8 Branches of TCM: NUTRITION

 
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Nutrition is also one of the 8 branches of Chinese medicine, one of the most important in fact. All food has their own energetic properties, like in herbal medicine. These properties can be positive or negative, just like everything else in existence. They have a thermal nature, on the spectrum from cold to hot. Some foods are drying, others nourish yin (engender fluids) or negatively create dampness. These different properties effect us differently depending on our TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) pattern which can be diagnosed for you by a licensed acupuncturist, they can help you navigate the foods best for your pattern and according to the season. In winter for example, its best to eat lots of warm and nourishing foods: root vegetables, soups and stews, etc. In summer its time to eat more cooling things like cucumbers, melon and salads. Yin Yang Diet* is a great service that provides meal plans and recipes designed specifically for different TCM patterns. Book an appointment with Northshore Acupuncture to determine your pattern.

Now I have a confession to make, I don’t always do the best job of eating right. Its so easy to go down the rabbit hole and get off track with your food choices. After doing tons of cleanses and yo-yo dieting getting me no where, I’m out to find balance and make mindful decisions about what I eat. Balance is a important recurring theme in all aspects of TCM. Its important to fill your body with nutritious foods, but enjoying what you eat is so important! This may sound like a no brainer, but getting back to basics is what it’s all about: eating whole foods instead of processed foods and cooking meals full of organic vegetables and pasture raised/grass-fed, humanly raised meat. A healthy gut (microbiome) is vital to your physical and mental health. Cultured vegetable and yogurt are great sources of probiotics. The best yogurt I’ve ever had is the yogurt I’ve made myself. It’s tangy and luxurious, and not full of unnecessary ingredients like sugar, thickeners and preservatives. If yogurt isn’t your thing, you can give water kefir a try. Its naturally effervescent and can be flavored with your favorite fresh juice. I’ve also decided to delve into the exciting world of fermenting vegetables! I started simple with carrots, radishes and red peppers. As an added bonus it cuts down on packaging that ends up in a landfill or needing to be recycled. I can’t wait to try out more complex ferments, like salsas and chutneys once I get into the swing of at home fermentation. 

Limiting refined sugar and alcohol consumption in addition to other processed foods is a game changer and helps you to make better choices for your body. Here’s where we can use the mindfulness tools we have learned from meditation to assist us in these choices. Hit pause and look within to find the real cause for your cravings and understand what your body is truly asking for. Starting February 20, Erin Maris of E2 Yoga and Fitness and I will be debuting our 8 Week, Mindful Weight Loss Workshop. Class is limited to 10 people.

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