Ying Yang Xue

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

Archive for the month “October, 2012”

Delicious Liver “Soup”port

MD is going through a soup phase right now (hey, who hasn’t been there,  am I right?  Hello?) and we are ALL the beneficiaries of that!   I would like to think that the mere act of preparing (slicing and dicing) the vegetables for these delicious soups would be therapeutic in its own right, alleviating some on the irritability and stress that is Liver Qi Stagnation’s hallmark.  Alas, even better is having this soup made for you.  Better still is having two soups made for you–thanks, MD!   (I got word later in the week that other students were already making the Szechuan carrot soup to rave reviews!)

Liver Qi Stagnation

Western correlations for liver qi stagnation include but are not limited to depression, anxiety, high blood pressure (in the case of liver yang rising), liver disorders (hepatitis), PMS, and headaches.

TCM clinical manifestations for liver qi stagnation –   irritability, anger, depression, rib side pain and/or discomfort, headaches (vertex), PMS and other gynecological disorders, frequent sighing, gastritis, indigestion, irritable bowel syndrome, chronic cholecystitis, chest pain, and inability to handle stress.

Tongue – normal (pink)

Pulse – Wiry

Foods that help liver qi stagnation – Onions, Garlic, Celery, Mustard Greens, Turmeric, Basil, Bay Leaf, Cardamom, Cumin, Fennel Marjoram, Dill, Black Pepper, Horse Radish, Cherry, Rosemary, Pickled Vegetables, Cabbage, Beets, Cauliflower, Broccoli, Carrots, Plums, potato, tomato, lemon, lime, spinach, kale, raspberry, wheat, rye, spelt, pine cut, 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 – Alcohol, Caffeinated Coffee, Fatty or Fried Foods, Highly Processed or Refined Foods, Very Spicy or Hot Foods, Heavy Red Meats, Sweet and Sugary Foods, raw foods, frozen foods, greasy foods

Helpful cooking methods – steaming, boiling for shorter period, blanching, and cooking with alcohol,  stews, soup, baking


“Beet” the Stagnation Soup

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, chopped

6 medium beets, peeled and chopped

2 cups beef stock

salt and freshly ground pepper

heavy cream (we used Silk soy creamer)

Warm olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in onions and garlic; cook until soft but not browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in beets, and cook for 1 minute.

Stir in stock, and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil; cover, and simmer until the beets are tender, about 20 to 30 minutes. Remove from heat, and allow to cool slightly.

In batches, add soup to a food processor, and pulse until liquefied. Return soup to saucepan, and gently heat through. Ladle into bowls, and garnish with a swirl of cream.


Szechuan Carrot Soup

1 tbsp olive oil

1 onion, chopped,

1 stalk celery, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 tsp grated ginger

2 cups veggie stock

1 cup water

1/3 cup Szechuan peanut sauce

1 cup plain soy milk

In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat.  Add onion, celery, and garlic and sauté for 4 minutes.  Stir in ginger and cook for 2 minutes longer.  Add carrots, stock, and water and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes.  Remove from heat and let cool slightly.  Puree soup in the saucepan using an immersion blender, or transfer in batches to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth, then return soup to the saucepan.  Add peanut sauce and milk and simmer until heated.  Do not boil.

JK got clever and mixed the soups together! Tie dye that’s good for what ails ya.

Cupcakes to Course the Liver Qi

Liver qi stagnation is most easily recognized as stress, irritability, and frustration.  One surefire way to combat those feelings is the “eat a bunch of cupcakes” method, but all that sugar can just compound the issue.  BUT…what if…just WHAT if…someone devised a cupcake that also eased Liver Qi Stagnation?  JK became our superhero of the day and did just that.  These cupcakes (AND frosting) are full of ingredients that help to move liver qi along, soothing the frustration that often comes with a lack of baked goods.  And the kicker…they even had creamy insides.  Now, this isn’t your everyday Liver Qi Stagnation recipe (“man cannot live on sugary cupcakes alone”) but you can definitely use it as your “Break Glass in Case of Liver Qi Emergency” standby!

TCM DOS:  Liver qi stagnation

Western diagnosis: Amenorrhea,dysmenorrhea, premenstrual syndrome, headache, depression,  IBS, Gastritis, Hypochondriac pain, Indigestion

Signs and Symptoms:  Premenstrual syndrome, Breast Tenderness, Sighing, irritability, depression, frustrations, and mood swings that have abrupt outbursts. In addition there may be stomach aches,  diminished appetite,  bloating in the epigastric region, gas, diarrhea, IBS, nausea, retching, Plum Pit Qi, and  feeling of congestion and or swelling in chest , Hypochondriac Pain and or Distention,

Tongue: Light red with a thin white coat

Pulse:  Wiry

Foods that help LV qi stagnation:  carrots, black sesame seeds, beets, pine nuts, lemon peel, yogurt, wheat, cherry, plums, fennel, plums, vinegar, pickled vegetables, radish, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, brown seaweed, onions, celery, mustard greens, rosemary, turmeric, basil, bay leaf, cardamom, cumin, marjoram, dill,  and horseradish.

