Food is Medicine: Jook or Congee

jookWith the wet, dark, soon-to-be snow again days we might feel the change in our bones and our willingness to get up and do. Winter is an important time of rest – let the shorter days of sunlight inspire you into a less active day. Seek stillness, find the quiet in your own way …

and still you may feel that change in your bones. Stiff joints, achy muscles, and a cold or flu just around the corner!

I pull out my crock pot(s – one big, one small) and get into making jook. Jook is Cantonese for water, a rice porridge called “water rice” in Mandarin. It is easy to make, easy to digest, and depending on what you put in it – can go a long way toward healing what ails you. The basics are this:

8-10 parts water to 1 part rice. Cook for four hours or more. It’s simple.

This is where a crock pot comes in. I’ll put my rice, water, and herbs in overnight. In the morning I crack in an egg or two while I go through my morning routine. Soon I have a poached egg and a warm, medicinal breakfast. A great recipe for Garlic Ginger Jook is here.

Other favorites: orange peel and aduki bean for dampness, radish for abdominal distention, fennel to harmonize the stomach, turmeric for inflammation. Please ask me or another Chinese Medicine Practitioner about what’s right for you and your constitution if you’re not sure.

Consider adding in other grains too, like quinoa, lentil, millet. Grains, like herbs, can be warming or cooling and have a medicinal effect for the symptoms you’re concerned about. Or perhaps you’re concerned about rice in general after reading this?