Diet, food, food allergy, herbal medicine, recipe, Traditional Chinese Medicine

Make your own Vietnamese rice paper rolls

IMG_1734We’ve been experiencing some sky high temperatures in Brisbane this summer, with more to come. Now, Chinese medicine usually frowns upon a large intake of raw and cold temperature foods but on days like today fresh, raw food is incredibly cooling and refreshing. If you want to know more about how to live well in Summer (including some cooling tips) click here.

So, I’ve been making some vegetarian rice paper rolls. These can be easily adapted to include the vegies that you like best – you can use my recipe just as a suggestion. My rice paper rolls recipe is vegetarian but you can substitute the tofu for organic chicken or duck if that is your preference.

Cucumber, lettuce and mint are considered to be thermally cold in Chinese medicine and that’s exactly why we’re using them on such a hot day. I like to team them up with some warming herbs including basil and coriander and a sauce that includes some fresh grated ginger and chilli to support the spleen and stomach (digestive system) with the extra burden of harder to digest raw food. So pay attention to your own body folks, and adjust the amount of raw food you eat that makes you feel well. Those with weak digestive systems or a tendency to ‘feel the cold’ would most likely do well to limit the raw food.

But back to the rice paper rolls (and they are gluten and dairy-free too) – here’s the recipe:

Vegetarian rice paper rolls

Ingredients

Vary the ingredient quantities to make the amount of rolls that you require. It’s easy to prepare some more salad ingredients as you go if you run short.

  • Rice papers (round, Vietnamese ones) – you’ll need 2 per finished roll
  • Lettuce leaves, medium size (can be fancy lettuces – mix it up with some different colours and varieties)
  • Carrot, grated
  • Cucumber, thinly sliced and about 10cm long
  • Yellow capsicum, thinly sliced. (Optional)
  • Avocado, sliced
  • Tofu, pre-fried. Cut into thin slices.
  • Mint leaves, about 3-5 per roll
  • Basil leaves, 2-4 per roll
  • Coriander leaves, sliced and sprinkle on each roll. (Optional)

Method

  1. Add some warm water to a large bowl.
  2. Soak a rice paper in the water for a few seconds and place on a clean, flat surface. Repeat with another rice paper and place it on top of the first rice paper.
  3. Lie a lettuce leaf in the half closest to you on the rice paper.
  4. Then top with some carrot,  cucumber and capsicum. IMG_1715
  5. Add on top the avocado and tofu slices. IMG_1716
  6. Then place a few mint, basil and coriander leaves on top. IMG_1717
  7. Roll the rice paper end that is closest to you over the top squeezing the ingredients in tightly*. Roll away from you and tuck the sides in before you have finished rolling it up.IMG_1720
  8. Repeat until you have made as many rice paper rolls as you desire. You can then serve them whole or slice them in half on an angle.  IMG_1724

*When you first start making these it will take a few attempts to get the filling quantity and rolling technique right, but once you have it these are easy to make.

A quick dipping sauce can be made with a dash of tamari (gluten-free soy sauce), sweet chilli sauce, rice wine vinegar and freshly grated ginger. Set the quantities to suit your own taste.IMG_1729

To book an appointment at the clinic or further information on Chinese Medicine contact Dr Sarah George (Acupuncture).  Sarah is a practitioner of acupuncture (AHPRA registered), massage therapy and natural health.

acupuncture, Diet, health, herbal medicine, Traditional Chinese Medicine

5 Chinese medicine tips to soothe a sore throat

Cold & flu tea, with lemon and honey.
Peppermint tea with lemon and honey.

It seems there are some sore throats going around at the moment which is characteristic of a time when there is change in the weather. (Just think about above-average high temperatures, windy days and sometimes a drop off in temperature after a storm.) In addition we all get a lot more social out and about in spring this increases our risk of picking up a spring/summer cold virus. And this all happens when many of us are run down from a very busy year, pushing through to the Christmas/New Year break. (If you are feeling run down make sure to book in for an appointment to get your energy and immune system back on track – the last thing you want is to get sick on your holidays!)

A sore throat is often your first warning sign that you have picked up a bug. Act immediately on your treatment to prevent the sore throat developing into a full blown cold or to at least lessen the severity of one.

If you have picked up a sore throat (often termed a wind-heat attack in Chinese medicine as symptoms are sudden and usually hot in nature – feverish, sweating, yellow/green phlegm).

Here’s my top five tips to put out the fire and soften the razor blades of a sore throat:

  1. Salt water gargles. Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt to a small glass of warm water. Gargle as many times per day as you can.
  2. Peppermint tea with a squeeze of lemon and a dash of honey. Lemon and peppermint are cooling but peppermint also helps to promote the release of the ‘wind-heat pathogen’ by opening the pores and honey will moisten a dry throat. Drink this likes it’s water as you will need to keep your fluids up anyway. Mulberry leaves and chrysanthemum may also be added to the tea.
  3. Pear anything. Eat fresh pears, cook them or juice them (small amounts regularly). Pears are used in Chinese medicine to cool and moisten a sore throat. Watermelon and figs are other sore throat favourites.
  4. Herbal medicine. The big guns! A personalised herbal formula can be made up for your individual symptoms. Often your formula can be gargled so that you get the local action of the herbs prior to swallowing. A herbal throat spray can also be convenient and welcome relief.
  5. Acupuncture. We have some excellent acupuncture techniques for taking the heat out of a sore throat quickly and addressing other symptoms like sinus congestion.

If you have come down with a common cold or flu check out these cold and flu tips to manage your other symptoms.

And remember at the first sign of a sore throat use these tips immediately!

To book an appointment at the clinic or further information on Chinese Medicine contact Dr Sarah George (Acupuncture).  Sarah is a practitioner of acupuncture (AHPRA registered), massage therapy and natural health.