Nutrition

Ginger Carrot Soup

If you have ever read any of my other blogs, then you know I love soup! This recipe is one of my favorites in the winter and at least one of my children love it.I can usually entice both of them to eat carrots thanks to the variety of colors they come in. One loves purple carrots and the other likes them in all colors.

                                                                                       Health Benefits of Carrots

Carrots have long been hailed for benefiting eyesight due to their high content of beta-carotine which is converted to Vitamin A in the liver. A study found that people who consumed a large amount of beta-carotine had a 40 percent lower risk of macular degeneration than those who consumed smaller amounts. Carrots are one of the only plants known to produce falcarinol, a natural pesticide that protects its roots from fungal disease. It is believed that this natural component is what helps lower the risk of lung cancer, breast cancer and colon cancer in some studies. Another really great reason to eat carrots, is its ability to slow down the aging process. The high levels of beta-carotine act as an antioxidant which helps slow down the aging of cells. Who doesnt want that?

                                                                                       Health Benefits of Ginger Ginger has long been used by Chinese Medicine Practitioners for its many medicinal properties. A few of its many uses are for digestion, reducing nausea and to help combat the flu and the common cold. You will often find it accompanying your sushi in a pickled form to help aid in digestion. Gingerol is the main bioactive compund in ginger which gives it is anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. In my clinic I often perscribe it in its raw form boiled with hot water in the morning to help stimulate the appetite for those who skip breakfast due to a lack of appetite. It can greatly help morning sickness as well if the pattern which is causing the nausea is due to cold. Otherwise you better try peppermint. This can be determined by a qualified Chinese Medicine Practitioner. For morning sickness, I suggest a ginger tea raw or prepared along side Ginger Essential Oil used aromatically. Its ani-inflammatory effects can help reduce muscle pain due to excersing. One study showed, consuming 2 grams of ginger per day for 11 days significantly reduced pain from working out. For this same reason, it can also benefit arthritis, fibromyalgia, alzheimers and many other inflammatory conditions. The active ingredient, Gingerol, can help lower the risk of infections. It can inhibit the growth of many different types of bacteria making this root a highly important addition to your daily regimen during cold and flu season.

Together ginger and carrots rock! I hope you and your family enjoy my recipe as much as we do! One batch goes in just a day and fills us with a ton of beta-carotine/gingerol power coursing through our system, doing what they do best. I haven’t even gone into the goodness of the garlic, onion, celery, chicken stock and avacado oil in this recipe! Yikes! So much goodness!

Recipe

10-12 whole carrots of any color peeled and chopped 3-4 cloves of garlic minced 1/2 an onion diced 2 celery sticks chopped

1TBS of minced raw ginger 2 TBS of Avacado oil 4-5 cups of organic chicken stock or chicken bone broth 1tsp sea salt to taste (adjust to your liking) 21 season salute (trader joes) 1/4 tsp of cumin 1/4 tsp black pepper sprinkle of cinnamon

In a pressure cooker or regular pot, sautée the onions, garlic, celery and ginger until softened. Add in the seasonings, carrots and stock. If making in pressure cooker, cook at high pressure for 10 minutes. If in a regular pot, cook until carrots have softened. About 15-20 minutes. Blend in vitamix, blender or with a hand blender and enjoy!

If your interested in learning more about how Chinese Medicine and Nutrition can benefit you, contact Chantal at freeflowhealth@gmail.com or call 619-793-7030.

Sweet Potato Leek Soup

I love soup! It is an easily digestible way to get nutrients into your system. I have actually taken to eating soups for breakfast. It is a gentle way to ease your digestive system into waking up and it sustains you for much longer than a bowl of oatmeal.

                                                                      Health Benefits of Sweet Potatoes

This recipe is a new take on an old favorite. Typically white potato is used which tends to make your blood sugar spike quickly. Sweet potato is a more sustained energy and it tastes amazing! Sweet potatoes are high in B6, a good source of Vitamin C and D, iron, magnesium and potassium. They are also high in carotenoids, the precursor to vitamin A.  Carotenoids help strengthen our eyesight and boost our immunity to disease, they are powerful antioxidants that help ward off cancer and protect against the effects of aging.

