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Winter Breakfasts

Winter Breakfasts


Winter is a time of return, reflection, and rest. It is the period of the year when deep nourishment of our primordial energies is required so that we can enjoy the fruits of the warmer months. Breakfast has long been touted as the most important meal of the day and this sentiment rings especially true during winter. A warm, nourishing breakfast is critical during the colder seasons to ensure both proper gut health and to provide the necessary fuel for our body’s optimal function. In our busy modern life, we often neglect breakfast. Instead, we opt for convenience and caffeine to provide us the energy to get through the day. The outbreak of COVID-19 has forced many of us to slow down and remain at home. This period can be used as an opportunity to break previous habits surrounding our morning schedule. Many of us now have the time to indulge in a leisurely and healthy breakfast, and with a little planning, we can continue to do so as our lives begin to return to a normal pace. Below are a few simple yet delicious and wholesome ideas to suit your body’s breakfast needs.

A wet breakfast is considered one of the superior breakfasts. Not only does it nourish the Spleen and improve weak digestion but it also provides healthy moisture to the bodies other systems, especially the Stomach, Kidneys and Lungs.

Porridge:

A quick, easy and healthy porridge can be made in 15 minutes. Good quality oats, some cooked fruit (both fresh and dried) and a few toppings make this breakfast satisfying and alimentative. Below is a basic recipe that can be modified to taste or season.

·        1 cup organic rolled oats (soaked overnight for maximum digestion)

·        Half an apple

·        Small handful of dried goji berries

·        Small handful of mulberries

·        Half a teaspoon of cinnamon

·        A couple of slices of fresh ginger

 

Toppings:

 

·        1 teaspoon of hemp seed

·        1 teaspoon of black sesame seeds

·        1 teaspoon of raw cacao

·        Fresh yogurt or coconut yogurt (Optional)

Congee:

Congee has been a staple of Chinese cooking for centuries. It is simple and nutritious and has a myriad of regional and seasonal varieties. Below is a basic chicken congee recipe with a few topping ideas. Chicken can be left out or substituted with a good quality firm tofu. Congee is made easily in a slow cooker. You can put it on when you go to sleep and wake up to a delicious warm breakfast. This recipe makes enough for 6 people. Leftover congee can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days or frozen for several months.

·        1 cup of medium grain or long grain rice

·        8-10 cups of water

·        2 chicken breasts

·        1 small knob of ginger sliced or grated

·        A small amount of salt

·        A dash of oil

Before serving, remove the chicken and shred it, then add it back to the pot.

Toppings can include; sliced spring onion, black sesame seeds, coriander, sliced hard-boiled egg, or kimchi.

 

If something a little more substantial is to your liking, a warm hearty breakfast of protein and carbohydrates may suit.

Baked Sausages and Apples:

Baked sausages and apples are a delicious substantial way to start your day. It is also surprisingly simple. Some warm crusty bread on the side and you have a lean yet generous start to the day. Simply combine some fresh butcher shop sausages (we want quality here) with some thick slices of apple and seasonal root vegetables in a lightly greased tray. Cover with aluminum foil and cook for 30-40 minutes at 180 degrees celsius. Uncover the tray and turn the heat up to 200 for a further 10 minutes to really crisp up those sausages. The combination of rich, hearty sausage and sweet moistening apple is delectable. Serves 4.

·        8 sausages (quality beef, chicken or pork)

·        2 apples sliced

·        1 potato quartered

·        1 small sweet potato cut into pieces

·        Crusty whole grain or sourdough bread

 

For those of you that don’t eat meat. Here is a wonderful hearty winter breakfast that uses chickpeas and potatoes. This can be eaten with rice, flatbread or regular bread. I like to keep a little Indian mango pickle on hand for dishes like these. A good pickle can be found at most Indian grocery stores.

