Blog – Breakfast Cure-Your Bowl of Zen

Cool off with congee

Summer is not the best time for cooking huge feasts over a hot stove. No, this is the time of year to keep it simple and spend some time outside soaking up all that glorious daylight.

Enter congee, the easiest, most hydrating meal that boosts metabolism and improves digestion.

It's great waking up to breakfast that's warm and ready to eat without heating up the kitchen with oven or stove. But the main reason to keep eating congee this summer is simple: hydration, hydration, hydration!

I see dehydrated patients all summer long. It's so easy to glow or sweat just slightly and have it evaporate to cool you off without even knowing it. The result is lack of fluids in your body which can cause fatigue and inflammation, or worse.

Try some Mango and Sticky Rice congee by Breakfast Cure to make mornings relaxing, breakfast easy, and for the wonderful hydration it delivers to all your cells. During the month of July this year we are offering a special topping with every packet of Mango and Sticky Rice. Get yours today and top it off with some super tasty toasted coconut pumpkin seeds. Yum!

Eat your fluids as well as drinking plenty of water this summer so you feel great and stay energized through the long days.

Escape to your island paradise in the morning.

Summer is a wonderful time to eat congee for breakast. Yes, even if it's warm outside, your digestion will thank you for this perfect fast-breaking feast. Nothing to cook over a hot stove. No baking to heat up the place.

Slow-cooked breakfast, ready on summer mornings when you wake up, is the perfect way to bring a little extra ease into the day. No decisions, only time to relax and enjoy breakfast at your leisure. 

"Don't I need salads to stay slim through the summer?" If you've read any of my thoughts about congee and breakfast you can guess that I am going to emphatically say "No!"

As the Breakfast Cure family grows, I see more articles on this topic from my colleagues. Just recently, I popped open a website from one of my most recent professional subscribers to see what her practice is all about. It turns out she's from Portland, Oregon not so far from Eugene.

Lisa's blog had several interesting articles. The one I'm going to point you to now jumped out at me because it mirrors what I've shared many times about salad and metabolism. Check out her post here: Is eating salad good for losing weight?

Eating hot foods can even help you to cool off. If you eat a bunch of cold foods and iced drinks, your body must work very hard to warm them up to body temperature in order to process, extract nutrients and eliminate the waste. All that effort heats you up. Warm, easy to digest foods take stress off the system which helps you stay cool. 

Balance all the cold fruit and fresh vegetables we all want to eat in the summertime with a hot, easy to digest, soothing meal that will help regulate your elimination. If you've ever picked blueberries and eaten a few too many, you know what I'm talking about.

Congee delivers extra hydration which also helps prevent overheating. Ingredients like pineapple, coconut, and lime help even more to keep you cool, promote digestion and regulate fluids without putting out the fire of your digestion or slowing your ability to "transform and transport," or metabolize fluids. 

This special summer edition is like a tropical vacation. Let our congee transport you to full relaxation and bliss all at breakfast.

Drinking lots of water and eating hydrating foods is extra important in the summertime so you can maintain proper fluid balance.

Enter pineapple. Pineapple is more than just a tasty summer treat. It’s also an excellent thirst-quencher. In addition to clearing excess heat, it also can help treat sunstroke, boost fluid metabolism, and improve digestion.

Try our new limited edition flavor, “Pineapple Paradise” 

Red Mushroom Medley Congee Nourishes Blood

If you know me at all or have been following the Breakfast Cure story, then you are aware of how I love Chinese medicine with my heart and soul. 

I'm continuously humbled by the wealth of ancient knowledge and how this wisdom can be applied to the most modern concerns and always sheds a brilliant light.

One of the things I love most about my beloved medicine is how many ways there are to incorporate the value of these insights into your daily routine. For some, Qi Gong or Tai Chi practice is the apex of embodying the power of ancient wisdom. For me, I continue to be transfixed by the nourishment I find from respecting my food as medicine. 

Remedies only work if you take them. Not everyone is so good about taking vitamins or herbs even when intending to make it a habit. I love my adaptogenic herbs and my superfoods too, but I know myself, and the best way to ensure I get these nutrients into by body is to eat them regularly in my everyday meals.

