Long cooked soup benefits the Spleen
Classical Chinese medicine (CCM) classifies the Spleen as an organ of digestion.
There is a huge difference in perspective between Classical Chinese medicine and modern medicine. Because of this difference, we capitalize the organ when referring to it from the CCM perspective, and use lower case when referring to any organ from the modern medical viewpoint.
Back to the Spleen and soup…
We cook our food to make it easier to digest. Our Spleen needs heat in order to properly digest everything we eat and drink. Consequently, cold challenges the Spleen. Cold food and cold weather require our system to turn up the heat, so we can stay warm and fuel digestion. Too much cold can drain our heating resources. When there is not enough heat (which we call “Fire” in CCM), our digestion can be challenged.
The wonders of soup!
Soup that is cooked over a long period of time is full of heat, and therefore, easy to digest. Since so much heat has already been added to it while being cooked, it requires little of our own internal heat to digest it properly.
The Spleen needs to supply the heat for digestion. Too much cold strains the Spleen’s ability to provide the appropriate amount of heat for digestion. If you turn that around, you understand how long-cooked soup supports the Spleen. Soup is full of nutrients, it’s warm, and it’s easy to digest.
My favorite chicken soup:
- First, create a long cooked soup stock from the bones of a chicken. Add the bones to a few quarts of water with a dash of vinegar, salt, peppercorns, mustard seeds, 2 chopped onions, 1-2 cloves of garlic, 3-4 carrots, and any other left over vegetables. Bring to a boil and simmer for 4-5 hours.
- Strain off and keep the liquid – this is the stock. (Discard the veggies and bones.)
- Add chopped carrots, celery, chicken or meat, and rutabaga. Then cook on low for another hour or two. Add some fresh kale to the bowl of chicken soup when serving.
Celebrate your Spleen while enjoying your fabulous soup with family and friends!