Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Food Energetics: Traditional Chinese Medicine's Best Kept Secret

Why do we eat? Have you given it much thought? I know why most people skip breakfast... if you were stuck in rush hour, attempting to devour a pastry and coffee while answering the phone and dodging cars all at the same time, you’d skip a meal too. It seems like most of our food is eaten too fast for convenience or eaten for taste rather than for health. The other extreme is limiting how much we eat for the sake of ‘health’ or trying out a new ‘diet’. Instead we need to learn how to give our body what it needs to be healthy while enjoying the taste of our meals and surrounding company. 

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) food is viewed as medicine and is used to nourish and harmonize the body, mind, and spirit. All foods have a distinct energy and characteristic properties that either help to balance our bodies and make us healthy, or that create imbalances which ultimately result in sickness. TCM practitioners use the food energetics system to teach their patients how to enjoy food and learn how to heal their bodies through what they eat. Food energetics is so effective that a proper regimen actually supplements other Chinese medicinal practices like acupuncture, acupressure, and Chinese herbs.  

In the West, foods are described in terms of how much protein, fat, calories, vitamins, minerals, etc. it contains. The emphasis is placed on the chemical composition of a food to quantifiably determine whether it is beneficial and nutritious. However, the breakdown of food into scientific facts leaves out the person that all the information is intended for in the first place. Knowing the caloric intake of a meal is good information to have, but is rather limited when dealing with individual bodies who have unique constitutions and who should be treated with a more personalized method. 

This is where TCM differs from the Western approach: whether a food is beneficial is determined by its effect on the human body. Therefore, the focus of Chinese medicine is the quality of the food as opposed to its quantity, a commonly emphasized factor in the Western approach. In the East, foods are described by qualities such as temperature, flavor, and action. TCM determines the unique energy and characteristic properties of each food such as hot/cold, salty/sweet/bitter flavors, and how foods act on and move throughout our bodies. The ancient Chinese observed the human body and how it was affected by nature and other various stimuli; Chinese medicine is the accumulation of these observations, in addition to its modern day contributions that makes it a living tradition.

Although they differ in their approach, both Western & Eastern medicine have the same foundation: science. Thousands of years ago, the ancient Chinese discovered that everything in our world existed because of the interactions of energy within all things. They named these two opposing energies yin and yang; modern physicists call it kinetic and potential energy. 

Chinese nutritional science or food energetics is the study of electromagnetic patterns of foods and how these vibrations effects the human body. Think of food energetics in terms of frequencies: imagine your body is a radio and each music station is a different food. When the foods you eat are appropriate for your body constitution, the music on the radio is crisp and clear. But when you eat foods that interfere with your body’s frequency, the interference disrupts the music and causes static. In other words, your body is unable to function to the best of its ability due to a particular food’s frequency disrupting the bodily resonance. 

We each have a particular body constitution, much like our personalities, which makes us individual and unique. By eating the correct foods for your constitution, you’re feeding your body what it craves and needs to be healthy and balanced. For example, someone with a body constitution that is dry and warm would benefit from eating a diet of foods that brings moisture to the body while cooling it down. If you continue to eat drying or warming foods, then the body would be akin to a car engine over heating. Just as all foods have a particular energy and characteristics, so do each of our bodies.Chinese medicine is not one-size-fits-all, but approaches each person distinctly, viewing them as a whole: body, mind, and spirit.

Eating healthy from a Western standpoint, we look at food and mostly see the fat content, caloric intake, or nutritional properties like amount of antioxidants. But from a food energetics viewpoint, the foods being eaten may be 'healthy in general', but may not suit someone’s constitution at that time and actually cause more harm than good. Food energetics uses the Western nutritional information, but takes into account a person’s specific constitution as well as the properties of each food to determine what will promote balance and maintain a healthy life. Each person is uniquely different and we should be treated as such. The problem is that we try to make diets fit when they are made to fit everyone; we should be searching for more personal options that take into account our whole body and mind, an approach that fits us perfectly because it was tailored to each of us specifically. Only then will we truly find healing and health. 

