In Western diets, foods are broken down into proteins, calories and carbohydrates. But in Chinese medicine, the focus is on vitamins, minerals and the energetic properties of the food. It also looks at our body’s relationship to the energetics associated with the food. For example, how a root vegetable can have a grounding and warming effect on our bodies and minds. While it may sound "woo-woo" to you, do remember this form of medicine has been practiced for over 5,000 years, and while the Chinese have adopted many aspects of modern western medicine, they still use this form of medicine in their daily life- especially using food as medicine (which of course, I love!!!)
Interestingly, Chinese medicine is in many ways very much in alignment with Ayurveda. Ayurvedic medicine is a system of traditional Hindu medicine native to India, and which has also been used for thousands of years. For example, they also believe root vegetables are grounding and should especially be consumed during the fall and winter months.
I have experimented with both forms of medicine with much success- and the best? when you integrate western, Chinese, and Ayurvedic medicine!
The roots of any plant are its anchor and foundation; they are the essential parts that support and nourish the plant. Root vegetables lend these properties to us when we eat them, making us feel physically and mentally grounded and rooted, increasing our stability, stamina and endurance. Roots are a rich source of nutritious complex carbohydrates, providing a steady source of necessary sugars to the body. Instead of upsetting blood sugar levels like refined sweet foods, they regulate them. Since they absorb, assimilate and supply plants with vital nutrients, roots likewise increase absorption and assimilation in our digestive tracts.
Long roots, like burdock, carrots, parsnips and daikon radish, are excellent blood purifiers and can help improve circulation in the body and increase mental clarity. Round roots, like turnips, radishes, beets and rutabagas, are nourishing to the stomach, spleen, pancreas and reproductive organs and can help regulate blood sugar and moods, and alleviate cravings.
Also, eating root vegetables can have a warming effect on our bodies and prepare us for winter.
Try root vegetables roasted, steamed, boiled or baked- in salads, soups, as a side vegetable, etc..
Check out my Pinterest page for some great root vegetable recipes!