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Farmers Lamb Healthy Stew


This exceptional warming recipe is based on Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), which believes that winter, with its cold, damp, and inactivity all Yin characteristics. TCM suggests that in order to live in harmony with nature, we should slow down, stay warm, replenish our energy and conserve our strength during the winter season.

The TCM Kidney is associated with winter. Our Kidneys are considered the source of all Qi (energy) in our bodies, especially the deepest type of Qi called Essence. During the winter it is important to nourish and nurture our Kidney Qi by choosing appropriate foods and preparing them in ways that support the Kidneys.

Lamb is world-renowned, flavoursome, tasty and tender. Traditional Chinese medicine considers that lamb has especially good health promoting properties. It is warm in nature, it invigorates Yang, especially the Kidneys to benefit the Qi and warm blood circulation.

Ingredients.

  • 1 tbsp. butter or olive oil
  • 350 grams grass fed lamb stew meat, cubed, seasoned with salt, pepper and cumin
  • 2 onions, peeled and quartered
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  • 1 ginger chopped
  • 4 cups water or stock
  • 1 cup organic red wine
  • 1 tsp. dried rosemary
  • 2 carrots, chopped into 2-3 inch pieces
  • 1 medium potato, chopped into 1-2 inch cubes
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • Parsley

Cooking procedure:

  • In a soup pot, sear lamb cubes until lightly browned. Add ginger onions and garlic and cook 2-3 minutes.
  • Add stock, red wine, dried rosemary, and bring to a boil.
  • Cover and reduce heat to medium/low for 45 minutes.
  • Add carrots, potato and cook 20-30 minutes.
  • Add sea salt and black pepper and cook an additional 5 minutes.
  • Season with chopped parsley.

This is very simple and easy to cook and has very positive benefits like

  • Warms Kidney Yang and the Gate of Vitality
  • Warms Qi and Blood circulation
  • Strengthens the lower back and legs
  • Nourishes Blood and increase production of milk after labour

Precautions.

  • Lamb is warm in characteristic so I would suggest to AVOID eating lamb if your body has an infection.
  • The heat from lamb is best AVOIDED when you suffer from high blood pressure.
  • Eat lamb less during the hot summer

I hope you enjoy all the benefits of this deep nourishing recipe.


James O’Sullivan from Galway is a credible and engaging speaker, a people friendly practitioner and lecturer of Integrated Medicine, serving his patients, his students and the public with the positive benefits of both Conventional Western Medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine. He is a respected author and has appeared on many public media. #jamushur

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Nourish the Brain Soup


This hearty nourishing soup has been eaten for centuries as a health food to nourish the brain and especially memory. It nourishes Qi Deficiency and Essence (Jing) Deficiency. It is packed with nutrients from a Western viewpoint, however we don’t need to know all the long worded names in order to enjoy and gain maximum benefits from this easy to make soup.


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Ingredients: 1 big fish head (Salmon, Carp, etc) transparent noodles (100g), golden mushrooms (200g), scallions and garlic.
Seasoning: 2 star anis seeds (aniseeds), 2 Tablespoons white wine or dry sherry, 2 Tablespoons soy sauce, 1 teaspoon dried chili, 1 teaspoon sugar, 1 pinch salt, 4 teaspoon starch.

Preparation:
1. Wash ingredients, dip fish head in starch.
2. Lightly fry the head. Fry aniseeds, chili, scallions and garlic.
3. Make soup with all ingredients, add soy sauce, white wine, sugar and salt.
4. When soup is almost done, add mushrooms and noodles. Cook at gentle heat for 20 minutes.

Eat occasionally.

Function: Reinforces the brain, strengthens memory, fortifies constitution



James O’Sullivan from Galway is a credible and engaging speaker, a people friendly practitioner and lecturer of Integrated Medicine, serving his patients, his students and the public with the positive benefits of both Conventional Western Medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine. He is a respected author and has appeared on many public media.


Disclaimer

This article is not intended to diagnose or assess. The information provided is not to be considered a substitute for consultation with a qualified health care practitioner.


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Chinese Medicine and New Mums


Childbirth is a beautiful process that is probably one of the most empowering things a woman can ever do. From the first positive test, both baby and mum are introduced to a library full of well intentioned healthcare advice about drinking, smoking, eating, resting, exercise and stress management. Most mums engage with this major lifestyle change with passion and enthusiasm.