Red Mushroom Medley is a savory recipe formulated to be a powerful Blood tonic that also boosts Qi Energy and regulates fluids.

Adaptogenic herbs are the apex of superfoods. These culinary medicinals have been enjoyed at the dining table in a variety of recipes across Asia for hundreds of years. 

Red Mushroom Medley is the first Breakfast Cure congee flavor to inlclude a pile of extra nourishing ingredients found in the Chinese Medicine herbal apothocary. In this case, food is definitely medicine.  I carefully selected each ingredient for its ability to build blood and nourish body, mind, and spirit.

Blood deficiency is a common diagnosis in Chinese medicine. Often the lack of red blood cells isn't yet to the level of setting of alarms at the doctors office when looking at bloodwork results. Chinese medicine allows us to make this diagnosis based on a consellation of symptoms and complaints. We often catch it before serious symptoms arise.

Blood moistens and brings oxygen and nutrients to your cells. If you don't have enough blood, you are likely to experience difficulty falling asleep, anxiety, fatigue, dizziness or light-headedness, dry skin, hair, or lips, and dry type constipation.

Here are some of the powerful medicinal foods in Red Mushroom Medley.  Check out why they made the cut.

Wuyi mushrooms are brilliantly red and an extra special tonic mushroom that can't be cultivated. They grow wild and only on Wuyi Mountain in China.

Da Zao or Jujubes nourish blood and calm the spirit, benefit the Spleen and build Qi. They also harmonize the other ingredients in an herbal formula or recipe.

Long Yan Rou or Longan fruit benefits the Heart and Spleen, nourishes blood, and calms the spirit (mind). Longan fruit is good for insomnia and forgetfulness as well as issues that arise due to over-thinking or excessive over-working.

Adzuki beans nourish blood and are very easy to digest compared to other beans. Adzuki beans are strenghtening and the most warming or Yang bean. High in fiber, protein, iron, potassium, magnesium, and B vitamins, these little red beans deliver most of the nutrients needed to build red blood cells. Traditionally sweetend in Asian meals, adzuki beans are delicious in savory recipes too.

Try some today!

Still curious about these special little red beauties? The Michelin Guide has more to say on the subject if you want to learn more or see how and where they are harvested.

Top 5 Breakfast Pitfalls and How to Easily Avoid Them

If you’re new to Breakfast Cure then you need to know about the most common breakfast pitfalls and how to avoid them. A few moments can save you from any hassles.

The Top 5 Breakfast Pitfalls are:

  1. No plan for easy, healthy breakfasts.
  2. Not enough nourishing food available at home that’s ready to go in the morning.
  3. Stuck in a rut eating the same thing over and over.
  4. No warm, cooked breakfast on work/school days.
  5. Rush and run out of time ending up with no breakfast or worse.

Eating a good breakfast is one of the best ways to fuel your day so you are free to accomplish and enjoy what’s important to you.

So many people struggle to find a rhythm that ensures a delicious healthy breakfast every morning, especially on the busiest days.

How to avoid the top 5 breakfast pitfalls.

  1. Having a plan. Step one to having a reliably good breakfast before school or work depends entirely on having a simple plan. The key to success is one plan that works continuously. It’s crucial not to be reinventing this plan every day, week, or even every month.
  2. Once you have a plan in place, either the Breakfast Cure Method or a plan of your own creation, stocking up on everything you need to make your plan smooth and easy is crucial.
  3. Many people are stuck in a serious breakfast rut. One of the keys to a healthy breakfast is a wide variety of ingredients to ensure an array of nutrients.
  4. In Chinese medicine good nutrition and digestion depends on getting enough  warm, cooked, easily digestible foods.   
  5. Your plan must involve no time commitment in the morning other than eating your warm, soothing, healthy, delicious breakfast while you relax and enjoy a little slice of everyday mornings.

It really is that simple.

The easiest way is the Breakfast Cure Method because it allows you to sleep while your breakfast is cooking. 

Whether you make your breakfast from scratch the night before or use Breakfast Cure packets that are ready to pour into your slow cooker, mornings are always better with no rushing, days are always better with breakfast in your belly, and life is simply better without getting bogged down with planning, deciding, and forgetting.

