Power of Energetics: Enjoyment of Food


This weeks blog topic is about the enjoyment of food. Eating is an expression of who you are. Enjoying food and eating, in general, can create feelings of joy and fulfillment. It is too easy today to just grab some food and eat on the go. We rarely take the time to eat slowly and actually enjoy our food.

The Art of Chewing

It is very important in TCM to chew your food slowly and thoroughly.  It is said that “the stomach has no teeth”, and thus chewing is a necessary component to proper digestion.

Eating and digestion begins with chewing. Food begins getting digested in the mouth via the enzymes amylase and lipase in saliva.  These enzymes help start the break down the food prior to its entry into the stomach.  Chewing grains and other complex carbohydrates turn them into sugars and allows the body to absorb oils, proteins, and minerals better.  Vegetables and grains when chewed until liquid will help release their full nutritional value. Incomplete chewing can leave you feeling heavy and dull and even create gas.  When digestion is efficient the body feels light and balanced.

Get into a new habit of properly chewing your food.  Begin by keeping count how many times you chew per bite.  This brings your attention to chewing and helps you start focusing on chewing.  Then, start chewing 30-50 times per bite, especially at the beginning of a meal.  Eventually, you will get into the habit and not need to count anymore. It really helps you concentrate on chewing if you set down your eating utensil between bites.

Balancing Appetite and Satiety

Habitual overeating is a large issue in society today.  This trend has many causes, from large size portions to eating on the run.  In TCM, you should never eat yourself until full, you should eat until you feel two-thirds full.  Following this rule will help combat that “roll me out the door” fullness, epigastric pain or pressure, gas, nausea, and indigestion.  Health and feeling your best comes from eating an appropriately sized meal that contains a variety of different types foods, a balance of all 5 flavors, and an eating a mixture of both solid meals and liquids meal, such as soup.

The hardest part of not overeating is combating cravings. When we crave certain foods and indulge in that craving, we tend to overeat due to the physical and emotional relief it brings. Specifically the appetite control center of the hypothalamus which recognizes each flavor and has to have a specific amount of food to be eaten to feel satisfied.  To achieve a balanced diet, one should try to overcome these cravings and eat less complex meals. Meals should be balanced between all five flavors, no matter the craving. A balanced meal should have sweet (earth), sour (wood), pungent (lung), salty (kidney), and bitter (heart) flavors represented. It should also be simple, which allows for easier digestion. An example of a simple balanced meal would be a congee cooked with garlic, scallions, leeks, and a bit of added salt (mineralized salt such as Himalayan or black salt work best).

With all this said, do not be too rigid about your diet.  This can result in a negative relationship with the food and can create more issues with food than help.  It is healthier to eat what you want than to overstuff yourself with another food trying to combat the craving.


While waiting for the next installment, please take a look at the foods in our other blogs to see how to choose the most nutritious groceries, how to store them to retain freshness, the nutritional benefits, and of course—the energetics. 

Power of Energetics: 5 Elements

Power of Energetics: 5 Properties



Yin and yang, is a constant factor in Chinese Medicine and energetics.  This week we are talking about the 5 properties of food—Heat/Hot, Warm, Neutral, Cool, and Cold —how they correspond to yin and yang, and how they affect the body.



When talking about the properties of food, if a food is heat/hot it is considered warming and if it is cold it is considered cooling.  When differentiating the properties foods that are extremely warming are considered heat/hot and food that are slighting warming are considered warm.  The same goes for cooling foods.  Warming and cooling foods correspond to yin and yang—where heat is yang and cold is yin.  When eating cooling foods, energy and fluids are directed inward and lower so the exterior and upper portions of the body cool first.  When eating warming foods, energy and fluids (especially blood) move up and out to the surface of the body.

images-4The properties of food also are a great example of yin with the yang (which I spoke about in my last blog), foods can have opposing properties.  For example, Siberian Ginseng can both lower high blood pressure and raise low blood pressure.  This can happen because food can be altered in the cooking process, ultimately transforming the yin into the yang.  The warming and cooling properties of food depend on multiple factors:

  1. Slow growing plants such as carrot and cabbage are more warming than those that grow quickly.
  2. Fertilization, which stimulates plants to grow quicker, creates a more cooling food/energetic.
  3. Raw food is more cooling than cooked food.
  4. Foods eaten cold are more cooling.
  5. Foods that are colored blue, green or purple are more cooling than the colors red, orange, and yellow. Example: a green apple is more cooling than a red apple.
  6. Cooking methods requiring more cooking time, higher temperature, or higher pressure are generally more warming.  Deep frying is more warming than steaming food and heatless methods of preservation or preparation, like fermenting, marinating or sprouting are cooling.

If possible do not microwave or overcook your food.  Microwaving food can damage the molecular integrity and diminish the Qi. If you must microwave your food, the best method is to put your microwave at a lower power and cook it in small increments of time until warm.  In general cooking your food moderately (whether in a microwave or on the stove) is the best for your body, as overcooking or eating too much raw foods can be overstimulating.


Unknown-2Excess heat can be caused by eating too many warming foods or an insufficient amount of cooling foods, to much activity or work, exposure to heat and extreme climates (even a cold climate), or the obstruction of the internal organs.  The entire body or just a part can be affected by an excess of heat.



