Recipe for Liver & Lungs, Wood & Metal: Turnips, Fennel, Shiitakes and Turmeric


Food and the cycle of Water, Wood, Fire, Earth and Metal. Sautéd veggie and shitake mushroom salad recipe.

 As far as oriental medicine goes, the key to health is food. Of course, exercise is also important, especially practices like Tai Chi and Qi Gong, as well as medical care, like acupuncture, which my mom (an acupuncturist) sometimes calls “lazy man’s yoga.”

But paying attention to what you eat is critical to a balanced system and good health. Knowing why you are eating a food can be fun, too. White foods (i.e. turnips and fennel bulbs) are good for the lungs, and thus for the liver as well. Fennel can also help the liver when it is unbalanced (when there’s too much of the wood element). Turmeric is also an excellent food for the liver. So,… here’s a recipe to nourish your wood and metal elements, your lungs, and your liver, that also tastes delicious!

Sautéd Veggie and Shitake Mushroom Salad


  • 3-4 small, fresh, local turnips with leaves
  • one bulb of local fresh fennel
  • one lime
  • a couple of shitake mushrooms
  • a small beet
  • a dash of black sesame seeds
  • fresh tumeric (curcumin)
  • scallions (optional)
  • carrot (optional)
  • any other fresh local veggies you like
  • fresh ground black pepper
  • oil of your choice
  • celtic salt or salt of your choice

Making the meal:

  • Slice and sauté the turnips, fennel, turmeric, shitakes, and beets into bite-size pieces.
  • Add a few dashes of black sesame seeds to nourish the water element as well.
  • Place the combination in a large bowl and squeeze  lime juice over it.
  • Grind black pepper and leave salt for the individual to add or not.
  • Serve with fresh lettuce if the season permits. In season, I prefer to place several large spoonfuls of the sautéed veggies over salad greens and have a large salad.
  • If you are needing extra proteins with this meal, add tempeh, tofu, some local, raw goat cheese, or a good vegan cheese of your choosing.

A delicious meal that will keep you healthy and strong, naturally.

Photo Credit: In Praise of Sardines via flickr

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