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Great summary of TCM food basics

Categories: Articles, Asian, Eastern Nutrition, Food Energetics

http://www.shen-nong.com/eng/lifestyles/food_property_food_tcm.html

Book: Guide to Traditional Chinese Food Energetics

Categories: Articles, Cookbooks, Eastern Nutrition, Food Energetics

This is a nice quick-reference book for Food Energetics.  Gives straightforward tables for food groups, and TCM properties in table-formats.

Gives a bit of TCM introductory theory, but the reference tables are where the real information is…

Helping Ourselves: A Guide to Traditional Chinese Food Energetics

by Daverick Leggett

http://www.amazon.com/Helping-Ourselves-Daverick-Leggett/dp/0952464…

Chinese View of Nutrition discussed by Two Western Nutritionists

Categories: Articles, Asian, Eastern Nutrition, Food Education, Food Energetics

Chinese food has a bad reputation in the UK. The rice-heavy meals and fatty meat dishes are thought to lead straight to obesity and heart disease. But properly prepared, says Chinese food expert Lorraine Clissold, the very opposite is true: the Chinese way of eating is healthy and fulfilling, fights illness and prolongs life. She also insists, in her book Why the Chinese Don’t Count Calories, that a real Chinese diet won’t make you fat, and that the rising levels of obesity observable in China are in fact caused by sugary, overprocessed Western food. Here are some of her Chinese dietary secrets‚ and the verdict of two Western nutrition experts, Patrick Holford and Ian Marber.

1. Stop counting calories

The Chinese don’t have a word for “calories”. They view food as nourishment, not potential weight gain. A 1990 survey found that Chinese people consumed 30 per cent more calories than Americans, but were not necessarily more active. Clissold says their secret is avoiding the empty calories of sugary, nutrient-free foods.

Holford says: “The latest research into weight loss shows that calorie-controlled, low-fat diets are less effective than low glycemic load diets, which is exactly what a traditional Chinese diet is.”

Marber says: “There is one calorie in a Diet Coke, and 340 calories in an avocado. Which one is actually good for you? It’s a no-brainer. The avocado supplies you with monounsaturated fats and omega-6, which actually help increase metabolic rate.”

2. Think of vegetables as dishes

Rather than an uninspiring accompaniment to meat or fish, the Chinese treat vegetables as meals in their own right, rather than add-ons, as in the West.

Marber says: “I’m a great believer in combining protein and carbohydrate. There aren’t many complex carbohydrates in vegetables, but they should count as a dish. If the majority of your meal is vegetables, and you add some protein, you’ll always have a perfect meal.”

Holford says: “Vegetables should make up half of what’s on your plate in any given meal, so this fits perfectly with the Chinese diet.”

3. Fill up on staple foods

Without rice, which is low in fat and high in nutrients and fibre, claims Clissold, it is impossible to eat until you are full. Low-carb diets promise to burn fat, but Clissold says that replacing carbs with food that is higher in fat and lower in nutrients is not a long-term answer to weight loss.

Marber says: “I don’t agree. That Chinese person shovelling rice down is slightly pudgy because they eat too much rice. But from a financial point of view it’s very useful, because Atkins-style diets are very expensive.”

4. Eat until you are full

The Chinese eat until they are full, and then stop. Westerners often take a feast-and-famine approach to eating that is ridden with guilt, purging during the week, and binging over the weekend, or skipping lunch to make room for cake, The Chinese tend to eat three good meals every day.

Holford says: “Provided that a meal has a high intake of fibre-rich vegetables and a balance of protein and carbohydrate, which a typical Chinese meal would, then you should eat until you are full. But the combination of high sugar, refined carbs (the white stuff) and high fat allows for more food to be eaten in a short space of time before the body’s ‘appestat’ kicks in and tells you to stop.”

Marber says: “What does ‘full’ mean? I think so much of that message is lost in the conspicuous consumption of the Western world. But be careful: it takes a while for the brain to recognise CCK, the hormone released when you are full, so you’re actually full quite a lot earlier than you realise.”