Signs of Heat:

  • As heat rises the body fluids dry up. (ex. dehydration)
  • The body feels hot, avoidance or fear of heat, and attracted to cold
  • Head: Bright red tongue with a yellow coating, red face, red eyes, nosebleeds, canker sores, “rotten” breath smell
  • Heart/Mind/Body: High blood pressure, hemorrhages, inappropriate or incoherent speech, convulsions, delirium, full and fast radial pulse
  • Local inflammations, swellings, rashes, skin eruptions, and sores
  • Digestion: Constipation, dry and smelly stools, dark yellow or red urine, blood found in stool or urine, strong desire for cold liquids in large quantities, matter excreted is forceful and urgent, mucus and phlegm are thick and yellow or green

To combat an excess of heat one should eat less and increase fluid intake.  One should avoid red meat, chicken, alcohol and cigarettes as they increase heat.  Other food to avoid is yogurt, cows milk, eggs, clams, and can as can cause obstructions and aggravate heat.  Small amounts of almonds, sesame seeds, and fresh sunflower seeds can supply nutrients needed without increasing heat. One should also avoid pressure cooking, baking, or deep frying food.  Steam, simmer or eat foods raw.

For acute heat symptoms use the liquid forms of cooling vegetables or fruit juices, broths, and herbal teas.  These liquids should not be served cold, cold foods and drinks actually weaken the body.

Another form of heat is called deficiency-heat or deficiency-yin. This is the most common form of heat nowadays.  Deficiency-heat is produced not by an excess of heat, but by a deficiency in yin, specifically in the yin fluids and structures that provide balance for heat in the body.  Basically, the yin aspects of the body are so low that heat appears to be in excess. This is also a symptom of people who have yin of inferior quality, usually caused by overeating rich and denatured foods.

Signs of Deficiency-heat:

  • Hypoglycemia, diabetes, tuberculosis, and anxiety disorders
  • Wasting diseases where there is a long term inflammation and infections from viruses, bacteria, fungi, parasites, an other pathogenic microbes
  • degenerative disease eventually become marked with signs
  • Fluids: drinking small amounts of fluid often throughout the day, dryness of the tongue, mouth, cough or breath
  • Body: Tends to be thin (extreme cases result in emaciation), vertigo, spasms, cramps and moving pains, pulse is fast and thin
  • Mind: Insomnia, irritability, uneasiness, worry, excess thought
  • Color: Fleshy pink or fresh red tongue and cheeks
  • Heat: Low intermittent fever, palms and soles are hot and sweaty, night sweats

The modern person is a great example of deficiency-heat; uneasy, anxious with an abundance of energy (deeper energy lacking), and relationships are filled with irritations and fighting.  One just need to look at the causes of deficiency-heat to see the correlation.  Stress, excessive noise, competition, consuming warming nutrient deplete substances (alcohol, coffee, cigarettes, synthetic drugs) all deplete yin quickly. Also, overconsumption of spicy foods and food grown on wasted soil are also very yin depleting. A scary trend is emerging in our offspring where they lack the ability as a whole to supply sufficient yin fluids to themselves,  thus perpetuating the abundance of people with deficiency-heat symptoms.

The earth also reflects this deficiency-heat, as high quality sources of nutrient-rich food and clean water dwindle away.  Yin nurtures and stabilizes, the earth needs yin to grow and create.  To support not only your own body, but that of the earth’s, eat only local and organic food.

To combat deficiency-heat one can do activities that cultivate and harmonize yin, such as yoga, meditation, or connecting with the earth (gardening).  One should avoid intoxicants and refined food.  Meat, eggs, and other animal by-products are a good source of yin, but be careful as overconsumption can create sticky mucus.  Also be wary of refined food, especially foods high in sugar, as they offer a quick, temporary yin fix but will ultimately deplete both yin and yang.


Cold arises from the lack of physical activity, eating too much cooling food, or an overexposure to a cold environment.  Cold can also be caused by deficient yang resulting from insufficient warming foods or a constitutional weakness from birth. It takes longer for a cold person to build warmth than for a hot person to lose heat, which means that it is much harder for a person in a cold pattern to get back to normal.

Signs of Cold:

  • Areas affected are kidneys, bladder, bones, hair, emotional fear and sexual function
  • Causes Contraction: Body bends or moves around with difficulty and pain can be intense and fixed.
  • Body: Chilled sensation, dislike of cold, attraction to warmth, overdressed, body excretions will be copious and clear(clear urine, watery stools, or thin watery mucus)

To combat cold work on fears and insecurities, become more active, avoid long baths, and keep kidneys, legs, and lower abdomen warm. Use warming foods and cooking methods—avoid cooling or raw foods.  Do not eat or drink below room temperature and do not eat or drink anything too hot.  Moderate amounts of animal by-products are warming, especially butter. Eat extremely warming foods (ex. hot peppers) sparingly, as too much heat has a cooling effect.  The same principle goes for concentrated sweeteners.