Wake up knowing breakfast is handled without any time or hassle and embrace your day relaxed, satisfied, and nourished, ready for whatever may come your way.

Blueberries for Your Liver in Springtime: The Chinese Energetics

Blueberries for your Liver in Springtime

I've noticed that our culture is not very focused on the liver. Where is it? Most don’t even know. What does it do? Why do we care? 

When I was living in France during my junior year of high school, I was aware of how many folks would bring up their liver in casual conversation. Holding it and commenting on it frequently in relation to food, drink, emotions, and more.

Spring is the season that belongs to the Liver and Gallbladder, or the Wood element in Chinese medicine. 

A time of rebirth, new beginnings, and emerging from the hibernation of winter. Many people enjoy waking up their system with some type of Liver cleanse each spring.

If you follow my writing, you know that I have strong opinions about cleansing. You can read about them here. The short story is that I usually prefer simple, gentle, easy cleansing that does not scour and deplete the body and especially the organs of digestion, absorption and elimination.

I teach regularly about the wisdom and benefits of congee as a hydrating cleanse for the intestines, excellent for constipation. Read about it here.

Today, I want to talk about one of my favorite congee ingredients, blueberries!

Gentle, hydrating, easy to eat and digest, blueberries are a natural companion for a little spring cleaning for your Liver.

Make Oregon Blueberry Conee with this Recipe

Whether you pop delicious blueberries into your mouth whole, in a smoothie, in your congee, or even in your pancakes covered with maple syrup, blueberries are a gentle, cleansing, superfood that's easy to love.

Among the many amazing qualities of blueberries are the Chinese medicinal food energetics of these amazing treats.

Most people already know about the powerful antioxidants, low sugar, high vitamins and minerals that make blueberries popular in healthy meals and snacks. But most people here in the West are unfamiliar with the energetic effects blueberries have on the Liver and its associated meridian or energy channel.

The Chinese Energetics of Blueberries.  Even better for you than you thought!

Blueberries benefit the Liver, and nourish Yin and Blood, which is soothing for the Liver in itself. A powerful internal pathway connects the eyes to the Liver, which allows acupuncturists to treat and benefit the eyes and vision via the Liver.

Tangled Up in Blueberry:

A bowl full of Breakfast Cure Congee with hazelnuts, blueberries, and raspberries on top

I created Tangled Up in Blueberry, one of the original Breakfast Cure recipes, to benefit the Liver.

Together the ingredients do just that, benefit the Liver, nourish Yin and Blood, and calm and soothe the Liver Qi. By also nourishing the Heart Yin, this recipe helps relax the Liver by supporting a calm Heart and mind, known as calming Shen.

A relaxed Shen and a Liver and Heart nourished with ample blood supply allows for a deep and restful sleep. 

Tangled up in Blueberry is a perfect early spring cleanse. It's a warm, soothing wake up call for the digestion that also balances the Liver and calms the mind.

Soothing Liver Qi is a wonderful affect for your food to have on you when you eat it. Stagnation of Liver Qi produces all the same symptoms of PMS, so I’m pretty sure we all want to keep our Liver Qi moving smoothly! Feeling a little irritable, sluggish, bloated, or constipated? Liver Qi stagnation could be at the root.

In fact, Liver Qi stagnation happens with stress. Tension spills over to the Spleen and Stomach thus compromising digestion and absorption. Relaxation while eating is critical because we create energy out of the food we eat and the air we breathe. With Liver constriction, we breathe less deeply and our digestive juices are out of balance. So, moving Liver Qi with a little movement of the body and by eating foods that soothe the Liver, you are benefiting digestion and energy too.

Eating blueberries helps Build Liver Blood which will alleviate symptoms of Liver Blood deficiency such as:

  • Feeling a little fatigued
  • Trouble falling asleep
  • Scanty periods
  • Irregular menstrual cycles

Spring is a time of planning and decision making, the domain of the Liver and Gallbladder respectively. So, what better medicine for the planning, deciding brain than a little dose of blueberries to soothe your Liver and calm your Heart and mind?

Dig in today and enjoy knowing the benefits of your breakfast!

Have a friend or loved one who would benefit from learning about Breakfast Cure, blueberries, The Liver and gentle spring cleaning? 

