According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the natural sweetness of grains, fruits and vegetables is nourishing and stimulating to the spleen and stomach. They are very important to consume during the period between the energetic seasons of Fall and Winter which runs from October 21 to November 7.
The element associated with this season between seasons is Earth.
The taste associated with this season is sweet.
The climate associated with Earth is damp.
The two organs of the Earth energy associated with Earth are (yin) spleen and (yang) stomach.
TCM explains that the spleen’s principal function is transforming food and drink into vital energy and blood. It distributes the chi (vital energy) and blood throughout the body.
In spite of the benefits most will realize eating sweet grains, fruits and vegetables, Earth types have a tendency to overeat as well as a tendency to gravitate to sweets. Earth types should be careful with this because it can disturb their overall balance of chi.
Here are 12 positive actions to assist people who have a tendency to overeat:
- To curb the appetite, drink lots of water during the day which will increase the bulk of the food you have eaten while softening the food particles making them easier to digest.
- Drink the bulk of your water in between meals.
- Drink room temperature water.
- Avoid icy beverages.
- Consume smaller, more frequent meals.
- Take small portions and eat slowly.
- Take small second helpings if you’re still hungry.
- Increase consumption of whole foods: grains, fruits, vegetables. You will feel full, they digest much more easily, and your body will absorb fewer calories.
- Substitute fruit for sweet desserts. Figs, pears, persimmons, pomegranate seeds, grapes and, of course, apples are wonderful sweet fruits available at this time of year.
- Stabilize blood sugar levels with legumes (lentils, chick peas, split peas, kidney beans, soybeans, fava beans) and root vegetables (carrots, celery, onions, turnips, parsnips, radishes, potatoes, and sweet potatoes).
- Take the burden off your stomach and intestines by avoiding fatty foods, in particular, dairy products and red meat. Dairy and red meat are difficult to digest and create dampness caused by mucus in the system.
- Eliminate dampness in your system by dry condiments like ginger, cinnamon, garlic, pepper, parsley, and cardamom. They support digestion and increase metabolism. They also help to reduce gas, water retention, indigestion, nausea, diarrhea and stomach pain.
The tendency of imbalanced Earth energy is to worry excessively. The worst fear of the Earth type is deprivation, most especially deprivation of relationships which are so important to Earth types. Often, when a relationship ends or is in stress, Earth types will resort to food to fill the emptiness and soothe the pain they feel. Many will even gorge themselves with food yet still feel an emptiness that cannot be completely filled.
It’s important to have a toolkit of practices in place so that when the going gets rough like this, we can rely on these tools rather than large amounts of food.
These tools could include:
- Relying on a trusted friend to share your feelings with
- A strong spiritual foundation
- A “go to” book of very powerful inspiration both in hard copy book form and audio format
- A memorized poem or passage of sacred text you can immediately pivot to to shift your mood
- A developed practice of meditation
- A small arsenal of mantras you can incant for quick relief and comfort.
Source: Elias, Jason, and Katherine Ketcham. Chinese Medicine for Maximum Immunity: Understanding the Five Elemental Types for Health and Well-being. New York: Three Rivers, 1998. Print.