Nourishing the body with warming foods is a staple of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) year-round, but it’s especially relevant during the colder months. “In Traditional Chinese Medicine, we believe that starting the day with warming foods is an essential part of keeping our adrenals happy and securing longevity,” says Mona Dan, LAc., MTOM, an herbalist, acupuncturist, and the founder of Vie Healing.
“Preserving the body is the biggest factor in living a long healthy life,” she says. “Making sure we have a warming start with blood and energy boosting ingredients is key.” To put it into practice at the start of your day, Dan and Feng Ye, the founder of Sage Collective, recommend a few warming breakfast combinations.
Dan loves making a homemade congee bowl with either oats or cauliflower rice, milk (or alt-milk), dates, and berries. “This breakfast is full of blood- and energy-boosting ingredients,” she says.
Ye loves this breakfast combination, too. “It’s easy to digest and it strengths the blood and qi [energy],” she says, adding that she likes to add ginger, a warming spice, to her bowl.
If you like a savory breakfast, Dan recommends this one by the spoonful. You can load it up with vegetables to make sure your breakfast has plenty of fiber. “This bone broth soup holds tons of collagen; both the marrow and collagen are great for prepping your body for the winter,” she says.
This is another way Dan says you can give the body energy while warming the body. She also notes that it’s a great one for keeping blood sugar levels stable and nourishing the adrenals, another pillar of TCM cooking and eating.
Both Dan and Ye recommend pairing your breakfast with a hot cup of tea, which also warms the body and nourishes the adrenals. Ye loves a smoky black tea while Dan opts for green. Either way, you’ll be starting your day out on a high (and yummy) note.
Here’s how to eat for optimal energy, according to a dietitian:
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