Some Food energetics tips to promote healing and health:

1) Eat Seasonally: Our bodies are rhythmic and in touch with the natural cycles. For example, during winter our bodies are more inactive and focused on staying warm. Seasonal vegetables like root vegetables are warming and help to insulate our bodies from the cold. During the summer our bodies are more active and must focus on staying cool from the heat. Most seasonal vegetables and fruit available during summer are cooling and easily digested which allows our bodies to shed the pounds it put on during the colder seasons. Which meals tend to be the heaviest and lightest at what season? Nature provides foods that correspond to the seasons and best support our bodies during particular times of the year.  

2) Cook & Eat Mindfully: Edward Espe Brown explains it best: “Enjoying your food is very important, because to enjoy something is how we connect to the world, to one another, to our inner being. When you enjoy your food, you will be happy and well nourished by what your eat.” Consider how your meals are spent. Try to relax and slow the pace of your meals, enjoy the presentation of the food, indulge in conversation, and make dining a relaxing, pleasurable experience. When we become more mindful of our meals, we absorb more of the nutrients from our foods. 

3) Movement = Health: In Chinese medicine, movement equals health while stagnation equals disease. Think of a flourishing pond: the moving water is teeming with fish and other life. Now imagine if that pond stagnated. The fish would slowly die off from lack of oxygen and clean water as the algae and pests accumulate. Toxins increase because there are no longer natural safeguards in place to maintain balance. The pond is analogous to the body. Exercise and proper breathing stimulates us, moving the stagnation and invigorating our bodies. In this health promoting environment, disease cannot take hold—so get up and move!

Chinese Medicinal Food

Chinese medicinal cuisine is a long standing tradition. Early records show that it was in use as far back as the Han Dynasty (206 BC - 220). Through continual improvement during succeeding dynasties, it has developed into a practical science of nutrition. This is not a simple combination of food and traditional medicine, but is it a distinctive cuisine made from food and medicinal ingredients following the theory of Chinese medicine.
This not only became the means of health-preservation among the people of China, but also spread abroad, especially into Southeast Asia. There is now sufficient interest from people wishing to learn about alternative medicine that regular conventions are held to promote this branch of medical science.
There is a wide choice of foods that are used in many different ways to promote health and well-being. It is estimated that there are more than 600 different kinds of resource ranging from cereals, fruits, vegetables, meats and marine products. Many of these will be unfamiliar to foreigners who may be reluctant to try them; however all are quite precious and effective in the field of medicinal food. Many different ingredients are used to add to the appeal as well as to strengthen effects of the cuisine. Wine, sugar, oil, salt, vinegar and honey, and other commonly available items such as almonds, mandarin orange, or peanuts, all are utilized in the cooking process.
Sweet Pink-Fleshed Radish
Sweet Pink-Fleshed Radish
Yam with Blueberry Sauce
Yam with Blueberry Sauce
According to its respective functions, medicinal cuisine is classified under four categories: health-protection cuisine, prevention cuisine, healing cuisine and therapeutic cuisine.
Health-protection cuisine refers to reinforcement of required nutritional food correspondingly to maintain the organic health. A soup of pumpkin and almond can help lose weight; soup of angelica and carp can add beauty; and ginseng congee can give more strength.
Prevention cuisine builds resistance to potential ailments. Mung bean soup is considered helpful as a guard against heat stroke in summer. Lotus seeds, lily, yam, chestnuts, and pears can assist in the prevention of dryness in autumn and a strengthening of resistance to cold in winter.
Pumpkin with Corn
Pumpkin with Corn
Cuttlefish Soup
Cuttlefish Soup
Healing cuisine is the medicinal food for rehabilitation after severe illness. Broiled sheep's heart with rose or braised mutton with angelica will help to rebuild a healthy constitution.
Therapeutic cuisine aims at the specific pathology. Fried potatoes with vinegar can adjust the organ and restrain hypertension and carp soup with Tuckahoe may enrich the strength of blood plasma albumen to help reduce swelling.
Have a try and you will enjoy the delicacy while benefiting a lot from the nourishment. A really amazing experience!

