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Morroccan Chickpea Soup

Morroccan Chickpea Soup

Morroccan chickpea soupMorroccan Chickpea Soup is a tasty and delicious vegetarian and vegan soup with basic ingredients that are gluten free. This soup is hearty and healthy, full of flavour and plant protein, and only takes 20 minutes to make. It will leave you feeling full and satisfied.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) knows which herbs and foods can bring back life to a weakened organ or meridian. Balance is the key to health. Chickpeas can benefit the pancreas, stomach and heart.

Chickpeas may be helpful for symptoms such as fatigue, dizziness, shortness of breath and a pale face which indicate a Qi Energy deficiency (depleted energy and vitality) and an imbalance of the spleen. The spleen is important for digestion and therefore plays a vital role in the production of Qi energy. Chickpeas are a useful food choice.

Chickpeas or garbanzo beans are easy to digest, build up digestive strength, are warming and nourishing. They are packed with vitamins and nutrients, are a good source of zinc and folate, low in fat, and full of fibre which is ideal for gut health. Chickpeas are a neutral food which are suitable for any TCM body type.

The tomato based broth is good for the spleen and stomach, and aids digestion. Tomatoes are rich in lycopene, which is an antioxidant.

Vegan Bone Broth Alternative

Vegan Bone Broth Alternative

This vegan bone broth alternative includes an assortment of vegetables that are rich in vitamins A, B, C, and E as well as antioxidants and phytonutrients that protect the body from free radicals.

This broth is a tonic to help with general health and boost immunity. The ingredients such as sweet potato, carrot, cabbage and cashew help to strengthen the spleen/stomach dynamic, whilst ingredients such as lemon and avocado help with qi energy such as the liver qi. Tofu helps strengthen Kidney qi.

Many thanks to Peaceful Dumpling for the inspiration for this recipe.

Stir Fried Green Beans, Asparagus and Celery

Stir Fried Green Beans, Asparagus and Celery

Stir Fried Green Beans, Asparagus and CelerySpring is a time for growth, and lightness. In Chinese medicine, spring is a time for expanding energies (in contrast to the hibernating and storing of energy that occurs during winter). Stir Fried Green Beans, Asparagus and Celery involves lightly cooking foods at a higher temperature to preserve the freshness of the vegetables, and stir frying is ideal for this season.

Many of the spring vegetables are light, crisp and have a bitter flavour which is good for the liver in Chinese medicine. The Liver in Chinese medicine is responsible for ensuring smooth flow throughout the whole body; and is involved in motivation, which is why spring is a great time to start new habits.

The green beans, asparagus and celery in this recipe have their crisp freshness maintained with the quick stir frying method used. In Chinese medicine, foods have certain properties; asparagus is bitter, pungent and cool, which is helpful for the Liver. The pungent property has an aromatic action, which helps with the activating and expanding of energies. Celery is sweet, pungent and cool. The green beans are sweet and neutral, which is perfect for the Spleen which is the basis of digestion in Chinese medicine. The garlic and ginger are both pungent and warm, aiding in improving digestive function. (Maclean, Will and Lyttleton, Jane, 2003,Clinical handbook of internal medicine, Volume 2, pp 890-892)    


Beetroot, Carrot and Apple Salad

Beetroot, Carrot and Apple Salad

Energetics of Spring

Spring energy is about rising upwards and expanding outwards. All around you, nature is growing green shoots and plants are blossoming. The body naturally becomes more active at this time; it is the time of year to rise early with the sun and take brisk walks, this gently activates the body’s energy and is in harmony with the ascending and expanding energy of the season.

Spring is a new beginning; a time to see things in a new way.  Spring is the time to contact your true nature and give attention to your own self-awareness and self-expression.

Food habits for Spring

Spring is the time of year that we naturally eat less, and this can even be a time for fasting, in order to cleanse the body of the heavier and fatty foods eaten during winter.  The foods eaten during spring should reflect the ascending and expansive qualities of the season – fresh greens, young plants and sprouts, plus wheatgrass or other cereal grasses – which can be a way to create a little personal spring within the body.  One way of producing this effect is to combine a little concentrated sweetener with pungent herbs (eg. mint tea with a dash of honey).

Shredded Beetroot, Carrot and Apple Salad

Beetroot, Carrot and Apple SaladSpring is the time to cleanse the body fats and heavy foods of winter and attend to your Liver and Gallbladder, which have been busy working overtime during winter processing the heavy sodium rich foods you were enjoying.

Your diet should become lighter with sweet*,  pungent**  foods emphasizing the Yang, ascending and expansive qualities of Spring, with young plants, fresh greens and sprouts.  This shredded Beetroot, Carrot and Apple Salad combines these properties with some Liver stimulating***  ingredients to really benefit the Liver and Gallbladder. Raw garlic also assists to reduce catarrh(inflammation of mucous membranes) which is beneficial in reducing hayfever symptoms in Spring.

 

A warming and nourishing black bean soup

A warming and nourishing black bean soup

In a warming and nourishing black bean soup, the black beans are deeply nourishing for the body, especially the kidney and reproductive energies. The leeks and garlic have warming and gently dispersing qualities that help to spread the gentle warmth throughout the whole body.