Southwest Austin and Blanco Acupuncture

Morrocan Lentil Stew and more on PREVENTION

Chinese Medicine is a holistic medicine that offers insight on prevention going back thousands of years. Because of Traditional Chinese Medicine’s deep history we can all learn something for our whole health. With chronic diseases on the rise, it’s the most we can do to prevent illness through Chinese Medicine.

I wanted to share an excerpt from the Huang Di nei jing su wen. This is from the Chapter called Regulating the Qi in Accordance with the Four Seasons. The Nei Jing  is a collection of treatises and dates back to 2500 BC. It’s written in Chinese characters and for many years scholars of Chinese Medicine translate the ancient language. This particular translation is from Paul U. Unschuld and Hermann Tessenow.

The ancient Chinese studied how we need to live during the seasons to prevent disease along with eating and sleeping with regularity. Living right during the seasons allows us to know when to use our energy and when to reserve it. Here is the excerpt on winter.

The take away is RELAX! During winter we prepare for what is going to come into fruition in the Spring. Why no sweating? The passage says not to disturb your Yang qi. When we sweat our Yang escapes. If you do sweat, simply dry it off and cover quickly as possible.

The three months of winter, they denote securing and storing. The water is frozen and the earth breaks open.

Do not disturb the yang [qi].
Go to rest early and rise late.
you must wait for the sun to shine.

Let the mind enter a state as if hidden, {as if shut
in} as if you had secret intentions; as if you already had made gains.

Avoid cold and seek warmth and do not [allow sweat] to flow away through the skin. This would cause the qi to be carried away quickly.

This is correspondence with the qi of winter and
it is the Way of nourishing storage.
opposing it harms the kidneys. 

In spring this causes limpness with receding [qi], and there is little to support generation.

I chose a Morrocan lentil soup recipe this week. You can also add lamb to this stew. It’s quite delicious.  Enjoy!
  • Good tasting extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, cut into 1/8-inch dice
  • 1 small carrot, minced
  • 1/3 cup (tightly packed) fresh Italian parsley stems and leaves, chopped
  • 1/2 cup (tightly packed) fresh coriander stems and leaves, chopped
  • Salt
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 2-inch piece fresh ginger, minced (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1-1/4 cups dry red lentils
  • 2 teaspoons sweet Hungarian paprika
  • 1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes and their liquid, pureed (do not use tomato puree)
  • About 8 cups  canned vegetable or chicken stock, enough to make a slightly thick soup.


  • 2 lemons, each cut into 6 wedges
  • 12 or more dried figs, halved
  • 12 or more dates
  • 3 tablespoons cumin, freshly ground if possible
  • 3 tablespoons ground hot chile, Aleppo if possible
  • 12 small filo pastries of honey and nuts (see Cook to Cook)
  • 2 tablespoons (tightly packed) fresh coriander leaves, chopped


1. Film the bottom of a 6-quart pot with olive oil and set it over medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrot, parsley, coriander and a little salt and saute 8 minutes, or until golden brown. Reduce the heat to medium-low, stir in the pepper, garlic, ginger, turmeric and cinnamon and cook for 30 seconds.

2. Blend in the lentils, paprika, tomatoes and broth. Bring to a gentle bubble, partially cover, and simmer 45 minutes, or until the lentils have dissolved and the soup tastes rich and good. Season to taste with salt and pepper if needed. Add a little water if the soup is too thick.

3. While the soup cooks, set out small plates for each diner with the accompanimentslemon wedges, about 2 figs and dates for each, a little of the ground spices and bite-size pieces of pastry.

4. To serve the soup, sprinkle it with the 2 tablespoons of coriander and ladle into bowls.


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