Savoring benefits of medicinal foods

Despite the popularity of Chinese food in America, people here have limited knowledge of Chinese medicinal food, said Chen Wei, a visiting scholar from China's Jiangnan University.
"This is because of the huge differences between Chinese and Western medical theories as well as philosophies," said Chen.
On Chinese New Year's Eve on Feb 18, more than 60 local residents gathered at a community center in the Northern California city of Davis for a taste of typical Chinese New Year food as well as a better understanding of Chinese food culture.
The Confucius Institute at the University of California-Daviswas promoting Chinese culture by introducing community members to a traditional Chinese health-preserving concept – medicinal food homology (MFH).
MFH means some food ingredients areboth medicine and food materials.
So far, 87 kinds of food have been approved as MFH materials by China's Ministry of Health, including such herbs as wolfberry, ginseng and multiflora, which are good for the liver, kidneys, eyes and blood, said Chen, a visiting scholar at UC Davis and dean of the School of Food Science and Technology at China's Jiangnan University, the Chinese partner of the Confucius Institute.
"In recent years, the Americans have come to believe in the effectiveness of MFH," Chen said.
Some medicinal foods are more common on people's tables, such as sesame, almond,longan, lotus leaves and seeds, chrysanthemum, jujube and papaya.
Sesame is especially good for hair and alleviating high blood sugar, while hawthorn, a favorite fruit of Chinese, is beneficial for the heart, stomach and spleen and also helps lower lipid levels, Chen explained.
Chinese people have a long history of using food as medicine, which dates back to the legendary ruler, Shennong, who taught the ancient Chinese how to use herb drugs around 4,500 years ago, according to Chen, who is also an expert in food biotechnology.
Chinese emperors used the concept of MFH for maintaining their health, Chen explained. It's said that Qianlong Emperor, the longest-living emperor, ate ginseng everyday after the age of 50; and Yang Guifei, one of the Four Beauties of ancient China, had the secret of maintaining beauty by drinking wolfberry tea every day, he said.
In traditional Chinese medicine, prevention is more important than treatment, and that's why Chinese people have always emphasized medicated diets to enhance physical fitness, prevent diseases and prolong life.
Through the 5,000-year history of food, the Chinese people have developed distinctive regional fares based on their own health needs.
The Sichuan cuisine, featuring spicy hot pot and hot chili peppers, was created to keep warm in the cold and humid weather in southwest China, while in the hot and muggy south, people like to eat yoyumin soup or porridge to cool down, Chen said.
For Chinese people, food is not only substance or medicine, but also cultural symbolism. They have integrated the culture with their MFH concepts, according to Chen.
The moon cakes for celebrating the Mid-autumn Festival are made with such fillings assesame, smashed jujube, lotus seeds and almonds. During the Chinese New Year, people usually get together to eat dumplings made with sesame and anise.
A member of the audience, Robert Hackman,who is a nutrition professor at UC Davis, said that Western medicine is unable to detect the full benefits of MFH.
"It (the lecture) integrates traditional Chinese practice with modern science to create a new vision so we can work together to make us feel better and look better," said Hackman, who said he has been to China more than 20 times as a research nutritionist.
He believes that Chinese food is going to be even more popular in the US because it's delicious, inexpensive and quickly served, as are the MFH products, such as wolfberry drinks, sesame paste, jujube jam and gingko tea. They can be found in most Chinese supermarkets in California.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Eight Treasures Tea: An Elixir From Ancient China

During the past decade, I got asked by non-Chinese and sometimes Chinese friends/colleagues almost every day when brewing herbal tea or bringing home-made medicinal foods customized for the weather and my own physical & mental condition on that day, and decided to find something for "everyone" regardless of their specific body constitution. Here's one of the kinds that are beneficial for your health regardless your body constitution.

