Ashwagandha is an incredibly healthy medicinal herb. It’s classified as an “adaptogen,” meaning that it can help your body manage stress. Ashwagandha also provides all sorts of other benefits for your body and brain. For example, it can lower blood sugar levels, reduce …
Vitamin K: What is it and what is its function?
There are so many vitamins and minerals out there—how can you possibly know what’s what? Some nutrients get a lot of attention (we’re looking at you, vitamin D and vitamin C), and there are others that deserve a little more attention than they get. When it comes to heart health specifically, there are a few nutrients that are particularly important, including magnesium, CoQ10, fish oil, and even carnitine. But have you ever heard of vitamin K2? Often overlooked, this may be the top nutrient for heart health.
Vitamin K benefits
Vitamin K is one of the four fat-soluble vitamins: A, E, D, and K. You may be aware that vitamin K guides calcium safely into the bones to strengthen bone mineral density and reduce fractures, but beyond that, it also prevents calcium from accumulating in our vessels and can even remove dangerous calcifications.
So how does this relate to heart disease? If you’ve ever heard of a coronary calcification score, this test checks for calcium buildup in your coronary (heart) arteries. A high score means you’re at high risk of heart disease. Getting the proper amount of vitamin K means you’ll be doing your part in preventing dangerous calcium plaque buildup.
Vitamin K and heart health
Whether your cholesterol is high or low, what really matters is whether calcium plaque is building up in your arteries, leading to potentially fatal blockages. Vitamin K helps direct calcium to the correct and beneficial places for your health, keeping it away from the wrong places that can be detrimental to your health, like the arteries.
How does vitamin K accomplish this? It activates important proteins like matrix GLA protein (MGP). This is where the magic happens, as this protein keeps your calcium from depositing into blood vessels and other soft tissues. In fact, the Rotterdam Study published in the Journal of Nutrition in 2004 showed that individuals with the highest dietary intake of K2 will live on average seven years longer than K2-deficient individuals. Why? Because it reduces the incidence of arterial calcification.
K and K2: The different types of vitamin K
Vitamin K is broken into K1 and K2. Vitamin K1 is known as phylloquinine, and K2 is known as menaquinone. K1 deficiency is actually very rare because you’ll find it in leafy greens like kale, collards, spinach, turnip greens, beet greens, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts. As long as you’re getting greens in your diet regularly, this type of K deficiency is not something to worry about. Vitamin K2, on the other hand, comes from very specific foods and bacterial synthesis. Because of that, many individuals are deficient in K2 and don’t even realise it.
It was previously believed that we didn’t need to supplement K2 because our gut bacteria was able to make it for us. However, the amount produced in your gut varies from person to person. You must have enough healthy bacteria for this process to happen. However, if you have taken antibiotics or have suffered from gut infections and food sensitivities, you may not have ample K2 production in the gut. K2 is not stored in the body, so we need to consume it regularly through the right foods or supplementation.
Foods containing vitamin K2
Vitamin K2 is found in fermented soybeans, as well as the fat, milk, and organs, of grass-fed animals. This includes egg yolk, butter, and even liver. Much of our livestock is no longer grass-fed, which reduces the K2 concentration in foods they produce. When we removed animals from the pasture, we inadvertently removed K2 from our diets. Why, you ask? Chlorophyll is the pigment that makes green plants green, and when cows, for instance, consume these green plants, they are ingesting K1, which is then converted to K2. Only the grass-fed animals have likely converted K1 to K2 for us. This is another example of what makes Michael Pollan’s famous statement, “You are what what you eat eats.” So, so true. Wild game like pheasant, duck, rabbit, venison, elk, boar, and wild turkey eat more green vegetation, which can increase the K2 you get from foods they produce as well.
Heart disease is known as the silent killer, so you may not necessarily experience classic symptoms of a “K2 deficiency.” However, what we know is that many cancers, osteoporosis, infertility, varicose veins, diabetes, wrinkles, dental cavities, Crohn’s disease, heart disease, and kidney stones are associated with a deficiency in K2.
