October 02, 2018
How Diet can Contribute to Mental-Emotional Problems in Chinese Medicine
If you look about you and see what is going on in nature in Spring, you’ll see a lot of growth, which tends to have an active and ascending nature. Your body functions best when it is in harmony with nature so these same characteristics of growth correspond to the type of food that is good for you in Spring.
In Spring, it is natural to eat less and cleanse the body of the fats and heavier food consumed in Winter. In Chinese Medicine, Spring is the season of the Liver and Gallbladder. One of the main functions of these organs is to ensure that the energy in your body is flowing freely. In our society today, it is very common for this function to be hampered due to poor diet and stressful lifestyles.
If the flow of energy is blocked, you may find yourself getting irritated or angry more easily, having PMS if you’re a woman, feeling depressed or having a feeling of a lump in your throat. This blockage can lead to other complaints such as digestive problems, headaches, migraines, dizziness and high blood pressure. However, not to worry because you can help yourself and allow your Liver and Gallbladder be happy and free!
The Liver and Gallbladder need to be cleansed and nurtured during this season, and the foods to eat are very light, with that upward and expanding nature.
1) Green sprouting foods: young plants, fresh greens, sprouts, and immature wheat or other cereal grasses.
2) Raw foods: are beneficial for cleansing and cooling the body when eaten in moderation but only if your digestive system is strong and you don’t experience digestive complaints such as bloating, indigestion or diarrhoea.
3) Pungent foods: is the food taste that has the rising and expansive nature needed for Spring. Some pungent herbs include: basil, fennel, marjoram, rosemary, caraway, dill, bay leaf, turmeric, cumin, black pepper, horseradish and various mints. For that extra hit of pungency, onions and garlic can be used.
4) Bitter foods: rye, romaine lettuce, asparagus, amaranth, quinoa, alfalfa, radish leaves and citrus peel.
5) Complex carbohydrates: young beets, carrots and other sweet starchy vegetables, as well as grains, legumes and seeds that are generally sweet in flavour. In moderation, this will support your digestive function, which is very closely linked with the Liver.
6) Cooking method: cook at high temperatures for a short amount of time, so the food is slightly uncooked on the inside. If cooking with water, simmering or steaming lightly is the best.
7) Spring beverages: add one teaspoon of lemon, lime or grapefruit juice and one teaspoon of honey to one cup of warm water, or for a more exotic feel, go for a mint tea with one teaspoon of honey.
8) Avoid heavy foods: including dairy, fried foods and excessive amounts of nuts.
I hope that you enjoy the lightness that is Spring – get that Liver energy moving with some exercise and some deliciously uplifting foods!
Pitchford, P. (2002) Healing with whole foods: asian traditions and modern nutrition, 3rd ed., North Atlantic Books, California.