Yin Cold Bamboo shoot, water chestnut, sugar cane, tomato, watermelon, banana, grapefruit, persimmon, mulberry, star fruit, seaweed, kelp, crabs, clams, sprouts, watercress, lettuces, and salt .
Yin Cool Millet, barley, wheat, buckwheat, eggplant, cucumber, celery, peppermint, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, mustard leaf, spinach,  amaranth, pea, mung bean, pears, cantaloupe, apple, pineapple, persimmon, coconut, strawberry, orange, tangerine, mango, papaya,  green tea, tofu, mushrooms, egg white, sesame oil, cream, yogurt and cheese.
Harmonized Yin/Yang Neutral Rice, corn, taro, sweet potato, potato, turnips, carrot, cabbage, radish leaf, beetroot, soybeans, adzuki beans, peanut, cashew, pistachio, black sesame, sunflower seed, plums, fig, grapes, lemon, olives,  shiitake mushroom, (sea) shrimps, pork, duck, oyster, beef,  egg yolk, royal jelly honey, milk, soybean milk, and sugar.
Yang Warm Coriander, chives, onion, leeks, green onion, asparagus, sweet peppers,  spearmint, pomegranate, apricot, peach, cherry, lychee, raspberry, chestnut, pumpkin, glutinous rice, dates, walnut, pine nut, mussels, lobster, fresh water shrimps, chicken, venison, ham, goat milk, maltose, brown sugar, cumin, clove, fennel, garlic, ginger (fresh), dill seed, nutmeg, rosemary, star anise, Sichuan peppercorn, sweet basil, tobacco, coffee, vinegar, wine, vegetable oil.
Yang Hot Black pepper, cinnamon, ginger(dried), chili pepper, and mustard seed.


Once an understanding of one’s personal constitution of cold or warm is reached it is easy to create a diet specific to keeping the balance of yin and yang in the body. If one is not clearly of a cold or warm constitution, then a diet balanced in both properties is best.


While waiting for the next installment, please take a look at the foods in our other blogs to see how to choose the most nutritious groceries, how to store them to retain freshness, the nutritional benefits, and of course—the energetics.   

Power of Energetics: 5 Flavors (Part 2)

images-3Part 2 about the 5 flavors in Chinese Medicine with respect to their thermal properties (warming vs cooling), remedial actions (drying, moistening, etc.), where their energy is directed and how they are used therapeutically.

In this part we are going to focus on the last of the 5 flavors, Bitter and Sweet flavors.



I would like to restate that occasionally food is assigned a certain flavor property that might not correspond to the actual taste. Flavors are assigned to designate and reflect the properties of food, not just taste.  There are also many foods that have more than one flavor associated to it and are generally only used when both flavors are needed.



organic-alfalfa-sproutsProperties: A yin flavor; cooling effect; causes contraction and encourages the energy of the body to descend.  Reduces the excessive person (robust, extroverted, with thick tongue coating, loud voice, reddish complexion, etc.). Bitterness is an antipyretic, lowering fever; it will also dry fluids and drain dampness. Certain bitter foods and herbs have a purgative effect and induce bowel movements. Enter the Heart and Small Intestines.  Corresponds to the Fire Element.

Uses: Helpful for inflammations, infections, and overly moist, damp conditions. Also used for constipation.

Organ Function: Bitter foods clear heat and clean arteries of damp mucoid deposits of cholesterol and fats, in general tending to lower blood pressure. Bitter foods clear stagnancy and cools heat in the liver (usually caused by overconsumption of rich foods).  Bitter foods and herbs drain damp-associated conditions in the form of candida yeast overgrowth, parasites, mucus, swellings, skin eruptions, abscesses, growths, tumors, cysts, obesity, and all moist accumulations including edema. Bitter foods also increase intestinal muscle contractions. The kidneys and lungs are tonified and vitalized by bitter foods. It is superb n removing mucus/heat conditions in the lungs, signified by yellow phlegm discharges.

Seasonal Attunement: One should progressively increase their bitter intake during the fall and winter months, in order to contract and channel energy lower into the body. Heat symptoms arising in any season can be neutralized by bitter foods.

Individual Benefited: Slow, overweight, lethargic, watery (damp) individuals. Aggressive, overheated people are cooled by bitter foods.

Cautions: People who are deficient, cold, weak, thin, nervous, and dry should limit their bitter food intake.



Goji BerriesProperties: A yang flavor; regularly subdivided into full sweet (more tonifying and strengthening) and empty sweet (more cleansing and cooling). The sweet flavor, especially found in warming food, helps energy expand upward and outward in the body.  It is a harmonizing flavor with a slow, relaxing effect.  They also build yin in the body—tissues and fluids—and thus tonify the thin and dry person.

Uses: In the form of complex carbohydrates, sweet food is the center of most traditional diets; it energizes and yet relaxes the body, nerves, and brain. Sweet foods are used to reduce the harsh taste of bitter foods and to retard acute disease symptoms. Sweet foods in the form of complex carbohydrates also are suitable for treating the cold or deficient person. Enters the Spleen-Pancreas and Stomach.  Corresponds to the Earth Element.

Organ Function: Sweet foods soothe aggressive liver emotions such as anger and impatience. It is traditionally used to calm acute liver attacks.  Sweet foods also moisten dry conditions of the lungs, and slows an overactive heart and mind.

