Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food. ~Hippocrates
Diet is one of the most influential factors affecting our health and it is also one that we have the most control over. With proper diet and lifestyle we can recover from diseases quicker, but also avoid illness altogether.
Good nutrition is the foundation of good health. Everyone needs four basic nutrients: water, carbohydrates, proteins and fats-as well as vitamins, minerals, and micronutrients. To be able to choose the proper foods and better understand why those foods should be supported with supplements, you need to have a clear idea of the components of a healthy diet.
According to Eastern Nutrition Principles every food has an affect on the body. Foods are described by flavor and nature. Foods can be either hot, warm, neutral cool or cold in nature. The flavors are normally broken into six groups; sour, bitter, sweet, spicy, salty, and bland. Each of these flavors has an affinity for specific organs and Qi pathways. Eating the right foods according to your body type and health concerns can help your body recover from problems as well as keep you from becoming ill.
In China, the concept of “functional food” (that is food offering therapeutic benefits apart from nutrition) dates back 4000 years. Functional foods usually contain significant levels of biologically active components, which boost a person’s physical and physiological well being.
Healing with Foods
The foods not only provide the nutrients that the body needs, but also cure or relieve the problem via their therapeutic actions.
TCM diagnosis and therapy are based on differentiating symptoms and signs, and this is incorporated into the selection of functional foods. Specific groups of signs and symptoms indicate specific treatment protocols.
Supporting Yin: When the yin is strong, all body processes are “well-oiled” and we have a good reserve of fine quality nutrients to build new tissues and repair and maintain our bodies. The key for restoring and supporting our yin is rest.
Supporting Yang: Which is the fire of our body. All the processes require heat. We can support this process by keeping warm and moving. When yang is deficient we need to avoid too much cold food and liquid into our bodies as this puts out the digestive fire. Instead we need to flavor foods and cooking methods that warms up.
Supporting Qi: We make it by combining food ad air. Our ability to make Qi will depend partly on our physical constitution, partly on our lifestyle. Simple- our Qi is our available energy. To support and increase Qi we need to eat foods which release energy steadily into our system. This quality is described as complex carbohydrates which are sources of energy.
Supporting Blood: Which nourishes our muscles, organs, brain, etc. Our ability to produce blood is strengthened by maintaining a balance between rest and physical activity. A diet rich in fresh vegetables, dark greens is essential. As all food forms the basis of blood, we say : Eat well and widely!
Nutrition Needs Change Throughout Life
Pursuing the goal of lifelong wellness requires us to adjust and match our nutritional intake according to our age group. Every food possesses unique properties with specific nutritional value. Some foods are blood builders, others are brain foods, and yet others are muscle foods while the rest may be energy foods. It is in our best interest to have a wide selection and keep rotating our choices for the sake of variety.
To stay healthy, you should eat according to your age and physical needs. A diet that does not provide adequate nutrition to support the physical demands made on it, or is in excess of what the body needs, is harmful and could lead to serious health problems. Eating three meals a day at fixed times, in moderation, and with lots of variety is recommended.
These recommendations are a simplified list that you can use in conjunction with other modalities such as acupuncture and exercise. These are simple guidelines and by no means complete.
Ask your acupuncturist which category applies to you
Please be advised that these are only minor recommendations for diet. To learn more about eastern nutrition and how it can help you feel the best you can, consult your acupuncturist or eastern nutritionist. In addition to the following recommendations remember to eat fresh foods ideally grown and prepared without chemicals, pesticides or preservatives. Avoid foods with refined sugars, excessive salt, or saturated fat. Make sure that all meats cooked thoroughly to avoid any bacteria or parasites. Keep vegetables cooked for short times to conserve the vitamin and nutrient content. Increasing fiber is also a good way for most people to keep their digestive system operating at its best.
When you are severely sick a good recipe to start is rice soup – in Chinese: congee, or xi fan, or jook.
One part rice, Five parts water, cook long and slow with food-grade herbs and/or vegetables, especially root vegetables. It is easy nourishment, a comfort.
FEEDING YOUR CHAKRAS
Root Chakra: Grounding
· Root vegetables
· Protein-rich foods
· Spices: hot
Sacral Center: Nourishing the Sexual/Creativity Center
· Sweet fruits
· Spices: Sweet aromatic
Solar Plexus Chakra: Boosting Self-Esteem and Encouraging Self-Love
· Granola and Grains
· Dairy: yogurt
· Spices: ginger, mints (peppermint, spearmint, etc.), melissa, chamomile, turmeric, cumin, fennel
Heart Chakra: Healing Emotional Hurts
· Leafy vegetables
· Air vegetables
· Spices: basil, sage, thyme, cilantro, parsley
Throat Chakra: Speaking One’s Truth
· Liquids in general, Teas
· Tangy fruits
· Other tree growing fruits:
· Spices: salt, lemon grass
Brow Chakra: Awakening Third Eye Senses
· Dark bluish colored fruits berries
· Liquids: red wines and grape juice
· Spices: lavender, poppy seed, mugwort
Crown Chakra: Opening and Clearing the Spiritual Communication Center
· Air: fasting / detoxing
· Incense and Smudging Herbs like sage, copal, myrrh, frankincense, and juniper ritually inhaled through the nostrils