Please share this article with them now. Here is the link to copy to your email:

Or Share on facebook or twitter now! 

Do you need a gentle soothing cleanse?

You probably already know that fiber is necessary for healthy and regular elimination, but did you know that water plays an equally important role in that process?

It's important to consume enough water along with that fiber in order to plump it up and soften it. That way the food moves easily through the intestines, providing a gentle yet very effective daily cleanse which is vital to optimal health.

To Cleanse or not to cleanse, that is the question.

The concept of cleansing our systems has intrigued humans for thousands of years. We moderns are no different. It's no wonder it appeals to so many people because we all want to feel great. It makes sense to us that some kind of challenging, extreme deprivation is the best antidote for all our over indulgences and missteps on the path of pure, healthy eating.

But cleansing can be a comfort and does not have to be a challenge to you system or your schedule.

What I’ve noticed in my practice over the years is that those who could benefit most from a cleanse are never the people who are the slightest bit interested in cleansing! These are generally the folks who are content with their diet filled with rich, hard to digest foods, meat, alcohol, and sweets.

Gorgeous Mega Omega ingredients

I am often asked for my opinion about the most recent fad cleanse that is popular on social media or endorsed by a celebrity. Those asking are often weak, tired, worn out, and simply looking for relief. It's a common interpretation that a cleanse must eliminate toxins from the body to improve overall health, whereas in Chinese medicine, these symptoms are viewed as a deficiency which needs to be built up and nourished.

Vitality and Longevity

In Chinese medicine, food and nutrition are understood as integral components to building longevity, vitality, and optimal health.

This way of thinking is inconsistent with the Western mindset which tends to focus on eliminating fat storage and toxins. By contrast, among the primary approaches of Asian medicine is optimizing all the organs and systems so they can best perform their important tasks. Vitality and longevity are generally of concern, not only disease.  

Apple Cinnamon breakfast with whole oat groats and organic spices

Short fasting or vegetable juice cleanses can be extremely beneficial for maintaining balance. Integrating these into your routine once a month or even for a few days in Springtime can be beneficial without feeling overly draining or extreme.

By gravitating towards a diet that emphasizes daily harsh cleansing, your whole system will become more depleted over time.

Instead, adjust your focus to the optimal health concept which treats the organs and major body systems in order to restore balance so there is neither excess or deficiency.

Gentle please!

The more gentle the treatment the better. Unless there is an extremely acute situation, the body responds to gentle, simple suggestions much better and in a more lasting way compared to blasting it.

Tangled up in Blueberry ingredients on display.

Constipation and digestive discomfort are my primary areas of study.

Twenty years of working with people to heal digestive disorders has constantly reinforced my belief that soothing medicine is the best medicine.

Better yet is when the medicine isn’t really medicine at all, but instead simple diet changes and easy, enjoyable lifestyle tweaks.

Breakfast Cure is the solution for the most common complaints I hear from my patients. It evolved from my personal daily practice of slow-cooking congee overnight. This method allows you to experience the remarkable benefits of Chinese Medicine from the comfort of your own home.

And frankly, I'm darn excited about it!

As Breakfast Cure spreads, I've learned that there are acupuncturists across the states who have also struggled to get their patients started on this valuable congee path. Like me, they are excited to introduce their patients to this easy, adaptable morning routine.

 The tribe of Breakfast Cure converts is growing daily!

Om Berry Congee has all your favorite berries.

The brilliant thing about congee is that it's beneficial for so many people, regardless of body types or health conditions. And it's So. Easy.

When considering cleanses or dietary changes in 2019, I urge you to remember the following:

  • We all need a break from challenging foods, meal after meal.
  • We all need breakfast that's easy to digest and assimilate.
  • We all need breakfast that is ready when we wake up so there is no stress or rushing. 
  • We all need a warm breakfast that jump-starts our metabolism first thing in the morning.
  • We all need plenty of fiber AND plenty of water to soften and plump-up that fiber to keep our intestines healthy and elimination regular.

Try it and feel the difference for yourself!

How to relieve menopause symptoms with Breakfast Cure

Have you wondered what inspires Breakfast Cure recipe creation? There is always a different answer because each flavor has a unique spark.

