By Ellasara Kling
Spring is beginning. It may not yet appear so with Winter snow storms still occurring, but it is beginning nonetheless. The first stirrings of the season are happening now. The Universal has been shifting from the messages of sleeping, storing and gathering to awakening, reaching outward and then, later on, beginning the Spring time show with the appearance of buds and sprouts. The weather begins to warm and daylight is extended. Welcome changes, yet change is not always easy. One way we can help create an easy transition is to eat more of those foods which are lighter and in harmony with the season such as the foods that are listed below. Giving our bodies a rest from the denser foods associated with Winter and choosing lighter fare, allows our body’s energy to be in accord with the outward movement of Spring. It helps the Liver function to resonate peacefully with the season.
This bursting forth of new energy promotes circulation, movement, free flow of emotions, new beginnings, creativity, and enthusiasm. The related emotion of the season is anger which is an outward flow of energy. Enjoy teas like the one described later in this article that help to clear Liver heat and soothe nervous irritability. This season is another opportunity to find ways to “give yourself a break” and to be kind to ourselves and others. It’s the beginning of Spring and we most want to engage in the freshness of life and enjoy all things!
Artichoke, Asparagus, Avocados Bamboo shoots, Basil, Bay leaf, Bean Curd (tofu) – use non GMO organic, Beef Liver, Bee Pollen, Blackberry, Bok Choy, Broccoli, Broccoli rabe, Buckwheat, Caraway, Carrots, Cashews, Celery, Chicken Chicken Liver, Chives, Chrysanthemums, Clams, Corn silk, Crab, Dandelion greens, Eggplant, Fennel, Garlic, Ginger, Green veggies in general, Green Bell Pepper, Kiwi, Lemon, Lime, Lotus, Mulberry, Milk thistle, Nettle Tea, Oats, Parsley, Pickles, Quail, Raspberry, Rosemary, Rosebuds, Rye, Safflower oil, Scallion, Spinach, Sprouts of all kinds, Vinegar (raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar has many uses), Watercress, Wild Rice, Zucchini
Spinach Soup w/Snow Fungus
2 bunches of fresh spinach
½ cup of Snow fungus
2 beaten eggs
1-1/2 qt light vegetable broth or chicken broth
2 thin slices of ginger
1 TB soy sauce
½ tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
4 oz tofu – cut in ½” cubes
2 TB toasted sesame oil
Carefully and thoroughly clean the spinach, remove the stems and cut leaves into 2” pieces
Soak the Snow fungus in hot water and rinse a few times. Cut into small pieces
Bring the broth to a simmer; add the snow fungus, soy sauce, ginger, salt and pepper – bring to a boil and then simmer for 10 minutes, add the spinach, stir simmer until spinach begins to wilt
Pour in the eggs slowly in a steady stream stirring the soup gently in one direction only
Add the tofu and heat through.
Serve and sprinkle a little sesame oil on top of each bowl.
Makes 8 – 10 pancakes
2 1/2 cups plain flour
2 teaspoons yeast (instant)
1 cup water
2 teaspoons oil
3 spring onions/green onions/scallions, washed and thinly diced
oil to brush on pancakes
salt to sprinkle on pancakes during frying
Oil that can handle high heat for shallow pancake frying
Mix together the first four ingredients until you have a ball, then cover with a clean cotton cloth and let it rise in a warm room for about 2 hours. The dough will be springy to the touch
Wash and dice the spring onions.
Flour a surface and knead the dough. Cut the dough into thirds and knead some more until the dough is very smooth. Add extra flour if needed while kneading the dough. Kneading too long or roughly will make the dough tough.
Roll the dough out into one flat piece approximately 1/8 inch thick.
Lightly brush the pancake with a little light oil, and sprinkle with the diced spring onions.
Roll up the pancake and cut into 8 – 10 pieces.
Using your palm, flatten each piece and then roll it out to pancake size.
Using oil like peanut oil which can handle high heat, heat the oil in a large skillet. You do not want to drown your pancakes in oil. This is not a deep fry, but a shallow fry of the pancakes until both sides are golden brown, Sprinkle with a little salt while frying.
Serve whole or cut into wedges. Serve plain or with a dipping sauce.
