Wednesday 11th November 2015

Pears help tackle anxiety and digestive issues

Anxiety and some digestive issues can be eased at this time of the year with the addition of apples and pears to the diet, advises leading macrobiotic practitioner Oliver Cowmeadow.

The fruit, coming to the end of their autumn harvest, are yin in nature and can be used to open and relax the body.
“If you have anxiety and tension felt in the solar plexus area, lightly cooked pears will help, and if eaten in the evening, can help you get a good night’s sleep,” he says.

“Digestive issues such as heart burn and acid reflux, food not going down properly, or a variable appetite, suggest the stomach has become too yang, and cooked fruit can relax this tension.”

Oliver, founder of the International Macrobiotic School in Devon, explains that dry food such as bread, crackers and pastry, which keeps the stomach and pancreas tight, should also be avoided.“

If there is long standing weakness in a person’s digestive powers, in Oriental medicine, this is seen as a weakness in the Spleen energy, which governs digestion, as well as nourishment of the body and being,” he says.

“Digestive issues often go hand in hand with anxiety as spending a lot of time thinking or having a lot of worries tightens the solar plexus and inhibits good digestion.”

Oliver adds that temperate fruits grown in our own climate are much better for the body and we should be taking advantage of the wonderful array of varieties of both apples and pears available at this time of the year.

He explained that eating tropical fruits was too cooling for the body in the autumn and winter, weakening the body’s defences and increasing the likelihood of picking up colds and flu.

Macrobiotics offers an effective solution to disease and health problems through a system of oriental diagnosis, diet and personal development. The school runs both professional training and short courses.


Pear and apple crumble


2 sweet apples sliced

2 pears sliced

2- 3 tablespoons barley malt

1 tablespoon kuzo (or arrowroot)

3 cups rolled oats

1 cup wholemeal flour

3 tablespoons sesame oil

¼ teaspoon salt


Put the fruit and half a cup of water, with a pinch of salt, and bring to the boil. Remove from heat.
Puree the kuzo in 2-3 tablespoons of cold water and add to the pan.

Put on a low heat and simmer for 3 – 4 minutes, stirring constantly. Pour into a baking dish.
For the crumble, mix the oats, flour and salt, then rub in the oil.

Warm the malt to make it thinner, and mix with the oats. Spread over the fruit.
Bake in an oven at 350f (gas mark 4) for 30 – 45 minutes.


Poached Pears


1 pear

150ml water or apple juice

½ – 1 tsp grated ginger juice

1tsp barley malt

Sea salt


Cut the pear in half and take out the core out of each half. Place in a pan in the water, or apple juice for a sweeter taste. Add a few grains of salt and simmer with a lid for 10 minutes or until soft.

Squeeze the ginger juice over the pears, and add the malt in the depressions where the core came out, and simmer another 2 minutes.

These are delicious eaten on their own, or you can add a little oat cream.

(photo of pear tree by THOR (Pear Tree House) [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons)