Ying Yang Xue

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

Archive for the tag “beets”

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!

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

Super soup to boost the Spleen

We’re back for another exciting semester of Chinese Nutrition and Dietary Therapy!  I’m looking forward to what class 35 brings to the table–literally and figuratively!–in regards to interpreting and arranging foods geared towards helping a variety of imbalances.

We kicked off the semester with L. cooking for SP qi xu.  She brought some specificity to the assignment, creating this dish for her Spleen qi deficient son (whose signs and symptoms are listed as a case study below).   We should all be so lucky to have mothers that are doctors and chefs!  The tasty soup was a success, with most of us diving in for seconds (and thirds).  What surprised us the most as a class was how the look of the soup (a red, borscht-y vibe) differed wildly from its warm, spicy, almost chili-esque appeal.   This is sure to get your spleen AND your taste buds revved up!

TCM pattern: Spleen Qi Deficiency 

DOS: Damp-Phlegm obstructing the lung d/t underlying Spleen deficiency

Western Dx: Chronic Rhinitis

S/S: Profuse clear, white and slippery nasal discharge worse in am or post greasy meals, occasional sneezing upon awakening in am, frequent/loose BM, poor appetite, dizziness esp. in am, and hard time getting up in am.

T: Pink, moist, swollen with teethmarks

P: Rolling

Foods to add: Adzuki beans, cooked veggies especially beets, leafy greens, carrots, squash, sweet potatoes, stews; apples (sweet and organic), apricots, dates, figs, grapes, raspberries. Drink warm drink like hot tea or room temperature water post meals.

Foods to avoid: Candy, celery, dairy, raw salads and vegetables, frozen foods, fruit juices, cold drinks, melon, pork, radishes, sugar, tofu or any fried, greasy, oily foods.

Helpful cooking methods: Steam instead of Fry. Cook with spices such as cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, fennel, garlic powder, nutmeg, ginger powder, pepper, sweet basil, and orange peel. Eat easy to digest food like soups, stews and cooked veggies.

Sp Xu Bean Soup


2 teaspoons whole cumin seed – promote bean digestion

7 cloves of garlic (smashed) – pungent, sweet, warm; Sp, St, Lu; warm MJ, reinforce St, aiding digestion, promote energy circulation

1 large red onion – pungent and bitter, warm; Lu, St, Li; activate yang and sending Qi downward

½ cup black beans – sweet, neutral; Sp, Kid; tonify Sp

¼ cup small red/adzuki beans – sweet, neutral; Sp, Li, Si; reinforce Sp and remove damp

1/8 cup garbanzo beans – Sweet flavor; benefit the St; contain more iron than other legumes and a good source of unsaturated fats.

¼ cup lentils beans –  neutral, mild flavor; stimulate the adrenal system

1 dried red chili pepper – pungent, hot; Sp, St, Li; warm MJ, reinforce St, restore appetite.

1 teaspoon turmeric powder – warm, bitter; promote protein digestion; healing properties/anti-inflammatory and antioxidant qualities

2 teaspoons fresh grated ginger – pungent, sl warm; Lu, Sp, St, warm MJ & Lu to transform phlegm/dampness

2 tomatoes (cubed) (wash seeds out) – sweet, sour, cool; St, Liv; promotes digestion, poor appetite

2 carrots (cubed)  – Sweet and neutral/ propensity for Sp, Lu, Liv. Reinforce Sp and aid digestion and send counterflow of qi downward.

1 beet root (cubed) – sweet, neutral; congested chest, poor energy circulation

1 Chicken breast cut up in small pieces – sweet, warm; Sp, St; warm MJ, nourish Sp, enriching & nourishing Q & blood.

Salt and peppers to taste

Bouillon to taste (optional)


Soak red/adzuki, black, and garbanzo beans for 5 hours, then boil until tender

Add lentil beans, chili peppers, ginger, turmeric, and cumin

Brown chicken with garlic and onions and pour into original mixture.

Add tomatoes, beets and carrots and cook until tender.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

Additional ingredients if you like roots

Yucca root

Taro root – pungent, sweet, neutral with a light toxicity; reinforce Sp and St


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