5. Take liquid food

Soup, or a soup-based dish, is present at every Chinese meal, often in the form of a watery porridge, zhou. Western diets can be very dry, and nutritionists compensate by urging us to drink more water, which the Chinese would never do with a meal. Instead, they make a nourishing liquid food part of the meal. And it’s a great way of using up leftovers.

Holford says: “Thirst is often confused with hunger. Also, drinking does tend to fill you up. So soups help you control your appetite.”

Marber says: “I’m a great believer in soups before food. Miso soup, for instance, or anything fermented; these are probiotics, which help release nutrients from the food you are about to eat.”

6. Bring yin and yang into your kitchen

A good Chinese diet balances yin (wet and moist) and yang (dry and crisp) ingredients. Yin foods cool the body down, while yang foods (meat, spicy dishes, wine, coffee) heat it up. The sharing, multi-dish approach to eating in China means most meals contain yin and yang in equilibrium.

Marber says: “You should have complex carbs, a protein and a grain together for many different reasons, one of which is the experience of eating. The typical English bastardisation of Chinese food, chicken and cashew nuts, is a good example: you’ve got the softness of the chicken, the crunch of the nut and the satisfying rice.”

Holford says: “Most protein foods are seen as yang, carbohydrates as yin. The combination of these two helps stabilise blood sugar, which is the key to good energy and minimising weight gain.”

7. Raw power? not necessarily

Chinese people don’t eat raw salad. While raw food has a higher concentration of vitamins than cooked food, Clissold says the research ignores that lightly cooking food makes its nutrients easier for the body to take on. This way, it can conserve energy for other tasks. The stomach is unable to digest too much raw food; this can lead to bloating and weight gain.

Holford says: “The rawer the better. In almost all cases, raw food has more nutrients, though lightly cooking some vegetables can make those nutrients more bio-available.”

Marber says: “I don’t hold with this one. Eating a big salad with lots of different raw vegetables in it is very satisfying, and I can’t believe your average Brit is going to blanch salad.”

8. Use food to keep fit

Chinese medicine prescribes various foods as medical treatments: chillies to promote digestion and dispel cold; garlic to counteract toxins. The ultimate purpose is to ensure all the organs are working correctly to allow energy, or chi, to circulate smoothly around the body.

Holford says: “Two thousand years ago, Hippocrates said, ‘Let food be your medicine.’ But we in the West forgot. Peasant communities tend to have more respect for the cycle of food and how it supports life.”

9. Drink green tea

Green tea eliminates toxins, aids digestion and allays hunger. Scientists have found that it also fights free radicals, which cause cancer and heart disease.

Marber says: “I’m a great believer in green and herbal teas. Green tea is an important antioxidant, but it will only help you lose weight if you drink 40 cups a day. I’m also a great believer in a skinny latte once in a while, or every morning, in my case.”

Holford says: “Traditionally, when the Chinese want another cup of tea, they’ll keep the same leaves and add water to the pot. That’s like only using one teabag a day, which means much less caffeine.”

10. Take restorative exercise

Try regular, gentle exercise such as tai chi. A sweaty workout might shed fat, but it is stressful for your body. Energetic, aerobic workouts are yang (they heat us up) while breathing exercises are yin.

Holford says: “Exercise after a meal promotes an active metabolism and helps control appetite. Although no one has worked out how to measure chi, the vital energy that these exercises promote, it’s a real thing that can easily be experienced. Many trials now show benefits to energy levels and immunity from these chi-generating exercises.”

Marber says: “Tai chi gives you a sense of balance, calm and peacefulness. Sweating it out at the gym is the precise opposite, but I can’t help it; I’m vain, shallow and modern. I think we’ve got a really messed-up view of how the body should look, and that it’s how we look, rather than how we feel, that matters.”

Source: Sophie Morris, The Independent: Extra, 22 July 2008, page 8.

Why different foods are consumed each season and what are their health benefits?

Categories: Articles, Eastern Nutrition, Food Energetics

Why different foods are consumed each season and what are their health benefits?