Vitamin K and vitamin D
You may be wondering where vitamin D fits in—and why you sometimes see vitamin K2 in vitamin D supplements. Vitamin D increases the absorption of calcium from the intestines, but unfortunately, once it makes it into our bloodstream, vitamin D has no control over where calcium goes. Although some will end up in the bones, some may also end up in the arteries. Think of vitamin D as the doorman opening the door for calcium to enter the bloodstream. Vitamin K is the usher that takes calcium from the lobby and directs it to its appropriate seat in the bone matrix. K2 helps bind calcium to the bone and synergistically works with vitamin D3 to improve calcium absorption. Taking vitamin D increases the body’s need for vitamin K2 as well. That means if you supplement with vitamin D, your body likely needs K2 as well.
Vitamin K2 supplements and dosing
There are two major categories of K2 supplements, MK4 and MK7. MK4 is typically extracted from the tobacco plant. Its downside is that is has a very short half-life, meaning it doesn’t stay in the body very long (really only a few hours at a time). MK7 is typically sourced from natto (fermented soybeans), geranium, or chickpea. It has a longer half-life, so a single daily dose can provide longer protection. The effective studied dose is at least 90 mcg/day, and many studies will tell you 180 mcg. MK7 at this dose shouldn’t significantly interfere with the blood-thinning benefits of drugs when taken at a similar dose. However, always alert your medical provider to all supplements and medications you are taking, and they can monitor this effect.
If your mind is reeling after reading this, let me break down the key take-aways: Getting enough K2 in your diet all boils down to having proper gut health, eating the K2-rich foods I’ve listed above, and taking K2 supplements—preferably from MK7. Having the right amount of K2 is not only beneficial for your bone health but protects your vessels and your heart. Remember, K2 is essentially the usher that directs calcium to all the right places while avoiding the wrongplaces like our arteries.
It’s that time of the year again! Holiday meals and parties are filling up your social calendar, and everyone’s in the mood to celebrate. And that’s a great thing! But it can also be hard on your gut. As a Energy 4 Life wellness …
Looking for something to do with this years Pumpkin? Here is your Vata-Friendly Pumpkin Soup Recipe…
Keeping tabs on what you eat is a great way to keep your dosha in balance. Vatas are more susceptible to digestive disorders than the other doshas so what you eat plays a big role in keeping your Vata dosha in balance.
Learn more about Ayurveda here
Take the quiz to find out which Dosha you are here
This simple pumpkin soup recipe is made for Vatas. Since Vata is drying, cooling, and light, you should favour foods that are oily, warming, or heavy (like pumpkin soup). Pumpkins are a winter squash with a sweet flavour that soothes the Vata dosha. The cheerful pumpkin’s orange flesh is also packed with beta-carotene (an antioxidant that helps improve immune function and reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease). A cup of cooked pumpkin has just 49 calories, 2.7 grams of fibre, 567 milligrams of potassium, and 5,116 micrograms of vitamin A. What more could you want?
Very Simple Pumpkin Soup
- 1 large pumpkin (about 3lbs)
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1 teaspoon ghee or olive oil
- 1 cup chopped leeks or onions
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon curry powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cloves, ground
- 2 to 3 cups vegetable stock – (I use Kallo organic)
- 1 cup vanilla almond milk (regular milk is also fine)
- Nutmeg & Coriander for garnish
Preheat oven to 180ºC. Wash the pumpkin, cut in half, and remove seeds. (If you are carving your pumpkin then remove the seeds and scrape out the centre). Place the pumpkin in a deep baking tray. Pour in the water and cover pan with foil. Bake for 30 minutes or until a knife inserted in the pumpkin pulls out easily.
Let cool then remove the pumpkin pulp from the rind with a spoon. Place into a bowl and set aside. You should have about 3 cups of pumpkin pulp.
Heat a saucepan over a medium heat and add the oil. Add the leeks and spices. Sauté for 4 or 5 minutes or until the leeks are translucent. Add some stock if the mixture begins to dry.
Add the pumpkin pulp and continue to sauté for another 3 or 4 minutes.
Add the vegetable stock to cover the pumpkin and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes.
