Food as Medicine, Healthy Recipes

Delicious Borscht and Spring Cleaning

Happy Spring! Whether it’s clutter, bad habits, or obligations that no longer serve us, it’s the perfect time to get rid of the old to make space for healthier choices. It’s also a perfect time to work on your immune system and get ahead of seasonal allergies. If you’d like help with this — or any other health concerns— we’re open and ready to serve! For the health and safety of all patients — and per city code—masks are still required in the clinic. Thank you for understanding!

For those interested, I’ll soon be guest-hosting several Twitter Spaces and podcasts, as well as presenting at a Gala event. On April 5th, I’ll guest host Rachel Thompson’s #SexAbuseChat on Twitter Spaces. I’ll discuss various integrative medicine treatments for victims of sexual abuse. Later this month, I’ll discuss the importance of doing what brings us pleasure even when— especially when— times are challenging on the Buried Pleasures Podcast on a date TBD. I’m honored to be a guest on Michelle Torez’s YouTube show about surviving tragedy. Michelle was a victim of horrendous, institutional abuse as a child and is now a a passionate mental health and abuse survivor advocate.

Lastly, I’m honored to present an award to Kim Cookson (founder and director of the Southern California Counseling Center’s Trauma and Resiliency Training Program) at SCCC’s annual Gala on Saturday, April 30th. As most of you know, SCCC was critical to my healing after my daughter died. I’ve done fundraising events in Alice’s memory for SCCC ever since, with hope that everyone can access the affordable, effective treatments that changed my life.

The Gala can be attended in-person or virtually. Tickets are available here if you are interested:


Public comments needed as Medicare considers adding acupuncture coverage.

There has been a recent proposal to cover acupuncture for Medicare patients with chronic low back pain in the wake of the opioid crisis. You can read the article.

Health Secretary Alex Azar said, “Defeating our country’s epidemic of opioid addiction requires identifying all possible ways to treat the very real problem of chronic pain, and this proposal would provide patients with new options while expanding our scientific understanding of alternative approaches to pain.”

Public comments are being accepted by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services through August 14th. If you would like to see acupuncture added as a benefit, please click on the link HERE then hit the orange “Comment” button below the title to express your experience and interest.

I am thrilled to see that Medicare is finally considering acupuncture coverage, but it will take all of us to see it through! You can read more about the proposal HERE.

Watermelon and mint are both used in #traditionalchinesemedicine to Clear Heat. Here’s a very simple—and delicious—salad to help you beat the heat, stay hydrated and get some Vitamin A and C, Lycopene, Cucurbitacin E, and citrulline, therefore this salad is full of things that will keep you hydrated, fight cancer and inflammation, and help joint pain. Additionally, mint is known to improve digestion. 🍉🍃
Here I simply cubed some watermelon, sprinkled some feta and torn mint leaves, and added a bit of salt, pepper, and squeezed on some fresh lime juice. Simple. Delicious. Nutritious. Cooling. Enjoy!

To your health,



Navigating Difficult Emotions with Yoga and Acupuncture Workshop: Saturday, June 15 from 2:30-4:30

Relax, restore, and learn to remain
resilient as we enjoy:

  • opening meditation and breathwork
  • writing your intentions
  • active yoga poses, mantras, and kriyas
    to unwind the body from the physical
    aspects of grief and trauma
  • auricular acupuncture while enjoying
    restorative poses and guided
  • reevaluate, in writing, your renewed
  • Closing meditation

Our last workshop on this topic was a success and a lot of healing took place. I do hope you’ll join us for this one. You can register by sending the $50 course fee via the Venmo address in the flyer above or via Paypal here.

To your health,


Food as Medicine, Healthy Recipes, Uncategorized

Roasted Cauliflower with Almonds, Parmesan, and Olives served with Basil-Kale Pesto Pasta.

I created the following recipes just for you. They are easy to prepare and picky-kid-approved. Enjoy!

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, cauliflower is used to reduce heat and stagnation in the body, particularly in the lungs. Western science has also demonstrated the health benefits of cauliflower. According to the National Cancer Institute:

“Indoles and isothiocyanates have been found to inhibit the development of cancer in several organs in rats and mice, including the bladder, breast, colon, liver, lung, and stomach.”

