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.