Using a hand blender or food processor, purée the soup to a smooth and creamy consistency, adding the milk as you purée the soup. Return the soup to the pan and reheat if necessary.
Garnish with a sprinkle of nutmeg and coriander.
Tip: Don’t throw away the pumpkin seeds. You can make a tasty snack by roasting these hearty seeds, which are a good source of antioxidants, magnesium, protein, zinc & fatty acids which help maintain a healthy heart. Pumpkin seed oil can also reduce high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels.
How do I toast my Pumpkin seeds?
Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Scatter your pumpkin seeds onto a baking tray making sure they are in a single layer. Drizzle with olive oil, rapeseed oil or any other oil of your choice. Season with salt & pepper toss to coat. Bake for about 7 minutes until they are light brown & crispy.
Top 11 Health Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds. Find out here
How to Choose a Pumpkin
- Look for varieties specifically grown for consumption, such as the sugar pumpkin.
- Choose a pumpkin that is brightly coloured, blemish-free, and heavy for its size.
- Smaller pumpkins have more succulent, tasty flesh. Don’t use large pumpkins intended for jack-o’-lanterns as the pulp is watery and stringy.
- A ripe pumpkin will have a tough skin. Test it by gently pressing with your fingernail; if you can leave a mark on the skin, the pumpkin isn’t ready for cooking.
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Spiritual Nutrition: How the Foods You Eat Affect Your Mind, Body & Spirit
‘Every food we eat has a spiritual and energetic effect on the body, mind and spirit. becoming aware of this fact and working with it consciously is the foundation of spiritual nutrition’
In almost every culture, food has long played a dual physical and spiritual role, and with that, many rules have been handed down. The Jewish tradition forbids eating pork, the Hindus forbid eating beef, and many Native American tribes prohibit eating foods that are not sacred. Conversely, there are spiritual foods that bestow spiritual power. Indigenous ceremonies are often based on stringent rules regarding what foods to serve.
Refraining from salt, sugar, and heavy meats and eating spiritual foods create a healthy body and open psyche. What each of these examples demonstrates is that food is powerful medicine.
Sometimes the remedy lies in what we take in, and sometimes it’s dependent upon what we leave out. The question is, how do we know what to eat or drink and what not to? This is the domain of spiritual nutrition.
In the midst of too many (often conflicting) choices, there is the still, small voice within each of us that knows the answer to our question. It’s the voice of our intuitive selves, the part of us that is innately connected to our deepest truth and always attuned to what we need in body, mind, and soul. Our intuition reminds us to slow down, listen, and pay attention to the messages and signs that our bodies are continuously delivering about which spiritual foods are best for us in any given moment. These messages can be transmitted in a variety of ways, such as genuine hunger, cravings, addictions, allergies, good and bad moods, energy levels from high to low, physical discomfort, and pleasurable sensations. As you begin to understand the subtleties of spiritual nutrition, you will understand what all of these signals mean, as outlined below.
The purpose of this article is to teach you how to pay intuitive attention to what your body needs right now, drawing on a number of energetic perspectives of food. If you are a subtle energy practitioner, the tools and information contained here can also be used with clients when you deem it appropriate to help them adopt a more spiritual diet that heals on many levels.
The actual work of practicing spiritual nutrition is centered on the Intuitive Eating seven-day journaling process. The link is provided at the end of this article. This journal will help you or your clients connect the dots between specific emotions, beliefs, and food cravings.
Then the rest of this article will supply you with ideas for using spiritual foods as a subtle energy healing tool, such as foods that can balance the chakras and flavors (in the five-phase theory of Chinese medicine) that can balance the internal organs.
Food, Mood, And Mind
The following list of connections between food, emotions, and beliefs can be used as a stand-alone reference or in concert with the Intuitive Eating awareness process and journaling worksheet.
Cravings are important memos from the body and are its way of telling us about our emotional needs. They can also provide clues as to the limiting beliefs or negative self-talk that might be contributing to an emotional upset, whether that disruption is a minor, temporary state or a chronic, debilitating pattern. Cravings are tools and guides in the discipline of spiritual nutrition.
