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Enhancing Fertility and Promoting Longevity - Jing

In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) jing can be translated as essence and is thought to be a precious substance in our bodies which is important for development, growth and reproductive health. A person who has sufficient jing gives the impression of one being strong and full of vitality with a glowing or radiant quality (Rochat de la Vallee, 1999). Jing is, in part, inherited from our parents and partly gained through the nutrients in our food. It is very important to conserve your jing as we are thought to only have a certain amount and once it is used up we die so our jing determines our longevity. Ways to nourish jing include regular, adequate amounts of good quality sleep. Deep relaxation is also important so some sort of yoga, meditative breathing or meditation is helpful. If you have ever observed someone who has just come out of a meditation retreat they will often appear to be glowing or radiant which Rochat de la Vallee suggests indicates the nourishment of jing. Whether jing can be supplemented through diet and food is an area of controversy in contemporary TCM circles. However many practitioners believe that certain foods do help particularly when it comes to nourishing reproductive health. It is possible that these foods slow down the process of jing being diminished rather than adding jing. A Harvard nurses health study collected data from 18,000 women and was analysed by Chavarro and Willett in The Fertility Diet (2007). The study discovered that the subjects with the highest fertility ate a plant based, low GI, whole foods diet focusing more on vegetable protein and monounsaturated fats. Women with the highest fertility exercised more, took a multivitamin mineral supplement and ate at least one serving of high fat dairy each day. (Acubalance, 2009). This study seems to support ideas of how to preserve jing. Digestion of food is important for the assimilation of the nutrients in the body. To aid this process enjoyment of eating is important. Moderation is a good guiding rule with nothing in excess and a widely varied nutritious whole food diet. To aid digestion, you should consider marinating rich foods (such as meats) in acid (citrus, kiwifruit, alcohol, rice wine etc) and/or have them with greens, onion, garlic, ginger or marjoram. Generally meat is thought to be very rich and to make it more easily digestible only 28-57gms of meat is advised for one meal in any one day according to Pitchford, 2002 (p. 158). Foods to nourish reproductive health or jing Royal jelly, bee pollen, chicken or duck eggs, fish eggs and roe, seeds (especially black sesame), nuts, seaweeds (Pacific Harvest have a good variety including New Zealand-produced karengo, kelp and agar), algae (spirulina, chlorella, blue-green), oysters, brains, kidneys, bone marrow. Artichoke leaves, nettles, oats, ghee, raw whole milk products, cereal grasses (barley, wheat), chicken, mussels, and abalone (paua) can also be jing nourishing. One of the most nutritious jing tonics in Chinese diet therapy is bone marrow soup (see recipe below) which involves simmering bones such as a chicken carcass, beef or pork bones for a good 25 hours. The length of time is important as this is thought to draw
Lee-Ana Lowe 2011 | Ana-Med Acupuncture 027 310 7014 I lee-ana@ana-med.co.nz I www.ana-med.co.nz

out the minerals and nutrients from the bones. By adding vegetables like ginger, garlic, onions, carrots, and celery you can aid this leaching from the bones making the nutrients and minerals more available to the body (Pitchford, 2002). It is especially important to source organic produce where organs and bones are concerned as these are places where toxins can accumulate in non-organic animals. A vegetarian option is also outlined in the recipe section below but would not have quite the same nutritional value as those broths/stocks made from bone. Foods that nourish the kidneys are also helpful as the kidneys are where the jing is stored. These foods are often dark in colour and sometimes red. They include black beans, kidney and aduki beans, purple rice, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries and black sesame. Also good for the kidneys are millet, wheat, walnuts and chestnuts. Things that deplete jing Stress, fear, trauma, shock, insecurity, serious illness, overwork or too much physical exercise, too much sex (or semen loss in men), for women having too many children too close together (23 years in between each birth usually gives the mother adequate time to recover), toxins such as chemicals and insecticides in foods and water, GE foods, intoxicants/stimulants (alcohol, recreational and many pharmaceutical drugs, coffee, tobacco), heavy metals, excess sweet things and too much protein (as with some diets that exclude carbohydrates altogether). Fasting is also thought by some to diminish jing especially if done for long periods of time. Lyttleton, 2004 also claims that jing reserves can be affected by anything that damages DNA in the chromosomes such as x-rays and mutagenic chemicals. There are many things in todays environment that can contribute to jing depletion. Although Western medicine has helped us fight infections and prolong human life, the degeneration of our bodies, bones and minds perhaps is an indication that we could do a lot better for ourselves in terms of our own preservation. The acid environment (a type of heat in Chinese Medicine) seen in many of us today can result in numerous allergies or food intolerances. The TCM practitioner is aware that the lack of fluids and moistening caused by this heat can, over a long period of time, lead to more serious conditions such as nerve/stress issues like tremors and stroke if not treated. On a broader scale, this is perhaps something that we are seeing already in our external environment with earthquakes becoming more frequent. Are we draining the earth of its jing by extracting reserves such as oil and minerals? After all it is the oil (omega oils) and minerals that seem to align with jing reserves in human bodies.

