Eating with the Seasons: Traditional Food Wisdom from China
by Isabel Slatkin
For millions of Americans, dinner often means a taco on the lap while driving in rush-hour traffic. Meanwhile, schoolchildren are binging on donuts and potato chips and falling asleep in the middle of class. Clearly, we're not eating right.
Recent studies reveal that while Americans are living longer than ever, we are also sicker than ever.
Over one third of American adults are obese, double the number a decade ago. As a result, weight-related diseases like diabetes and heart disease are also on the rise. The main culprits? Fried foods and refined carbohydrates like sugar.
Sugar is everywhere in the American diet -- and it has insidious effects on the body. According to the theory of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), an excess of sugar leads to a hot, damp condition in the body, which results in a disruption in the flow of vital energy,
A sugar-rich diet can lead to diabetes (an excess of blood sugar) or hypoglycemia (a lack of it).
Five Food Rules to Thrive By According to Chinese medicine,
it is not only what you eat but how you eat that affects your health.
Here are some tips on eating wisely:
Chew your food very well. This makes it easier for your enzymes to break food down into the energy needed to keep the body going.
Stop eating before you are completely full. This enhances the digestion and won't overload the liver and kidneys' ability to process waste products.
Eat in a quiet, non-stressful environment. Make the dinner hour a special time with no t.v., phone calls or other loud distractions. Sit down to eat, and make a rule to discuss only pleasant topics.
Finish your last meal of the day at least three hours before bedtime. This prevents stress on the liver along with digestive problems like heartburn and acid reflux disease.
Eat a diet of primarily lightly cooked foods, especially if you have weak digestion. Cooking allows easier assimilation of nutrients
*Don't eat sugary desserts! They disrupt the blood sugar and block the ability of the body to properly digest and assimilate the nutrients in your meal.
*Don't "Do the Dew". Long-term consumption of soda and candy can lead to calcium loss from bones, yellowed teeth with eroded enamel, and premature tooth loss, an affliction dentists have dubbed "Mountain Dew Mouth".
Further Readings on Nutrition and Chinese Medicine:
Healing Digestive Disorders by Andrew Gaeddert
Staying Healthy with the Seasons by Elson Haas, MD
Healing with Whole Foods by Paul Pitchford
The Self-Healing Cookbook by Kristina Turner