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November: Fall Foods

Sunday, 01 November 2020 09:00

It’s the fall season and as the leaves change colors and the air gets cooler and crisps, we think about certain foods. Pumpkin, squash, apples for example are fall favorites. Food therapy is one of the four branches of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM). With food therapy veterinarians can plan meals for a patient’s condition and constitution, to support the patient as a whole and assist with restoring balance.

Food is broken into five different temperatures and five different tastes or flavors: Cold, Cool, Neutral, Warm, and Hot. Cold foods purge Heat and Fire and cool Blood. Cool foods relieve Heat, restore Toxin, and nourish Yin. Neutral foods mediate Cold, Cool, Hot, and Warm herbs. Warm foods disperse Cold and tonifies Qi-Yang. Hot foods tonifies Yang-Qi and activates the Channels.

There are also five flavors or tastes:  Sour, Bitter, Sweet, Pungent, and Salty. Sour has an astringent effect and promotes the Liver and Spleen. Bitter purges the intestines and Eliminates Heat-Damp. Sweet regulates Qi-Blood, soothe the Liver, tonifies Qi or Yang, and nourishes Blood or Yin. Pungent activates Qi and Blood, and diaphoresis. Salty softens hardness and purges the intestines.

TCVM Fall Foods:

Enters Channels:
Spleen and Stomach
Temperature: Warm 
Flavors: slightly bitter and sweet
It clears Toxin, stops pain, supplements the center, tonifies Qi, and transforms Dampness, reinforces middle burner, replenish Qi, transforms phlegm

Enters Channels:
Lung, Spleen, Stomach, Large Intestines, and Liver
Temperature: Neutral
Flavors: Sweet to sour
Tonifies Yin, promotes digestion, moisten Lungs, generates fluid

Enters Channels:
Spleen, Stomach, Large Intestine
Temperature: Warm
Flavors: Sweet
                                         Functions: Tonify Qi and Yang

updated_sweet_potato (1).png


Sweet Potato
Enters Channels: Spleen, Stomach, Large Intestine, and Kidney 
Temperature: Neutral to warm (red sweet potato is warm)
Flavors: Sweet
Functions: Tonify Spleen and Stomach Qi, promotes peristalsis, removes toxin



Species:  Canine, whippet
Age: 12
Gender:  FS
Tongue:  pale, pink, moist
Pulse: deep, weaker on right
Clinical Signs: diarrhea, non odorous, early in the morning, more frequently happening now that the weather is getting cooler, warm seeking - wants to be under blankets, shivers
TCVM Pattern: Spleen Qi Deficiency
Treatment Options: acupuncture including BL-20, BL-21, ST-36, GV-1
Herbal Formula: Shen Ling Bai Zhu to strengthen Spleen Qi
Food Therapy: beef and sweet potato stew, topped with apple sauce

Edited by Alex Kintz-Konegger, DVM, CVA, CVTP. Hypothetical Cases by Alex Kintz-Konegger, DVM, CVA, CVTP