The Mother of all Elements

Rice fields at the base of the Himalayan Mountains in Central Nepal 3-week trek in 2011

LESSONS FROM OUR SPLEEN and Stomach, the organs of the Earth Element

Excerpted from Helping Ourselves: A Guide to Traditional Chinese Food Energetics

  • Organ of adaptation, nourishment, and support: We learn from infancy how to adapt to our environment and have our needs met
  • Physical digestion is “transformation and transportation” of nutrients
  • Mental digestion is processing information:  “Food for thought”
  • Emotionally about obtaining and giving emotional nourishment and support
  • Developing and cultivating an internal source of home, nourishment, and support.   Is there enough “sweetness” in your life?  Or does the “excess” caring turn into worry?
  • Belief in deserving nourishment and trust that there will always be enough
  • Fascia and soft tissue are a function of our support and containment (tone to our body).  When fascia is free to move and respond, we feel “at home”, comfortable, and supported by our bodies from the inside out.
  • Stronger the Spleen, stronger we are with its physical, mental and emotional connections


  • Physically:   STRETCH, exercise, MASSAGE, nourishing physical contact, wisely choosing to consume foods that nourish both the body and the emotions, cooking & preparing food
  • Mentally:  Meditation, Law of Attraction, affirmations
  • Emotionally:  Honor and attend to our needs
  • Spiritually: Connection with earth, Mother Earth and the Divine Mother


When attending to digestion and dietary issues, consider the above perspectives.  We can strengthen our digestion through working with any of the above levels; change in one level will resonate throughout the Spleen’s entire sphere of influence.

What are some Spleen nourishing foods?

Sweet potatoes, onions, cabbage, corn, apples, pears, rice, quinoa, amaranth, millet, barley, potatoes, cherries, dates, figs, beets, carrots, squash, mushrooms, almonds, coconut, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds.  Meats, fish, beans, nuts, and sweeteners are highly tonifying to the Spleen and are used in moderation in order to avoid creating conditions of heat (inflammation), dampness, and phlegm.  Avoid high glycemic sweeteners like those made from cane sugar and opt for low glycemic ones like coconut palm sugar and stevia.  The Spleen can’t process foods that are too sweet or cause phlegm, so avoid excessive carbohydrates, sugars, dairy, wheat flour, and refined grains.


–      EnJOY your food!

–      Positive attitude

–      Relax while eating (that means no news, cell phone, charged conversations)

–      Choose foods with strong life force

–      Take time to enjoy preparing and cooking your food

–      Chew well:  “The stomach has no teeth”, digestion starts in the mouth, chew 30 times before swallowing

–      Stop just before you are full (7/8 full)

–      Don’t flood the stomach, literally:  4 oz with meal, soups ok, excess liquid dilutes digestive juices in the stomach

–      Don’t overchill the stomach with cold, raw foods:  what happens to muscles when cold?

–      Eat in season and simply as often as possible

–      Eat main meal early, focusing on breakfast and lunch, digestion slows down in the evening.  Stick to regular meal times.

–      Smaller meals, NOT snacks, help stabilize blood glucose

–      Trust your body, over time we can cultivate the skill of separating our cravings and addictions from deeper levels of guidance

If after implementing the above guidelines for improving digestion, you still suffer from digestive imbalances and upsets, try implementing proper food combining principles from Dr. Herbert Shelton.

Protein, carbohydrates/starch, and fats require different enzymes for digestion and vary in how long and what medium they need to break down into absorbable components.  Proper food combining helps with more efficient absorption and assimilation of nutrients.   General rules:

·        Fats and starch go with vegetables

·        Protein goes with vegetables

·        Protein does not go with starch

·        Do not combine different classes of proteins at the same meal ( ie egg with meat, cheese with meat, beans with cheese)

·        Eat proteins and starches at different meals

·        Melons and watermelons “Eat them alone or leave them alone”

·        Leave fruit for 30 minutes before a meal, or 1 hour after a meal

·        Desert the desserts

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