The food and feelings connections outlined here can shed some light on the interplay between certain thoughts, feelings, and emotions that may be seeking your attention. Following are examples that we can all relate to.
The Emotional Messages Of Food
Using this list can help you begin to perceive your cravings and food choices through a lens of self-acceptance, self-respect, and kindness and make the shift to eating healthier, spiritual foods as a result. For instance, if you find that you’ve primarily been eating crunchy foods, such as popcorn, celery, and chips, you might guess that you are angry. Take some time to figure out what or who you are angry with, and perhaps what subtle energy boundaries you believe have been violated or that you are violating in others. If your journal page is full of gooey, sticky breadstuffs, you are probably seeking comfort in all the wrong places—in food instead of relationships. By taking stock of your diet, you can get in touch with your inner heart and respond to your deeper needs in more self-loving ways than literally feeding your feelings, which is ideal when living in alignment with the tenets of spiritual nutrition. If you change your attitude and behavior, your food cravings and dietary habits will also become healthier.
Crunchy foods: Anger. Crunchy foods help us act out our anger in a safe way, providing us an outlet so we don’t have to deal with the people or circumstances causing us to be angry.
Salty foods: Fear. We crave salty foods because we want to have more “spice” in our lives but are too scared to take a risk.
High-gluten or wheat products: Comfort and safety. What’s more comforting than a warm cinnamon roll, mashed potatoes, or a bowl of pasta? Gluten products give us the comfort and safety we need in a non-threatening way. Has a cinnamon roll ever rejected you?
Sugar: Excitement. When we can’t provide excitement for ourselves, sugar does it for us; if we’re unable to allow someone else to share joy with us, we can use sugar as a substitute playmate.
Dairy (milk, ice cream, fatty cheese): Love. Our first food was milk—mother’s milk. Rich, sugary, and/or fatty dairy products represent the unconditional love we received—or were supposed to receive—during infancy. We crave dairy products and foods when we desire unconditional love and protection and can’t find it in our everyday lives.
Chocolate: Sexual drive. We’re all sensual, sexual beings. Eating chocolate is a safe way to feel sensual when our life lacks romance. It’s also a substitute for the sex and physical love we need but might be too frightened to obtain.
Alcohol: Acceptance. If you don’t feel accepted for who you really are, or worse, if you were punished for being yourself when you were young, alcohol can provide the illusion of self-acceptance. It can also protect you from the perceived dangers of intimacy. The sugar in alcohol can serve as a substitute for excitement. The corn in alcohol can buffer feelings of failure, and grain alcohol can give us the warm feelings we might lack in our relationships.
Corn: Success. We all want to be and to feel successful. Eating corn or corn products can not only momentarily imbue us with a sense of professional success, but also cushion us from deep-seated feelings of insecurity and failure.
Fatty foods: Shame. Fatty foods hide our internal shame. They also cocoon us in a bubble of shame (fat) so we’re safe from other people. After all, letting someone in close might make us feel even worse about ourselves.
The Mental Messages Of Food
The following are common limiting beliefs and negative internal messages related to certain foods, spiritual and otherwise. When you review your Intuitive Eating worksheet, notice what types of foods appear most frequently, as well as in what circumstances. This information will shine a light on the unconscious beliefs that might be active in your subtle energy system and keeping you from moving deeper into the practices of spiritual nutrition.
Crunchy foods: Anger causes trouble. If someone is angry with me, they don’t love me.
Salty foods: It’s dangerous to be vibrant or enthusiastic. Being different causes rejection. Girls don’t take risks. It’s not safe to take risks.
High-gluten or wheat products: No one will give me what I really need. The world isn’t safe. I can’t rely on anyone but myself for love or comfort.
Sugar: It’s not okay (it’s evil) to have fun. I don’t deserve to be joyful.
Dairy (milk, ice cream, or cheese): I am unlovable. No one will ever love me the way I really am. Love is conditional.
Chocolate: Sex is bad. My sensuality is dangerous.
Alcohol: People will hurt me if I show who I really am. No one will accept my true self.
Corn: Success leads to pride. I am a failure. I will never succeed.