Eight Treasures Tea: An Elixir From Ancient China

Herbal remedies have been used in China for millennia. (*)

Herbal remedies have been used in China for millennia with each dynasty classifying and documenting new treatments as they were discovered.
Shennong meaning “Divine Farmer,” lived some 5,000 years ago and taught the ancient Chinese agriculture and how to use herbs to treat their ailments. He is credited with inventing the hoe, axe, and plow, and understanding the importance of taking a patient’s pulse to diagnose their condition. Pulse taking is now a standard diagnostic procedure in Chinese medicine. Shennong also began compiling a book called “Divine Farmer’s Materia Medica” which discussed agriculture and the properties of 365 medicinal herbs.
Later, in the Tang Dynasty (618–906) there were 114 more herbs added, and then during the Song Dynasty (960–1279) another 120 were added.
It wasn’t until the Ming Dynasty (1518–1593) when one of China’s most famous doctors, Li Shizhen, completely rewrote the book.
Li thought the categories were too complicated, the names were not properly assigned, and that the herbs were not properly documented. After devoting 30 years of his life to consultation of more than 800 books and writing three revised versions, Li compiled the most comprehensive medical book and called it the “Bencao Gangmu” (The Great Compendium of Herbs). It has over 52 volumes and includes 1,892 herbs with over 100 illustrations and 10,000 prescriptions.
To this day, the “Bencao Gangmu” is regarded as the most complete and comprehensive medical book ever written in the history of traditional Chinese medicine.

Eight Treasures Tea

Of all the herbal tonics in China, none is as well known as the medicinal tea called the “Eight Treasures Tea” (Ba Bao Cha), the base of which was created during the Tang dynasty. However, it wasn’t until Li changed some of the ingredients and added a few more, that it really became one of the most traditional tonics in Chinese history.
“Eight Treasures” is popular in part because of its many health benefits. It is known as an elixir in China because it helps improve blood circulation, raise energy levels, boost the immune system, clear lightheadedness, aid liver function and breathing, help remove dark under-eye circles, hydrate dry skin, fight fatigue, and can help women maintain a regular menstrual cycle.
There are many different varieties of “Eight Treasures” with different recipes made in different dynasties and depending on the availability of ingredients. The more common ingredients according to Li are:
Green tea Jasmine green tea brings out a more floral flavor.
Dried chrysanthemum flowers: 1–2 tablespoons
Goji berries: 4–6 berries
Dried Chinese red dates: 2 fruits
Dried Dragon Eye (Longan): 2 pieces

Licorice root: 1–2 pieces
American Ginseng: 1–2 roots
Dried fruit: You can use 1–4 pieces of apples, oranges, or raisins depending on size.
Rock Sugar
Li also mentioned you can add sesame seeds, lotus roots, peanuts, or walnuts. The portions are not set, so you can add more or less as desired.


This tea is ideal to make in a pot instead of just a cup because of all the ingredients. Combine all ingredients except the green tea in a pot, and pour enough boiling water over them to cover completely while leaving some room at the top of the pot.
Unlike tea, the longer it brews the better, as the taste will be sweeter and more nutrients will come to from the herbs. I recommend 5–10 min. After you think it is almost ready, in a separate cup make the green tea as you would normally, a bit stronger than normal. After brewing, pour tea (straining out the leaves) into the pot with the other ingredients. It is now ready to drink and serve.
Note: If pregnant please consult your doctor before using the ingredients listed above.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Food As Medicine

Food As Medicine

Food as medicine: Getting a perspective

Americans are bombarded with information about "healthy eating," but we suffer from higher rates of obesity and chronic disease than ever before. We are told one year to avoid fat and the next to avoid carbohydrates. It is enough to make anyone distrust nutritional advice altogether, particularly anything that claims that "food is medicine."
And in many ways, we don't really need much advice because we already know basically what we should do: eat a variety of foods, especially whole grains, fruits, and vegetables; minimize candy, soda and other empty calories; and watch how much we eat. And of course do some physical activity each day.
Then why do we have all the complicated nutritional advice, contradictory research studies, and endless health diets? In part because they give the food companies a way to sell more products. And on our side of the table, it is often easier to read about what we should do, then actually change our eating patterns. As a result, our Standard American Diet (SAD) is not contributing to our health.

What are some of the issues with our diet?

