During Pauline’s last visit to New York, in the midst of the madness of New York Fashion Week, we took a little trip (read: escape) to the heart of Crown Heights, Brooklyn, to visit a newly opened urban oasis. Acupuncturists and alternative health practitioners, Justine Lynch and her husband Tom McCauley, have created something truly special in Mountain, their ‘hybrid space featuring healing food, acupuncture, naturopathy, Chinese herbs and classes for the community. The unique sanctuary offers the complete package whether you’re looking to stop in for nourishment or looking to expand your horizons through Mountain’s workshops – this holistic center is as whole as it gets. As someone who’s always in search of ways to take better care of myself, I took a moment to get some expert advice from Justine herself. Here are some of her pearls of wellness wisdom. Enjoy, and next time you’re in Crown Heights, make it over to the Mountain.
1. With the relentless stresses and temptations of city living, New York can be a challenging place to maintain wellness. What’s one piece of advice for how to stay on track?
One piece of advice is tricky for me, that’s why we opened MOUNTAIN! We believe that health is found through a synergy of care. Healthy food, alternative medicine such as acupuncture and naturopathy , movement arts like Yoga and Qi Gong and herbal tonics and formulas all create a prism toward realizing our potential for well being.
If pressed for one thing I would say quiet. To find a moment of quiet each day where we can remember what is really true about life. This is the most important ( and it’s free!).
2. Mountain is many healthful things from a kitchen to a classroom, as well as a dispensary for herbal supplements. What is your response to naysayers who are supplement skeptics?
I rarely try to convince naysayers of much. It usually is energy not well spent but…Supplements in the form of herbal remedies have been around for as long as humans have walked the earth. Our Direct trade Chinese herbal remedies are ancient formulas and are connected to a long traditions of healing. Our naturopath uses food based supplements like probiotics and digestifs for her Eating for Meaning programs. These are not fad remedies or promises for a quick fix. They are taken via a licensed prescription and ask for compliance and follow ups. It takes a certain willingness to apply these formulas, a certain attention and consistency, but they are extremely powerful!
3. With chillier weather around the corner, what are some foods/supplements that can help keep nasty colds at bay?
That’s a great question! In the area of food, I would suggest our Tonifying Chicken Soup. A long simmer chicken stock from organic pastured chickens with local vegetables, local grains and Chinese herbs for vitality and strength! You might also try our Green Dream cold-pressed juice to increase cleansing and detoxifying.
The gut is 90% of your immune system, so a good quality probiotic or food based culture is essential. I always have essential oils on hand to open the orifices when congested. Our Mountain Essential Oil blend contains a balancing blend of oils that can both ground, ease and clear.
4. From kale to coconut oil, certain foods tend to get trendy and have their 15 minutes of fame in our quest for the fountain of youth (and health). Do you have any current obsessions that might be underrated?
Dare I say it? Fermented Cod Liver oil is a mini obsession. Pretty vile stuff, but this Autumn I will be doing shots of it each day, chased with a hit of local grape juice. It delivers natural forms of important fat soluble vitamins, such as vitamins A, D and K. The fermentation process enhances the nutrient content, which can vary widely from batch to batch. The oil also provides essential omega-3 fats in their most bioavailable forms. It is likely that oil is naturally lower in toxins, although it may contain traces of biogenic amines, which can be problematic for certain sensitive individuals.
On a less yucky note Tom has been baking brownies with whole cacao nuts. They are super crispy and everyone around MOUNTAIN has become addicted. The antioxidants and focusing power of these Raw Cacao Brownies is off the chart!
5. What would you say is the best way to start the day? And the best thing to do before bed?
Best way to start the day with twins or without? Haha…
In the mornings I start the day in quiet, a window, a tree outside of that window, and a cup of green tea. I always eat breakfast with protein in it. This is the way I have found to regulate my appetite and energy.
Best way to end the day? Avoid computers for at least an hour before bed. A gratitude list or prayer and something warm to drink. Everyone talks about not eating too late but, if you suffer from insomnia try warm local milk or almond milk with raw honey and cinnamon and something small like sourdough toast or oats. Often our nervous systems are so fried in New York that we have to treat ourselves like a baby and put the baby to bed…
6. What do you most hope to accomplish with Mountain?