Winter Recipe - Black Bean Congee to Promote Kidney Health

By NourishU

Eating in Winter According to Chinese Medicine

Winter with the drop of temperature is the time to slow down on physical activities because our body's metabolic rate will be slower. It is also the time to eat nourishing food to help the body to preserve energy. Animals follow the law of nature and hibernate throughout winter. Human should also preserve energy and build up strength, preparing the body for regeneration and new growth in spring.

According to traditional Chinese medicine, tonic-taking in winter has a great bearing upon the balancing of Yin and Yang elements, the unblocking of meridians, and the harmonizing of Qi and blood. In the five elements theory of TCM, winter is when the kidneys are highly active and they have astringent and active storage functions that help in preserving energy. People should eat food with less salty taste in order to reduce the burden on the kidneys. Uncooked and frozen foods can damage the spleen and stomach and should be taken in moderation.

In winter when body's resistance is low, elderly people are especially advised to take food tonics which can improve their body constitution and promote better resistance to illness. Food tonics can have much better healthful effects than supplementation and drugs.

The tonics include superior warming herbs, fatty and meaty foods. Our body is designed to absorb the rich and nutritional foods better at this time of the year. For people who have a cold constitution with cold hands and feet, weak kidney health with frequent urination, cold and stiff body and constant pain in their backs and ankles, winter is the best time for them to correct these health problems when the body is most responsive to nutritional treatment.

The warming winter foods include chive, chicken, mutton, shrimp, ginger, garlic, walnut, mushroom, chestnut, mustard, vinegar, wine, gingko, red pepper and spring onion. For people who are cold in nature, they should also use the warming herbs such as dang shen, ginseng, astragalus, reishi mushroom, longan fruit and deer horn, etc. to promote yang energy.

For people who are hot in nature, they should use moderating foods such as spinach, eggplant, crab, white turnip, persimmon, honeydew, bitter melon and pineapple to moderate the heat.

For people who have a moderate constitution (neither too hot nor too cold), they should use moderately warm herbs such as Chinese yam, goji-berries, American ginseng, glehnia and Solomon's seal to maintain a healthy balance.

Black Bean Congee

Therapeutic Effects

Promotes kidney health.

Ingredients

  • Black beans 黑豆 – 2 spoonfuls
  • Little red bean 紅小豆 – one spoonful
  • Chinese Yam (shan yao) 山藥 – 30gm
  • Goji-berry / Chinese Wolfberry (gou ji zi) 枸杞子 – 10 to 20
  • Rice – half a cup

Directions

1.   Soak beans and yam for 2 hours and rinse.

2.   Soak goji-berry for 30 minutes and rinse.

3.   Rinse rice. Bring 4 cups of water in a pot to a boil and put in all ingredients. Boil again, lower heat to medium and cook for about 45 minutes or until beans are soft. Add water if necessary.

Usage

No limitation. Eat in the evening with dinner for best results.

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If you would like a downloadable information sheet that will tell you all about how to live in harmony with the Winter Season in Chinese Medicine, you can find it here - The Winter Season in Chinese Medicine.

**Photo by Sandra Frey on Unsplash


Black Bean & Licorice – Best Detox Combination

By Vicky Chan of NourishU

Nowadays, detoxification is the centre of attention when it comes to sickness prevention, health promotion and treatment of all kinds of illnesses including cancer. It is not hard to understand why we all need to detoxify for better health because we are living in such a toxic world with the air, food and water being highly polluted. Together with the industrialization of food and the modern healthcare approach of overusing toxic pharmaceutical drugs, our body is constantly bombarded by toxins. It is only a matter of when our body succumbs to the toxic effects and fails to function properly. Cancer is a typical example and is happening far too often to too many people now. I agree with the doctor who said `` if you breathe, you need to detox``.

If we understand the importance of detoxification, we will also understand that detoxification is not just a spring time event or a once a year exercise. It is necessary to flush out toxins from our body on a continuous and regular basis. This means that rather than taking a drastic detox program in a short period of time, it is better to take a more regular and gentler approach. The effect will be far better and easier for the body to handle.