Seasonal Attunement: Sweet foods are appropriate for all seasons, and especially desirable during the equinoxes and solstices as they promote harmony. Warming and/or ascending sweet foods attune to the upsurges of spring, as do pungent foods.

Individual Benefited: The dry, cold, nervous, thin, weak, or scattered person needs whole sweet foods in greater quantity; the aggressive person needs sweet foods too for its retarding effect.

Cautions: The sluggish, overweight individual, or those with other damp signs, including mucus conditions, should take very sweet foods sparingly. Chewing carbohydrates well makes them much less mucus-forming and thus has a lighter, less damp impact on digestion. Too much sweet foods damages the kidneys and spleen-pancreas, weakens the bones, and causes hair loss.


Flavors and Direction

Affected organ



Bitter (yin) Cooling, direct energy inward and to lower body (downward) HeartSmall Intestine Inflammations, infections, moist and damp conditions, high cholesterol, candida overgrowth, parasites, abscesses and overeating.  Dry, cold, nervous, weak persons should not overeat bitter foods Alfalfa, romaine lettuce, rye.Bitter+pungent: citrus peel, radish leaf, scallion, turnip, white pepper.Bitter+sweet: amaranth, asparagus, celery, lettuce, papaya, quinoa.Bitter+sour: vinegar
Pungent (yang) Warming, direct energy outward and to upper body, expansive, dispersive LungLarge Intestine Stimulates circulation, cardioprotective, clear obstructions and improve liver function, moistens the kidneys affecting fluids in the entire body, improve digestion, and reduce mucous conditions, expels parasites Warming: spearmint, rosemary, scallion, garlic, onion, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, black pepper, all peppers, cayenne, mustard greens, fennel, anise, dill, nutmeg, basil and horseradishCooling:  peppermint, marjoram, white pepper and radishNeutral: taro, turnip and kohlrabi
Salty (yin)Cooling, direct energy inward and to lower body (downward) KidneysBladder Soften lumps (such as hardened lymph nodes), cataracts, knotted muscles and glands.  Constipation, abdominal swelling and pain, sore throat, pyorrhea.  Increases appetite Salt, seaweed (kelp, kombu, bladderwrack, dusle), barley, millet, soy sauce, miso, pickles, umeboshi and gomasio
Sour (yin)Cooling, causes contraction and has an absorbent, astringent effect LiverGallbladder Incontinence, excessive perspiration, hemorrhage, diarrhea, hemorrhoids, prevent or reverse abnormal leakage of fluids, dries and firms up tissue Hawthorne berry, lemon, lime, pickles, rose hip, sauerkraut, crab apple, sour plum.Sour+bitter: vinegar.Sour+pungent: leek.Sour+sweet: aduki bean, apple, blackberry, cheese, grape, mango, olive, raspberry, sourdough bread, tangerine, tomato, yogurt
Sweet (yang)Warming, direct energy outward and to upper body (upward) Spleen-pancreasStomach Slows acute reactions and neutralizes toxic effects of other foods, also lubricates and nourishes the body. Those to benefit most are dry, cold, nervous, thin, weak , scattered or aggressive persons. Less needed for those persons with damp or mucous signs. Fruits: apple, apricot, cherry, date, fig, grape, grapefruit, olive, papaya, peach, pear, strawberry, tomatoVegetables: beet, mushroom, cabbage, carrot, celery, chard, cucumber, eggplant, lettuce, potato, spearmint, squash, sweet potato, yamNuts/seeds: almond, chestnut, coconut, sesame seed, sunflower seed, walnutSweeteners: amasake, barley malt, honey, molasses, rice syrup, whole sugar (unrefined)


For Part 1 Click Here!


While waiting for the next installment, please take a look at the foods in our other blogs to see how to choose the most nutritious groceries, how to store them to retain freshness, the nutritional benefits, and of course—the energetics.   

Power of Energetics: Yin and Yang



Everyone has seen or heard of this symbol at some time in their life.  In the last few years, the Yin-Yang symbol has been used in the main stream as more of an ornament or a trend. People are using it with only the basic knowledge of what it represents.  Today we are going to go beyond the trend, we are going to look at what yin and yang means and how it correlates to the Energetics of Food.





“Yin and yang are the law of Heaven and Earth, the outline of everything, the parents of change, the origin of birth and destruction, and the house of shen ming (God or higher consciousness, the spirit, Tao), when curing sicknesses we should base our point of view on the roots (Yin and Yang)”.  



yinyangChinese Medicine and energetics are based off balance, within the body, mind and spirit, it is the unity of all things and the way of the universe.  From this unity yin and yang emerge, a representation of the continual change seen throughout the universe.  Yin and Yang are both seen in opposition as well as interdependent.  The world is continually changing, a cyclical motion that never ends,there is no beginning or end, cause and effect are not separate but one perpetually turns into the other.  The classic dilemma of what came first, the chicken or the egg, is not a dilemma within Chinese thought—the egg and the chicken are dependent of each other in the process of creation, both must exist for either to exist. The chicken makes the egg (yang generating yin) and the chicken grows out of the egg (yin producing yang).  Other examples of this philosophy are that day does not cause night, birth does not cause death, and summer does not create winter.


