We are so excited to finally launch Brightening Berry Vitamin C Facial Oil, and celebrate the powerful ingredient inside: the goji berry. This small yet mighty fruit has been used for its healing properties and sweet taste in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Chinese cuisine. As a way to commemorate Brightening Berry, we spoke with TCM chef and nutritionist Zoey Gong (@zoeyxinyigong) about the benefits of the goji berry and its role in TCM. Zoey owns a company called FiveSeasonsTCM that shares education content, provides high quality products and helps amplify the voices of the Asian community. Through this mission, Zoey hopes to encourage more people to include TCM in their daily lives.
Read our interview with Zoey below.
ML: How did you become a TCM chef?
Z: I've been a TCM chef for a couple years now, but I didn't start my career as a TCM chef. I was born and raised in Shanghai, China and I came to the US when I was 16. After just a couple months of eating the foods here, I got very ill. That's when I really paid attention to changing the way I ate and it helped me tremendously. And because of that, I decided to pursue nutrition as my first career. I was in hospitals, in community centers and worked as a clinical nutritionist. And on the side, I was also a chef cooking very western kinds of healthy foods. But after a couple years of doing that, I realized there was something missing. I wanted to offer something more holistic, something that is closer to nature. That’s when I decided to look back to my culture and my roots, and discovered TCM and medicinal cuisine. It has been so inspiring for me and my clients and guests to see the magic of eating for yourself with the season and with this traditional wisdom.
ML: The goji berry is a key ingredient in our newest launch, Brightening Berry. What are the benefits of this fruit for skin and nutritional health, and does TCM play a role?
Z: Goji berry is probably one of the most important and famous herbs in traditional Chinese medicine. It is widely used in both medicinal cuisine as well as in herbal decoctions. This amazing berry has a neutral temperature and neutral energy. Personally, I love goji berry. I have a brand called FiveSeasonsTCM and we source organically grown goji berry from Central Ningxia, the best land in China to grow goji berry. It's such a versatile berry. You can use it in soups, in tea, smoothies, in granola and so many ways. It is really amazing to brighten our eyes, to help with liver function, treat dizziness, fatigue and some chronic lung issues.
I'm very excited to see it being used as skincare. From a biomedical nutrition standpoint, goji berry contains a lot of antioxidants, vitamin A and vitamin C. These amazing compounds can help our skin to look younger and smoother.
ML: What do you think of the new Brightening Berry Vitamin C Oil?
Z: The Brightening Berry Vitamin C Oil is so nourishing for the skin. I actually love to put it on my hands because my hand is always under either heat or water all day long. It's really important for me to take care of my hands.
ML: How do you incorporate TCM in your work?
Z: I think most of you probably have heard of acupuncture, Gua Sha and Chinese massage. These are all different branches under a big umbrella called Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). And what I do is another branch under TCM, and it is called food therapy but you can understand it as TCM nutrition. I use around 111 different kinds of herbs, and combine them with fresh produce.
Discover our newest launch, Brightening Berry Vitamin C Oil, here.
Credits: Images courtesy of Zoey Gong (@zoeyxinyigong).