Chinese medicine is big on detoxification. Making detox teas regularly for the whole family is a common approach towards sickness prevention and cure. It is especially important for young children and teenagers throughout their various development stages. The results are they have better digestive function, much more balance internally and therefore become calm and less agitated. They have less skin related problems therefore feel more confident and with better self-esteem. Besides homemade detox tea, it is also very common to find tea houses, herbal shops and retail stores selling all kinds of detox teas rather than coffee or unhealthy drinks. The most popular ones are the five flowers tea and cooling herbal tea. The homemade detox teas have more variety, milder in taste and nature, and are using more food ingredients such as beans, sugar cane, water chestnut, carrot, winter melon, lotus leave, etc., therefore are more delicious and easier for children to take regularly.

Black bean and licorice tea is one detox formula that I recently found in TCM literature which has very high rating and with lots of documentation to back up its efficacy. It is praised as the best detox tea for taking out almost all toxins from our body from all sources including toxins from pharmaceutical drugs and herbs. The only toxin that it cannot remove is cortisone. That is why we have to be very weary when taking cortisone injection. My understanding is that our body can only tolerate up to two cortisone injections in one life time. Any more than that will cause a lot of havoc to our body.

Black Bean & Licorice Detox Tea : Chinese Medicine Living

Black bean is known to be the worlds healthiest food. It is high in protein and calcium and good for promoting bone health. It is low in calories and sugar and is good for managing diabetes. Black bean can lower blood pressure and blood lipid and can prevent heart disease. It can also soften blood vessels, lubricate skin and prevent aging. Black bean provides special support for digestive tract health and promotes a healthy colon. Black bean is also high in selenium which plays a role in liver enzyme function and helps detoxify some cancer-causing compounds in the body, reduces inflammation and decreases tumor growth.

Black Bean & Licorice Detox Tea : Chinese Medicine Living

Licorice has been used in food and as medicine for thousands of years. It is also known as "sweet root," and has been used in both Eastern and Western medicine to treat a variety of illnesses ranging from the common cold to liver disease. It acts as a demulcent, a soothing, coating agent, and as an expectorant, meaning it helps get rid of phlegm.

Black Bean & Licorice Detox Tea : Chinese Medicine Living

In TCM, licorice is neutral in nature, sweet in taste and attributes to all twelve organs. It is a general drug, one of the most ancient herbs and is highly praised and frequently used for enhancing the overall immune response throughout the body. It improves the taste of other herbs, harmonizes and prolongs their effects in formulas and benefits all of the vital organs and their meridians. It invigorates vital energy, clears heat and toxins for skin infection, sore throat and food poisoning. It eliminates phlegm, relieves cough, relieves spasm, alleviates pain and moderates the potency of drugs. That’s why licorice is often found in many herbal remedy formulas. However over consumption can also result in adverse effects.

The following is a simple formula putting black bean and licorice together to make a great detox tea for regular detoxification. It is slightly sweet in taste and is easy to take. It is highly recommended for people of all ages.

Black Bean and Licorice Detox Tea

Black Bean & Licorice Detox Tea : Chinese Medicine Living

Ingredients (for about 6 servings)

  • Licorice – 65gm
  • Black bean – 300 gm
  • Water – 2000 cc

Directions

1. Rinse beans and soak for over 4 hours or overnight (keep inside a fridge).

2. Bring water to a boil in a big soup pot (to prevent boiling over). Add beans and soaking water in and bring to a boil again. Lower heat to medium and let it cook for about 15 minutes.

3. Rinse licorice briefly and add to the cooking. Lower heat and cook until beans are soft (about another 30 minutes).

4. You can take the tea only or eat beans with tea or you can discard the licorice and put beans and tea in a blender to mix into a smoothie.

Black Bean & Licorice Detox Tea : Chinese Medicine Living

Usage

You can take one to two servings per day and keep the rest in the fridge.

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Chinese Silk Pulse Cushions : Chinese Medicine Living