Yin and yang also describes the human process—youth is yang and older years are yin. When we breath in—expanding our chests—we are in the yang phase of respiration, when we breath out—emptying the lungs— we are in the yin phase.  Our whole body continuously fills and empties: lungs, stomach, intestines, hearts, and minds.  The materials that make up the body are yin and they are used for the transformation of yang.  Food is yin, which is then transformed by metabolic activity, yang.  Sperm (yang) joins and transforms the egg (yin), creating new life through merging and interacting.


The body’s organs are also split into yin and yang. The dense Yin Organs are the Liver, Heart, Spleen, Lung, and Kidney; they perform the function of assimilation and storage.  The Yang Organs are the Gallbladder, Small Intestines, Stomach, Large Intestines, and Bladder; they perform the functions of digestion and elimination.  In Chinese Medicine, these are the only organs used to diagnose illness, as they are linked to your Meridian Channels and Qi. In terms of psyche, yang is willfulness, desire, and assertiveness; yin is acceptance, responsiveness, repose, and responsibility.


However, yin and yang are always fluctuating and there are no absolutes—the Heart is a yin organ and the propulsion of blood and fluids through it’s contractions is yang.  This is the definition of yang within the yin.  Any aspect of yin and yang can further be divided into yin and yang.  In the symbol for yin and yang, this concept can be seen in the small circle of white within the black half, and the small circle of black within the white half.


The roots of disease and illness can be seen as imbalances within the body of yin and yang. Yin responds to yang’s stimulus and yang is supported by the solidarity of yin.  When one of these is off balanced—by either having an excess or deficiency—Qi, body, blood, or organs are also effected. Illnesses that are characterized by weakness, slowness, coldness, and under activity are yin. Illnesses characterized by strength, forceful movements, heat, and overactivity are yang.  A deficiency in one creates an excess in the other.  Yin cannot exist if there is an extreme abundance of yang. This extreme difference can take a profound transformation into shock, or worse, a complete division of yin and yang—death.


imagesBy becoming aware of the changes in our lives between yin and yang, we become attentive to our personal patterns and the order of the changes within our bodies, minds and spirits. Our bodies are in an unfaltering cycle of yin and yang, a constant state of merging and transforming, and it is important to become aware of these fluctuations. Awareness will help you find balance to allow you to move fluidly between yin and yang without being struck with an excess of either.


While waiting for the next installment, please take a look at the foods in our other blogs to see how to choose the most nutritious groceries, how to store them to retain freshness, the nutritional benefits, and of course—the energetics.   

Power of Energetics: Food As Medicine

EnergecticsWelcome to my “Power of Energetics” blog series.  In this series I will break down what the Energetics of Food means, the theories behind the energetics, and how they are differentiated.


Many people love our food blog here on Wellitude.com, but I always get asked what Energetics of Food actually means.  The most basic answer is that the Energetics of Food is the Chinese thought that you can and should use food as medicine.  Within Chinese Medicine there is not a one-treatment fits all, every person is different and thus every treatment is different.  The same goes for the Energetics of Food or food as medicine­­—there is not one diet that works universally.


Chinese Medicine and energetics are about creating and maintaining the balance of Qi—the vital essence found in all things—within your body to achieve optimal wellness. Sickness and disease is thought to be created by imbalances of Qi within body and treatment for these illnesses is to rebalance your Qi. This is done by acupuncture, herbal remedies, tui-na, cupping, and most importantly diet.  You can also use these treatments to maintain your balance of Qi, but using food is by far the easiest method in which to do this.


d749535dfd6f3a52676647f2957e3179While Chinese Medicine looks at nutritional values of foods, such as calories or carbohydrate content, it focuses mainly on the other dimensions or energetics (warming vs cooling, yin & yang, etc.).  Each person has their own constitution and thus each person must eat according to what their body needs. For example, I myself tend to be yin, damp, and cold. Therefore, I usually try to avoid eating too many cold or damp foods; I can handle them in moderation, but if I overindulge them, I get an imbalance or excess of cold in my body.  Chinese Medicine and Energetics does not follow a set protocol for what to eat—there is no magic food flow chart—they work by differentiating between multiple factors to find the ideal diet.


In this blog series I am going to be covering the 5 main differentiating principles which include the principles of Yin & Yang, 5 Properties, 5 flavors, 5 elements, and the 4 directions. As a bonus I am also going to be doing a blog on The Enjoyment of Food and The Art of Chewing.  I hope this series gives you a sound idea of what the Energetics of Food means and how to incorporate it into your daily life.


While waiting for the next installment, please take a look at the foods in our other blogs to see how to choose the most nutritious groceries, how to store them to retain freshness, the nutritional benefits, and of course—the energetics.    

Energetics of Ginger: Old School Cool

I love ginger, not just for its spicy and zesty flavor, but for its anti-inflammatory and pain relieving benefits! Ginger has its origins in China and Southeast Asia and has even been mentioned in many ancient texts from other countries like India and the Middle East.  It is now grown in several tropical areas around the world, with Jamaica producing the most expensive and sought after variety.




Ginger comes in 3 forms; fresh, dried, and crystallized.

