My intention is not necessarily to blog about food all the time, but I have a feeling it will be a pretty common topic here. I’m ok with that for a few reasons: a) food is a universally relevant topic. We all have to eat. b) food is often times a great medicine – both preventative and curative. And c) I love it! I like eating. I like cooking. I like how food looks. I like experimenting with recipes and I love thinking about food in terms of Chinese Medicine. Foods have temperatures, properties and correlations to organ systems that they can impact.
Today I made a Canary melon smoothie with mint and vanilla almond milk. It was incredibly fresh tasting and cooling on a hot day like today. Personally, I tend to have a constitution that is on the warm side. In five element theory (wood, fire, earth, metal, water) I am a fire. I usually feel hot, my skin can get red and flush easily and I am perpetually thirsty.
Tired of drinking iced tea and water all summer long, I decided to try a different thirst quenching route. I’m not usually a big fan of melons but they were on sale at the store this week and they were really beautiful – plump, vivacious and fragrant. They seemed to radiate healthy, strong Qi. I’ve had honeydew and watermelon and cantaloupe but this produce bin included melons I’d never tried like crenshaw, juan canary and casaba. It seemed now was the time to experiment. I bought a football sized canary yellow melon.
I broken out the blender and made a regular smoothie for breakfast with yogurt, raspberries and a banana. While I was washing it, it occurred to me that a smoothie might be the best way to use the melon so that I might actually eat it before it went bad – which can easily happen with foods you don’t have a plan for or don’t know quite how to prepare.
I kept it simple which is always hard for me. I usually add too many different elements and have had to train myself to pick a focus and then highlight that one point of view – I usually fail in this effort when it comes to dressing myself.
I picked some mint from my deck herbs, juiced a lemon, chopped half the melon up into cubes and poured in the almond milk. Melons are cooling and sweet and act on the heart, stomach and bladder channels. Lemons are acrid and sour and are good for moving the qi of the body. Mint is actually used as a Chinese herb on it’s own and is a potent mover of stuck qi and vents heat and inflammation from the skin. Almond milk is sweet and neutral in temperature and distinctly moistening, especially for the lungs and intestines. It is a great food for dry, irritated cough and constipation. After first blend, it was not quite sweet enough and the consistency was off. I added honey (very good for the yin, or nourishing properties of the body) and some crushed ice cubes and viola!
I have since drunk the entire thing and could not feel more refreshed albeit very full. Recipe as follows:
1 half melon; cubed
juice of 1 lemon
6-10 mint leaves
1 tsp honey
1 cup vanilla or original flavored almond milk (Soy or rice milk would work well too – yogurt or cow milk can be used but will make the smoothie much thicker and can produce excess phlegm in the body. Also feel free to adjust amounts here to reach desired consistency.)
6 ice cubes crushed (or 1/2 cup crushed ice)
Put all ingredients in blender and pulse until smooth!