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What happens after childbirth is a similar but with slightly different zeal. Mum is exhausted and baby becomes a full time job. Even reading the plethora of magazines and books on the subject can sometimes become a chore for mum. New mums can be out of the maternity ward after only a few hours. This can leave the impression that childbirth is easy and now that baby is “out” the main activities of childbirth are finished. Mum should “take it easy” and look after her child. There is a distinct difference between this perception and Chinese culture.

Yue Zi (月子) – A Month of Postnatal Stillness

Chinese culture also takes childbirth very seriously but the emphasis is not only on baby but particularly on mum. They even have a term for it called “Yue Zi (月子)”. The translation is simply “The Month”, with a capital T and M. The Chinese particularly recognise that a pregnant mum has expended an abundance of “essential energy” called (Yuan Qi) ancestral energy, a deep foundational energy that is difficult to replenish.

Yue zi in China, is a month long period of confinement for mothers after a childbirth. Of course it makes sense to “take it easy” Right! but to “Zuo Yue Zi ” (Sitting The Month) is so much more than just taking it easy. Mothers will stay at home for the full month and not leave the house. Relatives will “live” in the house providing emotional and physical support and help out with cooking, cleaning, washing and even taking care of baby. One of my patients asked if this actually encouraged post natal depression.

Postnatal Depression

Zuo Yue Zi  is the preventative treatment to prevent post natal depression. In the ancient texts it is said that ” Zuo Yue Zi reduces back pain and poor spirit”. New mums are also prescribed specific Tuina (Chinese medical acupressure) or acupuncture protocols, as well as nutritional healing herbs and foods. One of the weird foods being “bird’s nest soup”. An excellent dish that’s recommended for new mums is Ginger Chicken. New mums are encouraged to eat temperature warm/hot foods to replenish essential energy to assist their body to recover after childbirth and they are discouraged from eating cold foods, which require extra energy to digest and absorb. Drinking herbal teas, such as fennel, which is traditionally used to improve lactation.

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A fundamental concept of Traditional Chinese Medicine is that Yin (阴) and Yang (阳) are the complementary forces of the universe and life that create an energy called Qi. When they are imbalanced, there is disharmony leading to a physical disorder or illness. Yin represents cooling, while Yang represents heating. An example of a well balanced Yin and Yang would be a regulated body temperature, neither too hot (as in hot flashes) nor too cold (as in cold hands and feet).

To restore balance, an excess of Yang (hot) Qi is balanced with cooling foods and herbs, while an excess of Yin (cool) Qi is balanced with warm food and herbs. Pregnancy is considered a warm condition and delivery causes a great loss of warmth due to bleeding. Consequently, during the Zuo Yue Zi period, Chinese women eat hot food and spices in order to restore balance to their inner energies. See below for a list of warming and cooling foods.

They are encouraged not to read for long periods, to preserve their eyesight. If they do read, it should be in a correct position with sufficient light. The most important is nothing will affect their rest. The temperature of their house should be balanced, neither too hot nor too cold.

In addition to this, these new mums are encouraged not to shower for the whole month. After childbirth, new mums are especially susceptible to colds, flu and diseases during this time. Some mums are discouraged from brushing their teeth, in case water contains unhealthy elements.

Young Chinese today are moving away from the tradition  “Zuo Yue Zi “, as they believe that they can be protected and “cured” with modern medicines and hospital treatments. Perhaps forgetting the first cardinal rule of health, wellbeing and fighting any disease, “Prevention” in other words “practicing behaviours that prevent us from getting sick in the first place”.


Some warming food and spices (Yang)

  • Asparagus
  • Black vinegar
  • Cardamom
  • Carp
  • Cashews
  • Chestnuts
  • Chicken
  • Chinese dates
  • Cinnamon
  • Dates
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Grapes
  • Guavas
  • Herbal teas
  • Longans
  • Mandarin orange peels, dried
  • Oats, yin/yang
  • Olive oil, yin/yang
  • Onions
  • Pepper
  • Raspberries
  • Rice alcohol (for cooking)
  • Rosemary
  • Scallions
  • Sesame seed oil
  • Shrimps
  • Turkey
  • Warm water

Cooling food and drinks (Yin) to be avoided during lactation according to TCM

  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Beansprouts from mung beans
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Cold water
  • Cucumber
  • Fig
  • Green tea
  • Hops
  • Ice creams
  • Kangkong
  • Kiwi
  • Lettuce
  • Mulberry
  • Oranges
  • Papayas
  • Pears
  • Persimmon
  • Pineapple
  • Pomelo
  • Spinach
  • Star fruit
  • Tomatoes
  • Turnips
  • Watermelon
  • Yogurt

Eating cool food (both in nature – Yin – and in temperature – cold) is supposed to cause colic and diarrhoea in breastfed newborns.