As a nation, we are increasingly eating more processed foods. Our supermarkets are full of convenient packaged foods that appeal to our taste buds, but compromise our nutrition. Because most of these foods' natural nutrients are removed in the refining process, we need to get them elsewhere.
Pie chart showing two-thirds of the calories we consume come from corn, soy, rice, and wheat.In addition, we are eating less variety of foods. Ironically, while 17,000 new products are introduced each year, two-thirds of our calories come from just four foods: corn, soy, wheat, and rice.
Nor is our food the same as it was 20 years ago. Nutrients in the soil have been depleted, so food grown in that soil has fewer nutrients. Chemicals are increasingly used in raising both plants and animals, particularly on huge industrial farms that specialize in a few products.
It is easy to fall into the pattern of eating fast, convenient, prepared food, especially in our often frenetic lives. But we are not nurturing ourselves by doing so. Our Standard American Diet lacks nutrients and relies heavily on processed foods that include artificial color, additives, flavorings, and chemically-altered fats and sweeteners.
Our fast foods also remove us from the pleasures of creating and savoring a wonderful meal, and our fast pace often prevents us from connecting over a good, slow meal. We tend to eat for convenience and speed, not health and pleasure.
So there are many reasons why we might want to pay attention to what we eat. We especially need to pay attention when we are sick so we can help our bodies get the nutrients we need to heal. There are many health benefits if we look at food as medicine.

What's in this website?

This website begins by explaining the connection between nutrition and your health. See How Does Food Impact Health?
It offers some simple guidelines about how to make good choices that will lead to better overall health (how to shop, how to cook, what to include, and what to avoid in your diet). If you follow just these guidelines, or even pick one to start with, you will be starting down a path to better health. See How Should I Start?
Collage of healthy foodIf you want to be more deliberate in improving health-perhaps to address a chronic disease or condition-you can read about an approach that is based on a Functional Medicineperspective. This perspective considers how various nutrients interact with the systems of the human body. See What Do Specific Foods Do? and What Should I Eat for My Specific Condition? for more information.
But we also want to acknowledge the full role that food plays in our lives. We don't eat only to provide our body with specific nutrients-we eat for pleasure and for the connection to family and friends. Our food is an expression of our community, culture, and relationship to the natural world. It is about relationships. We discuss this in Why Being Mindful Matters and How Are Food and the Environment Related?
It is our hope that the guidelines and suggested diets found within this website will help you create good, simple food that is tremendously satisfying and begs to be shared. We hope that you learn how food can truly be a delicious medicine and how you can eat for health and pleasure.
Expert Contributor: 
 Carolyn Denton, LN
Reviewed by: 
 Karen Lawson, MD; Linda Armstrong, RD, LD, MBA


Chinese Medicinal Cuisine

A lot of people all over the world like to eat Chinese food, but Chinese Medicinal Cuisine (食疗, shíliáo Chinese food therapy) is an ancient healing art you can explore. It is a kind of traditional medicine.
Long ago, people taught about how the body operates and gave suggestions about what to prepare to stay healthy or cure disease. If you are interested in exploring traditional Chinese cooking methods for better health, here is some background information, general principals, and recipes.
The common Chinese food eaten around the world isn’t authentic though.Authentic Chinese food dishes are prepared according to traditional recipes and techniques, based on ancient ideas about how the human body operates, and they described the effect of each kind of meat, grain, herb, or vegetable on the human body.

History of Medicinal Cuisine

Ancient Chinese medical books list hundreds of plants, animals, and chemical ingredients and tell their specific effects on the human body. These books give ideas about the physical principals involved in human health, and they describe how herbs or special foods help people, along with medical techniques such as moxibustion and acupuncture.
The earliest work on these various topics dates from the early Han Dynasty era (206 BC-220 AD) and is called the Huangdi Neijing.The Huangdi Neijing (The Yellow Emperor's Classic of Internal Medicine) is more than 2,000 years old.
Though that was very long ago, it contains the basic ideas of Chinese food therapy. It classified food by four food groups, five tastes and by their natures and characteristics.
The text gave recommendations on what to eat for different health conditions and different environmental conditions. It explained what to eat when in various environments such as cold weather, hot weather, rainy or dry conditions, and what to eat for specific medical conditions.
Since that time, the basic ideas about food and health have changed little.
General Principals of Chinese Medicinal Cooking

