Liquids with meals

It goes without saying that a variety of beverages are present at every meal. Those beverages are typically iced water, soda, alcohol, fruit juice, milk and so on. But there is one big difference between the types of beverages at a standard TICM meal as opposed to a standard western meal.

Broth or soup is the standard beverage used for hydration instead of water. That is because a warm soup, porridge or broth hydrates the body at a deeper and more nourishing level than even water does. Western diets are dry such as crackers, chips, bread, roasted, grilled, barbeque and baked foods hardly contain any moisture. Nutritionally we are told to drink heaps of water to compensate for this.

Our Spleen enjoys moisture from foods. That is why I am always recommending things like oatmeal, sweet potatoes and congee (rice porridge) for breakfast, the time when the Spleen is most active. The Spleen and Stomach are related to the Earth element and enjoy warmth and moist environments. Sipping on broth (bone broth, vegetable broth, seaweed soups) nourishes the organs and helps intestinal lining. It is standard for herbs like astragalus (Huang Qi), mushrooms, berries like gojis to be added to the broth to add even more nourishment.

Having some sips of water with your food is much different than an iced cold glass of sugary soda but even ice water hinders the digestive process. I like to use the analogy of a pan. When you have a pan with fat or grease in it, as long as the pan is warm it stays in liquid form, when the pan cools, however, the fat hardens. That is essentially what happens in your digestion, among other things, it prohibits the Spleen from properly assimilating the foot and extracting the nutrients. This creates dampness and leads to symptoms like bloating, Stomach pain, gas, mucus, excess weight, cellulite, skin rashes, etc.

Now even more traditional DIEticians and Western practitioners are saying that excessive liquids during meals can lead to bloating, indigestion, and even nutrient malabsorption.

Try having a small cup of soup before your next meal. Look at miso soup for instance. This soup is fermented which means it contains probiotics. Natural probiotics found in food help to release nutrients from the food you are about to eat.

Always listen to your body. Dry drinking warm water or at least room temperature for hydration. Tea after a meal is great for digestion too, ginger powder, liquorice, peppermint and the options are endless. Hawthorn fruit tea highly recommended especially after eating red meats and greasy oily foods to assist digestion and is a must for those who do not have a Gallbladder.

Have a happy and healthy digestive system.

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