It’s been a week end of extremes as we move into late Autumn.
The clocks have just gone back and one day’s beautiful, cold, Autumnal sunshine is followed by a whole day of rain and wind!
The sunshine from now on isn’t intense enough for our skin to make vitamin D any more, so to look after our health through the coming Winter months it might be an idea to start topping up with a low strength vitamin D supplement.
I’m not normally a big advocate of supplements-certainly Chinese Medicine has no history of working like that. But living in a Northern climate with low sunlight levels doesn’t seem to suit us very well and there is increasing evidence that chronic lack of vitamin D can contribute to a vulnerability to lowered bone density, weakened immune systems and possibly even be a contributory factor in MS.
Here’s a useful link to the current thinking about MS and vitamin D levels;
Chinese Medicine uses food as a way of helping to maintain health in a way that we don’t really in the West.
There are clearly recognised foods which are generally good or bad for us, but overlaid onto this information is a wealth of knowledge about specific foods which are useful for different health conditions, time of year and even weather!
It is also worth mentioning that Chinese Medicine only very, very rarely uses only one type of food, or one herb therapeutically on its own.
I frequently see Chinese herbs sold or recommended for use in a way that bears almost no relation to the way that herb would be used medicinally in Chinese Medicine.
One of the real strengths of Chinese Medicine for me is its incredible recording of what does what clinically over huge time scales and with huge populations.
For this reason It makes a lot of sense to use it in a way that safely bears a strong resemblance to its historical usage.
There are obvious exceptions to this, and, as with all systems of medicine, there are practices in Chinese medicine which are not appropriate for the world today. On the whole these are increasingly regulated against, and wouldn’t be seen in a modern Chinese pharmacy.
I’ll talk more about this at another time because its a really interesting area (or I find it so!).
Anyway a recipe as promised!
This ones for supporting Yin which is a good idea as we accelerate towards December with its shorter days contrasting with (usually) increased activity. It also adds warming foods and spices to keep out the cold weather.
Pumpkin soup – perfect for all that left over pumpkin?
- Cut up the flesh of a whole pumpkin without the seeds into chunks.
Toss the chunks in oil and a bit of salt in a roasting tin, and roast until the pumpkin starts looking golden around the edges.
- While this is happening take your biggest saucepan and gently brown 5 chopped onions in a bit of oil.
- When the pumpkin is ready throw it in with the onions and add 2 medium potatoes peeled and chopped, 2 small red chopped chillies and 4 cloves of garlic.
- Cook with a lid on for ten mins or so keeping stirring or shaking to stop things burning.
- Grind a desert spoon of cumin and a desert spoon of coriander and add to the veg along with 2 heaped tea spoons of marigold veg stock powder.
- Cook for another five mins.
- Add boing water to cover the veg and give a good soup consistency (you don’t want this too thin)
- Cook for another twenty mins then liquify a bit if you like with your favourite whizzer.
- Add some pepper and serve with cheese sprinkled on top (I like that, but its not part of the medicinal bit, I admit!).
Actually, ‘tho, cheese is helpful in moderation for the Yin, so it’s perhaps not so bad. Unfortunately it does also have properties which aren’t so helpful in the wet climate we have at the moment so I’m reluctant to advocate cheese! I have a bit as a treat because I like the flavour, but try not to have too much.
A tip I discovered this year is that French pumpkins (the ones with lobes) are much, much nicer than the round pumpkins that we normally see around at Halloween.
Any type of edible Winter squash would be good though.