Ying Yang Xue

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

Archive for the tag “dates”

Nourish Your Blood!!! Lentil Adzuki Soup

Class was a vegetarian gourmet affair with TR presenting a blood-nourishing Lentil Adzuki Bean Soup.  As we spooned downed the yummy goodness TR explained how legumes, kale, black wild rice, wheat berries and gou qi zi all assist the body in producing blood by nourishing the spleen, liver and kidney. The kale was prepared a special way by adding the ingredients and massaging the leaves and stalks.

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Blood Deficiency:

In a blood deficiency case the object is to build and nourish blood.  I used legumes such as adzuki beans and lentils which are not only high in protein but build blood.  Making a legume soup also is warm which the blood has a great affinity for.  I chose also to used such spices as ginger, turmeric, sugar and cinnamon for their warming and nourishing properties.  Warming properties are also very good for the spleen which is our main blood building organ.

I chose to use massaged kale and rice to top the dish in order to combine the sweet property of rice which the spleen also loves, and the rich chlorophyll packed kale for major blood building.  The ingredients such as legumes and kale are also very good for kidney energy which also plays a factor in generating bone marrow and contributing to blood.  So in some ways we tonify spleen and kidney with this dish to nourish blood.  Not to leave out our dear liver, these are also fabulous for it too!  One more thing, I chose to add some black wild rice, wheat berries and Gou Qi Zi, they all build blood are nourishing.

 

Lentil Adzuki Soup

 

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 cups leeks, thinly sliced

1 cup red onion, chopped

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

2 cups tomatoes, chopped

1 clove of garlic, minced

1 teaspoon sugar

1/4 cup green lentils, cleaned and rinsed

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar or balsamic

5 cups vegetable stock

1 15 ounce can of adzuki beans, rinsed and drained

handful Gou Qi Zi

salt and freshly  ground pepper to taste

 

Garnish this dish with a scoop of cooked rice and massaged kale

1. Heat the olive oil in a dutch oven or a stock pot with a heavy lid on a medium flame. Add the leeks and onion to the oil and cook for 5 minutes until they have softened.

2. Reduce the flame and add the turmeric, cinnamon, and ginger. Stir continuously for 1 minute.

3. Fold in the tomatoes, garlic, sugar, and lentils and cook for another 5 minutes. Stir this frequently to prevent the spices and garlic from burning.

4. Add the vinegar and stock to the pan, increase the flame and bring it to a boil. Once the contents of the pan begin to boil, reduce the flame, cover with the lid and allow the soup to simmer for 35-45 minutes until the lentils are completely cooked.

5. Stir in the aduki beans and season the soup with salt and pepper. Bring the soup again to a boil by increasing the heat and then reduce to a gentle simmer, cover with the lid and cook further for another 10 minutes. In last 10 minutes, toss in handful of Gou Qi Zi.

6. Garnish dish with cooked rice and massaged kale

 

Rice–cook white, black wild rice and wheat berries together for 25 min.

 

Massaged Kale!!!–2 Tbs olive oil, 1 Tbs Bragg’s amino acids, ½ lime (juice), pinch of salt. Combine dressing to your taste.  Toss chopped kale in dressing and massage for 3 minutes, leave overnight in refrigerator.  If you like you can massage it longer and use right away.

 

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.

References:
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.

 

 

Spleen Qi Xu Lunch

JP got us all excited to nourish and tonify our collective spleens.  She whipped up an amazing dish with a wild rice mix, boiled chicken and a beet juice drink. This is the perfect lunch to wake up the Spleen and encourage its transforming and transporting function. It was delicious!

TCM DOS: Spleen Qi Deficiency

TCM SS: Poor Appetite, Abdominal distention (especially after meals), loose stools, fatigue and lassitude, sallow complexion, heaviness in the body, and mental fatigue. This condition is worse with raw cold foods and better with cooked warm foods.

Tongue: Pale with thick white coat, slightly swollen and scalloped

Pulse: Weak, Slippery (with dampness accumulation)

Western Correlations: Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Mal-absorption, Chronic Gastritis, Chronic Enteritis, Chronic Diarrhea, Ulcers.

