Eat According to East Asian Medicine
There are simple guidelines when trying to eat in accordance with traditional East Asian Medicine principles. Most of them are common sense, but oftentimes in our Western lifestyle our brains and/or emotions override what is best for us.
When I talk to patients about Eastern Nutrition, I tell them about how the temperature and energetics of food can benefit or be detrimental to their health. I also share with them that feeding their body should be a joyful act and to focus on how certain foods feels in their body instead of calculating calories, carbohydrates, and fat content.
So here are the very basic ideas if you would like to eat according to East Asian Medicine:
- If it makes you sick, don’t eat it
That is until you are feeling well again.
- Don’t eat the same thing ALL the time. Eat from a wide variety of all foods
Variety is the spice of life! Make sure you “eat the rainbow” to consume a wide range healthy nutrients.
- Emphasize cooked and warm foods
Think crock pot meals and foods that your body doesn’t have to “break down” before absorbing vitamins and minerals.
- Avoid excessively heavy, greasy food
As delicious as these foods are, they shouldn’t be a daily indulgence.
- Opt for drinking room temperature or warm fluids when possible. Avoid too many iced drinks.
Don’t extinguish your digestive fire with these cold, wet liquids.
- Moderation is key…don’t eat too much or too often.
It’s about balance, baby.
This seems like a no-brainer, but most people do not chew their food as thoroughly as they should. Chewing more will help you eat less. And it will also give your stomach less to do!
- Avoid over -processed, microwaved, irradiated foods if possible.
Because of the quality of the soil our food is grown in, the nutrition in our food isn’t what it used to be. Choose and prepare food that gives you the healthiest bang for your buck.
- Eat seasonally as much as possible.
In Spring/Summer: focus on lighter, leafy vegetables. Cooling foods like cucumber, watermelon, and mint will help you stay cool. Continue to lightly cook food, don’t overdo raw foods.
In Fall/Winter: focus on root vegetables, nuts, seeds, meat and poultry. Warming foods like pumpkin, squash, and sweet potatoes are will help keep you warm. Soups and stews are wonderful this time of year!
- Drink enough water for YOUR body
Dehydration can cause headaches, fatigue, constipation, etc. But over hydrating can cause health issues too. Experiment and see how much water feels the best to you.
I do want to emphasize that there is no “right way” to do anything. Ultimately what you THINK about things, including the food you eat, may be more important than what you ACTUALLY eat. Therefore eat in a way that is joyful!