Chinese Food Therapy – Eat Foods That Heal Your Type
Posted Jul 01 2010 11:50pm
“Let your food be your medicine and your medicine be your food.” - Hippocrates
To the Chinese, food is medicine. We Americans rarely think of our food this way. We know we should eat well, but to think of food as a therapy to improve health isn’t something most of us are familiar with. How great to find out that by adding a few ingredients to our diets we can effect our overall health!
Chinese Medicine is based on the concept of yin and yang energies. Yin represents cool, inactive, dark energy and Yang hot, active, bright energy. Balance between the two means good health, imbalance leads to problems. The Chinese believe that all living things are made up of these energies, including food. You may notice that Chinese meals are very balanced energetically – if there is a spicy sauce, there may well be water chestnuts to “cool” the dish, for example. Because food has it’s own energy, it is used therapeutically in TCM, meaning eating the right foods for your type can improve your health, and even your fertility, improve digestion, reduce pain, and generally contribute to a more balanced body. Here are some suggestions based on common imbalances in the body. If you have:
Kidney Yin Deficiency
Symptoms include: Low back pain or soreness, knee soreness, hot at night or sweat at night, ringing in your ears, dark circles under your eyes, prematurely gray hair.
You Should Eat: Black beans, tofu, rice, kelp, parsley, wheat germ, string beans, shellfish, raspberries, walnuts, pork, yams, corn, watermelon, cucumbers.
Kidney Yang Deficiency
Symptoms Include: Low back soreness or weakness, cold feet, especially at night, tendency to feel cold in general, low libido, having to get up in the night to urinate.
You Should Eat: Warm, nourishing foods including organic meat at least twice a week, ginger, walnuts, dates, cabbage, kale, squash, garlic, cook with warm spices, peppers, cloves, cinnamon, ginger, cumin, etc. make sure to cook your vegetables if you are Kidney Yang deficient and avoid icy drinks.
Spleen Qi Deficiency
Symptoms Include: Tired a lot, low appetite, bloated after eating, gas, loose stool, cold hands and feet, bruising easily, sweating without exerting yourself, getting sick often, feeling heavy or low energy a lot.
You Should Eat: Organic meat, rice, yams, pumpkins, cherries, dates, molasses, potatoes, mushrooms, avoid “cold” foods such as watermelon, cucumbers and others listed under the Kindney Yin Deficient diet. Cook your vegetables, and be sure to avoid refined sugars, white bread and pasta, fruit juice (too much sugar) and avoid too much dairy.
Liver Qi Stagnation
Symptoms Include: Depression, sighing a lot, tendency to feel angry or irritable, difficulty falling asleep, generally stressed and or short tempered, migraine headaches.
You Should Eat: Eat small meals, eat slowly and try to relax and be present while eating. Avoid heavy, stagnating foods like peanut butter, too much meat, foods with preservatives. Mint is excellent for the Liver Qi Stagnation type. Try to relax, while eating – and in general, don’t hold in feelings of anger or resentment, express them and leave them behind!
These are just things to keep in mind in the course of your overall balanced diet. Relax, let the mind stop thinking, chew your food well, and eat regular meals. And most of all, enjoy your food!