Foods that Help: Oats, Rice, Congee’s, Mochi, Black Beans, Squash, Parsnip, Yams and Sweet Potatoes, Pumpkin, Carrots (cooked), Beets, Fennel, Dates, Figs, Molasses, Brown Sugar (in moderation), Cinnamon, Ginger, Cardamom,Chicken, Turkey, Halibut, Tuna.

Foods to Avoid: Raw salads, Raw vegetables, Citrus fruits, ice cream, seaweeds, bananas, tofu, dairy.

Lifestyle: It is best to eat smaller portions, while eating slowly, and chewing food very well. Avoid big meals, rushing while eating, or eating while emotionally upset.

Helpful Cooking Methods:Boiling, Baking, Roasting, and frying will increase the yang energy of the food making it easier to digest.

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SP QI Xu Lunch

Rice

Ingredients:

1 lb Varied Wild Brown Rice

1 teaspoon Nutmeg

10 pieces of Da Zao-Chinese Date

Pinch of Black Pepper

1 oz of raw onions soaked in 3 cups of warm honey and water

Sprinkle of cinnamon after the rice cools down

 

PRE PREP
Soak 1 oz of raw onions in warm honey water overnight

 

Cooking Directions:

In a medium size pan heat 2 Cups of distilled water on medium heat and then add 1 cup of the water from the onion/honey that soaked overnight.  Cook rice for on low/med heat for 45-60 Minutes. In the last 10 minutes of cooking add the Da Zao.

Add Black pepper, nutmeg-stir after the rice has stopped steaming. Sprinkle cinnamon over the top and enjoy J

 

 

Baked Sweet Potatoes

Ingredients:

6 medium size sweet potatoes

3 tablespoons of honey

1 teaspoon of fresh ground pepper

 

Pre prep

Cut the Sweet potatoes and roll them around in a small amount of honey and black pepper. Cover and leave them at room temp over night.

 

Cooking Directions:

Bake in oven at 325 for 30 -45 minutes with ½ cup of the honey/onion water.

Add sprinkle of nutmeg and cinnamon.

Stir in 1 TB of honey

Drink:Beet Juice

Ingredients:

2 Beets with roots and leaves

4 cups of water

2 cups of Coconut Water

Directions:

Make slice into the beet and add them to boiling water. Simmer for 10 minutes.

Let cool and add coconut water. Enjoy J

Boiled Chicken

Ingredients:

7-8 medium size Chicken breasts cut into small pieces

1 tablespoon of black strap molasses

1 tablespoon of Maple Syrup

Sprinkle of nutmeg and black pepper

1 slice of dried, sugar coated ginger

Cooking Directions:

Heat distilled water in a large pot on medium heat for 10 minutes with the sliced ginger. Add chicken pieces into the water and cook until chicken is done. Stir in the maple syrup and black strap molasses. Sprinkle the nutmeg and black pepper.

Enjoy J

 

Symptoms include lack of appetite, bloating, loose stool, and fatigue.

              P: Weak          T: pale, soft tongue with thin, white fur.

Western diagnoses: diarrhea, gastric or duodenal ulcers, anemia, or even chronic hepatitis.

Foods to eat

Cooked, warming foods such as squash, carrots, potatoes, yams, rutabagas, turnips, leeks, onions, grains, oats, butter, small amounts of chicken, turkey, mutton or beef, cooked peaches, cherries, strawberries, figs, cardamom, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, black pepper, custards, small amounts of honey, molasses, maple syrup, sugar, Millet, beans, pine nuts, figs, dates, cabbage, onions, and pumpkin. Food should be well chewed and eaten in moderate amounts.

 

Foods to avoid:

Salsa, citrus, too much salt, tofu, millet, buckwheat, milk, cheese, seaweed, and excess sugar.

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.

 

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!

 

Appetizer:

~ 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.

References:
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

Ingredients:
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
Directions:
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


Ingredients:
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

Directions:
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

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.

RASPBERRIES

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!

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.

Ingredients:

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

Directions:

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

Ingredients:

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

Directions:

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.