National Cancer Institute, Cruciferous Vegetables

A study published in Carcinogenesis also found sulforaphane may reduce the incidence and rate of chemically induced mammary tumors in animals Other studies have demonstrated that the sulforaphane in cauliflower significantly improves blood pressure and kidney function. Cauliflower is high in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, including choline, which is important to brain function. It is also great for the digestive system.

Combining cauliflower with oils and protein is not only delicious, it also enhances absorption. I often serve this dish with pasta tossed in my Basil-Kale Pesto, which is also very healthy, delicious, and kid-approved.

I created this basil-kale pesto as a way to get some more nutrition into my picky ten-year-old daughter. It worked! She loves it, and I know she is getting extra greens, garlic, and healthy fats in her diet. I reserve some extra pesto to use on salmon or chicken for future meals. To store in the fridge, just add a little oil to the top and seal with a lid or kitchen wrap. You can also use an ice-cube tray, and freeze the remaining pesto in serving size chunks; just pop out a few next time you want to use pesto in a dish. You can also experiment with different herb and nut combinations to create pestos with different health benefits and flavor profiles.

In addition to being a cruciferous vegetable like cauliflower (with similar health benefits), Kale is one of the most nutritionally-dense foods available. It is packed with vitamins A, B6, C, E and K. Parsley, another ingredient in these dishes, is also high in vitamin K which is important to blood-clotting and bone metabolism.

Because of its high vitamin K content, patients on blood-thinners should talk to their prescribing doctor before adding any more vitamin K to their diet.

Kale is also very high in fiber, copper, manganese, calcium, potassium, magnesium and iron. It has very high concentrations of the anti-oxidants lutein and beta carotene, which are important for your eyes, overall immunity, and fighting cancer. Kale is also a power anti-inflammatory, which is important for the prevention and maintenance of joint and muscle pain, arthritis, Alzheimer’s, and autoimmune diseases.

*Pine Nuts are full of healthy fats and lead to the release of CCK, an appetite-suppressing hormone. They contain high concentrations of magnesium, which is helpful since most of us are deficient which leads to numerous health issues. They also help boost energy, support heart health, contain lutein for eye health, and are full of anti-oxidants.

*Basil is also high in vitamin K, making this dish a vitamin K powerhouse. (Check with your doctor if you are on blood-thinners or other medications!) Like kale, it is also high in vitamin A, C, iron, manganese, magnesium, and calcium. Its natural oils and flavonoids have antibacterial properties that have demonstrated the ability to fight even the toughest bacteria.

*We’ve discussed the well-researched health benefits of garlic many times here before, but in short: garlic is one of the best foods you can consume to boost immunity and anti-oxidant levels. It is also a powerful ally in maintaining heart health and reducing blood pressure and cholesterol. I would say it is one of the top three most important foods to have in your daily diet.

*Olive oil and olives, are full of healthy fats, increase the absorption of the vitamin and mineral contents of the other ingredients, are high in cancer-fighting anti-oxidants, may reduce this risk of stroke, protect the heart, protect against ulcers, and may protect against type-2 diabetes. They also have wonderful anti-inflammatory effects, which is important for protecting our brain from Alzheimer’s, as well as being beneficial for those with joint and muscle pain, arthritis, and auto-immune disorders. They are also antibacterial and show promise in protecting against colon, skin, and breast cancer.

I had fun testing and creating these recipes and continue to have fun serving them to my loved ones. I hope you will enjoy them.

To your health,


Health and Wellness Education

How to beat Big Pharma

“For ten years after the drug’s introduction, in 1996, Purdue Pharma aggressively promoted OxyContin, falsely claiming that it posed little or no risk of addiction and encouraging its prescription for chronic pain—after surgeries when opioid pain relief was not warranted, and in quantities that far exceeded patients’ needs. The company provided financial incentives for doctors to encourage these practices. PAIN activists argue that the fines paid by the company, such as the six-hundred-million-dollar penalty in the 2007 New York case and several million donated to efforts to combat the opioid epidemic, are insignificant compared to the tens of billions of dollars that Purdue has made off OxyContin.” – Gessen, M. (2019, February). Nan Goldin leads a protest at the Guggenheim against the Sackler family. The New Yorker

I have known about the evil side of Big Pharma since 1991, but this case takes the cake. And let’s not forget all the cash Purdue made peddling Narcan, a treatment for the opioid addiction of their own creation. That’s next-level evil.

So many lives have been upended by addiction to a drug that was marketed as “safe.” The destruction to the addicts’ family unit and community is incalculable.