This year, I really needed something that would chill me out! Why, you ask? I turned 50 this year.

I was experiencing the heat which often accompanies menopause. That sweating just doesn't stop for, say, important meetings, or close partner dancing!

The very last straw was when I broke into a sweat from every single pore in my body, true to form, right in the middle of treating a patient for, can you guess? Yes, hot flashes and menopausal insomnia!

Though she was very understanding, I knew it was time to pull out every trick in my doctor bag.

Menopause in Chinese medicine is Yin deficiency, or a decline of the fluids and tissue that provide a cooling balance to all that warming, moving Yang energy.

Without the anchor of all that Yin substance, the Yang energy flares up causing symptoms.

I know! Let's optimize a recipe to be hydrating for everyone, but formulate it to Nourish Yin and clear the upward flaring fires of menopause!

Naturally, I called Dana LaVoie, my amazing acupuncturist, great friend, and menopause dietary expert, so we could put our heads together and come up with a list of ingredients that nourish Yin fluids and taste yummy too!

The results are in!  Mega Omega to the rescue!

Breakfast Cure Mega Omega Ingredients in a pile

Here is how the magic happens. Take a little inspiration, add some Chinese medical science, combine with ancient Asian wisdom, sprinkle with modern foodie exclamations of approval and BOOM!

A new recipe is born. Welcome to the family, Mega O.

As promised, here is some of the thinking behind the creative process:

Brown basmati rice establishes the foundation with a low glycemic grain to help maintain balanced blood sugar levels to keep mood even and prevent fat storage.

Pears are known in Asia to nourish Yin. They are very juicy and deliver an abundance of fluids packed with flavor, nutrients, and moderate natural sugars.

Chia Seeds are a must-include ingredient to nourish Yin. Able to absorb up to 20 times their volume in water, chia seeds deliver massive hydration to the entire system. These powerful seeds slowly release the moistening fluids over time. PLUS chia seeds are an excellent source of healthy omega essential fatty acids that are protected during low temperature cooking, so the full nutrient value is delivered in Breakfast Cure congee.

Black rice also known as forbidden rice strengthens Jing and the Kidneys which is important for controlling sweating and hot flashes. It is a superfood that has more antioxidants by weight than blueberries. 

Red rice supports Qi to prevent fatigue and increase well being.

Cinnamon helps make it yummy and regulates fluids to help prevent bloating.

Coconut cream is neutral to slightly cooling in nature and nourishes Heart Yin which makes it exceptionally good for the type of anxiety and insomnia that is common during menopause is caused by the decrease of Heart Yin.

Pink Himalayan salt provides extra trace minerals that are often depleted as we age and are needed for your whole system to function optimally.

Fennel is amazing for gently warming and aiding digestion and elimination while also soothing the Liver which helps relaxation and reduces any tendency to irritability. Fennel builds Liver Blood which is part of Yin.

3 cups water- extra water is needed to achieve the maximum Yin nourishing benefits.

Together these ingredients are satisfying, soothing, moistening, calming, and deeply nourishing. 

Mega-Omega is part of my morning routine for building Yin to cool, moisten, and stop the upward flaring of fire (read hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, and irritability).

All this awesomness without compromising (the fire of) my digestion. High Five!

I'm so grateful for having food medicine in my magical back of tricks.

All day focus and brain power... on a breakfast tray! Yes, please.

Reaching for Our Roots to Heal Digestion

Acupuncturists Embrace the Healing Power of a Simple Traditional Therapy

I'm very excited to share an article with you that was just published in Acupuncture Today. Written for acupuncturists who may not be tapping into the power and wisdom of our traditions, I explore some of the reasons ancient wisdom is the key to healing the modern epidemic of digestive distress.

Reaching for Our Roots:
Healing Digestion With a Simple Traditional Therapy

By Karen M. Taylor, L.Ac.

Karen Taylor smiling about loving congee.

Are you ignoring a powerful tool in your doctor's bag? Many acupuncturists realize that Spleen Qi deficiency has reached epidemic proportions in the U.S. Yet, we don't prioritize educating our patients about the importance of warm, cooked foods.

