Friday, May 30, 2014

The TCM Diet Tips

In traditional Chinese health care practices, food has always been used to prevent disease, strengthen the body and prolong life. The Chinese advocate simple, uncomplicated and light diets. Think of the poor man’s diet – not a lot of sweet, salted, processed, greasy, or rich tasting foods. It means eating “simple” foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and seeds with small bits of meat (think Chinese food). This also means small amounts of dairy foods, without pesticides, chemicals, or hormones, and with the full fat – just like your grandmother used to eat. The full fat dairy is more balanced and therefore more nutritious than its low and no-fat counterparts, because it is in the whole, untouched form, the way nature intended it to be. It’s ok to eat dairy, but most people shouldn’t eat very much of it – once a day is a safe bet.

Chinese dietary therapy suggests that those struggling with unwanted weight should try to avoid foods which tend to be damp and phlegm-producing, like dairy. Other foods that can create unwanted phlegm (which in Chinese medicine, also turns into fat) are: bananas, excess citrus fruits, peanut butter, sugars, sweet foods, and soy foods. It is important to eat and drink foods that are mostly warm, cooked, and easy to digest, that are lightly flavored with herbs and spices, which will further aid in promoting digestion (again, not too spicy!) This means smoothies, salads, and cold drinks only in the summer and always in moderation! Cold and raw things in the stomach, will lead to a “dampening” of the digestive system and a chilling of the metabolism. This digestive “fire” or energy in Chinese medicine can, over time, be put out when too many cold things are put in it. This also chills your body and slows down your circulation. Scientifically speaking, cold inhibits enzymatic activity and your foods won’t get assimilated and properly used. And lastly, purchase organic foods as much as possible – especially your meats and dairy items.  Grass fed beef and free range chicken is best. Also almond milk is preferable over soy milk. Just eat healthy!