Soup your way to more energy and better kidneys

We all know that cooking for ourselves is the healthiest way to go, but let's face it: we don't always have the time or the inclination. So it's important to know what you can eat when you go out that packs a punch with nutrition and is great for your health.

You can't do better than Pho Vietnamese beef noodle soup. I've tried to make it myself but couldn't quite get the stock right - there's a real art to it. I figure we eat out so much as a culture I may as well give you some guidance on what's delicious, authentic and healthy at the same time!


Better kidneys

In Vietnam, they eat Pho for breakfast which is actually the best time of day to eat meat because it has the whole day to digest and give you energy. Pho has been made from beef bones which are known to boost the Kidney Qi (energy). The kidneys are the foundation of life according to Chinese medical theory. It is said that they govern the balance of water and fire in the body; they store pre and postnatal Qi which is needed for many bodily functions. They are also associated with the emotion of fear, they rule the bones, are integral to the processes of birth, growth, development and reproduction, and they are the foundation of Yin and Yang.

They are very important organs so it's good to keep them replenished. Typically we wear them down in our society with overworking, burning the candle at both ends and partying too hard. Some symptoms of all this include a sore lower back &/or knee, dark circles under the eyes, early signs of grey hair or balding, excess fluid in the ankles, lack of sexual drive, infertility, back pain that gets worse from standing, a lack of willpower and the emotion of fear.

All that may sound a little overwhelming but now you know why it's a good idea to look after your kidney energy. Any soup that has been made from scratch from the marrow of bones is going to be good for your Kidneys.


Need heating? Good eating

As well as soup being a good Kidney tonic, it's also ideal for the colder months of the year. In autumn and winter, our bodies are enduring colder weather and as such, they perform better when we ingest warm food. In Chinese medicine, balancing the temperature of food with the time of year it is eaten is very important in maintaining good health.

For example, during winter it's not ideal to have salads every day as these are “cold" and so are harder to digest. The stomach and spleen are the main digestive organs in Chinese medical terms, and they like food to be warm. This is not to say you can never have salads during winter; it's just that as a general rule they aren't as ideal for your body at this time. Salads are naturally needed by the body more during Spring and Summer.


Written by Rebecca Mar Young Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner

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