Spring Recipes & Liver Tonics
Never in modern history has there been such an interest in food and at the same time, such a lack of confidence in the basic quality of food. In my four decades of teaching I see the mass confusion around diet and nutrition escalating each year. Change today for a better tomorrow. If you want to change your future health you need to change your present health to one than enlivens you daily. Join my living with the seasons cooking class this month here in Esher.
MACROVegan Spring Menu Cooking Class – Saturday 31st March 11.00a.m. to 3.00p.m
Spiced Carrot & Tahini Soup with Shelled Hemp
Almond Mung Bean Burgers Topped with Vegan Mayonnaise & Onion Butter
Caramelised Baked Pumpkin
Ume Radish Pickles, Fresh Salad Greens & Living Sprouts
Stewed Apples with Oat Cream
The following newsletter is for your reference. Our students find this format very helpful as many of them are health coaches, therapists and counsellors. It lets them see how I run my own business combining ChiBall and Macrobiotics with my Vegan Advocacy Work. It’s a great way to educate and broaden your client base. I make specific dietary recommendations for each season. I also offer a few recipes and medicinal teas for health and vitality for the organs relating to each season and combine that with the relevant ChiBall session.
Living with the Seasons: The Wood Element:
Corresponding Organs – Liver/Gallbladder
As we start our journey through the spring with the Wood Element of ‘Living with the Seasons’ I do hope that you have found greater energy levels over these past winter months when you have visited my ‘Chi Studio’. It is such a wonderful way to live. Letting nature set us an example by showing us how to work with the extremes of the seasons keeps us strong and healthy. Many of you have reported to me that you have come through winter with no colds, flu, sore throats or chest infections. Need I say more? When we constantly discharge the excess from our bodies it rewards us with good health. Keeping our immune systems strong with the nourishing seasonal food we eat allows us to live our lives to our full potential.
Longer days, rising temperatures, daffodils and new buds on the trees and bushes is an indication that spring has arrived. It is a time of new growth and seeing nature’s energy rising. This is called the ‘Wood Element’. The main theme of Chiball will be meridian related paying special attention to the liver and gallbladder meridians. Spring is the ideal time to cleanse (not only your closets) your body.
Outside power walking is a great way to give your metabolism a boost and help remove any winter pounds you may have gathered around the middle during the months that the kidneys required for more heat. Chiball Yoga will be focused on stretching the liver and gallbladder meridians.
Cleaner lighter diet, stir-fry vegetables in water or vegetable broth, zero oil, detoxify, drink kombu/shitake tea, dried daikon soup and remove alcohol, and coffee they overwhelm the liver. Drink filtered water, kukicha or green sencha tea, available from our friends at Clearspring UK.
When you rise in the morning it is important to ‘hydrate your cells with water’. We lose approximately half a cup of water each night when we sleep. The cells need hydrated when we awaken to start a new day. I suggest to all my students and clients they embrace my format of drinking two glasses of water before breakfast, lunch and dinner. Avoid drinking whilst eating as it dilutes the digestive enzymes. We produce less hydrochloric acid as we age so we must support our stomach by hydrating before eating otherwise the body leaches water from other areas. When we are born, we are like juicy plums, as we age we can resemble a dried-up prune. It’s important to nourish the yin fluids for slowing the ageing process.
It’s crucial to remember that the brain is 80% water, so you will feel more alert when you give the body what it needs. This is a wonderful way to clean out your liver which is the main organ responsible for processing toxins that enter your system. Your liver gets tired.
If you are eating heavy foods and drinking more alcohol than usual, your liver will start to get overburdened and you may experience: sluggishness, bloating, gas, diarrhoea, indigestion, depression, irregular menstruation, headaches, fits of anger, tense muscles, and believe it or not many more symptoms than those I just mentioned!
The cleansing Mung Bean Soup below is a great way to give your liver a break and get you back on track.
Eat More: Fruit and vegetables in season, sunflower, sesame seeds, vegetable soups, green soups, your body will love the antioxidants and chlorophyll which is the lifeblood of the plant. Eat wholegrain brown rice, as well as lighter wholegrain like bulgur, and quinoa salads with loads of spring greens, fresh herbs, (keep up with your porridge) made from leftover short grain brown rice or make a fresh batch daily. Have miso soup daily or try my delicious homemade breakfast granola with rice milk. Green lentil soup on the side with a tempeh sandwich made on sourdough bread is a perfect plate for spring. Using rocket, sauerkraut and some tofu mayonnaise to make a delicious sandwich is one of Bill’s favourites.
Eat foods as near to their natural state as possible. This is the time to sprout seeds in abundance, particularly mung beans which aid in cleansing the liver. As always, sea vegetables should be a part of your daily diet using dishes like Hijiki or Arame sauté and using kombu seaweed as the base for soup stocks. Follow the seasonal guide in my book Macrobiotics for all Season You will find a downloadable version of my book in our online store.