Spicy Chickpeas and Potato

·        1 cup of chickpeas soaked overnight or 1 can of chickpeas

·        1 potato cut into small cubes

·        Half onion thinly sliced

·        1 can of tomatoes

·        2 cloves of garlic

·        1 small knob of freshly grated ginger

·        1 tablespoon of curry paste or alternatively garam masala and curry powder

 

Toppings:

 

·        Coriander

·        A squeeze of lemon

·        Mango pickle

Lightly fry the garlic, ginger and onion and curry paste, add the chickpeas and potatoes and cook for a few minutes. Add the tomatoes and a dash of water and simmer until the potatoes are cooked through (the small cubes should cook relatively quickly). Garnish with coriander and a squirt of lemon.


 

We hope you have enjoyed this post and have a go at some of these recipes. Having a substantial breakfast in the morning is a life-changing routine for many people. A little planning will go a long way and the rewards speak for themselves.

 

 

 

 

 


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Interview with Dr. Bettina Brill at Shen Healing Chinese Medicine

Interview with Dr. Bettina Brill at Shen Healing Chinese Medicine

Dr. Bettina Brill
 Co-Founder of Shen Healing
 Co-Editor of The Lantern Journal of Chinese Medicine
 Lecturer at Southern School of Natural Therapies
 Ph.D. Sc; BHSc (Chinese Medicine)

 HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN PRACTISING? 
27 years. Michael and I established Shen Healing in 1990 in Carlton and we have been here ever since. 

 HOW DID YOU GET INVOLVED IN CHINESE MEDICINE AND WHAT DREW YOU TO IT? 
The first time I came across Chinese herbs and acupuncture was when I came to Australia. I was working on my Ph.D. and I was at the computer all the time and had really sore shoulders. There was an integrated medical doctor in Newcastle, and he prescribed strange-looking herbs and twigs for me to boil up for my shoulder. However, what really got me into it (Chinese Medicine) was once I moved to Melbourne and got into martial arts. I started to study a bit of Chinese philosophy and massage; I also met Michael, my partner, who was doing acupuncture. That was all a really long time ago [laughs]. Then we went to China in the early 1990s and spent some time there. When I came back I studied with several practitioners. I spent 5 years at Steven Clavey’s clinic. In those days we didn’t have a comprehensive course in Chinese Medicine. We certainly didn’t have any at the university level. Students don’t know how lucky they are today. Eventually, I ended up going to Victoria University to get my Bachelor’s Degree. 

IT IS INTERESTING HOW A LOT OF PEOPLE COME TO CHINESE MEDICINE THROUGH MARTIAL ARTS. 
Yes. I guess that is because it is a part of the philosophy, the whole package of Chinese Medicine; taking care of one’s self, practicing yang sheng. 

YOU SAID YOU WERE STUDYING PRIOR TO ALL OF THIS? 
I have a background in science. I came down originally to work at Melbourne University and then discovered Chinese Medicine. 

WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST CHANGES YOU HAVE SEEN IN YOUR YEARS OF PRACTICE? 
Definitely registration. First registration in Victoria, and then later nationally with AHPRA, that was a huge step, a huge change, and that has been really good. Also, the public is more aware of Chinese Medicine now and in general has a great deal of confidence; they know that if they see a practitioner they have to be registered and are properly educated. Another big change is now we have courses at university. That wasn’t available in the early days, so as a result we have lots of good practitioners that are really well educated. There are a lot more resources too, lots of good textbooks. You could almost say there are too many, do we actually have time to read them all [laughs]. Also journals, I will put my own little plug here [laughs]. I would like to mention our own Australian journal The Lantern. 

SO DID YOU DID YOU DO A MASTER-APPRENTICE STYLE OF LEARNING INITIALLY? 
I went to China and basically got an introduction there. Then when I came back I studied with different schools. I originally studied with Gary Seifert in Sydney; he has passed away now, unfortunately. I studied western science subjects with Health Schools Australia. At the same time, I was doing an apprenticeship with Steve Clavey. It took many years, much longer than it would take nowadays, but you had all that time to absorb, it’s actually not a bad way. Eventually, I went on to study my Bachelor’s Degree and fill in all the gaps. I guess it took around 8-10 years in total, all while practicing and learning. 

WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES YOU FACE IN-CLINIC? 
I would say the biggest challenge for practitioners is the business side. For people starting out that can be difficult as they are not quite prepared for it. You have all this knowledge you want to apply, but there are all these restrictions on how you can advertise. You can’t really tell your patients all you can do for them. So that is a bit tricky. We are fortunate to have been around for a long time and get most of our patients via word of mouth, but for new practitioners, I can imagine that it is very difficult. 

WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR TCM STUDENTS AND GRADUATES? 
I  recommend having a part-time job when you start out. This takes a lot of the pressure off and it gives you time to learn and set yourself up. I also think it is important to keep in contact with other graduates so you have support. Don’t get discouraged. I would also say don’t move away from raw herbs. There is a movement of people using prepared medicines because they view raw herbs as too difficult, but patient compliance is actually quite good. Patients will take the herbs when you explain to them how to take them and what they are for. Keep the true medicine alive, don’t move away from it. And don’t get downhearted, it is hard at times but it is also a great lifestyle choice. Remember why you chose Chinese medicine in the first place. 

WHAT WOULD BE ONE OF YOUR FAVOURITE HERBS OR FORMULAS? 
I have to talk about at least three; I can’t just say one because I love formulas. Formulae are the favorite subject that I lecture at school. I really love Li Dong-Yuan’s Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang. It is a great formula for digestive problems, which lots of people have, but I also use it for menopause sometimes. Another one is a gynecological formula by Zhang Xi Chun, Gu Chong Tang. That formula works a treat with the right patient to stop heavy bleeding. My favorite formulas, however, are the Wen Bing formulas. I really love Wen Bing, the warm disease theory. I can’t pinpoint one formula, it is more the theory, individual herbs and the general approach. It works so well for our climate and also for lots of skin problems that we have here. Finally, how good is Gui Zhi Tang! My favorite herb is Ji Xue Teng. 

WHAT DO YOU THINK THE BIGGEST ISSUES CURRENTLY INVOLVING CHINESE MEDICINE ARE? 
We do have problems. I think the biggest one at the moment is the restriction of advertising. Chinese Medicine is again under pressure, but it has been under pressure over the dynasties. It has always come out and survived. So I am sure we will survive this one as well. It’s an international issue. When I was in Europe recently I met quite a few practitioners and they are under pressure over there as well. Here we are very lucky because we are registered, so we have a professional body that gives us some degree of protection. The other issue is the accessibility of herbs. I think there is a need to protect our herbs and I think importers and researchers need to get behind that, to make sure our herbs remain accessible to us. Slowly one after the other, we have seen herbs vanishing and I think that’s a danger. So I think those are the biggest issues, but Chinese Medicine is resilient and I am sure it can get past these. 

 HOW DO YOU SEE CHINESE MEDICINE EVOLVING IN THE FUTURE? 
Well, there are good things happening too, so it’s not all negative. The Epworth Hospital is going to have a section in Box Hill with Chinese Medicine in the near future. This will open up Chinese Medicine to the general public in a hospital setting. That’s good, good for the public, good for us. Hopefully, that will lead to more research, which is needed, especially in herbal medicine. I think that’s definitely the direction of the future. I also think young practitioners need to have a voice. They need to go out there and represent Chinese Medicine, defend Chinese Medicine and fight for our medicine to stay alive. One way of doing that is to keep using the medicine, using the herbs, don’t abandon them for convenience. We also need to stay united as practitioners and keep our lobby strong.
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Interview with Dr. Annalise Drok at Quiescence Chinese Medicine

Interview with Dr. Annalise Drok at Quiescence Chinese Medicine

Annalise Drok

Director at Quiescence Chinese Medicine.

B.App.SC (Chinese Medicine)

B.C.Ap.S (Human Nutrition)

 

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN PRACTISING CHINESE MEDICINE?

15 years.

 

HOW DID YOU GET INVOLVED IN CHINESE MEDICINE AND WHAT DREW YOU TOO IT?