Lee-Ana Lowe 2011 | Ana-Med Acupuncture 027 310 7014 I lee-ana@ana-med.co.nz I www.ana-med.co.nz

Recipes Bone stock/broth Classic Asian examples of nutritious bone broths or stocks to rebuild a recovering mother are chicken or beef and seaweed. The stock can be used as an ingredient for making other dishes or a simple soup snack and should be eaten over several days. Follow directions for Beef broth in the Korean postpartum seaweed soup substituting chicken for the beef if desired, a vegetarian option is also outlined with Dried Chinese mushrooms (shitake). Preparation for cooking broth - feiseui (flying through water) or parboiling meat and poultry is thought to be very important before the ingredients are acceptable for adding to soup. The process involves putting the raw bones/meat (preferably skinned with fat trimmed and rinsed) in boiling water with a few slices of ginger and boiling for 5-10minutes until the foamy coagulation rises to the top, discard the water then rinse the bones/meat thoroughly (Chen, 2009). Some would also soak the bones in water for about 30 minutes prior to boiling (Chang 2011). As a child I was told that the foam that rises to the top of the pot is the toxicities that come out of the meat/bones. Korean Postpartum Seaweed Soup Beef broth 1 pound beef bone, oxtail or shank. 30 cups of water, or water to fill stock pot Broth: Fill stock pot with water and prepared beef bone, oxtail or shank and bring to a boil. Simmer for 2-3 hours. Set aside and let broth cool down. Skim fat. Beef bone and bone from oxtail and shank can be used 2-3 times to produce beef broth. If using oxtail or shank, remove meat before boiling for second time. Vegetarian broth 4 dried Shiitake mushrooms one handful dried kelp (kelp/kombu is available in strips and one would generally be adequate) half an onion Rinse dried mushrooms and kelp and place in 8 cups of water. Soak in water for 2 hours. Add onion and bring to boil. Boil for 10 minutes. Remove mushrooms, kelp, and onion from broth. Seaweed soup using prepared broth 1. 2 cups of rinsed and drained seaweed (take handful of dried kombu, cover with water and soak for 15-30 minutes - some types of seaweed such as wakame and karengo need only 2-3 minutes soaking). Rinse, drain and chop into bite-size pieces if needed. 2. Add seaweed and 5-6 cups soup stock; bring to a boil. (If you used oxtail or shank, add the cooked meat to soup.) Boil for about 15 minutes over medium heat. 3. Add 1-2 teaspoon soy sauce or salt, to taste.