Dairy – (milk, butter, yoghurt, cheese), all meat including fish, eggs, sugar (sweets, cakes and puddings), white rice, white bread, processed ready-made meals
Barley Grass being (a green food) is the perfect addition to your spring diet, it’s the best I know of as it delivers enzymes which helps to aid in the absorption of your food. Chewing well is of paramount importance. I cannot stress this enough. When most clients I see with digestive problems relearn the ‘art’ of chewing many of their problems disappear.
Thinking as always about disease prevention and keeping your insides sparkling clean particularly at this time of year (liver) will put a ‘spring’ in your step. If we adhere to what nature is showing us about regeneration and take that on-board internally I guarantee you that your energy will soar to new heights. It is unnecessary to do ‘hard-core’ liver cleanses if you constantly discharge the excess. The crazy cleansers I see on the internet are too harsh on the liver. Our health is priceless; invest in your own health and connect with the vital energy within.
Drink Your Greens
Marlene’s Garden in a Glass
Every morning during the first 21 days of spring make yourself a ‘green juice’. Green juices, made from a variety of green vegetables have a rejuvenating effect on the body because they are rich in chlorophyll (the lifeblood of the plant), which helps to purify the blood, build red blood cells, detoxify the body and provide fast energy. Green juice is the perfect fuel for your body.
Its high-water content means it is easily assimilated and it contains the whole vegetable except for the fibre, which is the indigestible part of the plant.
Green juice, therefore, provides all the healthful ingredients in a form that is easy to absorb and digest. Here is just one option, feel free to experiment with your own ideas –
4 celery stalks
1 fennel stalk
Some spinach leaves
A tiny piece of root ginger
2 sprigs parsley
A handful of alfalfa sprouts (optional)
Put all the ingredients in a juicer and add the alfalfa sprouts before drinking.
You could also add one teaspoon of a superfood green powder. I use barley grass. (Green Zymes) each spring.
Step into spring with Marlene’s Mung Bean Soup.
It doesn’t take much time to cook mung beans. They are done in about 30 -45 minutes. I love this thick and hearty soup. Serves 3-4 people.
1 cup mung beans
1 onion, peeled and diced
1 carrot, peeled, cut lengthwise and then sliced into half-moon shapes
2 tbsp. organic tomato paste
1 tsp. cumin
Sea salt, grounded pepper and red pepper flake to taste (all optional)
Wash the beans and transfer them into a saucepan. Cover with water, bring to boil and simmer until beans are cooked. Meanwhile, sauté the onions in a little water for about 5 minutes and then add the carrots, let the carrots cook for 10 minutes on low heat. Add the tomato paste, spices and mix into the vegetables. Transfer into the saucepan with boiled beans; add enough water to cover the beans.
Bring to low simmer for 5 minutes and serve.
A Note on This Miraculous Cleansing Food:
Mung beans are originally from India but long ago became a part of Chinese cuisine and medicine; this is a cleansing food which falls into Chinese medicine traditions. Mung beans are cooling, sweet, beneficial to the liver and gallbladder, and nourish yin (the fluids of the body). Usually, mung beans are used in the summertime to cool hot conditions and keep the body regulated, but they can also be used to cool hot conditions or liver-related toxicity during other times of the year.
As we still many have cold days in the spring, the best way to use mung beans is in soups or by sprouting them. Leave the mung bean juice for summer time. As you all know cold foods and raw foods in the colder weather can overburden your digestive system.
Spring Tonic Tea
Daikon, Shitake and Kombu Drink
This is a wonderful spring tonic as it helps the liver to open up and discharge smoothly.
1 dried shitake mushroom
½ cup dried daikon
1 x inch strip Kombu seaweed
3 cups spring water
Place the shitake, dried daikon and Kombu in a small pot and then cover with water. Leave to soak for about 30 minutes. Slice the mushroom, add the water, cover and bring to a boil on a medium flame. Reduce the flame and simmer for about 15-20 minutes. Remove and discard the ingredients. Drink the tea whilst hot.
Note: you can also add a half cup of leafy green vegetables such as kale, cabbage or watercress. Add the chopped leafy greens at the end and simmer for a further 2 or 3 minutes.
Start sprouting your seeds, mung beans, lentils, alfalfa, broccoli and chickpeas.
No ice with the water. Drink your water as close to room temperature as possible. Try dry skin brushing before having a shower, (it is wonderful) you will have skin so smooth and at the same time remove the mucus from your body. This is a wonderful way to stimulate and cleanse the lymphatic system which is part of the immune system.
How to Keep in Balance
Alleviate stress by exercising regularly and making time to take enough rest and relaxation. Try and not hold on to anger (the corresponding emotion for the imbalance in the liver).
Remain in control, focus on the breathing exercises that you have learned over the last year. Have a healthy and enjoyable spring clean and keep smiling.
Remember it takes 42 muscles to frown ONLY 4 to smile!!!!!
Thank you for your interest in my work.
In good health