Ying Yang Xue

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

Archive for the month “November, 2012”

Cafe Bu Xue ~ Building blood, the gourmet way!

Today’s class was truly a holiday affair, with AS and AJ preparing a blood-nourishing Thanksgiving feast.  This post covers both AS and AJ’s projects, as together they transformed our eating area into “Cafe Bu Xue” (or “Build Blood”), complete with candles and flowers. AS outdid herself by preparing a date appetizer, salad, pot roast and a couscous dish, while AJ brought it home with a raspberry tiramisu for the record books. This was, by all accounts, a huge treat…it’s been a long time since the whole class was so silent, everyone contentedly munching on this blood-building buffet.

Little eggs, big taste.

I must say, this meal contained a first for me: quail eggs.  Everything is better miniature! Actually, two firsts: AS also brought in a jar of hibiscus blossoms in syrup designed for flavoring and garnishing cocktails.  The craziest we could get with our cocktails in an academic setting was ginger ale, but it was still a beautiful sight!  (I can vouch for their beauty in champagne, too, as I brought a jar of the blooms to our family Thanksgiving meal.  Be prepared for about 1,000 “What IS that?!”‘s tossed your way, though!)

Fancying up a glass of ginger ale with a hibiscus blossom!

Feast your eyes on the menu–then go make yourself some blood-boosting goodness.  As always, click on the pictures to see larger mouth-watering images!



~ Festive Stuffed Medjool Dates – chockful of goodies

Medjool dates stuffed with sunshine.

~ Spinach, Chard, Kale & Roasted Beet Salad, topped off with Quirky Quail Eggs, Craisins, Walnuts and  a Balsamic Vinaigrette drizzle

Entrée:~ Hearty Crock-Pot Roast; slow-roasted with Carrots, Field Peas, Pearl Onions & Baby Red Potatoes

~ Couscous with Cranberries, Almonds & Pine-Nuts

Couscous a la Xue

Dessert:~ Rascally Royal Raspberry Tiramisu  &  Sparkling “Ale” with Hibiscus Flowers


TCM Diagnosis:  Blood Deficiency

In the “Western world”, Blood Deficiency, aka “Xue Xu”, correlates with anemia, but you don’t have to have a low blood count to have symptoms of blood deficiency.  It’s usually caused by Spleen Qi deficiency (“Spleen is the mother of blood“) which reduces its ability to “T-n-T” (i.e. transform food into blood & energy, & transport it to the rest of the body). When blood becomes deficient, however, both the Heart & the Liver are affected as well (sing with me now: “Liver stores blood; Heart governs blood“). Various factors cause blood deficiency, including inappropriate diet/lifestyle, overwork (taxes the Spleen), holding in emotions, excess drinking/drug use (weakens Liver’s ability to store blood), menstrual disorders, post-partum blood loss, or genetic imbalances. There’s a wide range of symptoms since Xue Xu affects almost all systems in the body.  Symptoms may include:  palpitations, forgetfulness, poor memory, insomnia, shortness of breath, dizziness, fatigue, excessive dreaming, constipation, pale complexion, pale and dry, cracked lips, dry mouth, headache with lightheadedness, floaters, anxiety, numbness or tingling in limbs, dry skin/hair/nails, irregular/light menses; Tongue: pale; Pulse: thin or choppy.  Chinese herbs used to treat symptoms of blood deficiency do so bynourishing and/or tonifying blood.  Some of these include:  Dang Gui: (Chinese Angelica root); Bai Shao (White Peony root); Long Yan Rou (Longan); Hong Zao/Da Zao (red/black dates); and Gou Qi Zi  (Chinese Wolfberry).

Foods Used For Blood Deficiency:
Most of the iron in our diet comes from meat sources such as beef, liver (yes, liver!), oysters, chicken, eggs, etc., but yes – you can also nourish blood with a non-meat diet that’s rich in iron. These are just some of the foods that are believed to help blood deficiency: asparagus, grapes, potatoes, royal jelly, yams, berries (raspberries, blackberries, etc), squash, carrots, kale, spinach, beets, even grains!  On the other hand, you need to avoid foods (in excess) that are cold, raw, damp or greasy (they damage the Spleen), as well as alcohol or drugs.    Foods that nourish & tonify blood (such as beef, lamb, carrots, etc.) are considered ‘warming’ so they go very well during the late autumn & winter seasons – hence why we gravitate so  much more towards stews and casseroles  around the winter holidays.  These warm, acrid & sweet flavors build up our Qi & Blood  – if you’re feeling chilled to the bone, how about a nice bowl of hot marrow broth?  Any of the warming methods (e.g. grilling, roasting, baking or simmering) work well as a way of preparing blood building dishes.  And, in between your acupuncture treatments, you can apply acupressure to the same points we would needle to stimulate “Blee & Chud” (aka Qi & Blood) boosting effects: UB 17, UB 20, LVR 8 & SP 6.

