Just like medicinal herbs, Chinese nutritional medicine has been used for thousands of years as a way to better a person’s health. Foods were used as treatment modalities to prevent and heal disease. They are keys to the continuance and preservation of human life.
Chinese nutritional medicine provides us with a holistic and qualitative concept of specifically recommended foods that are considered for their energetic nature, flavor, and thermal properties. Food therapy is almost always effective because its principles is rooted in natural laws, and follows a commonsensical attitude that includes foods that most people eat everyday and diets that are easy to follow. The basic principle is simple: to heal the cool, to cold the warm, to add where there is too little, and to reduce where there is too much, energetically.
A dietary plan will be devised and food energetics will be combined by the practitioner based on the symptoms manifested, past medical history, and personal constitution of the patient. The plan will contain what foods to avoid and what foods to eat, as well as how to prepare the foods and how to combine different flavors. If there is a need to resolve pre existing health conditions, the diet plan will be specifically prescribed to exclude aggravating drinks and foods and to allow foods that promote a natural homeostatic balance.
Diet should typically be comprised of:
1. 5% fruit and salads and other raw foods (not applicable in summer).
2. 5% fish, chicken, game, beef, meat-lamb.
3. 30-40% fennel, cabbage, beans, carrots, potatoes, and other cooked vegetables.
4. 50-80% grains: wheat, spelt, rice, oats, millet, barley, corn.
Eat foods appropriate for the current season.
If you want to prevent lack of vital energy and tiredness, then during mealtime, drink minimal amounts of liquids. Drinking large amounts actually impede the process of digestion and hinder proper absorption which causes tiredness and sluggishness.
Avoid eating if you are preoccupied with something else: do not eat while in front of the computer or while watching TV.
Chew your food well and don’t rush meals.
Avoid eating while you’re upset, angry, or stressed.
Eat unprocessed, high quality foods, and if possible, organic.
Eat one cooked meal at least once a day, eat meals in smaller portions. If your digestion is impaired for whatever reason, it is vital that your food can be easily digested, converted, and transported through tissues.
For many Chinese medicine practitioners, one of the most important points in devising a plan of treatment for their patient is to integrate the proper dietary prescription into the plan.
More often than not, there are a lot of changes that need to be made in the patient’s dietary habits as the Chinese medicine diet tends to differ a lot from your typical Western diet, especially as far as cooked foods versus raw foods is concerned.
Also important to remember is that changes to one’s diet should be gradual and incremental in order for the body to get used to the new foods and habits. Chinese nutritional therapy rarely does not work, as it is customized to suit the specific constitutional needs of the patient and is easily adjustable to the needs of everyday living.
Emily Farish Acupuncture
400 S. Jefferson, Suite 203
Spokane, WA 99204