Most of us don't have time to make nutritional counseling part of everyday care even though digestive distress is increasingly common. Fad diets, conflicting nutritional information, endless processed food choices, ice cold drinks, and little time for home cooked meals all contribute to digestive distress.

Sometimes the simplest solution is the best one. I have found this to be especially true in cases of poor absorption, constipation, lack of appetite, slow transit, stomach aches, intestinal cramping and indigestion.

Chinese Nutrition

During my 23 years of clinical experience specializing in Chinese medical nutrition, I regularly prescribe congee, a traditional Asian rice porridge, with excellent results. Many acupuncturists are already aware that congee reinforces key concepts of Asian medicine. I appreciate the way it helps my patients understand Spleen Yang through their own experience of improved digestive fire.

While studying at Southwest Acupuncture College, my own health issues led me to seek advice from a respected professor. She taught me the benefits of traditional congee, how to make it, and where to find classical references and food energetics. She challenged me to mindfully feel into my belly after eating congee one morning and to and compare that feeling to my usual breakfast of cold cereal. I've been eating my warm, moist, soothing breakfast and feeling amazingly satisfied and nourished ever since.

The value of congee remains through every health fad of the past 25 years. "Bad" foods to be avoided went from meat and eggs to fats and now to grains. When questions arise about how to be truly healthy, I suggest we rely on the time-tested wisdom of the classical texts and our deeply rooted traditions, and not let ourselves be blown off course by the smallest breeze.

Congee in Our Diet

References to congee can be found as early as the Han dynasty, 206 B.C. to 220 A.D., but people were likely cooking congee hundreds of years prior. We can draw on the wisdom of a variety of classical medicinal congee recipes and adapt them for the modern Western palate. Congee can contain a wide variety of the highest quality gluten-free, organic whole grains, fruits, healthy fats, herbs and spices. However, never underestimate the power of a traditional white rice congee for those with compromised digestion!

In Prince Wen Hui's Cook: Chinese Dietary Therapy, Bob Flaws and Honora Wolfe discuss the benefits of congee; "This incredibly simple food has a number of health benefits. It is easy to digest and assimilate, it tonifies both Qi and Blood, it tones and harmonizes the Middle Burner, and it promotes urination. Depending on what is cooked with the Congee, it can have almost unlimited medicinal applications. Lord Buddha considered Congee made with milk and honey to be the chief medicinal food for preserving health. In the Mahavagga of the Vinaya Pitaka, Lord Buddha is recorded as saying: It confers ten things on him: life and beauty, ease and strength; It dispels hunger, thirst, and wind; It cleanses the bladder, It digests food. This medicine is praised by the well-farer."

The Right Consistency

Compliance is the key; taste and consistency are crucial to success. Yet ease really is the number one reason I still eat congee today. As a busy student, I immediately started making congee overnight in a slow cooker and found it so convenient that I've never strayed. Staying the course allowed me to discover for myself the positive effects on digestion and elimination.

I've spent years tailoring my recipes to suit my foodie taste buds as well as the diagnostic patterns of my own constitution. I've also discovered how to increase patient compliance in adopting this simple nutritional recommendation. Because this habit is easy to establish, and the results are long lasting, educating patients about congee is the best solution to offer for digestive complaints. The results have been so positive they've even surprised me.

Many of my patients report resolution of long-term digestive issues or constipation within one month of eating congee four or five times per week. They find this easy to do because this congee method is so easy and delicious. With a basic understanding of Chinese herbs such as rou dou kou (nutmeg) and sheng or gan jiang (fresh or dried ginger) it is simple to prescribe personalized congee made with ingredients found in the everyday kitchen with incredible results.

Congee sits in stark contrast to modern diets composed of dry and difficult to digest processed foods, cold options, or skipping breakfast altogether. Congee is exceptionally hydrating because it cooks slowly over many hours with ample water making it extremely easy to digest and absorb. It gently cleanses and soothes as it passes through the entire digestive system.

It's not a leap to imagine how congee in your belly would feel like a hug compared to the standard toast and coffee, yet American acupuncturists have not yet made it our mission to share this transformational wisdom with everyone.

I'm here to change that. If you haven't, start with yourself and experience just how amazing you can feel from this simple solution.

