Tag Archives: Health

Raw Cashew Cheese Dip Soothes the Lungs and Large Intestine

Greetings Dear Readers,

Many who have transitioned to a dairy-free or vegan diet enjoy cheese and dearly miss it

Creamy Vegan Cashew Cream Cheese Frosting
Creamy Vegan Cashew Cream Cheese

when they feel called to eat this way.  Many have tried dairy alternatives such as soy cheese and found it to be a poor substitute, myself included.   Alas!  There is a very rich and dreamy food experience that many have not yet discovered: raw vegan nut cheeses!  Try something different today!  Delicious rich nuttiness blended with nutritional yeast for extra cheesey flavour and vitamin B nutrition combined with tangey citrus and a little garlic or herbs for flavour and show, a red pepper mixed in to make an orange coloured raw cheese dip – oh the creative possibilities in texture, colour and flavour are endless!  Nut cheeses are a gourmet art.

Here I’m just giving you a simple basic recipe to get you started along with, of course, health information from Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) so you can understand the health benefits of your health food adventures.  From a TCM perspective, dairy cheese is Damp-forming.  Too much Dampness (runny nose, cysts, sinus congestion, weight gain, coughing up sputum, sluggishness, foggy-mindedness, etc.) is often a reason why vegetarians run into digestive problems and end up going back to eating meat.  Many vegetarians eat “salad and cheese” meals regularly which quickly leads to “Cold-Damp” (lettuce is thermally Cold and dairy is Damp) which then leads them to an acupuncturist who tells them they need to quit being vegetarian and start eating meat.  This is a very common story.  Well, as a vegan myself for many years, I’ve learned to adjust the diet to achieve good health.  Here we are mixing the old with the new.  The TCM sages of yesteryear did not have access to marvellous electrical appliances such as blenders which pre-digest the food to make it less work for your body.  These raw vegan cheeses will counter-balance the Cold nature of dairy because nuts are warming and the garlic, mustard and vinegar will help clear Dampness.

Cashews

Cashews moisturize the lungs and colon.  The lungs and colon belong to the Metal element in TCM which also corresponds with the autumn season, the best time of year for eating nuts.   Cashews treat Lung Dryness issues such as dry cough, wheezing (dyspnea), bronchiectasis, external pathogens (i.e. “colds and flus” in Western terms) and Large Intestine dryness such as dry stools that are difficult to pass, dry mouth and throat and chronic Yin and Blood deficiency.

Nutritional Yeast

This is a great addition to most people’s diet if you haven’t yet discovered it.  It is a healthy kind of yeast that contains an abundance of B vitamins and certain minerals.  Not to worry, candida, or “yeast infection” in your body is not the same species of yeast.   Nutritional yeast is a great food supplement especially for vegetarians and vegans due to its’ high levels of b12 and folic acid.  For the nutritional profile of nutritional yeast click here.

  • 2 cups raw cashews (soaking 2-4 hours improves nutritional quality)
  • 1/4 cup – 1/2 cup filtered water (add a bit at a time until desired thickness)
  • 1/4 cup juice of fresh lemon (or lime)
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 tsp mustard powder
  • 4 cloves fresh garlic minced (optional)
  • 1 tsp Celtic sea salt
  1. Place the cashews, 1/2 of the water, 1/2 of the lemon juice, garlic and sea salt in the food processor and pulse until roughly blended.
  2. Gradually add in more lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, nutritional yeast, mustard powder, garlic and salt to taste.  Garlic as optional but does add a lot of flavour.
  3. Use as a dip for celery, carrots, or dehydrator chips/breads.
  4. Enjoy!

Yours in health,

Cynthia

Eating in Peace

Greetings Dear Readers,

新年好 Happy Ratty New Year

What is meal time like for you?  Do you sit down and enjoy a calm atmosphere and allow time for the food to digest?  Let’s get into the subtleties of food energetics.  It’s not just the food itself, or the vitamins and minerals it’s also the atmosphere and our mind.  The energies of our body and mind and the environment we are eating in that play a huge role in how our food is digesting and what we are absorbing.

