An excerpt from The Face Diet: Build your Energy, Beauty & Health

Our face is like a canvas. On it, all the complex systems of the body make their mark. The area below the eyes relates to our kidneys and adrenals, our lips tell us things about our digestion. The ancient Chinese art of Face Reading, or Facial Diagnosis as it’s also known, is a method of analyzing the appearance of the face to determine the condition of our organs. I combine this ancient technique with 40 years of research into the role of nutrition in overall health. The result is a holistic and natural approach for balancing our physical, emotional and mental well-being. Whoever thought that just looking in the mirror could be such a window onto a joyful and healthy life!

In The Face Diet e-Book, I will introduce you to the practice of Facial Diagnosis. You’ll need a little background in the way traditional Chinese Medicine views the body. I offer this helpful system of the Five Elements in the first section of the book. Next, we need to understand how the quality and characteristics of the food in our diet effects our organs, our bodily systems, and our mental and physical well being – and even more importantly, the tone and radiance of our face! Armed with that knowledge, I then present the basic interpretations of our health that Facial Diagnosis reveals when we know how to look. Altogether, you’ll be able to take a deep look at the state of your health—and with some renunciation and determination—take steps on the road toward optimum health.

Here’s a little sample of the kind of looking we’re going to do:


Profile of Healthy Stomach/Pancreas Energy According to traditional Chinese medicine, when the Earth Element organs, the stomach and pancreas, are functioning well, you are able to transform your food into energy, immunity, warmth and creativity. You take what life gives to you, are nurtured by it and you nurture others in return. A healthy Earth element enables you to be sympathetic, strong, hard working, helpful, diplomatic, tolerant, practical, responsible and creative.Kind-hearted “earth” types have family and friends as their focus.

Emotional Clues of Imbalanced Stomach/Pancreas Energy When your upper GI tract is out of balance your tend to be more worried, compulsive, stuck, nagging, needy, over protective of other people or you may have difficulty expressing sympathy to another.

Physical symptoms of Imbalanced Stomach/Pancreas Energy When you’re not able to easily assimilate your meals the result is weak digestion. Its numerous symptoms may include one or more of the following: chronic fatigue, hypoglycemia, diabetes, weak immunity (frequent yeast, bacteria, parasite and/or virus problems) mucous or “damp” problems (sinusitis, edema, cysts, tumors and cancer), food sensitivities, pain in the upper abdomen, nervous indigestion, anemia, chronic diarrhea, poor appetite, abdominal bloating, loose stool; weight gain without overeating or weight loss.

Foods that Support Stomach/Pancreas Energy Favor easy to digest and freshly prepared foods. Foods with a round shape (like cabbage and squash) and naturally sweet flavor (like carrots and whole grains) benefit your Earth function. Enjoy nutritionally balanced meals.Occasional natural sweeteners are fine.Easy to digest and moderate portions of meat, poultry and fish are medicinal as are pungent vegetables (like onions) and culinary spices.



Key: Blue = Pancreas; Red = Stomach


A. MOUTH AND LIPS Your mouth marks the beginning of your gastrointestinal (GI) tract. This obvious statement clues us that "reading" its features will reveal important information about the condition of your digestive function.Today, excessively large, pudgy lips are the norm; they represent swollen, lax organs caused by our modern diet and lifestyle.The size of your lips reflects the health of your GI tract. A large upper lip can indicate over-eating and/or a sluggish digestion. A large lower lip indicates bowel problems including constipation, IBS, gas or bloating.

1. Mouth and Lip Size

Historically, people had larger oral cavities and their mouths and lips were smaller- approximately the width of their nostrils. Their lips had vivid color, were clearly defined and of uniform size. Such lips clearly reflect that they were easily assimilating their food and that they enjoyed overall good physical and mental vitality.


1. Mona Lisa        2. Gloria Swanson         3. Kuan-yin       4. Buddha

Historically, mouths were not much wider than the nostrils. If you draw lines down from the nostril edges on these faces, the lines will closely intersect the corners of their mouths. While Mick Jagger could smile from ear to ear, it’s unlikely that these people could have done so.

Below are two contemporary photos, H.H. Dalai Lama, #5, and Joan, #6, that, in terms of lip width, reflect a constitutionally well toned Earth Element. Indeed, the characteristics that go with a balanced Earth Element (sympathetic, hard working, helpful, diplomatic, tolerant, practical, responsible and creative) aptly describe the Dalai Lama.

Comparing Joan’s lips with the five preceding photos, however, we see that the overall size of her lips is more lax (discussed below).Prior to our consultation, she suffered with numerous physical symptoms of imbalanced Earth Energy including: chronic fatigue, hypoglycemia, weak immunity, abdominal bloating, and weight gain without overeating.


5.HH Dalai Lama         6. Joan

A smaller mouth size indicates a constitutionally well-toned Earth Element.

2. Definition Between Lips and Skin If you were to take a pencil and paper and draw your lips, they would probably look something like this:

Now look at your photos or in the mirror. Possibly the border between your lips and skin is fuzzy, rough or blemished and lacks the precision of your line drawing. Compare your lip boarders to, for example, Gloria Swanson’s, #2; George Washington’s, #9; mine, #10; and Nick’s, #11. Where lips meet skin with a distinct edge, this indicates that the diet supports—rather than challenges—the digestive system.



9. George Washington          10. Rebecca         11. Nick

Clearly defined lips spell indicate a well functioning GI Tract.

Look again at Joan’s lips (#6) and the ones below. They lack a clear boarder between the lip and the skin. The irritated spot on Paula’s (# 12) upper lip suggests a corresponding irritation in her stomach, perhaps an ulcer; otherwise, her upper lip is “clearly defined” but not her lower lip which contains an extra outer “ridge”. Winona’s and Ted’s lips are blurred and faded out; the red color (especially on Winona’s lower lip and above Ted’s upper lip) indicates inflammation. To my eye, Elvis has a well defined upper lip but not so with on his neither lip.


12. Paula


13.Winona  14. Ted     15. Elvis

More kissable lips. As your digestive health improves, your lip border will become more distinct and precise and, perhaps, more inviting of a kiss.

Exciting! Just by taking the time to read the symptoms our own body presents to us, we can take tremendous charge of our own health.

To purchase your 30-page copy of The Face Diet, click here. If you’d like to take your research and remedy routine further, I’m happy to offer a personal Diet Consultation.

May you be well nourished,
Rebecca Wood
Julia Child Award-Winning Author

Copyright, 2009
(Reprinted with the kind permission of Rebecca Wood, from her wonderful website)

Rebecca Wood, who learned gardening and foraging techniques from her grandparents and studied with leading experts in macrobiotics and traditional Oriental medicine, has taught and written about a sustainable diet since 1970.

Her book, The Splendid Grain, won both a James Beard Award and a Julia Child/IACP Award. Her most recent book, The New Whole Foods Encyclopedia, was a One Spirit Book Club (Quality Paperback Book division) main selection. Rebecca has been an educational consultant to numerous organizations in the natural foods industry and currently offers cooking classes for Eden Foods throughout the Western region. She co-founded and directed the East-West Center in Boulder, Colorado, and has established several cooking schools. She currently teaches cooking classes from her home kitchen in Ashland, Oregon.

Rebecca offers a variety of services. To schedule an appointment, check out Rebecca's wonderful website for more information, articles, recipes and books. Each month new recipes and articles are posted.



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