With summer in full swing and gardens bursting with abundance, many health conscious individuals are heaping their plates with the raw veggies and greens that would make a rainbow blush. Sounds fantastic, right?!
Well yes and no. Based on constitution and certain pathological patterns, cold/raw foods can wreak havoc on a taxed digestive system, most notably, on the Spleen. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, the Spleen is in charge of ‘transforming’ your food into usable nutrients and ‘transporting’ those nutrients to where they are needed and utilized in the body. The Spleen by nature is susceptible to cold and damp and prefers warm and dry foods.
So what does this mean? For individuals that have a tendency to be cold (think frozen hands and toes even when it’s hot outside), or those who have a susceptibility to damp, (think lethargy, heavy sensation in the body, weight gain, lack of appetite), may be suffering from a Spleen Qi and/or Spleen Yang deficiency. This translates into an inability for the Spleen to perform properly the ‘transformation’ and ‘transportation’ of food, which in turn transforms into the above and other symptoms.
But vegetables are good right?! So here are a few simple tips to try if this sounds like you.
Lightly steam your vegetables for warmth and easy digestibility. Soups and stews in the crock pot are also a good way to prepare Spleen friendly foods without the added heat of an oven. Throw it together and head to the beach!
Say No! to ice cubes in your water. For those who are already cold, enjoy warm oolong or licorice root tea instead.
Try adding cooked yams/sweet potatoes, cooked rice, or pearl barley to your diet (all of which are easy to digest and help support the Spleen Qi)
Also regular meal times without over or under eating, help the Spleen to maintain its daily functions to give you more energy and more complete digestion.
Booking an appointment with a certified Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioner can also help set you on the right track. Using acupuncture and Chinese medicinal herbs can regulate imbalances and support healthy Spleen function.
Interested in trying it out? Check out more info and book your appointment on our Traditional Chinese Medicine page.
Shannon Sargent is a registered practitioner of Chinese medicine using her skills in Acupuncture and moxibustion, Chinese herbology, cupping, Tui Na massage and nutrition to offer a holistic approach in this ancient healing tradition. Her method is to meet people where they are at in their healing journey, and to support them in achieving their own optimal health and balance.