Spring Traditional Chinese Medicine Nutrition Care Guide with Zoey Gong

As human beings, we can only squeeze out so much productivity at a go. We live in a world that commands us to move fast and eat everything in our way. To a certain extent, dare I say, we are committed to working too hard and too fast. This unfortunately takes a toll from the very start. 

With recent events, we have been forced to slow down. For the first time in what seems like eons, the battle is between Self and the seemingly foreign reflection starring right back at us.

Alas, these are strange times that threaten to impose self assessment.

Zoey Gong is a professional Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner who specializes in plant based cuisine and holistic treatments. In this short journal, she eases the load and explores traditional wisdom to help us navigate this uncharted territory.

zoey gong - traditional chinese medicine for spring - girl gone authentic

With the COVID-19 pandemic going on around the world, taking care of our body and boosting our immune system becomes an urgent priority. Alongside some immunity boosting practices, I would like to introduce some Traditional Chinese Medicine diet recommendations for spring:

1. Recommended food and herbs

  • Rose hip
  • Jasmine flower 
  • Plumeria flower 鸡蛋花
  • Oat
  • Azuki
  • Chives
  • Soybean sprouts
  • Celtuce 莴苣 
  • Scallion 
  • Pea sprouts 
  • Plum
  • Mulberry
  • Cherry
  • Spring bamboo 春笋 (not easy to get here, but such a farm-to-table delicacy in China)
  • Honey
  • Lightly cooked spinach
  • Garlic
  • Cilantro
  • Papaya
  • Chinese yam
  • Xiang Chun 香椿
  • Edamame
  • Ji Cai 荠菜
  • Chinese Mugwort 艾草
  • and your seasonal, local produce (not many interesting ones for NYC unfortunately, maybe parsnip?)
girl Gone Authentic -zoey gong - traditional chinese medicine for spring

2. Take care of the liver

The liver is still the key organ for this season. Please drink alcohol in moderation. Chrysanthemum, goji and honeysuckle tea is a very ideal beverage. Plus, two of these herbs are beneficial for flu prevention and lung care.

3. Balance is key

In summer, we can have some cooling or cold foods. In winter, we’ve been having warming or hot foods like ginger, cinnamon, and lamb. In spring, it is important to have more neutral foods or use the right combination to neutralize energetics. For example, fish and most seafood are cold/cooling, so it would be ideal to add ginger and scallion when cooking to balance it out. Making a fish stock is a great choice – be sure to use whole fish. 

4. Early to bed, early to wake

Get up early (5-7 am) and sleep early (before 11 pm). It is also a great time to go out and enjoy nature. However, due to COVID-19, this might be difficult. While some of us have to stay at home, we can light some Chinese mugwort incense to cleanse the space and bring in one or two indoor plants to help us feel connected to nature.

5. Easy on the spices and oils

Please limit spicy, oily, and heavy foods! Once in a while is alright, but not every day, especially if you choose to dine out for these flavors. I even recommend some light fasting for this period of time.

5. Boost your immune system

Girl Gone Authentic - zoey gong -chinese medicine for spring - moxa

For immunity, consuming a variety of fresh produce in different colors is very important. Also, I would recommend a probiotic supplement, as healthy gut is associated with stronger immunity. 

If you have access to practitioners who do moxa (a heat therapy by burning dried mugwort wool near certain acupressure points to build stronger immunity or treat other conditions), it is a great time to do that. In Chinese, it’s called 艾灸。Alternatively, you can also purchase good quality dried mugwort leaves, and do foot soak in the evening. Take 60g of the dried leaves, add 1-1.5L water and boil for 20 minutes to get a “tea”. Use that “Tea” as your foot soak

Recommended recipes

Sweet Fruit Soup

This soup relieves coughing by clearing the lungs, encouraging digestion and removing phlegm.

2-3 servings

Zoey gong - sweet fruit soup - traditional chinese medicine

Ingredients:

2 gala or Fuji apples

2 Asian pears

4 – 5 slices of ginger

3 -4 cups of almond milk

Instructions:

Slice the fruits into 8 pieces each and bring everything to a boil. Turn down heat to low and stew for 45-60 minutes.

Herbal Tea

Traditional Chinese Medicine Herbal Tea for flu protection

Sip through-out the day.

Ingredients:

Mai Dong – 3 grams 

Mulberry Leaf – 3 grams

Chrysanthemum – 3 grams

Aged Tangerine Peel – 2 grams

Astragalus – 10 grams  

Instructions:

Bring to boil with 2 cups of water and steep on low heat for 15 minutes.

Thank you so much Zoey for putting together this invaluable piece of advice, which we are certain will be appreciating for many springs to come.

To learn more about Traditional Chinese Medicine, please follow Zoey at her Instagram, where she cheerfully shares overall health tips and more.

Another special thank you to Cassie Z, Zoey’s photographer and friend for allowing us to use the images in this post.

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