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.

.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .

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


Stress Relief Chinese Herbal Soup - Just 5 Ingredients in 5 Minutes!

By Cindy Mai of rootandspring.com

Stress….need I say more? With the pressures of our now modern life, none of us are immune to stress. Small daily challenges like work deadlines, multiple errands, and traffic jams can build up stress, which then interferes with optimal wellness. What stress does is it can cripple the immune system (which is why people get physically sick after being stressed for too long), upset delicate hormones, and disrupt digestion, among other things. Most dangerous of all, it can build up inflammation in the body.

Now, It is quite common for people to pour a glass of wine or beer at the end of the day to de-stress. Yet, there are other more healthful ways that can help, to not only de-stress, but actually support the body nutritionally. In traditional Chinese medicine, there is a classic combination of four herbs that support the adrenal function. This same classic combination is what inspired our “Stress Relief Herbal Mix", and in ancient Chinese literature is referred to as having effects like “meditation in a bowl”. They are: Poria, Chinese Wild Yam, White Lotus Seeds, and Euryale Seeds. In Chinese herbal medicine, a great infusion of herbs can work wonders on your mind and body, and when these herbs are consumed, it can help reduce stress and anxiety as well as calm the heart and spirit.

Poria

Chinese Wild Yam

White Lotus Seeds

Consuming herbs is arguably one of the best ways to increase intake of medicinal herbs. With the right measurements, this classic combination of stress relieving herbs can be prepared in a soup or tea. In a soup, it will create a beautiful broth that helps your body decrease tension, and soothe the mind. Plenty of vegetables can be added that would further enhance the properties of the soup for your body most of which you can find at your local market. According to traditional Chinese medicine, foods act just like herbs and can and should be selected and prepared appropriately to match your body. It is important to know about the energies of food because different energies act upon the human body in different ways and affect our state of health. If a person suffers from acne that worsen when exposed to heat, it is beneficial to eat foods with Yin energy (cold or cool energy) such as bamboo shoots, lotus roots, spinach, or mushrooms to relieve the symptoms. A general rule of thumb is if you eat predominantly Yin foods, your body will be capable of producing more Yin energy - darker, slower-moving and colder. In contrast, eating predominantly Yang foods (onions, asparagus, peppers, ginger) will produce more Yang energy - faster, hotter and much more energetic. It's helpful to remember certain rules to determine the type of energy a food produces, so that you can prepare soup accordingly to what type of stress you’d like to rid.

Euryale Seeds

A super simple recipe that takes just a handful of ingredients and five minutes to prepare to get your mind and body right.

Stress Relief Herbal Soup Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2-3 pounds of chicken, pork bones, or beef bones
  • 43 grams of Poria
  • 31 grams of Chinese Wild Yam
  • 29 grams of White Lotus Seeds
  • 26 grams of Euryale Seeds
  • 8 - 10 cups of water
  • Salt (optional)

Directions

  1. Lightly rinse herbs.
  2. In a pot, combine herbs, meat, and water.
  3. Bring to a boil before covering and simmering for 1.5 hours on stove-top or 20 minutes in pressure cooker.
  4. Salt to taste.

This delicious image from the omnivorescookbook.com


Immune Boosting Recipe - Winter Vegetable & Mushroom Soup

By Vicky Chan of NourishU

Recipes That Improve the Immune System

Health preservation and sickness prevention are the main themes in Chinese medicine and strengthening the immune system is the key in achieving these objectives. When the immune system is healthy, it can counteract adverse effects and prevent the development of sickness. It can also enable self-healing and lessen the impact from invading elements.

It has been known for many decades that sugar depresses the immune system. It was only in the 70s that they found out that vitamin C was needed by white blood cells so that they could phagocytize bacteria and viruses. White blood cells require a fifty times higher concentration, at least inside the cell as outside, so they have to accumulate vitamin C. Vitamin C and glucose have similar chemical structure and they compete for one another upon entering the cells. If there is more glucose around then less vitamin C will be allowed into the cell. Therefore, a low sugar diet is absolutely necessary to enable more vitamin C to get into the cells and increase immune function.

Following a diet rich in antioxidants is also essential to support good immune function. Abundant in many fruits and vegetables, antioxidants combat free radicals which can damage DNA and suppress the immune system. Choosing healthy omega-3 fatty acids available in oily fish and flax seeds over saturated fats found in meat and dairy products can help increasing your immune functions.

Foods for Boosting the Immune System

Eggs

Egg yolks are loaded with choline, which is proven to help combat breast cancer.

Green Tea

Green tea can slow down the growth of cancer cell. Drink green tea after each meal can kill germs growth in mouth and can increase elasticity of arteries.

Mushrooms

Mushrooms are loaded with antioxidants, riboflavin, selenium and other nutrients that keep the immune system healthy, they also help stave off cancer and prevent cancer growth. Wood-ear mushroom has blood thinning effects similar to aspirin which can prevent blood clots without the side effects

Korean Ginseng

Korean ginseng can prevent cancer, calm nerves and treat neural disorders, treat low blood pressure, anemia, diabetes, heart disease, lung disease and skin disease.

