16 April 2020

Stay Healthy at Home by Dr. Susana Balingit

Well-Being Advice from The Farm’s Health Experts

Dr. Susana Balingit
Medical Director, The Farm at San Benito


In any natural healing program, assuring that you are getting the proper nutrition is very important. The most nutritious foods are those which have been subjected to the least amount of processing and contamination. These are called natural foods. From the time food is harvested to the time it ends up on the grocery shelf or your refrigerator, it goes through many steps of processing. Each step may lower its nutritional value, as well as add harmful chemicals.

Food provides the building blocks for cellular regeneration and the syntheses of hormones, antibodies, enzymes, and other essential factors. It is the source of the energy necessary to fuel metabolism and the processes of life. For this reason, it is essential to eat a diet free from chemical additives and rich in nutrients and fiber – as nature intended. The less processing food undergoes and the fresher it is, the more beneficial it becomes. A natural foods diet is based on whole grains (unpolished and organic rice or corn, whole wheat bread, oats) and fresh locally grown, in-season vegetables, and naturally grown fruits. [Bruce Fife, The Healing Crisis]

The Path Starts Here

1. Eat mainly organic whole grain and locally grown, in-season vegetables:

Sprouts – to strengthen your liver and gall bladder;
Leafy vegetables – to help your heart and small intestines;
Fruit vegetables – to keep your pancreas, spleen, and stomach healthy;
Beans/seed vegetables – to strengthen your lungs and large intestines; and
Root crops/ root vegetables – to reinforce your kidneys and reproductive organs.

2. Avoid commercially-produced meat from livestock fed with hormones, steroids, antibiotics & feeds, as well as fish raised in fish pens, fish cages, fish tanks, and fishponds.

3. Avoid refined sugar (and products which use it), white rice, refined flour, refined cereals, soft drinks, MSG and other artificial flavorings, dairy products, and alcoholic beverages. For those critically ill, even organic meat, fish and fruits are not part of the diet.

4. Learn, discover and experiment in the preparation of traditional regional recipes and traditional cooking and food preparation methods to broaden your culinary fare.

5. Be flexible in your food choices by adapting to the changing season/climate, as well as the changing needs of your body.

Getting Started…

Step 1: Ask yourself what your favorite foods are.

Meat dishes? Sweets? Dairy products? Soft drinks and flavored juices? These are not good for your health. There are healthier and more than enough substitutes for them. For your favorite meat and poultry dishes, you can substitute meat with beans, tofu, and mushrooms.

To satisfy your craving for sweets, you can try the following:
• For snacks, rediscover the taste of traditional unsweetened puddings, vegetable pies, unsweetened or lightly sweetened carrot, and banana cakes
• For viands, add sweet-tasting root crops (sweet potato instead of potato, squash, ripe cooking banana to your vegetable dishes)

Step 2: What are your moods? What foods do you crave for?

Choose your foods to suit your moods and cravings.

• When you feeling stubborn, angry, restless, frustrated, resentful or impatient, and you crave for sour-tasting food, it is highly probable that your liver and gall bladder are weak or are weakening. By choosing meals that are heavy in sprouts (bean sprout, mushrooms, spring onions, lemongrass) you can become more relaxed and calmer, more assertive and expressive, and more patient and forgiving.

– Light mushroom soup with chopped spring onions and a dash of calamansi /lemon (you may also add lemongrass to enhance the soup’s flavor).
– Corn on cob cooked with lots of leafy vegetables and flavored with lemon/calamansi and lemongrass.
– Pickled vegetables minus the sugar

• When you feel overly excited, tense, restless, want to shout out loud, and you crave for a bitter taste, it is highly probable that your heart and small intestines are most likely in trouble. You can be more relaxed, playful, light and cheerful by adding more leafy vegetables in your meals.

