AcademyHealingNutrition.com is open to all useful information that impacts personal and world health. “The Longevity Diet” is not a restrictive few foods aimed at achieving a few specific goal such as weight loss or muscle building. Many benefits naturally result from the balanced variety of foods we prepare. “The Longevity Diet” enhances overall wellness and builds a strong, intelligent, adaptive immune system that helps us to avoid chronic illness and damaging effects of aging.
What is immunity according to the Daoist tradition and TCM traditional Chinese medicine? It includes building a strong core of health from the digestive center outward to impact all organs and their functions. It is strong breathing, digestion, circulation, and hormone balance, the entire body/mind/spirit vitality. That core health comes from clean air and water, quality well-chosen nutrition and healthy habits. Wei Qi, protective energy, located in the surface meridians of the body, keeps the invading cold, heat, dampness, and germs from impacting our wellness. Wei Qi, our protective shield, is promoted and protected by Spleen and Stomach energy.
When Wei Qi is damaged we feel stiffness, chills alternating with fever, runny nose and eyes, aches, fatigue, depression and shortness of breath—the early signs of a seasonal allergy or cold/virus. The first stage of healing is to sweat out the invading negative forces that may be inclement weather or epidemic germs. We push out the invader the way it entered the body, which was from outside. Cold remedies most often include antibiotic and diaphoretic (increase sweating herbs) to push the invader outside and in that way strengthen the Wei Qi on the surface of the skin.
The treatment may be as simple as drinking cinnamon tea after being outside in cold weather in order to prevent hypothermia. Or drinking ginger tea to strengthen digestion in order to avoid motion sickness, nausea or signs of weakness from internal cold such as runny nose, diarrhea and fatigue. Seasonal foods also work to keep our balance strong. They bring the richness of sunshine and earth to our core. Soups that maintain stomach/spleen health are useful year round for people who live and work under stress, people who have weak digestion, obesity, shortness of breath and fatigue. Spleen tonic soups help us to avoid discomforts due to harmful dietary habits and substance abuse. Here is a tasty traditional Chinese medical soup that is popular during summer and fall.
Cooling, cleansing, tones digestion, improves breathing, weight loss
This classical tong sui (sweet) dessert soup (mandarin: Qing Bu Liang / Cantonese: Ching Bo Leung) is a traditional mixture of herbs cooked in a soup and enjoyed throughout China and Vietnam. Although the contents can vary depending on the method of preparation, the mixture generally consists of seven standard herbs: Dioscorea white yam, lily bulb, dried polygonatum, fox nut, pearl barley, dried lotus seed, and dried longan fruit (Shown in the photo above). There are variations of this recipe, made with pork or chicken. It can be served hot adding pungent toppings like scallions, pickled pepper or radish. More often it is served cold as a sweet dessert either plain or by adding fruit such as apple or pear or lo han quo, monk fruit, during cooking. A stock can be added and simmered over a low heat for two to three hours.
This soup is popular all year round and is believed to detoxify the body, nourish the kidneys and lungs, and build up the blood. Individually, the ingredients have a wide array of indications. For example, dried lily bulb is used for mild cardiac insufficiency, arrhythmias, urinary tract infections and kidney stones; pearl barley (coicis seed) is used for bronchitis. Round lotus seeds and lily bulbs are a very popular and common in South China and are classified in TCM as astringents, sweet and neutral, and beneficial for the spleen, kidney, and heart.
Solomon’s Seal is a multipurpose herb that grows in our woodlands. All parts, and especially the berries, are poisonous except for the roots. We simmer Solomon’s seal root to drink as a tea or to apply to skin and scalp. It has astringent properties and has been used for relief from injuries, gastrointestinal issues, women health and as a cough medicine. If someone is suffering from dry cough, the tea provides immediate relief by soothing the throat. Applied topically Solomon’s seal tea can enhance skin’s youthful luster and remove redness and itching.
Longan fruit is called flesh of dragon’s eye in popular Chinese and is sold on the streets in China as a sweet snack. It is the fruit of an evergreen that flowers from March to April and the fruit season is from July to September. According to modern research, fresh longan has very high nutritional value containing carbohydrate, proteins, amino acids, vitamins B, C, calcium, phosphorus, iron, tartaric acid, adenine, etc. Modern pharmacological research shows that longan’s Vitamin P is especially helpful to the elderly since it is able to protect blood vessels, prevents hardening of the arteries and confirms an claim made by China’s first pharmacy monograph Shen Nong’s Herbal Classic that longan can help weight loss and keep people young.
This soup is more than a tangy or sweet dessert, it is a health and beauty tonic that you can make your own. You might get creative and add the cooked Sweet Soup ingredients to cold coconut milk and add sliced fresh papaya, pear, pineapple or your choice to satisfy a healthy sweet tooth.
淮山 Dioscoreae white yam slices
生芡实 Euryale Seed, fox nuts
百合 Lilii bulb
玉竹 Solomon’s seal rhizome
元肉Dried Longan fruit
Simmer the ingredients, if possible in a non-metal or a ceramic coated pot until all seeds and dioscorea yam are cooked and tender. Add meat or fruit is you like.
If you want to up the protein level of this sort of Spleen soup, you might add dried scallops which provide concentrated taste and nutrition. Rinse about 8 or 1 cup dried scallops in cold water, discard the water and soak the dried scallops in warm water for 1 hour to re-hydrate them. The soaking water may be used for cooking the soup. Boil the ingredients, including the Sweet Soup ingredients, 1 cup sea scallops and 2 tablespoons of sliced ginger for 10 minutes, remove the foam that forms on top of the boiling water in order to remove extra fat and impurities. Simmer the soup on low heat for 3 hours to make a healing, high protein broth. Scallops contain many vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants and have been shown to have anti-cancer effects. They contain 2 -3 times more protein than chicken, fish or beef.
Longevity is more than living a long time. Sea turtles may survive for 500 years. Their hard shell protects them like Wei Qi. Inside is tender meat. Turtle hatchlings fall victim to natural predators: Crabs, raccoons, boars, birds, coyotes and sharks and man. Thel food chain is a rule of Nature. We can protect our tender self with dietary defense in order to live long and well, to improve energy and mental clarity and achieve life’s purpose.