Diets and nutrition programs profess to be the cure-all for everyone. But how can this be when we are so incredibly different? Even though no one can really tell us ‘what’ to eat exactly, here are a few guidelines for ‘how’ to eat. If your digestion is not causing you to suffer in any way, then you don’t necessarily need to shift anything. But if you have any troubles with your digestion, then I would highly recommend the following steps. Doing these will strengthen your digestive organs and give you more digestive energy. The ways in which we can support the Spleen and Stomach energy are fairly universal. And when we follow a few simple steps, all aspects of our digestive process are greatly enhanced - digestion, absorption, and elimination.
8 Steps for Strong Digestion
1) Eat at regular intervals and regular times each day. Eat breakfast/lunch/dinner at about the same time each day. All our organs have their own rhythm and cycle. This practice helps the digestive organs to stay aligned with their natural rhythm and
2) Chew your food. Eat in peace. Give yourself time to be still and chew each bite. Digestion starts in the mouth, skipping this phase makes the Spleen energy work harder. So if your digestive organs are already having a time of it, if you don’t chew, you will make things worse. Add in a moment of thanksgiving or gratitude for all that made your meal possible. This makes it even easier for your body to receive and utilize your nourishment.
3) Do not eat after 7/8pm. Our digestive energy starts to wane after 6pm, so any intake of food late in the evening taxes the Spleen energy, and leads to unnecessary weight gain.
4) Limit amounts of raw/uncooked/cold foods. Avoid them completely in the winter. The Spleen loves warm/cooked food. Do not put ice in your water/drinks. If you choose to have a salad in the summer, consider warming it a little by adding a warm cooked grain or protein source. Think about steaming your apples or pears. Keep fresh fruit to a minimum. Or eat with a warm tea. Stew, soups, and long cooked meals are of great benefit to your digestion.
5) Keep your meals simple. Rich foods and meals with many ingredients are hard on the Spleen.
6) Dairy is a mucus producer, congesting and damp generating. (Ice cream, dairy, sugar, nuts and seeds are all mucus producers). Keep it to a minimum if mucus production is a problem for you.
7) Eat until you are almost full, not totally full. When there is too much in the belly, it can be challenging for your digestion to work through.
8) Do not drink fluids with meals as they will dilute your digestive enzymes. Warm ginger tea after a meal is fine.
Power play for bringing your digestive energy back online. If you feel like your belly needs a little extra help, try making Congee. It is 1 cup white rice to 9 cups water. Cook on low until rice turns to a gruel. Eat one cup 3 times per day, with meals or as a snack. Add ginger, cinnamon or a little maple syrup if your body is all right with that.
Signs of a healthy, robust digestion include; physical hunger at regular intervals during the day, feeling great after eating, even energy throughout the day, healthy skin and hair, regular formed and complete bowel movements (one per day), minimal cravings, minimal food sensitivities, and no food allergies.
Let me know if you have any questions.