Hippocrates said let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food. That has rung true to me since I was little. My Italian grandfather used to joke that when I made dinner, grass was on the menu! I have always been fascinated and quite honestly empowered with the idea that food can indeed be as Hippocrates stated thousands of years ago, medicinal.
Kirlian photography of foods captures light/electromagnetic energy not visible to the naked eye. The images of raw fruits and vegetables show more of these light strands than the same cooked vegetables. The raw food movement is definitely a strong one. While I do think there is some real and supportive research behind it, it is not a supported premise of Chinese Medicine. It is especially not supported if there is a weakness in your Spleen and Stomach meridians/ digestive function.
There are so many ways to categorize eating now: Alkaline, Paleo, Vegetarian, Pescetarian, Carnivore (haha) etc, you get the picture.
As an acupuncturist, a person who loves to cook, and a mother; I find the most healthy choice for myself and my family is to follow a mostly plant based diet with limited amounts of specific animal protein. At the end of day, I refer back to my food therapy training in school and take into consideration the lifestyle and habits of my patients when offering suggestions.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) relies heavily on the idea of the yin and yang energies of food, when supplementing the treatments given in the office. The yang being sweet, spicy, dry, orange and red colored food in nature. The opposing Yin being the bitter, salty, high moisture content, green or cool toned color foods in nature.
If you think about how many times you eat in a day, it shouldn’t seem that farfetched that we can do a lot of good for our bodies if we are mindful and purposeful when doing so.
When I treat patients, we always talk food. ALWAYS!
I typically give patients a food energetics chart that lists if a food is natured hot/warm/drying(yang), cool/cold/moistening(yin), or neutral. In a perfect setting, the idea is to have a balanced plate of food in front of you being more neutral than anything. However, we all have slight imbalances and it is important knowing what your body constitution tends toward. This information is essential to knowing how to eat in terms of a Chinese Medicine point of view.
Here is an example of a dinner from last week:
Here is the breakdown of the plate in terms of a thermal nature TCM point of view:
Radish Micro greens: cool
Cauliflower purée: neutral
Coconut oil: warm
Leggett, Daverick, Helping Ourselves: Guide to Traditional Chinese Food Energetics. Meridian Press, 1994
Pitchford, Paul, Healing with Whole Foods: Asian Traditions and Modern Nutrition. North Atlantic Books, 2002
Blog postings by Natalie Maddox Rougie, AP, DACM owner of Palm Wellness in Tampa, FL.