 

Pulse taking

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the world is a harmonious and holistic entity where all living beings are viewed in relation to the surrounding environment. Since ancient times, the Chinese have tried to explain different complicated phenomena by creating yin yang or the five elements theories. Man is part of the holistic entity, and takes his cue from nature. He is influenced directly and indirectly by changes in weather and needs to make corresponding physiological and pathological responses. For example, a change of season causes the rate, rhythm, volume and tension of the pulse to vary. The pulse tends to be taut in spring, full in summer, floating in autumn, and sunken in winter. TCM physicians will take this into account when distinguishing the abnormal pulse from the normal. The occurrence, development and change in the pattern of many diseases are seasonal such as wenbing occurring in spring, sun strokes in summer, dryness-related symptoms in autumn, and cold stroke syndromes in winter.

Published in 1330AD, illustration of Yinshan Zhengyao (Important Principles of Food and Drink) states that spring is appropriate to eat wheat.

However, we can take active measures to prevent disease and maintain good health. One common method is to consume different foods according to the season. The Chinese widely believe that we are what we eat, and most dietary guidelines follow on from nature. According to TCM philosophies, if we imbibe seasonal foods that are similar in nature to the external environment, we remain in harmony with the environment, adapt better to changes in season and stay healthy. The basic applying principle is “nourishing yang in spring and summer time, and nourishing yin in autumn and winter time.” The ancient Chinese realized that in accordance with seasonal changes, yang qi tends to flow outwards and occupies the body surface in spring and summer and therefore, the innards get relatively depleted of yang qi and need replenishing. At the same time, the weather in autumn and winter is cold and dry, and it is important to keep warm and prevent dryness. Through the methods of replenishing yin and nourishing dryness, TCM believes it is a way to build up energy and prepare for the coming seasons.

According to TCM health opinion, what is the dietary advice in each season?

Spring

Spring foods: Chinese yam, bamboo shoot and mushrooms.

Spring is the season of new birth and new growth. According to TCM, spring belongs to the wood element and dominates liver functioning. If we don’t adapt to the changing climate in spring, we may susceptible to seasonal health problems, such as flu, pneumonia, or a relapse of chronic diseases. It is advisable to reduce the intake of sour flavors and increase sweet and pungent flavors as this facilitates the liver to regulate the qi (vital energy) throughout the body. Examples of recommended foods for the spring include onions, leeks, leaf mustard, Chinese yam, wheat, dates, cilantro, mushrooms, spinach and bamboo shoots. Fresh green and leafy vegetables should also be included in meals; sprouts from seeds are also valuable. In addition, uncooked, frozen and fried foods should only be taken in moderation since these are harmful to the spleen and stomach if consumed in large amounts. As cold winter keeps us indoors and tends to make us eat too much, people may develop a heat balance in the spring, which leads to dry throats, bad breath, constipation, thick tongue coating and yellowish urine. Foods like bananas, pears, water chestnuts, sugar cane, celery and cucumber help to clear the excessive heat.

Summer foods: tomato, wax gourd and lotus root.

Summer
Plants grow fast in summer. People act energetically, and the body’s qi and blood become relatively more vigorous than in other seasons. TCM claims that the physiological changes make the heart over-function, and there is too much yang qi flows outward to the exterior part of the body. According to the five elements theory, an over-functioning heart restricts the lung functioning, it is advisable to eat more food with pungent flavors and reduce bitter flavors; this enhances the lung and maintains the normal sweating mechanism in summer. Sweat is the fluid of the heart; excessive sweating scatters heart-qi and weakens the mind causing symptoms like being easily annoyed, low spirit, restless and sleeping difficulties. Foods with sour and salty flavors help to ease these symptoms. Summer is hot and rainy in some regions, which disturb the fluid and electrolyte balance of the body and lead to lethargy, weakness, fever, thirst, lack of appetite and possibly loose bowels. Some foods are recommended for keeping the body cool and balanced, such as bitter gourd, watermelon, strawberries, tomatoes, mung beans, cucumber, wax gourd, lotus root, lotus seed, Job’s tears, bean sprouts, duck and fish. In general, the daily diet should contain more vegetables and fruit at this time so as to stimulate the appetite and provide adequate fluids. Warm and cooked foods ensure the digestive system work more effectively; too many greasy, raw and frozen foods can damage the digestive system and lead to a poor appetite, diarrhea or stomach upset. It is a Chinese tradition in summer to make soups for clearing summer heat, eliminating dampness and promoting digestion.

