Ying Yang Xue

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

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!

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.

Delicious Damp Heat Congee

JG rounded out the semester with an absolutely divine damp heat-draining congee.  (A congee is a rice-based porridge, slow-cooked with a lot of water, that is particularly beneficial to the middle jiao–the spleen and stomach.)  When you hear the word congee, you usually think “bland bland bland.”  When you think of foods that typically drain damp, you think “bland bland bland.”   I cannot tell you how much further from “bland” this wonderful congee was!  Slow cooked for 7+ hours, JG added the perfect amount of seasonings without comprising this dish’s ability to clear heat.  I must admit I have several bowls of this…and I stopped only at “several” to uphold my dainty, lady-like reputation (*ahem*).

TCM DOS: Damp heat

Western Correlations: leukorrhea, jaundice, eczema, psoriasis, boils, hepatitis, tenesmus,
dysentery, UTI, conjunctivitis, ear infection with yellow/green discharge, bronchitis/pneumonia
with coughing up yellow phlegm,

TCM s/s: yellow discharge (c/b foul odor) of genitals, ears, eyes, nose; yellow phlegm when
coughing; skin rash that is red & oozy; loose stool with blood, mucus, and/or foul odor; ascites

Tongue: red, thick yellow & greasy coat

Pulse: rapid, slippery

Foods that help: aduki beans, alfalfa, amaranth, basmati rice, celery, Job’s tears, lettuce, mung

bean, pumpkin, turnip

Foods to avoid: alcohol, greasy, fatty, fried, foods; hot, spicy foods/spices (think ginger, onion, garlic, etc); nuts; oats; beef, chicken egg, lamb, pork; dairy; excess sweets; excess raw fruits/vegetables

Helpful cooking methods: If patient has weak digestion make sure to steam, boil, roast vegetables for easy digestion.

Damp Heat-Clearing Congee


• 2 cups rice; basmati not recommended because it doesn’t brake up ( I used Lundberg Wild

• 12 cups vegetable broth

• 6 cups water
~About 1 cup rice to 5-10 cups water/broth. Thicker congee: 1:5 rice:water/broth
Soupy congee: 1:10 rice:water/broth. It’s better to use too much water/broth, then too little.

• 4 bay leaves (for flavor only, not to be eaten)

• Salt to taste

• Cumin 1/4-1/2 tsp

• Garlic powder 1/8-1/4 tsp (caution: just to taste because to warming for damp heat)

4 tops of carrots only (used for medicinal purpose only, not to be eaten)

1 cup fresh diced pumpkin (7oz = 1/2 can canned pumpkin)

1 cup fresh diced sweet potato/yam

1 can (15oz) rinsed aduki beans

1 stalk celery, cut into smiley face


• Place rice, vegetable broth, water, bay leaf, salt, cumin, garlic powder, carrot tops in crock pot and cook on low heat for 7 hours (can cook on higher setting for approximately 5 hours, but “the longer congee cooks, the more powerful it becomes”~ Paul Pitchford)

• Add pumpkin, sweet potato/yam, aduki beans, & celery to congee and cook for an additional 1-2 hours when the congee is thick, rice is fully broken down, and vegetables are tender.

Damp Heat

• Congee itself is good for dampness, heat conditions, & tonifying the spleen

• Pumpkin is cooling and relieves damp conditions

• Sweet potato/yam is cooling and strengthens the spleen

• Aduki beans detoxify the body, remove heat conditions, & are used for damp & watery conditions

• Celery is cooling, dries damp, & used for excess heat conditions

• Carrot tops are good for damp conditions


*Amazing website for congee benefits, preparation, cooking methods, properties of grains, legumes, meats, herbs, vegetables, and fruits that could be used, and it list different recipes for different TCM diagnosis.

Check it out:

The Journal of Chinese Medicine Read Periodicals: Congee – Longevity Food for Life, 2/1/2010

Sweet lovin’ for your Kidneys

It took a few semesters, but it finally happened–Chocolate.  Sweet, sweet chocolate.  It takes a special man to make a chocolate dish for boosting Kidney yin, and JG was up to the task.   JG took a classic brownie and gave it a tonifying black bean injection.  The black bean brownies were–in a word–devourable.  (Is that even a word?)  I honestly couldn’t stop thinking about them for days.

Now we’re not advocating a therapeutic diet consisting solely of brownies (we’d be the mot popular doctors in town if we did!), but when you’re really craving a treat, why not make it a healthier version?

Check out the awesome quote JG found about nourishing the kidneys, too::

“To nourish the Kidney is to become more and more connected to our own spontaneous impulses and the will to live.” ~ Daverick Leggett, Recipes for Self-Healing

TCM DOS: Kidney Yin deficiency

Western correlations: menopause, hyperthyroidism, aging

TCM s/s: dizziness, tinnitus, vertigo, poor memory, hardness of hearing, night sweats, dry mouth and throat at night, low backache, nocturnal emissions, constipation, scanty dark urine, lassitude

Tongue: pale red to red with no coat

Pulse: floating-empty, rapid

Beneficial foods:  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

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

Cooking methods: steaming, water saute’, blanching and salting are recommended. Excess water with the cooking technique you choose is also useful.

Black Bean Brownies


  • Butter, for greasing pan
  • 3/4 cup cooked black beans
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil, or olive oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon instant coffee
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips, divided
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar, for dusting


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 by 9-inch square baking pan.In a blender, puree the beans with the oil. Add the eggs, cocoa, sugar, coffee, and vanilla. Melt half the chocolate chips and add to the blender. Blend on medium-high until smooth. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to the blender and pulse until just incorporated. Stir in the remaining chocolate chips. Pour into the prepared pan. Bake until the surface looks somewhat matte around the edges and still a bit shiny in the middle, about 20 minutes. Let cool at least 15 minutes before cutting and removing from the pan. Dust with confectioners’ sugar and serve.

