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Margaret Ann
Posted on Tuesday, June 20, 2000 - 01:19 pm:   

Dear Ingrid, hello!

Could you please tell me what a wind and bile imbalance DIET would consist of, and what emotional lessons to pursue with this?

Thank you so much,

Margaret Ann
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Posted on Tuesday, June 20, 2000 - 06:39 pm:   

Dear Margaret Ann,

"Wind" and "bile" are terms used in Tibetan medicine, more or less equivalent to the Ayurvedic terms "vata" and "pitta". They refer to "derangements" of the circulatory (wind) and digestive (bile) systems of the body.

Excess or deranged wind (what is called "air" in astrology as well as Greek medicine) is aggravated by worry and poor digestion.

Digestion is a process of transformation of food into nutrients that the body can be used and elimination of what the body cannot use. For this purpose, there are various chemicals (ruled by the fire element) that aid the transformation: hydrochloric acid, enzymes, bile, and so forth. If the body does not produce enough of these chemicals, digestion occurs partially through the action of normal digestive juices and secretions and partially as a result of fermentation. This fermentation throws off a gas that causes abdominal rumblings and swelling and sometimes discomfort and embarrassment. In many instances, it is the gas that "deranges" the air element. In other words, "wind" is often a secondary consequence of poor digestion and not a primary constitutional imbalance.

However, once the wind is disturbed, it tends to move furiously. This has the effect of irritating nerves and causing spasms that usually move hither and thither giving rise to what conventional medicine would call psychosomatic or hypochondriacal symptoms, i.e., not real because there is no real pathology in the area where the symptoms seem to present.

The worst aggravation is caused by the drying effect of wind, especially in the lower intestine. True excess air makes elimination difficult. It also tends to cause some impaction to occur on the walls of the colon so that assimilation of the nutrients used to regenerate the skin, bones, nerve sheaths, brain, and reproductive fluids is impaired. This, in turn, leads to premature aging.

The first step towards improvement is observation of what your body can digest and what it cannot. For the most part, it is easier to digest foods that are predigested by virtue of the fact of their fermentation or spiciness.

For instance, milk is hard to digest, but good quality yoghurt (with active cultures) is easy to digest. This kind of yoghurt is intensely sour compared to all the silly yoghurts on the market.

Likewise, a curry dish is easier to digest than a typical casserole, not to mention Western meal of meat and potatoes.

This is a whole area of its own and I'll be glad to keep adding to this thread, but the first concept to ground is "digestive power." Each body secretes enough saliva and gastric juices to metabolize x amount of food. Anything over this amount becomes a burden on the system. Some people will say that the excess is a toxin or metabolic residual. I prefer to think of the excess as a pressure on the body to deal with a full stomach instead of life-threatening conditions.

Stress impairs the capacity of the body to metabolize food. Adrenaline suppresses the output of gastric juices in order to give the body some emergency power, but it is not good when a patient needs more margin.

A healthy person needs a certain gastric output for each meal, but a cancer patient needs a little extra output so that the tumor can be destroyed and this runs against the odds when the stress is high.

Worry is a simply enormous stress as are the treatment that feel traumatizing rather than healing. Mind over matter does not work in these situations because the body feels that it is being betrayed by an over-rational and out of touch mind.

As for the second half of your question. Low fire is either constitutional or psychological. If you believe that hiding your anger is "nice" or that you are doing the world a favor by keeping your fire to yourself, it goes amuck inside you -- and affects the liver. Learning how to create balance and harmony by daring to act on your feelings is a good step in the right direction.

I like to think of fire as "arousing" to whatever force is necessary in order to put forth the energy needed to correct an injustice. If the fire rises and is stuffed down into some old cave, it discourages the wronged person from feeling that things can ever be right. If on top of this, your motivation is somehow colored by the notion that you can handle unfairness or rudeness or lack of consideration better than someone else, you are taking on the role of a martyr and denying yourself the opportunity of finding out whether fairness is, in fact, possible.

A little long winded, but we can keep going on and on. In the meantime, try to antidote fear with trust!


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Posted on Tuesday, June 20, 2000 - 10:58 pm:   

Dear Ingrid,

I read with interest your posting on the yogurt and the discussion on diet. You commented that the rumblings and discomfort of the intestines could be caused by lack of digestive enzymes and subsequently fermentation. As part of my cancer therapy I have been taking high doses of pancreatic enzymes, after meals and especially between meals on an empty stomach. I recently have had intestinal surgery and after going off supplementation am trying to get back to previous levels of these enzymes. I have been experiencing gas and discomfort the last few days. My question is can the high dose enzymes cause similar symptoms as the fermentation.
I have had a craving for yogurt. But I am only eating a 2-3 cups a day - not 2 quarts.

Obviously my surgery has caused stress to my body and especially to my intestines. I am sure that the microflora that existed prior to surgery was devastated. My appetite has been suppressed. I am looking for ways to bring my guts back to feeling good.

thanks for listening to my ramblings

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