Ying Yang Xue

"If something is cold, heat it. If something is hot, cool it." –Huangdi Neijing

Archive for the tag “spleen qi deficiency”

Sweet as Sweet Potato Pie

A few weeks ago, EN primed our Spleens for holiday fare (yes, spleens like the holidays, too!).  She made a sweet potato pie that would be at home on any holiday table.    Are we advocating eating pie as health food?  Unfortunately, no.  However, we know as practitioners that we have to meet our patients where they are.   If the choice is between a chocolate mousse cake or a pie that leans heavily on antioxidant and nutrient-rich sweet potatoes, we’re definitely going with the latter!   It doesn’t always have to be all or nothing with diet; some occasions (especially this season) will call for desserts, and you might as well use the desserts to your body’s advantage!

TCM DOS: Spleen Qi deficiency

Manifestations: poor appetite, emaciation, obesity, abdominal distension after eating, fatigue, lassitude, sallow complexion, weakness of limbs, loose stools, nausea, stuffiness of chest and epigastrium, feelings of heaviness.

Tongue: pale or normal colored, swollen, scalloped sides

Pulse: Weak, soft or thready

Recommended foods for SP Qi Deficiency are foods that are easy to digest.  Only warming and nourishing foods should be eaten.  Cooked, warmed, slow-cooking foods are best for those who suffer from Spleen Qi deficiency.  Recipes like soups, broths, cooked vegetables, rice, oatmeal and small portions of meats.  Uncooked and raw foods should be avoided as they are difficult for the body to digest.  Avoiding salads and raw vegetables will improve function of the spleen.  Over eating, fasting and eating while working should be avoided.

Recommendations: Millet, Beans, Pine nuts, Figs, Dates, Squash, Carrots, Cabbage, cooked vegetables, cooked grains, leeks, oats, onion, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, yams, rice, dried fruits, cherries, peaches, strawberries, anchovies, chicken, turkey, beef, spices, black pepper, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, barley, malt, maple syrup


The Spleen’s Special Sweet Potato Pie

4 ounces butter, softened

2 cups cooked and mashed sweet potatoes

2 cups sugar

1 small can (5 oz) evaporated milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 eggs, beaten

1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon

2 prepared pie shells, unbaked


Mix butter, potatoes, sugar and evaporated milk until well blended.  Add vanilla, eggs and cinnamon; mix well. Pour into the prepared pie shells. Bake in 350 degree oven for an hour, until set. Makes 2 pies.


Seasonal pumpkin delight for the Spleen

DH kicked off the new semester by satisfying our spleens with a delicious pumpkin, apple & pear bread.  This is a perfect seasonal treat, as our spleens tend to suffer with the excessive amount of treats around this time of year (not to mention the stressful situations in which we tend to eat.  Can we say ‘Family Thanksgiving Dinner’?)  This bread proved quite a quandary, though: in moderate amounts, it’s beneficial for the spleen, but with a bread this delicious, how do you expect me to eat moderate amounts?!

TCM DOS: Spleen Qi Deficiency

Many of our patients suffer on a regular basis from SP qi xu, and yet plenty of the foods they like during the Autumn season are for SP qi xu.

Spleen qi deficiency signs and symptoms include:  fatigue, loose stool, bloating and lack of appetite. P: weak  T: pale, soft with thin white fur.

Western diagnosis would include anemia, diarrhea and gastric or duodenal ulcers.

Patients with the condition of SP qi xu should consider including any of the following:
Warming foods should be cooked; potatoes, carrots, yams, squash, turnips, leeks, onions, rice, oats, butter, modest amounts of turkey, chicken, beef, cooked peaches, cherries, strawberries, figs, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg (hmm autumn flavors) black pepper, custard, small amounts of honey, molasses, maple syrup and sugar. Meals should be average to small.

Patients should avoid eating the following on a regular basis:
excess sugar, seaweed, milk, cheese, buckwheat, millet, tofu, citrus, salsa and too much salt

I decided to bake (since cooked, warming foods are good for the taxed spleen) my favorite recipe Harvest Pumpkin with Apple and Pear Bread, since it is autumn and pumpkins, apples and pears are in abundance during this time of year. I also thought it would be a great way to get in the spirit of the autumn season and nourish everybody’s spleen.

Harvest Pumpkin With Apple and Pear Bread

Whole lotta autumn love.

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 cups granulated sugar
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree (such as Libby’s) 4 large eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup apple juice (or water)
1⁄2 medium baking apple, peeled,cored and diced 1⁄2 medium bosc pear, peeled, cored and diced

1  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2  Grease and flour two 9 x 5-inch loaf pans.
3  Combine flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt in large bowl.
4  Combine sugar, pumpkin, eggs, vegetable oil and apple juice in large mixer bowl; beat until just blended. 5
Add pumpkin mixture to flour mixture; stir just until moistened.
6  Fold in apples and pears
7  Spoon batter into prepared loaf pans.
8  Bake for 65 to 70 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.
9  Cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.
10  To make using three 8 X 4-inch loaf pans: Prepare as above and bake for 60 to 65 minutes.
11  To make using five or six 5 X 3-inch mini-loaf pans: Prepare as above and bake for 55 to 60 minutes.

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