Fatty foods: I am a bad person. I don’t deserve anything good. I am unworthy of love.
The Food Of The Yogis: An Overview Of Food In The Ayurvedic Tradition
In Ayurvedic medicine, the best ways to eat by the principles of spiritual nutrition and tend to your emotions depend upon your constitutional and spiritual body type, or dosha. Doshas are determined by elements as well as physical, mental and spiritual attributes. These are the basic principles behind the three doshas:
Vayu (also known as Vata) is an impulse principle that manages the nervous system and is made of air and ether. Characteristics of the vayu-dosha person: tall and lean, talkative, shifting mind, earthy skin, hairy, prefer hot and oily dishes, tend to be constipated, love to travel, enjoy life, unsteady sleep.
Pitta is an energy principle that runs the bile, or metabolic, system and is composed of fire and water. Characteristics of the pitta-dosha person: medium build, sweats a lot, pink skin, early baldness, impatient, fairly talkative, loves to eat and drink, brave and ambitious, average sleep.
Kapha is a body-fluid principle that regulates the mucus-phlegm, or excretory, system and is made up of water and earth. Characteristics of the kapha-dosha person: short and stout, sweats a lot, white skin, steady mind, can be silent, normal appetite and thirst, rests a lot, sleeps deeply.
If you’re unsure which of the doshas fits you, consider the following descriptions of imbalance and balance in each dosha. Which best describes you?
Vayu (or Vata): When in balance, people with this constitution are vibrant, lively, enthusiastic, clear and alert of mind, flexible, exhilarated, imaginative, sensitive, talkative, and quick to respond. When out of balance, they are restless, unsettled, anxious or worried, sleep lightly, have a tendency to overexert themselves, become fatigued, suffer constipation, and be underweight.
Pitta: When in balance, these people are warm, loving, contented, enjoy challenges, have strong digestion, have a radiant complexion, concentrate well, speak articulately and precisely, are courageous and bold, have a sharp wit, and are intellectual. When out of balance, they can be demanding perfectionists; tend towards frustration, anger, irritability, and impatience; and have skin rashes, prematurely grey hair, or early hair loss.
Kapha: When in balance, these people are affectionate, compassionate, patient, forgiving, emotionally steady, relaxed, slow, methodical, stable, and optimistic, with good memories, good stamina, and a natural resistance to sickness. When out of balance, they are often complacent, dull, lethargic, possessive, overattached, and overweight, with oily skin, allergies, slow digestion, and a tendency to oversleep.
Based on your basic dosha assessment, you can review the following sections on spiritual foods for soothing your dosha, eating seasonally, and the importance of the six tastes (or rasas) of Ayurveda to see if there are one or two things you could change in your diet right now to restore the level or balance of energy you might be seeking. And remember to listen to the whispers of your intuitive voice as you go—a core component of spiritual nutrition.
Foods That Soothe The Doshas
Vayu (or Vata): Favor warm, spiritual foods with a moderately heavy texture, like wild rice soup or cream of wheat cereal; all oils; salt, sour and sweet tastes; and soothing and satisfying foods. Foods to avoid are red meat, corn, and rye. It’s also good to limit the intake of certain astringent fruits, such as pomegranates, pears, cranberries, and apples (cooking them, however, works very well).
Pitta: Choose cool or warm, but not steaming-hot spiritual foods; moderately heavy textures; and bitter, sweet and astringent tastes. Go easy on fats and oils, and try to avoid salty foods and sour foods like pickles and sour cream. Salads, with their astringent greens and cool temperature, are excellent for balancing overactive pitta. Cold cereal, cinnamon toast, and apple juice make a perfect breakfast.
Kapha: Select warm and light spiritual foods cooked without much water. Add bitter (romaine lettuce and other leafy greens), pungent (herbs and spices), and astringent (apples, pomegranate, cranberries, pears, and legumes) tastes to most, if not all, meals. Consume a minimum amount of butter, oil, and sugar. Eating spicy food will promote better digestion and warm the body. It’s hard, I know, but steer clear of all sugar except raw honey.
