New App: Chinese Nutritional Strategies
I recently came across the Chinese Nutritional Strategies app, which is a great resource that can help you find the foods best appropriate for your condition. Often in a session there is just enough time to go over dietary recommendations specific to your needs, but not enough time to go into great detail. This program can serve as in-home back-up when the question of “what should I eat?” comes up.
For more information on this Chinese Nutritional Strategies app, here’s the description:
“The heart of the Chinese Nutritional Strategies app is the database of more than 300 common foods, along with their temperature, flavor, actions, indications, notes, seasonal recommendations, and differential diagnosis categories. The database is searchable by any of these criteria and sorting through it allows the practitioner to compile a list of recommended foods, and then share those recommendations via email or as a hard copy with the patient.”
Remember that eating well and nourishing yourself is a practice, just like exercise any other self care routine. Make big changes slowly and see what works best for you as you go!
Nutrition from a Chinese Medicine Perspective
The earth element – the stomach and spleen – are the foundations for good health and energy. You can have a strong earth element but how you nourish your body over time will create lasting effects. “Good nutrition” from a Chinese Medicine (CM) perspective is quite different from what we consider healthy in the west. In CM, many more properties and actions of the foods are considered. Essentially, it is the energetic properties of the food that are taken into account. Salads, for example, are not considered universally healthy because they are raw, and therefore cold and often injurious to the stomach qi (warm, easy to digest foods are best for supporting the energy of the stomach.) The stomach qi is thought of like a furnace to be kept warm, working together with your Spleen to keep digestion and metabolic processes running smoothly. The easier a food is to digest, the less taxing it is the Spleen and Stomach, and the more energy you will have.
Keep in mind some general recommendations that are useful for almost everyone:
Fresh, prepared home cooked food from a local organic source is always best.
Grains and legumes should be well-cooked to aid with digestion, while vegetable should be cooked lightly to preserve vitamins and enzymes.
Avoid ice water and cold drinks in general, as the cold it injures the qi of the stomach and spleen.
Raw foods should be eaten sparingly by those with low energy or weak digestion. (Salads, raw vegetables.)
Soups and broths are some of the best foods to replenish and hydrate. Drinking water isn’t always enough to hydrate. Soups, or congee, or wet porridges are required, and are one of the best foods for maintaining health in general.
Over-consumption of refined foods & refined sugar will weaken the digestion and create imbalance in the body.
Dairy should be taken in moderation, and avoided when digestion is weak or with allergies, as its cloying nature creates more phlegm in the body.
Eat at regular times, with gratitude!
These practices are best with good rest, adequate movement/exercise, and a healthy mindset. These form the pillar of great health.