By Vicky Chan of NourishU
In Chinese Medicine, eating according to the seasons is vital to health and longevity. Eating well in winter is necessary to provide enough reserve and energy to our bodies to fight the extreme coldness. Besides, winter is also the time when our bodies are going through a lot of rejuvenation and renewal processes. Therefore, it is important to feed our bodies with sufficient nutrients as fuel and building blocks in order for them to do a good job keeping us healthy. Remember, it is quality that counts and not quantity, and you reap what you sow.
The traditional TCM nourishing foods which use a combination of high quality foods and herbs makes a significant difference in terms of effectiveness and potency. There are recipes which are very specific in targeting special health needs and can deliver desirable functional health benefits. By combining the synergetic effects of both foods and herbs, there is nothing else that is as effective. That is why there is little wonder why some Chinese people can live long and healthy lives, and look so much younger than their age.
The most popular and effective form of TCM nourishing food is soup. Soup in winter is especially warming and welcome by most people. Besides, soup can be nutrient dense, easy to make, easy to take, easy to digest and absorb, and suitable for all ages. You can make a large batch at a time and serve for more than one meal; therefore soup is very economical and practical. The ingredients for soup can vary according to availability and your liking; therefore it is easy to make and is always delicious as you can customize it to your liking. Recipes are just there to provide general guidelines and its not necessary to follow them precisely.
My personal favourite winter soup is cooking either chicken or pork or mutton with the following four superior herbs. It is the soup that my family enjoys about twice a month throughout the winter and keeps everyone healthy. You don’t have to use all of the four herbs together if they are too much for you. It is very common to use just goji-berries and Chinese yam to make other soups for regular consumption. Please visit our website www.nourishu.com to find other recipes using just the two herbs. Please also note that these herbal soups should not be taken when you have a cold or flu because they will nourish the viruses making them stronger and more difficult to get rid of.
Dang Shen (Codonopsis root)
Is sweet in taste and neutral in nature. It improves digestive health, improves blood deficiency, promotes energy, enhances qi, improves overall body functions and improves immune function.
Astragalus (Huang Qi)
Is sweet and slightly sour in taste and warm in nature. It improves immune function, circulation, digestion and overall health. It is used to fight diseases including cancer and to prevent aging. There are researches which have confirmed that astragalus can boost telomerase production.
Goji-berry (Chinese Wolfberry)
Is sweet in taste and neutral in nature. It benefits liver and kidney health, improves deficiencies, promotes blood and regulates blood sugar, improves vision and overall health.
Chinese Yam (Shan Yao)
Is sweet in taste and neutral in nature. It improves digestive health, lung functions and immune function, and strengthens kidney health and cure related deficiencies.
Rejuvenating 4 Super Herbs Chicken Soup
Improves blood and qi, promotes energy and circulation, is anti-aging, improves immune functions and benefits our vital organs and improves overall health.
INGREDIENTS (4 servings)
Dang-shen 黨參 – 10gm
Astragalus (huang qi) 黃耆 – 10gm
Goji-berry / Chinese Wolfberry (gou ji zi) 枸杞子 – 30gm
Chinese Yam (shan yao) 淮山 – 30gm
Skinless chicken breast – one piece (bone in)
Ginger – 3 slices
Citrus Peel (chen-pi) 陳皮- one piece (pre-soaked and with white membrane removed)
Red dates – 5 to 6
Optional ingredients to add more taste and health benefits:
Lean pork or pork shoulder blade with bone – 120gm (cut into a few pieces)
Dried scallop – 4 to 5 (to promote yin)
- Soak herbs for 5 to 10 minutes and rinse a few times.
- Wash chicken breast and pork, remove obvious fat and put them in boiling water to cook for a few minutes with foam bubbling to the top, remove and rinse.
- Put all ingredients in a soup pot with about 3 liters of clean filtered water. Bring soup to boil for about 5 minutes, remove foam and reduce heat to simmer for 3 hours. Add extra hot water to the cooking if necessary. You should get at least 6 cups of nutrient dense broth.
- When ready, add sea salt (Celtic or Himalaya) to taste and serve. Eat some meat with soup. Goji-berries and Chinese yam can be eaten as well. If you are not intending to eat all of the meat, after finishing the broth, you can break up the meat and add another 4 to 5 cups of water to cook for the second time, for about another 20 minutes over medium high heat. You can get at least two more cups of really yummy broth from it before discarding the ingredients.
Not suitable when suffering with a cold or flu.