Foods and activities to grow the Liver-Yin by Laurel Redmon
As Bob Flaws and Honora Wolfe mention in their dietetic book, Prince Wen Hui’s Cook, the American baby boomers are at increased risk for the syndrome of Liver-Yin deficiency due to inferior nutrition in childhood as well as ‘lifestyle excesses’. I imagine that this would include various youthful binges and benders as well as managing family, full-time work and keeping up with the Joneses.
The Yin nature is by definition grounding and slow-growing: like the tortoise we must commit to long-term, consistent effort. Things like not rushing or over-scheduling one’s day can have a big impact. Exercise like yoga and tai qi will have more benefit than over-heating and thus drying and tendon-fraying weekend warrior pursuits. Try to get enough sleep, and decide what’s enough with your body, not just your brain.
Vegetable foods are invaluable to incorporate daily. Try different sprouted seeds and grains– there is a lot of variety out there these days, or you can easily make your own for cheap. Fruits, especially berries like blueberries, raspberries and grapes are great, as is citrus. Celery, seaweeds, wood ear fungus, sesame seeds and burdock root are incredibly good. A note on this last group of ingredients: using then isn’t rocket science. We’re so lucky to live in a culture where we have access to wonderful food traditions from all over the world. These ingredients can be locally sourced and organic. Heat up some water, add some herbs or miso, put the ingredients in and have it for lunch, dinner a snack or even breakfast! You’ll feel really good.
Next step- get out and harvest some nettles, a great spring delicacy as a pot herb or tea, just protect your hands before you cook or dry them.