l woke up on Sunday morning with cold hands and feet. Even though the rest of me was warm, they couldn’t seem to toast up. The weather was windy and cool despite the sunny facade. Then I wondered, what should I make today? The first thing that came to mind was: Cabbage.
According to Paul Pitchford (author of “Healing with Whole Foods”), cabbage is slightly warming in nature, pungent and sweet in flavour, soothes the stomach, lubricates the intestines, and beautifies the skin. Cabbage contains sulfur, which is warms the body and purifies the blood. It also contains an enzyme called ” S methylmethionine” that remedies stomach ulcers. Regular consumption of cabbage can help remedy chronically cold feet.
From a Chinese Medicine perspective, the main action of cabbage is on the lung and large intestine, as it helps to lubricate the intestines and beautify the skin, but the mechanism of action is focused on the liver. The liver is in charge of maintaining the qi (energy) flow in the entire body. Cold hands and feet are a sign the qi circulation is unsmooth. The high sulfur content in the cabbage helps to decongest the liver, so that it is once again able to promote the body’s proper circulation.
The spleen also has a role in circulation, as it transforms the food and then sends the food essences to the 4 limbs. Cold hands and feet are also a sign that the spleen needs a little wake-up call with warming, nourishing foods that help it transform the food we eat into energy we can expend throughout the day.
And of course, we can’t forget the heart. The heart’s job is to pump blood, bringing warmth to all the extremities from the deepest to the outermost layer of our bodies. Herbs like cinnamon (in the five spice powder) and cayenne are excellent at warming the “yang” energy of the heart. Interesting note: They are both red in color, which is the color of the fire element, which is associated with the heart.
For the stock:
2 tbsp of oil 2 chicken breasts – Warms the spleen, builds qi
1/2 a green cabbage- Detoxifies large intestine, lung, and liver, promotes circulation
1/2 a large onion- Promotes warmth, activates and moves energy
4 thick slices of ginger- Warms the body, strengthens digestion
1 carrot- strengthens spleen, improves liver function
1 yellow pepper- nourishes fluids
1/2 tsp of 5-spice powder- warming, promotes digestion
1/2 tsp of cayenne- promotes circulation, warms the heart yang
1 tsp of Lemongrass- Warms the spleen and stomach
About 10-12 Kaffir Lime leaves- brings energy to the body surface
Salt to taste
For the chicken:
2 tbsp Soy sauce
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp maple syrup
Rice noodles, or any noodle of your choice
Slice the onions, peppers, cabbage and carrots.
Add oil to a large soup pot, and fry the toasted onion and ginger on high heat until fragrant.
Add the sliced vegetables. Add the 1/2 tsp of 5-spice powder, 10-12 kaffir lime leaves, and 1tsp of lemongrass and continue to stir fry on medium heat for 2 minutes.
Salt the chicken breasts, and fry in a separate pan until cooked on both sides but pink in the middle.
Add the chicken breasts to the rest of the vegetables in the soup pot, and pour boiling water until the water level sits a little higher than the veggies and chicken. Boil for 1 hr.
After one hour, strain the contents and reserve the broth. Rip or slice the chicken into pieces, and mix with the soy sauce, sesame oil, and maple syrup in a separate bowl. Cook the noodles of your choice (I used rice noodles) until desired texture, and pour the broth over cooked noodles. Top with the seasoned chicken, watercress, sweet pepper, and green onion.
The Verdict: My hands and feet have been warmer since lunch!
Special thanks to Grace, who was very helpful today! ❤