Chinese Dietry Idea’s
How Food is Described In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)
In Western society, food is known to have a certain amount of protein, fat, minerals and vitamins e.tc. The amounts are often obtained in a laboratory by analysing and separating the food into their basic food groups, the nutritional value of the food is noted as the sum total of the chemical levein the ingredient’s before it enters the body.
In TCM food is described as having certain qualities such as a warming or cooling nature, by possessing certain flavours or acting on our body in a certain way. This information is obtained by watching the behaviour of the body after a food has been consumed. The nutritional nature of the food has been found to contain a set of energetic properties which describes the action that a food has on the body.
This information over the years has been placed into three main categories:
The Temperature of food
The Flavours of Food
The Routes and Actions of Food
How the Chinese Diet Differs from the Western Diet;
• The Western Diet focuses almost exclusively for weight loss.
• The Chinese Diet is designed to not only help you loose weight but also treat many other illnesses or disorders including hypertension, diabetes, diarrhoea, constipation, cough to name a few. For example it is considered not good for a person with constipation to drink Tea; it is good for someone with a cough to eat an apple with honey.
• In the Western Diet foods are considered for their protein, calorie, carbohydrate, vitamin and other nutritional content.
• The Chinese Diet, foods are considered for their flavours, energetic properties and organic actions.
The essential aspects of the Chinese Dietin regards to food are as follows:
The five flavours of food
The five energies of food
The movement of food and the organic actions of food.
The Temperatures of Food ( A Chinese perspective)
In Traditional Chinese Medicine the temperature of food does not relate to the temperature at which the food is cooked
rather than the tempering effect the food has on the body. The food maybe either Hot-Warm-Neutral-Cool-Cold.
Raw / Cooling
Steamed / Cooling/Neutral
Boiled / Neutral
Stewed / Warming
Stir-fried / Warming
Baked / More Warming
Deep Fried / Heating
Roasted / More Heating
Grilled / Moreheating
BBQ / Most Heating
The Five Flavours of Food
Salty: This Flavour belongs to the Water element and enters the Kidneys.
Sour: This Flavour belongs to the Wood Element and enters the Liver.
Bitter: This Flavour belongs to the Fire Element and enters the Heart.
Sweet: This Flavour belongs to the Earth Element and enters the Spleen.
Pungent: This Flavour belongs to the Metal Element and enters the Lung
The Energetics of Food
The flavour describes the food as pertaining to a certain Element, but Food is also said the enter particular Meridian Pathways,
directing the energetics of the food to have an effect towards a particular organ for which the Meridian coincides to.
For example Almonds energize the Lung meridian and Walnuts energise the Kidney Meridian. Some Foods also have specific therapeutic actions and either Tonify( turn up)
a particular bodily substance or function on the;
Yin / Yang / Chi / Blood, or it may reduce the influence of a pathological condition; Chi Stagnation / Blood Stagnation / Dampness / Heat / or Cold.
When we combine the Meridian Route with the therapeutic actions of foods we get a specific description of its therapeutic effect i.e.
Almonds remove Phlegm from the Lungs and Walnuts tonify the Kidney Yang.
This Knowledge helps us to choose the foods in our diet that are tailor-made for personal energetics and needs.