Sweet & Savory Spleen Qi Rice

LF got the summer semester kicked off with a brilliant rice dish to get our spleens (and subsequently,  our brains!) rockin’ & rollin’.   A variation on one of her old stand-bys, this rice had a little bit of something to satisfy everyone.  Every bite seemed to hold another surprise–a walnut! a date! is that…could it be… fennel?!  Indeed it was.   Given the rich blend of spices, the word “Thanksgiving” came up more than once; while this dish certainly comforted and nourished like a Thanksgiving side dish,  it wasn’t too heavy or cloying like some sweet rice dishes tend to be.   Satisfying your spleen and your tastebuds–it’s a win-win.

TCM DOS: Spleen Qi Deficiency

TCM SS: Poor Appetite, Abdominal distention (especially after meals), loose stools, fatigue and lassitude, sallow complexion, heaviness in the body, and mental fatigue. This condition is worse with raw cold foods and better with cooked warm foods.

Tongue: Pale with thick white coat, slightly swollen and scalloped

Pulse: Weak, Slippery (with dampness accumulation)

Western Correlations: Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Mal-absorption, Chronis Gastritis, Chronic Enteritis, Chronic Diarrhea, Ulcers.

Foods that Help: Oats, Rice, Congee’s, Mochi, Black Beans, Squash, Parsnip, Yams and Sweet Potatoes, Pumpkin, Carrots (cooked), Beets, Fennel, Dates, Figs, Molasses, Brown Sugar (in moderation), Cinnamon, Ginger, Cardamom,Chicken, Turkey, Halibut, Tuna.

Foods to Avoid: Raw salads, Raw vegetables, Citrus fruits, ice cream, seaweeds, bananas, tofu, dairy.

Lifestyle: It is best to eat smaller portions, while eating slowly, and chewing food very well. Avoid big meals, rushing while eating, or eating while emotionally upset.

Helpful Cooking Methods:Boiling, Baking, Roasting, and frying will increase the yang energy of the food making it easier to digest.


Sweet and Savory Spleen Qi Rice

Servings: 8

Prep Time: 20 min

Cook Time: 1 hour

Ingredients

~2 Cups of Brown rice

~1 – 2 tsp of Himalayan salt (add to taste)

~1tbsp of Brown Sugar

~1tbs of Blackstrap Molasses

~1tsp of Cinnamon

~1/2 tsp of Cardamom

~1 inch piece of ginger minced

~1 Fennel bulb chopped

~1/2 cup of dates chopped

~1 cup of carrots chopped

~1/2 cup of walnuts chopped

~2 tbs of Coconut oil or olive oil

Directions

~Turn oven on to 375

~In a large pot add 4 cups of water to 2 cups of Rice and bring to a boil.

~Add 1 tsp of Himalayan salt and minced Ginger to rice

~Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 50min covered

~While rice is cooking place chopped Carrots and chopped Fennel on 2 separate baking sheets

~Add 1 tbs of Coconut oil to Carrots and 1 tbs to Fennel, coat evenly.

~Roast Carrots for 30 min or until tender

~Roast Fennel for 20 min or until tender

~When rice is cooked add Molasses, Brown sugar, Cinnamon, Cardamom, and mix well

~Add cooked Carrots, Fennel, Dates, and Walnuts to rice and mix well.

Note: This dish contains a variety of Spleen Qi nourishing foods such as rice, molasses, brown sugar, cinnamon, cardamom, carrots, fennel, and dates. The added walnuts will help to support the Yang energy of this food and reinforce Qi.

Spleen-booting rice served in an appropriately 5 Element colored bowl!

Tempeh: Liver Blood Booster (and its sidekick, Cookies!)

Rounding out our week of the “Wrath of the Food Gods,” MI made a delicious meal for us–twice.  (The first go-round was sacrificed to the Pavement deities after it decided it wanted to ride on the hood of her car).  Luckily for us, second time was a charm and MI brought it a well-rounded assortment of Liver Blood boosting treats, including dessert!   We also got to try good old fashioned molasses (“on a spoon” style) which seemed to divide our class quite equally (I myself am in the “Yay, Molasses!” camp).  Her array of condiments proved deliciously well-suited and it was the first exposure to tempeh for many in the class.