I wasn't always a congee advocate. Even though I've eaten congee for 25 years and always believed it to be a cornerstone of my excellent health, it wasn't until my own mother died from complications of constipation that I realized how important this information truly is. I am certain this warm, moist breakfast would have prevented the premature end to her brilliant life.

The benefits of a warm moist breakfast are obvious right away to patients once they feel the difference in their own stomachs and intestines. Give it a few weeks and symptoms like bloating and belching can disappear. If you are an herbalist, you can help patients tailor their congee recipes to treat a specific pattern diagnosis such and yin deficiency with false fire or Liver Qi stagnation.

If this sounds a bit overwhelming, please don't despair because it is quite simple. My mission is to provide recipes and educational materials to facilitate adopting congee as a morning ritual for everyone from toddlers to doctors of Chinese medicine.


  • Flaws B, Wolfe H. Prince Wen Hui's Cook: Chinese Dietary Therapy. Boston, Massachusetts: Paradigm Publications, 1983, p.82

Karen Taylor is a licensed acupuncturist and diplomate of Chinese herbology in Eugene, Oregon and has been in private practice for 23 years. In 2017, Karen established "Breakfast Cure" to educate and inspire you to eat congee for breakfast, so you feel soothed and nourished. For additional information please visit

If you like this article, or you learned something new and you'd like to share with your friends, please use the social buttons of your choice. Thanks!

How to Boost Metabolism with 5 Simple Steps

To make energy, or Qi (pronounced "chee") for ourselves, we must breathe air into our Lungs and be able to digest food in our Stomach. Out of air and food we make Qi, our animating life-force. The understanding of Qi is one of the main ways that medicine and thought in Asia contrast with our Western outlook.

The secret to keeping your Stomach and its main cohort of digestion, the Spleen, happy is common knowledge all over Asia.

Just the other day I bumped into a Chinese American acquaintance who was curious about my congee based project. She told me about her mom's traditional recipes that I hope to have the pleasure of trying someday.

But, I was thrilled with what she said next!

“Oh, I love eating congee, especially in the winter. Of course, it keeps you slim!”

Most Americans don’t get that. It’s just not part of the way we relate to food at all. She agreed. 

So, here is a bit of a cheat sheet on this wise perspective.

How to Boost Metabolism with 5 Simple Steps:

1. Give your digestion a break with very well cooked foods. Translation: Your belly needs a break just like the rest of us! Foods that are easy to digest and absorb give your whole digestive system a break and yet deliver the nutrients you need without all the effort. The net effect is an overall energy and metabolism boost.

2. Include warm foods and drinks in your diet. Translation: Consume warm foods and drinks. Pay attention to the nature of the food as well, meaning ginger and chilis are warming even if you eat them at room temperature.

3. Lube it up. Your digestion and all your cells that is! Getting well hydrated keeps everything running smoothly. Translation: Eat foods that are full of moisture and water to make sure all the fiber is extra plump and soft. This keeps everything moving through your system so you stay regular. When nothing is sluggish or backed up your digestion, elimination, and metabolism are optimized.

4. Don't put out your digestive fire. Translation:  Ice-cold drinks, raw and cold foods slow your digestion and dial back your metabolism. 

5. Don't eat only complex meals of hard, dry foods. Translation:  Avoid exclusively eating difficult to digest, processed, rich, undercooked foods all mixed together because they take so much energy to digest. It slows down your metabolism and it slows you down too.

That's it. You've got this! 

Bonus step!

6. Embrace simple foods. Most Americans looking out for their health avoid white rice and consider it unhealthy. My patients are often shocked when I recommend this simple fare. Tip: When slow-cooked for a long time with tons of water, rice becomes congee, the cornerstone of medicinal food all over Asia.

The most important thing is that you eat warm, warming, hydrating foods that are easy to digest so your Spleen and Stomach will be happy. 

This is exactly what I had in mind when I formulated my recipe for Breakfast Cure Masala Chai Spice. White rice is a medicinal food in this case and the spices amplify the metabolism boost that circulates the Qi so you feel motivated and nourished through winter.

A Quintessential Modern Congee Recipe. 

