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Food advice from a Chinese medicine practitioner

Food is medicine!

Ancient Chinese medicine looks at food and drinks in a different way than western medicine. They follow different principles to ensure better health.

Here are some food tips from the ancient Chinese.

  • Sit down to eat

  • Eat when you are calm. If you try eating while angry or upset by something, it is believed the food stagnates in stomach or spleen and causes stomach upsets and bloating.

  • Don’t drink any fluids, before, during, or immediately after foods. This impacts the stomach’s natural acids to assist in breaking down the food.

  • Also eat as many different flavours (sweet, sour, bitter, pungent, and salty) in each serving. The Chinese believe that the flavours take the energy from the food to different organs around the body to utilise it. Also eat 6-8 cups of vegetables each day with as many colours as possible.

  • Eat seasonally, nature knows what types of foods you need and provides it for us at certain times of the year. For example, don’t have eat a cold, raw salads or smoothies on a freezing cold winter’s day. Slow cooked warm stews or bone broths are required during winter, with winter root vegetables, and warming spices to warm up the body.

  • Eat more foods that your ancestors did. Your body and gut health are attuned to foods that your ancestors have eaten for generations.

  • Eat regularly and at the same time every day.

  • Majority of foods should be cooked in some way, to assist the body in breaking down foods. That way the body doesn’t have to work so hard to break down foods; you are already helping with this process. Eating raw foods requires the stomach qi to work harder to break it down.

  • Big breakfast, medium lunch, and small dinners. Start the day right by providing it with lots of energy, whilst not overworking the digestion so close to bedtime. Chinese medicine believes that the stomach works best between 7-9am, so use this time effectively.

  • When eating, stop when you are seven tenths full- Ancient Chinese saying. It’s sometimes hard not to overeat, so following this principle will assist in not overeating.

  • Avoid dairy, greasy, sugary, and processed foods. All these foods are believed to damage the digestion and won’t work at its optimum levels.

  • When doing your grocery shopping, majority of items should come from the outer aisles only. That’s where the fruit, vegetables, and meat are stored.

Most importantly, enjoy what you are eating!

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