– Green salad tossed in lemon, pepper, and salt
– Sautéed mongo with lots of bitter gourd leaves
– Sour soup with miso added with plenty of mustard leaves, flavored with lemongrass (to lower blood pressure)

• When you feel extra sensitive and break into frequent crying spells, and at the same time have a strong craving for a sweet taste for drinks, switch to veggie shakes (cucumber and carrots, tomato), chilled or hot fruit-flavored teas, or coconut juice (but not daily, please). It is highly probable that your spleen, pancreas and stomach may be compromised. You can calm down, be more determined, focused and pacified by choosing dishes that have more fruit vegetables in them.

– Squash soup
– Tomato soup
– Gingered mushroom soup with plenty of green papaya or any gourd
– Eggplant salad (grilled or boiled)
– Vegetable ceviche using banana blossom, or unripe jackfruit, etc.

• When you are feeling blue or depressed, lethargic, nostalgic, indecisive and unable to sleep, while craving for pungent and spicy food, it is highly probable that your colon and lungs are not fully energized. You can lift your sagging spirit and get more spirited by preparing meals with lots of beans.

– minestrone
– sautéed beans
– bean salad with vinaigrette

• When you feel overly worried, overwhelmed, confused, scared or hesitant and continue craving for a salty flavor, it is very likely that your kidneys and reproductive system are weakened. You can gain your confidence, be more courageous, bolder and daring if you eat meals that are heavy on root crops/root veggies.

– Stewed red/white beans mixed with mushrooms and sweet potato, potato, carrots, green beans, and cabbage
– Boiled camote, cassava or taro for snacks
– Cook veggies with lots of onions, garlic, ginger or turmeric

Healing your body and mind

1. Use locally grown, in-season vegetables.
• To keep you warm in cold climates/seasons. choose big/large and soft vegetables (cabbage, napa cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, eggplant, etc.); choose smaller (native) and compact vegetable varieties (small okra, eggplant, bitter gourd) in warm places to keep you cool.
• Choose succulent or juicy vegetables during summer months to keep you fresh and cool; dry and less succulent/watery vegetables during cold weather to keep you warm.

2. Choose vegetables according to your mood and health condition.
• Eat crisp, succulent veggies when you are feeling tense, angry, or stuck in a rut. These will help you relax, lighten up and think clearly. Eat them as salads or just lightly cooked.
• Eat more well-cooked vegetables when feeling overly sensitive or highly emotional. These will calm you down and help you start your activities, give you a firmer grip on life and more productivity.

3. Choose smaller vegetables if your condition is Yin (due to over-consumption of sugar and dairy products), and bigger vegetables if your condition is Yang (due to over-consumption of meat/animal products).

4. Choose and cook vegetables according to the taste and flavors you crave for.

5. Choose cooking methods according to changes in the seasons, your moods and health conditions.
• Boil, blanch, or eat raw (salads) your vegetables if you are feeling tense or angry, or if your condition is contracted.
• Sauté, grill, broil, or cook in coconut milk vegetables if you are feeling highly emotional or overly sensitive, or if your condition is expansive.
• You may use the following ingredients in cooking: vegetable oil, coconut oil, sea salt, naturally fermented vinegar, naturally brewed soy sauce, local herbs, noodles (made from whole grain or beans)

When eating, say a little prayer of thanks for the maker of the food, and chew your food slowly and properly.

Sleep early and always find time to relax.

Signs of Healing

• Fading, lessening signs and symptoms of weakening body organs.
• Increasing duration of sound and peaceful sleep.
• More relaxed mind and clearer thinking.
• Pleasant moods and brighter disposition.
• Absence of bodily aches and pains.
•  Good and regular bowel movement.

Reference: 1987. Turner, Kristina. The Self-Healing Cookbook. Earthtones

About Dr. Susana Balingit
Dr. Susana M. Balingit has been working with various community health-oriented development programs and projects for almost three decades. She practiced medicine in many far-flung marginalized communities and focused her efforts towards “rediscovering” indigenous knowledge and practices (IKP) that can be harnessed to promote health and wellness and prevent disease. The body of knowledge learned and the wealth of experience she has gained has provided people and communities with a more sustainable and accessible means to have fuller control of their health.

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