As we begin the new year, many people are hoping to make dietary changes. I have found a lot of confusion among people as to which dietary path to choose: Vegetarian? Organic? More grains? Less grains?
Whenever I find myself confused about dietary choices, I always think of the basic TCM dietary principals:
Especially at this time of year, its always best to have warm, cooked foods. Instead of choosing salad, have soup instead. When food is already warm, your body does not have to expend as much qi to digest the food properly. This concept also applies to fruit. In general, fruits should be limited (relative to vegetables) at this time of the year but when eaten, fruits should be at least at room temperature.
When it comes to grains, whole grains is the only way to go. During the winter months, more warming and nourishing grains are preferable. These grains include basmati rice, wheat, oats, quinoa and well-cooked barley.
Finally, Chinese medicine supports the consumption of animal protein. (In moderation, of course). This category emphasizes the consumption of eggs, chicken, pork and fish. Consumption of beef and lamb are also acceptable. (Dairy should be limited or completely avoided, as it creates dampness within the body)
Remember, it’s all about balance! Make sure to eat a variety of different grains, vegetables, fruits and protein. Finally, listen to your body! If you find that eating a certain food causes digestive upset or discomfort, please avoid that food.