“Let food be thy medicine” – Hippocrates.
In Chinese Medicine, careful consideration is given to every aspect of eating. Knowing which foods are best for your body, is the first step in promoting and maintaining good health. Below is an excerpt of an article by Michelle Moore at Mind Body Green. For the full article, go to http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-5048/Food-Energetics-Traditional-Chinese-Medicines-Best-Kept-Secret.html
Yours in good health,
Food Energetics: Traditional Chinese Medicine’s Best Kept Secret
by Michelle Moore
Why do we eat? Have you given it much thought? It seems like most of our food is eaten too fast for convenience or eaten for taste rather than for health. Instead we need to learn how to give our body what it needs to be healthy. But with so many conflicting nutritional views, and a multitude of fad diets, how do you know what foods are good for you?
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) food is viewed as medicine and is used to nourish and harmonize the body, mind, and spirit. All foods have a distinct energy and characteristic properties that either help to balance our bodies and make us healthy, or that create imbalances which ultimately result in sickness. TCM practitioners use the food energetics system to teach their patients how to enjoy food and learn how to heal their bodies through what they eat. Food energetics is so effective that a proper regimen actually supplements other Chinese medicinal practices like acupuncture, acupressure, and Chinese herbs.
In the West, foods are described in terms of how much protein, fat, calories, vitamins, minerals, etc. it contains. The emphasis is placed on the chemical composition of a food to quantifiably determine whether it is beneficial and nutritious. This is where TCM differs from the Western approach: whether a food is beneficial is determined by its effect on the human body. In the East, foods are described by qualities such as temperature, flavor, and action. TCM determines the unique energy and characteristic properties of each food such as hot/cold, salty/sweet/bitter flavors, and how foods act on and move throughout our bodies.
We each have a particular body constitution, much like our personalities, which makes us individual and unique. By eating the correct foods for your constitution, you’re feeding your body what it craves and needs to be healthy and balanced. For example, someone with a body constitution that is dry and warm would benefit from eating a diet of foods that brings moisture to the body while cooling it down. If you continue to eat drying or warming foods, then the body would be akin to a car engine over heating. Just as all foods have a particular energy and characteristics, so do each of our bodies. Chinese medicine is not one-size-fits-all, but approaches each person distinctly, viewing them as a whole: body, mind, and spirit.