                                                                                Health Benefits of Leeks

Leeks, like garlic and onions, belong to a vegetable family called the Allium vegetables. Since leeks are related to garlic and onions, they contain many of the same beneficial compounds found in these well-researched, health-promoting vegetables. They benefit cardiovascular health by protecting blood vessel lining from damage. They are high in Folate better known as B9. Folate supports normal fetal development, promotes sperm health and function, is great for the heart, encourages normal cholesterol, provides neurological support, helps perinatal depression, is great for colon health and reduces the risk for age-related macular degeneration. Needless to say Folate is amazing!

Recipe

Ingredients: 1sweet potato chopped 1 leek thinly sliced organic chicken stock, bone broth or vegetable broth 3 cloves of garlic minced 2 tablespoons of avocado oil sea salt to taste Trader Joe’s 21 season salute or any seasoning combination 1/2 tsp cumin 1/2 tsp pumpkin spice

Directions: Sautée leek and garlic in avocado oil. Throw in sweet potato. Add seasonings to your liking. Mix together then add in the broth. I use a pressure cooker for about 20 minutes then throw it in my vitamix. If using a pot, cook until the potatoes are soft and then throw in the blender. Makes about 2-3 servings. Enjoy!

Quinoa for Breakfast: Alternative to Oatmeal

Here is one of my favorite breakfast meals. You can make a large pot at the beginning of the week and warm it daily for a quick healthy breakfast. It is gluten free and dairy free. The Quinoa is a good source of protein that keeps you satisfied much longer than a bowl of oatmeal. Use this recipe as a guideline but you can add and remove anything to your liking Quinoa Breakfast: Nourishes Qi and Blood, Strengthens Spleen, Encourages production of fluids 1 cup Quinoa (washed) slightly less than 2 cups of water handful of cranberries, currants or dates handful of crushed Walnuts, Almonds or Cashews The juice from one orange and zest of the orange 1 tbs of agave nectar, honey or maple syrup Almond or Coconut milk

Wash one cup of Quinoa thoroughly. This will avoid a bitter taste. As the quinoa remains quite wet, you don't need to use a full 2 cups but just under, about 1 3/4 cups of water. Place 1 cup of quinoa and 1 3/4 cups of water in pot, cover and bring to a boil. Do not remove lid while cooking. Once Quinoa has opened up and water has been absorbed it is done, approximately 15 minutes.  When Quinoa is finished, squeeze orange juice, add nuts, cranberries, whichever sweetener you have chosen and add milk to consistency of your liking. Enjoy!

Benefits according to Traditional Chinese Medicine: Quinoa: sweet and warming, Tonifies Qi, strengthens spleen, warms yang, relieves internal coldness good source of Vitamin E which helps keep blood “slippery” and flowing, which therefore reduces blood stagnation and clotting. It is also rich in protein and iron. Walnuts: slightly warm and sweet, tonifies kidney, aids erratic or rebellious Qi almonds are also a good source of Vitamin E. Orange: strengthens spleen, promotes body fluids. Good for stagnant Qi. Agave nectar/honey: natural sweetner very similar to honey except lower on glycemic index which makes this a great substitute. Neutral, sweet, nourishes yin, lubricates dryness, tonifies weakness, harmonizes, strengthens spleen.

Nourishing Coconut Beet Soup

I recently made some of my favorite soup to nourish a dear friend of mine who just had a baby. This soup sounds strange but believe me it is delicious and super good for you. In Chinese Medicine there is the idea that things in nature that resemble certain parts of the body are useful in curing issues with those parts of the body. In Western medicine this concept was developed by Paracelsus stating that "nature marks each growth according to it's curative benefit". Later this became to be known as the Doctrine of Signatures. Just looking at a beet tells you exactly what it is useful for, building blood. This concept is further proven by the fact that beets contain many blood building minerals such as iron, folate and manganese. It is known to purify blood to aid in detoxification, increase blood flow which helps lower blood pressure and helps with constipation due to it's high fiber content. You can see why this would be beneficial for a new mom. Coconut is specifically beneficial for building Yin which comprises the fluids of the body, one of which is blood. The fat in coconut oil is unique and different from most all other fats and possesses many health giving properties such as relieving pain and irritation from hemorrhoids, reducing inflammation and improving absorption of many vitamins and minerals. In Aryuvedic tradition, it is often suggested to women to improve milk supply,  as the milk that a mother produces is directly made from Yin/Blood.  In terms of fertility, signs of abundant yin can be seen leading up to ovulation in the amount of fertile mucus that is produced.  When yin is depleted, your body shows signs of heating up, as Yin is the cooling and moistening system of the body.

