Your parents were right when they told you breakfast was the most important meal of the day. No, seriously, they were. Within the realm of Chinese Medicine, it is through our food, gu qi (pronounced like Gucci), and the air that we breathe, that qi is produced. Remember qi is the energy flowing through our body. Two organs/officials, specifically the spleen and stomach, help us transform the food into something we can use. The stomach is associated with the rotting and ripening of our foods. The spleen is in charge of transforming and transporting our food essence in order to make qi and blood. Together the qi and blood nourish the body and mind. If either of these officials are not functioning properly we may experience weight gain, bloating, gas, burping, weak limbs, tiredness and mental fatigue. Having healthy spleen qi also helps us to concentrate, focus, and study. Have you ever noticed that after a long day of school or mental work you really want some yummy food? Yea, me too. If you experience any of these symptoms, don’t worry. In addition to acupuncture treatment, here are 8 easy ways you can support your spleen and stomach to improve digestion, energy, and mental clarity.
Eat breakfast between 7am-9am: Based on the Chinese clock, the stomach is functioning optimally between 7am-9am and the spleen is functioning optimally between 9am-11am. Therefore, we can utilize the strength of the stomach during 7am-9am and have our biggest meal of the day – breakfast. Then the spleen can use the food from the stomach to transform and transport it, during 9am-11am, into energy and blood. This energy helps us feel energized and have greater mental clarity.
Stop eating late at night: Eating late at night, specifically after 7pm-9pm is a sure way to weaken our stomach and spleen. Our stomach and spleen should be resting at night, not working on digesting our foods. You don't want that chipotle burrito sitting in your belly all night, do you?
Breakfast – your biggest meal of the day: Lunch will be a medium size meal and dinner will be the smallest. Again, this helps us utilize the strength of the stomach and spleen when they are at their strongest and let them rest when they are energetically at their weakest.
Eat until you’re 80% full: This will keep us from overeating and help eliminate the possibility of food stagnation bellies.
Limit your sweets: the taste of sweet is harmonizing to the spleen and stomach however too much can be damaging. So don’t over do the sweets. A lot of our foods like some meats, veggies, and grains already have the taste of sweet associated with them, we don’t need all the extra sugar.
Drink water at room temperature: Drinking ice water puts out your digestive fire. We need this fire to help us digest our foods.
Eat warm and cooked foods: Raw and cold foods make for extra work for the spleen and stomach. So if you're trying to amp up your digestion, and get your spleen and stomach back into top shape, cook your foods.
Eat without distractions: too much reading or studying can also tax the spleen. So while you're eating put down the phone or paper and eat mindfully. This will also help us to not overeat.