Basic Vegetable Stock I
12 cups of water
4 medium size carrots
4 celery stalks with leaves
6 scallion whites
2 cloves garlic- peeled
1” of fresh ginger – peeled and sliced – but not chopped
1 small turnip – peeled
1/2 cup flat parsley or cilantro – leaves only – no stems
peel of one tangerine
salt and pepper to taste
Clean all the vegetables very well and cut into large pieces. Place in a stock pot with the water. Cover and simmer for 1 to 1-1/2 hours.
Remove all the vegetables and use the liquid or freeze in 2 cup portions for future use.
Remove all the vegetables and separate out the tangerine peel and ginger slices. Put through a food processor or blender until smooth and liquid, adding more water as needed since the vegetable pulp will thicken the stock. Again, you may reserve this in the freezer for future use.
1 tablespoon walnut oil
1 clove garlic
1 TB ginger diced
3 scallion whites cut into thin rings
1-2 little red chilies – whole
1/2 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
2 cups bean sprouts
3 scallions greens cut into 1-1/2“ pieces
1 beaten egg (optional)
1 tsp Pure Sesame oil
Wash and drain the bean sprouts
Heat the oil in a wok or heavy skillet.
Add the garlic, ginger and scallion whites, sauté lightly till whites are wilted.
Add the vinegar and chilies’ and stir
Add the bean sprouts and stir-fry briefly till the sprouts are heated through. Add the scallion greens and toss.
If using egg, add now and stir-fry another few seconds till the eggs have cooked.
Drizzle a little sesame oil over sprouts just before serving.
The aromatic fragrance of flower teas as they are brewed and poured automatically induces an instant relaxation response. That is their first healing benefit. The second can easily be the visual effect of the flower(s) in the teapot (especially if it is glass), cup or tall glass. And then, each flower imparts its unique medicinal qualities to the infusion. This tea is quite beautiful and sweetly scented. For each cup of tea, put together 5 white chrysanthemum flowers, 3 rose flowers, and 1 T honeysuckle flowers in a sachet. Place the sachet or loose flowers in a pot with 1-1/4 cup of water for each “flower group” and bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 1-1/2 minutes. Enjoy.
According to TCM, this tea strengthens the liver function, clears heat, relieves toxicity, reduces liver and gall bladder inflammation, improves vision, improves appetite and relieves a dry throat.
I originally found this tea recipe in Chinese Herb Cooking For Health.
Health Topic: Stress Each person has a different tolerance level and “stressors” vary from one person to another. Simply put, we each react to life’s situations and circumstances uniquely. When we experience stress, our bodies respond to protect us. Short term, this can benefit us by giving us a boost of energy for a presentation, or the intense focus to solve an immediate problem, for example. However, chronic, long term stress that is not relieved causes damage to our systems. What damage is again particular to each person. For some people, it may manifest as graying hair, others may not be able to lose (or gain) weight. The list of the out of balance effects of long term stress is quite long and many say that unrelieved stress is the underlying cause of all out of balance situations. It’s as if, with long term, unrelieved stressors that the body forgets how to shut it off by itself. This is where our practice (qigong, taiji, mediation, yoga, or other) is of the utmost benefit. How we use what we learn from our practice in our moment-to-moment, day-to-day can make a big difference in every area of our lives and especially how we deal with stressors. It’s a process of integrating our practice into our lives so that the practice continues 24/7. It continues when we are walking in the woods or down a city street, during our jobs, home life, etc. Everything in our lives becomes an integrated whole and is the reflection of our practice.
Seasonal Self-massage: Relieving Stress: Think of a cat. Picture this cat curled up on a rug in sunlight. Peaceful. It awakens. It uncurls and stretches its limbs, neck and tail. Arches its back and lets its head fall forward. It opens its mouth and stretches its jaws. It stretches every inch of its body in purposeful, gentle, graceful movements. Never straining or over doing. Doing just enough. Then, it moseys on to its next cat event. This is a wonderful lesson in self-massage. Simply stretching like a cat. Almost regardless of where we are, we can stretch out our arms from the tips of our nails to deep within the shoulder muscles; stretch our legs the same way, one by one if standing or both together if seated. Even just stretching our fingers and palms and flexing our feet and stretching our toes can feel so relaxing.[Following the threads of her personal tapestry, Ellasara, a long-time student of Master Nan Lu, weaves her life around the exploration and sharing of self-healing through a variety of modalities, primarily focusing on food, common herbal plants, Qigong Meridian Therapy and Qigong for Women’s Health. For comments, questions, consultations, firstname.lastname@example.org]