Balance, Balance, Balance

The basic idea is to balance the qi, Yin and Yang, and the body fluids.This is the basic idea of Chinese traditional medicine. It is thought that a healthy body or organ has a proper balance of these things. When they are out of balance, there is disease or sickness.
The environment or physical injury disrupts the balance. For example, cold weather causes a lack of qi or high Yin in the body. So high Yang foods are eaten. In hot weather when there is naturally too much Yang, high Yin foods are eaten.
Recipes for each season are described below.
traditional chinese medicine Traditional Chinese Herbs

Adding Medicinal Herbs to Your Diet

Healing herbs or animal parts can be added to the diet to heal disease. Many of the same herbs are used by Western herbalists and herbalists in other parts of the world for the same conditions, so this strongly suggests that the herbs havereal medicinal effects. Otherwise, how did people all over the world have the same herbal treatment ideas for hundreds of years?
Mixing Heats and Flavors
All foods are categorized by qi temperature, ranging from high yang to high yin, and one of thefive food flavors (sour, sweet, bitter, hot and salty). A food item’s qi temperature and specific flavor influences the body in its own way.
It is thought that people should generally include all the flavors in every meal and balance the temperatures. So generally a healthy meal will include both yin and yang food items and each of these five tastes. In main stir-fried dishes, a variety of ingredients with each of these attributes are usually mixed and fried together.
Most Chinese people think that if too much of one type of food is consumed, it can cause an imbalance in the body.

Seasonal Recipes

It is interesting that the Chinese believe that eating seasonal food is generally the best. For example, in the summer, yin foods like melons and cucumber are available; and in the winter, high yang foods like garlic and onions are available for consumption as well as easily stored red pepper and other high yang herbs.
It is as if nature produces the right healing foods for each season for people. For example, during cold and flu season in the late fall and winter, people would refrain from eating melons when they have a cold. And if one gets sunstroke from hot Chinese summer days, one would avoid garlic and onions.
So according to the tradition, here are recipes of commonly available ingredients that you can prepare yourself to maintain your health. The following recipes use common ingredients that you can make for each season for the year.
Winter: Chicken and Ginger Soup Recipe
chicken soupChicken and Ginger Soup
Just like Westerners, Chinese people like to drink lots of hot soup on cold winter days. Their idea is to make soups with high yang vegetables and herbs,and include meat to balance the dish. A favorite winter soup, just like in the West, is chicken soup.
Take chicken portions and boil them together with two chopped potatoes, or half a bailoubo (the long white Chinese turnip), and 1 tablespoon of ginger. When the potato and chicken pieces are somewhat cooked, add diced vegetables and spices.
The diced vegetables should include three diced cloves of garlic and 1 chopped onion, since these are essential for adding yang. You can also include a cup of carrots, a cup of mushrooms, a cup of zucchini or bok choy, or other similar vegetables.
To the mix, add 1 teaspoon of sea salt, and add additional herbs, such as several thin-sliced pieces of huangqi (黄芪 huángqí, astragalus root), or pinches of turmeric, if you wish. If you like red pepper, add that for a zang!
Spring: Asparagus and Vinegar Recipe
In the spring, things come alive and start growing. It is important for living things to have more than usual yang for growth.
It is thought that the liver and gallbladder are especially important at this time. It is important to eat the green seasonal vegetables that sprout out at these times since they supply the necessary yang and help to nourish the liver.
“Green is the color of the liver and of spring” is a saying. So eat the fresh leafy greens and sprouts that are available. And drink fresh sour juices, since these stimulate the qi.
It is also thought to be a time when the body does a “spring cleaning” on itself by getting rid of stored fats and meat, so eating less meat and fat is considered to be better for health. Here isa light and easy-to-make vegetarian dish and drink that is a good example of a springtime meal.
Wash a bunch of asparagus and a carrot in clean water without detergent. Then chop up the vegetables and lightly steam them until the asparagus is slightly tender and bright green. Note that the vegetables cook quickly so don’t steam them long.
Prepare a dressing by simply adding about two parts of virgin olive oil to one part of plum vinegar or apple cider vinegar. Plum vinegar is preferred, because it is a springtime fruit. Then pour the dressing on the vegetables and enjoy the dish with some lemonade.
To make the lemonade, simply squeeze a fresh lemon and add the juice to clean water.
Summer: Tomato and Cucumber Salad Recipe
cucumberCold Cucumber Salad
Here is a favorite dish for summer when the yang is naturally high, and you need to cool down a bit. Tomato and cucumber are high yin vegetables that are readily available.
Try to find fresh and ripe ingredients. Dice some red onion, or if that is unavailable, dice a regular onion, and chop up tomatoes and cucumbers. Mix up the ingredients with virgin olive oil, and add some dill, salt, and pepper to taste. It is simple to make and great for hot summer days.
Autumn: Butternut Squash Soup Recipe
In the autumn, life naturally ebbs away, and it is thought that the qi returns to the earth. In the human body, the qi goes inwards into the body’s core.
Eating the vegetables and fruits that are available at these times helps your body to transition and stay healthy. Here is a recipe for butternut squash soup, but pumpkin or other kinds of squash can be substituted.
Take a large butternut squash or an equivalently-sized pumpkin or other squash, a medium onion, two cloves of garlic, a stalk  of celery, a large carrot, some boiled chicken meat, and salt, pepper, cinnamon, and nutmeg to taste.
Chop up and dice everything, and first boil the squash in water in a large pot. Then when the squash is almost cooked, add the rest of the vegetables and the already cooked chicken chunks, and simmer the soup for a few minutes. Then when the soup is done and cooled a little, add in the spice and mix it well.
You’ll have a pot of delicious chunky chicken and vegetable soup. But if you have a blender available, you can blend the soup in a blender if you want to until the soup is smooth. Then reheat the soup if you want.