Macciocia, Giovanni.  Foundations  of Chinese Medicine
Kaptchuk TJ. The Web That Has No Weaver: Understanding Chinese Medicine.
Paul Pitchford.  Healing With Whole Foods: Asian Traditions and Modern Nutrition
Jilin, Liu & Peck, Gordon. Chinese Dietary Therapy.
Ody, Penelope.   The Chinese Herbal Cookbook: Healing Foods from East and West.

My Tried & True Easy Crock Pot Roast to Nourish Blood

1 3-pound boneless chuck roast
2 tsps seasoning salt
2 tsps black pepper
3 bay leaves
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, thinly sliced
¼ cup chopped celery
1 large carrot cut into ½” pieces
4 small baby red potatoes, washed & cubed
¼ cup frozen green peas
12 small pearl onions or shallots
3 or 4 beef bouillon cubes, crushed
½ cup water (or, better yet:  red wine, extra oomph to boost that blood!)
1 tbsp vegetable oil
Sprinkle roast on all sides with seasoning salt & black pepper.    Put roast in deep dish with next 4 ingredients; cover & marinate overnight in refrigerator.  Next day, allow to sit at room temperature for 10 minutes, then heat vegetable oil in skillet.  Brown roast on all sides; drain oil but keep pan drippings (browning the meat makes the whole dish tastier and gives the pan juices an appetizing deep brown color). Sauté sliced onions & celery in pan drippings for 2 minutes.  Place roast in a crock pot, and top with all ingredients except bouillon cubes.  Dissolve bouillon cubes in ½ cup water (or red wine J ).  Pour over roast.  Cook on low setting for 8 hours.    Allow to sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes before slicing; better yet, shred roast & let it soak up all that loving juices of the gravy!

Spinach, Kale, Chard & Roasted Beets salad

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
1 bunch Lacinto kale, triple-washed; center ribs and stems removed, leaves cut into 1-inch squares
1 bunch Spinach (about 8 ozs), washed
1 bunch red chard, washed’ center ribs & stems removed; leaves cut into 1-inch squares
1/4 cup minced shallots/sliced red onions
3 medium beets (about 1 bunch), trimmed, washed & peeled; cut into small wedges
4 ounces feta/goat/bleu cheese, crumbled
2 tablespoons Balsamic Vinaigrette
4 Quail eggs, hard boiled (just as you would make boiled eggs), coarsely chopped
¼ cup dried cranberries (Craisins) or Goji berries
¼  cup walnuts/pecans

Preheat oven to 375°. Grease shallow baking sheet with olive oil & arrange beets in 1 layer.  Roast for about 20 minutes or until fork tender then allow to cool.  Mix kale&  spinach together.  Drizzle with balsamic vinaigrette & fold gently to combine. Top with roasted beet wedges.  Sprinkle with chopped shallots or red onions, cheese of choice, cranberries & nuts.  Cover and chill, at least 3 hours.


Rascally Royal Raspberry Tiramisu


1 (12 oz.) bag white chocolate pieces

3 pkg.  cream cheese, softened

2 pkg of Lady Fingers

2 pt. baskets fresh strawberries, stemmed, divided or other fresh berries

1 1/2 cups raspberries, rinsed and patted dry

2 Tablespoons granulated sugar

1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons Chambord or other raspberry-flavored liqueur or ruby port

1/2 cup Raspberry coulis

2 cups heavy cream

Raspberry Coulis

2 cups raspberries (about 12 ounces), rinsed

3/4 cup simple syrup

1 1/2 Tablespoons lemon juice (fresh)

1/2 Tablespoon cornstarch

Simple Syrup

2 cups sugar

2 cups water

Raspberry Coulis

Bring the raspberries, syrup and lemon juice to a simmer in a medium saucepan over low heat. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the berries are very soft, about 10 minutes.

Sprinkle the cornstarch over 2 teaspoons cold water and stir to dissolve. Pour into the simmering raspberry mixture. Cook, stirring, occasionally, until the sauce thickens, about 3 minutes.

Blend the mixture and then strain through a fine-mesh wire sieve into a medium bowl; discard the seeds. Cool completely, then cover and refrigerate until ready to use. (Freeze any leftover coulis in a plastic container for up to one month.)

