The Healing Powers of Congee
An Eastern Medicine Digestive Remedy
Congee is a healing porridge. This soupy rice mixture is used as a traditional breakfast food and remedy. Congees are very easy on the digestive system and offer an accessible source of energy for the body. Congees form the base of a number of therapeutic foods and can be tailored to meet your individual needs.
Benefits of Congee
- Nourishes stomach and spleen meridians. Signs of spleen meridian imbalance includes bloating, sinus drainage and congestion, water retention, heavy-bodied sensation, frontal headaches, gas, loose stools or irregular bowel movements, feeling groggy in the mornings, brain fog, and easy bruising.
- In Traditional Chinese Medicine, foods that are warm, easily digestible, and moistening help nourish and soothe a weakened or inflamed digestive tract.
- Tonifies Qi and Blood. This translates to increased strength and energy for those with fatigue and weakness.
- Improves bowel regularity.
- Warms the body.
- Boosts metabolism.
- Helps with anorexia, diarrhea, constipation.
- Enhances milk production in breastfeeding mothers.
- Ideal for recovery from stomach flus/viruses, and food poisoning. The traditional BRAT diet includes bread which is inflammatory for the digestive tract and applesauce which is high in fructose causing gas and bloating for many. Gatorade, gingerale, and saltines are full of sugar and artificial junk. Offer your body real food that truly hydrates and nourishes.
How to Make Congee
- If you have an Instant Pot, congee is a breeze. Simply add short grain white rice
(also called sushi rice) and chicken stock, bone broth, coconut milk, or water in a 5/1 liquid to rice ratio. Cook on manual for 15-20 minutes.
- In a stovetop pot or crockpot, use the same liquid/rice ratio and cook until soft and soupy. Crockpot: low for 6-8 hours.
- If you are using congee due to a stomach bug, severe illness, or have a very compromised digestive tract skip the add-ons listed below. Instead, keep it simple with extra stock, rice, a veggie, and minimal spices.
Make it a meal
- Add a protein. Ground turkey, pork, beef, or even sausage slices or shredded pork/chicken all make great add-ins. A fried, poached, or soft boiled egg on top is another good option.
- Add a veggie (or lots). I recommend cabbage, onion, cauliflower, leek, mushrooms, turnips, or parsnips.
- Add spices. Garlic, ginger, turmeric, black pepper, cinnamon, green onion, etc all go great in congee. You can flavor it savory or sweet, however you like it!
- Add a fat. If you are vegan, you can make this a balanced meal by adding a fat like coconut milk or oil, ghee, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, or walnuts/almonds/pecans.
- Each of the above foods has therapeutic properties of their own. To have a customized congee recipe tailored to your body’s needs, schedule an appointment.
*Photo from seriouseats.com