(This was originally posted on Instagram, hence the brevity.)
Too much cold injures the Spleen.
Ingesting too much cold and raw food and drink, including salad and fruit, can harm digestion. Instead, eat more warm, cooked foods and beverages such as soup, stew, tea, and warming spices such as cinnamon and ginger.
Human beings are warm blooded. Digestion is a process of warming metabolic transformation. Our life force and energy are warm. Cold causes everything to slow down – physiology, digestion, metabolism, movement. By ingesting foods that are warm and cooked, we support the natural process of metabolism. This means ingesting foods that are literally warm or hot in temperature, as well as ingesting foods that have warming energy (such as cinnamon).
Too much sweet injures the Spleen.
Ingesting too much sweet food, including baked goods, candy, bread and pasta can harm digestion. Instead, eat more of all the flavors such as salty, bitter and pungent.
Sugar and its associated sweet flavor represent the more basic energy system of the body. Sugar is our first resource for energy and metabolism. As we are often overworked, overstressed and malnourished, we crave sweet to help us feel better. However, eating too much sugar leads to both short term and long term metabolic issues. People will often feel tired after the initial boost from eating sugar, and over time can develop diabetes. Sugar cravings point to a deeper metabolic issue, and eating a diet that is balanced with all of the flavors can help.
Too much damp injures the Spleen.
Ingesting too much greasy, heavy food, including dairy and fried foods, can harm digestion. Instead, eat more foods that are light and easy to digest such as steamed vegetables and rice.
All foods have a nature, and it is easy to observe this. A cheesesteak is clearly heavier and more turbid than a bowl of vegetable soup. Foods that have a heavier, greasy, cloying quality will be more difficult to digest and will accumulate as dampness in the body. Dampness means thick, gooey, undigested matter, including excess fats and mucus. Foods that have lighter quality are easier to digest.
The Chinese recipe for a healthy diet is to eat foods that are warm and cooked, balanced in all five flavors, light and easy to digest. In addition, foods should ideally be seasonally available and fresh. Eat slowly, chew your food and don’t multitask while eating.
While there are endless diets and a lot of confusion over conflicting ideas that they present, the Chinese model is relatively simple and straightforward. Following these simple changes can lead to meaningful changes in digestion, metabolism, weight and overall energy.