Cooked tomato

Cooked tomatoes have been proven to prevent uterus, prostate, bladder and pancreatic cancer. Tangerine tomatoes are a little-known species, distinctive for their orange color. They have a better form of lycopene which is particularly effective in fighting breast, prostate, ovarian, cervical and colon cancer. Cooked tomatoes also can treat and prevent cataracts, muscular degeneration, diabetes, and more.

Garlic

It is the most inexpensive common food that can give your immune system a boost. Add a couple of spoonfuls of minced garlic to your steamed rice or fried rice, or to your daily meal and it will help your body to prevent colds, fight viruses and kill bacteria.

Water

Drinking plenty of water and steering clear of sugary beverages, like soda and energy drinks, also help fend off infection by flushing out your system.

Herbs

Many tonic herbs have superior properties that have long been known to enhance the immunity of the body. Mushroom, ginseng, ling-zhi, cordyceps, Chinese yam, dang-shen, astragalus and many of the common herbs are part of the Chinese diet to boost the immune system.

Winter Vegetable & Mushroom Soup

this lovely image from walesonline.co.uk

Therapeutic Effects

Strengthens the body constitution, improves energy and body resistance, promotes general health and strengthens the immune system.

Ingredients

  • Button mushrooms - half cup
  • Onion - 1 large (finely chopped)
  • Garlic cloves - 4 (minced)
  • Carrot - 1 large (peeled and thinly sliced)
  • Parsnip - 1 large (peeled and thinly sliced)
  • Green cabbage - 1 small head (shredded)
  • Olive oil - 2 tablespoons

this beautiful image from naplesherald.com

Directions

1.   Heat oil in large saucepan or pot over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté at least 5 minutes or until onion is golden. Add carrot and parsnip and sauté 5 minutes or until carrot is crisp-tender.

2.   Stir in cabbage and cook, covered, 5 minutes or until beginning to wilt. Stir in 3 cups water, mushrooms and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, 25 minutes or until mushroom and winter vegetable soup is richly flavoured.

this delicious image from epicurious.com

 

Usage

No restrictions.

.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .

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.

Delicious featured image photo by Rachael Gorjestani on Unsplash


Snow-Ear Mushroom - The Natural Internal Moisturizer for our Bodies

By Vicky Chan of NourishU

The best part of Chinese food culture is to eat according to the seasons. With fall in the air and the weather getting dryer, it is important to eat foods that can combat dryness and promote vital fluids to lubricate our lungs, joints and skin.

The best food that can do just that is snow-ear mushroom. The botanical name is Tremella fuciformis.  It is a species of fungus producing white, frond-like, gelatinous fruit bodies. They grow wild in the tropics on recently fallen branches of broadleaf trees. Nowadays, they are commercially cultivated and are one of the most popular fungi in Chinese cuisine. The snow-ear mushroom is commonly known as silver ear fungus or white jelly mushroom and is referred to as the poor-man’s bird’s nest because of its low price but with comparable health benefits.

Chinese Snow-Ear Mushroom

Chinese medicine defines snow-ear mushrooms as neutral in nature, sweet in taste and are known to lubricate lungs and joints, promote vital fluids, promote cell regeneration and blood circulation, moisturize and whiten skin and promote energy.

The mushrooms are sun-dried and are very light in weight but they can expand to 2 or 3 times their size after soaking in water for 5 to 10 minutes. The best ones are slightly yellowish in colour (the very white ones are probably bleached), but will become whiter after soaking, rinsing and cooking.  They are softer after being cooked but still retain some crunchiness. Snow-ear mushroom is mostly used in soups, desserts and vegetarian stews.

Chinese Snow Ear Mushroom Soup Recipe

My favourite recipe for snow-ear mushroom is to make soup with apples or pears (or both) and with pork. The ingredients can vary according to your taste and liking. The soup is very refreshing with fruity, sweet and sour taste and yet is also meaty and rich. It is very easy to make. With apples and pears being so abundant at this time of the year, it is the best soup for the whole family, both for taste and health benefits. Please also search the NourishU website  for other snow-ear mushroom recipes.

Chinese Snow Ear Mushroom Soup Recipe

Snow-Ear Mushroom, Apple and Pork Soup

THERAPEUTIC EFFECTS

Promotes yin, improves vital fluids, benefits lungs, clears phlegm, moisturizes skin and the large intestine, promotes digestion, and improves skin complexion.

