The strength of your Stomach and Spleen Qi or “digestive fire” is paramount in Traditional Chinese Medicine and Chinese Dietary Therapy.
Stomach and Spleen Qi essentially translates into how effectively your body can extract, absorb and utilise the nutrients from your food to enable optimal physiological functioning and processes to occur.
Chinese dietary therapy is not about the latest fad diets and does not place much emphasis on the number of kilojoules/calories found in each serve.
Chinese dietary therapy focuses on the thermal energetics of food and how food combinations and various cooking methods can help to restore balance to one's digestive health. (based on your presenting symptoms and underlying constitution).
Some people are considered more "Yang" or "Hot" in nature, whilst others may be considered to be "Yin" "Damp"or "Cold" in nature. Each of these TCM classifications describe pathologies occurring within the body, and indicate which foods to include in the diet and foods to avoid.
Chinese Dietary Therapy is about eating with joy, eating moderately and enjoying a wide colourful variety of seasonal fresh produce that makes you feel good.
We simply can not separate the food that we eat, from the state of our health.
I personally think it’s really important to begin exploring the abundance of foods that are available for you to include into your diet rather than focusing on the foods you have been told to avoid and eliminate.
Bring some joy back into your kitchen, meals and digestion!
Particular foods, for example bread and grains, may have no reportable effects on one person yet another may experience symptoms including fatigue, foggy headedness, headaches, stomach cramps & recurrent sinusitis after eating.
Grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts, spices and herbs all have various healing qualities that ensure your body is digesting your nutrients efficiently.
Aim for A wide variety of FRESH & SEASONAL produce that makes you feel good and avoid anything that comes wrapped in plastic or pills in bottles sprouting amazing health claims!
Food therapy is just plain common sense and is YOUR responsibility to nourish YOUR body with the best nutrients possible.
One of my personal favourite Chinese Proverbs that is applicable to all medical systems states that:
"Anyone who takes medicine and neglects diet, wastes the skills of the physician"
& The famous quote from Hippocrates, the father of western medicine:
"Let your food be your medicine, and medicine be your food."
Some more quotes to digest:
"Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants....what other animal needs professional help in deciding what it should eat??" ( The Myth of nutrition and the pleasures of eating - In Defence of Food) by Michael Pollan, Published by Penguin Books 2009.
“Meeting our nutritional needs is essential for us to have great energy and health. If your nutritional needs fall short or you are consuming substances that disrupt the energy creation cycles of your body, then fatigue is a likely result. Nothing, nothing at all, can replace a real-food, wholefood, nutrient dense way of eating. Nothing.” (Page 48 from the fantastic book by Dr Libby Weaver “Exhausted to energized”, 2015, Little Green Frog Publishing)
More recently science has turned it’s focus to the importance of a healthy gut microbiome and relationship to immune function and the connections between the food we eat, gut health and brain health.