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By Tom Kiroplis, Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner

healthy-eating-strategiesProper nutrition and eating habits, is an integral part of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Every branch of this medicine, including acupuncture, and herbal therapy, refers to certain basic principles of diet in order to set guidelines for the individual. All recommendations are made with the goal of promoting general wellness and/or recovery from specific illness.

As with all branches of TCM, dietetics is holistic in approach. Foods are chosen for their effect on the organism as a whole and not simply for localized results. Proper nutrition means much more than making ideal food choices; it also takes into account one’s ability to properly digest and assimilate these foods as well. When patterns of improper digestion arise, no matter how minute, your body is letting you know one, perhaps several things: either your food choices are not suited to your particular needs; you are not scheduling your meals at optimum times; or your choice of cooking method may not be suitable.

Tips for Proper Eating

At the Table:

  • relax a little before mealtime
  • eat in a peaceful, comfortable environment
  • take your time eating, chew thoroughly
  • do not overeat – eat until you are 75% full
  • avoid cold beverages, raw and frozen food or drinks – this is especially important in the winter for people who have a weak constitution
  • take time to digest – after a meal, either rest or take a light walk
  • eat only a light breakfast as your body is just waking up and your stomach is not ready to work hard at digesting large amounts of food

At the Store:

  • select fresh foods that are naturally grown
  • vegetables should be firm (soft is considered wrecked Qi)
  • choose a wide variety of foods
  • select foods that contain high water content
  • minimize processed or preserved foods (usually pre-packaged)
  • include high fibre foods, omega 3’s, protein and calcium

In the Kitchen:

  • prepare warm meals every day
  • serve balanced meals
  • prepare visually appealing dishes
  • avoid excess raw foods
  • limit barbequing, smoking and deep-frying
  • limit caffeine intake
  • avoid refined sugar
  • avoid excess dairy products, especially if you have an excess of mucous

Other Considerations:

  • schedule your meal times
  • drink warm liquids
  • do not eat late at night
  • do not skip meals
  • drink small amounts of liquid with meals, preferably warm or at room temperature as too much liquid or very cold liquids can hinder digestion
  • don’t eat when upset or while working, reading or watching television
  • exercise on a regular basis.

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