So much is written on food and what is good for you and what is not. Over my life I have come across, been involved with or experienced many diets. What is my experience telling me to tell the general public, friends or family?
Firstly I would say there needs to be some guiding principles behind making choices with food/diet. Many sayings are relevant to gain some understanding although don’t take it as an absolute, e.g. you are what you eat; more relevant would be you are what you absorb/uptake. Certain attitudes towards foods create fear and negativity until you look at certain tribes and communities that are away from civilisation who eat in sometimes large quantities food that in our modern civilisation have been labeled as poor food choice and even poisonous to the body.
Lets look at one, milk. Milk regularly goes through the good for you bad for you arguments. Mostly if you go to Naturopaths, Acupuncturists and the like you will be told it creates too much mucus in certain people (true). It creates damp if overused especially in cold environments with people lacking a digestive fire (true), and contributes to acidity (also true). Then some are told they are lactose intolerant, which is part of whole milk. We are talking cows milk here. Well the evidence seems conclusive and not much is good about milk… Also I forgot the other argument; milk is only for the calf and not for human consumption.
Well if you go to India you will see and experience milk in many people’s lives who do not look at all things I have listed that are bad. They make the cow sacred, young babies are given the colostrum to build immunity. Ayurvedic medicine and food has milk, and Ghee is used therapeutically to aid many health conditions from peptic ulcers to skin rejuvenation. The list of therapeutic properties goes on and on.
So when we look at food, it is not a black and white process but one I believe needs to be looked at from perspectives such as climate, locality, constitution, organic, consciousness, age, lifestyle, and beliefs.
How does a system in Oriental medicine stand up to these parameters or considerations?
Each situation is different and foods are looked at energetically in the way they move in your body i.e. Energy moving upwards as in the case of sweet foods or downwards in the case of salty/savory. Some foods have more than one action and food is often used for therapeutic properties energetically.
Mostly people visit me wanting to clear conditions that have been created over a long period of time with bad food choices or imbalances in amounts or time of eating such foods. Getting to understand the person’s system is the biggest key towards addressing the imbalance.
We begin to understand our bodies and mainly our Spleen in Oriental medicine, which is the ability for our bodies’ digestive and processing system to deal with the food on the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual levels. Some emotions around food are fear and worry that is compounded by over-information put in a fearful way, making even further rigid views with food in our over analyzing mind!
Wow, now that is pretty simple to understand. Take it easy, relax with things, and if enough respect, love and consciousness is applied, your body will do the rest.