Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Students Stir Up Foods that Heal in Chinese Nutrition Lab

Students learn traditional Chinese nutrition by cooking (and eating) in this popular class.

Dr. Apichai speaks while students wait for rice to cook.
Dr. Apichai speaks while students wait for rice to cook.

Why do Bastyr University students take Chinese Nutrition Laboratory, a cook-it-yourself elective class?

For Oriental-medicine students, it's a chance to learn how the concepts of yin and yang apply to cooking. For nutrition and culinary students, it's a chance to learn a new philosophy of health. For herbal sciences students, it's a chance to see how plants from the garden behave in the wok or soup pot. For naturopathic medicine students, it’s a chance to learn one more alternative to pills and pharmaceuticals.

And for students in any program, each class concludes with a delicious meal they've learned to prepare.

Students gave all these reasons and more during a recent visit to Chinese Nutrition Lab in the Bastyr whole-food nutrition kitchen.

Student chops garlic for traditional Chinese dish."I'm interested in integrating more herbs in my diet, and this is a way to do that," says herbal sciences student Katherine Martello. "So it's practical."

They're all good reasons, says instructor Boonchai Apichai­, MD (China), MS, LAc, a Bastyr clinical faculty member and longtime practitioner of acupuncture, tai chi and Chinese herbal medicine.

He introduces students to the philosophies of energy and balance that undergird traditional Chinese cooking. All foods have different qualities appropriate at different times. Shrimp, for example, are a warming food, good for kidney and liver health and beneficial for qi (life energy), lactation, and male fertility. They also contain healthy fats.

"People who live near oceans are stronger in omega 3s because they eat shrimp, fish and lobster," says Dr. Apichai.

Americans say "food is medicine" in the informal sense, the way a home-cooked meal can be comforting. But with traditional Chinese herbs, foods have specific medicinal qualities, Dr. Apichai says.

In class he demonstrates techniques like removing shrimp shells (to be used for stock) and preparing Chinese herbs like black fungus and gou qi zi. But the heart of each weekly class is the cooking the students perform in groups. One recent menu: Snow peas with shrimp, fried rice and zucchini soup.

Students shop for the ingredients at Asian groceries to learn how to identify ingredients. Dr. Apichai provides instructions on what to look for in ingredients like egg roll wrappers (look for yellow, not white, the thinner the better). He delivers lectures and stories at natural breaks, while stock simmers or rice cools.

Dr. Apichai demonstrates how to peel shrimp.For Gracia Tharp, an acupuncture and Oriental medicine master's student, the class shows how some Chinese herbs taste better than their reputations suggest. "Some of these herbs are notorious for tasting horrible," she says. "But they're not like that in the dishes we cook."

That held true for black chicken with black fungus and lily flowers, a daunting-sounding recipe that turned out delicious, students say.

Tharp plans to incorporate recipes in to her future acupuncture practice — her reason for taking the class.

"We know that patients are not always compliant with taking medicine and herbs," she says. "But we all eat. It's easy to make dinner and add medicinal qualities."

Learn more about the Oriental medicine and nutrition programs at Bastyr.

Subscribe to Newsletters

CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.

Events

Apr 24 Admissions

Take advantage of this opportunity to speak with an admissions representative and learn how Bastyr can help you build a career that helps create a healthier world.

Apr 26 Continuing Ed

Fine tune your skills diagnosing and treating trauma with Chinese medicine. We will discuss the heart/kidney axis as the physiological foundation of stability and how to restore integrity to this most important relationship.
April 26-27, Sat-Sun, 9a.m.-5p.m.
Instructor: Lonny Jarrett, MAc, MS, FNAAOM.
(13 CEUs, PDAs, CPEUs)

Apr 26

The gluten-free diet (GFD) is now a multi-billion dollar industry gaining in popularity with the general public. Gluten sensitivity is a controversial subject, where patients who have neither celiac disease (CD) nor wheat allergy have varying degrees of symptomatic improvement on the GFD. Dive deeper into the world of gluten for your own health or the health of your patients.
April 26, Sat, 9a.m.-5p.m.
Instructor: Tom O’Bryan, DC, CCN, DACB.
(6.5 CEUs, CMEs, CPEUs)

Recent News

Naturopathic doctors can become licensed health care providers as Maryland becomes the latest state recognizing naturopathic medicine.

David Tolmie, BS ('06), MLIS, combines psychology and technology skills to help students navigate the fast-changing world of evidence-informed medicine.

Coquina Deger, MBA, and David Siebert fill key roles as part of President’s Cabinet

Herbal sciences students cook up foods with love -- and health-giving herbs -- in a popular lab class.

The actor and author joins us for a Q-and-A before her May 22 talk at Bastyr's Spring for Health Luncheon.

Press

Bastyr University Nutrition Faculty Member Receives Prestigious State Honor

The public is invited to a free community event to explore Bastyr University’s teaching clinic

Teaching clinic earns second consecutive year of stellar results in regional patient satisfaction survey

In the Media

FOX Q13: Bastyr University's Ellie Freeman Discusses the FDA’s New Food Labels
Bothell-Kenmore Reporter: Bastyr Center for Natural Health Expands Integrative Oncology Services
Puget Sound Business Journal: Bastyr University's President Daniel Church to Retire

Health Tips

It's important to be mindful about how we use technology. Here are some tips for a healthful relationship with digital technology.

Here are some ways to eat an inexpensive and well-balanced diet consisting of many nutritious whole foods.

Here's how to create a healthy posture to improve your health.

The main benefit of the Paleo diet is that it promotes eating whole, nutritious foods while avoiding refined, processed foods.

While tax season can be daunting and stressful, these are simple, easy ways to help lighten the load.