INGREDIENTS (6 to 8 servings)

  • Snow-ear mushroom 雪耳 – 2

  • Apples - 4

  • Northern / Southern apricot kernel 北南杏 - a handful

  • Lean pork / pork with bone- 240gm

  • Citrus peel (chen-pi) 陳皮- one piece (soak and scrape out white membrane)

  • Ginger – 2 slices

  • Dried figs – 3 to 4 (rinse and cut into halves)

Chinese Snow Ear Mushroom Soup Recipe

INSTRUCTIONS

1.   Wash pork, cut into large pieces and put them in boiling water to cook for a few minutes. Remove and rinse.

2.   Soak snow-ear mushroom for about 10 minutes or until fully rehydrated. Cut out the brown stem and separate them into smaller pieces, and rinse.

3.   Put pork with about 2 to 3 litres of water in a soup pot and bring to a boil. Remove foam if necessary. Add all other ingredients except apples and let it cook over medium heat for about one hour.

4.   Remove skin and core of apples and cut each into large slices and add to the cooking. Add more boiling water to the cooking if necessary and let it cook for another 30 minutes.

4.   Add salt to taste and serve.

Chinese Snow Ear Mushroom Soup Recipe

USAGE

No restrictions.


Spring Recipe for Nourishing Liver

By Vicky Chan of Nourish U

The arrival of spring brings a new season of growth to all living things on earth. That is why Chinese medicine identifies spring as wood. According to the TCM five-element theory, wood represents our liver and gallbladder system. What this means is that spring is the season when the liver energy is most intense; therefore it is the best time to address and promote liver health.

The liver is the only organ in our body which is responsible for removing poisons and toxins from our blood, making bile to support digestion and making new blood and protein to support growth.

Diet has an immediate impact on liver health. Over eating, especially rich and greasy foods can make the liver system sluggish and can slow down liver functions. Too much alcohol can damage liver cells and can cause hardening of the liver and cancer. Besides food, exercise and emotions can also affect liver health. Too much sorrow is known to suppress liver energy and cause system failure. Unhealthy lifestyle such as not sleeping at night can interfere with the liver detoxification and blood building cycles. Therefore, a healthy diet and lifestyle and the right state of mind and balanced emotions are the keys to good health.

Spring cleaning is not only necessary for our homes and gardens, it is also necessary for our bodies, especially the liver to clean out toxins after a winter season of heavy foods and indulgences. A cleansing diet with emphasis on fresh fruits and vegetables is most appropriate. Adding a bit more sour taste to our foods and drinks such as lemon and vinegar can produce effective contracting, astringent and cleansing effects.

After cleansing the liver, nourishing it is also very important. There are many foods and herbs which are excellent for promoting liver health such as asparagus, dandelion, goji-berries, bean sprout and chives. Liver meats are best for promoting liver health. One common misconception about liver or organ meat is that they are full of toxins and cholesterol and therefore is not good for health. In fact, liver meat has exceptionally high content of quality protein, vitamin A, B vitamins and in particular B12, folic acid, minerals such as copper, zinc, chromium, copper and CoQ10. The by-products of liver detoxification cannot be stored in liver cells because there is no room for them. The World Health Organization has just recently included pork liver as one of the most healthy foods to eat.

Please refer to our website to see more foods and herbs suggestions and recipes for promoting liver health for spring. Here is a recipe using pork or chicken liver to nourish our liver. It is very easy to make, delicious and suitable for the whole family.

IMG_3080

Stir-fry Liver with Chives and Goji-berries

THERAPEUTIC EFFECTS

Nourishes liver, promotes good eyesight and increases yang energy.

INGREDIENTS: (2 to 3 servings)

Chicken or pork liver – 250gm

Chinese chives – one bunch (about 300gm)

Astragalus (huang qi) 黃耆 - 30 gm

Goji-berry / Chinese Wolfberry (gou ji zi) 枸杞子 - 20 gm

Minced or grated ginger – two tablespoons

Soy sauce – one teaspoon

Potato starch – one teaspoon

Cooking wine – 2 tablespoons

IMG_3082

DIRECTIONS

1. Rinse astragalus, cut into short sections and put with 2.5 cups of water in a pot and
let it soak for 30 minutes. Then bring water to a boil and lower heat to medium low and
cook for 30 minutes to yield 1/3 cup of tea. Discard astragalus and put tea aside.

2. Rinse chives a few times, strain and cut into bite size sections.

3. Wash liver with salt, rinse, cut liver into thin slices and season with soy sauce, half
portions of ginger and wine, and lastly mix in starch.

4. Soak goji-berries for 10 to 15 minutes with water and rinse a few times. Soak goji-
berries with half of the astragalus tea.

5. Warm one table spoon of oil in a pan. Add the remaining ginger and stir. Add chive
and stir for 2 minutes. Sprinkle in a pinch of salt. Add the rest of the astragalus tea and
cook for 2 more minutes. Remove from heat and put chives aside on a plate.

6. Warm another spoon of oil in the pan and add liver. Let liver cook for one minute
each on both sides. Add in goji-berries with tea and cook for 2 more minutes or to liver
is just done. Put chives back into the cooking and mix. Put everything onto a plate and serve.

USAGE

No restrictions

.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .

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