Congee, Shi-Fan (literally, rice water) or Jook. Whatever name you give it, rice porridge has been the foundation of nutritional healing since…well, we started playing with fire and cooking. It is my first recommendation for anyone who is weak or ill, whether young or old.
Congee is a eaten by millions as a breakfast food. The simple gruel is served with a variety of side dishes, shredded vegetables and fish, shredded meats and pickles.
Besides being a great morning start, congee is a fantastic healing food.
It’s just rice and water or broth. Perhaps another ingredient is added to added to create a specific result. Sounds boring right? However, sometimes simplicity is the best approach to healing. I always consider the client’s digestive vitality first in any treatment. If they have problems absorbing nutrients for whatever reason, be it illness, chemo or radiation treatment or constitutional weakness, they will not transform the food they eat into healing nutrient qi. In these cases, simple foods cooked for a long period place less of a burden on the digestive system.
Who can benefit from congee?
Anyone. I’ve seen it work wonders with toddlers on acid reflux medicines to seniors battling dementia, those going through chemo and radiation to those just fighting the common cold. There is no magic, it is just simplicity.
Healing benefits of congee
Rice is neutral to warming, there are over 8 thousand varieties of rice and very few people are allergic to rice. If you are someone avoiding gluten…use a gluten free rice. Rice tonifies the Qi and Blood and harmonizes the Middle Burner (your digestive system), the Stomach and the Spleen. Water balances our PH, detoxes and nourishes Yin. The rest of the recipe is up to you and what you need to do. If you are avoiding rice consider using millet instead. Just remember to rinse the millet (or any whole grain) first.
On the stove top or in a crock pot combine 1 cup of rice to 6 cups of rice cooked for 6 hours.
That's it. Okay, honestly, you don't have to cook it that long, but I guarantee you will absorb in your system better the longer it is cooked.
You can added ingredients to congee to create a more specific healing benefit. Usually, the addition is about 1/2 to 1 cup of the particular item.
Additions to your congee
Based on the condition you are dealing with you may choose to add one or two additional ingredients.
Aduki beans-- Great for gout. Aduki beans dry dampness (edema and phlegm). They treat Kidney and Bladder problems, like retention.
Carrot-- Good for chronic indigestion and diarrhea.
Celery--Cooling, reduces hypotensive conditions like Liver Yang Rising, ringing in the ears and hot tempers.
Dry ginger--Diarrhea and vomiting from cold conditions, anorexia, nutritional impairment.
Fennel-- Use for nausea and vomiting. Fabulous for stimulating digestion and appetite.
Fresh ginger--Cold and flu with chills.
Leek-- One of my favorite foods to reset the metabolism. Leeks warm and tonify the digestion they also treat chronic diarrhea.
Marrow stock (use in place of water)-- Wonderful for anemia and Blood deficiency. Tonifies qi, blood, deeply nourishes.
Mung bean-- Cools summer heat (heat stroke), cuts fevers.
Onion or scallion-- Clears phlegm, opens the sinuses and lungs, clears out colds, treats diarrhea. Use for allergies and chronic phlegm problems.
Radish--Cools fevers and heat in the digestive tract. Use with ulcers, GERD, and also allergies.
Sweet rice--Tonifies the Stomach, Spleen and body overall.
Spinach--Harmonizes and moistens the organs, sedates and lowers rebellious Qi (GERD, acid reflux).
So, if you are feeling a bit down or battling a serious disharmony, don't hesitate to simplify.
Pulse Holistic Health is a made up of independent, self-employed holistic healthcare practitioners that choose to work together for mutual benefit. Individual posts on the Pulse site may be written by a particular practitioner or as a collaborative effort. The views and opinions in Pulse post's, although approved by the group, may not reflect all the views and opinions of the individual practitioners. Members services include: Asian medicine, Traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture, Amma therapy, massage therapy, holistic nutrition, acutonics, holistic health education, and more.