Increase Vitality and Productivity with Some Simple Food Tips
by Shasta Tierra
Do you eat the same food year-round? Do you experience low energy after eating a certain food? Do you have a hard time losing weight when you’ve hardly eaten hardly any calories and eventually just keep gaining? Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has a unique view of food that most of us in the West have never considered. TCM, which has been practiced throughout the world for over 4000 years, includes acupuncture, herbology, moxibustion (heat therapy) and Qi Gong (exercise therapy); food therapy is also one of its primary modalities. In the old days in China, the practitioner’s job was to keep their patients well. If their patients fell sick, they didn’t get paid, so education and participation in all aspects of their patient’s health were of utmost importance. Food was and still is right at the top of the list.
Many people tell me they eat only two meals a day; they usually skip breakfast or just have coffee first thing in the morning, they eat lots of sugary things throughout the day, their main serving of vegetables is usually a salad, they drink ice-cold sodas in the afternoon, and end the evening with a couple glasses of wine or beer. It’s amazing how little time people spend thinking about what, when, where, and how they eat. If we truly let our medicine be our food, and our food be our medicine, then most Westerners are greatly depriving ourselves of our medicine. Yet we ask our bodies to work 50, 60, 70 hours a week without proper fuel. How long can we keep going before disease symptoms show up? Usually by our 30s! We’ve worked super hard getting through college, developing our careers, buying our house, having our children, and we’ve done it all on half a tank, and poor fuel at that. Now when it’s time to enjoy our success, we find ourselves with uncomfortable health problems that may have been easily prevented with a little time and care.
Before refrigeration most of our food was eaten seasonally; nowadays people have lost their sense of what to eat during different seasons. The Chinese meticulously studied nature and its affect on health. Their entire medicine is about keeping the body healthy through living in harmony with nature. The main principles of TCM are:
1. eat whole, natural, unprocessed food
2. eat mineral and vitamin-rich food (veggies, sea veggies, etc.),
3. eat three meals a day breakfast being the largest, nighttime the lightest,
4. eat with the seasons,
5. eat for your constitutional type,
6. chew food, take time to eat and only focus on eating when you eat,
7. stay away (except during the right seasons) from cold or raw food,
8. eat whole solid food before you snack on emptier foods like salad, fruit, sugar, wine, coffee, etc.
9. everything in moderation.
There is no one diet for all people. Each individual is its own unique constitution and requires different foods to maintain health. Through rebalancing your system, symptoms greatly reduce or disappear, you feel calmer, control of your life and eating patterns.