A "Wood Element" Salad for Spring Detox

by Travis Metzger |

A "Wood Element" Salad for Spring Detox

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!

If you find that raw is difficult for your digestion you can try raw foods during mid-day when digestion is strongest or drink ginger juice or tea before a meal. As always chew your food well and eat mindfully. Give your liver some extra love during spring to assist the body build strong immunity.

Wood Element Flavors of the Season: Flavors for Growth

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine 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 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.

Traditional Chinese Medicine Benefits

From a Chinese Medicine standpoint, the ingredients I've selected encompass the following benefits: 

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

A Wood Element Salad to Detox & Rebalance 

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.


Dining with Culinary Artist Travis Metzger is an unforgettable experience. You can taste the passion, creativity and culinary expertise in each of Travis’s one-of-kind recipes. Most would agree that Traditional Chinese Medicine herbs in their original form taste less than delectable, but Travis has proven that TCM for today can taste great with DAO Labs. Travis develops unique flavors for each DAO formula to complement the proprietary blend of herbs and their health benefits. After extensive training at the New England Culinary Institute, Travis ran some of the finest restaurants across the country before starting his own in Minneapolis. To survive the stresses and physical challenges of the kitchen heat, Travis focused on combining natural ingredients for healthy AND delicious eating and juicing.

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