Taking Care of Your Digestive System: A Self-Care Checklist.
Do you eat raw vegetables or eat at salad bars frequently?
Do you get a headache after you have a meal?
Do you experience stomach distension whenever you eat?
Do you have a stomachache after you eat, particularly after eating cold foods or dairy foods?
Do you always burp or pass gas after you eat?
Do you always have loose stool after you eat?
Do you drink too much alcohol? More than two glasses a day?
Do you have food allergies?
How you eat, what you eat and when you eat can impact your organ function. TCM understands that the symptoms above are really signs reflecting areas of imbalance within your body.
In the TCM view, barbecuing or frying foods adds a lot of heat to the essence of foods and when these foods are eaten frequently, they can cause a build-up of excess heat in your Stomach. This kind of heat can be compared to the kind of heat emitted from a compost heap! This type of inner smoldering prevents the Stomach from performing its key digestive functions properly.
According to TCM, the Stomach has a natural preference to receive warm food and beverages. Continued intake of cold foods and drinks will eventually unbalance the normal functioning of the Stomach. For women, this can lead to menstrual cramps and a host of reproductive issues.Many Westerners believe that eating raw vegetables provides better nutrition. Actually, raw veggies have a cold essence that impairs the Stomach’s natural function. The Stomach has to spend more energy to warm up and then digest cold or raw food.
Stomach distention means that you are suffering from a Stomach Qi, or energy, deficiency. It also means that your Liver is not working in harmony with your Stomach. Because the Stomach’s nature is warmth-loving, if you get a stomachache after you eat cold foods, this can indicate that your Stomach Qi has become unbalanced and is now too cold. This is a signal that you should change your eating habits.
Burping or passing gas after you eat indicates that the Stomach Qi is deficient. This organ doesn’t have enough Qi to manage its assigned task of digestion. Loose stool after eating means that the Stomach and Spleen both have a Qi deficiency. Your whole digestive system is weak. Avoiding cold foods can help relieve this symptom.
Consuming excess alcohol will cause the Liver’s Qi to stagnate. If this stagnation continues long enough, it will impact the Stomach’s Qi because both organs have a close relationship in terms of their function. The Liver and Stomach need to work together to support a healthy digestive system. Food allergies mean that your Stomach, Liver and Gallbladder are not working in harmony.
The good news is, according to Chinese medicine, any imbalance can be fixed! It’s a matter of bringing the body back to balance.