Simple Syrup

Bring the sugar and water to a boil in a heavy medium saucepan over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer, stirring until the sugar is completely dissolved, 6 to 8 minutes. Let cool completely. Transfer to an airtight container. Refrigerate until completely chilled, at least 4 hours.


1. To make filling, melt white chocolate chips in top of double boiler over hot, not boiling water. Stir until smooth.

2. In large mixer bowl, beat cream cheese until fluffy. Stir in melted chips. Whip cream to form soft peaks. Gradually whisk into cream cheese mixture, set aside.

3. Line bottom of a 11 x 8 x 3 -inch pan with lady finger halves, cut sides in.. Drizzle the remaining 1/4 cup Chambord over the lady fingers and cover with half of the coulis. Cover the berries with half of cream filling, gently spreading it into a smooth layer of the remaining whipped cream. Now, spread the other half of the lady fingers on top of that layer, and repeat adding the coulis , adding the other 1/4 cup of Chambord, the other half of the berry mixture, and the other half of the cream filling. Cover tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 1 and 1/2 days.


Neutral , sweet and sour         Organs: Liver and Kidney

Nourishes and cleans blood, regulate menstruation, treats anemia, treats excessive and frequent urination (esp at night) can be used to induce labor

**raspberry leaf**

Strengthen uterus, checks excessive menstrual flow, restrains bleeding generally, supports optimum hormonal patterns in pregnancy.

** *cream is made from cows’ milk

Neutral to cold, sweet, LU ST HT, earth

Support qi yin and blood, support LU,ST,HT and creates body fluids. Moistens intestines and skin detoxifies. Indication general qi and blood def, st yin def

***Cow milk cheese

Neutral to cool, sweet and sour.  ST, SP,LU, LV.  Wood and earth

Support and move qi, Nourish yin, laxative.  Indication yin xu, esp lung yin xu, dryness in LI

Cross-section of beauty.

Take 2 Banana Puddings & Call me in the Morning

This week we addressed kidney yin deficiency, and AP really thought this one through.  If  your yin is taxed, one of the last things you want to do is stand in the kitchen and make a big deal out of meals.  It’s more of a”grab and go” mentality–and unfortunately, most convenience foods have the potential to drain the kidney yin even more.  Fortunately, AP created this quick, delicious, and most importantly, easy recipe to have on hand.  It’s a vegan “pudding” made with rich, nourishing ingredients, with enough optional ingredients to provide the cooling that most of our kidney yin deficient patients need.  This pudding can serve as dessert, snack, or even breakfast!

TCM DOS: Kidney Yin Deficiency

Kidney yin in Chinese Medicine is thought to be similar to the parasympathetic nervous system, to restore and regenerate. Too much multitasking and stress can deplete this valuable system. It is necessary to get plenty of rest and follow a healthy diet to help correct Kidney yin deficiency.  Lifestyle changes are a vital key in improving ones health.

Remove yourself from the drama of the day. Turn off the television. Walk away from the phone. Try to exercise more such as: nature walks, meditation, tai chi, qi gong, or yoga. Get in touch with what makes you happy or creative through art, reading or writing, etc.  Invest time in yourself! You will surely notice and appreciate the benefits.

To replenish kidney yin with the foods you eat, choose foods with a wide selection of amino acids, carotenes, flavonoids, minerals, vitamins and trace elements.Traditional Chinese medicine recommends foods that are moistening and mildly cooling. Drink plenty of water.

Click here for other lifestyle tips for maintaining KD yin!

Dairy Free Banana Pudding

Oh yeah. This pudding will make you happy, whether you like it or not!

  • 3 large ripe organic bananas
  • 1c vanilla almond milk
  • ½ tbs vanilla extract
  • 1/3 c pitted dates
  • 2 tbs chia seeds soaked 4 tbs water/ 10 min until gelatinous
  • 3tbs raw cashew butter

Place all in blender until thick and creamy. Pour into bowl, refrigerate to form up to 2 hours. Serve with fresh berries: Raspberries benefit the Kidney channel.

Garnish with a sprig of chocolate mint–also cooling.  Enjoy!

Sweet as Sweet Potato Pie

A few weeks ago, EN primed our Spleens for holiday fare (yes, spleens like the holidays, too!).  She made a sweet potato pie that would be at home on any holiday table.    Are we advocating eating pie as health food?  Unfortunately, no.  However, we know as practitioners that we have to meet our patients where they are.   If the choice is between a chocolate mousse cake or a pie that leans heavily on antioxidant and nutrient-rich sweet potatoes, we’re definitely going with the latter!   It doesn’t always have to be all or nothing with diet; some occasions (especially this season) will call for desserts, and you might as well use the desserts to your body’s advantage!