There’s a lot to be angry at these days. I can’t physically/mentally/emotionally afford to get angry about all the things; I will target all of my anger toward evils such as this.

Pharmaceuticals have saved lives, no doubt. But pushing a medication with known addiction risks, bold-face lying about those risks, raking in money as an epidemic unfolds, and then creating – and profiting from – a TREATMENT FOR ADDICTION TO THE DRUG THEY CREATED makes me want to start a riot.

Unfortunately, I’m afraid of going to jail.

Therefore, I will start a riot another way. We have to educate people to take better care of themselves so that they can avoid these types of medication. The average person knows more about how their phone works than how their body works. Yes, some people have conditions that require opioids, but many of us simply need the basics: more efficient movement patterns; a few simple stretches to unwind the tension caused by our particular habitual postures and movements; better sleep, diet and hydration; and healthier options for managing stress.

It’s not rocket science, and it certainly does not cost much money. It’s 100% free to improve your sleeping habits, for instance. The medical industrial complex cannot make money from insomnia and neck tension created by poor sleeping habits if you learn how to take better care of yourself, because those conditions can be easily be treated without pharmaceuticals. Don’t worry, they have plenty of opportunity to make money off of insomnia and neck pain caused by other reasons.

We’ve been trained since childhood that simply taking a tiny pill will magically undo all the harm we’ve done to our bodies by ignoring the aforementioned basics. We’d rather take a risky pill than change the things necessary to improve our health because we’ve been trained to do so. We can learn new ways, because we are intelligent.  

Unfortunately, there will always be genetic diseases, infectious diseases, traumatic injuries, and other unforeseen, catastrophic illnesses. I am grateful that effective, pharmaceutical treatments are available in these cases. But having a sore neck because you work a desk all day is something that can easily be treated with a few basic changes in habits with no nasty, life-destroying, side-effects.

I have no idea how we get the greed out of Big Pharma; it’s a Big Problem. I do, however, know how to help people avoid pharmaceuticals as much as possible. Again, there are many conditions that require pharmaceutical interventions, but many do not. Many drugs are overprescribed, and I know many MD’s who would agree that we should all do what is within our power to avoid pharmaceuticals in the first place.

I hope to God I live long enough to see the people behind OxyContin and Narcan go to jail. I probably won’t; they’ll probably get away with little more than a relatively insignificant fine. If some poor schmuck sold this stuff on the street, he would absolutely go to jail. Meanwhile, the architects of this opioid epidemic will remain free in the mansions they purchased with the four-billion-dollars in opioid profits. It steams my ass. As I said earlier, it makes me want to start a riot.

My riot will not be in the streets. My riot will be right here, creating content to help you take better care of yourself. I will continue to post free health and wellness tips, and I am in the process of creating some inexpensive content that will teach you how to master the basics of good health.

Take Good Care,



Navigating Difficult Emotions with Yoga and Acupuncture

I invite you to join us Sunday, September 30th from 4-6 PM at Radha Yoga in West Adams for a very special event. In this workshop we will:


  • open with a short meditation
  • identify in writing the difficult emotion(s) with which you are struggling (you may share, or not, no pressure either way)
  • move through an one-hour yoga portion (ALL LEVELS WELCOME from absolute beginners to advanced students)
  • continue with auricular acupuncture as you enjoy the shavasana and meditation portion
  • conclude by identifying your emotional state at the end of the workshop and writing down three things for which you are grateful

The goal is to observe, without judgment, how you move through difficult emotions and to observe how these emotions transform when you address them head on and move through them. As we learn about ourselves and our reactions, we can better steer ourselves through difficult times. This is a practice I have used through the tragedy in my life; I strongly feel it made all the difference. I have observed others do this as well.
We cannot avoid difficult times for an entire lifetime, but we can learn how to better navigate those times so that they do not end up consuming our entire lifetime. 

If this speaks to you, I hope to see on the 30th; you can register in the link here. Just click on the link, and once you are on the scheduling page, click on the 30th on the calendar. It will walk you through from there.

To your health,



Acupuncture, Brain Chemistry and Acupuncture, Parkinson's

Acupuncture Modulates the Cerebello-Thalamo-Cortical Circuit and Cognitive Brain Regions in Patients of Parkinson’s Disease With Tremor

Here is a nice study demonstrating the ability of acupuncture to treat Parkinson’s patients with tremor.