The cooking methods allowed are basically only two and that is steaming or lightly stir-frying foods, with minimal use of oil, salt, or soya sauce.



James O’Sullivan from Galway is a credible and engaging speaker, a people friendly practitioner and lecturer of Integrated Medicine, serving his patients, his students and the public with the positive benefits of both Conventional Western Medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine. He is a respected author and has appeared on many public media.


Disclaimer

This article is not intended to diagnose or assess. The information provided is not to be considered a substitute for consultation with a qualified health care practitioner.


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Ginger Chicken to Strengthen the Body


This dish is traditionally prepared to strengthen the body and improve lactation, especially for new mums during the Chinese tradition “Zuo Yue Zi”  indicating the first month after giving birth. During this period, Traditional Chinese Medicine recommends eating warming food (Yang) because the body has lost a lot of Yang energy and blood during delivery. We would also recommend that mothers take a gentle yet powerful tonic remedy called Womans Precious which is based on a famous Chinese herbal formula.

This warming dish is also perfect in Autumn/Fall/Winter when we are susceptible to cold.

What you need:

  • vegetable oil
  • ginger cut into thin strips
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • chicken breast cut into small pieces
  • soy sauce to taste
  • pepper to taste

How to make it:

  • Heat oil in a frying pan (wok).
  • When the oil is hot, add the garlic cloves and ginger strips. Cook for about two minutes, stirring constantly with a pair of chopsticks.
  • When the garlic and ginger become golden brown, add the chicken previously cut into thin pieces.
  • Cook stirring constantly until the chicken is golden.
  • Season with soy sauce to taste.
  • Serve with a bowl of jasmine rice per person.

Vegetarian Choice:

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You can also add carrot cut into strips and cook it together with the ginger stripes. The taste will result sweeter. Furthermore by stir-frying the carrots beta carotene will be preserved.

Caution:

Due to its anti-platelet properties, the use of ginger should be controlled in case of risk of haemorrhage, if you are taking anticoagulant drugs or if you experience blood coagulation disorders. Ask your doctor for more information.



James O’Sullivan from Galway is a credible and engaging speaker, a people friendly practitioner and lecturer of Integrated Medicine, serving his patients, his students and the public with the positive benefits of both Conventional Western Medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine. He is a respected author and has appeared on many public media.


Disclaimer

This article is not intended to diagnose or assess. The information provided is not to be considered a substitute for consultation with a qualified health care practitioner.


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Essence Deficiency


The Chinese Kidney energy nourishes the deepest forms of internal Yin and Yang in the body, namely Yin and Essence (Jing). The Kidneys represent our ancestral constitution, our genetic blueprint and we act as a channel for this energy to the next generation. Our DNA is the closest expression of our Kidney energy.

In the West the Kidneys are known to govern urination but in Chinese medicine they are the root and foundation of the body’s energy, demonstrating that the ancients understood the functioning of the endocrine system and recognised the location of the adrenals on top of the Kidneys. Kidney energy governs metabolism, reproduction, development, and aging, and weak Kidney energy often shows in chronic conditions and fear is the emotion that most closely represents a decline in Kidney energy.

Essence (Jing) is related to our vitality, creativity, longevity, resistance and adaptability to illness, sexual and reproductive capacity, and spiritual power to some extent. Certain aspects of our Essence (Jing) can be boosted but other aspects are irreplaceable and are therefore like a battery’s limited life. Today with its modern pressures put untold strain on Kidney Essence and Yin.

When our internal Essence becomes weakened, we may experience deep tirerness, dizziness, ringing in the ears, dry mouth and throat, thirst, low back pain, night sweats, menstrual irregularities, agitation, irritation, nervousness, insecurity and fear, feelings of heat in head or the lungs or other parts of the body.

A chronic clinical picture would include.

In children:         poor bone development, late closure of fontanels, mental dullness or retardation in adults.

