Food Therapy is a healing practice that uses food to heal. Taking into consideration the physical temperature of food, the thermal effects on the body, the taste and flavor of the food, the way the food functions and moves in the body, and the use of proper eating during the seasonal environment can strengthen or weaken the way our bodies function. Food therapy is a powerful tool to mitigate any disharmonies in the body. Like the term, you are what you eat; your cellular makeup is generated by what goes into your digestive system. We have the power at every meal to either strengthen or weaken your health bank account. The goal is to balance the yin and yang, Qi, blood, and the function of the internal organs. To balance these aspects of the body it is necessary to eat a balanced diet every day. The idea of a balanced eating regimen is eating a variety of different kinds of food rather than eating a limited selection. The nutritive qualities of the food should be balanced. Food can be classified by the four properties and five tastes that has a special effect on the body. The four properties are cooling, heating, warming and neutral. The five tastes are sour, bitter, sweet, pungent and salty. Each taste directly affects different internal organs. Eating according to the seasons is important because the body lives in the environment and the body and the environment are a unit. The body is affected by the seasons and the weather so we must know how to adapt the body to the weather and seasonal changes in order to maintain health.
General guidelines to Food Therapy:
1. Frame of Mind is important when eating. Sit down and become mindful of what you are putting into your body. Eliminate multi-tasking while you eat. Increasing your awareness and gratitude for each nourishing bite.
2. Digestion begins in the mouth. Chewing your food well before swallowing will adequately allow for better digestion.
3. Eat an organic wide variety of local foods. Avoid processed foods and anything processed in a microwave. Don’t get stuck on a strict regimen.
4. Eat more frequent, but smaller and easier-to-digest meals.
5. Have a large breakfast, medium sized lunch, and small dinner is key. This sort of schedule has you eating according to the meridian clock. The digestive system is at its peak between 7-11 AM. Their energy is at the weakest during the hours of 7-11PM.
6. Eating with the seasons. Decreaseyour raw fruit and veggie intake in the winter. Increaseyour raw fruits and veggie intake in the summer.
Spring-eat sprouting and leafy foods
Summer-eat flowering phase foods (broccoli, cauliflower, etc.)
Later Summer-eat fruits, grains
Fall-focus on eating seeds to get more concentrated energy for winter protection
Winter-eat root foods because they have concentrated food value
7. Eating with the five colors and five flavors in every meal.
Spleen/Stomach=Earth energy: Naturally sweet foods that are yellow/orange
-sweet potatoes, butternut squash, pumpkin, corn, honey, mango
Heart/Small Intestine=Fire energy: Bitter foods that are red
-salmon, cherries, strawberries, tomato, dandelions, pintos, lamb
Lung/Large Intestine=Metal energy: Spicy foods that are white
-rice, lima beans, pears, radish, ginger, scallions, mustard greens
Kidney/Urinary Bladder=Water energy. Salty foods that are black/purple
-all salt water fish, garlic, mushrooms, any berry, kidney & black beans
Liver/Gallbladder=Wood energy. Sour or acidic foods that are green
-avocadoes, lemon, olives, green apple, lentils, all leafy greens
8. Drink only room temperature, warm or hot water/beverages. Staying away from ice is key to not extinguish the digestive fire.
9. Eat soup! It’s the perfect food, according to Chinese nutritional theory. It is warm, cooked, has vegetables in it and is already in the most easily digestible form