Not Only What You Eat, But How You Eat:

Mealtime Principles According to Traditional Chinese Medicine
The ancient texts described not only what to prepare for meals, but also how to eat meals. If you eat meals with mainland Chinese people, you might be surprised at their attitude and customs about eating meals that have been part of the culture for hundreds of years.
Here are principals for eating well according to Chinese traditional medicine
  • Try to avoid overly processed food. Eat naturally.
  • Eat seasonal vegetables and fruits.
  • Always make sure the vegetables are cooked.
  • Sit down to eat at a quiet place.
  • Chew the food well.
  • Eat slowly.
  • Pay attention to your eating, and get away from distractions*.
  • Do not skip meals.
  • After lunch, take a nap or rest for a while.
*Your mind plays a part in how well you digest food, so pay attention to the tastes of the food.
Bon appetite! Mànmàn chī! (慢慢吃! /man-man chrr/ ‘eat slowly’)









  1. 炖:有隔水炖和不隔水炖之分。隔水炖是加好汤和料封口,把容器放入锅中,武火炖3小时即可;不隔水炖为直接武火煮沸,撇去浮沫,再用文火炖至酥烂。
  2. 熬:先在锅内加底油烧热后,放入主料稍炒,再加汤及调味品,后用文火煮烂。
  3. 烩:将多种原料用汤和调料混合烹制成的一种汤汁菜。
  4. [tǔn]:将汤和水用武火煮沸,投下药料及食料,加入调味料即可。
  5. :先在锅内放油,将食物和药物同时放入,炒成半成品,加姜、葱、花椒、汤及调味品,盖锅盖,用文火焖烂。
  6. 烧:将原料放入有少量油的锅中加调料煸炒,进行调味调色,待颜色转深放入调味品及汤(或水),用文火烧酥烂后,武火收汤稍加明油即可。
  7. 蒸:就是将食物与药物拌好调料后,放入碗中,利用水蒸气加热烹熟的方法。
  8. 煮:将原料放入锅内,加适量汤或水,先用武火烧开,改文火烧熟即可。
  9. 卤:先调好白卤或红卤,然后将原料加工,放入卤汁中,用文火煮烂,使渗透卤汁至酥烂。


