In adults:             softening of the bones, weakness of knees and legs, poor memory (long term memory), loose teeth, falling hair or premature greying of hair, weakness of sexual activity, soreness of the back,

Tongue:                Red and peeled,

Pulse:                    Floating Empty or Leather

Things that deplete your Essence (Jing):

  • Chronic overextending, chronic stress, depletion of your reserves through overwork, over exercising, lack of sleep, worry, anxiety, fear
  • Toxins-environmental, dietary, cosmetic
  • Poor quality food & water (low life force food and water)
  • Sugar, alcohol, stimulants, drugs
  • Chronic disengagement from life or lack of purpose
  • Pregnancy & Childbirth
  • Chronic illness

Treating Essence Deficiency

“To nourish the body’s Essential Yin and Essence (Jing), we must become more connected to our own natural instincts and the will to live.”

The key nutritional wisdom when nourishing Kidney Yin and Essence (Jing), is to focus on nourishing foods that moisten, along with some mildly cooling foods, and to resist  the temptation, to overdo cooling foods that may put out a Fire that’s not as strong as it seems.

We are suggested that a wide and varied diet be eaten to nourish Kidney Yin and Essence (Jing), which is about the deep reserves in the body, our constitution including nutritional reserves. Traditional Chinese Nutritional Healing suggests a varied diet that provides a broad array of nutrients. This is not the time to eat the same foods over and over again.

Water: Since Yin and Essence (Jing) is about moisture, I suggest about 2 litres of water throughout the day.

Salty flavored foods: miso, sea salt, tamari, salted raw sauerkraut or kimchee (Korean cultured vegetables). Each of the five elements in TCM has a flavor attributed to it, and the Water flavor which governs Kidneys is salty. To support the Water element, recommend a healthy amount of salt, as too much salt will have the opposite effect. Check to make sure your client is not getting too much, and that she has replaced commercial table salt with sea salt.

Kidney shaped foods: black beans, kidney beans, most beans – Because beans are kidney shaped as well as seeds with potential for new life, these foods have long been considered especially nourishing to the Kidneys.

Blue and black foods: Blueberries, blackberries, mulberry, black beans – The colors blue and black correspond to the Water element of the Kidneys. It is possible to strengthen the Water element by eating blue/black foods.

Seafood: fish, shrimp, seaweeds – all support the Water element.

Seeds: flax, pumpkins, sunflower, black sesame – seeds relate to fertility and growth which is governed by Kidney energy.

Nuts: Walnuts, Chestnuts – Nuts are seeds. These nuts are particularly recommended for Kidney energy.

Animal Products: Pork, duck, lamb, eggs, cheese – Small amounts of animal protein can be used therapeutically here.

Pork and duck are considered moistening. Since animal products are dense foods there are some cautions: If there is digestive impairment, the high fat content of duck may be too much. Lamb is the most warming of the meats, so if the person has a lot of hot flashes or night sweats, this may not be appropriate. Excess cheese may be too dampening for the Spleen. Too much meat, particularly without the balance of vegetables, will Stagnate the Liver and create heat. Look to the individual to decide on the ideal amount of animal products.

Bone-Marrow Broths & Soups: This will nourish Marrow governed by Kidneys. Especially beneficial for people wanting to prevent or heal osteoporosis.

Grains: Barley, Millet. These are both mildly cooling and nourishing to Yin.

Vegetables: Asparagus, Deep green leafy vegetables – Since it has diuretic properties, asparagus is especially helpful with opening the flow for those with dark, scanty urine. Deep green leafy vegetables build the Blood, and since Blood is a Yin fluid, they are highly recommended. Also moist vegetables such as cucumbers and celery are helpful.

Fruits and Melons: These are emphasized since they are moistening and mildly cooling. Too much fruit can be too cooling resulting in diarrhea, but 2-4 pieces of fruit a day should be fine.

Tonics: Spirulina, kelp, chlorella, wheatgrass – These mineral rich foods build the Blood which enhances Yin. They are also high in nucleic acids (RDA/DNA) which have been shown to reduce signs of aging.

Mineral rich herbs: stinging Nettles, Oatstraw. Nettles are a gentle, cooling tonic that supports the Blood and Kidneys, while oatstraw strengthens the nerves.

Moistening herbs: Marshmallow, slippery elm, comfrey, aloe vera gel – these are all moistening demulcents with high mucilage content. Flax seed tea could be used here too.

Chinese Herbs: Rehmannia root – often found in the patent formula used for Kidney Yin Deficiency called “Six Flavor Tea Pills” or “Rehmannia Six”.

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