I actually came across it in several different ways. My father is a physiotherapist and he practiced acupuncture as part of his physiotherapy. He came to Australia to learn acupuncture from a Chinese guy that was teaching in the early eighties. So that sort of thing was always part of my life but I never really assumed that Chinese Medicine was something that I could study until I was traveling. I was in Canada and came across a student clinic which was filled with herbs. I wandered on in and had a look around and they said “If you are interested you can study this” and I was like, “Great! Tell me more.” So I told my dad that I really wanted to study Chinese Medicine and he thought it was a great idea. I grew up in New Zealand, so he started looking for schools a little closer to home, but I was ready to sign up to the school in Canada [laughs]. Anyway, I actually ended up studying at RMIT in Melbourne, which was a bit easier.

 

WHAT WOULD BE THE BIGGEST CHANGES YOU HAVE SEEN IN YOUR YEARS OF PRACTICE?

I feel like people are much more open to Chinese Medicine. I get a lot less of  the “So do you think Chinese Medicine actually works?” questions and a lot more of “Ahh, my dad had acupuncture before”, or “I've had dry needling”, or “I've had experience with herbs.” So I feel like there are a lot more people who are comfortable with having Chinese Medicine in their lives.

 

WHAT WOULD BE THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES YOU FACE IN THE CLINIC?

I think advertising and keeping our name out there is challenging. It's a very different world from when I was first starting, you would just hand out a business card and that was it. Now we have websites and social media and all of that. So the day to day running of the business has definitely changed over the years. Other than that we have it running pretty smoothly, I feel really lucky we have such great people around to help with a lot of the technological side of things. That leaves us free to focus on treating our beautiful patients.

 

WHAT IS ONE OF YOUR FAVOURITE FORMULAS?

I go through phases of different favourite formulas [Laughs]. At the moment I am loving Gui Zhi Jia Long Gu Mu Li Tang. I've been finding that has really been useful. We've got a lot of blood deficient, anxiety type people at the moment, so that is working a treat. I recently did a course with Sharon Weizenbaum, which was a two-year post graduate program. She focuses a lot on the Shang Han Lun formulas, so I have really been enjoying the simplicity and powerfulness of those formulas.

 

WHAT DO YOU THINK THE BIGGEST ISSUES CURRENTLY INVOLVING CHINESE MEDICINE ARE?

Well [laughs] we have just gone through the whole AHPRA drama, with advertising and how we put Chinese Medicine out there. There definitely seems to be a bit of a problem talking about the power of Chinese Medicine. How powerful Chinese Medicine truly is and how it can treat so many wide and difficult conditions. I think that would be the main thing at the moment, not being able to talk freely about what our art can do.

 

HOW DO YOU SEE CHINESE MEDICINE EVOLVING IN THE FUTURE?

I would like to see it becoming even more mainstream than it is. After spending nine months in China and seeing how incredibly integrated it is in the hospitals over there, it would be great to see acupuncture in the ER of hospitals here and having herbs used much more freely. Just much more integration overall. That would be amazing.


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Why certified herbs are the answer!

There seems to have been a flood of negative accounts about Chinese medicine in the past year, ranging from ABC news, a Greenpeace report and so-called “friends of science” research claiming that Chinese herbal substances were at worst compromised by pollutants and at best of poor quality and therefore unlikely to work as traditionally indicated.

 

While we dispute much of this material, it is in everybody’s interests not only to ensure standards of quality and safety, but also to be able to demonstrate this to the public’s satisfaction. For this reason, in the past 3 years we have adopted European pharmacopoeia standards of herbal testing and analysis. We believe that the previous Certificate of Analysis (COA) provided by many manufacturers was insufficient and therefore invited the world’s biggest independent laboratory, Eurofins, to test our herbs according to the higher European standards. Eurofins’ certification will ensure that raw herbs entering our market are of the highest quality.

We must also ensure herbal medicine stays affordable for the public. With this in mind, rather than introducing an expensive organic herbs range, we decided instead to improve our selection of certified herbs. This entails working with large-volume suppliers to improve the affordability of their products. If farmers have greater demand for products that meet certification standards, they have more incentive to produce quality herbs, which will work to eventually bring down the cost. Greater volume is the answer. This is why we need the ongoing support of practitioners in choosing to dispense certified products wherever possible.

We would be grateful for your feedback on how to improve these products and our service. We value your contribution to the promotion of the great benefits of Chinese medicine to the Australian community.

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