Lee-Ana Lowe 2011 | Ana-Med Acupuncture 027 310 7014 I lee-ana@ana-med.co.nz I www.ana-med.co.nz

Simple beef seaweed soup 1. Cut beef, such as brisket, into small pieces. 2. Add sesame oil to pot and cook meat on medium heat. 3. Add seaweed that has been soaked and drained. 4. Slowly add 5-6 cups of water/broth and bring to a boil. Garnish with toasted sesame oil, salt/soy sauce and fresh herbs e.g. chives, coriander, parsley.(Adapted from Chang, 2011). Rice Congee Jook A simple and nourishing medicinal food with many possible variations to suit every taste. It can be made into a savoury or sweet dish. The basic recipe... cup rice 4-5 cups of water or stock (depending on whether you like a watery, soupy jook or a thick, creamy, porridgy jook). Bring to the boil then lower heat and simmer on low heat until rice has broken down and mixture becomes the consistency of porridge (if you want a thick jook). A good hour is usually adequate time for this unless using brown rice which may take a bit longer (generally brown rice jook is a bit more watery as its not as glutenous). Make up your own Jook recipes by choosing from the jing and kidney nourishing foods above, some examples are... Savoury versions can be made with stock (bone or vegetarian): Shitake mushroom (pre-soaked and finely sliced) with chicken slices. Seafood of your choice and fresh ginger. Aduki bean and beetroot. Seaweed, shitake mushroom and Chinese red date. To garnish with spring onion/chives/parsley, a dash of soy sauce and toasted sesame oil. Sweet versions: Chinese red date (or normal date), longan fruit and fresh ginger Fig and almond Coconut and citrus peel Apricot and ginger For extra protein add some amaranth or quinoa. To garnish choose from - honey, bee pollen, tahini, seeds (chia/toasted sesame/flax/ sunflower), milk, fresh fruit.

Lee-Ana Lowe 2011 | Ana-Med Acupuncture 027 310 7014 I lee-ana@ana-med.co.nz I www.ana-med.co.nz

References
Brown, L. (2009). Acubalance fertility diet. Retrieved from http://www.acubalance.ca/fertility-diet/acubalance-fertility-diet/chapter-1-fertility-dietresearch-recommendations Chang, M. (2011, May16). Asian American Mothers and Postpartum Food Traditions: Korean Seaweed Soup Recipe. Retrieved from http://www.hyphenmagazine.com/blog/archive/2011/05/asian-american-mothers-andpostpartum-food-traditions-korean-seaweed-soup-recip Chen, T. (2009). A tradition of soup: Flavours from Chinas Pearl River Delta. Berkeley, California: North Atlantic Books. Cleary, T. (1991). Vitality, energy, spirit: A taoist sourcebook. Boston, Massachusetts: Shambala Publications Inc. Kastner, J. (2004). Chinese nutrition therapy: Dietetics in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). Stuttgart, Germany: Goerg Theime Verlag. Larre, C. & Rochat de la Vallee, E. (1999). Essence, spirit, blood and qi. London, England: Monkey Press. Leggett, D. (1999). Recipes for self-healing. Devon, England: Meridian Press. Leggett, D. (2005). Helping ourselves: A guide to traditional Chinese food energetics (2nd ed.). Devon, England: Meridian Press. Liu, J. (1995). Chinese dietary therapy (1st English ed.). London, England: Churchill Livingstone. Lyttleton, J. (2004). Treatment of infertility with Chinese medicine. London, England: Churchill Livingstone. Maciocia, M. (2005). The foundations of Chinese medicine: A comprehensive text for acupuncturists and herbalists (2nd ed.). London, UK: Churchill Livingstone. Pitchford, P. (2002). Healing with whole foods (3rd ed.). Berkeley, California: North Atlantic Books. Price, W.A. (1939). Nutrition and physical degeneration: A comparison of primitive and modern diets and their effects. [Electronic version]. Paul B. Hoeber, Inc; Medical Book Department of Harper & Brothers. Reid, D. (1993). Guarding the three treasures: The Chinese way of health. London, Great Britain: Simon & Schuster Ltd Reid, D. (1989). The tao of health, sex, and longevity. London, Great Britain: Simon & Schuster UK Ltd. Wang, Y., Sheir, W., Ono, M. (2010). Ancient Wisdom, Modern Kitchen Recipes from the East for Health, Healing and Long Life. Cambridge, USA, Da Capo Press. .

Lee-Ana Lowe 2011 | Ana-Med Acupuncture 027 310 7014 I lee-ana@ana-med.co.nz I www.ana-med.co.nz