The Way


A Salad for Spring Detox

By Travis Metzger /

A Salad for Spring Detox

The recipes on The Way are intended as an East meets West look at food and its relationship to health and nutrition. Food is powerful, and every bite can either greatly benefit your system or effectively work against it. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, nutrition is tremendously healing in nature and remarkably adaptable to individual needs. Based on 3,000 years of study, TCM seeks to treat the whole person rather than just the symptom to support and strengthen your body and your energy, or Qi. 

Spring signals a new beginning, and just like the plants that sprout new leaves and flowers, we need to nourish and cleanse our bodies of the excess of winter. In the spring, our appetite for food naturally decreases and our diet should consist of lighter foods.

 Spring often represents a youthful quality, so eating raw foods that bring about renewal is a perfect way to remind your body of its youth and vigor. Most people respond well to incorporating a little raw food in their daily meals, and with food preparation simpler with the seasonal offerings of spring, eating healthier becomes easier!

In Chinese theory sweet and pungent flavored foods can create a personal spring within, allowing for space and growth. For this effect, we can use a little concentrated sweetener (honey) with pungent herbs (like mint and basil). For centuries, honey has been used as medicine to naturally harmonize the liver and to neutralize toxins.

Sweet potatoes are regarded as one of the most nutrient dense vegetables and are great at removing toxins from the body, and mixing something warm with the fresh raw herbs is a nice way to bring complexity and balance of texture to the plate. In this recipe the grilled sweet potatoes bring a rich, almost smoky element to the dish, which plays nicely with the delicate fresh herbs.

The cooling mint, basil, and cilantro all work together harmoniously to promote Qi circulation and flush accumulated toxins from the body, slowly restoring your natural balance.

Combined with sesame oil and lime to create the perfect rejuvenating mix, this detox salad is ideal for the season.

Chinese Medicine Benefit

Mint - Supports lung and liver, reduces wind heat and promotes Qi circulation.

Basil - Supports kidney, lung, spleen, stomach and large intestine. Tonifies Yang. Counteracts damp and cold, resolves phlegm, promotes Qi circulation and reduces wind cold.

Cilantro - Supports stomach. Counteracts cold and promotes Qi circulation.
Sweet potato - Supports kidney, spleen, stomach and large intestine. Tonifies Qi, blood and yin. Removes toxins.

Walnuts - Supports kidney and lung. Tonifies yang, Qi and jing. Counteracts cold and resolves phlegm.
Honey - Supports large intestine, lung and spleen. Tonifies yin and Qi. Promotes blood circulation and removes toxins.

Lime - Supports gall bladder, liver, kidney, lung and spleen. Promotes blood and Qi circulation. Counteracts heat, removes toxins and resolves phlegm.
Sesame oil - Supports stomach. Tonifies yin. Counteracts heat and removes toxins.

You'll need: Basil, Mint and Cilantro with Grilled Sweet Potato and Walnuts and Accents of Sesame and Lime

Serving Size

Prep/Cooking Time
Prep time: 5 minutes / Cooking time: 15 minutes


Small handful fresh Mint Small handful fresh Basil Small handful fresh Cilantro 1 Medium

Sweet Potato

1⁄4 C Walnut

2 Tablespoons Honey

2 Tablespoons Lime juice 2 Tablespoons Sesame oil Salt and pepper to taste

1 Tablespoon olive oil

1. Pick small handful each of mint, basil and cilantro leaves. 2. Lightly toast the walnuts.
3. Mix the honey, lime juice and sesame oil together for the dressing.
4. Peel and slice sweet potato into 1⁄4 - 1⁄2 inch slices, toss with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and cook to desired tenderness by grilling or roasting in the oven.
5. Toss the fresh herbs together and dress with the dressing, arrange on a plate with the grilled or roasted sweet potato. Sprinkle toasted walnuts around.

Travis Metzger is a Minneapolis-based chef and co-founder of DAO Labs. An avid health enthusiast, he’s juiced and eaten his way to health, combining his passion for fresh ingredients with flavors that make the palate sing. He combines his training at the New England Culinary Institute with his frequent travels to and throughout Asia to create recipes for The Way and DAO Labs that bridge the culinary aspects of Traditional Chinese Medicine to the western diet and ingredient options. Travis can be reached at

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