TCM DOS: Liver Blood Deficiency

with Blood Stasis from Cold

Western Correlation:  Dysmenorrhea and/or Irregular periods with Pain

Tongue: thin body, pale to purple, dry

Pulse: thin, weak; could be wiry or thready

SIGNS & SYMPTOMS:

Scanty and Irregular menstrual periods (LV Blood Deficiency) with large dark clots and severe pain (Blood Stasis from Cold)

Floaters, blurred vision, dry eyes, dizziness (LV Blood Deficiency)

Pale, Sallow Complexion, lips, and nails; also dry and brittle hair, skin, and nails (LV Blood Deficiency)

Cold Lower Abdomen with or without palpable cysts, fibroids, or lumps (Blood Stasis from Cold)

FOODS THAT HELP THIS CONDITION:

1) Liver Blood Deficiency: Chloryphyll-rich foods, microalgae, spirulina, wheat grass, leafy greens and sprouts (the darker and more freshly picked the better–kale, swiss chard, spinach), foods rich in iron and B12 , and cooked  whole  grains:  rice,  oats,  roasted  barley, sweet  rice,  spelt,  millet, pumpkin,  sweet  potatoes,  squash,  carrots,  corn,  parsnips,  yams,  peas,  stewed fruit,  onions,  leeks,  garlic,  turnip,  mushrooms  including  oyster  &  shitake, spinach,  chard,  kale,  chinese  greens,  beets,  parsley, celery, lychee  fruit,  coconut, grapes (esp. raisins),  cherries, blackberries, huckleberries, mulberries, black legumes  in  general,  chick  peas,  black  beans,  kidney  beans,  fava  beans,  tempeh, chicken,  beef,  pork,  Chinese  black  boned  chicken,  quail,  goose,  rabbit,  frog, organic  liver,  pigeon,  eggs,  organic  bone  marrow, mackerel,  tuna,  anchovy,  perch,  eel,  catfish,  oysters,  mussels,  shark,  shrimp, prawns,  clams,  seaweeds, fresh  ginger, black  sesame  seeds, peanut,  molasses,  rice  syrup,  barley  malt,  dates,  figs, sugar  cane, wheat  grass,  miso,  vegemite,  marmite

Foods to Avoid for Liver Blood Deficiency: salads,  raw  fruits,  sprouts,  raw  vegetables, excess  amounts  of  tofu,  dairy  or  nut  butters  and  other  high  oil  foods, overly  sweet  foods,  refined  sugars,  high  doses  of  vitamin  C, stimulants like coffee, tobacco, and chocolate; cold foods  like  ice  cream  or  smoothies, iced  drinks  including  ice  water

2) Blood Stasis from Cold: turmeric,  basil,  nutmeg,  oregano,  rosemary,  white  pepper,  hawthorn  berries, shallots,  leeks,  chives,  garlic,  ginger,  taro  root,  eggplant,  mushrooms  especially wood  ear  mushrooms, aduki  beans,  chestnuts,  kidney  beans, crab,  jellyfish,  mussels,  clams,  sea  cucumber,  abalone, red  wine  (small  amounts),  kelp  and  other  seaweeds,  sugar  cane,  vinegar,  rose water

Foods to Avoid for Blood Stasis from Cold: same as for Liver Blood Deficiency

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Helpful Cooking Methods: Avoid Frying and Roasting, Light Steaming is best, Boiling is okay, but provides less nutrition

1) For Liver Blood Deficiency: In  general  it  is  best to  eat  foods that  are  lightly  cooked to  ensure that  nutrients are  preserved  and  are  more  readily  digested  and  absorbed.  General  dietary recommendations  to  prevent  deficiency  include  eating  high  quality  proteins, lightly  cooked  vegetables  and  chewing  meals  thoroughly. Meals  should  emphasize  leafy  green  vegetables,  roughly  30%  to  40  %  of  your  diet and  high  quality  protein  sources,  roughly  20% –  30%  of  you  diet.  The  balance  of the  diet  should  center  around  complex  carbohydrates,  like  whole  grains  and lightly  cooked  vegetables.

