Seasonal Harmony — Later Summer
By Ellasara Kling
Everyone has a doctor in him . . . The natural healing force in each of us is the greatest force in getting well. . . Food should be our medicine…. — Hippocrates
Usually, people think of health as the absence of dis-ease, but true health is more than that! True health might be described quite simply as a state of a harmonious, free flow of energy creating balance, unification, and gentle vibrancy of the mind/ body/spirit. This is an experience of “aliveness” throughout one’s body, emotional stability, awakened senses, and receptivity to Universal energy and information. In natural healing modalities, it is the unique combination of energy and information in the “medicine” that is transmitted to the body. The focus is on wellness because “medicine” of any kind, natural or synthetic, is not healthcare. Medicine is what we use when we are focused on a problem – aka sickness. Healthcare is what we do when we are focused on increasing well-being. The axiom of Chinese medicine truly rules: Prevention is the best cure!
Five Element Theory gives us a practical way to understand and utilize Universal relationships for our healthcare. This Season is ruled by the Spleen/Stomach – a major organ pairing for digestion. The healthy function of the Spleen assists in the movement of water and the circulation and elimination of liquids throughout the body. The Spleen/Stomach system does not like cold. Eating a lot of raw foods and drinking iced liquids is detrimental to their function and are best avoided. Prolonged sitting is also detrimental to the Spleen/Stomach so try to move around during the day, get fresh air and sunshine when possible. Even though there is an abundance of fruit at this time of year, too much sweet can cause a buildup of dampness in the Spleen/Stomach. Too much dampness can create “foggy brain,” bloating, and sluggish digestion. Chinese medicine likens the Stomach to a caldron where what we ingest is “cooked” and then transported to other parts of the body. Too much cold and dampness impede the work of the Stomach, no fire to “cook” the food, for example. If we view the chart below, we see that the emotion related to this system and Season is over-thinking, a common way to cause stress. Stress diminishes our smooth digestive ability. An antidote to over-thinking is trust/faith. By practicing trust in oneself, our tendency to over think is diminished and stress is reduced. Developing Qi through practices such as qigong/taiji and applying Universal Law and relationships to our day-to-day lives, will increase our well-being.
Eat Seasonal, Buy Local, Think Global, Be Universal!
Some foods for the late summer: Almond, Apple, Barley, Blueberries Buckwheat, Cabbage, Carrots, Cherry, Chestnuts, Chicken, Chive, Coconut, Cooked onion, Corn, Cow’s milk, Crab, Cucumber, Dates, Duck eggs, Eggplant, Figs, Fruits (sweeter), Garlic, Ginger, Grapes, Hazelnuts, Honey, Job’s tears, Lamb, Licorice, Lotus root, Mangos, Melons, Millet, Molasses, Mushrooms (especially button mushrooms), Oats, Oranges, Peanuts, Peaches, Peas, Potato, Pumpkins, Red Chinese Dates (Jujube), Rye, Squashes, Strawberry, Sugar, Sweet potatoes, Water chestnut, Watermelon
Lightly Tart Red Pepper Late Summer Soup
- 6 medium size red bell peppers, roasted, peeled and seeded – Yield is about 2 cups – See Direction 1 below.
- 4 cups of vegetable broth/chicken broth/broth from bones/water – you choose
- 1 TB fresh lemon juice
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 1 ½ teaspoon of sea salt
- 1 tsp of black pepper – ground
- 1-1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1 Tablespoon of mushroom essence
- 1-2 thin slices of fresh ginger
- 1 bay leaf
- 6- 12 oz coconut milk – lite from the can – not the refrigerator section in the cardboard.
- Roast uncut bell peppers on a grill pan. You can roast then in your oven/broiler/outdoor grill. Remember to turn them so that they blacken all over. When they are blackened all around, place them in paper bag that is large enough for all of them. You can use more than one bag. Close the bag(s) for at least 15 minutes. The skins should come off pretty easily and they should be cool to the touch. Be careful when you open the bag as there may be some steam escaping. Peel off the skin, remove the seeds and stem.
- Blend everything except the coconut milk ginger and bay leaf together until smooth.
- Then add the ginger and bay leaf, to the puree and heat in a 3 qt saucepan, adding the coconut milk slowly and stirring as you add it. Taste it along the way: some people will want more coconut milk than others. Serve warm.
Garnish with minced cucumber, mint, watercress leaves only, finely chopped celery, or other
Serving idea: add cooked rice
Coconut is an energetically warming food of the season. Turmeric (yellow) has anti-inflammatory properties, aids in memory and circulation and is also a warming member of the ginger family.