Food And The Chakras: Eating Vibrationally For The Subtle Body
You can strengthen a particular chakra by eating the spiritual foods and supplements that are energetically associated with it, provided you aren’t allergic to those foods and don’t go to extremes. All foods carry frequency-based messages and have the ability to change our vibration, according to the principles of spiritual nutrition. Later, you will find examples of chakra-based foods and supplements and the energetic messages they provide.
in alignment with the principles of spiritual nutrition, every food we eat has a vibrational that effects us on an energetic-chakric level as well. this diagram of the 12 chakras in combination with the guide below can help you get in tune with the subtle, spiritual energies of foods. diagram from: the subtle body: an encyclopedia of your energetic anatomy by cyndi dale
Spiritual Nutrition: Eating To Nourish The Chakras
Chakra One – Root
Spiritual Food Fuel: Red foods, such as meat, beets, grapes, strawberries, and cherries
Spiritual Message: You deserve to be alive, safe, strong, and passionate.
Chakra Two – Sacral
Spiritual Food Fuel: Orange foods, such as yams, salmon, sweet potatoes, papaya, and wheat
Spiritual Message: Your feelings are good, desired, and desirable.
Chakra Three – Solar Plexus
Spiritual Food Fuel: Yellow foods, especially corn, also grapefruit and squashes
Spiritual Message: You deserve success. You are intelligent. You can learn what you need to know.
Chakra Four – Heart
Spiritual Food Fuel: Green foods, such as vegetables and sauces
Spiritual Message: You are loved and loveable. You deserve healthy relationships.
Chakra Five – Throat
Spiritual Food Fuel: Blue foods, such as berries, as well as all spices, which stimulate the mouth
Spiritual Message: You can be honest and have integrity. You can manifest your needs. It is safe to communicate.
Chakra Six – 3rd Eye
Spiritual Food Fuel: Purple foods, such as grapes, and vision-inducing substances like wine, tobacco, and organic cocoa
Spiritual Message: You are acceptable as you are. You are made in the Creator’s image. You deserve to make healthy choices.
Chakra Seven – Crown
Spiritual Food Fuel: White foods, such as parsnips, white asparagus, and fish; ceremonial substances like wormwood (used in absinthe), kava, salvia, wine and bread (as in communion); sacred herbs, including sage and lemongrass
Spiritual Message: You have a unique destiny. You are connected to the Divine. There is divine destiny.
Spiritual Food Fuel: Black foods (carbon based), such as alcohol, coffee, white flour, and sugar; past-life foods of meaning (often the foods that trigger issues); also colloidal silver
Spiritual Message: You can draw on the past for guidance and power. You deserve to be freed from the past. You can choose a new future.
Spiritual Food Fuel: Colloidal gold, bee pollen, honey; also foods symbolizing your soul
Spiritual Message: You are designed for greatness.
Spiritual Food Fuel: Earth foods: nuts, grains, potatoes, herbs, water
Spiritual Message: Your body is the meeting ground between the Divine and nature.
Spiritual Food Fuel: Vibrational substances such as homeopathic tinctures, teas, and blessed water
Spiritual Message: Negativity can transmute into positivity.
Spiritual Food Fuel: Minerals and vitamins; substances that benefit your unique physiology
Spiritual Message: You are fully human and fully divine.
Eating Seasonally With Ayurveda
Ayurveda recognises six seasons rather than four, and each season involves general food and activity recommendations to support health and happiness and keep you in balance with the principles of spiritual nutrition.
Eat lightly and sleep lightly.
Eat lightly and drink cold fluids.
Reinforce the appetite and eat hot foods.
September–October—Sharad-ritu, Short summer.
Eat cool, sweet, and astringent foods.
Eat and exercise a lot.
January–February—Shishira-ritu, cold Winter.
As with Hemanta-ritu, eat and exercise, and also spend time in reflection.
The Rasas, Or Six Tastes
Diet is an important aspect of Ayurvedic medicine, as it is in traditional Chinese medicine, and food is intimately connected to the elements of nature within and around us. The beautiful alchemy of Ayurveda involves properly combining, avoiding, or increasing foods and spices of different natures. These natures are shown in the six basic rasas, or tastes, of Ayurveda, an important component of spiritual nutrition.
