In Chinese Medicine diagnosis, I am very interested in what kinds of cravings my patients have been having in the week.
The most common cravings I hear from people are salty and sweet.
Salty cravings usually indicate that the Kidney energy of the body is tired.
I’m not saying that the Kidneys are injured if you are craving salt, but the function that the kidneys have in the body is largely related to balancing the fluid and salt levels of the body.
If a person has been quite overworked, undernourished, or very tired, the body may be asking for more salt to regulate this function. The tired quick fix might be a big bag of potato crisps, or the slightly better option might be to roast up a tray of different kinds of potatoes and give them a decent salting.
Sweet cravings usually indicate that the Spleen/Pancreas energy of the body is tired and needs a boost. In Chinese Medicine we look to the Spleen a lot when it comes to digestive issues, bloating, edema, and fluid dysregulation. In this article it might be more useful to think of the functions of the pancreas: it secretes insulin when blood sugar levels are high, in order to unlock cells to receive the glucose from the blood.
Intense sugar cravings that lead to block of chocolate binges and ice-cream tub marathons are more than likely a cry from the Spleen/pancreas that it needs some serious support.
Sweet fruits such as dates, banana or mango might be a better way to satisfy a serious sweet craving.
Too much of anything can be problematic. Too much salt, or sweet or sour will tip the balance. But not enough of these is also an issue.
When we are rested enough to truly listen to our cravings hopefully, we can make good decisions about how to take care of these cravings without tipping the balance completely in the opposite direction.
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Karina Smith is a Melbourne based Doctor of Chinese Medicine and Yin Yoga Teacher, Teacher Trainer & Educator. With a passion for women's health, through Yin and Chinese Medicine Karina aims to improve the health of her students, patients and clients.After years of dancing and its emphasis on performance, yoga was an unexpected beacon of self-care and restoration for Karina, where her relationship to movement shifted to something that was there to nourish her mind and body.
A year after commencing practice at the Australian Yoga Academy (AYA), Karina knew she wanted to do the yoga teacher training on offer there - and from thereon it has been a deep-dive into the rich offerings of this ancient practice.
Karina has now studied and taught yoga extensively - including two 350hr Teacher Trainings (AYA and Shantarasa Institute, India), studies under the renowned Bernie Clark and Paul Grilley, over a decade of teaching at numerous studios in her home town of Melbourne, and lecturing for The Australian Yoga Academy.
In 2018, Karina launched her own 50 Hour Yin & Functional Anatomy Teacher Training and continues to run this course. Karina’s love of Yin Yoga revealed a deeper fascination for human anatomy and led her to pursue Chinese Medicine. After graduating in 2019, she now runs her own clinic offering acupuncture, herbal therapies, moxibustion and cupping treatments.