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.
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.
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:
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:
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!
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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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. Find out more about my FREE Congee Course. Learn all about the health benefits of congee and how to make it at home. Have you seen my Apple Spice Video and Recipe?
Good Morning. I'm Karen Taylor. I'm the founder of the Breakfast Cure. Today I want to talk to you about congee. Congee is a traditional Asian rice porridge, that's been eaten all over Asia for hundreds, if not thousands of years. The Breakfast Cure is a modern adaptation of that. I've spent a lot of time modernizing it for the Western pallet-making a congee that you can eat and find delicious and that doesn't seem foreign, but delivers all of the medicinal healing properties of this ancient recipe.
I started eating congee about 20 years ago, when I was in Chinese medical school, in Santa Fe, New Mexico. I was introduced to the concept of slow cooking grains to make them more easily digestible. I thought that was an interesting concept. What really ignited the fire in me, was trying it, and feeling how different my digestion felt.
I suddenly noticed that my stomach didn't hurt at all. There was no pain, no cramping. In fact, I felt this warm, soothing, comforting, nourishing feeling that just grew, the more days in a row that I ate it. That really made me want to find out more about it. I've spent over 20 years trying all these different combinations to find the really tasty, healthy ones that work in our modern world.
I've spent a lot of time modernizing congee for the Western pallet-making a congee that you can eat and find delicious and that doesn't seem foreign, but delivers all of the medicinal healing properties of this ancient recipe.
Today I'm making Apple Spice Congee, a perfect Autumn breakfast. Just when you need more time in the morning, Breakfast Cure delivers. Simply put all the ingredients in the crock pot the night before and your morning is suddenly more spacious, your day more balanced and your energy more even.
DIY Apple Spice Congee Demo. Easily make delish healthy breakfast overnight while you sleep. Learn how today.
Learn how to easily make delicious overnight breakfasts with healthy whole grains, organic fruits, healthy fats, herbs, spices and more. Follow my recipes or get creative and find your favorite way to let breakfast cook while you sleep.
Why not try some warm, comforting Breakfast Cure recipes to spice up your mornings?
I wasn't too excited about eating a porridge for breakfast. I did not think it would sustain me for the morning. But it takes away all the hassle of figuring out what to make in the morning. It's also really easy to digest and feels really nourishing.
I loved it--I loved the variety of flavor profiles and how full and satisfied I felt after eating. It was so nice to come downstairs in the morning and have a delicious breakfast waiting for me.
I've been hearing from a lot of folks who love using the 1.5-2 quart crock pot to cook breakfast overnight! Yay! Just two quick tips. First, be sure to soak the crock as soon as you serve to make clean-up a snap. It really helps! Secondly, save your leftovers for another yummy breakfast.
I love leftovers!
I never want my good homemade whole grains to go to waste. Plus, they make great leftovers! The best method is a personal preference but here are some suggestions:
1. Reheat on the stove in a small sauce pan with a little milk, nut milk, coconut milk. Add a dash of vanilla to brighten it up a bit.
2. Pan fry! So yummy.
A personal favorite because I love the crisper texture to contrast with the smoother breakfast the first day. Put a little butter or coconut oil, olive oil or any favorite oil into the pan. Add a serving of leftover congee to the pan. Flatten and shape it into a pancake.
3. Pop it in the microwave. Yep, I do it! Ready in seconds.
4. Melt a slice of cheese on top. Place in the oven on baking sheet with a slice of cheese on top until it's warm and melted.
5. Put the extra serving directly out of the crock into a soup thermos and have it for a snack later the same day. Try stirring in a spoonful of nut butter to give it a little extra staying power.
6. Put serving in a sauce pan with a little extra water and bring to a simmer. Whisk in a beaten egg, let cook a minute or two and serve. If it's savory add some fresh scallions and toasted sesame oil, etc. For sweet add a few fresh berries and toasted nuts.
I'd love to hear what you have been doing with your leftovers...if you have any! Post a comment below and let me know what congee you've been making and how you enjoy it most. What do you do to liven up what's left?
Get recipes and tips for amazing and easy breakfasts.
Love mornings with The Breakfast Cure insider secrets.
Cook until golden, flip and cook until warm and cooked to perfection. Top with appropriate fresh herbs, fruits, nuts, yogurt, etc, or just eat as is. Top savory congee cakes with an egg or two. Experiment with beating an egg and mixing in before you pan fry.
PAN TOASTED PORRIDGE CAKES! LEFTOVERS AT THE BREAKFAST CURE - THE WAY WE ROLL.
Click recipe below for immediate download
I love how Breakfast Cure recipes are both deeply hydrating and at the same time soothe and regulate digestion. Bonus - this prevents and even eliminates bloating.
Here in Oregon we have amazing pears and hazelnuts. Fresh pears make a wonderful breakfast. Soft and lightly sweet, pears mix naturally with soft, soothing slow cooked grains.
Pears are so juicy and add to the hydrating quality of any congee breakfast. The whole grains cook slowly overnight absorbing 6 times the water!
Because it's warm and well cooked, it's super comforting for the body and soul PLUS, as an acupuncturist, I always recommend a warm cooked breakfast for increasing metabolism, digestion and therefor energy.
That's why I say "The Breakfast Cure unlocks time and energy"
New to making congee for breakfast? Be sure to download my quickstart guide for the best results the first time you make a Breakfast Cure recipe.
Click recipe below for immediate download
Download your free recipe & make Ginger Pear Breakfast Cure Congee at home! Hydrate-improve digestion-feel great!
Hydrate with whole grains? 5:1 water in Breakfast Cure meals. Super easy & healthy #glutenfree
Get started today making an easy healthy breakfast with ingredients in your home. Use a small crock pot – one quart per serving. 2-3 is perfect for 2 servings. Leftovers are delicious.
It only takes a minute to put your whole grains, spices, fruits or whatever sounds good into the crock and add water. The best part is that you get to sleep while your breakfast cooks itself and then wake up to the delicious smell of your success.
Keep it simple or get creative. It’s up to you.
Didn’t come out perfect the fist time? No problem. It gets better every time you make congee. Really! Did it cook too fast, too long, run out of water. Make small adjustments and then it becomes natural.
Create a positive habit of getting breakfast in the crock the night before and you are on your way to a Breakfast Cure.
Have a good suggestion for how you remember to make your congee the night before? I’d love to hear about it. Please share in the comments below.