Fresh ginger is the most nutritious and best tasting version. When shopping for fresh ginger always look for ones that are firm, shiny and smooth.  Avoid any that are wrinkled, soft or cracked, as they have lost most of their flavor and pungency.  There are 2 varieties of fresh ginger, mature or young.  Mature ginger is the most widely available type and has a tough skin that requires peeling. Young ginger is usually only found in select Asian markets and does not need to be peeled. To persevere the nutrients the best way to store ginger is to put it in the fridge, where it will keep for up to 3 weeks if unpeeled. To extend the freshness you can freeze ginger for up to 6 months.

Dried ginger is usually sold in the spice aisle, usually as in powder form. It can also be found dried whole.  Unlike fresh ginger, the flavor profiles of dried ginger are much less pungent.  Dried ginger should be stored in an air tight glass container in a cool, dark, dry place. To extend the shelf life for up to a full year, store the container in the fridge.

Crystallized ginger is candied ginger.  One of my favorite sweet treats! It is available in any grocery store.




How to Choose and Store

The best way to cook with fresh ginger is to add it to your dish at the end of the cooking time. It can slap be sprinkled on after it has been cooked.

The best way to cook with dried ginger is to add it at the beginning of cooking time, so that it can have a chance to cook down and release its flavor.



This may come as a total surprise, but ginger is amazing at promoting digestive health. Ginger is known to alleviate the symptoms of gastrointestinal distress, relax the intestinal tract, and reduce intestinal gas. It is also beneficial at alleviating nausea and vomiting, especially in pregnant women and seasick people.  Ginger is also a great anti-inflammatory agent, as it contains gingerols. Gingerol is an anti-inflammatory compound that has shown to help reduce both pain and swelling associated with muscular discomfort.  Ginger is also a concentrated source of heart-healthy magnesium, vitamin B6 and potassium, and free-radical scavenging manganese and copper.


Fresh ginger is used to break down high-protein foods, such as meat and beans.  It also lessen the effect of uric acid in the body from these sources.

Fresh and dried ginger is used to treat nausea, vomiting, morning sickness, menstrual cramps, suppressed mensuration, bronchitis, aches, and spasms/twitches.

Dried ginger helps promote and distribute the energetic properties of other foods to the lower extremities- the colon, kidneys, ovaries, sexual organs and legs.  Dried ginger also treats motion sickness.

Caution: Do not eat ginger when there are signs of heat present.

Carrot Ginger Soup


  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 pounds carrots (6-7 large carrots), peeled and sliced thin
  • 2 cups chopped white or yellow onion
  • Salt
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger
  • 2 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 large strips of zest from an orange
  • Chopped chives, parsley, dill or fennel for garnish

1 Sauté onions and carrots: Melt the butter in a soup pot over medium heat and cook the onions and carrots, stirring occasionally, until the onions soften, about 5 to 8 minutes. Do not let the onions or carrots brown. Sprinkle a teaspoon of salt over the carrots and onions as they cook.


2 Add stock and water, ginger, and strips of orange zest. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook until the carrots soften, about 20 minutes.


3 Remove the strips of orange zest! It’s easy to forget this step, and if you forget and purée the soup with the strips of zest still in it, the soup may be too bitter for your taste.

4 Purée soup: Purée the soup with a stick blender, or working in small batches, pour the soup into a blender and purée until completely smooth. Only fill the blender bowl a third full with the hot liquid and keep one hand pressing down on the cap of the blender to keep it from popping off.


5 Add more salt to taste.  (You will need more salt if you are using homemade unsalted stock or unsalted butter.)

6 Finish: Garnish with chopped chives, parsley, or fennel fronds.


Energetics of Tofu: Just Another Soy Product?

Ah yes, that non-descript jiggly white stuff that vegetarians and vegans can’t seem to get enough of. What is so great about this seemingly strange food?

Tofu was discovered over 2000 years ago by the Chinese and legend has it that it was discovered by accident when a cook added a type of sea vegetable to a pot of soybean milk, which caused it to curdle and viola, tofu. Some people even call it the cheese of Asia, since it resembles a block a farmer’s cheese. Although, unlike cheese, tofu has very little flavor itself. Which is not a bad thing, as it is able to absorb the flavors of the ingredients around it making it perfect for any dish.


There are 2 main varieties of tofu and it is distinguished by its texture.

Silken Tofu: This type is smooth and very similar to custard.  It is usually found in sealed aseptic packages.  You can buy silken tofu in soft, firm or extra firm. You can even find low-fat and lite versions in some stores. It is easily pureed, so it makes a great milk, sour cream or yogurt substitute.

Regular Tofu: This is also available in soft, firm or extra firm, its texture is much more granular. This type is sold in bulk or pre-packaged containers.  You can use it in dishes such as stir-fries, soups, and salads.

Best Way To Choose and Store

Most tofu is found pre-packaged, so make sure that when buying you are checking the expiration date. Some silken tofu can be purchased non-refrigerated, always make sure that the aseptic packaging is not punctured prior to use.

All opened tofu should be rinsed well and then kept in a container covered by water. When storing tofu, make sure to store it in the fridge (unless you buy aseptic packaged silken tofu) and change the water daily.  Stored properly, tofu can last up to a week.