During pregnancy, Qi and blood become fully abundant resulting in thicker hair and nails and that glow that so many talk about. During the birth process, a woman loses a lot of qi and blood. This can show up postpartum with symptoms such as hair loss, anxiety, depression, low milk supply, fatigue, and memory loss. It is important to get on top of replenishing immediately postpartum in order to feel well and nourished.

This recipe is beneficial for everyone, whether it be fertility issues, pregnancy, postpartum recovery, menopause or general wellbeing. It is nutritious and absolutely delicious.

Coconut Beet Soup

ingredients:

2 to 3 small sized beets or one large beet cooked, chopped and peeled

2 to 3 cloves of minced garlic

1 tbs chicken or vegetable better than boullian (contains no msg) or even better homemade chicken stock.

1 can full fat coconut milk

1 tbs of virgin, unrefined organic coconut oil

sea salt to desired taste

Directions:

Wash and cook beets in about 4 cups of water. I use a pressure cooker which takes about 12 minutes. Run beets under cold water and remove the skin and chop. If using boullian, reserve 2 cups of water from the cooked beets and set aside. In a medium sized pot, melt the coconut oil and add the garlic until it becomes fragrant. Add the beet water, the boullian and the sea salt. To that, add the chopped beets. Using a handheld blender, puree the beets. To finish off add the coconut milk. Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Preparing for Conception: Quality Essence

Jing which is Chinese for Essence is the basis for life. We are born with all of the essence we will   have throughout our life. It is given to us via our parents and a majority of the quality and quantity of it is based on the amount that they have to give to us at conception. You can think of Jing as the eggs in women and the sperm in males. A female has all of the eggs she will have throughout her life before she is even born.We use up our Jing throughout our life time. We can think of Jing as money in our bank account. We inevitably withdrawal from our source on a frequent basis throughout our live span but how much we take is dependent on how we choose to live our lives. If we choose to drink a lot of alcohol, eat foods that are not good for us, to stay up all night long and not get a lot of rest, to overwork and stress, we will use up our jing quicker. If however, we choose to be well rested, meditate, exercise in a balanced way, eat well and generally live a balanced life, we can actually add to our Jing and reserve a good portion for later in our life. It is no wonder that when we are in our 20s we are able to drink a lot, eat whatever we want, stay up all night and go to work early the next morning without truly noticing the consequences. That is until we hit our 30s and we have exhausted a good amount of our jing. Now a days this is of even more concern since we are choosing to have children later in life. Our choices preconception become even more vital. This is true for both men and women. Whats done is done but if we are considering having children it is time to start depositing back into the bank account. This calls for taking a good look at our diet and lifestyle. Are you eating fast food and highly processed foods a majority of the time.  Are you tired most of the time? Do you feel stressed often? Is your career mentally draining?       Are you sleeping well? What is your overall state of health? This is a good predictor of the quality and quantity of jing that you have to pass onto your unborn child. Recent studies have shown that the quality of life of the mother and father preconception is a great determiner of the future quality of health of their child. Knowing you have the ability to determine such a major aspect of your child’s life is great motivation to make changes where they are needed. Here are some tips on how you can start improving your health and therefor the quality of the egg and sperm that will create your child: *Eat whole foods and ditch the processed foods. *If you smoke cigarettes, develop a strategy for quitting. *If you drink frequently, cut down dramatically. *Find ways to bring peace and relaxation into your life such as meditation and yoga. * Up your intake of antioxidants such as; good quality dark chocolate, berries, beans, apples, cherries, legumes, and prunes just to name a few.