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Chinese dietary therapy
Chinese dietary therapy or food therapy has a long history in East Asia. It's been used for several thousands of years and is probably the oldest form of therapy in the world.
The Chinese have for centuries added certain foods, which are used in Chinese herbal medicine, into their cooking to improve their health. Food is healthcare. Medicine isn't healthcare, its sick care. Chinese herbal medicine and the materia medica originated from food therapy. Asians understand the nature of foods and the properties of foods. They believe that a happy stomach leads to a healthy body because if the stomach is happy it will produce abundant amounts of energy and blood for the body's needs.
Foods to avoid
The Chinese dietary principles is to eat more warm foods and less cold foods. Asians avoid foods that damage the stomach, such as ice, ice cream, salads and other cold, raw foods. The stomach likes to be warm like a compost heap to help digestion. A compost heap in winter doesn't decompose and so the stomach doesn't work as well when it's cold. The stomach likes warm or hot food. For this reason, there is a Chinese saying that "You should chew your fluids and swallow your foods", meaning your fluids are at the same temperature as the body before they hit the stomach and your food has been chewed so much that the stomach needs to do less work processing it. A happy spleen and stomach is a happy body!
Most people eat with their eyes and their mouths rather than their stomachs. Any food that takes too long to digest is bad for the stomach, i.e. gluten. Research has shown that people sensitive to gluten are more likely to be deficient in iron. This is due to a weakened spleen not producing enough blood in traditional Chinese medicine. For good health and fertility you should eat with both your mouth and your stomach. That way, the food you eat will be the best for your body and won’t weaken it. It’s no surprise that Asian cuisine has evolved to be both good for the mouth and the stomach. Learning what food is easy for your stomach to digest is a learning process and will take time, but the rewards are huge.
You should only eat when you’re actually hungry. Sounds obvious I know, but a lot of people eat with their mind and not with their stomach. We live in a modern world where people seldom feel actual hunger. We often eat before we feel hunger, which stresses our digestive system, causing it to weaken, which affects fertility.
Dieting and body building
Women following a very low calorie diet can suffer from a lack of biotin (part of vitamin B group), whilst men who are body builders should avoid high consumption of raw egg whites as they contain a protein called avidin, which binds to biotin in the gut preventing it’s absorption. Cooked egg whites are ok. Low levels of biotin can cause deficiencies that are associated with a lack of yin and blood in traditional Chinese medicine.
Eating right for your climate
Eating foods that are good for the climate you live in is not something people often think about and yet it's very important for good health. People eat what their mouths like rather than what their body likes.
Eating certain foods or removing food groups can have a big impact on your health. For example, if you live in a damp climate, then eat fewer foods that cause dampness like dairy. If you live in a hot climate, then don't eat spicy foods, instead eat cooling foods. If you live in a cold environment, eat food foods and avoid cold foods such as salads.
If you would like to learn more about eating the right foods for the climate you live in, read my article about it.
Asian nutrition is more than just cooking delicious foods; it's also a form of medicine. In Asia, people eat foods to heal themselves. Only when that doesn't work do they see a oriental medicine doctor.
I give all my patients dietary and lifestyle advice when they first meet me. By optimising your diet, the effects of acupuncture are quicker and longer lasting.
To learn more about Asian nutrition, you can read an article I wrote about it.