” The cerebellum, thalamus and motor cortex, which are connected to the cerebello-thalamo-cortical (CTC) circuit, were modulated by the acupuncture stimulation to alleviate the PD tremor. The regulation of neural activity within the cognitive brain regions (the DMN, visual areas, insula and PFC) together with CTC circuit may contributes to enhancing movement and improving patients’ daily life activities.
(PDF) Acupuncture Modulates the Cerebello-Thalamo-Cortical Circuit and Cognitive Brain Regions in Patients of Parkinson’s Disease With Tremor. Available from:’s_Disease_With_Tremor [accessed Jul 08 2018].”

The ability of acupuncture to modulate the thalamus is also of note to folks who suffer from PTSD and extreme anxiety because the breakdown of processing in the thalamus is one of the hallmarks of PTSD .

If you have any questions about acupuncture for Parkinson’s Disease or PTSD, reach out to us today!


(Photo by Ricardo Gomez)

Acupuncture, Anxiety, Breath, Calm, eastside, Meditation, Relaxation, Stress Relief

Simple, Quick, Effective and Free: Breathe Away the Stress

Over the years, I have studied various forms of breath control and meditation and implement these practices in my daily life.  Some days one feels like Sisyphus, rolling that rock up the hill for all eternity.  It is on those days that I find the practices of breath control and meditation especially helpful.  I also teach my patients various forms of breath control and meditation, according to their individual needs.

I have studied methods that originate from various religions or philosophies, and I have studied methods that are completely non-denominational.  You do not have to subscribe to any particular religion to get the benefits of breath work.  You do not have to hide in a cave and quit your job.  You do not have to wear a bindi, light incense, and sit on a $50 pillow.  You can do those things if you like, but it is not necessary.  All you need is your body to do effective breath work.

My friend Bruce posted a great article on the benefits of breath work today.  I wanted to share it with you here.  I will also include an example of a simple, effective breathing exercise.

There are two branches of our autonomic nervous system: the sympathetic (fight or flight) and the parasympathetic (rest and digest).  Most of us spend far too much time in sympathetic nervous system control, and not enough in parasympathetic.  Therefore, we are not as calm as we would like to be most of the time.  Ideally, we can alternate between the two systems with ease, but sometimes a person becomes stuck in fight or flight.  This not only makes us more reactive than we need to be in certain situations, it can cause — or exacerbate — many health issues.  Most of the autonomic functions are involuntary, but breath is both voluntary and involuntary, making breath work an excellent way to switch from sympathetic to parasympathetic nervous system control.

Here is an iTunes recording of yours truly leading a simple breathing exercise that you can do anywhere.  You will inhale for a full count of six, and then exhale for a full count of six. If you find it difficult to inhale or exhale for a full count of six, do not fret!  Just do you best; you will still benefit from the practice.  The audio has a short introduction before the five minute breathing exercise.

For my patients that want to incorporate breath work into their day but think they don’t have time, I suggest they set an alarm twice a day at times that work for their schedule.  When the alarm sounds, I suggest that they stop what they are doing and take five minutes to simply focus on breathing.  One can eventually increase the time spent on breath work, but I have found that patients are more compliant if I give them an initial target that they can easily hit.  We all waste five minutes several times a day, why not use a few of those minutes to improve your health?

There are endless courses on breath work and meditation for those that wish to expand their practice. But I find that it is daily practice that really helps to remind our nervous system that it has a parasympathetic option.  It is not unlike beginning an exercise routine.  Short daily workouts will provide better results than going to the gym for two hours once a month.  By all means, take a breathing or meditation course if you are inspired to do so, but daily practice will reap the most benefits.

Breath work has a great return on investment… and doesn’t cost a dime.




Acupuncture for Anxiety

I have found acupuncture to be a great treatment for anxiety. I would say at least 50% of my patients complain of anxiety, even if it is not the reason they walked in the door. Most are surprised that acupuncture is so effective in managing anxiety. This is a nice study, and it provides a nice explanation of how acupuncture works on anxiety.

If you suffer from anxiety and have any questions, we’ll be happy to help.

Acupuncture as a Therapeutic Treatment for Anxiety


eastside, news

New location for Eastside Family Acupuncture

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Eastside Family Acupuncture is located at
2950 Los Feliz Blvd ste 203
Los Angeles, CA 90039
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Call 213-308-3090 or email to make your appointment today.

My objective

My primary objective is to educate my patients so that they can take control of their own health and vitality
― dr. Melissa M Monroe