Ever notice that being around close friends or nice environments, the food always seems to taste good and you feel healthy and nourished even if the food quality isn’t so great?  Why is that? It’s all about the dining experience.  We’re not just absorbing nutrients from food, we’re also absorbing energies through all five (or six) senses.  Everything we hear, see, smell, touch, it’s all coming in to us on some level, leaving some sort of impression in our body-mind.  The energies in and around us are all felt on some level like having antennae which pick up messages from the outside and relays them in.  In fact, our gut contains an abundance of nerve fibres which shows that our gut really is our second brain and shows us why our eating atmosphere affects our digestion.

Here’s a check list of things that Traditional Chinese Medicine finds important to your dining experience:

1. Sitting down.  Eating while standing or moving about creates Liver Qi stagnation according to Traditional Chinese Medicine.  If you’re drinking a smoothie, it’s not such a problem, but with heavier food, help your stomach out and grab a seat.

20080807 - Family Dinner at Bethany Beach - 16...

2. Eating mindfully.  This means close the book/newspaper/magazine/computer/TV/ phone/internet and pay attention to the food.  Appetite and hunger are also mental experiences so being mindful of the experience helps to bring satisfaction from having eaten the meal. Look at the food, enjoy the colours, textures, flavours, savour each morsel and feel the satisfaction as it satiates your hunger and nourishes the cells of your body.

3. Eating in peace.  Keep the conversation calming. Talk about what you’re grateful for, hopeful about and what you’re enjoying in life rather than getting into talk about work, having arguments or debates.  Avoid being too intellectual at meals because the Spleen’s job is to digest both thoughts and foods.  So let your Spleen focus on the food.  Once upon a time (not that long ago) going home for lunch was the ideal scenario, a luxury for those going to a day job or school.  Somewhere around the 80’s came the “power lunch” the idea of having business meetings with co-workers over lunch.  Can be fun if you’re on good terms with your coworkers but can cause digestive problems if you all sit and talk about the stressful job during your lunch break.  The same goes with having dinner.  Try to create a peaceful, light, joyful atmosphere and avoid bringing work concerns to the table.

4.  Give time for the food to digest.  After eating, especially a larger meal, most of the body’s

Martel and van Over have friends for dinner an...

energy is working on digesting that meal.  If you push yourself to do other taxing things like working, doing chores,  mental work like studying or writing then your digestion will be compromised.  It’s good to give your body at least 5 minutes of rest after the meal to just sit at the table and digest.  Don’t be in such a rush to do the next thing.  Slow down a wee bit.  It’s good for your Yin energy.  In TCM, health is a balance of Yin and Yang.  Yang is active, Yin is restful.  Our world has been becoming increasingly Yang and many people are becoming Yin-deficient.  Just relax and feel grateful for the food.  Remind yourself to cultivate some Yin.  There’s a TV channel in British Columbia, Canada where I used to live that during the Christmas season plays a video of a fire place, 24/7.  That’s it, just logs burning in a fireplace for hours and hours, days and weeks.  So relaxing and healing for the Yin energy.  Not surprising, it’s the most popular channel at that time of year.

Bon Appetit!

Yours in health,

Cynthia

The Small Intestine Channel = Spam Filter of Your Heart

Greetings Dear Readers,

As human beings in this modern age we are more stimulated than ever before.  A seemingly endless barrage of sights, sounds and information.  How much is meaningful?  How much is true?  The Small Intestine energy is responsible for separating the pure from the impure.  If the Small Intestine channel is weak, it may not be performing this discrimination function at top capacity.   On a mental level, a person may not be weighing their options correctly to come to the right decision.   Small Intestine energy allows us healthy discrimination or discernment (not the same as judgment).   When this happens we use the clarity of wisdom to decide what we take in and what to leave out.