If someone comes into the kitchen at midnight to see you face-first in a pan of brownies, feel free to yell “I’M JUST NOURISHING MY KIDNEY YIN!”

Soup Pho the Kidneys

As you grooooan at my joke, keep in mind ‘groaning’ is the sound of the water element in Five Element Chinese Medicine–the same element that governs the kidneys!

“WOW.”   That’s a good place to start describing this epic voyage into nourishing KD yin with the most delightful, thoughtful, so-healing-you-can-feel-it-vibrating phở  (a Vietnamese noodle soup).   SB blew our minds (but then quickly healed them via this soup) with his tongue-in-cheek ‘Temple Brand’ Phở.   Now, I’m not usually a big pho eater because it is difficult for me to find a vegetarian version; not only was SB’s broth vegetarian, it was steeped in all sorts of wonderful herbs, including shu di huang and he shou wu.  I am embarrassed to admit that I had never really partaken in a meal made with proper Chinese herbs and I was very grateful for this opportunity.  SB gave us tons of options for our soup–rice noodles, thai basil, cilantro, bean sprouts, fresh limes, sriracha, hoisin sauce, jalapenos… everyone’s dish was a little different. Oh, and I almost forgot my favorite part (if I had to pick a favorite from all the deliciousness)–the faux meat floating in the soup.  SO. GOOD!

Most astounding?  This wasn’t a regular go-to dish for SB–this project was his first time making it.

TCM DOS- Kidney Yin Deficiency

TCM S/S- Dizziness, tinnitus, vertigo, sore back, constipation, may also have empty heat signs, mallor flush, night sweats, heat in the 5 palms, insomnia, dry throat

Tongue- Red with little to no coat, may have horizontal cracks, red tip with empty fire

Pulse- Floating, empty, rapid, thin

Foods that help- Water, salty flavored food (miso, sea salt, tamari, sauerkraut), kidney shaped foods (black bean, kidney bean, most beans), blue and black foods (blueberries, mulberries, blackberries), seafood (fish, shrimp, seaweed), seeds (flax, pumpkins, sunflower, black sesame), and nuts (cashews, walnuts, chestnuts), bone marrow broth, grains (barley, millet), vegetables (asparagus, deep green leafy vegetables), fruits and melons

Foods to avoid- chilies, cinnamon, garlic, ginger, onions, shallots, leeks, basil, cloves, wasabi coffee, vinegar, pickles, tea lamb, shrimp, prawns, veal, game birds citrus fruits, cigarettes, alcohol and recreational stimulants

Other tips- Meditation, qi gong, tai qi, yoga

 ‘Temple Brand Phở’

2″ nub of ginger, cut into 8 or 9 pieces
4 quarts of water
1 package of Pho Spices [3 cinnamon stick, 1 tablespoon of coriander seeds, 1 tablespoon of fennel seeds, 5 whole star anise, 1 cardamom pod, 6 whole cloves – in mesh bag]

Herbs- 1 piece of Korean ginseng, 1 piece of shu di huang, 15 grams of he shou wu, 15 grams of goji, 1 cup of longan (in mesh bag)

2 medium size carrots rough cut

1 medium size parsnips

2 cups of rough cut daikon radish

1 cup of blueberries

2 red pears cut into 8 pieces

1 teaspoon of fresh ground pepper

2 tablespoons of vegetarian fish sauce

1 tablespoon of soy sauce (3 if no fish sauce)

2 tablespoons of cane sugar (to taste)

Sea salt (to taste)


1/2 pound dried flat rice noodles (known as bánh phở; use 1/16″, 1/8″, or 1/4″ width depending on availability and preference)

Toppings (optional)-
Protein such as fried or baked tofu, bean curd skin, soy, or seitan
Vegetables such as bok choy, napa cabbage, carrots, parsnips, daikon radish or broccoli

1 chile pepper (Thai bird, serrano, or jalapeño), sliced
1 lime, cut into wedges
1/2 cup bean sprouts
Large handful of herbs: cilantro, Thai basil, cilantro/saw-leaf herb
Hoisin sauce, sriracha (optional)

For the broth
Char pears and ginger over an open flame (holding with tongs) or directly under a broiler until slightly blackened, about 5 minutes on each side. Rinse with water.

In a crock pot (ginseng and he shou wu can not be cooked in a metal pot), add all broth stock except for the 1 package of pho spices and herbs. Set crock pot for 4 hours. At 2 hours add pho spices package and herb bag. Season to taste strain and keep hot until ready to serve.

For the noodles
While broth is simmering, place noodles in a large bowl and cover with hot water. Let stand for 20-30 minutes or until tender but still chewy. Drain. (If soaking does not soften the noodles enough, blanch them in a pot of boiling water for a few seconds.)

For the toppings (optional)

For more heat signs use plenty of bean sprouts and add sliced lotus root (steamed or blanched)
While broth is simmering, prepare toppings as desired – slice and cook tofu, lightly steam or blanch vegetables, etc. Toppings should be unseasoned or only lightly seasoned so as not to interfere with the flavor of the broth.

To serve
Divide noodles between two bowls. Arrange toppings over noodles. Ladle about 2 cups of broth into each bowl. Serve with garnishes on the side, which diners should add to taste.

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

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