Tofu can be frozen in its original packaging and will last for up to 5 months if stored properly.  Be aware, freezing tofu can change its texture and color.  Always squeeze water from thawed tofu prior to cooking it.


Tofu and its main ingredient soy have many great heart benefits. Research has shown that a regular intake of soy protein helps lower total cholesterol levels, LDL, triglycerides, and the tendency of platelets to form blood clots. These benefits come from the high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, specifically Alpha-linolenic Acid, selenium, calcium, and magnesium.  Calcium is also great for bone health since it helps build bone density and prevent accelerated bone loss.  Other bone-benefiting minerals found in tofu is manganese, copper, and phosphorus.

Tofu and soy also have shown great benefit in alleviating menopause symptoms. Soy contains phytoestrogens, specifically the isoflavones genistein and daidzein, which help dock estrogen receptors and act like weak estrogens. Perimenopause is a time when a women’s estrogen is fluctuating and phytoestrogens can help maintain balance. During menopause when a women’s natural ability to produce estrogen drops, phytoestrogens have enough activity to reduce uncomfortable symptoms.

Tofu and soy products are not just a great source of protein, but of iron as well.  Iron is an essential mineral that plays an important role in hemoglobin synthesis, a factor in energy production via the transportation and release of oxygen.


Cooling in nature, tofu benefits the Metal element (lungs and large intestine). It moistens dry conditions, relieves inflammation of the stomach, neutralizes toxins (especially in cases of alcoholism, chronic amoebic dysentery, dietary changes and healing reactions), and reduces heat signs accompanying heart disease and high blood pressure.

Energetics of Flaxseeds: More Than A Seed

Did you know that Charlemagne himself was a huge fan of flaxseeds?  He was so impressed with the versatility of the flaxseed (it can be used as food, medicine, and as a source of fiber in linen) that he created and passed laws that required its cultivation and consumption.

The earliest farming and consumption of flaxseed happened in Mesopotamia around the Stone Age. There are even records of it being used in Ancient Greece. The botanical name for flax is linum usitatissimum, which means most useful.  A most apt name for this multitasking seed.


There are 2 main varieties of flaxseeds.  Flaxseeds are a bit larger than sesame seeds and they have a hard outer shell. Flaxseeds can be purchased as whole seeds, ground into a meal, or as oil. Flaxseeds are available all year round.

Yellow and Golden flaxseeds are used mostly for culinary uses.  When buying flaxseed at the store, this is the variety available.

Brown flaxseed is used mostly in the production of paint (as an oil additive) and linen.  It is also used as cattle feed.

How to Choose and Store

Flaxseeds are usually stored in either bulk bins or are prepackaged. If you platoon buying bulk always make sure that the store has a quick turnover of inventory and that the bins have a good seal. Always check to make sure there is no moisture gathering as that can lead to rotting and mold.

To extend the shelf life of your flaxseed I suggest buying it whole.  Whole flaxseed stay fresher longer than pre-ground seeds. Whole flaxseed needs to be stored in an airtight container and put in a cool, dark, dry place (like the fridge). If stored properly flaxseeds will stay fresh up to 3 months.  If you wish to extend the life, you can store them in the freezer for up to 6 months.

If you are buying flaxseed oil make sure you get cold-pressed or organic.  It should be stored in an opaque bottle and stored in the fridge.

How to Properly Use Flaxseeds

Always grind flaxseeds before serving.  In order to allow the digestion and absorption of nutrients from flaxseeds, they need to be ground to break their hard shells. You can find flax seeds pre-ground or you can buy whole seeds (which have a longer shelf life) and use a coffee grinder at home.


Flaxseeds are a great source of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), an omega-3 fatty acid. ALA is an easy to use form of energy for the body, it inhibits inflammatory compounds,  and is also essential for proper skin function. Diets rich in ALA are associated with a lower risk of atherosclerosis and heart disease. Flaxseeds are also a great source of lignan phytoestrogens, this is a phytonutrient that is converted into 2 hormone-like substances, enterolactone and enterodiol.  These hormone-like substances demonstrate a number of protective functions against breast cancer.  Flaxseeds are a good source of dietary fiber, containing both insoluble and soluble fiber. Therefore, they have been found to have a laxative effect decreasing constipation and increasing the number of bowel movements. Flaxseeds are also a good source of free-radical-scavenging manganese and copper, as well as bone-building phosphorus.


Flaxseeds are neutral, so they are neither warming or cooling, and they have a sweet flavor.  Flaxseeds can be used as a laxative or to relieve pain and inflammation.  They influence the spleen-pancreas and colon. As a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, flaxseeds are great for boosting immunity and cleaning the heart and arteries of plaque.

Blueberry Lemon Breakfast Quinoa



  1. Rinse quinoa in a fine strainer with cold water to remove bitterness until water runs clear and is no longer frothy.
  2. Heat milk in a saucepan over medium heat until warm, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir quinoa and salt into the milk; simmer over medium-low heat until much of the liquid has been absorbed, about 20 minutes. Remove saucepan from heat. Stir maple syrup and lemon zest into the quinoa mixture. Gently fold blueberries into the mixture.
  3. Divide quinoa mixture between 2 bowls; top each with 1 teaspoon ground flax seeds to serve.



