Ch'ang Ming Diet

Tools of the trade

Cast iron or stainless steel pans

If you have any aluminium pots or pans throw them away, we want to eat the food not aluminium particles. Aluminium is very soft and when using steel implements or especially cooking fruit the aluminium can find it's way into the food. Aluminium has been implicated as a cause of Alzheimer's diesease.

Steamer
An essential tool. A good steamer is vital, stainless steel as above or bamboo with 2 or 3 tiers. Steaming preserves the vitamins and minerals in the food, doesn't overcook, and you can re-use the water to make your stock for sauces. You can cut harder root vegetables more finely like match sticks so they all cook in the same time, usually ten to fifteen minutes.

Pressure cooker
Another must if you want to cut cooking times for rice and beans etc by a factor of 3, brown rice will cook in 15 mins instead of 45, beans need plenty of water and in some cases pre-soaking, dont add salt until after they are cooked.
Make sure its stainless steel, throw away your aluminium pressure cooker.

Wok
Essential for stir-fry/sautee, an iron or steel round based wok is best, avoid the trendy new flat based woks unless you have an electric hob. The traditional round based woks are a much better design at focusing and retaining heat and are more efficient and therefore better for the environment. Also avoid non-stick woks, teflon - or rather the stuff they stick it to the pan with - is highly toxic especially when subjected to high degrees of heat. If you really must use teflon never use it with metal implements, better still let a good patina of oil build up on it to protect yourself from the teflon. Season the wok when you first get it by scouring it to remove the factory coating then heating oil in it until it smokes, always clean it after use with just cold water no detergent and re-season it if necessary, after a while a coating of oil will start to build up on the wok. This takes some practise so you might just want to wash it each time and remove the coating but dont leave it with water in it or it will start to rust and become unuseable unless you scour it out with a metal pan scourer. The best utensils are wooden spatulas because they wont remove the oily coating.

Chopping board
Wooden chopping board and a nice sharp sabatier knife, plus a similar smaller vegetable knife.

Water filter
Brita water filter will remove most impurities, and they now make a kettle version, but if you want to go the whole hog install one of those zeolite water filters to your cold water pipe in the kitchen. You will notice the difference especially if you live in a hard water region.

Juicer
A good juicer is a useful way to supplement your vitamin and mineral intake withiut resorting to pills. Carrot juice especially is very good for the liver, also fresh spinach or nettle juice is full of iron and you can always juice eating apples and mix some of this in to improve the flavour. If you pick nettles make sure you only pick the young green shoots from the tops of the plant and only harvest them from somewhere people aren't walking their dogs etc. Always try to use fresh organic fruit and vegetables whenever possible and warm the juice up before you drink it but don't boil it especially the spinach juice. 'Drink your food and eat your drinks' is a useful thing to remember, what this means is that you should chew all your food until it turns to water in your mouth, and when drinking juices make sure you chew them properly to get the saliva and digestive juices working properly before you swallow it.

Chop sticks

The ultimate way to force slow eating, good for manual dexterity too.

Other useful tools

Blender, Baking trays, quiche dishes, pie dish, mixing bowl, sprouter - always good for a laugh sprouting mung beans or alfalfa seeds.
There are also various food processors, mixers, liquidizers etc you might want to try, they will probably end up in the back of your kitchen cupboard tho with that rap-tou thing you got for christmas last year along with those teddy shaped jelly moulds and the star-fish pastry cutter.

Taoist diet - recipes

Taoist diet - Basic principles