Macrobiotic expert Shonali Sabherwal says organs seek attention by craving for specific things.
The macrobiotic diet was brought to our consciousness by Madonna and her former bestie Gwyneth Paltrow, but its system is entrenched in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). TCM looks at the body as an ecosystem, with internal organs forming the core.
Each organ is a complex energetic system encompassing not only its anatomical entity, but correlated to an emotion, tissue, sense organ, mental faculty, colour, climate, taste, smell and more. These are called ‘internal organ correspondences’.
If you are craving a particular food item, it tells you which organ you are dominated by and how to keep it satiated. Of course, this is in addition to a balanced diet rich in whole grains, legumes and vegetables.
Lungs craving: Pungent
Characteristics: Governed by grief and depression, lung people have a tendency to slouch (or have a hunchback, indicative of limited supply of oxygen to this area), or have inflamed cheeks. An abuse of sugar, diary products, fruits and fruit juices could hurt your lungs.
Healthy switch: Pungent foods help discharge mucous-like build-up in the lungs, so eat raddish, cabbage, arugula, asparagus, mustard (sarson) greens, turnips, carrots, red peppers, broccoli, wheat grass and spirulina to detoxify the lungs. Fiber-rich foods such as whole-grain and especially lotus root (kamal kakdi) help a lot.
Drink fresh lotus root tea for relief
Ingredients: ½ cup lotus root juice, ½ cup water, pinch of sea salt. PREPARATION: Grate the lotus root and squeeze the juice. Boil in water while stirring continuosly. After the first boil, let it simmer for 3-4 minutes. Drink hot.
Kidneys taste: salt
Characteristics: You push yourself to excel at work, maintain a certain lifestyle or diet. You are constantly plugged into fear, which burns out their adrenals (adrenals sit on top of the kidneys). Dark circles, eye bags, hair loss, premature graying and dull and lifeless hair are tell-tale signs that your kidneys want to have a chat with you.
Healthy switch: Replace table salt with rock or sea salt. Shun chips and transfatty farsaan and embrace black beans such as soybeans and kidney beans. Magnesium-rich foods calm the nerves, so include spirulina, wheat grass, millet, corn, barley, brown rice, sesame seeds, spinach, methi, chowli, broccoli, avocado, cooked lentils, peanut butter, bananas, prunes, dried apricots, melon, and fish.
Spleen, pancreas taste: sugar
Characteristics: Anxiety and worry have you under their thumb. Such people suffer from digestive issues which manifest in the lips — they tend to be swollen, dry, cracked or unusually red or pale.
Healthy switch: If your abuse of sugar continues, you’ll land up with hypoglycaemia or diabtetes. So switch to good sugars that come from fruit and vegetables. Shop for this: Sweet potatoes, cabbage, carrots, squash, onions, brown rice, cinnamon, saunf and nutmeg. To satiate sweet cravings, drink the sweet vegetable juice given below whenever you can (late afternoons is ideal), everyday, every day for a month.
Boil equal amounts of finely chopped onions, carrots, cabbage and sweet squash in four times the amount of water. Let it boil for 2-3 minutes. Reduce flame, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Strain and drink the broth.
Liver tastes: sour, bitter
Characteristics: If your liver is not functioning at its optimum level, you feel angry and frustrated. You’ve probably been abusing oily and greasy foods, saturated fats from animal foods, dairy and eggs. If your liver is under duress, your eyes and nails could turn yellow. Sometimes, the eyes turn a dull gray and the complexion, sallow. Examine the area around the eyebrows, which is the liver area according to TCM. Does it have red spots? Then your liver is seriously pissed off.
Healthy switch: Munch on green apples. Also, add these to your noms: turmeric, basil, cardamom, cumin, ginger, mint leaves, strawberries, cabbage, cauliflower, turnips, broccoli, sprouted grains, bitter gourds, arugula leaves, fenugreek, rajgeera atta, quinoa, radish and radish leaves and spirulina.
Heart tastes: bitter, pungent
Characteristics: People with a weakness in the heart could have a red or swollen nose. Sometimes, the nose tip may be swollen or even green. Their emotional state is not joyful; and the complexion could be sallow. Those who over-dose on refined foods, sugar, refined flours, simple carbohydrates, meat, alcohol, drugs, rich and greasy foods, hurt their heart. Late night eating and large dinners also impact this pumping machine.
Healthy switch: All wholegrains, especially rajgeera; buckwheat, raddish, onions, mustard, garlic and magnesium rich foods. Eat herbs such as dill, basil, chamomile, pudina and use ghee in your cooking.
Brain likes crunch
Ever noticed how you reach for chips when you’re working? That’s because the brain likes the crunch as the sound wakes it up. Whenever it is active, it starts craving that sound. Keep a bowl of roasted nuts, carrot sticks or walnuts on your desk to munch the healthy way.