This is a very big subject and we go into this relationship between food and the internal organs on our longer courses. Within Oriental Healing there is a physical, emotional, mental and spiritual aspect to each organ of the body. For example, the kidneys not only produce urine but also with the adrenal glands, produce energy (ki or chi/prana) and hormones. Our fundamental source of energy in the body in the body is stored in the kidneys. They are a bit like the duracell batteries in the rabbit. So, the stronger the kidneys, the more energy you have and the more you can do in life. You can run, climb and go further. With inferior batteries you’ll flunk out sooner.
Foods that help send energy down to the kidneys are broths, whole grains, sea vegetables, and root vegetables. These nourish the kidneys which like long-cooked foods, mineral rich foods , moderate amounts of salt, and small amounts of animal foods. We feel strong energy, motivated, able to take on new challenges, don’t mind a bit of risk, and courage. When our l kidney energy is weak we feel cold, we have no energy and just want to tuck up under a duvet. We don’t want to go out and feel easily overwhelmed and may we feel anxious deep within our body. With anxiety it’s good to feel what part of the body we feel it in. With some people it’s around the heart, with others the solar plexus or butterflies in the stomach. Often though it’s in the lower chakras or kidney areas. When our kidney energy is low we may fear life and engaging with it. We may even feel that everyone is out to get us. And then fear and anxiety come to dominate our life.
My personal experience with this was when I was in my twenties I climbed the highest mountains in the Brecon Beacons in Wales, Pen Y Fan with a friend. I had no fear of heights at all. Then, after a period of burn-out during my thirties I went up with the same friend and remember I couldn’t go near the edge of the ridge due to fear. At that time I was very depleted and lacked emotional skills. There was no way I was going to get close to the edge – even when crawling in my hands and knees. It was a wakeup call and after that I spent a few years building up my kidney energy returning to the same mountain with my son. It was very windy, and snow too. But I remember again feeling no fear or anxiety – despite the wind trying to blow us over. To me this was a clear indication that fear not only comes from our emotional experience but also from a weakness in our physical bodies. Our physical bodies are our home in this lifetime. It’s our emotional base and where we can feel grounded. A strong body and a healthy balanced body really help us emotionally. This helps us mentally too, for example to have balanced opinions and make balanced decisions. It also helps us to listen to others.
Another organ we can look at briefly is the liver, which physically takes all the food from our intestines including fats and minerals and processes them. If we eat a lot of fat then it creates fat. Some vitamins are stored in the liver, and it creates blood sugar. The liver distributes energy around the body helping us to move and with emotional expression and creativity. If for some reason this movement is not happening then the liver energy becomes blocked which can have certain physical effects such as tension in the body, heachaches, menstrual cramps, feeling emotionally uptight, angry and frustrated. Anger that is easily triggered and inappropriate indicates blocked and excessive energy. We’ve also learnt to suppress emotions because it wasn’t safe to express them or to cry or tell people how we feel. Small children need a lot of emotional support for example hugs and cuddles before they go off again into the world (and then come back many times for more). We need a lot of support for our emotional and mental development. Emotional upbringing is never perfect, but if we did not have a balanced emotional upbringing this affects us.
Too many heavy yang foods like meat, salt, fat, cheese, eggs and chicken can create heat and tension in the liver and small things can then trigger us. Bang! Lots of swearing comes out, this excess energy is coming out of the liver. Anger problems go back to emotional experiences early in life but food can definitely aggravate them a great deal.
The lungs exchange gases, but are also involved with the exchanges we have with other people, socialisation and relationships. If we have weak lung energy we find it difficult to relate to other people, avoid them or feel socially awkward and lonely.
The heart dictates our loving connections with other people. Some foods adversely affect our heart energy and can lead to a lack of love and connection with others as well as a lack of appreciation for ourselves. The stomach and intestines all have different emotional aspects too but the key is that all are helped by eating a balanced wholefood diet with whole grains, vegetables, nuts, pulses, beans, sea vegetables, and maybe a small amount of animal protein seafood and oils. This will bring the body into balance and help with emotional and mental problems. Some people can be dramatically helped by this. So please consider that a change in diet may help you and others to create more emotional stability within.
We run a range of courses to develop an understanding of this kind of thing, including a range of online courses.