Digestion Overhaul


And now onto part two about what we eat…

It’s amazing how many people deal with crappy digestion, and don’t even know it. I’ve had several patients that have told me that their digestion was ‘fine’. And then they stick out their tongue, and it looks something like this:



To most people, this picture of a tongue may seem weird, or even gross. But, every Acupuncturist sees this picture as a very important diagnostic tool.


In the first, real life tongue image, there are lots of little cracks that run both horizontally and vertically. If you look at the second picture, you notice what part of the tongue where the cracks concentrate. They fall right in the area of the Stomach and Spleen.

The Stomach and Spleen are responsible for so many of the body’s physiological responses in terms of Chinese Medicine. The Stomach and Spleen are mainly responsible for the beginning stages of digestion. The Stomach receives the food, and ‘rotten and ripens’ it. This means that the Stomach breaks down the food with heat and the energy that it contains. The Spleen receives the food that has been broken down by the Stomach, and sends the ‘clear’ (nutrients – AKA nutritive qi ) to all the body organs and systems. The ‘dregs’ (waste aspect of the ingested food), gets sent further down to the Small Intestine for further break down.


As you can see, the Stomach and Spleen are such an important part of our digestion in Chinese Medicine. When this organ pair are not working efficiently, this can throw off our entire system (see my previous blog, ‘Mmmmmm…’) click here for more info.

So how the heck do those cracks appear in the center of the tongue like that? It happens from not eating foods that properly nourish you. The cracks are directly showing deterioration of yin (fluid) aspects, and lack of qi of the Stomach and Spleen. Also, the tongue picture shows that the tongue is swollen, along the edges which shows that the Spleen is not able to properly break down the food it receives from the Stomach, which causes an excess buildup of fluid in this area of the tongue.

What types of foods can cause this to happen? It all depends on the person. If they have any food allergies, this can cause the digestion to be affected negatively. Also, anyone that has ever been on antibiotics for a long time without replacing gut flora to healthy levels can also have problems with their digestion. There are many foods that are harsh for the body to digest. A great example of this is SALAD.


That’s right, I said it. Eating salad does not equal health. Lots of people love salad. They probably even think that having a salad is a very healthy thing to do for their body. And yes, in moderation, there are definite benefits that you can receive from salads. But to eat a salad every day (or even every other day), you are asking for digestive problems. Salads are too cold for the body. To be able to break down the nutrients in a salad, the Stomach and Spleen have to work extra hard. Way harder than if you had a bowl of soup, or at least something that is cooked – everyday for lunch instead. The smaller the amount of energy the body has to use in order to break down the food that we put into our bodies, the more efficiently it can break down the nutrients, and leave the body with extra energy to use for other processes.

Here’s a short list of foods to avoid, or to strictly monitor their consumption if your tongue looks anything like the picture above, and/or your digestion is crappy.

Whole Grains – the outside layers of the whole grain can be difficult for the body to process. This includes rice, wheat, barley, millet, rye, corn.

Legumes – S/A

Nuts and Seeds – S/A

When you are repairing your digestion, having grains without the exoskeleton is best. So instead of having brown rice, have white rice instead. Just switching this seemingly small aspect of your diet can greatly help you on your road to digestion recovery.

So the big take away from this blog is: pay attention to your digestion. If you eat a salad/whole grains/nuts/seeds/legumes and feel bloated afterwards, you are most likely injuring your digestion. Switch to foods that are cooked/steamed instead, and only enjoy the gut irritating foods on occasion. And LOOK AT YOUR TONGUE!




#ibs #bloated #farty #happyspleen #digestion #tonguediagnosis

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