Nutrition Workshop #4: Conserving Jing

Last Updated on Wednesday, 15 June 2011 01:51 Written by Flax Wednesday, 15 June 2011 01:09

Jing is a Chinese term which can best be translated as the amount of energy you were born with.  To live a long and healthy life, one must work at conserving ones jing.  Things that deplete ones jing and can potentially lead to disease and premature aging are:

  • Overwork and stress
  • Excess sexual activity (for men)
  • Childbearing (for women)
  • Toxins in the air, food, and water
  • Heavy metals in cookware
  • Excess sweet foods
  • Excess animal proteins

In order to balance our hectic and unhealthy lifestyles we must work on nourishing our jing and increase our intake of  “acquired jing”.  Acquired jing is the way that we preserve our natural jing and prevent its depletion.  While crazy schedules might not be the healthiest way to live, eating properly can do a little bit towards mitigating the damage inflicted by such a lifestyle.  Proper meals and proper chewing of food are also extremely important when discussing jing.  Eating the healthiest food in the world is not so healthy for you if you are gulping it down or eating it while driving your car.  Food should be consumed at the table and in a relaxed atmosphere.  It is also imperative to chew food properly.  Each bite of food should be chewed between 25-50 times.  Make sure to schedule thirty minutes in to your day for each meal.  Eating in a relaxed atmosphere and chewing food properly will give you a sense of satisfaction and fullness that will carry you for longer and help prevent the need for snacking.  Foods that nourish the jing include:

  • Seaweeds and algae
  • Fish
  • Nettle
  • Royal jelly/bee pollen
  • Beans; especially black beans, kidney beans, and adzuki beans
  • Whole grains

Herbs that help nourish the jing include:

  • Angelica sinesis
  • Horsetail
  • Burdock
  • Chicory
  • Chinese foxglove

Parasites and microbial infections are also conditions that affect our jing.  Often people suffer from candida and are not even aware of it.  Symptoms of candida may include chronic fatigue, mental sluggishness, vaginal and/or anal itching, bloating, digestive problems, bad breath, weak immune system, cravings for sweets and yeasted breads, and recurrent fungal infections.  Systematic candida is a condition in which the candida has escaped from the digestive tract, invaded the sexual organs, or at times even the entire body.  This can lead to the development of autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and lupus.  The effects of the systematic poisoning of the system can also lead to more minor issues such as food or environmental allergies. 

Eliminating candida is not easy since one must eliminate all sugar/sweet foods from the diet as well as all yeast products.  The nature of the disease is such that these are exactly the foods that people with candida will crave.  It might help to say to yourself, “these foods are feeding my disease and not the real me”.  Herbal products can help to heal the candida as well.  These include:

  • Probiotics
  • Stevia
  • Aloe vera gel
  • Silver colloid

To see the recipe served with this class, click here.

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Nutrition Workshop #3 The Spleen

Last Updated on Wednesday, 1 June 2011 02:30 Written by Flax Wednesday, 1 June 2011 02:30

Spleen/Pancreas (לבלב)

The spleen/pancreas in Chinese Medical theory is the organ that is most responsible for the digestion and distribution of food and nutrients. Someone with a healthy spleen will have a healthy digestive system.  These people are hard-working, practical and responsible.  Those with a weak spleen are characterized by chronic fatigue, both physical and mental stagnation, weak digestion, hard lumps in the abdomen, and loose stools.

One of the common features found in people with weak spleens is excess dampness. Excess dampness is a Chinese Medical term that refers to a condition with excess mucus and/or excess weight.   Overconsumption of meat and dairy cause the thickest and stickiest mucus buildup.  The commonly eaten foods, wheat and sugar are also major contributors to mucus buildup.  Other likely contributors to excess mucus buildup are; processed and refined foods, toxins found in “food” and water, meals which include too many food combinations, late night eating, and overeating.

Foods that help to heal the spleen are:

  •  all orange vegetables (especially the sweet potato)
  •  whole grains (especially rye, amaranth, and quinoa)
  •  bitter vegetables and herbs (including romaine, celery, alfalfa, turnip, and chamomile) 
  • Cooked vegetables are healthier for the spleen but raw vegetables can be eaten during the hotter summer months.

Healing the spleen means improving the digestive system and as a side-effect, losing excess weight.  A healthy spleen means that you won’t need to fight unhealthy cravings for sugary foods and snacks.  This is because you won’t be craving them.  Sounds simple, well it actually is.  One of the methods I use during the summer months to help this process is the Celery Smoothie.  Eat a celery smoothie every day for 2 weeks and see  the results for yourself.

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Celery Smoothie

Last Updated on Monday, 20 June 2011 10:51 Written by Flax Wednesday, 1 June 2011 08:48

In order to achieve optimal weight, a diet should be based around vegetables.  Unfortunately, most of us don’t eat nearly enough vegetables.  A great way to rectify this imbalance is to begin with a celery smoothie.   There are two steps in correcting a diet.   Increasing consumption of healthy foods while also decreasing consumption of un-healthy foods.  The celery  smoothie is ideal for this two pronged task.   Celery is the ideal diet food.  It helps to dry up dampness (phlegm/fat) caused by excess sugar consumption and it also helps us to curb our sugar cravings.  This  makes it easier to begin on our path towards healthier eating.

When I make a smoothie, I add a variety of other vegetables using a few different principles.  The  first thing that I am looking for is watery vegetables that will give it a more liquid texture.  Examples of these are cucumbers and sprouts.   The next thing I am looking for is a bit of sweetness, here I use a carrot.  After that I will add a bitter vegetable (like a radish) to help the celery clean out the dampness and toxins in the system.  On occasion, I will add a member of the onion family, I prefer scallions for their more gentle flavor.

The fact that it’s pureed helps for two reasons.  The smoothie is condensed and so a large amount of vegetables looks a lot smaller.  The second reason is because unfortunately, many of us have forgotten how to chew our food. (Each bite of food should be chewed between thirty to fifty times).   Starting a diet with a smoothie will help us to digest better, until we once again, relearn how to chew whole grains and firm vegetables.

I recommend making a batch of this in the morning, serve it on a bed of quinoa or brown rice and don’t eat anything else until it’s finished.  There should usually be enough for more than one meal.   Chances are, after finishing it all up,  you won’t be hungry for anything else.

Ingredients:

  • 1 head celery, leaves attached
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 package mung bean sprouts
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 radish
  • 1 scallion
  • Olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Atlantic grey sea salt

Puree all the ingredients in a food processor and serve on a bed of quinoa or brown rice.

Enjoy!

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