Nutrition 

Greens © Eileen Zegar 1997

Greens © Eileen Zegar 1997

achievable goals: sustainability

When working with patients I like to create achievable goals. We try things for short periods so that you can experience the difference. Ultimately it is your choice, simply because how you eat is a lifestyle choice, not just a temporary diet. Herbal formulas help to correct some of the imbalances but what you eat is vastly more important.  

Building an achievable goal is like building a muscle. You must be ready to do the hard work knowing that not every day is a training day! 

Chinese nutrition stresses the importance of a diet that reflects what your body needs. This is all based on a thorough analysis of your overall constitution. Taking into consideration pre-natal jing (genetics) and post natal jing (lifestyle choices) your body becomes the amalgam of these factors.  Seasonal choices are stressed, as are environmental concerns, healthy exercise and rest. They all factor into your nutritional plan. Together we will work to establish a more holistic and practical way of making food choices.


 Tips for health eating 

  • Chew your food well
  • Eat your main meal early
  • Stop before you are full
  • Avoid eating when upset or under pressure
  • Enjoy your food
  • Try not to drink with meals.  If so, make it a warm drink
  • Relax when you eat.  Avoid distractions. 
  • Stay away from too much raw foods, rich, greasy or junk food

Food As Medicine  

Learn more about the properties and function of food in Chinese Medicine.  

Click on any category listed below

Strengthens Qi/Energy Moves Qi Drains Dampness
Strengthens Blood Moves Blood Resolves Mucus
Strengthens Yin Lubricates Bowel Eliminates Wind (Cold and Flu)
Strengthens Yang Promotes BM Eliminates Dryness
Strengthens Essence/Fertility Temperature Properties 5 Elements/Flavors
 

Strengthens Qi / Promotes Energy

Easily digestible, warm, cooked, moderate size meals
• Grains: millet, garbanzo beans, quinoa, rice, oats
• Nuts: pine nuts, sunflower seeds
• Fruits: figs, dates, chia seeds
• Vegetables: watercress, squash, carrots, cabbage, sweet potato, winter squash
• Small portions of meat, beef, chicken, herring, lamb
• Seafood: mussel, shrimp
• Soups and congees

Strengthens Blood (red cells): for childbirth, menstrual period, and trauma

Cook in a cast iron pan
• Vegetables: alfalfa sprout, artichoke, beetroot, button mushroom, cabbage, celery, dandelion leaf, dark leafy greens, kelp, shiitake mushroom, ,watercress, wheatgrass, kale, chard, seaweed, spirulina microalgae, sprouts, leafy greens, chlorophyll-rich foods, seaweed, spirulina, beets, lotus root • Legumes: aduki, black soya, kidney
• Grains: barley, corn, oats, rice, sweet rice, wheat, bran
• Fruits: apple, apricot, avocado, date, fig, grape, longan, mulberry, goji berries
• Spices: black sesame seeds, cayenne pepper, parsley
• Meat (small amounts): liver, chicken gizzards carp, muscles, oysters
• Fish: sardines, mussel, octopus, oyster, tuna
• Blackstrap molasses, royal jelly, gelatin

Strengthens Yin

Daily warm soups, stews, congees
• Grains: millet, barley, wheat germ, wheat, rice, quinoa, amaranth
• Legumes: tofu, black beans, kidney beans, mung beans
• Protein: cow’s or goat’s milk, yogurt, cheese, chicken, egg, clam, abalone, oyster, duck, beef, pork
• Fish: sardines, seaweed, micro-algae (especially chlorella and spirulina)
• Fruits: persimmon, grapes, blackberry, raspberry, mulberry, banana, watermelon
• Vegetables: beets, string beans, mung bean sprouts

