Nutrition is a very important component of Chinese Medicine. It is critical for both healing the body and disease prevention. Several diseases and symptoms can be treated with dietary changes alone; however, it often takes longer and requires the utmost compliance and dedication on the patient’s behalf.Today’s fast paced lifestyle often gives nutritious eating a low priority. At the same time, startling numbers of different diet fads and controversial dietary regimes add even more confusion to modern day eating habits. As a result, we see deterioration in the quality of people’s lives in the forms of obesity, depression, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, arthritis and more.
Keep it Balanced, Keep it Simple and Make Changes Slowly!
Chinese medicine is all about balance and this is key to remember when thinking about how to nourish your body. The most important things to keep in mind with a healthy eating plan are:
- Keep the plan as simple and pure as possible. Try to eat things that come directly from the earth and that do not have a label.
- Eat at regular times throughout the day and enjoy what you’re eating.
- Maintain a constant variety.
- Be mindful of overeating.
- Keep everything in moderation.
What is a simple and pure eating plan?
In Chinese health care practices, food has always been used to prevent disease, strengthen the body and prolong life. It means eating foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and seeds with small portions of meat without pesticides, chemicals, or hormones. Good fat is essential to bring a healthy mix to your food groups. For limited dairy intake, full fat dairy is more balanced and therefore more nutritious than its low and no-fat counterparts. This is because full fat dairy is in the whole, untouched form, the way nature intended it to be.
Chinese nutrition uniquely differs from modern Western nutrition because it determines the energies and therapeutic properties of foods. The advantage of this approach lies in its ability to be customized to every individual’s needs. It suggests that those struggling with unwanted weight should try to avoid foods which tend to be damp and phlegm-producing, like dairy. An example of some other foods that can create unwanted phlegm (which in Chinese medicine, also turns into fat) are: bananas, excess citrus fruits, peanut butter, sugars, sweet foods, and soy foods. It is helpful to eat and drink foods that are room temperature, warm or cooked, and easy to digest, that are flavored with herbs and spices, which will further aid in promoting digestion. Cold and raw things in the stomach, will lead to a “dampening” of the digestive system and a chilling of the metabolism. The necessary digestive “fire” or energy, in Chinese medicine can, over time, be put out by taking in too many cold things and lead to digestive disorders. This also chills your body and slows down your circulation. Scientifically speaking, cold inhibits enzymatic activity and your foods won’t get assimilated and properly used in your body.
Once an imbalance has been determined, a customized treatment plan can be created with modalities including acupuncture, herbal therapy, massage, Taiqi or Qigong, an eating plan, exercise and lifestyle suggestions.