Energetics of Jackfruit: Jack of All Trades

Native to South India, this fruit is very popular in tropical regions and is even the national fruit of Bangladesh. Jackfruit is in the Moraceae family, which includes the fig, mulberry and breadfruit. It is the largest tree-born fruit, easily getting up to 80 lbs.

Jackfruit is known for having a strong aroma to it, the aroma is a sweet combination of banana and pineapple. The taste is similar to its aroma.  Everyone who tries it has a different impression but the most common flavor profiles people taste are combinations of apple, pineapple, mango, or banana.  I personally think it tastes like a strawberry banana smoothie.   The seeds are also special, in that they apparently smell like chocolate after they are roasted.


These are distinguished by the characteristics of the jackfruit flesh.  Both the jackfruit’s flesh and seeds are consumed.

Varikka/Kaapa/Jaca-dura: The inner flesh is hard when ripe and tends to be drier and less sweet.

Koozha/Barka/Jaca-mole: The inner flesh is very soft when ripe and almost dissolves when you eat it due to its moistness.  This variety is very sweet and tends to have a darker gold colored flesh.

Imba: This type is ground up and spread over a mat to dry in the sun to make a natural chewy candy.

Ripe jackfruit is naturally sweet with subtle flavors and is used in many dishes, mostly dessert or sweet dishes.   The seeds of the ripe jackfruit are edible and have a milky, sweet taste.  They can be boiled, baked, or roasted.  The roasted and dried seeds are often used in curries.

Unripe or young jackfruit is extremely popular in South and Southeast Asia.  It is used in many cuisines, including curries and as filling for cutlets and chops. Young jackfruit is very sought after by vegetarians and vegans for its ability to be a meat substitute. In order to eat unripe jackfruit you must first peel it and then the remaining fruit can be chopped into edible portions. It has a mild taste and has a distinct meat-like texture (think shredded chicken).

How to Choose and Store

Jackfruit comes as a whole fruit, which is very large with spiky skin, or it comes pre-cut up and packaged for your convenience.

Ripe: When shopping for whole ripe Jackfruit look for ones that give off a strong sweet smell, which starts happening a few days bore it is fully ripe.  For pre-packaged ripe jackfruit, make sure that the pieces are not discolored, they should be vibrant yellow, and they should be soft and tender.

Unripe: When shopping for whole unripe jackfruit, look for ones that do not have a strong smell.  Pre-packaged fresh unripe jackfruit are harder to come by, as most stores only sell ripe jackfruit fresh, but you can find canned unripe jackfruit in the canned foods aisle of your grocery store.  When buying canned jackfruit, always buy jackfruit that is in water or brine, never in syrup.

Cut up jackfruit can be stored in the fridge for up to 7 days and the freezer up to 2 months. Although, for the best flavor eat jackfruit as fresh as possible.

Pro-Tip: Jackfruit are very sticky, so when cutting into the fruit it is best to coat your knife in oil first.


Jackfruit is surprisingly low calorie for a fruit, at only 95 calories per 100g. It is also rich in dietary fiber and vitamin C.  Jackfruit is a great source of the B vitamins pyridoxine (B6), niacin (B3), riboflavin (B2), and folic acid (B9). It is also a small but significant source of vitamin A and the flavonoids carotene-B, xanthin, lupine, and cryptoxanthin-B. Jackfruit is a good source of potassium, magnesium, manganese, and iron.


Jackfruit is both sweet and sour, as well as cooling.

Jackfruit is considered empty sweet and is therefore heavily cleansing and cooling. Jackfruit can help build the yin-fluids, such as tissue and bodily fluids, and help tonify a thin and dry person.  Jackfruit helps moisten dry conditions in the lungs.

Unripe jackfruit tends to be more sour than sweet. It has an astringent effect which can help prevent or reverse abnormal leakage of fluids and energy.  It also dries and firms the body tissues.

Cautions: Those who are overweight, sluggish, or have a damp constitution should avoid overeating jackfruit.

Smoky Slow Cooker Pulled Jackfruit Chili


  • 18 oz black beans drained and rinsed if from can,
  • 18 oz kidney beans drained and rinsed if from can,
  • 18 oz cannellini beans drained and rinsed if from can,
  • 1/2 red onion diced
  • 5 oz mushrooms diced
  • 2 20 oz cans of young green jackfruit in water NOT in syrup or brine!
  • 2 28 oz can of Ro*tel Original Diced Tomatoes and Green Chilis drained
  • Homemade smokey chili seasoning recipe below

Homemade Chili Seasoning

  • 2 TBSP chili powder
  • 5 TBSP garlic powder
  • 5 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsps crushed red pepper flakes less if you’d prefer no heat
  • 5 tsps dried oregano
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp chipotle chili powder
  • 3 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp cracked black pepper


  • Plain Greek yogurt
  • Thinly sliced scallions
  • Grated cheddar cheese


  1. Mix all of the contents for the homemade smokey chili seasoning together until perfectly blended. Set aside.
  2. Place all of the chili ingredients into the slow cooker.
  3. Dump the chili seasoning into the slow cooker and mix well to blend.
  4. Keep the slow cooker on high for 3-4 hours or on low for 6-8 hours.
  5. Serve and garnish with optional garnishes.