Autumn

Autumn foods: pineapple, pear and white fungus

Things begin to fall and mature in autumn. TCM believes that autumn correlates with the lung system, which dominates the skin, respiration, body fluids metabolism, blood circulation, immunity and melancholy emotion. Since the vigorous summer has over, TCM holds that everything needs to turn inwards so as to prepare for the harsh winter. Foods are important to ensure that the body adjusts to the changing seasons. The dry weather usually causes an itchy throat, a dry nose, chapped lips, rough skin, hair loss and dry stools. We need to eat to promote the production of body fluids and their lubricating effects throughout the body. Beneficial foods for this are lily bulb, white fungus, nuts or seeds, pear, lotus root, pumpkin, honey, soy milk and dairy products. It is advisable to eat more food with sour flavors and reduce pungent flavors as such things like onion, ginger and peppers induce perspiration, while sour foods like pineapple, apple, grapefruit and lemon have astringent properties and thus prevent the loss of body fluids. The body needs extra fluids to counteract the dry environment, and it is a Chinese tradition to eat porridge for breakfast and soup for dinner that is made with the above ingredients.

Winter foods: Chinese dates, black fungus and walnuts.

Winter
In winter, living things slow down to save energy while some animals hibernate. It is also the season where humans conserve energy and build strength as a prelude to spring. TCM believes our diet should be adapted to focus on enriching yin and subduing yang, which mean we should consume appropriate fats and high protein foods. Mutton, beef, goose, duck, eggs, rabbit meat, Chinese yam, sesame, glutinous rice, dates, longan, black fungus, bamboo shoot, mushrooms, leek and nuts are common ingredients in the Chinese dishes this time. Winter corresponds to the kidney system according to the five elements theory; hyperactive kidney inhibits the heart which leads to palpitations, cardiac pain, limb coldness and fatigue. It is advisable to eat more food with bitter flavors while reducing salty flavors so as to promote a healthy heart and reduce the workload of the kidney. Foods with bitter flavors include apricot, asparagus, celery, coffee, tea, grapefruit, hops, kohlrabi, lettuce, radish leaves, kale, vinegar and wine. Some people may eat too many hotpots or high calory foods causing excessive heat to accumulate in the lungs and stomach. They may experience problems such as bronchitis, sore throats, peptic ulcers and skin problems, thus it is necessary to balance with certain amount of cool dishes and water in winter. Winter is also a good time to boost the natural constitution of the body and improve symptoms associated with chronic conditions. Since a person’s appetite tends to increase over winter when they have a lower metabolic rate, absorbed nutrients from foods can be stored more easily. Energizing herbs such as ginseng, wolfberry, angelica, rhemannia root, astragalus and medicinal mushrooms can be used for this purpose. It is a trend for Chinese restaurants to prepare various medicinal courses using these ingredients.

The principle of harmony between food and the weather is based on practical experience. It may seem to contradict principles stated elsewhere but the fact remains: foods eaten during the four seasons have different impacts on the human body. Foods become part of the body after being consumed but the four seasons (that is environmental factors) always impacts externally on the body. Chinese dietary philosophy suggests that you embrace your native foods in addition to eating locally-grown foods and those in season. What is unhealthy about the modern diet is that particular foods are now available all year long and may be chemically treated instead of being grown naturally and being only available at a certain time. Natural, home-grown and chemical-free products are the most nutritious foods.


