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Diet and Lifestyle

Dou Zhi 豆汁 – A Beijing Snack Food With Many Health Benefits

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Ira Wahrman L.Ac drinking fresh dou zhi in Beijing.

     I usually make a trip to Beijing once a year.  I go to visit my wife’s family, to study acupuncture, tuina and to just take it easy. The first thing that I want to eat when I get off the plane is not one of the other famous Beijing dishes like Beijing duck,  zha jiang mian, chao gan, etc.  All I want are a few bowls of dou zhi. Dou zhi is a Muslim Beijing snack food that is very popular with old Beijing people.  When I say old Beijing I mean both the elderly and people that have family roots in Beijing going back a few generations.

     Dou zhi is a fermented soup/drink made from mostly mung beans.  In the summer it can be drunk raw and in the winter it can be heated.  All places that make dou zhi in Beijing keep the recipe a very closely guarded secret.  There are definitely mung beans in there but I am not sure what other ingredients.  Most restaurants that serve it need to have it brought in because most cooks do not know how to make it.When you walk into a restaurant or a dou zhi place you can smell it as soon as you walk into the door. When I first tried it I thought it smelled and tasted horrible.  It smells like sweaty gym socks and tastes sour.  It was awful.  After two more times of trying it I started to love it.  Now I am addicted to it.  Local people say after three times you are hooked.  Traditionally most people drink dou zhi with jiao chuan and some pickled vegetables.  Jiao chuan looks like a thin doughnut but it is crunchy all the way through. continue reading »

Wheat Is Our Friend Not Our Enemy – A Call For Traditionally Processed Wheat Products

     wheatGrains have been a staple in peoples diets for thousands of years.  The last few years we have seen the atkins diet, the paleo diet and other diet fads that are low carb and high protein.  People are saying that carbs and gluten intolerance leads to a whole array of different health conditions.  From skin diseases to inflammatory bowel diseases to psychiatric disorders.  There is always someone making claims about these things all the time.  These health concerns and adverse reactions associated with consumption of wheat lies in how wheat is processed not in the grain itself.  There is nothing wrong with wheat as long as it is processed correctly.  Traditional people all over the world that eat some sort of leavened bread. They also use some sort of fermentation process which neutralizes the anti nutrients of wheat as well as predigest the gluten so that the nutrition in wheat is easily assimilated into the body.

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