Ying Yang Xue

"If something is cold, heat it. If something is hot, cool it." –Huangdi Neijing

Archive for the month “July, 2012”

Superfood Salad

I don’t get as excited as many people do about salads.   Sure, I enjoy them, but they’re usually nothing to write home about.  CB’s blood-boosting salad is definitely an exception.   Considering it’s a kale-based salad, that’s even more impressive! The kale and beets were expertly cut down to manageable sizes, the apples were crisp & sweet, and the toasted pumpkin seeds and salt brought it to a whole  ‘nother level.   I had more than my fair share of this salad, and I suggest you make this one ASAP!


TCM DOS:  Blood Deficiency


TCM SS- Numbness of limbs, pale complexion, anxiety, dry hair and skin, nervousness,  lassitude, tiredness, blurred or poor vision, spots in field of vision, thin hair, depression, poor sleep, amenorrhea or scanty menses, constipation, dizziness, headache, infertility, cold hands and feet, psoriasis, menstrual cramps.

Western Correlations- Anemia, amenorrhea, depression, low blood pressure, irregular menstruation, chronic fatigue syndrome, infertility, miscarriages.

Foods That Help- All meats especially pork, beets, cherries, eggplant, spinach, sweet potato, dates, grapes, lychee fruit, mulberry, raspberry, millet, wheat, corn, oats , rice, chestnut, black beans, cows milk, honey, molasses, green olives, mussels, oysters, spirulina.

Foods To Avoid- High fat animal diets, sweet foods, highly processed or refined foods, cold or frozen foods, alcohol, caffeine.

Helpful Cooking Methods- Grilling, frying, baking, searing, simmering in liquid and cooking with alcohol.

Other Tips- Due to the weak nature of Blood Deficient people one should focus on a balanced lifestyle. Regular eating and sleeping times, balancing activity with rest. Eat nourishing warm foods that support the Middle Jiao function. Strenuous exercise is not recommended due to the exhaustion of qi.


Northwest Salad


2 cups of packed Kale (or Chard), washed and de-stemmed

1/2 cup of grated carrot

1/2 cup of grated beet

1 apple grated with skin

2-3 tbs olive oil

1-2 tbs citrus juice (lemon)

2 tbs apple cider vinegar

1/3 cup toasted pumpkin seeds

Salt and Pepper to taste


Use a food processor if available to chop kale into small pieces. You may hand chop kale into small pieces as well. Grate Carrot, Beet, Apple. Toast pumpkin seeds in a skillet over medium heat for 5-6 minutes until lightly brown and salt lightly.

Mix oil, citrus juice and apple cider vinegar. Salt and pepper to taste.

Toss all ingredients and cover lightly with dressing.


Ingredient Benefits-

Kale- A super food that supplies the body with chlorophyll, calcium, iron and vitamin A.

Carrot- Its sweet flavor that benefits the middle jiao and spleen. Their alkaline nature cleanses acidic blood.

Beet- Strengthens the heart and purifies the blood. Used with carrots for hormone regulation.

Pumpkin seeds- Benefit the stomach, good source of zinc and Omega-3 fatty acid.

Apple- Produces body fluids, benefits low blood sugar and alleviates depression.

Lemon- Improves the absorption of minerals and cleanses blood.


Blood boosting, Southern-style

The quote of the day came from KH, who said “I’ll eat B’s collards, but I still won’t eat my mom’s!”  This week, BH made a delicious crockpot dish with Andouille sausage, beets, collards, and lentils.  The aim?  To build blood.  The result? Deliciousness.  I had never had beets prepared in such a slow-cooked way; while they lost a great deal of their rich color & intense flavor, their nutritious properties were retained in the broth of this dish, adding to the overall depth.   The spice was wonderful, the lentils an al dente delight, and the collards cooked to perfection.

As Doctors of Oriental Medicine, we are often too quick to recommend meat-based dishes for our blood deficient patients.  This is a wonderful dish in that it is still very nourishing even with the meat taken out; the lentil, beets, and collards all work toward building blood.

TCM DOS:  Blood deficiency

Western Correlations:  Anemia, fatigue, irregular or light menses, muscular weakness, pale gums and lower eyelids, dry hair/skin/nails

TCM S/S:  Fatigue, overall body soreness/weakness,  irregular or light menses, cold limbs or extremities, blurred vision, dry hair/skin/nails, poor memory, palpitations, pale complexion, itchy skin, dizziness

Tongue:  Pale to purple, thin, dry

Pulse:  Choppy, weak

Foods that help:  Dark leafy greens, animal proteins, wheat, oats, rice, chestnuts, black beans, lentils, cherries, beets, red grapes, raspberries, meat/marrow/bones, molasses, dates, figs

Foods to avoid:Salads, raw fruits and vegetables, ice cream, cold dairy products, oily foods, refined sugars, sweets

Helpful cooking methods:Salting as well as many of the warming cooking methods

Sausage, Collard & Beet boil

Old school crock-pot FTW!


