In order to live the true Taoist lifestyle, your diet will probably have to be changed. Some basic guidelines to follow are:
Increase intake of the following:
- Whole grains and products made with them
- Vegetables, ideally organic and seasonal
- Fruit, but not tropical. Dried fruit is very good.
- Seeds and nuts
- Tofu and soya
- Herbal and china tea
Decrease intake of the following:
- Red meat (hard to digest)
- Refined products such as white sugar, flour and bread
- Tropical fruits (very acidic)
- Artificial additives of all kinds - “eat only food”
- Dairy products and cheese
- Drugs - including caffeine, alcohol and nicotine
- Cold drinks and foods.
- Strong spices and chilli
- Deep fried food
The food you eat is considered extremely important to physical, mental and spiritual health in directing your flow of “Chi”, the negative and positive energy in your body, in your body. By inserting needles into the skin at certain specified points the Chinese Doctor seeks to slow or encourage the flow of Chi in certain areas, thereby restoring balance within the body.
There are other aspects than just eating certain foods to change your diet, including herbalism. By using different herbs in your food, or by creating teas by using herbs you can help increase the positive energy in your body; but by mixing two herbs with opposite effects, you can decrease the positive energy and increase the negative energy. The referential concepts of Ying and Yang apply here
Roasted Vegetable Pasta
This is a tried and true favourite, and you can add whatever veggies you prefer, of course!
- 3 large leeks, white parts only, split in half lengthwise and cut to bites sized pieces
- 1 medium red onion, whacked into eighths
- 1 red bell pepper (sometimes use 2) cut into wide strips
- olive oil
- 2 fresh sprigs of thyme
- vegetable stock or water
- 4 large garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 1/2 cups tomato sauce
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
- 1/4 cup white wine
- 1 tablespoon (or less) of salt
- 3/4 pound dried penne pasta (doesn't have to be penne)
- 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- optional: 3 ounces mozzarella or goat cheese
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. (adjust for Celsius)
- Put leeks, onion, and red bell pepper in a shallow roasting pan, tossing them with a tablespoon of olive oil to coat them. Add thyme and roast until they are cooked and start to brown (about 30-45 minutes). Hint: check early to make sure they're not burning, and add a little water or vegetable stock if the juices are evaporating.
- While vegetables are roasting, saute the garlic in a tablespoon of olive oil until it begins to colour. Add the tomato sauce and simmer 1 minute. Then turn off heat and add the basil. Stir the roasted vegetables into the sauce. Gorgeous!
- Turn oven down to 375 F. Add wine to roasting pan and stir, scraping up bits of vegetables that are stuck to pan, and add these deglazed juices to the sauce.
- Boil large pot of water and add the salt and pasta - undercook the pasta - should take only 6-8 minutes.
- Drain pasta, add it to the sauce and vegetables. Add the cheese and mix it all. Grease a 2 to 2 1/2 quart casserole dish and pour it all in. Top with the optional mozzarella or goat cheese if you like, then bake it all for another 15 minutes in the 375 F oven.
- Share with someone, and give thanks.
Kiwi and Asian Pear in Lemon Sauce
(Kiwo To Nashi No Lemon Ae)
This makes a delicious and refreshing cool summer dish. Lemon Sauce:
- Finely-grated fresh peel of one small lemon
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 2 tbsp. sugar
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. sesame oil
--Whisk all these together in a the serving bowl and set aside
- 2 kiwifruit, peeled, sliced, and cut into thin strips
- 1 crisp Asian pear, sliced, and cut into thin strips (crisp Anjou pear may be substituted)
- 1/2 yellow or red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
- 1/2 European cucumber, halved, seeded, and cut into thin strips
- 1 tbsp. lightly roasted black sesame seeds
--Add this to the bowl of lemon sauce, toss, cover, and chill for about an hour. Enjoy!
Tri-colored Autumn Rice Balls
If you have some ready-made steamed sweet rice, you are ready to go. If not, here is how to make the steamed sweet rice. You need to make this in advance; then you can easily make the Autumn Rice Balls treat given below it.
Steamed Sweet Rice: Place 1 1/2 cups sweet glutinous rice (mochi gome) in a medium bowl. Wash rice thoroughly in cool water, rinsing and repeating until water is clear, drain, then return rice to bowl. Add 3 cups water. Soak 6 hours or overnight. Drain well and spread rice evenly in a round, 8 or 9 inch, shallow baking pan and add 1/3 cup water. In a wok bring about 4 cups water to a boil over medium high heat. Place a steamer tray in the wok. Cover the pan of rice and place on the tray over the boiling water. Steam it for 30 minutes. If rice is not tender, sprinkle with 2 or 3 tablespoons of water and steam it 5 minutes more. When tender, remove steamer tray from wok. Makes about 3 cups.
Ohagi is a simple a tea sweet, which was at one time served during the autumn equinox celebration. The name comes from a type of bush clover that only blooms in the fall. Serve these rice balls with your finest cup of tea. The rest of the recipe is:
- Steamed Sweet Rice (prepare previously; see above)
- 1/4 cup toasted black sesame seeds, lightly crushed
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 cup smooth Japanese bean paste (koshi-an), chilled
- 1/2 cup roasted soybean powder (kinako) or toasted ground pecans.
Mix sesame seeds and sugar in a small bowl. Moisten your hands with water and divide warm rice into 12 equal portions. Shape 4 portions into balls. Moisten a clean dish towel and squeeze dry. Place 2 1/2 tablespoons bean paste on towel; pat into 4 inch circle. Place 1 rice ball in centre of bean paste circle and use towel to mould bean paste around the rice ball. Repeat this 3 more times, using another 1/2 cup of bean paste and the other 3 rice balls. Place these on a nice serving tray. Flatten the remaining eight rice portions. Form the remaining bean paste into 8 balls (about 2 teaspoons per ball). Place a bean paste ball in the centre of each piece of flattened rice and shape the rice around it. Mould these stuffed rice balls into oval shapes. Roll 4 ovals in the sesame-sugar mixture. Roll the other 4 balls in the roasted soybean powder. Add these to the serving tray. Makes six servings of 2 rice balls each.