As a herbal wellness solution fusing traditional herbal wisdom and modern technology, Lify is inspired by the concept of “Food as Medicine” (藥食同源) in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).
As we welcome spring time and continue to guard against the Covd-19 pandemic, Lify speaks with its TCM advisor Dr Wendy Yim to bring you the following wellness tips and beverage recommendations to help you stay healthy during this season. See Dr Yim's biography at the end of this post.
1. How important is it to adapting lifestyle habits to seasonal changes?
According to TCM theory, humans are born from nature and thus develop according to the rhythm of nature and the changes in seasons. In order to stay healthy, we must understand the characteristics of each season, how they affect our body and adopt lifestyle habits that go in line with these characteristics.
2. In spring, what healthy lifestyle habits should we adopt?
Spring is the time when YangQi (陽氣) develops. We should therefore adopt lifestyle habits that help reinforce this energy.
- During the transitional period from winter to spring, the weather can be erratic and there can be large differences in temperature between day and night. We should therefore be cautious when shedding those thick winter layers and make sure we keep our bodies warm.
Take foods that are warm and bland in nature and avoid cooling ones
- To facilitate circulation of blood and energy, foods that are warm in nature, e.g. wheat, dates, fermented soy beans, peanuts and parsley are recommended.
- Foods that are bland can help to get rid of excess moisture which is an issue in the humid months of spring, especially in southern coastal areas like Hong Kong.
- Avoid foods that are cooling in nature and those that are too flavourful, thick and difficult to digest, so as to maintain a healthy stomach.
Sleep and rise early, maintain a relaxed body and temperament
- Spring is the season of life. As nature thrives and blossoms, so should we behave in a lively manner. Healthy habits include sleeping and rising early, exercising in the mornings, and keeping the body and mind relaxed and light.
3. How can we keep our skin healthy during these humid months of spring?
Maintaining healthy spleen and liver
- In TCM theory, the spleen controls muscles and the liver controls blood. An unhealthy liver (liver depression, liver blood-stagnation, liver blood deficiency) can lead to pigmentation on the skin and dull, uneven complexion.
- To maintain a healthy liver, eat more spring vegetables like spring leek, bean sprouts etc.
- In Spring, keeping the body free of excess moisture is the key to healthy skin. To expel moisture, take foods that nourish the spleen e.g. Carassius auratus, red carrot, apple, lotus seeds, chinese yam, euryale seed etc. For removing dampness, take foods like rice bean, barley, lentils, winter melon etc. As moisture usually comes with “coldness”, we should avoid foods that are too cooling.
Stay positive and happy
- Happy people are the prettiest! According to TCM, negative emotions can also impact the liver and in turn skin quality. While staying positive is easier said than done, beverages like YOUNG (Oolong Tea with Herbs & Orange), FLOW (Osmanthus Oolong Tea), SUNSET (Hibiscus Orange Infusion) can help relieve negative emotions and offer a calming effect.
- As temperature increases, some of us might experience dampness and heat. So in addition to expelling moisture, we might also need to expel heatiness. Recommended foods include barley, chrysanthemum, mulberry, white mulberry root, fuling.
4. As Covid-19 continues to be a threat, how can we boost our immunity and health?
Keeping lungs and spleen healthy
- From a TCM perspective, cleansing the lungs and nourishing the spleen are key to fighting respiratory illnesses. Foods like monkfruit can expel heatiness and nourish the lungs, while aged citrus peel and our REVIVE blend can strengthen the spleen and reduce phlegm and coughing.
Strengthening immune system
- To guard against infectious diseases, we may consider taking foods like turmeric and ginseng to boost our immune system.
- As sleep and rest are key to maintaining a strong immune system, we can improve our sleep with chamomile, which also helps with removing toxicity from the lungs.
5. Which are the best Lify beverages for this time?
When we look at the different blends, not only do we consider the ingredients and their functions, but from a TCM point of view, the nature of a blend is also important. As mentioned, in spring, we should work on warming the body and avoid coldness, so we may want to focus on blends with neutral to warm nature.
- ENERGY (Turmeric Power) – Nature: hot; Turmeric can boost immunity
- REVIVE (Tangerine Pu’er Lingzhi Tea) – Nature: neutral to warm; aged citrus peel is good for the spleen and reduces coughing and phlegm, while Lingzhi strengthens immunity
- BOOST (American Ginseng Tieguanyin)– Nature: cool; boosts immunity (but not suitable with flu)
- SLEEP (Rooibos Sweet Chamomile) – Nature: neutral to warm; chamomile removes toxicity from the lungs
- YOUNG (Oolong Tea with Herbs & Orange) - Nature: neutral; nourishes the liver
About Dr Wendy Yim Wan Sze
Dr Wendy Yim is a Registered Chinese Medicine Practitioner (Hong Kong and Canada) and Registered Acupuncturist (Canada). She obtained her Bachelor (pre-health professional) degree in Canada and her Chinese Medicine Master in Hong Kong. She then continued her Doctor in Medicine specialised in Combined Western & Chinese Medicine in Clinical Oncology (China). She also teaches in universities (CUHK, CUHK SCS, HKU SPACE) and regularly shares her TCM knowledge and experience on radio programmes, newspaper articles, press conferences, seminars etc.
Having been brought up in both Chinese and Western cultures, Dr Yim has an attitude of openness and believes in inclusiveness of East and West. As a tea lover, she also has qualifications as Tea Sommelier (China) and Chinese Medicine Cuisine Specialist (China). Her enriched experience makes her most fitting in the role of honorary TCM advisor for Lify Wellness.