…Traditional Chinese Dietary Therapy
The scope of Chinese Medicine’s effectiveness reaches far beyond the treatment of disease. It encompasses the nurturing of true health & wellness of all aspects of an individual — the physical, mental/emotional and spiritual components that comprise each human being. Nutrition and exercise will be adapted to your diagnosis and the needs of your lifestyle. No one is the same!
Nutrition lies at the heart of Chinese Medicine. During the Tang dynasty (618-907), Sun Simiao wrote the famous book ‘Food Therapy’ in Prescriptions worth a Thousand Gold, in which he stated: “Before a doctor treats a disease, he must be sure of the cause and pathogenesis of the disease, then treat the patient with diet before using any medications.”
That diet is at the heart of well-being, and inappropriate diet a factor in many disease is well recognized by Western Medicine as well, and has been all over the media.
So what is different in Chinese Medicine?
Chinese doctors have been analyzing the effect of food on the body for over 2500 years. Every food and herbs are classified according to their nature, hot, cold, warm, cool or neutral, as well as according to their taste. Depending on their nature, food will be beneficial to certain organs, and certain conditions. This knowledge will allow the practitioner to formulate an individualized plan adapted to your particular diagnosis, and support you through it.
For instance, cinnamon twig has been part of traditional medicine since the Anitiquity. It is warm, pungent and sweet. It is very useful to stimulate digestion if there is a sensation of cold in the stomach, with loss of appetite, tiredness, soft stools. However, one would need to be careful if there are signs of heat, for instance hot flushes experienced mostly at night.
It is also very important to eat according to one’s own environment and the season. With the globalization of the food industry, we are losing touch with this crucial principle. For instance tomatoes are available all year round in supermarkets. They are cold in nature, perfect eaten raw to cool down on a hot summer’s day. However, they might not be appropriate on a cold snowy UK winter evening. We would also have to question the nutritional value and the taste of a product that has been flown and stored from afar.
This is not one diet fit all. There is no single diet suitable for everyone, and this is precisely why most of the fad diets you read and hear about in the West are just fads. Everyone is unique – physically, mentally and emotionally – and therefore we have unique dietary needs. It will involve making some adjustments to your diet, some small ones and maybe some bigger ones. It requires more commitment than taking a pill, yet much more empowering.
Are you ready to make such a positive change in your life? Call me now on 07779111248 to discuss what your consultation will entail.
The way food is eaten is also important for maximum absorption during digestion. Here are a few general common sense principles, which you can start to apply now and see your digestion improve…
- First and foremost, don’t be fanatical about your diet; eating should be enjoyable. Obsessing over everything you eat and drink is unnecessary and unhealthy. Your body is a remarkable machine with an amazing ability to balance and heal itself if you provide the right fuel and the right conditions most of the time. Aim for balance and harmony in other aspects of your life too and you’ll be rewarded with good health and vitality.
- Everything in moderation! Including alcohol, coffee and dairy products
- Eat seasonally
- Don’t overeat; Use common sense and stop eating just before feeling full
- Eat slowly and chew well
- Focus on the food whilst eating, particularly avoiding heated arguments, reading, typing emails etc… or any mental activities that would take the mind away from the food.
- Don’t drink cold drinks whilst eating. The digestive process requires heat to break down what you eat. Cold is, by nature, slowing and contracting – therefore cold drinks, and very cold foods like ice cream, slow and impede digestion, causing digestive upsets, abdominal pain and discomfort.
- Take a slow walk after the meal, even just a 10 mins slow walk will help stretch your abdomen and improve digestion
- Eat regularly
- Make breakfast your biggest meal
- Don’t eat your dinner too late, especially not just before bed time. The result is incomplete digestion of food, bloating, constipation, sluggishness, poor sleep and other problems.
- Select food according to your state of health.
On a personal note, I had to go gluten free for quite a few years now, and I do cook according to the Chinese Dietary principles. I have started recently to gather my recipes below. Watch out for new additions!