When you are eating to nourish your Blood, you are eating to please the functioning's of the Stomach and Spleen. In TICM, the Spleen is the source of our Qi (our vital energy) and Blood. The more free flowing our energy and Blood is, the stronger our immune response is, the more efficiently our metabolism is and the clearer our brain function is.
Below are tips on how to optimise the functioning of the Stomach and Spleen to reduce Blood deficiency symptoms like anaemia, pale lips, tongue and skin, dry hair and skin, numbness in the hands and feet, dizziness, cracking/popping joints, insomnia, anaemia, anxiety, depression, scanty, irregular or painful menstruation.
Begin your day with ginger powder tea on an empty stomach, you can add any combination of lemon, cayenne, lime, cinnamon, Chinese brown sugar for variety or local raw honey. Drink ginger powder tea throughout the day as it promotes circulation, detoxification and the flow of Blood and Qi.
Eat breakfast. Do not skip it. Even if you do not eat lunch and dinner, DO NOT miss breakfast. Morning is the time that correlates to both the Spleen and the Stomach and they need fuel. Many people don't have an appetite in the morning because their digestive function is weak. Try oatmeal (not instant), congee, warm roasted walnuts, sweet potato. Delicious warm foods to sync with the functioning of the body.
Include a large variety of foods, especially a variety of vegetables in your food nutrition of what's in season. Eat in harmony with nature. Use the five flavours (sour, bitter, sweet, pungent and salty) as a guide daily for the nourishment of each organ. Wu Wei Zi (Schisandra) is a five flavour berry and adaptogen that can satisfy these flavours and provide a great source of nourishment.
Focus on good ingredients with simple flavours. Bone broths, rice, good quality proteins, sweet potatoes keep your body satisfied and act as fuel. My steam sautee method for vegetables cooks in minutes, is delicious, and keeps nutrients intact. Once done cooking I add good quality olive oil and Himalayan salt.
Chew plenty and slowly.
Relax while you eat, and refrain from participating in negative or upsetting conversation, watching tell-lie-vision, reading, and rushing. This greatly hinders digestion.
Add Blood and vital energy herbal formula to your routine, especially if you are vegan or vegetarian. In TICM we do not believe in veganism or vegetarianism, it is unethical but a post for another time as to why.
Eat consistently. The amount and timing of meals should be similar daily. The Spleen is nourished by consistency. Optimal times are breakfast at about 7am, lunch 12pm and dinner at 6pm. I am criticised by many for having last meal at 5.30pm being called "very English".
Eat light at night. Make sure you have 3 hours to digest before bed. Not all food is ingested equally. The Stomach and Spleen are active in the early morning while the Kidney, Liver, Gallbladder systems are active at night, wanting to detox and rejuvenate the body. When you ingest food late, it hinders their function. Of course, life is busy and there are times this will not work, but do it as often as possible. If you do intermittent fasting, do it at night rather than the morning. Long term you are greatly damaging the works of your Qi, Stomach, Spleen and Blood. This affects your entire system.
Avoid eating when in any kind of extreme emotional state, instead take the time to physically ground yourself through your breath.
Hydrate with warm water with lemon, ginger powder tea, or loose leaf organic tea. An overconsumption of cold beverages, iced drinks actually stop proper circulation and cause a weak digestion and slow metabolism.