Ying Yang Xue

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

Archive for the tag “xue”

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


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)


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


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.


Tempeh to Keep the Tempo


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


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.


Thrice the Benefit Vegan Oatmeal Cookies


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


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.


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

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


Foods to help boost Spleen Qi

D.R. created our inaugural spread, and what a spread it was!  She outdid herself, creating a calming, therapeutic environment in which to eat this healing food.  She even used yellow utensils and plates (yellow being the color of the Spleen in Five Element Chinese Medicine) and used LED tealights and sounds of nature MP3 for ambiance!  She requested that we do a 2 minute meditation before eating, and then we all ate in silence for 12 minutes (chewing our food very carefully).  What an experience!   Here are the details of D.R.’s project below, in her own words::
~  ~  ~  ~

TCM Pattern: Spleen Qi Xu (Spleen Qi Deficiency)

  • Western Diagnosis/ Correlation:: Diarrhea, gastroenteritis, anemia, gastric/duodenal ulcer
  • Signs & Symptoms:: poor appetite, fatigue, sallow complexion, abdominal distention, loose stools
  • Pulse:: weak
  • Tongue:: pale, thin white coat, possibly swollen, teeth marks as condition worsens
  • For Dietary Therapy Choose:  Foods that are warm, neutral and sweet, chewed well in small to moderate amounts, or congees or soups.
  • Avoid: Raw foods, salads, salsa, milk, cheese, and excesses of fruit, juices, and sugar.
Today’s Menu:
  • Sweet potatoes with Cinnamon, Nutmeg and Brown Sugar (small amount)
  •  Black beans with Leeks and Black Pepper
  •  White Beans with Carrots
  •  Yellow squash with Black Pepper
  •  Brown rice
Cooking Methods chosen:
  • Baking  supplies yang energy
  • Boiling/Simmering Prolonged boiling at several hours at medium/high temperature adds yang energy to yin foods although vegetarian stews can decrease the energetic process over time so warming spices can be adds to increase yang energy.
  • Frying with little oil high heat/short time (similar to woking)- supplies food with yang energy.


Sweet potatoes: clean poke holes in to vent,
                          Bake at 325 degrees x 1 hour,
                          Peel put in mixing bowl
                          Add dash of nutmeg, cinnamon, and brown sugar to taste
                          Mash to soft consistency adding water as needed until desired consistency
Black beans:  canned or dry-cook beans in their own juice add water as needed
                      2 medium leeks cleaned and cut to desired size
                      Black pepper to taste
                      Boil over med heat until soft, decrease heat to low and simmer 3-6 + hours
White beans:  canned or dry beans
                       Cook beans per instructions in their own juices
                       Carrots cut into ¼ inch pieces
                       Black pepper to taste
                       Boil over med/ high heat until soft, decrease heat to low and simmer 3-6 + hours; add vegetable broth if desired
Yellow squash:  clean cut into ¼ inch pieces,
                            Heat pan to high with small amount oil and spices red/black pepper, dash sea salt, fry quickly until slightly browned and soft turning frequently.

In Chinese Medicine it is recommended to eat foods in a relaxed atmosphere, chewing each bite at least 10- 15 times before swallowing.  Positive emotions generally promote good qi flow and during meals allow free flow of spleen qi to support smooth transportation for transformation to begin.  Negative emotions may block smooth digestive qi flow for spleen and stomach.

Of note in dietary therapy for spleen, any strengthening of blood also will supplement the spleen.

The classic texts recommend:

“When angry, it is easy to swallow food, but hard to digest it.  When sad, it is hard to swallow and digest food.  When experiencing strong emotions, it is advisable to delay eating until they have disappeared.  Foods should always be ingested at the proper time, this makes it easier to digest them.  Delaying eating and being able to digest food is better  than eating too soon and not being able to digest.  Digestive problems are accompanied by trouble, while good digestion frees a person from worry.  It is not advisable to eat when strong emotions are brewing.”

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