Many people inquire at The Acupuncture Clinic about what they could have for breakfast that is healthy.
According to traditional Chinese medicine principles, there are many foods that could be eaten at breakfast and this is just one example.
All the ingredients can be obtained easily and inexpensively at the supermarket or at an Asian food store.
Black sticky rice黑米: small handful
Black sesame seeds黑芝麻: small handful
Black bean (hai dou) 黑豆: small handful
Huai shan (dioscorea root) 淮山: 2 slices
Gou qi zi (Goji berries) 枸杞子: less than a small handful
Chinese millet (xiao mi) 小米: large handful
2 walnuts 核桃
Soak all the ingredients with a large amount of water in a pot in the morning or at lunch time so that they will have a good soaking by the time you cook them at night.
In the evening bring it to the boil and simmer 15-20 minutes, then switch off the heat and leave overnight with the lid on.
In morning the water would have been absorbed into most of the ingredients so add some more water and black sugar. Bring to the boil again being mindful to stir occasionally so as to not let it burn. Once it’s hot, transfer to a bowel and enjoy.
What is it good for?
From a modern dietary perspective one of the ingredients, black sticky rice is in rich in anthocyanins which are natural antioxidants. In addition, the black rice is high in iron. Modern research has also shown that walnuts can improve sperm motility. Gou ji berries are said to benefit the eyes and Chinese yam (huai shan) contains allantoin which can accelerate the growth of healthy tissue.
We consult with Albert Zhang, an Auckland based acupuncturist who is well known around Auckland for trying out its numerous number of Chinese restaurants after finishing his day at the clinic. He says “If we look at what the traditional uses of these foods and herbs can do, we can get a different understanding of their benefit. Traditional Chinese medicine views that many herbs that are black in colour are useful for the kidney energy of which this formula has no shortage. Yellow foods, like the millet in this mix, is good for the spleen. We have a saying, the stomach takes in the food but the spleen digests the food, so it makes good sense to have a spleen tonic to help digest the other herbs in the combination. In addition, the black sesame seeds and walnuts, because of their underlying oily consistency, can help lubricate the bowel and are in fact herbs used in the treatment of constipation”.
There are many Chinese herbs that are used in medicinal formulations but also used as common foods, such as pearl barley and lily bulb.
Albert says “What have you got to lose. It is simple to make, inexpensive, tastes great and is good for you”