In all the years I’ve been studying and experimenting with food energetics and nutrition, there are 3 kinds of food that I keep coming back to. And I’m convinced that these three make up the ‘holy trinity’ of foods to consume regularly for long life and good health.
During my recent trip to Beijing, I was put through my paces at the Jing Fang herbal ‘bootcamp’ – An extremely intense internship, with long full days and lots of brain work. Throw in jet leg, poor sleep, extremely hot, humid weather, and of course the thick Beijing pollution, and you have an overall experience to tax even the strongest of constitutions.
And the schedule didn’t allow much free time, so my qi gong practice pretty much went out of the window, apart from a couple of little bits here and there.
So I’m convinced that it was the food that kept me going, and specifically, regular consumption of these three foods, at least one of which I ate daily (and sometimes, all 3 in one day!)
Here they are:
I. BONE BROTH
A staple of pretty much every culture across the globe, and with good reason. A broth made with meat bones contains the concentrated essence of the meat, but with none of the trouble digesting it. In Chinese terms it’s a strong Jing tonic. I stayed in Wangjing, the Korean quarter of Beijing, and I was eating the lovely Korean tonic chicken soup a couple of times a week. A small chicken, stuffed with rice and tonic herbs, cooked in chicken stock. Tastes amazing, and you feel great afterwards.
Find out more about bone broth in my post Ultimate Bone Broth.
II. FERMENTED FOOD
Also a feature of different cultures worldwide, but rarely eaten in any significant amounts in modern British or American culture. Fermented foods contain the vital ‘friendly bacteria’ that help us out on so many levels (not just limited to digestion, but also helping immunity and even mood, for example) In Chinese medicine language, they can be considered powerful Spleen tonics.
Examples are sauerkraut, live yogurt, kefir and kombucha. My regular in Beijing was the fantastic kimchi, a Korean essential (and something of a national obsession)- fermented pak choi, carrot and daikon radish with ginger, garlic and chilli. I can’t tell you how delicious it is.
Congee is essentially porridge made with rice. The technique is to cook the porridge for a long time in lots of water until it breaks down and ‘dissolves’ into the liquid to create a thick nourishing porridge. It can be flavoured in many ways, and is normally served with pickles and veggies. I think that oat porridge is a close Western equivalent, so long as the oats are well cooked, and you use water and not milk.
I got to try a number of flavours of congee, both sweet and savory, at a specialist congee cafe, and they were all surprisingly delicious. Plus, they keep you going through the morning, and they’re so easy to digest that you feel light and energised after eating them. A great start to the day. I’ll be posting some recipes over the next month or so – watch this space!
(If you’d like to see pictures of these foods, and other interesting things I encountered on my recent travels, you can find some on facebook)
So those are the three… and I recommend that if you don’t already, you start experimenting with these three amazing kinds of food, and see how your body reacts. My guess – it’ll thank you!
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