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.
In traditional Chinese medicine, the concept of Qi gives us a way to measure the vitality of a person. Your Qi is the result of the food you eat, the air you breathe, and the essence with which you were born.
When that Qi of a certain food is of good quality, the food will taste better and impart more Qi to the consumer. When living with a Qi focused diet, the imbalances that arise in the body can be harmonized, particularly with regards to emotions and thoughts. In TCM, the emotions related to certain body organs are considered the major internal causes of disease. Thinking too much, or excessive mental and intellectual stimulation, can run the risk of causing disharmony in the spleen leading to a deficiency that results in fatigue, lethargy, and the inability to concentrate.
The spleen, pancreas, and stomach are primarily responsible for the digestion and distribution of a food’s nutrients. Qi energy extracted from digestion is used by the body to create wei energy, leading to immunity, vitality, warmth, and the strengthening of tissue and cognitive function.
Remember that fresh, locally grown ingredients are always the best choice. The purer and less processed the food, the more strong energy it contains. Also when you’re in the kitchen, don’t forget that gentle heating and steaming are two cooking techniques that work to preserve the Qi in food, while microwaving will simply kill it.
This recipe will build the energy of the spleen and pancreas with nutrients like iron, folic acid, and vitamin B 12. Plants are great sources of iron, and an essential folic acid is found in leafy greens. In order to keep your Qi fluid and full of life, and balanced, this delicious salad of watercress, shrimp, and plum is an excellent tool.
Chinese Medicine Benefit:
|Watercress||Blood and qi tonifying|
|Plums||Supports the spleen and circulates qi|
|Shrimp||Tonifies qi and routes through spleen|
|Rice wine vinegar||Moves blood stagnation|
|Soy sauce||Acts on the spleen, dispels toxins|
|Red Thai chile||Promotes blood circulation|
Watercress, Plum, Shrimp and a Soy-Lime Dressing
Yields 2-4 small portions
Prep time: 5 minutes / Cooking Time: 5 minutes
1-2 bunches watercress
6-10 shrimp depending on size
2 oz. rice wine vinegar
2 oz. soy sauce
0.25 oz. sesame oil
1.5 oz lime
¼ shallot minced
1 clove garlic minced
1 red Thai chile minced
2 teaspoons ginger
Wash the watercress, slice the plums and lightly steam the shrimp in a bit of water until just done.
For the dressing: Combine all ingredients.
This recipe will make more than you need which is great because you will want to use it on everything.