Though teas, soups and stews are common in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), smoothies are not. I have developed a modern day approach to combining smoothies and TCM food therapy as a wonderful way to explore healthy beverages and your body’s constitution.
Combining Chinese Wisdom and Modern Convenience: Smoothies have become extremely popular, and rightly so, as people strive to be healthier, consume more fruits and vegetables, and explore super foods and herbs (Bupin Herbs), all in the context of busier lives and less time. Having a well-stocked kitchen and being prepared to invest time and wisdom into your food and drinks takes commitment and motivation. You will be rewarded, though! My goal is to show you how to drink smoothies following TCM food therapy theory, including:
- Using food and other ingredients, such as herbs and natural dried fruits and flowers, to take care of your digestion (especially the spleen and stomach) otherwise food therapy won’t as well. Many drinks and smoothies these days are “one size fits all,” and might do some people and some constitutions more harm than good.
- Functional foods combine with different groups to make a strong response because the foods can coordinate with each other. When we use functional foods, we also need to take caution in mixing different foods to be aware of any contraindications.
- Through these recipes and sharing the TCM food therapy theory, I trust that you can learn to combine TCM and build your own delicious, easy to prepare and nourishing smoothies. I also encourage you to learn more about TCM and the power of functional foods, fruits, nuts, seeds, herbs, roots and spices to achieve balance (flux) in your well- being.
The difference between TCM smoothies and others: These TCM smoothies and drinks recommendations and recipes have been created with food and health benefiting properties in mind, and then crafted for a tasty and enjoyable beverage you can incorporate into your diet on a daily, weekly and seasonal basis. They involve some “super foods,” including some you may have heard of that are more commonly used “in TCM for healing and restoration of the body, cells and organs.
The main difference between a TCM smoothie and regular smoothie (plenty of which is healthful and fabulous) is that they should be selected, prepared and enjoyed according to an individual’s constitution. Smoothies are typically a blend of bananas, avocado, green vegetables, cacao, berries, honey, coconut water, medjool dates, and mango and pineapple for a tropical feel; they are often featured in raw food cuisine. All of these ingredients, while super healthy in the Western wellness scene, tend to be on the yin side (or cold/cooling, contractive) and often include ice and for some people’s constitutions and conditions can do more harm than good to an individual’s digestion and intestines, especially in long term. In TCM, warmth and nourishment is key, there are healthful blends for you to try based on season and your individual condition.
So in summary, the differences between TCM smoothies and others include:
- Not all are sweet; some spice and bitter ingredients are included.
- Not all raw; there are some that require a few cooked ingredients and brewed teas and herbs blended into these smoothies and drinks.
- Neutral fruits: One should try to stay as in flux as you can, except for those with strong yang constitutions or those who tend to be more yin and need more yang fruits and energy.
- TCM smoothies and drinks require you, the reader and smoothie and drink maker, to live with full awareness about body type, geographical location for seasonal and available fruits, and blend with your digestion and health in mind.
- Not a meal replacement; while some smoothies and drinks are packaged as a “detox” or for weight loss, they have carefully been designed with love and intention for health building properties. They are not intended as a meal replacement and should not be consumed in place of a wholesome, well-balanced diet. These beverages will boost your constitution and condition when applied in the right season for your individual body’s needs.