  • 2 quarts low sodium chicken broth
  • 14 oz Andouille sausage, sliced
  • 1 bunch fresh collard greens, de-stemmed, sliced in ribbons
  • 1 raw beet, peeled
  • 16 oz lentils


  • Bring chicken broth to a boil in 2 quart crock pot and add sliced Andouille sausage
  • Rinse, de-stem, and ribbon slice one bunch of collard greens and add to chicken broth and sausage stew once sausage is floating
  • Peel and cube one raw beet and add to soup at any time
  • Allow this mixture to stew in crock pot on high until beets and collard greens are tender, 1-2 hours
  • Add bag of lentils an let simmer for 20-30 minutes
  • Remove from heat and serve
  • Make 8-10 servings

Celery smiles & Snowballs in Florida

KH came at Liver Qi Stagnation from two angles: nourishing the liver and calming the shen, and using the sour taste to move liver qi.   He absolutely hit it out of the park on both counts!   KH attained the ever-elusive perfect amount of sweetness in the cherry date balls (I wasn’t sure with the first one, so I had to have 16 more).  His pickled carrots, however, were an unexpected hit.  They came with a warning that they would, in fact, move our qi in a big way; I think it’s fair to say that they lived up to that promise in the most delicious, healthy way.  They woke up our tastebuds and got that liver qi zingin’.

OH!  I almost forgot the best part! Be sure to pay attention to KH’s instruction for the pickled carrots–he instructs us to cut the celery into 1/2 “smiles.”  You know your dish is going to be good when “smile” is used as a unit of measurement.

TCM DOS:  Liver Qi Stagnation

TCM SS:  Chest Distention, Hypochondriac Pain and or Distention, Sighing, Nausea, Vomiting, Poor Appetite, Diarrhea, Depression, Irritability Moodiness, Plum Pit Qi, PMS, Breast Tenderness, Painful and or Irregular Menstruation.  Tongue:  Light Red with Thin White Coat.  Pulse:  Wiry

Western Correlations:  Amenorrhea, Chest Pain, Chronic Cholecystitis, Depression, Dysmenorrhea, Gastritis, Headache, Hypochondriac Pain, Indigestion, Irregular menstruation, Irritable Bowle Syndrome.

Foods that Help: Onions, Garlic, Celery, Mustard Greens, Turmeric, Basil, Bay Leaf, Cardamom, Cumin, Fennel Marjoram, Dill, Black Pepper, Horse Raddish, Cerry, Rosemary, Pickeled Vegetables, Cabbage, Beets, Cauliflower, Broccoli, Carrots, Plums,

Foods to Avoid: Alcohol, Caffinated Coffee, Fatty or Fried Foods, Highly Processed or Refined Foods, Very Spicy or Hot Foods, Heavy Red Meats, Sweet and Sugary Foods.

Lifestyle:  If you feel the symptoms of Liver Qi Stagnation: Disengage for a while from the internet, video games and email, including your phone.    Light exercise such as walking can help to move your qi and Tai Chi or Yoga can provide both exercise and relaxation.  Don’t forget to receive regular acupuncture treatments to be your best.

Helpful Cooking Methods: lightly cooked, steamed or boiled

Easy Peasy Cherry Date Balls

This recipe is a variation of “No Bake Cherry Date Balls” from www.dishbytrish.com

This recipe is dairy-free, gluten-free and vegan.  They will keep in the refrigator for 5-7 days or you can freeze them.  This recipe should make about 15 one inch balls.


1/3 cup each of Pine nuts, sunflower seeds and Pumpkin seeds

Pinch of fine sea salt

2/3 cup Medjool dates, pitted

1/3 cup dried cherries, unsweetened

¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons water

¼ cup flaked coconut, unsweetened


Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Place seeds and salt in a blender or food processor and blend until fine.  Add dates and cherries and pulse until incorporated.  Add vanilla and water and pulse for a few seconds or until the mixture is sticky.  Shape mixture into 1-inch smooth balls.  Mix seeds and coconut together.  Dip date balls into coconut flakes. Place on baking sheet and freeze for 1 hour.  Serve cool.

