Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Hot Breakfast-Immune System-Ginger Root-Asian Pear-Lungs

Warming Asian Pear and Ginger Congee for Breakfast!!

Now that we have entered the autumn its time to start thinking about adjusting the diet so that the foods we eat are appropriate to the seasonal changes and in turn, our immune system is strong for the cold/flu season.
In the autumn there are two main considerations to think about:
1. Warming the BodyIts time to cut back on so many of the cold and raw foods that are appropriate during the hot summer months. This is especially true if you live in an area that experiences true seasonal temperature changes. (I'm living in the northern hemisphere so we are now entering the autumn.)Its time to start incorporating more warm and cooked foods into the diet. Something warming at every meal is a good way to think about building Qi in your body and keeping the digestion and constitution strong.
2. Combatting DrynessDifferent times of the year have different metabolic concerns. At this time of the year we are concerned with keeping the lungs and large intestine strong and functioning well. (Refer to my earlier posting on Metal Phase for more on this).Its also a time of the year that we deal with the issue of "dryness". Think of the leaves on the trees, they are slowly drying and withering. This is the time of the natural cycle of decay in our environment. If you notice the natural world at this time, things begin to dry out. The Qi of the environment also reflects this.This environmental shift affects our bodies as well and we may notice drier skin, drier eyes and drier mucous membranes. Our lungs are considered the most external of our internal organs in East Asian Medicine, because the respiratory system connects to the outside world through our sinus and nasal passages. These delicate tissues can become dry in the autumn and more susceptible to invasion and infection. Our lungs can also become drier and some people develop chronic dry coughs at this time of year.
Therapeutic strategies:
1. Drink more warm fluids at this time of year. Ginger tea is a good tea to take at any meal.2. See your acupuncturist/herbalist at this time of the year to make sure that your lungs and large intestines are functioning well. This will help keep your immune system strong for the colder months ahead.3. Asian pears are a good fruit for this time of the year because they nourish the yin of your lungs and keep the delicate tissues moist. Cook them or bake them as you would apples.They are sweet, crunchy and have a lovely crisp and light fruity flavor.
Here's my recipe for a hot breakfast porridge that keeps the digestion strong, warms the body and moistens the lungs!
Asian Pear CongeeThis is a lovely, warming and mildly sweet porridge. Good for the morning or for a snack. The rice porridge is strengthening for the digestion and helps the body transform dampness in the body, the ginger root is warming and strengthens the Spleen. The Asian pear nourishes Lung Yin. The cinnamon warms the interior and invigorates Qi circulation by opening the collateral channels.I recently made this recipe for an open house at my clinic and my patients loved it!
Ingredients:1/2 cup of white sushi rice1/2 cup of arborio rice
4 cups of water4 cups of pear nectar (get Asian pear nectar/juice if you can find it, at your Korean grocer).4 slices of fresh ginger root, chopped into slivers1 cinnamon stick
Directions:In a large pot, add the rice, water and 2 cups of nectar. Bring to a boil then turn down to a very low simmer and cover with lid. Cook for 1 1/2 hours. If the flame is too high, it will burn. This is a very low heat cooking process.After 1 1/2 hours, add the ginger, cinnamon stick, sliced pears and 2 more cups of pear nectar. Continue to cook for another 1 1/2 hours. This will allow the rice to cook down into porridge.
Chinese like this porridge a little bit on the thin side but you can adjust the liquid to your liking. If you like your porridge thicker- use less liquid. If your porridge is too thick, add more li read more..

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