Dietary Suggestions for Qi Stagnation

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healing with whole foods 2
Qi stagnation can cause a cascade of events including hormonal fluctuations, disturbed sleep and irregular menstrual cycles.

What is Qi stagnation? Qi stagnation can result from physical or emotional stress, chronic disease, traumatic events, poor diet and lifestyle choices. When these events occur, it affects the natural flow of energy, or “Qi” in the body. Exaggerated emotional outbursts, depression, physical pain, digestive complaints and low libido are among the symptoms commonly experienced with Qi stagnation.

grape walnut garbanzo salad copy-29 smaller
Arugula salad tossed with garbanzos, red grapes, red onion, pomegranate, crushed almonds and drizzled with lemon-olive oil vinaigrette.

The following is a suggested guideline of foods to reduce or avoid:

  • Dairy (cheese, butter, ice-cream… I know your thinking, “what?”)
  • Fried or fatty food (pizza, fast food, french fries, chips, even fried veggies)
  • Alcohol
  • Refined sugar (this includes desserts and pre-packaged foods, like crackers, which easily convert to sugars)
  • Red meats
  • Raw or cold food

Add the following foods to your diet. Remember if it’s fresh, it’s probably best:

  • Green veggies (kale, mustard greens, broccoli, brussel sprouts, spinach)
  • Other veggies (beets, artichokes, celery, carrots, cauliflower)
  • Herbs that move Qi (onions, garlic, horseradish, pepper, ginger, turmeric, mint, basil, cumin, fennel)
  • Fruits (grapefruit, oranges/tangerines, kumquats)

Build your plate using the “Holy Trinity” as a guide:

  • A healthy fat (olive oil, coconut oil, avocado, nuts)
  • A veggie and/or fruit
  • A healthy protein (lean meat, fish, legumes, almonds, walnuts, unsalted pumpkin or sunflower seeds). 3-4 servings per week is best.

A healthy meal should involve about 40-60% of cooked vegetables, 30% complex carbohydrates and only around 10% protein.

Try the following easy Qi moving recipes:

Hearty Tuscan Ribollita Soup
* 30 min prep time; serves 6

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 lb. pancetta, chopped or diced
  • 1 baked potato, diced small
  • 1 firm zucchini, yellow or green, grated
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 rib of celery with leaves, sliced thin
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • 2 sprigs of rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1 bunch of tuscan or black kale, stemmed, then chopped thin
  • 1/2 bunch of rainbow swiss chard, stemmed, then chopped thin
  • 1 large tomato roughly chopped
  • 1 can (14 oz) of rinsed cannelloni or garbanzo beans
  • 1 quart low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup of shaved parmigiano cheese & olive oil for drizzling
  • and thin sliced red onion rings to top each serving

Tuscan soup ribollita copy-32 smallerStep 1:
Heat the olive oil in a soup pot, over medium-high heat. Add the pancetta quickly browning each side (about 2-3 minutes). Add the potatoes, cover the pot and allow potatoes to brown, 2-3 minutes.

Step 2:
Add the grated zucchini, carrots, celery, onions, herbs (rosemary & bay leaf) + salt and pepper to taste. Cover the pot and allow the vegetables to cook for 10 minutes (stirring occasionally).

Step 3:
Add the roughly chopped tomato to the pot. Follow by adding thinly chopped kale and swiss chard. For a holiday twist, add a pinch of ground nutmeg. Stir in the greens allowing them to wilt from the heat. Stir in the beans. Add the chicken stock + 1 cup of water. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat, cooking for 2-3 additional minutes. Uncover the pot, stir, then turn off the heat and allow soup to sit for 5-10 minutes while it thickens. Remove the bay leaf. Serve in bowls, topping each serving with shaved parmigiano, a thin slice of red onion & a drizzle of olive oil.

Warm Mediterranean Salad

  • 1 cup of cooked quinoa (follow directions on the package)
  • 4 cups of fresh, rinsed baby spinach leaves
  • 2 cups of rinsed arugula leaves
  • 1 grilled, boneless & skinless chicken breast (seasoned with salt, pepper, pinch of dried oregano), roughly chopped
  • 1/2 can (7 oz) of rinsed garbanzo beans
  • 10 cherry tomatoes, chopped
  • 10 red grapes, chopped (can substitute with dried, sweetened cranberries)
  • 1/4 cup unsalted raw almonds, roughly chopped
  • Optional: pomegranate seeds and thinly sliced red onion for topping each serving

Step 1:
Toss all ingredients together in a large salad or mixing bowl, allowing the warmed quinoa and grilled chicken breast to wilt the spinach and arugula leaves.

Step 2:
Whisk these ingredients together & toss the salad with this simple lemon-olive oil vinaigrette:

  • 1/2 tsp grated lemon zest
  • 2 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tsp sugar or honey
  • 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp salt & black pepper to taste

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