Serving Larchmont Village, Hancock Park, and the Greater Wilshire neighborhoods of Los Angeles since 2011.

Cooking for Immunity

Larchmont acupuncturist Jeesin Lui, left chopping kale, shares her recipes for building immunity. Yes, that’s a chocolate lava cake – read on!

We’ve read a lot about cooking for comfort during the COVID-19 pandemic, and we’ve seen lots of memes about the “COVID-15” extra pounds we’re all worried about adding since we’re all staying at home and eating…so when we heard about “Recipes for Immunity,” a cooking class offered on Zoom by Jeesin Lui, an acupuncturist at Larchmont Traditional Medicine, we thought we’d check it out.

“It feels like the world is on sick leave right now,” Lui told the Buzz.

So, maybe her immunity boosting chicken soup is just what we need? How could it hurt?

Lui and her husband, Jim Bloomfield, are acupuncturists at Larchmont Traditional Medicine at 435 N. Larchmont Blvd. They met in acupuncture school and have been practicing on Larchmont for more than 15 years.  They operate Larchmont Traditional Medicine as a family practice, offering an individualized and holistic approach to natural medicine with various traditional therapies like acupuncture and herbs.

“According to ancient Chinese medicine, sweet calms everything down,” said Lui. “We are trying to find something that give us some solace, so we seek sweet treats. But we can make them healthy, so they are treats that does your body good.”

Lui’s background is in biology, and she has always been interested in diet. And, as a mother of three, she’s clocked plenty of time in the kitchen making meals for her growing family.

“I’ve always been interested in food as medicine and looking at it from a wholistic stand point, for example, knowing what foods are helpful for certain types of conditions and how diet can influence our health in general,” explained Lui.

Lui believes that so many underlying conditions she sees in patients are related to the quality of the food we consume.  Chinese medicine looks at the whole person, striving to bring harmony into their system using herbs and acupuncture to tap into the body’s ability to heal itself. To the skeptics, Lui notes that traditional medicine’s validity comes with its longevity, having been around for thousands of years.

“I see a wide range of belief in Chinese medicine in our society,” said Lui. “I can tell you that in China, hospitals were using Chinese herbs in combination with western medicine to treat COVID-19 patients,” said Lui. “Chinese medicine has been around for thousands of years and practitioners draw on that knowledge in developing herbal therapies for treating pandemics.”

The impact of food on our health is more universally accepted in society and there is much evidence that some foods can make us sick.

“So much of our diet is processed food that is so far removed from what is found in nature,” said Lui. “I am really really passionate about using food as therapy and putting in your energy and intention into making healthy food.”

Two years ago, Lui shared her simple chicken soup with a patient and it proved revelatory for the patient and for Lui. The patient could see and taste the soup and Lui started offering cooking classes in her home teaching her patients to make simple, healthy foods. Now that everyone is confined to their homes, she’s offering them online.

“The classes are weekly and we cover about six recipes in 40 minutes,” said Lui, who demonstrates the recipes and answers questions about the therapeutic benefits of food. The class includes a handout that will includes recipes for  tea, soup, dishes and treats that all focus on building up immune strength.  These recipes are her own creations, based on the principles of Chinese medicine nutrition & modern nutritional science.

“I have really enjoyed the classes, they are very quick, the recipes are fast and easy and I have been using the tips in my cooking,” Patti Carroll, a Larchmont resident who has taken two classes, told the Buzz.  Carrol has also seen Jeesin as an acupuncturist for many years.

“I couldn’t recommend her more highly,” said Carroll. “Jeesin is a natural healer and a great teacher. I’m a terrible cook but have learned so much from her demonstrations about to use herbs and vegetables in my cooking,” added Carroll.

Below are recipes Jeesin shared with the Buzz.

Healing Chicken Soup – antiviral/antibacterial, great for colds/flus, anti-inflammatory, connective tissue support for joint pains/arthritis

Chicken pieces with bones
Ground turmeric
Onions, Celery, Fennel, Carrot
4-5 cloves of garlic
2-3 inch piece ginger, sliced
Salt & pepper to taste

Brown chicken & turmeric in soup pot on medium heat for 5-10 minutes, flipping occasionally.  Add chopped vegetables, garlic, ginger & herbs & seasonings & enough water to cover chicken completely.  Simmer on medium low heat for 40 minutes until chicken is fully cooked & vegetables are tender.  Can use cooked chicken in soup or separately for chicken salad or stir fry.

Chocolate Lava Cake

Chocolate Lava Cake – high in antioxidants & healthy fats, antiviral

2 oz dark chocolate, melted
2 Tablespoons coconut oil
1/3 cup pasteurized egg white
1 tsp coconut flour
1 tsp cocoa powder
Pinch salt (opt)
Honey/erythritol/stevia to taste

Preheat oven to 350.  Oil 2 small ramekins & dust with cocoa powder.  Mix vanilla & oil into melted chocolate.  Whisk melted chocolate mixture in a thin stream into egg white, then add coconut flour & cocoa & salt, mix & pour into ramekins.  Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes until middle is jiggly.  Gently loosen sides & turn upside down on a small plate.  Wait 5 minutes before removing ramekin.

The 40 minute  “Recipes for Immunity” classes are Sundays at 2pm on Zoom for $25 per class. Lui demonstrates 6 recipes and emails recipes in advance to class participants. In addition, during the Stay at Home order, Lui is also offering teaching free 20-minute Qi Gong lessons, a gentle movement class to relax the mind & create energy flow in the body. Lui can be reached at [email protected] for more information. You can also find her on Instagram @wholisticmommy.

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Patricia Lombard
Patricia Lombard
Patricia Lombard is the publisher of the Larchmont Buzz. Patty lives with her family in Fremont Place. She has been active in neighborhood issues since moving here in 1989. Her pictorial history, "Larchmont" for Arcadia Press is available at Chevalier's Books.

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