References

1. Chinese System of Food Cures Prevention & Remedies by Henry C. Lu.Sterling Publishing Co., Inc. 1986.
2. å¼µæ©å‹¤ä¸»ç·¨, 《中醫基礎ç†è«-》上冊, 上海中醫藥大學出版社1990.
Basic Theory of TCM (I) by Zhang Enqin. Publishing House of Shanghai University of TCM. 1990.
3. æ-¹ç¾½ä¸»ç·¨ã€Šå››å­£é¤Šç”Ÿå¢æ›¸ï¼Žæ˜¥å­£é¤Šç”Ÿã€‹ï¼Œç§’åœ-有é™å…¬å¸ï¼Œ2000å¹´11月.
Seasonal Health Perservation Series-Health Perservation in Spring, HK Ke Hua Books Publishing Co. Ltd. 2001-11.
4. æ-¹ç¾½ä¸»ç·¨ã€Šå››å­£é¤Šç”Ÿå¢æ›¸ï¼Žå¤å­£é¤Šç”Ÿã€‹ï¼Œç§’åœ-有é™å…¬å¸ï¼Œ2000å¹´11月.
Seasonal Health Perservation Series-Health Perservation in Summer, HK Ke Hua Books Publishing Co. Ltd. 2001-11.
5. æ-¹ç¾½ä¸»ç·¨ã€Šå››å­£é¤Šç”Ÿå¢æ›¸ï¼Žç§‹å­£é¤Šç”Ÿã€‹ï¼Œç§’åœ-有é™å…¬å¸ï¼Œ2000å¹´11月.
Seasonal Health Perservation Series – Health Perservation in Autumn, HK Ke Hua Books Publishing Co. Ltd. 2001-11.
6. æ-¹ç¾½ä¸»ç·¨ã€Šå››å­£é¤Šç”Ÿå¢æ›¸ï¼Žå†¬å­£é¤Šç”Ÿã€‹ï¼Œç§’åœ-有é™å…¬å¸ï¼Œ2000å¹´11月.
Seasonal Health Perservation Series – Health Perservation in Winter, HK Ke Hua Books Publishing Co. Ltd. 2001-11.
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Written By:
Dang Yi (黨毅) MD PhD
Professor, Beijing University of Chinese Medicine; Visiting Professor, Middlesex
University, London, UK; Vice Director, Gourmet Food Institute of Health Care and Nutrition of Beijing, PRC.
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Editors:
Angela Collingwood MSN, Integrated Chinese Medicine Holdings Ltd.
Raka Dewan, Integrated Chinese Medicine Holdings Ltd.
Rose Tse, Integrated Chinese Medicine Holdings Ltd.


Special thanks to Elpidio Talens Juan for helping with article graphics.

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Source: 

http://www.shen-nong.com/eng/lifestyles/food_diet_advice_season.html

Cruel and Unusual Punishment: Soy Diet for Illinois Prisoners

Categories: Articles, Eastern Nutrition, Food Education, Food Energetics, Food Safety

I found this on the Westeron A APrice Foundation website. They belieive in traditional diets and that modern obsession with some things like soy are not proven in traditional cultures. Soy Alert! web site also has info on this. From the TCM perspective (which is what I always go back to), soy is cold and possibly damp enducing and damaging to yang. If you don’t know how to prepare it in a way to help balance these issues (with ginger, stir fried etc..) anyone with the wrong constitution may suffer. This is why balance and not super foods are the focus in TCM. No food is perfect. If its cheaper, it will be fed to prisoners also. Strange days these are…

http://www.westonaprice.org/soy-alert/1624.html

http://www.westonaprice.org/soy-alert.html

Suffering of Inmates

Early in 2007, the Weston A. Price Foundation began hearing from inmates who were suffering from myriad serious health problems due to the large amounts of soy in the diet. These prisoners had found us through the Soy Alert! section of our website. Complaints include chronic and painful constipation alternating with debilitating diarrhea, vomiting after eating, sharp pains in the digestive tract, especially after consuming soy, passing out, heart palpitations, rashes, acne, insomnia, panic attacks, depression and symptoms of hypothyroidism, such as low body temperature (feeling cold all the time), brain fog, fatigue, weight gain, frequent infections and enlarged thyroid gland. Since soy contains anti-fertility compounds, many young prisoners may be unable to father children after their release.

