Today is a day all about transition. A hinging point between worlds: light and dark. It is a time of equal day and night; a time for balance. For those of us in the northern hemisphere, this means we will slowly begin our transition towards shorter days and longer nights. It is the beginning of the autumnal season.
We have already begun to experience the shortening of days and cooler temperatures, while the leaves have begun to change and fall to the ground. The excitement of the summer has waned and we have begun to slow down in honor of the seasonal transition. If you are anything like me, you already feel the desire to slow down and spend more time indoors. With this transition, I have also found myself desiring to nourish my body in a very different way.
In the summer months I grew accustomed to eating on the go, whatever was easiest. At the end of summer I was in the middle of moving and training for the New York City marathon, while also balancing work, family, and personal activities. To say I was feeling ready to slow down is an understatement. I didn't realize how exhausted I was until after I moved and also realized how I was living was not serving me to the fullest.
I was reminded to return to what I have learned over the years and began to show up for myself in a way to foster and develop self love. I began to experiment more in the kitchen and strive to improve my relationship with how I fuel and nourish my body.
In Chinese Medicine, late summer is associated with the organs of the Stomach and Spleen, which not only help us digest food, but also help us to digest information as well. The Spleen in particular is effected by over-thinking and worrying; which can be due to ruminating about past events but may also be due to cognitive activities such as studying, memorizing, and learning.
The Spleen also plays a crucial role in the creation of Blood. If you are feeling tired, depleted, and exhausted, or if you have a tendency towards having digestive issues, this oatmeal is a wonderful way to nourish your Spleen and Stomach in order to help you feel nourished and energized. As a side note, the season of Autumn is associated with the Lungs and the Large Intestine, which this recipe is also beneficial for as both of these organs like to feel and operate best when moistened.
If you give it a try, let me know, I would love to hear your feedback.
I hope you enjoy!
Warm Oatmeal to Build Qi and Nourish Yin
Warm Oatmeal to Build Qi and Nourish Yin
-1 cup water
-Sprinkle of sea salt (pink himalayan preferred)
-½ cup rolled oats (I used gluten free)
-1 ½ Tb chia seeds
-1 Tb flaxseed meal
-1 scoop collagen powder (bovine preferred)
-2 medjool dates, pitted and chopped
-1 Tb maple syrup
-Sprinkle of cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger to taste
-Chinese Herbs to build Qi and nourish Yin
-Goji berries (cook with the oats to soften)
-Can substitute Da Zao (Chinese Dates) for Medjool dates, make sure to cook with the oats to soften
-Boil 1 cup of water with a sprinkle of pink himalayan sea salt
-Once boiling, add ½ cup rolled oats
-Gently stir the oats, once some of the water has evaporated, add the chia seeds and flaxseed meal, along with the collagen powder and herbs, Chinese dates, and goji berries if using
-After a few minutes, mix in medjool dates, blueberries and maple syrup
-Top with cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger to taste
-Enjoy while it's hot!
The nature of oats are warm and sweet; therefore, they are good at strengthening the Spleen as well as harmonizing for the Stomach and, thus, good for tonifying Qi. Chia seeds are thought to be good for nourishing the Kidney Yin while flax seeds have a sweet nature and can have a tonic effect when it comes to replenishing Qi and Blood. Note, if you are prone to loose stools and diarrhea, skip the seeds as both can help to lubricate the intestines and lead to an increase in bowel movements. On the flip side, if you are prone to constipation, incorporating these seeds into your regular diet is a natural way to stay regular! Collagen is the main structural protein in the extracellular matrix found in the body’s connective tissue. Due to its close relationship to bones, it has a direct impact on nourishing the Kidneys.
Chinese Dates are preferred in this recipe as they are good for strengthening the Spleen and tonifying the Yin as well as the Blood. However, I used medjool dates as they were what I had on hand, which are also good for tonifying Qi and Blood. If you have goji berries on hand, they are great for nourishing Blood and Yin and are also good for the Kidneys. Blueberries tonify the Kidneys, and nourish the Blood. Maple syrup is sweet, so it is appealing to the Spleen, but should be consumed in moderation as too much sweet can be damaging.
Lastly, cinnamon is warming so if there is any coldness in the body, it will be beneficial. It also helps to strengthen the stomach and can assist in stopping pain. Similarly, nutmeg is also warming and thus can help improve circulation. It is also helpful for the Spleen and Stomach. And, finally, ginger, which can help in reducing pain and inflammation, moves Qi, and assists in relieving any digestive discomfort and/or bloating. It also benefits the Stomach and the Lungs.
All in all, this is a wonderful way to enjoy your oats, especially if you are experiencing an upset stomach or are feeling run down during the seasonal change. It is also good for nourishing the Lungs and moistening the Large Intestine, which makes it the perfect recipe for both the late summer and early fall seasons!
-The Tao of Nutrition by Maoshing Ni and Cathy McNease