Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Transition Diet: Nourish Earth

"In fact, the essential flavor of the food comes from one's heart, from cooking
with one's whole soul, and from respecting the spirit of the kitchen."
--Zen monk

Change of season means adjusting dietary choices to stay in tune with what's most plentiful and nourishing. A good transition diet is grounding and prepares us for winter ahead by building immunity and increasing vitality: Heavy protein and processed foods plug the vital channels and lower pranic energy, while fruits and vegetables are both energizing and cleansing.

In five element theory (the basis for Feng Shui and acupuncture) the earth element corresponds to the stomach and spleen, both of which are nourished by 'earthy' and sweet root vegetables, certain grains, and herbs. The stomach rules transformation by receiving nourishment and preparing food for digestion. The spleen rules transportation, distributing extracted nutritive essences throughout the lymphatic system, building immunity, and protecting against infection.

When our earth 'chi' is harmonious and healthy, we feel supported and generally confident – solidly anchored in pragmatic reality. Earth energy can be adversely affected by unconscious diet, low self esteem, lack of true purpose, comfort, or missing support at home or work. Feelings like 'butterflies in the stomach' are symptomatic of upset earth. Even worse – the emotion of 'worry' wrecks our stomach and imbalances digestion.

Earth energy can be cultivated by centering activities like gardening, knitting, cooking, architecture, carpentry, – even housekeeping. Meditation and visualizations upon personal places of power; favorite places you have visited – also builds good earth. In many traditions, devotees regularly connect to representations of Earth 'Spirit' usually a feminine figure set in nature...like 'Our Lady of Lourdes, where many spontaneous healings have been reported

On a more mundane level earth vegetables include: Carrots, pumpkin, sweet corn, onion,
mushrooms, green peas, beans, zucchini, sweet potato, cauliflower, leeks and celery and all the
summer vegetables.
Also, apples, grapes and vine fruits, small berries, peas, fennel, potatoes, soy beans,
Grains: buckwheat, oats, millet, amaranth, quinoa, sweet rice, jobs tears.
Herbs: astragalus root, ginger root, ginseng, horseradish, dandelion, dongquai, fennel, beet root

Also: Honey, miso, barley malt, pumpkin seeds, aduki, kidney and pinto beans.

The spleen is weakened by damp food energetics.
Arame drains 'damp – also umebeshoi plum is curative.

Avoid: excess cold drinks, ice cream, soda drinks, sugar, white flour, coffee, processed meats, preserved and frozen foods, excess raw foods and cold foods, excess fruit, salad, citrus fruit, heavy foods, pasta too often, cold meats, fatty foods, leftover foods, excess dairy foods, overly sweet foods.

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