Diet, food, recipe, Traditional Chinese Medicine

Strawberries: how to eat ’em and why they are good for you

StrawberrySo strawberries have been in the news at the moment and for all of the wrong reasons. But that doesn’t mean that they are not a) tasty and b) good for you!

You may also be helping our farmers out with their glut of beautiful fruit that is now unlikely to be sold at the quantities they’d hoped.

Here’s what strawberries are generally considered to do for us from a Chinese Medicine point of view:

  • Thermal nature: cooling
  • Flavour: sweet, sour
  • Effect: Forms body fluids and Blood

So this means that the delicious red goodness that is a strawberry is refreshing, the sweetness promotes the production of body fluids (good for those people who have problems associated with dryness), the sourness conserves those body fluids and the red colour means this fruit is beneficial for making Blood. On the last point, strawberries are considered to be high in vitamin C and we know that this is helpful in absorbing iron – you might want to team your strawberries up as a dessert following an iron rich meal. Don’t eat too many strawberries (especially raw) if you run cold or are prone to loose bowel motions.

So what should you do with your strawberries, especially if you’ve picked up a bumper pack at a bargain price? (After you’ve sliced them first for safety reasons.)

Well in Chinese Medicine, the general rule is not to eat too much raw food (especially with a cooling nature and especially if you already feel cold) so maybe eat a few raw strawberries. The rest can be cooked up in any one of these great sounding healthy, strawberry recipes. Failing that, you can always dip a few in the finest quality, fair trade, 70+% cacao, dark chocolate. Yum.

So support the farmers, enjoy your strawberries and just be sure to cut them (and maybe cook them up) first.

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

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

Chocolate strawberry tart – gluten & dairy free

During a cooking disaster one must remember this!

Last weekend I tried out a dish I have been curious about for ages. It was one of those chocolate avocado tarts that the vegans and raw food enthusiasts of the interweb claim to be as good as chocolate mousse. I’m neither vegan nor a raw foodie but am interested in dairy-free chocolate alternatives.

A found a recipe for one in a book I had at home which claimed it “had gained a reputation” in the town in which the author lived. Sounded like a winner.

This tart was to be consumed at a Saturday night gathering of some of my dearest acupuncture friends. And I have to say that the original chocolate avocado mix was a disaster! It tasted just as appetising as chocolate mixed with avocado sounds. So with much tinkering I resurrected it into the tart you find here. Still not confident that this was up-to-scratch to serve to my foodie health professional friends I considered swinging past the local shops for an emergency offering of a box of chocolates, just in case but ran out of time. I was lucky that being August in Queensland we have an abundance of fresh strawberries, some of which had been sold to me in a big punnet the day before at the clinic, fresh from the farm. These would have to do.

The funny thing was that everyone at the gathering had experienced either cooking or take-away food disasters (which all turned out well in the end) for the food brought along that night. I wasn’t alone.

The tart once significantly tinkered with, refridgerated, then popped into the freezer briefly, decorated with strawberries and topped with toasted shredded coconut was actually quite popular. I was shocked and relieved. A comment was even made that if I hadn’t mentioned that avocado was an ingredient they would not have been able to tell.

Being a Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner, I couldn’t resist including (un)crystallised ginger to the base and ground cinnamon and ginger to the chocolate mix to enhance the digestibility, warmth and balance to what is essentially a very cold, rich, yin-style dessert.

So here you go, the significantly-tinkered-with-recipe that was almost a disaster but turned out to be quite delicious in the end (as pictured):

Chocolate strawberry tart

Strawberry chocolate tart webIngredients:

Base:

Filling:

  • 150g  organic, fair trade dark chocolate (70-85%)
  • 4 small avocados
  • 1 tablespoon nut butter (I used almond, brazil and cashew nut butter)
  • 5 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger, ground
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon, ground

Topping:

  • Large punnet of fresh strawberries, sliced.
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut

Method:

  1. Grease a tart dish.
  2. Gently toast almonds and coconut until golden in pan.
  3. Add to food processor and blend. Add dates and ginger pieces to almonds and coconut. Blend until mixture sticks together. Add some extra dates if mixture is not sticky enough.
  4. Add mixture to tart dish and spread evenly over base and sides, using your clean fist to press mixture down firmly. Put aside.
  5. Melt chocolate in a bowl over simmering water.
  6. Blend avocados in clean food processor until smooth. Add in melted chocolate, nut butter, maple syrup, ginger and cinnamon, blend until mixed well.
  7. Spoon chocolate avocado mix into tart base and smooth on top.
  8. Refridgerate until 30 minutes prior to serving.
  9. Gently toast shredded coconut until golden. Remove from pan and set aside for topping.
  10. Place tart in freezer for 30 minutes then top with sliced fresh strawberries and toasted shredded coconut.

If you so desire, you may serve this tart with cream (or a dairy-free substitute) with a touch of cointreau.

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.