TCM DOS: Spleen Qi deficiency

Manifestations: poor appetite, emaciation, obesity, abdominal distension after eating, fatigue, lassitude, sallow complexion, weakness of limbs, loose stools, nausea, stuffiness of chest and epigastrium, feelings of heaviness.

Tongue: pale or normal colored, swollen, scalloped sides

Pulse: Weak, soft or thready

Recommended foods for SP Qi Deficiency are foods that are easy to digest.  Only warming and nourishing foods should be eaten.  Cooked, warmed, slow-cooking foods are best for those who suffer from Spleen Qi deficiency.  Recipes like soups, broths, cooked vegetables, rice, oatmeal and small portions of meats.  Uncooked and raw foods should be avoided as they are difficult for the body to digest.  Avoiding salads and raw vegetables will improve function of the spleen.  Over eating, fasting and eating while working should be avoided.

Recommendations: Millet, Beans, Pine nuts, Figs, Dates, Squash, Carrots, Cabbage, cooked vegetables, cooked grains, leeks, oats, onion, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, yams, rice, dried fruits, cherries, peaches, strawberries, anchovies, chicken, turkey, beef, spices, black pepper, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, barley, malt, maple syrup


The Spleen’s Special Sweet Potato Pie

4 ounces butter, softened

2 cups cooked and mashed sweet potatoes

2 cups sugar

1 small can (5 oz) evaporated milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 eggs, beaten

1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon

2 prepared pie shells, unbaked


Mix butter, potatoes, sugar and evaporated milk until well blended.  Add vanilla, eggs and cinnamon; mix well. Pour into the prepared pie shells. Bake in 350 degree oven for an hour, until set. Makes 2 pies.


Patty cake, patty cake, Kidney Yin

SB brought a colorful batch of healing to this week’s class, based around Kidney yin deficiency.  Her black bean cakes (and accompanying accoutrements) were like yin-boosting confetti puffs, dotted with nourishing blasts of colorful vegetables.  The “rainbow mango salsa” and avocado lime yogurt only added to the visual appeal and taste.  This would make an excellent dish to bring to a potluck party,  particularly since partying hard taxes the Kidney yin.    Covert healing!

TCM DOS: Kidney Yin Deficiency

KD yin xu is characterized by night sweats, hot sensation in the palms, soles and chest, dark scanty urine, thirst, dizziness, malar flush, low back pain, knee weakness, nocturnal emissions, constipation

Tongue:  Red with no or peeled coat

Pulse:  Rapid and thready

Beneficial foods for KD yin xu:  black beans, black rice, wheat, oats, rice, millet, barley, eggs, zucchini, squash, potatoes, sweet potatoes, melons, string beans, beets, button mushrooms, wood ear mushrooms, apples, banana, blueberries, black berries, peaches, mulberries, mango, grapes, goji berries, pears, walnuts, raspberries, corn, walnuts

Foods to avoid:  chilies, cinnamon, garlic, ginger, onions, shallots, leeks, basil, cloves, coffee


Black Bean Sweet Potato Cakes with Avocado Lime Yogurt “Sour Cream” & Rainbow Salsa

  • 2 c. Black Beans
  • 1 Sweet Potato
  • 1 Beet
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 tsp  black sesame seeds
  • ½ c Corn
  • 2 cups panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1/2 Green Bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2Red Bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 Yellow Bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 Orange Bell pepper, chopped

Boil black beans for 1.5 hours then drain.  Boil sweet potato and beet then drain.  Combine boiled black beans, sweet potato, beet and 2 eggs into food processor.  Leave some black beans out to add back into cake later.  Chop bell peppers, tomato, corn and stir into black bean cake mixture along with panko breadcrumbs and black sesame seeds.  Form mixture into small cakes/  Bake on 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes depending on size of cake.

Rainbow  Mango Salsa

  • 5 small mangoes, chopped
  • ½ cup corn
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 12/ Green Bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 Red Bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 Yellow Bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 Orange Bell pepper, chopped
  • Mint
  • Cilantro

Chop and combine all ingredients and let sit overnight in refrigerator.

Avocado Lime Yogurt “sour cream

  • 1 avocado
  • 1 container Greek yogurt
  • 1 lime

Mix avocado and lime into Greek yogurt until smooth.

A paparazzi shot of the cakes in the nude!

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