• The Acupuncture Clinic of Tom Ingegno L.Ac 907 Lakewood Ave Baltimore, MD 21224
  • P: (443) 869-6584
    • 28 MAR 11
    • 0

    Do you have a comfort food?

    Remember when you were a child, there was usually one food you would always turn to if you were upset? Your parents may even have bribed you with it: ”If you are good, you can have …………..” How many of us still want that food in times of stress? Do our food cravings exist only in our emotional mind or is there more to it?
    In Oriental medicine food cravings are important indicators of the health of our internal organs. The Five Element Theory allocates a taste to each of the five organ systems (kidneys, liver, heart, spleen, lungs). If there is a craving for a certain food due to an emotional trigger and/or deficiency in qi, then the organ associated with it is said to be imbalanced and in need of the energetic properties of the flavor that will strengthen it. Unfortunately that doesn’t mean, for example, that the spleen which requires sweet foods needs lots of super-sugary treats! Cravings that are satisfied by a small amount of the desired food may be indulged, however if the craving continues and becomes more frequent and intense, then there is a severe imbalance in the organ concerned. In TCM the five tastes, salty, sour, bitter, sweet, pungent, are acquired through eating natural, unprocessed foods, such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and always in moderation and in season. Herbs and spices are an excellent way of bringing flavors to a meal. This can be done individually or with one blend, as in Chinese Five Spice powder. The following chart shows some of our typical cravings and healthy alternatives.

    Instead choose
    Potato chips, pretzels, fries
    Kelp, seaweed, miso
    Pizza, cheese, wine
    Lemon, pears, plums, plain yogurt
    Coffee, dark chocolate, ale, wine
    Green tea, lettuce, kale
    Candy, cakes, ice cream
    Yams, rice, fruits, cinnamon, licorice
    Mexican hot dishes
    chives, ginger, leeks, peppermint

    The next time you crave your comfort food remember what Hippocrates said so many centuries ago: “Let food be your medicine, and your medicine be your food”
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