Strengthens Yang

• Protein: anchovy, mussels, trout, chicken, beef, lamb
• Fruits: cherry, citrus, pear, dates
• Grains: oats, spelt, quinoa, sunflower seed, sesame seed, walnut, pine nut, chestnut, carob pod, sweet brown rice
• Spices: fennel, dill, anise, caraway, cinnamon, cumin
• Vegetables: parsnip, parsley, mustard greens, winter squash, cabbage, kale, onion, leek, chive, garlic, scallion
• Add ginger to black beans, lentils, or adzuki beans
• Spicy peppers are warming only in small pinches

Strengthens Essence / Fertility (Jing)

Growth and fertility
• Seafood: mussels, fish, microalgae (chlorella, spirulina, wild blue-green)
• Protein: lamb, beef, kidney, chicken, liver, kidney, brain, bone marrow, milk, ghee
• Grains: millet, wheat,cereal grasse
• Legumes: black sesame seed, black soybeans lentil
• Fruits: mulberries, raspberries, strawberries, walnuts
• Nettles, royal jelly, chestnuts
• For early postnatal care: human placenta

MOVES QI

• Vegetables: scallions, garlic and all types of onion, mustard greens, elder flowers, fresh ginger, radish and radish greens, taro, turnip
• Spices: spearmint, rosemary, peppermint, cinnamon bark and branches, dried ginger, black pepper, spicy peppers, cayenne, fennel, anise, dill, mustard, horseradish, basil, nutmeg, marjoram, cloves, white pepper

Moves Blood

• Spices: turmeric, nutmeg, garlic, basil, ginger, rosemary, cayenne, white pepper
• Vegetables: scallions, chives, eggplant
• Spearmint tea
• Chestnuts, adzuki beans, sweet rice
• Butter, rice vinegar

Lubricates the Bowel

• Grains: Barley, corn oats, rice, sweet rice, wheat, bran

• Vegetables: Spinach, beets, caulifower, carrots, alfalfa sprouts, okra, seaweed

• Fruits: banana, prunes, peaches, pears, apple, appricot,

• Nuts: Pine nuts, almonds, walnuts,sesame seeds, castor oil

•Soy products, honey

Promotes Bowel Movements

• Vegetables: Asparagus,cabbage, coconut, peas, potato, pumpkin

•Grain: bran,coconut, fig, papaya, peas, potato, pumpkin

• Fruit: coconut, fig, papaya, peas

• Castor oil

Drains Dampness (Warm and Cold)

Cold, raw foods, excessive dairy products or excessive amounts of rich or greasy foods, animal products including alcohol create damp!
• Vegetables: lettuce, celery, alfalfa, parsley, turnip, asparagus, mustard leaf, radish, daikon radish, pumpkin, horseradish, kohlrabi, mushroom (button)
• Grains/legumes: rye, amaranth, barley, aduki beans, kidney beans, buckwheat
• Spices: white pepper vinegar, basil, oregano, coriander, clove, marjoram, cardamom, caraway, garlic
• Fruits: umeboshi plums, papaya, lemon
• Protein: quail, anchovy, mackerel
• Jasmine and green tea
• Wild blue-green micro-algae

Resolves Mucus or body lumps

• Seafood: clams, shrimp, all seaweed
• Vegetables: radish, onion, celery, mustard leaf, watercress, button mushrooms, shitake mushroom
• Fruits: grapefruit, plantain, orange peel, pear, apple peel, olives
• Spices: mustard seed, thyme, marjoram, black pepper, licorice
• Peppermint tea
• Almond, walnut

Eliminates Wind (for cold or flu)

• Wind-cold: oats, pine nuts, shrimp, ginger, fennel, basil, anise
• Wind-heat: celery, kuzu, mulberry, strawberry, peppermint
• Neutral: black soybeans, black sesame seed, fresh flax oil
• Congee, ginger, bone broth, honey, garlic

Eliminates Dryness / Moistening

• Vegetables: spinach, asparagus, edamame/processed soy (tofu, tempeh, soy milk, miso), peanuts
• Grains: millet, barley
• Fruit: apple, tangerine, persimmon, pear
• Sweeteners: honey, barley malt, sugar cane, whole sugar
• Seafood and meat: oyster, clam, mussel, pork, pork kidney
• Salt, seaweed
• Pine nut

Five Elements / Flavors

Sweet – This earth element flavor, with its harmonizing properties, slows down acute reactions and neutralizes the toxic effects of other foods; also lubricates and nourishes the body. Goes to the stomach and spleen.

