The ancient Chinese understood about nutrition, because they understood the concept of Yin and Yang (the concept of balance and harmony). With Chinese Medicine, the practitioner looks at the whole body and tries to create appropriate treatments; similarly, Chinese nutrition is used to adapt to every individuals needs.
Chinese Nutrition focuses on the energy and property food, combinations of food, seasonal categories of food, and nutritional balance. Every single food that we eat has a specific quality and temperature. For instance, a person who has a Yang personality (or as we say here a “hot blooded person”) would have certain traits, such as; a red complexion, aggressiveness, frequent perspiration, loud speaking, etc. This kind of person will not benefit from eating hot foods, but instead, will be more comfortable with cool energy foods. The same would apply for a Yin personality (or more depleted individual) with a pale complexion and a weak voice, who is always cold and tired. These people would benefit eating warmer foods that will increase their energy and warm the body.
In ancient China, people didn’t have expensive drugs to heal themselves; rather, they relied on foods and proper diet techniques to cure their ailments. In Chinese Medicine we deal with five flavors that are connected to our organs; sweet, sour, bitter, salty, and pungent. When the food enters our digestive tract, the sweet taste is absorbed by the stomach and spleen, the sour taste is absorbed by the liver and gall bladder, the bitter taste by the heart and small intestines, the salty taste by kidneys and bladder, and finally, the pungent taste by the lung and large intestines. Therefore, foods with different flavors and tastes get absorbed by the body to nourish the organs in specific ways. It’s a unique system that keeps the body in balance. I believe that our body is the greatest healer, and with the right nutrition methods, it is able to heal itself. In the next chapter, I will talk about guidelines to a balanced diet.
By: Raphaela Sorkin