Have you ever noticed that a walnut looks like a brain? Or the inside of a carrot an eye? This is a really fascinating phenomena called doctrine of signatures, and essentially, some of us (us as in people) believe it was natures way of indicating to us, which foods are good for what part of us.
A lot of people ask me “what’s good for this ___” (insert goal e.g weight loss, getting rid of tummy fat, or condition, or whatever). And a part of me really detests this question and whole idea of “this does that” and again, implies the medical model we’re accustomed to, of this pill fixes that. And to be fair and completely honest, I’ve not bothered to drill this type of info into my brain, like if you’re like “which specific foods are good for hair growth” I’d honestly roll my eyes and not know because I don’t value food or health in that narrow manner. Like it’s just dumb. And one food doesn’t do one thing. Like yeah I know you need biotin, B vitamins, silica, vitamin C, vitamin A, and White Peony and Dong Quai are great herbs, but you also need good blood vessels to transport your nutrients, not be stressed, not be under eating, have a healthy thyroid, the list goes on!!
So this nonsense of googling which foods to eat for your specific goal needs to end. It doesn’t work that way, at all. What works, is eating real, whole foods, lots of plants and not eating processed, junk, refined and inflammatory foods. And then from there, depending on your current state of being and health, your genetics, your preferences, you devise a way to eat that enables you to thrive.
So while this is my key core principle and values, and also how I coach my clients, it’s also fun to know that nature has left us clues, into which foods are particularly good for our body and organs – which is what we need to be thinking about. What we’re eating for full body good times, as our entire body is connected.
Weight loss isn’t about just eating “fat burning” foods (which also isn’t true), like ACV isn’t going to make you lose 10kg’s, although it will help you on your journey, as usually when we start doing something beneficial to our health and wellbeing, a domino effects happens and we employ additional beneficial habits and behaviours and before you know it, you’ve lost 10kg and some, and feel better than ever and you weren’t mind fucking yourself to get there.
So, doctrine of signatures, gives us an insight into how connected we are to nature, and to our planet and all the abundance that comes from it. We’re designed to eat food grown in soil, from trees, bushes, shrubs, from the land and ocean.
And to compliment this, for so long we (humans) see ourselves as gods - the archetypal human, the one that holds dominion over the planet, rules over all species, determines the fate of the planet, yet, at our core – we are one with nature, with the planet. And without it we are dead. Without fresh fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, grains, legumes, fibre, fats, herbs, spices and animals – we’re eating man-made synthetic mush – and guess what - that’s what’s killing us. It’s the man-made processed foods that’s causing our hormone imbalances, fatigue, bad skin, anxiety, insomnia and so many other conditions.
In many traditional cultures, plants are viewed as teachers and guides; such as Ayaushacha (read anyones account on their experience to understand, if you’re like WTF check out Aubrey Marcus’ experience). I feel the same rings true of the plants we eat in our every day lives. They hold the energy, the knowledge, the evolution, they’re the survival of the fittest – and we consume that energy. That nourishing nutrients that sprouts forth from the earth. And if that doesn’t make you think “okay, yeah food is super cool” bih get out haha.
The concept of doctrine of signatures weaves in our ego and god-like-ness, that we do not see the plants roots, stems, leaves, or cells as that of its own, but we see it as us. We look for ourselves in these plants, and that we may learn something beneficial to ourselves from them.
For example, we look at a walnut and see a brain.
Walnuts are additionally, rich in omega 3 fatty acids required for building strong cell membranes and maintain a healthy nerve cell.
Carrot, an eye.
Carrots are rich in vitamin A, a fat soluble vitamin that’s required for growth of each cell in the body, and for our immune system. Vitamin A is also required for proper eye-sight, those old wives tales prove true.
Ginger, the stomach.
Ginger is a powerful digestive aid, improving digestion, nutrient absorption, as well as decreasing inflammation, supporting the immune system and aiding nausea.
Tomato, the heart.
Tomatoes contain an antioxidant called lycopene. Lycopene lowers blood cholesterol, blood pressure, inflammation and oxidative stress.
Grapefruit and Citrus fruit, the breast.
Grapefruit’s contain a bunch of vitamin C, which acts as an antioxidant to scavenge rogue cells that cause cancer.
Avocado, the uterus.
Avocado’s are rich in healthy monounsaturated fats, required for proper and optimal hormone function. They’re also rich in magnesium, which is needed for everything, but especially is great for cramps!
Sweet potato, liver & pancreas.
A good source of complex carbohydrates and starch to balance blood sugar and insulin release, and it’s also rich in fibre aiding the liver in detoxification of hormones and toxins.
It’s not only its appearance, but also traditionally its colour that signifies its purpose,
An example in herbalism and naturopathy is that of green plants, being high in minerals, cleansing and bitter, beneficial to the blood and liver. Foods like spinach, parsley, green tea and kale being great examples.
Purple are rich in antioxidant’s. Fighting signs of ageing and disease. Like we associate blueberries with healthy skin and youthfulness.
Yellow and orange are rich in vitamin C, and Vitamin A carotenoids, benefiting the immune system, our skin and collagen production. So think of citrus, pineapples, turmeric root, ginger, carrots.
Same with white, they contain anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral properties, such as allicin. So think garlic, onion and coconut oil.
Red is good for blood flow and our cardiovascular system. Lycopene is a compound found in tomatoes that helps our heart and cardiovascular system. And then things like chilli and capsicum that dilate the blood vessels and improve blood flow.
Brown and black are bitter, cleansing and stimulating, releasing bile and stimulating bowel movements and the nervous system, with foods like cacao and coffee.
So to summarise this blog, it’s all about incorporating all colors of plants, so you reap all the synergistic benefits that they have, rather than picking and choosing foods based upon your current goal. Although I feel like a bit of a hypocrite because telling you what these foods are good for, essentially, enables you to understand how they help you and your goal, like if you’re always getting sick, you know to pump up the white, orange and yellow veggies in particular. But learning what foods actually do for you, and your body is an intrinsic part of eating and being a human being, aligned with nature, and remembering that food is information.
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All my love, E
The Doctrine of Signatures: Reading the Signs of Nature https://medium.com/@SarahBaldwin/the-doctrine-of-signatures-reading-the-signs-of-nature-a8cd50739051
The Doctrine of Signatures http://www.naturasophia.com/Signatures.html