Masala Chai Spice Breakfast Cure congee is formulated by Karen Taylor, Acupuncturist and herbalist

Masala Chai Spice Breakfast Cure is a recipe that accomplishes all 5 of the steps to boosting metabolism and keeping your digestion and energy balanced for the long winter months.

It's a delicious breakfast that was created to build Qi, soothe and regulate digestion, and give your whole system a break with the most gentle, hydrating cleanse. White rice breaks down completely when cooked for a long time and is able to absorb 5 times the volume of water! 

Anyone who knows me even a little bit knows that I'm a huge advocate of whole grains that haven't been processed, no parts have been removed. The fiber and nutrients are so good for you. But there is a time for true comfort food that focuses solely on gently soothing, healing and nourishing. 

That time is any time you feel like it, but it is highly recommended for anyone experiencing digestive distress. Over the course of a few meals you can feel the soothing relief.

Try it for yourself. The true test is how it feels in your stomach after you eat it, and how you feel moving into your day. My friend Mo said it best. "It feels like a hug in your belly!" I think you'll agree.  

Mango Chia Breakfast Cure DIY Congee

Let’s make some DIY congee!

Hi, I’m Karen Taylor, acupuncturist, herbalist, and big-time foodie.

Welcome to another episode of Karen Taylor Vision.

My favorite thing is eating congee, sharing how to make it, and teaching what makes it so good for you. The secret is that it’s warm, cooked, and easy to digest. It’s delicious and soothing for sure. Today's 1 minute video shows you how to make DIY congee.

Coconut Mango Congee is on the menu for tomorrow morning, so I’m putting it together now, the night before.

Congee can be an exact science or you can wing it and enjoy the variation. Today, I’m finding my happy medium. But I've made congee thousands of times over 25 years, so measure away if that's your style or until you get your bearings.

Make Mango Chia Congee at home. It's easy!

All this water is key to hydrating your entire body, softening the fiber, soothing the stomach, and gently cleaning the intestines.

All this water is key to hydrating your entire body, softening the fiber, soothing the stomach, and gently cleaning the intestines.

Click to Tweet

Fist of all, add the grains and seeds. 

Organic brown basmati-very low glycemic index for a grain. Won’t cause blood sugar spike and crash like refined carbs and many other whole grains.

Chia Seeds are an amazing superfood that are very hydrating. Chia absorbs up to 12 times their volume in water. Packed with healthy omega fatty acids that beautifully withstand the heat of a slow-cooker, chia is a great addition to congee.

Next, a pinch of pink Himalayan salt because a little salt is good to bring out the flavors and is good for most people. This pink salt is so beautiful and also has a bunch of extra minerals.

I love mango! This is some superb organic unsulphured fabulously delicious mango. This is dried. Fresh is always great too.

Finally, add 6 times water to grains. All this water is key to hydrating your entire body, softening the fiber, soothing the stomach, and gently cleaning the intestines.

Stir, Cover, Plug in, Turn to low . It's that easy. Your DIY congee cooks while you sleep.

Tomorrow we’ll see what delicious treat awaits in the morning.

Shop around for nuts that taste amazing and are not rancid.

One of the benefits for me of starting The Breakfast Cure is that I’ve sourced all these amazingly delicious ingredients and now I’m eating them every day and loving it. Plus, I get to have congee the extra lazy way with the pre-made bundles! The nuts really are the best. When you make congee at home with my DIY Congee Recipes, whatever you do, shop around for nuts that taste amazing and are not rancid. Bad nuts taste bad and are bad for you. Most nuts fall into this category.

Don’t be afraid of good fats like this yummy coconut butter.

Healthy fats are crucial for good health and taste delicious. Your brain needs it. All your cells need it. Don’t be afraid of good fats like this yummy coconut butter. This is whole coconut so I’m using a whole tablespoon for one person. It contains the fat as well as the meaty flesh of the coconut.

Want more?

If you liked this video be sure to subscribe to my Youtube channel. Don’t miss another awesome episode of Karen Taylor Vision. I’d love it if you share this video with your friends so they can make congee for breakfast too.

Get Your Free Copy of The Easy Way to Boost Metabolism and Soothe Digestion
1 2 3 4