Ayervedic ideas for Fertility

Categories: Articles, Food Culture, Food Energetics, Indian, Infertility

I want to recommend you begin to cook with butter and ghee for fertility especially for wood overacting type clients. They is considered very nourishing to add more “cushion” and earth material to their system. Highly concentrated and healthy, natural fats are good for you at this time. I can’t imagine would be come overly obese so this is fine for them unless you have short term concerns for cholesterol. If you have any questions let me know. Otherwise enjoy!

http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-ghee.htm

I found this thread about fertility from an Indian medical perspective. Some nice ideas for you and the husband. If you don’t know the herbs just use the ones you can. If your husband ever wants a consult let me know also. It takes two to tango )

“Ojas and Shukra/Artava is the key to fertility (vajikarana) in Ayurveda. Eat ghee on rice and cook with it in general, drink warm milk with raw sugar or honey, blend it or cook it with Shatavari, and Vidhari (wild yam). Also you can soak
over night and peel in the morning ten almonds, add a pinch of cardamom, saffron, and a tsp of raw sugar and blend with hot milk. Practice Yoga Assanas especially ones that bend at the waist and abdomen, like yoga Mudra, Durga Pranam, and Cobra. Loosely fill a jar with dates (w/o pits) than fill it with warm ghee so that it takes up the rest of the air space. Mix in ½ tsp of nutmeg and cardamom, add a nice pinch of Saffron, let it sit for a week, than eat one ghee soaked date per day, it can be eaten with soaked & peeled almonds or warm milk, or alone, it’s a nice rejuvenative for any after sex food cravings. Cook with wild yam in soups.
For him: Eat plenty of Urud dhal, soak them and make them into idly or Dosa, Urud dhal roasted in ghee and than cooked with milk and raw sugar is great if you can make it palatable. Make the above Almond milk shake but add, ¼ teaspoon of each: Ashwaganda, Bala, Gokshura, Vidhari, Shatavri, Kapi Kachu, Shimula, Maca, Suma, American Ginseng, ( I call
this the Super Man formula) Its better to mix these herbs ahead of time and just add a tablespoon as needed. Eat plenty of sweet potatoes and pumpkin. Dates and figs are also good food for this. Massage the body with warm sesame oil , especially over abdomen a couple times per week, before a warm shower.

William Li: Can we eat to starve cancer?

Categories: Food Energetics, Western Medicine

http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/william_li.html

You can watch his video and in the subject. Very interesting. At around 11 min he begins to discuss foods.

Here is a growing list of foods that inhibit angiogenesis (blood vessel growth) that could then help to starve a tumor or cancer.

Green Tea, Strawberries, Blackberries, respberries, blueberris, oranges, grapefruit, lemons, apples, pineapple, cherries, red grapes, red wine, bok choy, kale, soy bean, ginseng, maitake mushroom, licorice, tumeric, nutmeg artichokes, lavender, pumpkin, sea cucumber, tuna, parsley, garlic, tomato, olive oil, grape seed oil, dark chocolate, other..

They also discuss “food synergy” or the act of one tested tea on anti-angiogensis when combined with other waek acting teas, form a more potent result. Much like poly-pharmacy in Chinese Medicine.

Quick links to food energetics

Categories: Food Energetics

Hello Classmates,
I found a helpful link to some basic food energetics information:

http://www.naturopathicfoundations.ca/pdf/chinese_food_chart.pdf

Also, a much longer article from the Journal of Chinese Medicine circa 1998 on the Energetics of Food.

http://www.balancedwayconsulting.ca/Documents/food-SP.pdf

If you enjoy that article here is a link to a website by the article’s author, Daverick Leggett, with much more information. http://www.meridianpress.net/articles.html

Have a great weekend and I bought all my groceries to cook for you on Tuesday.

Marta