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  • By Monica Walters, L.Ac.

Food is Medicine


In Traditional Chinese Medicine, food itself is medicine. Unprocessed foods such as grains, vegetables, fruits, and meat that have not been sprayed with pesticides or fed antibiotics/hormones hold the most value for their nutrient content, and thus great healing abilities.

Traditional Chinese medical dietary therapy involves understanding the properties of foods and their affects on health as well the use of food for preserving health and preventing and treating illnesses.

First and foremost, Chinese Medicine has its foundation in living in accordance with seasonal energy; a food which is beneficial in the warmth of summer may have the opposite effect in the cold of winter, and vice versa. It can be confusing walking into a supermarket that carries the same produce year round. Get to know what's growing seasonally around you better by going to the local Farmer's Market, growing your own garden, or have a quick look at this seasonal and geographic food chart.

The second principle of Chinese dietary therapy teaches us that foods carry particular energetics and flavor; cooling, neutral or warming, sour, bitter, pungent, sweet and salty. This confers particular properties to a food; astringing, heat clearing, relaxing, dispersing, moisture generating, descending, tonifying, warming and so on.

There are many factors to consider: your constitution (the internal weaknesses and strengths you were born with), the nature of your illness, and the season and climate in which you live.

The proper diet for you is based on all of these factors, not just upon the disease alone. Your body needs a variety of foods to function and there are positive choices you can make. I can help you determine the best foods for your unique body and needs at this time in your life. This is generally incorporated into a session, although in some instances, nutritional consults may be recommended in order to focus on this aspect of your return to health and balance.

If you would like to learn more on your own one of the best resources I can recommend is Healing with Whole Foods, by Paul Pitchford. It's quite a large compendium and great reference for those getting started in looking deeper into their nutrition from a Traditional Chinese Medicine standpoint. I had this book at my bedside and would often fall asleep reading it for over a year!

#chinesedietarytherapy #foodismedicine

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