By Rob Aspell
Digestion begins in the mouth... The Stomach opens into the mouth, which is where digestion begins with the saliva. Chew sufficiently and correctly, as this helps to protect and preserve the Stomach and Spleen Qi.
Eat with a passive mind (Yi)... Avoid eating during heightened emotional states or mental stimulation. This allows the Stomach to focus on processing food rather than thoughts during meal times.
Don’t extinguish the Fire, don’t flood the Spleen... Too much cold food or too much fluid inhibits the digestive Fires. Avoid raw/cold foods, and avoid drinking whilst eating (stick to small amounts of warm fluids if needed).
The Stomach likes wetness, loathes dryness... Avoid over consumption of hot, spicy or drying foods to protect the Yin fluids of the Stomach. These fluids are required for the ‘soaking’ and ‘rotting and ripening’ of the foods for digestion
Allow the Stomach to rest... The Stomach Qi is required to hold down food, digest the food substances, and to descend the food and digestive Fires to the other Fu organs. Provide the Stomach with enough time in between meals in order to rest sufficiently for it to digest optimally. No food before 6am or after 6pm, and no snacking between meals.
Avoid too many ingredients... The Stomach receives the flavours (via the mouth) whilst the Heart experiences the flavours (via the tongue). Together they are required to enable proper digestion of the food essences and to tell the body what to do with them. Too many ingredients or flavours is essentially information overload, and will overstimulate the Shen and cause confusion of the Qi. It will also overstimulate the digestive fires, damaging the Yin and further agitating the Shen.
Eat fragrant foods... Good quality food is abundant in Qi, and this manifests in its fragrance (Xiang, 㿝). Avoid what are considered ‘wrecked’ foods, as they have little nutritional value and are either useless or detrimental to the body. Wrecked foods include junk food, overcooked or over processed food, and food that has spoiled.