Since this is my first food post, I thought I’d deconstruct a childhood favourite: PB&B!
From a Chinese medicine perspective, all the ingredients in this classic are “Spleen Tonics”, which mean they strengthen our spleen energy, or spleen “qi”.
The spleen is responsible for transforming food into nutrients which are then transported to the four limbs, giving us strength and energy to function throughout the day. The spleen also governs the muscles, so when we nourish our spleen with good foods, it also helps our muscle building potential.
So first off, we have our bread:
I am using a sprouted wheat bread with sesame and sunflower seeds. I like the texture of the bread, it’s chewy but still light, with the added nuttiness of the seeds in each bite.
According to chinese medicine, wheat has a sweet and salty flavour. It can calm and focus the mind and promotes tissue growth. It can be used for insomnia, emotional instability or menopausal symptoms, or gaining mass. It is also mildly astringent, helping a person to retain fluids, so it is suitable for dryness conditions, thirst, bed-wetting, and excessive sweating.
This bread is special because the sprouting process has unlocked the “qi energy” of the wheat kernel, so that the spleen does not have to work as hard to digest it as apposed to a non-sprouted bread. I like to relate this process to flowers. As closed buds, you cannot smell their fragrance. It’s only when the flower has bloomed that you can take in the benefit of its scent, just as you can take in the nutrients of the wheat kernel when it has sprouted. Some people with gluten sensitivity may find this sprouted bread easier on the tummy.
Next: the peanut butter.
Peanuts have a sweet flavour, and can lubricate the intestines (to promote bowel movement) and calm the stomach. When added to rice soups, it can help nursing mothers increase milk supply. Some other neat health benefits include eating raw peanuts to treat deafness or bloody urination. Tea made from the shells can also help to lower blood pressure.
The brand I’m using only contains roasted peanuts sea salt. Most common peanut butters include lots of additives like sugars and stabilizers. Although it tastes pretty good, more artificial additives = harder to digest. This increases the potential for indigestion, causing the peanut butter to stick in your gut for longer and slow your metabolism.
Finally, the bananas!
Bananas are sweet in flavour and cooling in nature. They lubricate the lungs and intestines, and can help with constipation and ulcers. Like the other two ingredients above, it can also help moisten dryness conditions in the body, such as dry skin, dry coughing etc. The health benefits of bananas varies according to ripeness. A less ripened banana would be more astringent, which helps to stop diarrhea when it is eaten lightly steamed. A ripe banana has the opposite effect of promoting bowel movement. Bananas are also useful in cases of drug withdrawal or hangover, as they help cool down the body and detoxify through cleaning the bowels.
In conclusion, a peanut butter and banana sandwich can be a good breakfast or a snack. It is filling, and strengthens your spleen energy, leading to better energy levels. It can also help maintain bowel regularity, as it is lubricating to the intestines. I would recommend this more to someone who is trying to build body mass, as it assists in weight gain.
Peanut Butter & Banana Toast:
2 Slices of Sprouted wheat bread (or bread of your choice)
1.5 tbsp of roasted peanut butter
Toast the bread to your liking. Spread peanut butter on the toast and top with sliced bananas.
For feelings of coldness in the hands, feet, and body: Sprinkle cinnamon on top. Cinnamon is a very warming spice that can help balance the cool nature of the bananas and wheat bread.
For bloating: Reduce the amount of peanut butter, as it is sticky and therefore can cause “clogging” in the intestines if you are prone to bloating. Also, add the bananas on top before you toast it. Cooking the banana is a form of “pre-digestion”, so the spleen does not have to work as hard to assimilate it.
Note: Wheat, peanut butter, and bananas are very damp-forming. Dampness manifests as phlegm, mucus, and feelings of heaviness in the head and body. Toasting the bread and using roasted peanut butter can help reduce the damp-nature of these foods.