Digestion isn't what most people think of when I say "Yin and Yang." Just about everyone has heard of Yin and Yang, many have seen the symbol, and some have an idea that it represents balance. In the West, exposure to this concept often ends there, yet the paradigm of Yin and Yang informs so much of Eastern thought and is critical to understanding and improving digestion.
A medicine with Yin and Yang as a core principle of understanding has a unique window into the function and animation of the human being. At the most basic level, Yin is the substance, the fluid, and the tissue, whereas Yang is the warming, moving, energetic function of the body.
For example, the Spleen (an organ/channel complex) is a very important organ of digestion, but like all of the organs in Asian medicine, it is also the domain of other important functions. The Spleen, for example, transports and transforms the fluids, “checks” lifts/holds the organs in place, and also keeps the blood in the vessels to prevent unhealthy bleeding.
Have you ever thought you completely understood and believed in a theory or method only to have your own skepticism revealed to you? I love when this happens, as it did one day very early in my practice before I even had a license to use needles in my home state. More on that in a moment.
Moxa is a integral and important part of an acupuncture practice. Considered the only substance that is pure Yang, Moxa (Artemesia vulgaris) grows plentifully in Asia.
Dried and run through finer and finer screens, moxa becomes a lovely wool-like texture that can be formed into cones or rice sized grains. Called moxibustion when burned over the skin, this treatment is exceptionally effective for simply warming joints that hurt in the cold, but more importantly, treatment with moxa actually improves the functions of the organs themselves.
Called moxibustion when burned over the skin, this treatment is exceptionally effective for simply warming joints that hurt in the cold, but more importantly, treatment with moxa actually increases the functions of the organs themselves.
Back to my light bulb moment when my friend called to ask if I could help slow the extreme menstrual bleeding she was experiencing so she could drive two hours to the big city to see a specialist. She came over right away and I realized this was perfect for my current situation because I could treat her without needles.
The primary treatment for menstrual flooding such as this is to burn 7-10 rice grain moxa rolls on Spleen 1 in order to increase the function of the Spleen to hold the blood in the vessels. This acupuncture point is on the big toe.
Once I had burned 7 moxa grains on each Spleen 1, snuffing them out before burning the skin, my friend got up off the table. She came out of the bathroom looking confused and then ecstatic as the bleeding had completely stopped, no sign of it!
I was stunned. Yes, I had witnessed some amazing things in school and even while interning myself, but I had yet to really experience the truth of what I had learned on a much deeper lever. Yes, I believed, understood, memorized the functions of the organs in Asian medicine, but clearly part of me doubted.
From that day forward I never doubted again. I fully embraced the wisdom and importance of keeping the Yang of the Spleen strong, the approaches to keeping it strong, and how to treat it when it is weakened by excessive worry, overthinking, iced drinks, and raw or cold foods. Learn more in my article, Temperature vs Nature of Food.
This was a dramatic example of how important it is to keep your Spleen warm and happy. During the same time period I had started to seriously experiment with congee recipes. I was even more motivated at this point to optimize my recipes for strengthening the Spleen and Stomach.
There are many ways to be kind to your Spleen. Managing worry is one of the most important ways, but eating warm cooked food is often an easier and more predictable way to take care of this sensitive organ of digestion.
What is one thing you can do today to help your Spleen? Leave a comment below and let us know, or share one thing you've learned that has helped you to reduce worry or to warm up your diet?
Because it has helped the most, I feel passionate about sharing this very simple perspective on digestion with as many people as possible. My free Congee Course is packed with juicy information distilled from all these years into just 15 minutes of video.
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.
I'm so glad you're here, because today I want to talk about one of my favorite discoveries called the Goldenberry. It's a really special berry from South America. It's also known as a Peruvian cherry, Gooseberry, Aztec berry, but I like to call it a Goldenberry.
They are really amazing in congee because they soak up all the water; they plump all up and become this beautiful round golden ball, and when you pop it in your mouth it bursts with flavor! It's tart, a little bit sweet. It's kind of earthy, and it has a really special flavor, so check it out.
It's also really good for you, because it's high in protein, high in fiber and high in beta-carotene-good for your eyes, good for your digestion. Including some Goldenberries in your breakfast is a great way to get extra nutrients.
Including some Goldenberries in your breakfast is a great way to get extra nutrients: high in protein, high in fiber and high in beta-carotene-good for your eyes, good for your digestion.
They're a superfood, so they have high levels of antioxidants, which are anti-aging, anti-cancer. They're also anti-microbial and an excellent way to get a natural anti-inflammatory into your diet. Goldenberries have been shown to reduce Uric acid, which is the cause of gout.
Eat Goldenberries for all of their nutrient value, for their delicious flavor and because they're a little bit different, and it's great get a wide variety of ingredients, because then you increase your variety of nutrients as well.
That's it for today. If you like this video please share it with your friends, signup for my newsletter if you want more great information on how to enjoy and make congee for yourself.
"Its easy to prepare, easy to digest, and it tastes so good!" - Erin
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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.
As we leave the warm, outward movement of summer & move to the cool, hibernation of winter, there is an opportunity.
The theory of yin and yang wisely teaches how to harness the power available to us during times of transition. As we switch from one extreme to the other, there is an instability that allows new pathways to form. As we leave the warm, outward movement of summer and move into the cool, hibernation of winter, there is an opportunity.
This is the perfect time to set up new healthy strategies you will love and that will help you feel great and to flourish through the darkness, to resist the onslaught of nasty winter bugs.
Fall makes you want comfort food and breakfast is the best way to jump start your digestion, metabolism and stave off carb cravings for the rest of the day. When you are nourished and satisfied with real whole foods, it's easy to skip unhealthy snacks.
Yes, this is the time to FALL INTO YOUR PERFECT BREAKFAST RHYTHM. Nourish and warm yourself with congee. It's so easy.
Two ways to make it happen:
If you've been thinking about trying a Breakfast Cure Box, why not start today? Click here to see the flavor menu.
OR...do you have your crock pot and have been waiting for the right moment to make your first batch? This is it! Why not today?
Here is a very simple Apple Cinnamon recipe to get you started or to enjoy your delicious fresh apples in a new way. You'll see how easy it is.
What you need:
1. The right size crock pot. 1.5-2.5 quart for 1-2 people. 3 quart small family size, etc.
2. Use this recipe as a guideline. Spice it up or down. Just get going!
Apple Oat Groat Congee
Place everything in the crock. 2 servings.
1/2 cup organic oat groats (be sure to use whole oat groats!)
1 apple peeled and cored (or put this in when you wake up and let warm before serving)
1 tsp. healthy fat (butter, coconut oil or butter, ghee, etc.)
2 1/2 cups water.
Add a dash of cinnamon or just keep it plain and simple. Delicious!
Stir, cover, set to low. Cook for 8-12 hours while you sleep.
Substitute any kind of rice or gluten free grain as needed when gluten free oat groats are not available.
*not using cups and quarts? Simply use 5:1 ratio as the key. 5 times as much water as whole grains.
Let me know how it goes! Leave a comment below.
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.
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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.
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.