Eating - the Chinese Medicine Way 中醫道
No! This is not about encouraging you to go along to your local
Chinese take away for a sugar-laden, highly calorific sweet and sour
pork. By the way, next time you do, try to assess the nutritional
content of your meal – the amount of bad fats versus good, the
number of carbohydrates, the sugar content etc. Be horrified.
I am a great proponent of Traditional Chinese Medicine and its
This article is inspired by my visit today (2nd November 2017) to
my Chinese Medicine Doctor and specifically what we discussed
around eating from the TCM perspective.
Qiang Yu (known locally as Richard) asked me to describe my typical diet. “I eat a healthy diet”, I replied, and proceeded to say I had soups at lunchtime (vegetable only - and always home-made) and at night a little meat, chicken, or pork, with loads of raw vegetable salad. I have been following the Low Carb High Natural Fat diet for some time.
“Ah,” said Richard, “ As a Chinese medicine practitioner, I hear this statement all the time in response to questioning patients on their food choices. But what is a healthy diet?”
By Western standards, my diet is excellent, informed by website such as www.dietdoctor.com attending cooking classes and workshops at home, in Spain, in Thailand. Hong Kong, and New Zealand.
For a traditional Chinese medicine practitioner, however, a ‘healthy’ way of eating is very different than the modern food choices we make and are recommended to take here in the West.
The Chinese Medicine diet is based on energetic principles to encourage balance, clear and effective digestion, a well-functioning body, free of disease and full of energy and vitality.
Richard always talks about hope, possibilities, great energy – do our NHS doctors inspire us in this way? Nope. They are mostly doom and gloom, telling me to get used to conditions because I am old and I should expect things to break down at my age. Utter nonsense.
In Chinese Medicine, practitioners are taught how to offer hope, (they believe in what they are doing) to restore balance in the body when its energy has become imbalanced and is now manifesting pain, symptoms, conditions or disease. They don’t rush to get rid of the symptom – they know the symptom is trying to be communicate that somewhere the body is out of balance. Practitioners use needles or herbs to achieve this balance, but don’t be surprised if in the mix of treatments massage is offered, a therapy called cupping, and a wide range of other tools such as qi gong, tai chi, and dietary therapy.
These methods can heal disease by fixing imbalances, but the important thing is to not allow your body to become imbalanced in the first place. We in the west never hear of this -harm prevention (ie stop doing what you know is not good for you!), health promotion, health creation. Our NHS system is so overloaded just trying to “fix” conditions and symptoms. So it is really down to you.
As a patient, you hold a valuable key in your hand every moment of evert day. Chinese medicine calls it ‘the fork’… I call it The T Factor – time for a change to owned responsibility.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Chinese Medicine dietary therapy is a complex practice that identifies and treats the underlying patterns of imbalance that are driving your symptoms. Yet, every human body has some basic requirements in common and Chinese Medicine dietary therapy starts with these basics in mind before moving to the more personal.
On the innerlight-wellness.net website it states:-
“THE CHINESE MEDICINE DIET
What types of food does the Chinese Medicine diet recommend? Think of the typical menu you’ve seen in Chinese restaurants. The meals are built around steamed rice, cooked vegetables, and small quantities of animal protein or beans. In higher quality Chinese restaurants, the amount of cooking oils used will be low. If you skip the deep fried choices and those made with flour products (think dumplings and wheat noodles), you have the basic Chinese Medicine diet – a diet that has been created to maintain balance in the body at any age.”
For a more detailed description of eating the Chinese medicine way, please read this page
You could of course, ask your local TCM practitioner for a session – my recommendation is that you choose a Chinese person who has a history of living with Chinese medicine and has trained in medical schools in China. Just my preference.
5-day Chinese (Eastern) Nutritional Plan - excellent source of what to eat and why
Thai food is healthy - if you choose correctly
How does a doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine diagnose?