Please take the time to watch this video! These photographs are taken from the book by Peter Menzel and Faith D'Aluisio, called Hungry Planet: What the World Eats. It is so amazing to see the variations of foods, family sizes, and expenses throughout the world. I was shocked (but not really) to see what the family from North Carolina eats! There is one little plate of fruits and vegetables amidst all of the heavily processed foods! It really is no wonder why this country is laden with dis-eases.
Proper Nutrition is essential to obtaining true and long lasting optimal health! The vital energy and life force of your body, or Qi, according to the ancient Chinese, is dependent upon two factors. One of these factors is inherited from the parents at conception and the other is derived from the air, food, and water we acquire on a daily basis. Both the inherited essence and acquired essence are then processed and transformed further within the body, which essentially creates one's vital energy. So, one can surmise from this theory that the foods we eat are a crucial support system in obtaining and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the foods we eat are an extremely powerful tool used in restoring and maintaining a harmonious balance within the body. Dietary therapy is used in conjunction with acupuncture and herbal therapy to treat imbalances and disharmonies within the body systems. In addition to the nutritional components of food, TCM looks at other properties, such as color, temperature, taste, and texture. For example, adding some hot pepper or cinnamon to foods can be good for people who tend to feel cold all the time. Also tangerine peels are great for people who are presenting with an upset stomach. It is best that food be prepared and eaten within these property guidelines, as well as, according to the individual's body constitution, presenting condition, and lifestyle. Some foods, such as rice, ginger, onions, and sesame seeds, are used as herbal therapy, as well!
There are a myriad of diets and nutritional guidelines that bombard this society, but if you have an idea of your own constitution, lifestyle, and presenting conditions it is possible to narrow down what foods are beneficial and what foods are detrimental in your diet. I advise to seek help from a TCM practitioner, Ayurvedic practitioner, Nutritionist, or your Family Doctor who is well versed in nutritional therapy to help guide you along your path towards optimal health.
A great book to check out to use as a guide for researching one's constitution and presenting dis-eases, is Healing with Whole Foods, by Paul Pitchford.