- 1-2 TB grapeseed oil
- 2 small garlic cloves – smashed
- ½ medium sweet onion – small dice
- 1 cup orange sweet potato – peeled and diced
- 1 lb orange carrots – peeled and cut into about 1” to 2” pieces
- 4 cups of water
- 1 stick of cinnamon
- 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
- 3 thin slices of fresh ginger
- 1 ½ teaspoon of sea salt
- 1 tsp of black pepper – ground
- 1-1/2 tsp turmeric
- Toasted unsalted pumpkin seeds
- Honey to taste.
- Additional water if necessary
- In a heated wok or heavy bottomed 3-5 qt skillet, add the grapeseed oil and coat bottom of pan. Heat the oil – add a sprinkle of salt on the oil to prevent splattering
- Add the smashed garlic and small dice of onion – sauté, occasionally stirring, until the onion begins to become translucent.
- Add the sweet potato, carrot, water, cinnamon, lemon juice, ginger, salt, and pepper. Cover, simmer until the carrots and potato are completely cooked.
- Let everything cool to room temperature.
- Remove ginger and cinnamon stick. Add in turmeric.
- Blend to a fine puree – return to wok/skillet, adjust water, salt/pepper and if you want it sweeter, add honey to taste.
Heat and serve. Garnish with toasted pumpkin seeds.
According to the teachings of Chinese medicine, carrots aid digestion, remove food stagnation, strengthen the immune system by way of clearing toxins. They are a moisturizer affecting the eyes and lungs. Ginger is sweet and mild. It aids in digestion, circulation, and can balance yin and yang.
- 5 eggs
- 1 TB water
- 2-3 TB walnut oil
- ¼ tsp salt
- 4 scallion whites – cut into ½” pieces
- 1 cup diced fresh peach – with skins only if organic.
- ½ tsp ground pepper
- 2 TB walnut oil
- Have a spatula ready
- Beat your eggs with the water. Beat eggs in one direction only and just enough so that the yolks and whites are combined, but not frothy. Set aside.
- Heat a 8-9” pan (stainless steel – preferably) and add walnut oil – the exact amount will depend on your skillet – you want enough to thoroughly coat the bottom, but not so much that it is like a mini-pond of oil. Sprinkle in the salt (prevents splattering).
- Add in the scallions and saute lightly, shortly before they are finished, add the diced peach and heat through. . do not let it get mushy. Mix them together. Set the scallions and peach aside.
- Use medium heat: In a second pan – heat the pan, Add in the next 2 TB of walnut oil, sprinkle with salt and heat till shimmering – not smoking. It is very important to have a hot pan before adding the eggs.
- Give the eggs a quick stir and add into the hot pan all at once – let the eggs sit for a minute. Then push the edge of the eggs toward the center with the spatula and tilt the pan so that the uncooked eggs goes underneath and on the pan. And let the egg cook for 30 seconds or so. slowly work your way around until there is no longer any uncooked egg on top. Reduce the heat
- Gently check the edges of the egg around the pan that they are not sticking – – if you “jiggle” the pan, the eggs should move.
- Slide the eggs onto a large plate, add the scallion/peach mixture on one side of the eggs, sprinkle with some pepper and flip the other side over the top.
Scallions support the digestion – stomach/spleen – and lungs and have a warm essence. Whole eggs balance yin and yang, strengthen the blood, increase energy and promote good digestion and kidney function.
Variations on Chrysanthemum (Ju Hua) Tea
Chrysanthemum flowers are cooling in nature, sweet in flavor, support Liver function, quiets anxiety, supports the immune system, reduce eyestrain, and so much more!
Available at most Asian markets and natural food stores, purchase whole flowers. Put a few flowers in your teapot with hot – but not boiling – water and let steep a few minutes. Put a flower in a glass with the tea. it is very pretty to look at and is naturally sweet
Try variations of this tea: Chrysanthemum with Red Dates; Chrysanthemum and Peppermint, Chrysanthemum with honeysuckle, Chrysanthemum with rose, Chrysanthemum with goji berries to brighten the eyes.
Wishing you good health! Remember to smile at all things.
The information in this article is based on the theories and principles of Chinese Medicine/Five Element Theory. Ellasara, a practitioner of Wu Ming Qigong, has been studying with Master and Dr. Nan Lu for many years and participated in numerous special classes through TCM World Foundation and the Tao of Healing in New York City. Ellasara presents a Five Element based health workshop: Eating from the Heart. For comments, questions, consultations, firstname.lastname@example.org