get into Chinese medicine and acupuncture?
I fell in love with the medicine even though I had a hard time receiving acupuncture needles. I loved the philosophy. A lot of the organ system function totally made sense for me. I was living in New York City after college and was dealing with some scary sensory healthy symptoms. I went to two M.D.s and they didn’t have answers. I went to an acupuncturist and she helped me a ton. It was incredible to have someone see that something wasn’t working well and have ways to help me.
Can you share more about seasonal wellness? Why do you think it’s so important?
Seasonal wellness is an incredibly simple way to remember that we change. In the wellness world it is common to know a teacher’s morning routine or herbs that they swear by. Just as the seasons change, so do you. There are shifts in the organs that are working a bit harder. Our emotional capacity is different in different seasons. When we talk about life we understand the phrase, “I had a really hard season.” It encloses a chapter of life that began and ended and then life moved on. The shifts within the year all have parallels for how to do self-care differently during different seasons of the year or seasons of life.
What are you top three tips for staying well during the colder months?
Cut out or limit sugar. This is not a popular answer, but it’s very powerful - cut out or limit sugar. That means sweet treats and alcohol.
Herbs like elderberry syrup! Take herbs to boost your immune system. Different formulas work well for different bodies. One of my favorites is elderberry syrup. Elderberry syrup is sweet AND great for the immune system. Maybe you get your sweet tooth satisfied with herbal medicine!
If you are tired, rest. Being tired and having an extra achy neck and shoulders can be the first signs of getting sick. Taking a ton of herbs, resting, eating well during this time can fend off a lot! Once we get the sore throat or beginning symptoms we can shorten the illness but not eliminate.
What’s so great about bone broth? Why do you think it’s so trendy right now?
Bone broth is an incredible health aid. It’s the real deal. I think it’s quite trendy for a couple reasons. One of which a lot of asian foods which are big on incredible broth are quite trendy like ramen and pho. I also think people are searching for good nourishment. We are living in a time when people cook less than ever before, but we still need the nutrients and nourishment that home cooking can give us.
What are the health benefits of bone broth?
There are so many! Basically it helps the gut which supports many systems in our bodies. In Chinese medicine bone broth also builds blood. This is great for anyone that works out a lot, menstruates or is a bit exhausted. In our busy city lives we all need a little more nourishment.
How would you describe your best self? What are some things you do to get there?
My best self is well nourished. This means spiritually, emotionally, physically. This allows me to give incredible acupuncture treatments, see people, be present. To get there I need time in nature, I love taking my dog on hikes. I also get treatments on a regular basis. I cook a lot. The practice of being in the kitchen is incredibly nourishing for me as is eating the food I created.
The first thing I do in the morning: Take my temperature! I use the Daysy thermometer which is a birth control device.
My go-to breakfast: Hmmm, this changes with the seasons.
On a typical Sunday, you can find me: Going to the farmer’s market, going for a hike and spending time preparing for the week.
My guilty pleasure: Sweets + some junk food! I love eating well 95% of the time, but sometimes life is easier when we eat what is simple for us - like a Costco hot dog.
Life motto: Soften + surrender.
Simple Chicken Bone Broth
3lbs chicken bones
(my favorite blend:
1.5 lbs feet / heads for gelatin
1.5 lbs chicken backs or bones with a bit of meat for flavor)
1Tbsp apple cider vinegar
Optional – add salt, kombu, carrots, celery + veggies
Herbalicious boost blend:
1/4 cup astragalus root
3-4 red dates aka jujubes
1.5” fresh ginger root
Turn on low and simmer for 3 hours you can do this in a crock pot. Do not boil! The low heat allows the broth to cook slowly and not gather scum on top.
After 3 hours of simmering add in herbs and continue to simmer on low for one hour.
Strain broth into jars, freeze or use within 3 days.
More from Lauren: