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Late Summer

To attune with these seasons, choose some foods for each meal that are harmonizing and represent the center—mildly sweet foods, yellow and golden foods, round foods, and foods known to harmonize the center such as: millet corn, carrots, cabbage, garbanzo beans, soybeans, squash, potatoes, string beans, yams tofu, sweet potatoes, sweet rice, rice, amaranth, peas, chestnuts, filberts, apricots, and cantaloupe. Prepare simply with a minimum of seasonings and mild taste.

Spleen-Pancreas in Harmony

The Earth Element’s related organs, the spleen-pancreas, and stomach, are primarily responsible for the digestion and distribution of food and nutrients. The qi energy and other essences extracted from digestion are used by the body to create qi energy (immunity), vitality, warmth, and formation of the tissues and mental functions.

People with a balanced spleen-pancreas are generally hard-working practical, and responsible. They like to nurture themselves and others and are strong, active and stable. They have endurance and good appetites and digestion; their limbs have strength; they tend to be orderly and careful, and often excel at some creative activity. They have fertile imaginations.

People with general signs of spleen-pancreas imbalance are characterized by chronic tiredness, physical and mental stagnation, and compulsive, “stuck” behavior that prevents them from creatively developing their personalities. They typically have weak digestion, often accompanied by nausea, poor appetite, dull sense of taste, abdominal bloating, hard lumps in the abdomen, and loose stools. Blood sugar imbalances, weight problems, overweight without overeating, or thin and unable to gain weight, sallow complexions, sloppy appearance, live in disorder and accumulate useless possessions can all be signs of spleen pancreas disharmony.

The spleen-pancreas rules the extraction of qi energy and other nourishment from food in the digestive tract; most intestinal remedies in traditional Chinese medicine are directed toward the spleen-pancreas. The actual function of the pancreas is to secrete pancreatic enzymes into the small intestine and the health of the pancreas determines the quantity and strength of these enzymes, which in turn largely determine how well nutrients are absorbed through the small intestine.


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