One of my favourite teachers at the Chinese medicine college used to say:
“This person needs nourishment, not punishment!”
Food, glorious food!
As human beings, we have a special relationship with food. Food is not just fuel for the body, food is much more than that.
Our first relationship is with our mothers, through feeding, both in the womb and after we are born.
We break bread only with friends and family, and many of our first dates include food. An old proverb says that love passes through the stomach, and they are not far from the truth, considering that the Heart meridian is paired up with the Small Intestine in Chinese medicine.
We use food and eating metaphors to describe how we feel, “full of zest for life”, “with no appetite for anything”, we take in “the sweetness of life”, or “life can be bitter sometimes”.
Food is one of our greatest pleasures in life. Some take pleasure from eating it, some take pleasure from cooking it. For some, food is a hindrance, for others, a sin.
What is nutrition therapy?
Nutrition therapy is one of the Tao Healing Arts also known as the arts of the Mountain or the Alchemy arts. It does not belong to the arts of Medicine. In fact, it is the precursor of herbalism, as physicians developed the herbal remedies from the foods and herbs they were eating.
According to the principles of Tao Healing Arts, nutrition plays a very important part in preserving and restoring our health. Food is not just a means to nurture our bodies, but it represents a vital part into maintaining a healthy balance of the spirit.
As all the other healing and metaphysical arts of the Tao, nutrition is first and foremost an instrument for preserving health. It was considered one of the most powerful forms of self-transformation and self-healing arts.
Food as an instrument of health preservation
As part of the ancient Tao healing arts, nutrition therapy uses the same fundamental principles to analyse foods and their effects on the human being.
Foods, drinks, spices and cooking methods are differentiated according to the following principles:
- Energy/thermal energy. This is related to the Yin or Yang nature of the nutrition. Thus, we have hot, warm, neutral, cooling and cold energy. Hot and warm influence Yang, cooling and cold influence Yin and neutral can be either.
- Taste or flavour. Here we have five aromatic categories, corresponding to the Five Elements (Wuxing) and also to the five pairs of Zang-/Fu organs. The five flavours or tastes are: sweet, pungent, salty, acrid/sour, and bitter.
- Qi affecting properties. This represents the way in which a certain food or drink affects the movement of the Qi. We have foods that move the Qi upwards, foods that move the Qi downwards, foods that keep the Qi at the surface and foods that sink the Qi deep in the body.
- Area of influence. In this category we find foods that support the Qi, foods that nourish Blood or nourish the Bodily Fluids and foods that supplement the Essence (pre-natal Qi)
- Cooking methods. The way we process the foods can enhance their properties or destroy them
We are what we eat, but we should eat for who we are
Since no two people are exactly identical, what we eat and how we eat should be as individual as ourselves and should help us preserve our health and cure us when needed.
Choosing to follow the principles of Wuxing nutrition therapy means to learn about our unique constitutional profile, our strengths and weaknesses, what our symptoms mean, and eat our way back to balance. It is a journey of a lifetime. As we change, so should our nutrition change to support the new us. It is a very personal path and nobody can walk it for us.
Many people think that they will have to start cooking and eating Chinese or they have to change their dietary regime. Far from the truth. Wuxing nutrition therapy works with who you are, physically, emotionally and spiritually, to help you transform in the best version of yourself. If you are vegan, you are free to stay vegan, but it will help you be the best version of you as a vegan.
Wuxing nutrition therapy, aka Five Elements nutrition therapy, is about self-discovery, self-transformation and self-healing. It puts YOU back in control.
If you want to learn this ancient art, check the shop area for my latest book on Five Elements Nutrition Basics, or book a private consultation.