Tips for Healthy Eating in Spring
LICHUN, which fell on February 4 this year, signifies the beginning of spring in East Asian cultures. In the past, farmers often celebrated this occasion with special village events, worship and offerings to the gods along with ceremonies calling for a happy and prosperous new year.
In China, people eat radishes, spring pancakes and spring rolls on this day. Besides these traditional must-have foods, whose ingredients without exception include vegetables and pork wrapped in a thin pancake to form rolls, the wisdom of traditional Chinese medicine lets us know what to eat to enhance energy and facilitate health.
Most recommended for spring are Chinese dates and yams, which can enhance human immune systems and protect digestive systems. A congee cooked with Chinese dates, yams, millet and rice is easy to prepare and also good and healthy.
Other mildly sweet foods good for spring consumption are glutinous rice, sorghum, various beans, cabbage, spinach, carrot, potato, sweet potato, pumpkin, dry longan, horse nut, Jew's ear fungi and other mushrooms. Traditional Chinese wisdom also warns against foods with "cooling" functions such as cucumbers and green bean sprouts. Warming foods -- such as ginger, onions and leeks -- are good for this time of year.
For those who live in North China where spring is often windy and dry, foods that will soothe a dry throat and keep the body hydrated are recommended. Honey, pears, bananas, lily bulbs, sugarcane and white radish fall into this category.
Apart from sour food like plums and hawthorn fruit, oily fried food should be avoided, especially by people with chronic liver disease.
1. Honey radish juice
Take 500 grams of white radish, wash clean, peel and make juice, then mix in 20 grams of honey for every 60 ml of radish juice.
2. Lily bulb steamed with sugar
Take 50 grams of lily bulb and 50 grams of honey, wash the bulb clean, then mix it with honey and steam for an hour.
3. Pear confection
Take 500 grams of pear, wash clean, peel and keep only the pulp. Boil the pulp and add 250 grams of honey. Cook the pulp thoroughly and store in a container after it cools.
4. Sugarcane congee
Take 500 grams of sugarcane and extract the juice. Cook congee with 60 grams of rice, pour in 60 ml of sugarcane juice, put it on the stove and bring to the boil.
5. Lily bulb and lotus seed congee
Take 30 grams of lily bulb, the same amount of lotus seeds and rock candy and 100 grams of rice. Cook the lily bulb, lotus seeds and rice together. Add in rock candy when the congee is done.