Here in Australia, autumn is here and winter is coming….
I live in Melbourne and this is a truly awesome time of year, as the trees begin to give us a plethora of shades of oranges, browns, and reds, nestled among the greens of native trees and shrubs. We experience cold, frosty nights in contrast to days of dappled sunshine with gentle rains bringing rainbows.
Autumn is a time when the energy of nature begins to move inward. Trees are pulling their life-force in, leaving the dried leaves to be blown off the branches by the cold winds. Similarly in humans, our Qi sinks deeper within the body to be protected from the “evil winds” which bring acute illnesses like common colds and the ‘flu, as reflected in the radial pulse.
At this time of year, we need to remember to dress appropriately, keeping our necks and back of the head protected. Often I see patients who’ve been caught out, coming to the clinic with an unexpected cold or a wry neck.
It’s also the time to protect and strengthen our Lung-Qi and the Qi of digestive system (the ‘middle burner’). The foods that are naturally harvested at this time are designed by nature to do this, with the combinations of warm, pungent and sweet flavours.
This soup recipe will help build up your Qi, improve digestion and specifically consolidate the Qi of the liver, lung and kidney organ-networks. It is a warm, calming, and comforting soup, which can also be useful for easing diarrhoea and rheuamatic aches.
Leek & Potato Soup
- 3 leeks, sliced (both white and green parts)
- 1 teaspoon organic butter (or ghee, or coconut butter)
- 1 litre chicken stock (if you don’t know how to make it, see below)
- 4 potatoes, cubed
- 1 sweet potato, cubed
- Freshly ground pepper
- Handful fresh parsley
- Organic yoghurt
- Chives (optional)
In a large saucepan, sautée the leeks in the butter on low heat until they are soft and clear. Then add the stock and the potatoes & sweet potatoes.
Cover and simmer for 45 minutes, then add the pepper and parsley.
Blend, and serve with a dollop of yoghurt and extra parsley, or some finely chopped garlic chives.
Leeks are warm & pungent and can help stop diarrhoea, aiding the health of the digestive system and the Lungs; they are also considered to promote longevity. Potato & sweet potato benefit the Spleen/Stomach channels (digestive system); caution should be taken for folks with sluggish digestion & metabolism, as these root veg can be too stodgy in large amounts. The herbs parsley and chives help harmonise the flavours and promote the digestion of stodgy potato and sweet potato. Yogurt (as long as its organic) is a great natural food source of vital bacteria.
How to make chicken stock
In a large pot, add a whole organic/free-range chicken, 1 whole onion, 1 whole carrot, 1 whole stick of celery, and 6-10 peppercorns, and about 30g of whole astragalus root and add water until everything is covered. Bring to the boil, and then simmer covered for 2-3 hours or until the meat begins to look like it will come off the bone. Strain ingredients from the broth. You can then use the meat and vegetables for other recipes (sandwiches, etc), and the stock can be frozen into 1 litre portions for later use.
Chicken is considered to be warm and sweet and strengthens the Qi. Making stocks and broths from chicken are ideal for those who are sick and/or Qi-deficient.
It is available at True Nature Wellness, as well as a range of other raw herbs used for cooking food-as-medicine.
Peter Loupelis is a registered Acupuncturist & Chinese Medicine Herbalist and practices in Brunswick, in Melbourne, Australia. He is passionate about teaching you how to preserve your health and prevent illness using the traditional yang-sheng therapies of diet, lifestyle, and exercise so that you rely less on expensive and unnecessary supplements, medicines, and therapies. He offers online/phone consultations also, and can be contacted by email firstname.lastname@example.org or via facebook https://www.facebook.com/truenaturewellnesscmnlp. His clinic contact number is (61) 1300 789 790