Today at Sarvodaya's Early Morning meditation
Today at Sarvodaya’s Early Morning meditation (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Do you ignore advertising pop-ups when you’re emailing or doing some internet research?  This is your Small Intestine energy (A.K.A. your “Inner Spam Filter”, as my teacher says) working extra hard so you can concentrate.  In Buddhism this work is actually a type of spiritual practice called “restraining the doors of the sense powers”.  It means guarding ones’ eyes, ears and such by avoiding looking at or hearing things which disturb the mind.  In this way our mind can be clear and sharp.  This kind of a mind allows us to communicate well, make good decisions and focus on what adds value to our own and others’ lives.

Romantic Heart from Love Seeds
Romantic Heart from Love Seeds (Photo credit: epSos.de)

The Small Intestine is the outer gateway to the Heart channel.  Small Intestine is Yang while the Heart is Yin.  The Small Intestine energy protects the Heart (also called the Emperer in TCM) by filtering out energies or thoughts that would damage this inner most aspect of our being.  In TCM, as well as many Asian philosophies and religions, the heart is the residence of the mind/spirit/subtle mind (depending upon which philosophy you ascribe to).

Getting stuck in life can result from not enough sorting through our experiences to inform our actions.  Or once we’ve made a decision, a lack of Gall Bladder Qi is often a cause of procrastination; this decision is made but we fail to act.  The Small Intestine belongs to the Fire element.  Fire=light, a light which can show us the truth, a light on our path so we can see which steps to take next.  During the Fire season of summer, or any time you feel your mind is too busy and not clear, it’s helpful to support you Small Intestine energy by clearing your mental clutter.  Meditation, de-cluttering your space and/or trying to keep life simple allows room for you to gather your focus and sort things out.

Happy Sorting!

Cynthia

Strengthening Kidney Yin

Greetings Dear Readers,Do you have issues with night sweats, low back ache, dry mouth at night, dizziness, nocturnal emissions, poor memory, ringing in the ears, or fatigue?  If so, you may have signs of Kidney Yin deficiency.  You can check with your acupuncturist or TCM practitioner to be sure.  In the meantime, here are some tips on how to strengthen your Kidney Yin.Lifestyle:

The Kidney in TCM is like the savings account of your body’s energy.  It’s important to find ways to conserve and restore your energy.  Simplifying life by focusing on the essentials and letting go of non-essential tasks and concerns will help you conserve energy.  Making a bit of time each day for meditation can increase calm and focus.  Connecting with your Source can help bring in energy from a higher plane which can be very restorative.  Kidneys govern the feet and ears so massaging the ears and feet will be helpful.  It’s also important to get enough rest or “down time” as well as sleep.  When a person experiences too much stress and overwork without rest it begins to weaken the adrenal glands causing caffeine cravings.

Suribachi (small) and surikogi (medium) with b...

Exercise:

It’s important to not over-do aerobic exercise with this condition.  Hatha yoga (not fast or power yoga), Tai Chi, Qi Gong or weight lifting in moderation are exercise choices.  “Seated forward bend” is a yoga posture that strengthens the kidneys.  Yin yoga classes involve many postures which open the Kidney channel and restore to the Kidney Yin.  “Yi Jin Jing” (please see the video I posted on this “Yi Jin Jing and What is Bone Marrow Washing?”) is a qi gong set which builds Kidney strength.

Diet:

Kidney Yin tonics include: pomegranate, potato, pears, aduki beans, wheat grass juice, barley grass juice, parsley, black sesame seeds, nettle tea, vitamin B12, spirulina, chlorella, almonds, rhemmania tea, berries, seaweed.  Many green drink powders available in drug stores contain several of the above ingredients.  Yin by nature is fluid so it’s important to drink enough water, juices, soup/rice congee meals to build the Yin up.

Kidney Yin deficiency is a condition which takes some time to heal.  Steady effort using the above tips will pay off.

Yours in health,

Cynthia