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  • Writer's pictureLamia

Bitter bites for summer salvation

Bitter tastes enter the Heart, Small Intestine, San Jiao and the Pericardium or Heart Protector. Using flavour to connect with the Qi of a particular Organ system is old hat in Traditional Chinese Nutrition. Much like salt has a direct impact on the Kidneys every food enters a particular organ or organs. We are what we eat.

Using flavours to harmonize inner alchemy is one way to increase your health and well being.

This June I focus on the Heart Protector. Heading into summer and more warmth, the foods suggested here are either neutral or cooling so as to balance the heat of summer with the heat inherent in this Fire Element Organ.

Consuming more bitter foods helps to ease the Qi of the Heart Protector.​

Nasturtium leaves

Summer is the time to eat a salad and adding some nasturtium leaves to your greens will bring in bitter flavour to tend to the Pericaridium​

Bitter Greens

Rapini, Kale, Collards ... get some greens on your plate this week and be sure to massage, or lightly steam these greens for greater absorption

Red Lentils

with a neutral energetic temperature, red lentils tonify the Qi of the Heart Protector

Other foods for the Heart Protector include: watermelon, peanuts, cherries, radish, rhubarb, oily fish, dates.

What of these foods do you want to include in your diet daily this week?

To benefit from Chinese Nutrition you can practice seasonal Whole Foods eating. Eating foods in their original form and lining up with the foods best eaten during any given season, including how seasons change depending on the geography of where you are.

The work this week is to check out any bitter foods, add them in every day and then check in at the end of the week and see if there was any decrease in general overwhelm. Trying this for a month will give you even more info!

Notes on coffee: Coffee is a deliciously bitter food, oh I love coffee! Depending on the alchemy of the Heart and Heart Protector coffee can be a lot of Heart opening all at once. If you find yourself crashing hard, or getting anxiety from coffee, consider this challenge: stop drinking coffee for one week (or cut it in half) and check in with your Heart Protector to see if there is less anxiety.

This month you can find a Heart Protector stretch here on the Portal Blog, add this stretch to your meal with the bitter foods and integrate all you are doing to flow your Heart Protector Qi!


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Lamia Gibson, R. Ac, is an Acupuncturist, Shiatsu Therapist and TCM food nerd. Your friendly neighbourhood Health Detective, I uncover roots of ailments and treat branches of dis-ease. With a focus on Burnout, healing Trauma, Grief and body pain, I am a resource of care for your one precious life.

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