2) For Blood Stasis: meals  should  consist  largely  of  lightly  cooked  vegetables,  roughly  40%  to  60%  of your  diet. About  30%  of the  diet  should  be  comprised  of  complex  carbohydrates. Proteins  should  comprise  only  about  10%  of  the  diet,  with  a  focus  on  high  quality sources.  The  diet  should  also  include  plenty  of  fragrant  and  lightly  spiced dishes.  Highly  processed  foods  and  well  as  oily  and  fatty  foods  should  be  avoided.

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Tempeh to Keep the Tempo

Ingredients:

2  eight ounce packages of Organic Tempeh cut into 16 pieces each or more

1 T. Braggs Liquid Aminos

3-4 T. Red Wine Vinegar or Apple Cider Vinegar

2-3 T. Olive Oil

1 cubic cm Ginger Root grated

1/2 cup Organic Shitake Mushrooms cut long-ways into thin strips, no stem

1-2 cup Hot Water

1/2 of a Large White Onion chopped

3/4 cup frozen Organic Kale (massage first and chop up if using fresh)

1/2 cup fresh Organic Baby Spinach

1/4 of a head of Organic Red Cabbage chopped (loosely)

1/4 tsp. Garlic powder or 1 clove minced garlic

1/4 cup Toasted Black Sesame Seeds

Preparation:

1) Marinate Tempeh in Olive Oil, Braggs, Vinegar, Ginger and 1/4 c. Shitake Mushrooms Steeped in Hot Water for ~ 5 min. first and added (with the water) for 2 hours or more (overnight would be best)

2)  Pour Tempeh and Marinade in pan, add the Onion, and Sautee over medium heat for 5 minutes or so until the Onion is soft, then add the Kale and Spinach.  Sautee for 5 more minutes until the Spinach and Kale are soft, but still vibrant.  Add the Cabbage, remaining mushrooms (not steeped) and garlic to taste, stir, and cover for 15-20 minutes over medium-low heat, stirring 3 or 4 times.  Mix in Toasted Sesame Seeds, leaving some to garnish.

3) Serve immediately or store and let the flavors develop further.  Serve alone or with Sauer Kraut and Mustard of your choice, appropriate spices and seasonings.

This sauerkraut packed a delightful punch!

Spirulina, blackstrap molasses, and Bragg's sea kelp delight--the cornerstone accoutrement of anyone deficient in Liver Blood.

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Thrice the Benefit Vegan Oatmeal Cookies

Ingredients: 

3/4 cup Vegan Butter

1/3 cup Organic Raw Sugar (can be replaced by honey or Stevia or try applesauce or bananas, etc.)

3/4 cup Dark Brown Sugar (contains molasses)

1 tsp Organic Vanilla

1/2 cup Almond Milk

1 cup Organic Oat Flour

1/2 tsp Baking Soda

1/4 tsp Ginger Powder

1/4 tsp Cloves

1/2 tsp Cinnamon

1/4 tsp Nutmeg

3 cups Quick Cooking or Rolled Oatmeal

1/2 c. Organic Raisins

1/4 c. Organic Goji Berries

4-5 Large Organic Medjool Dates pitted and chopped

Preparation:

1) Cream together the Vegan Butter and Sugars until smooth. Add Organic Vanilla and Almond Milk and mix well.

2) Add Organic Oat Flour, Baking Soda and Spices until well mixed, then stir in Oats, Raisins, Goji Berries, and Dates.

3) Spoon 1 1/2 inch balls onto an ungreased cookie sheet and bake 10-15 minutes at 350 degrees, or until done– careful not to let them burn.

References:

Hackett, Jolinda.  “Spiced Vegan Oatmeal Cranberry Cookies.” http://vegetarian.about.com/od/desertrecipes/r/oatcrancookies.htm

Liu, Jilin.  Chinese Dietary Therapy. 1995.

Ni, Maoshing.  Tao of Nutrition.  1993.

Pitchford, Paul.  Healing with Whole Foods.  2003.

Saper, James. Traditional Chinese Dietary Therapy Factsheets. http://www.eastmountain.ca

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