*Black pepper, garlic and ginger stimulate flow of qi but should only be used in small amounts: otherwise, they can cause harm to the liver.

Foods to Avoid:  Alcohol, coffee,  red meats,  fried foods,  foods high in fat, very spicy, hot foods,  sweet foods and sugar. In addition, avoid food coloring, preservatives, highly processed and refined foods.

Helpful cooking method: Pickling, steamed, boiling or lightly cooked.


  1. https://yingyangxue.wordpress.com/category/kidney-yin-deficiency/
  2. Chinese Nutrition Therapy Dietetics in TCM  JoergKastner, M.D., L.Ac.
  3. HS 521 Nutrition and Diet Therapy Class Handout

Cupcakes to Course the Liver Qi

              Cupcake mix

Supreme Moist Carrot Cake mix

4/5 cups water

3 brown organic eggs

1/3 cup organic coconut oil

1/3 cup vegetable oil

Carrots: Improve LV function                        1 ½ cups

Black sesame seeds:  Supplements LV         ½ cup

Beets: LV qi stagnation                                     1/5  cup pureed

Greek yogurt: Relax LV                                3 tbs

Wheat flower                                                 ¾ cup

Pine Nut                                                         ¼ cup

  1. Mix ingredients
  2. Heat:  350 degreese
  3. Beat: low speed 30 seconds then medium speed for 1 minute
  4. Pour into cupcake baking cups
  5. Bake-  7- 9 minutes

Frosting & Filling

Cream cheese frosting                                                1 can

Lemon Peel: moves stagnant LV qi                       1 ½ tbs

Greek Yogurt:  relax LV                                            1 cup

Wheat flour                                                                    ¾ cups

  1. Zest the lemon peel;  stir  can of cream cheese frosting, lemon zest, greek yogurt, and wheat flower together
  2. Gently make a small opening in center of cupcake
  3.  fill w/ 3 tsp of frosting mixture
  4. Frost the top of the cupcake
  5. Sprinkle black sesame seeds on top

I *told* you they had a creamy center!

Seasonal pumpkin delight for the Spleen

DH kicked off the new semester by satisfying our spleens with a delicious pumpkin, apple & pear bread.  This is a perfect seasonal treat, as our spleens tend to suffer with the excessive amount of treats around this time of year (not to mention the stressful situations in which we tend to eat.  Can we say ‘Family Thanksgiving Dinner’?)  This bread proved quite a quandary, though: in moderate amounts, it’s beneficial for the spleen, but with a bread this delicious, how do you expect me to eat moderate amounts?!

TCM DOS: Spleen Qi Deficiency

Many of our patients suffer on a regular basis from SP qi xu, and yet plenty of the foods they like during the Autumn season are for SP qi xu.

Spleen qi deficiency signs and symptoms include:  fatigue, loose stool, bloating and lack of appetite. P: weak  T: pale, soft with thin white fur.

Western diagnosis would include anemia, diarrhea and gastric or duodenal ulcers.

Patients with the condition of SP qi xu should consider including any of the following:
Warming foods should be cooked; potatoes, carrots, yams, squash, turnips, leeks, onions, rice, oats, butter, modest amounts of turkey, chicken, beef, cooked peaches, cherries, strawberries, figs, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg (hmm autumn flavors) black pepper, custard, small amounts of honey, molasses, maple syrup and sugar. Meals should be average to small.

Patients should avoid eating the following on a regular basis:
excess sugar, seaweed, milk, cheese, buckwheat, millet, tofu, citrus, salsa and too much salt

I decided to bake (since cooked, warming foods are good for the taxed spleen) my favorite recipe Harvest Pumpkin with Apple and Pear Bread, since it is autumn and pumpkins, apples and pears are in abundance during this time of year. I also thought it would be a great way to get in the spirit of the autumn season and nourish everybody’s spleen.

Harvest Pumpkin With Apple and Pear Bread

Whole lotta autumn love.

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 cups granulated sugar
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree (such as Libby’s) 4 large eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup apple juice (or water)
1⁄2 medium baking apple, peeled,cored and diced 1⁄2 medium bosc pear, peeled, cored and diced

1  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2  Grease and flour two 9 x 5-inch loaf pans.
3  Combine flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt in large bowl.
4  Combine sugar, pumpkin, eggs, vegetable oil and apple juice in large mixer bowl; beat until just blended. 5
Add pumpkin mixture to flour mixture; stir just until moistened.
6  Fold in apples and pears
7  Spoon batter into prepared loaf pans.
8  Bake for 65 to 70 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.
9  Cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.
10  To make using three 8 X 4-inch loaf pans: Prepare as above and bake for 60 to 65 minutes.
11  To make using five or six 5 X 3-inch mini-loaf pans: Prepare as above and bake for 55 to 60 minutes.

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