Heal the Spleen with Sweetness

I hope you've enjoyed the previous two posts, Sugar - Proceed with Caution and Heal the Spleen to Lessen Sugar Cravings. To follow up on those articles, I want to share some ideas on what types of foods are beneficial to the Spleen.

While the flavor of the Spleen is considered sweetness, a word of caution right away: Do not confuse the flavor 'sweet' with refined sugar!!! As a matter of fact, refined sugar is among the most important things to avoid when trying to strengthen the Spleen. From a western perspective when we think 'sweetness' we often think of foods that sugar has been added to. However, from a TCM perspective, sweet foods are thought of as grains, poultry, cabbage, carrots, cinnamon, and salmon, to name a few examples. So, naturally sweet foods are supportive of the Spleen but refined sugar is detrimental!

Here’s a list of things that your Spleen will like:

  • Meat: poultry, lamb, beef, venison
  • Fish: trout, salmon, tuna, shellfish
  • Fruit: apples, apricots, dates, figs, sweet cherries, peach, plums, red grapes, dried fruit such as raisins
  • Veggies: cabbage, pumpkin, carrot, sweet potato
  • Grains: amaranth, oats, millet, polenta, rice
  • Nuts/seeds: peanuts, hazelnuts, pistachios, sesame, walnuts
  • Sweeteners: always in moderation!! Maple syrup, barley malt, raw honey, raisins, molasses, raw cane sugar
  • Spices: aniseed, fennel, ginger, cardamom, nutmeg, vanilla, cinnamon

In addition, be aware that there are other things you may be doing that can be very harmful to the Spleen:

  • Excessive consumption of cold foods and beverages including iced water or sodas; ice cream or other frozen treats; raw cold foods, including salads (esp. during the colder winter months). Cold dampens our “digestive fire” and our body has to work so much harder to first warm up what has been ingested before it can start breaking it down so it can be absorbed. In addition, a lot of fruit has a cooling nature and among the most cooling are pineapples, bananas, watermelons, lemons and oranges.
  • Excessive consumption of dairy, including yoghurt, milk, cheese, cottage cheese, ice cream….yeah, the ice cream has a really bad rap because it includes all three ‘evils’…sugar, dairy and coldness! Dairy creates a ‘damp’ environment which the Spleen really doesn’t do well with.

When you start making some of these changes, observe how you feel after eating and monitor your energy levels throughout the day. Often various dis-harmonies are at play at the same time, so if these changes aren’t making a difference for you, it may be that other organs are out of balance requiring additional food therapies. Also, when dealing with these kind of interrelated imbalances it is a good idea to seek some help from an acupuncturist who can support your body with both acupuncture as well as nutritional guidance, specific to your imbalance. I would love to support you in this way, so please don't hesitate to call or email. 720-432-7073. acupuncture@thejadespring.com

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