Chinese Medicine Dietary therapy is probably one of the best-kept health secrets on earth. As old as Chinese Medicine itself (and we’re talking millennia here), dietary therapy is a flexible and effective way of boosting out vital energy. There are no points to count, portions to weigh or even lists of evil foods to avoid. Dietary plans are prepared according to individual needs and are based on the energetics of food based on Chinese medicine. Whether to lose a few pounds, control inflammation or regain a vibrant look and feel, the right foods can be an enjoyable and effective way of reaching your goals.

     Sparkling Ginger
   Lime & Mint Cooler
     Steamy Kitchen Recipes

Cold beverages can be somewhat tricky in Chinese medicine. Too much cold, after all, can adversely impact digestion. Remember, cold slows things down. Sometimes, though, when it's so hot out that the air conditioner can't bring the temp below 85, cool liquids seem just the thing. Jaden Hair of Steamy Kitchen has a perfect solution in her Ginger Lime and Mint Cooler. Here we have a cold liquid, but there are elements which "warm it up" energetically speaking thus protecting the Stomach and digestion.

Jaden Hair of Steamy Kitchen has a perfect solution in her Ginger Lime and Mint Cooler. Here we have a cold liquid, but there are elements which "warm it up" energetically speaking thus protecting the Stomach and digestion.

Her ingredients:

Sparkling Ginger Lime Cooler

serves 6

1 (3-inch) piece peeled fresh ginger, grated on micro-plane grater
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh mint leaves
1/2 cup fresh lime juice (about 6 limes)
6 cups sparking water or club soda
1/2 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
Pinch of freshly ground black pepper

The key is ginger which warms the stomach (yes even when iced!). The linked recipe uses grated ginger, but you could also adapt it and use a home made ginger tea that you've cooled. (See March 1, 2009 post.) Mint is also cooling and relieves irritability. Lime juice is sour which which is astringent in nature - it helps retain fluids. Sugar also helps generate fluids but (warning) is also considered "sticky" . If you have a "Damp" constitution or health issue, you may want to cut back on the sugar or use another sweetener like honey or agave. Any sweet flavor can increase dampness, though, so you may want to experiment with different, variations in beverage strength. You may find you don't need much sweetener at all! The pinch of salt benefits the Kidney energy and the Kidneys are associated with the Water element. Finally the pinch of black pepper warms the Stomach and helps disperse Dampness.

The recipe has you blend everything together and strain over ice, but you may find you can drink it a bit less frosty. Make some of this and keep it in the fridge and see Steamy Kitchen for other beverage suggestions. Summer has just begun!

     Ice Cream and Heart Pain

The ancient Chinese physician and alchemist, Dan Hua, held that there were 9 types of heart pain. When I first heard this my immediate response was "Wow, only 9 types, really?!". There are over 5 million Google hits for "heartache" and over 2 million for "heartbreak songs". I guess Dan Hua bunched a lot of things together.

Ice cream is a classic for  heart injury.  Ice cream  insulates and soothes, and ice cream is very cold.  In acute situations of heart heat we can appreciate the anesthesia. Ice cream, though, is kind of like a triplicate pharmaceutical prescription. One needs to understand it correctly for it to be used without risk.

First know that there is no strict prohibition of dairy in Chinese medicine. Dairy generates fluids, is neutral in nature and has an affinity for the heart, lung and stomach. The problem with ice cream is that the addition of cold with the already Yin nature of the dairy can slow things down a lot. While this is good for heart heat (read chill pill) it can create problems with digestion. Subhuti Dharmananda, Ph.D., Director, Institute for Traditional Medicine, writes a great essay on the subject of dairy. Click here to see. The bottom line is, if you have a Phlegm condition, Dampness, weak digestion (or in English a common cold, for example) hold off on what acupuncture students call "congealed Phlegm." Frequent ice cream intake may cause some imbalances as well.

Generally, most people (unless lactose intolerant) can tolerate a little ice cream without ill effect, especially when it's hot out (and in)! Just so you know, though, a lot of people will disagree with this. So in an effort to balance this somewhat unpopular viewpoint, I would like to direct your attention to a politically correct ice cream source. Guerrilla Ice Cream  - gotta love it!

Guerrilla Ice Cream: A New Cart With Flavors Inspired by Social Movements.

    Papaya Mint Salad

Sometimes things just get stuck. Perhaps due to the heat of the season or too many barbeques, many people experience “irregularity” in their digestive system. Diet is the always the best way of promoting the flow of digestional qi and a papaya salad is easy to prepare and effective in that non-dramatic way that we appreciate with these kinds of things. This recipe works with either the big papaya or the little 7” size. You can also put everything in a blender and create a smoothie similar to the watermelon cooler listed previously.

Chopped and peeled papaya about ½ a 7” papaya per serving.Freshly chopped mint - about 1 tablespoon per papaya
A tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice
Seed and chop papaya mix with mint and lemon or lime juice and refrigerate if you’re going to use it later.

For more info on dietary therapy see our blog.


(after a dry spell)




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