Porridge is my go to breakfast and lately I am discovering how healing it can be when I put a little more care into it. Anything can be added to porridge which means there can be a lot of healing benefits when adding seasonal ingredients and medicinal herbs. Breakfast is the first opportunity we have to heal ourselves with food. By adding TCM herbs to porridge we create a easy daily practice that puts us on the path of healing everyday. So why not start changing up your breakfast and trying some new ingredients that have your health in mind.
Making a porridge that is built specifically for your body and health starts with choosing the right grains and potentially legumes for extra protein. Try branching out from the standard oats. Add in things like amaranth, barley, rice, buckwheat, millet or quinoa. Each cereal grain contain different properties. My suggestion is to study what your body likes and what your body dislikes by first using your intuition. Then start to understand the unique properties by studying the different energetics and medicinal uses of your food through TCM food therapy. There are many books that can help you get started with this. As well as this blog. By studying each property of foods you eat often you can start to see how your food can act as medicine. This can be done by any one. You do not need a degree. You are always the number one expert on your health.
Health Benefits of Buckwheat
Meridian Affinity: Large Intestines
TCM Thermal Nature: Neutral
For my grains I have chosen buckwheat and coix seeds(millet). Buckwheat is a incredible food remedy that cleans and strengthens the intestines and improves appetite. Capable of aiding dysentery and and chronic diarrhea. Buckwheat contains a bioflavonoid called rutin that has been found to help strengthen capillaries and blood vessels. Helping to reduce blood pressure and increases circulation to the hands and feet. And even protects our cells against radiation.
Complex carbohydrates can be mildly mucus forming and can cause candida overgrowth. Eat sparingly if you are struggling with yeast or fungal conditions. The aduki beans help counteract this by drying damp conditions and detoxifying the body.
Health Benefits of Coix Seeds
Meridian affinity: Lung, spleen, kidney
TCM Themal Nature: Cool
Flavor: Bland, Sweet
Coix seeds also known as Job’s tears or allay millet. This variety of millet is commonly used in TCM. Mainly used to help with dampness and water retention. Dampness can be thought of as congestion, mucous, cysts, pus, tumors associated with feeling lethargic, bloated, with loose stools, sinus congestion, and brain fog. Coix seeds clear dampness by clearing heat and discharging toxins. Helping to clear the skin. Restoring mobility to tight joints and muscles.
They are gluten- free and contain complete proteins, fatty acids and dietary fiber. May help with modulating gut microbiota and inflammation in the gut. Also, they are high in antioxidants that protect our cells from damage. As well as minerals like phosphorous, potassium, magnesium, sulfur and selenium.
When cooking coix seeds. you want to soak them for at least 3 hours or overnight. Boil in water until soft for about 30 minutes. Cook them into your batch of porridge with other grains and legumes of choice in a crockpot or large stock pot.
Health Benefits of Pears
Flavor: Sweet, Sour
TCM Thermal Nature: Cool
Meridian Affinity: Lungs, Large Intestine
Pears in Traditional Chinese Medicine are a incredible food to eat during the autumn (the metal element). Autumn is a transitional season that is all about preparing ourselves for the shift from a yang season to a yin. This means we are loosing sunlight. The Earth becomes colder, darker, and dryer and so do we. That is why nature gives us pears this time of year. A poached pear is one of the best foods you can eat this time of year. When you poach a pear you can even infuse it with herbs for the yin season. I used the metal element chai spices from The Wild Dreamer Farmacy.
Pears are cooling and moistening in nature helping moisten our bodies as we transition into colder months. Especially moistening the lungs (the organ associated with fall)
Health Benefits of Jujube Dates
TCM Thermal Nature: neutral
Meridian Affinity: spleen, stomach
Jujube dates are commonly used in Traditional Chinese Medicine and are native to China. They have been part of the Chinese diet for over eight thousands years. As medicine they are used for toning the spleen and stomach qi. Gently promoting stamina. Helping treat fatigue, weakness, shortness of breath, poor appetite, nausea, and loose stools caused by qi deficiency.
Also used as a blood builder to help with pale or dull complexion, dry lips, emaciation, blurry vision, pale scanty menstruation, dry nails/hair, amenorrhea. Calming the spirit, helping with imitability, insomnia, agitation, depression and other emotional disorders. Harmonizing our entire system and moderating properties of other herbs.
Nutritional properties and benefits include high content of vitamins and minerals such as vitamin A, C, calcium and iron. Contains compounds that help improve endurance and neuron health. With high content of antioxidants that help protect our cells from damage. Helping reduce inflammation, and helps maintain healthy glucose levels.
To use jujubes you can cut slits on the sides and boil in 1-2 cups for 15 minutes to make a tea. Or they can be added to homemade veggie and bone broths. But can also be chopped and added to bakery, your morning porridge or savory dishes.
Health Benefits of Hemp Seeds
Thermal Nature: Neutral
Meridian Affinity: Spleen, stomach, liver
China was one of the first civilizations to cultivate hemp and is the largest producer of hemp in the world. Grown for many uses like hemp ropes, fabric, medicine, food, paper, skin care, and more. Known as a longevity plant when consumed consistently.
Used as food therapy in TCM for moistening the large intestines to treat constipation and dry stool. Helping to moisturize the hair and skin when used topically. Hemp seeds are packed with protein, dietary fiber, vitamin e, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, magnesium, sulfur, calcium, iron and zinc. Best known for the rich fatty acid content (omega-3 and omega-6) helping brain and heart function.
Easily add these seeds to your daily porridge or make hemp milk. All you have to do is blend 2 tablespoons with 4 cups of water for instant hemp milk. Strain for drinking but leave unstained to use in your porridge or other recipes.
Enjoying this recipe and TCM Food Therapy breakdown? Learn more and find even more recipes appropriate for the metal element and fall season here.
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Poached Pear & Buckwheat Porridge With TCM Herbs
- 1/4 cup of buckwheat
- 1/4 cup of coix seeds
- 1/4 cup of adzuki beans
- 1/4 cup white rice
- 3 tbsps of black sesame seeds
- 3 tbsps of hemp seeds
- 2 jujube dates
- 2 tbsps of dried currants
- 1 -2 pears
- 1 tbsp of Stick Season Chai
- Serve with 1/4 cup of nutmilk
- Add adzuki beans, coix seeds, and rice to a mesh strainer and rinse with water.
- Add to a medium size pot with buckwheat, jujube, sesame seeds, hemp seeds, and dried currants.
- Then add 5 cups of water to the pot
- Bring to a boil then turn your burner to low and simmer until the rice and beans are cooked ( about 40 minutes)
- Keep adding water if it starts to stick
- When this is fully cooked add about 1/3 cup amount to a bowl with any kind of toppings you like.
- For the poached pears: Peel the skin off the pear and place it in a small pot and cover with water.
- Add in a tbsp of Stick Season Chai (In the Farmacy Shop) or other herbs to pot.
- Let it simmer on low for about 20 minutes
- *You can soak the beans and coix seeds overnight for a faster cook time.
- * Use pears that are just starting to get soft.
- *Keep the rest of the porridge in the fridge to eat each morning should last about a week.