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Today, breakfast has become convenient for the busy American on the go and appears to be the healthiest start when you pick up that healthy yogart or eat those eggs and other protiens, but when you find yourself feeling any mix of symptoms like loss of energy, feeling fatigued, stomach cramps, headaches, gas or bloating, starving one hour later or your doctor just informed you that your cholesterol is rising or you have some nutritional deficiencies present, this is when you want to begin re-evaluating your meals as a whole, but more importantly starting your day with the proper breakfast.
A classic remedy in Chinese Medicine for breakfast is Congee. Congee is beneficial for people with weak digestion, illnesses, cancer, nutritional deficiencies, organ or energetic imbalances and more. The ingredients are developed based on your constitution and what other ailments may be affecting you currently, such as heat, damp, cold, phlegm, qi, blood stasis or deficiency and any type of wind. Congee begins with very simple ingredients, as simple as brown rice and water. This is your base. The foundation of the meal that will carry all of your nutrients through your digestive system in an absorbable, nutrient-rich and easily digestive way. This is conveniently slow-cooked in a crockpot overnight on low heat for 4-8 hours. The longer it cooks the more nutritious and absorbable it becomes.
Therapeutic properties may be added by cooking other vegetables, grains, herbs, or meats in with the rice. These other ingredients that you may need for the congee can be addressed and chosen with your acupuncturist and chinese herbalist. This is a very important step in proper nutrition and selection of nutrients for your congee and specific constitution. Natural herbal and food medicine takes time and works on a deeper level with lasting results and a licensed practitioner will help you achieve these goals more timely and accurately.
There are sweet congees and savory congees, but your base will always be the following ingredients in a crock-pot:
1 cup brown rice (easy to digest, increases qi, high in B vitamins so is beneficial for the nervous system)
8 cups water or vegetable broth (flavorful and nutrient packed)
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Some Common Food/Herbs for congee:
Aduki Bean (Red Bean): Diuretic, resolves dampness and curative for edema and gout.
Apricot Kernel: Recommended for coughs and asthma, expels sputum and intestinal gas.
Carrot: Digestive aide, and eliminates flatulence.
Celery: Cooling in summer and benefits the large intestine.
Chestnut: Tonifies kidneys, strengthens knees and loin, and is useful in treating anal and rectal hemorrhages.
Water Chestnut: Cooling to viscera and benefits digestive organs.
Chicken or Mutton Broth: Recommended for wasting illnesses and injuries.
Duck or Carp Broth: Reduces edema and swelling.
Fennel: Harmonizes the stomach, expels gas, and cures hernia.
Ginger: Warming and antiseptic to viscera, used for deficient cold digestive weakness, diarrhea, anorexia, vomiting, and indigestion.
Kidney (Pig, Sheep, or Deer): Strengthens kidneys, benefits knees and lower back, and treats impotence (use organic kidney).
Leek: Warming to viscera, and good for chronic diarrhea.
Liver (Sheep or Chicken): Benefits diseases of the liver (use organic organ meats).
Mallow: Moistening for feverishness, and aides digestion.
Mung Bean: Cooling, especially summer heat, reduces fevers, and relives thirst.
Mustard: Expels phlegm and clears stomach congestion.
Orange Peel: Aids digestion.
Salted Onion: Diaphoretic and lubricating to muscles.
Black Pepper: Expels gas and recommended for pain in bowels.
Red Pepper: Prevents malaria and cold conditions.
Pine Nut Kernel: Moistening to the heart and lungs, harmonizes large intestine, useful in wind diseases and constipation.
Poppy Seed: Relieves vomiting and benefits the large intestine.
Purslane: Detoxifies, and is recommended for rheumatism and swellings.
Radish: Digestant and benefits the diaphragm.
Pickled Radish: Benefits digestion and blood.
Brown Rice: Diuretic, thirst quenching, nourishing, and good for nursing mothers.
Sweet Rice: Relieves inflammation or irritation, used for diarrhea, vomiting, and indigestion.
Scallion Bulb: Cures cold diarrhea in the elderly.
Sesame Seeds: Moistening to the intestines and treats rheumatism.
Shepard’s Purse: Brightens the eyes and benefits the liver.
Spinach: Harmonizing and moistening to the viscera, and a sedative.
Turmeric: Relieves inflammation.
Taro Root: Nutritious, aides the stomach, and builds blood.
Wheat: Cooling, used with fevers, clears digestive tract, calming and sedating due to wheat’s nourishing effect on the heart.
Yogurt and Honey: Beneficial to the heart and lungs.