Healthy Eating in Traditional Chinese Medicine
The food and processing industry has now become a multi-billion dollar sector coming up with all manner of processed foods by the day. Cases of cancer and other diseases such as obesity have now skyrocketed raising deep concerns worldwide. Nonetheless, people are slowly becoming more aware of their eating habits and opting for healthier choices of diet.
However, the Chinese have been at the forefront for thousands of years now with traditional diets that complement the body constituents. Those who have preserved these habits have benefitted greatly and rarely experience medical issues. The secrets of traditional Chinese food and its application to traditional Chinese medicine are now out and the rest of the world can’t help but borrow a thing or two. Today is your lucky day since these secrets are about to be made known to you. Brace yourselves and prepare to start living a long, healthy life using traditional Chinese medicine tricks and diet tips.
Moderation is Key It’s been a common misconception among a good number of people that the more you consume, the bigger and healthier you grow. In as much as the former is true, most people deteriorate in health due to unchecked food consumption. The vice versa would actually hold in this instance – less equals health. Those who’ve been lucky to visit a Sushi restaurant can bear witness of how foods are served in small quantities. Overstuffing your stomach tends to slacken the digestive process thus preventing it from detoxifying and releasing all this food.
Understand Your Body Type We are all uniquely made, therefore, our bodies are not all the same. Just the same way, different foods will have different properties that can be matched up to suit the different body types (tizhi). Foods, according to Chinese principles, are divided into 4 natures referred to as “siqi”:
Whatever the case, the purpose of eating is to find a neutral body state to enable the perfect flow of Qi through our bodies.
Find a Common Balance A person whose body constituent exudes hot properties tends to be sweaty, constipated and grumpy most of the time. Such a person would require cool and cold foods such as green tea, salad and cheese. Those with cold bodies display characteristics such as bad blood circulation, cold hands and feet, and even paleness and general body weakness. Such would be favored by traditional Chinese medicine in the form of hot and warm foods such as hot chilies, coffee, ginger and beef.
Observing Seasons & Climate We have a special connection to nature – this argument forms the basis of Chinese philosophy and medicine. Just like times and seasons change, so should our eating habits and food choices. The first point to note is that consuming the same type of food for a prolonged period, no matter how healthy, will eventually cause a body deterioration since you deprive the body of essential nutrients in other foods.
Seasonal Foods Matter The food eaten in summer should differ from that consumed in autumn and winter. This is because hot summers call for cold foods to cool down the body whereas freezing winters requires hot foods to get the much-needed heat. Dry autumns need the body to be lubricated and foods such as honey and snow peas would be the perfect fit. Similarly, the climatic conditions of a place will also influence the food choices if the balance is to be maintained. Those living in Big Bog, Hawaii for instance experience a constant cold and wet condition that spans through most of the year. As such, spicy foods would offer the perfect substitute to regulate and counteract this.
Keep It Balanced – Even the Timing! You all have a slight or substantial knowledge on balancing a diet from your Biology. It’s simple, vitamins, proteins and carbohydrates all play an essential role in the body. It’s crucial to ensure the body has a good mixture of all these three in the right amounts. Individuals have the choice to vary the intake for each mineral depending on personal attributes. For example, if you are into manual labor, you might opt to consume more proteins, fats and carbohydrates than vitamins to get the much-needed energies. This is not to say your body doesn't need the vitamins and mineral supplements. One last reminder, it’s important to vary the food intake depending on the time of the day. You are most active in the morning after a good night’s sleep and this is when digestion is at its best. The process will be slower at night when preparing for bed and you would be doing yourself a disservice if this is when you take the largest amounts of food.
It’s pretty simple when you come to think of it. You don’t have to source out all the traditional Chinese medicine, Chinese diets and herbs to medicate your body since these may be hard to come by. The foods within your reach will work just perfectly if only you know how to vary them to your advantage and to match up your body’s properties.
Author: Elaine from www.tcmshanghai.ae