By Darrell Carpenter,2014-09-03 14:52
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    Introduction to Chinese Medicine


    To get the most out of acupuncture or Chinese herbal medicine, it is important to support your treatment with the proper diet and lifestyle. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), every food has both nature and flavor. A food’s nature is the effect on body temperature. A food can be either hot, warm, neutral, cool or cold. If you suffer from a hot disease, avoid hot foods and eat more cool and cold foods and vice versa.

    Each food also has one or more of the five or six flavors: sour, bitter, sweet, spicy, salty or bland. Each flavor is associated with one of the main organs and leads the effects of that food to that organ. For instance, sour is associated with the liver. It leads the effects of a sour food to the liver. Too much sour flavor can damage the liver. Also, each flavor has a general effect on the body’s metabolism. Sour astringes, spicy causes upward and outward movement, salty leads to downward and softens, bitter clears heat and also astringes, sweets supplement and moisten, and bland tasting foods cause urination.

    Therefore, if a person is suffering from lung dryness, he or she might want to eat pears which are sweet and especially help generate fluids. However, if a person suffers from evil dampness and phlegm, he or she should avoid pears. This means that whether a food is good or bad for an individual depends on that person’s TCM diagnosis and the nature and flavor of that food.

    The suggestions below are only general guidelines and should be adjusted for each individual by a Doctor of Oriental Medicine.

; For liver imbalances, please avoid the following:

Alcohol Greasy, fatty, oily foods

    Coffee (reg & decaf) Hard to digest foods such as nuts & red meat Sour food & drink Spicy foods

    Overeating in general

    ; For digestive weakness, please avoid the following:

    Raw fruits and vegetables, especially lettuce, radishes, celery, melons, strawberries, pears and bananas.

Diary products Sugar and sweets

    Beer Cold drinks with meals

    Pork Frozen or chilled foods

    Buckwheat Large doses of vitamin C

    Herb teas Preparations with Echinacea or Goldenseal Fruit juices

    Eat warm cooked foods, plenty of cooked vegetables, rice, noodles, soups & stews. Be sure grains are well cooked and easily digestible. Eat more frequent but smaller meals. Drink a cup of warm water, broth, soup or herb tea with each meal. OK to use pepper, cardamom, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, orange peel & fennel as spices.

; For excessive phlegm, please avoid the following:

Diary products Sugar & sweets

    Pork & beef Heavy hard to digest foods

    Pears Fried foods

    Oats, possibly wheat Overeating in general

    If the phlegm is categorized as hot phlegm, please also avoid: Alcohol Spicy foods

;For Kidney weakness, please avoid the following:

    Coffee (reg & decaf) Chilled or frozen food & drink Alcohol, excessive fluids Stimulant drugs

    Artificial sweeteners

; For lung/kidney yin deficiency, please avoid the following:

Spicy foods Recreational drugs

    Alcohol Coffee (reg & decaf)


    ; For damp heat, please avoid the following:

Sugar and sweets Spicy foods

    Nuts & nut butters Fried foods

    Alcohol Citrus fruits & juices, especially OJ Pork & beef

    If damp heat is complicated by candidiasis, please also avoid: Vinegar Yeast breads & baked goods

    Fermented foods, except miso, tempeh, shoyu & yogurt Any food which may be contaminated by mold.

; For blood deficiency, please eat plenty of the following:

    Cooked leafy greens Meat & marrow broths & soups Black beans Regular small portions of meat Easily digestible grains Orange & yellow vegetables Cherries, beets, grapes & raspberries

    Everyone should try to eat fresh food, freshly prepared, with a minimum of chemicals preservatives or additives. Grains should be cooked thoroughly to allow for easy and complete digestion. Vegetables, on the other hand, should not be overcooked to conserve valuable vitamins and enzymes. Sugar, salt, oil and fat consumption should generally be kept low. Most people should try to eat large amounts of roughage and fiber. Dietary changes for chronic disease should be implemented slowly over a period of time but made a continuous part of one’s lifestyle. In addition to a healthy diet, it is

    vitally important to get adequate exercise and rest. These three are the basis of good health.

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