“Let food be thy medicine, and let medicine be thy food."
Nutrition and diet are an essential aspect of Chinese medicine and are very much a part of the treatments I offer. The purpose of food is to nourish the body and maintain health and vitality. It is the bodies preventative medicine. Most of today’s illnesses are chronic and entirely preventable. Correct nutrition should always be the key to good health, whether promoting well-being or treating disharmonies within the body.
The Chinese have known for thousands of years the direct correlation between the foods that we eat and our health. Ideally food should be eaten according to the season, locally grown and eating in moderation, until you are about 70-80% full).
‘Overeating is one of the most wasteful things, Diabetes, known as a “prosperity disease”, is primarily caused by overeating, not only too much sugar but too much food in general. It is unheard of in countries where people cannot afford to overeat’.
How to get well. - Paavo Airola
In Traditional Chinese Medicine food, plus herbs and spices are used to heal diseases, build immunity and nourish deficient Qi and blood.
Qi is the vital energy that is present in all living things, it enables them to function. We are born with our Prenatal Qi (Yuan Qi), that we inherit from our parents, it forms our basic constitution and depends on the quality of our parents lives at the time of conception and during pregnancy. The energy we get from food & drink (Gu Qi) and from the air we breathe (Zong Qi) is our Postnatal Qi which combines with prenatal Qi, to form the body's ability to perform all the processes of life.
Chinese nutritional therapy doesn’t take into account the chemical composition of foods, but their energetics' (quality of "energy) According to Chinese medicine, It is not just a matter of eating nourishing healthy foods but of eating nourishing healthy foods that are right for our individual needs. All food has a type of energy in addition to its physical components: foods can be neutral, hot, warming, cold or cooling, drying or moistening. Some foods are useful for building qi while others help build blood, some have yang or yin building properties, some are nourishing whilst others aid elimination.
Foods which are considered to have cold or cooling qualities such as milk and some raw foods may be detriment to those suffering from yang deficiencies and damp disorders such as rheumatic and arthritic conditions as they can make the pain and stiffness worst, especially in cold damp weather . If a person suffers from a skin condition that gets worst when exposed to heat, it is beneficial to eat foods with a cold or cool nature to help relieve the symptoms. Hot and spicy foods increase the circulation producing more heat and increased redness and itchiness.
The nature of food can be affected by the way it is cooked, frying and roasting food in oil increases the heating properties of food, baking has a similar, but less marked effect (baked foods often have a drying effect. Steaming and boiling can help counteract slightly any cooling properties of food, but will also help moderate effects of warm or hot foods due to the increase water content. Food eaten frozen or chilled has a cold or cooling effect on the body.
The Five Elements and flavour of foods are also an extremely important aspect, with each food flavour able to prevent disease, heal (destroy if used excessively) the body organ it is responsible for.
The Five Flavours and their corresponding organs are:
Sour flavour – Liver & Gall Bladder,
Bitter flavour - Heart,
Sweet flavour- Spleen,
Pungent flavour – Lungs.
Salty flavour - Kidneys
Wood– Liver & Gall Bladder,
Fire - Heart,
Earth - Spleen,
Metal – Lungs.
In the Taoist model, the five elements are seen as an extension of the concept of Yin and Yang. It relates the entire spiritual, emotional, physical and energetic phenomena of the universe to five basic elements (or phases), wood fire. earth, metal and water.
The five elements have specific constructive and destructive relationships with each other. For example, wood generates fire, while water controls fire. Through the relationships among the five Elements, all the elements control and harmonize each other. In the human body, the organs and various body parts are strongly related to the five elements.