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Healthy Eating

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, we get our Qi (energy) from two sources:

• Air - The Chinese have several energy harvesting techniques called Qi Gong; and

• Food.

Often our body "asks" for a certain kind of food at some point. Who has not felt like eating chocolate after an extreme intellectual effort? Or has had the desire to eat something salty and then something sweet before menstruation? Or wanted to drink orange juice before coming down with a cold?


For Chinese medicine these occasional desires are an attempt by the body to balance itself. A healthy diet is a varied one that includes 5 general tastes and 5 colors, each related to one of our vital organs and their various functions.

Yellow - Sweet – related to the Spleen

These are abundant energy sources, but are poor sources for minerals and vitamins. Energy is determined by measuring the calories it contains. High-calorie foods contain carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Examples are pumpkin, corn, potato, sweet potato. Other sources include milk and dairy products, nuts, tofu, pasta, cereals, legumes and vegetables rich in starch, sweet fruits, oils and all animal products.


Red - Bitter – related to the Heart

Examples of red foods: strawberries, red peppers, tomatoes, watermelon, beets.


The bitter taste is found in green and yellow vegetables. They contain phytonutrients or phytochemicals that fight disease, strengthen the immune system and promote growth (flavonoids, terpenes, and polyphenols). They stimulate digestion and are detoxifying. Examples: broccoli, chard, eggplant, spinach, green zucchini, green leafy vegetables, dill, sage and chamomile.


White - Picante – related to the Lungs

Examples of white foods: oats, turnip (preferably cooked), almonds.


These include strong or spicy seasonings. They are antioxidants and their essential oils stimulate mucous membranes. These foods stimulate digestion, reduce nausea, and clean and decongest sinuses and the respiratory tract. They can even act a bit as laxatives.


Examples of spicy foods: onions, leeks, garlic, shallots, green onions, radishes, peppers and chili peppers, cloves, cinnamon, black pepper, thyme, oregano, rosemary, basil, nutmeg, ginger root.


Black - Salt – related to the Kidneys

Examples of black or blue (indigo and violet) foods include blueberries, eggplant, blackberries, fresh and dried plums, black beans, grapes, kale, red potatoes, purple basil, nori seaweed.


The taste is an “ocean” flavor. Your body needs a daily amount of sodium chloride. Table salt should be consumed in moderation. The salty taste is present in soy sauce, seafood and products made with seaweed.


Green - Acid/Sour - related to the Liver

Examples of green foods: broccoli, green zucchini, spinach, peas and green beans.


These foods are characteristic of organic acids such as citric acid and ascorbic found in citrus fruits and tomatoes, lactic acid, found in cheese and yogurt and acetic acid, present in pickles and salad dressings. They facilitate digestion, stimulate appetite and help to move food through the digestive tract.


Examples of fruit: apples, apricots, grapes, plums and pineapples. They provide vitamin C and flavonoids necessary for healthy cell development and the proper functioning of the immune system.


Omega 3 and 6 are for the proper functioning of the nervous and immune system. Omega 6 fatty acids are found in oils from seeds and nuts, such as almonds, corn, safflower, sesame, sunflower, nuts. Omega 3 fatty acids are found in flaxseed oil, canola and soy and fish oils. Much of the Omega 3 is found in fish heads and not the body.


Before opening the refrigerator door, try to think and feel what your body needs. What is your body asking for? What color of food is appealing to you at the moment?

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