Late summer is the time for the Earth element in the Chinese Medicine system. It is the time for the harvest and great abundance of available fresh nutrients for nourishing ourselves. The Spleen and Stomach are the primary organs and meridians in the Earth Element and digestion and assimilation of nutrients is the primary function on a physical level.
Imbalance in this element can be reflected in the foods we are drawn to and the health of our digestive system. Classically craving for sweets is an indication of a Spleen dysfunction, but any strong cravings for foods that aren’t necessarily “good for us” in large quantities can be an indication as well.
To shift out of food craving imbalances and into craving food and the amount of food that is truly nourishing for us takes several steps. The first one is to be aware that there is an imbalance that can be changed. This seems so elementary, but in our busy lives we may not bring imbalances into full consciousness. We may just accept our habits as they are and not embrace the possibility of change.
The second step is to identify what you want and write it down. What would truly nourishing food habits look like? Take a few minutes to connect with your body and ask what would feel truly nourishing? Be open to its response. Perhaps it is a plant based diet, more broccoli, spinach, more healthy proteins.
The 3rd step is to identify the primary habits that need to be released to embrace the changes your body is craving. Perhaps you usually grab a coffee and skip breakfast. Your body may be craving time for a healthy breakfast with plenty of protein to curb cravings during the day. Whatever your habits may be, take one at a time. By tackling them in this way, you will likely be more successful in creating the change you are wishing to see.
Another great way to create balance in the Earth Element is through a yoga practice that specifically targets the Earth Element channels. The Sacred Pathways Earth Element practice opens and balances the Spleen and Stomach meridians which will lead to improved digestion, increased metabolism and will help to eliminate food cravings.
Remember, by choosing foods that are more nourishing for your body will also help you to make choices that are more supportive of you in other areas of your life as well.
Jan Mead PT LAc is the creator of Sacred Pathways Yoga, a practicing physical therapist and acupuncturist. She is passionate about helping people achieve their wellness goals from the physical level to the spiritual.