Sweet: adds the elements of earth and water; nourishes, cools, and moistens; includes rice, wheat, and sugar.
Sour: adds earth and fire; warms and oils; includes acidic fruits.
Salty: adds water and fire; dissolves, softens, and stimulates; in all salts.
Bitter: adds air and ether; cools, dries, and purifies; in green vegetables and spices such as turmeric and goldenseal.
Pungent: adds air and fire; warms, dries, and stimulates; in ginger and mustard.
Astringent: adds air and earth; cools and dries; in honey, buttermilk, pomegranate, and spices such as turmeric (which is also bitter).
Elements added: Earth and water
What it does for the body: Nourishes, cools, and moistens
Spiritual Foods it’s found in: Rice, wheat, sugar, and root vegetables
Elements added: Earth and fire
What it does for the body: Warms and oils
Spiritual Foods it’s found in: Acidic fruits
Elements Added: Water and fire
What it does for the body: Dissolves, softens, and stimulates
Spiritual Foods it’s found in: Salts
Elements added: Air and ether
What it does for the body: Cools, dries, and purifies
Spiritual Foods it’s found in: Green vegetables, spices such as turmeric and goldenseal
Elements added: Air and fire
What it does for the body: Warms, dries, and stimulates
Spiritual Foods it’s found in: Ginger, mustard, and cayenne pepper
Elements added: Air and earth
What it does for the body: Cools and dries
Spiritual Foods it’s found in: Honey, buttermilk, beans, pomegranate, and turmeric
Food And Emotions In Traditional Chinese Medicine: The Five-phase Approach To Soothing Heart And Mind
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the five basic flavours in foods are frequently used to transform an emotion into fire in order to recalibrate the body. Spiritual foods can also be used to uplift and enhance important emotions, as well as to reduce troubling emotions and calm overstimulated emotions. Incorporating the five flavours into your diet supports the free flow of qi (vital life-force energy) and calms and nourishes shen (spirit and the psyche), an integral component of spiritual nutrition.
From a Western point of view, it can seem confusing to enhance so-called negative emotions such as anger, worry, sadness, or fear, or to reduce the seemingly positive emotion of joy. From an Eastern perspective, all emotions are considered normal, healthy physiological responses to stimulation, as long as they are kept in check and balanced. Too little or too much of any emotion, especially for a prolonged duration, will cause pathological damage to the organs and meridians and imbalance our spiritual nutrition.
For instance, too much joy will scatter the spirit and cause anxiety. This type of joy is not the sort that leads to deep contentment and peace, but rather overexcitement and hyperactivity. Lacking anger, our qi cannot rise, and we might fail to stand up for others or ourselves. If we’re too angry, we become violent and cruel. If we don’t worry enough, we might miss something important in our lives; we won’t reach out and bond with others. Too much worry leads to despair and weakness. Sadness helps us feel love; this would be a shallow world if we could not feel loss. Too much sadness, however, will lead to being consumed by grief.
And fear causes the qi to descend, helping us back down and take stock of a situation. If we are too scared, our mind becomes scattered, and we can’t think or act correctly. As you can see, every emotion is important in our spiritual nutrition when equalised and accessible.
Meridians: Liver and Gallbladder
Emotions Enhanced: Anger
Emotions Reduced: Thought
Meridians: Heart and Small Intestine
Emotions Enhanced: Joy
Emotions Reduced: Sadness and worry
Meridians: Spleen and Stomach
Emotions Enhanced: Thought
Emotions Reduced: Fear and shock
Meridians: Lung and Large Intestine
Emotions Enhanced: Worry and sadness
Emotions Reduced: Anger
Meridians: Kidney and Bladder
Emotions Enhanced: Fear and shock
Emotions Reduced: Joy
Note: In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the body clock is a remarkable tool for supporting a particular organ and its corresponding meridian.
Click here to take the ‘Intuitive Eating: The Seven-day Journaling Process For Vibrant, Whole-being Health‘ test.