The dates calm the spirt and have a sedative effect.  The cherries nourish the liver.  Pine nuts are good for the Liver and treats vertigo and dizziness.

Sunflower seeds subdues the liver and pumkin seeds are green which is the 5E color of the liver.

Zanahorias en escabeche: Pickled Carrots, Mexican Style

From www.foodfromeast.com


1-2 quarts apple cider vinegar

8 large carrots, well scrubbed and sliced into ½ inch pieces

4 celery stalks cut into ½ inch smiles

6 large bay leaves

4 allspice berries

1 Tablespoon cumin seeds ( I had to substituted ¾ Tablespoon ground cumin)

2 tsp sea salt


Place carrots in large steel pot, add the seasonings and cover with vinegar, bring all ingredients to a boil, then turn off heat.  Pour into a large glass jar and let cool to room temperture.  Add celery smiles and refrigerate over night.  Other vegetables such as jicama or cucumbers may be added.

The Vinegar strongly moves liver qi as it is warm, pungent and slightly bitter.  The carrots are sweet, neutral and improve liver function. Celery calms the liver as well as reduces hypertension.  The bay leaves, allspice and cumin are acrid and move qi and promote digestion.

Comfort food to calm the Liver

This week was all about soothing the liver to overcome liver qi stagnation–timely, since we had our midterm exam during the first half of this class!  TB went the “comfort food” route for her dish; after all, when you’re stressed and at your wit’s end, what else do you want to reach for but comfort food?  She expertly created a stick-to-your-ribs hearty soup that still had the properties of calming the liver and moving qi.   This tomato soup went over resoundingly well.  I honestly expected a riot over who got seconds; had our livers not been so soothed by the soup, it may have actually come to pass!

TCM DOS:  Liver Qi Stagnation

Western Correlations:  Stress, emotional disorders, depression, PMS

TCM S/S:  hypochondriac pain, distention in chest and hypochondria, sighing, hiccups, belching, depression, irritability, easy to anger, nausea, vomiting, epigastric pain, abdominal distention, diarrhea, poor appetite, sour regurgitation, plum pit sensation in throat, painful periods, irregular periods

Tongue:   normal to slightly red on sides

Pulse:  wiry

Foods that Help:  beets, carrots, celery, potato, tomato, onion, lemon/lime, spinach, cherry, pineapple, mulberry, plum, raspberry, wheat, rye, spelt, pine nut, lima bean, pea, black sesame seed, pork, saltwater fish, crab, cow milk cheese, yogurt, goat and sheep milk cheese, anise seed, brown sugar, rice vinegar, wine, grape, lychee fruit

Foods to Avoid:  avoid excess alcohol, hot/spicy foods, raw foods, greasy foods, and cold/frozen foods

Helpful Cooking Methods:  steaming, boiling for shorter period, blanching, and cooking with alcohol

Tomato Parmesan Soup

3 cups diced tomatoes with juice (you can use canned)

1 bunch kale

1 cup finely diced carrots

1 Tbsp fresh oregano or 1 tsp dried

4 cups chicken broth

1 cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated

1/4 tsp black pepper

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 cup finely diced onions

4 Tbsp fresh basil or 1 Tbsp dried

1/2 bay leaf

2 cups half and half, warmed (if you want you can use whole milk, evaporated milk instead…or even skim if you want to skinny it up; I ended using 1/2 cup of half and half in this recipe)

1 tsp salt

*1/2 cup butter

*1/2 cup flour

1.  Heat oil in 4 quart soup pot.  Add onions and carrots.  Saute 5 minutes.  Add basil, oregano, bay leaf, tomatoes, and chicken broth.  Bring it to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until carrots are tender (25 minutes).

2.  Place soup in blender or use hand-held to liquefy and thicken soup.  *(Or you can prepare a roux to thicken it.  While soup simmers, prepare a roux.  Melt butter over low heat, add flour and cook, stirring constantly, 5-7 minutes.  Slowly stir in 1 cup hot soup.  Add another 3 cups and stir until smooth.  Add back into soup pot.)

3.  Simmer, stirring constantly..  Add Parmesan cheese and whisk to blend.  Stir warmed half and half, salt and pepper.  Simmer over low heat 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

For Liver Qi Stagnation:

-tomatoes:  clears heat in liver and purifies blood

-onion:  soothes liver Qi stagnation

-carrot:  improves liver function

-kale:  superfood

-parmesan:  supplements and moves Qi

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