Sour – The astringent character of the wood element flavor is both drying and cooling. It helps to arrest abnormal discharge of fluids and other substances from the body, such as diarrhea, emission and heavy sweating. Goes to the liver and gallbladder.

Bitter – The fire element flavor clears heat, dries dampness, stimulates appetite, and promotes lowering effects like urination and bowel movements. Goes to the heart and small intestine.

Pungent/Acrid – With the metal element's rising and dispersing properties, the pungent flavor promotes distributions and circulations, and stimulates appetite. Goes to the lung and large intestine.

Salty – The water element's salty flavor consolidates and moves downward, dissipating accumulations, softens hardness, nourishes blood, and lubricates intestines to induce bowel movements. Goes to the kidney and bladder.

Helping Ourselves: A Guide to Traditional Chinese Food Energetics by Daverick Leggett

Temperature / Energetic Properties

Did you know that foods and seasonings have specific properties and are considered the most basic form of Chinese herbs? The foods listed below can be used to enhance, harmonize and balance the body.

Stimulating (Yang)
Warm or hot
Apricots
Artichoke
Basil
Beef
Black tea
Butter
Butterfish
Carp
Cayenne
Celery
Cherries
Chestnuts
Chicken
Chili
Cinnamon
Chives
Coconut
Coconut milk
Cod
Coffee
Coriander
Dates
Egg, yolk
Fennel
Garlic
Ginger
Goose
Grapes
Green onion
Ham
Lamb
Malt
Mussels
Mustard
Mustard greens
Nectarine
Oats
Olives
Onions
Oolong tea
Parsley
Peach
Pepper
Pineapple
Pine nuts
Plums
Safflower
Shrimp
Soy oil
Sugar, brown
Sweet potato
Turkey
Turmeric
Vinegar
Walnuts
Wine

Neutral

Almonds
Apples
Artichoke
Beans, kidney
Bean sprouts
Beets
Black mushrooms
Blueberries
Cabbage
Carrots
Catfish
Cauliflower
Carob
Cheese
Clams
Coconut oil
Corn
Currants
Eel
Figs
Guava
Grits
Honey
Huckleberries
Mackerel
Maple syrup
Milk
Nutmeg
Okra
Olive oil
Papaya
Peanuts
Pecans
Perch
Pinto beans
Pork
Potatoes
Pumpkin seeds
Quail
Raisins
Rice
Sardines
Sesame seeds
Shark
Shitake mushrooms
Sugar, white
Sunchoke
Strawberries
String beans
Sturgeon
Tapioca
Taro
Turnip
Vanilla
Whitefish
Winter squash
Yam
Yogurt

Calming (Yin)
Cooling or cold
Abalone
Agar
Banana
Barley
Beer
Beans
Bran
Buckwheat
Cottage cheese
Crab
Cucumber
Duck
Eggplant
Egg, white
Frog legs
Gluten
Kelp
Lettuce
Lotus root
Malt
Mango
Marrow
Melon
Millet
Mulberries
Mung beans
Mushrooms
Octopus
Oysters
Pears
Peas
Persimmon
Pumpkin
Rabbit
Rock salt
Rhubarb
Seaweed
Sesame oil
Snails
Spirulina
Sugar, cane
Summer squash
Sunflower seeds
Tangerine
Tea, green
Tofu (bean curd)
Tomato
Water chestnut
Watercress
Watermelon
Wheat
Wheatberries
Wheat germ
White fungus

Bibliography

Pitchford, Paul. “Healing with Whole Foods.” – The author focuses on TCM, but also includes Ayurvedic and macrobiotic influences.

Ni, Maoshing, McNease, Kathy. “Dao of Nutrition.”- Official categorization of food according to TCM.