  1. 饮食营养的重要作用:若饮食合宜,则可健康,“是故谨和五味,骨正筋柔,气血以流,腠理以密,如实则筋骨以精。谨道如法,长有天命”。《灵枢·五味》首先提出饮食对于人体健康的重要意义:“谷始入于胃,其精微者,先出于胃之两焦,以溉五脏,别出两行营卫之道”。《灵枢·营卫生会》说:“人受气于谷,谷入于胃,以传于肺,五脏六腑皆以受气。”说明饮食营养对人体健康重要意义。在病理情况下,即或借助药物治疗时,也要注重饮食以调治疾病,这是这一时期提出的食疗原则。
  2. 使用药物治疗疾病,要适可而止,使用药物不可过分,以免身体受损。当用饮食方法调理使之痊愈。正如《素问·脏气法时论》所说:“五谷为养,五果为助,五畜为益,五菜为充,气味合而服之,以补益精气。”就是要求将多种动、植物食物互相配合,综合运用,取长补短,从而充分发挥饮食营养对人体的积极作用,最终达到治愈的目的。
  3. 食物的性味:《内经》指出食物也有四性、五味。四性即寒、热、温、凉;五味是酸、苦、甘、辛、咸。根据不同性质的疾病,选用不同性质的食物,有针对性的进行调养治疗。在五味中,“辛甘发散为阳,酸苦涌泄为阴,咸味涌泄为阴,淡味渗泄为阳”。食物也分为阴阳两大类,按治病的要求,选择不同味道的食物。把食物做为药物对待,中药的性味理论对于食疗药膳有着重要的指导作用。
  4. 五味对五脏各有所偏:在五行学说的积极引导下,先民发现食物与药物一样,对人体内脏各有所偏。《素问·至真要大论》说:“夫五味入胃,各归所喜,故酸先入肝,苦先入心,甘先入脾,辛先入肺,咸先入肾”。这说明不同性味的食物对不同内脏的亲和力,在调治内脏疾病应有所区别,《内经》根据五行生克的理论,分析内脏疾患时,利用不同性味饮食调治的复杂性。在这一阶段,根据上述的食疗理论,人们把食物的宜忌进行分类。如《素问·脏气法时论》所说:“肝色青,宜食甘,粳米、牛肉、枣、葵。心色赤,宜食酸,小枣、犬肉、李、韭皆酸。肺色白,宜食苦,麦、羊肉、薤皆苦。脾色黄,宜食咸,大豆、豕肉、粟、藿皆咸。肾色黑,宜食辛,黄黍、鸡肉、桃、葱皆辛。”这是五脏患病时所宜进食的谷肉果蔬。同时《内经》又明确指出多种病证的食物禁忌。如《灵枢·五味》指出:“五味入于口也,各有所走,各有所病”、“酸走筋,多食之令人癃;咸走血,多食之令人渴;辛走气,多食之令人洞心;苦走骨,多食之令人变呕;甘走肉。多食之令人?心”《素问·五脏生成篇》并指出过食五味之害为:“多食咸,则脉泣而变色;多食苦,则皮槁而毛拔;多食辛,则筋急而爪枯;多食酸,则肉胝月刍而唇揭;多食甘,则骨痛而发落。”尽管这些说法含有机械套用五行生克学说之嫌,但原则上指出任何食物都有气味的偏胜,如过食偏嗜都不利于身体健康的哲理,这的确是一条应该遵循的食疗原则。1973年湖南长沙马王堆三号汉墓出土的古医学帛书,相传是战国前的医学著作,书中谈到了饮料保健的方法,特别强调了酒和韭的延年益寿和滋补强身的作用,其中云:“酒者,五谷之精气也,其入中散流,其入理也,彻而周”,韭“春三月食之,疴疾不昌”《十问》。



























【制作过程】 先将制何首乌、枸杞子洗净,放入沙锅,加水浸泡片刻,浓煎2次,每次40分钟,合并2次煎液,回入沙锅,小火浓缩成50毫升,配以水发木耳、嫩青菜、葱花、蒜片,加适量料酒、酱油、姜末、精盐、味精、香醋、水淀粉,将猪肝(切片)熘炒成首乌枸杞肝片。佐餐当菜,随意服食,当日吃完。
【制作过程】 将带鱼洗净,去内脏及头鳃,切成段,放入盘中,入蒸锅蒸熟。蒸熟带鱼的上层之油与女贞子混合,加水再蒸20分钟后取汁服用。
【特点】 本食疗方对肝脾不调型病毒性肝炎尤为适宜。
【原料】 主料:炒香附10克,陈皮10克,茯苓30克,山楂20克,红糖20克。