What is Dietary Therapy?
Dietary Therapy forms the basis for Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) in daily practice. The first documentation regarding Chinese dietary therapy was found around 300BC, in The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine. Chinese Dietary Therapy has been continually practiced with success ever since.
In TCM, food therapy and diet are the first treatments given to people who are trying to stay healthy and remain in balance, or who are suffering from illness. The foods we eat on a daily basis form the foundation of our nutritional and internal health. The foods we choose can either help us to improve symptoms and maintain a degree of health or can hinder our health and increase or cause symptoms.
Chinese Dietary therapy differs dramatically from Western dietary principles. Here in the west, we tend to think in terms of things like carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins and minerals. All of which are extremely important to maintaining a healthy body. However, another way to look at diet is through a TCM view, which is a very different approach but also gets excellent results. TCM follows a more holistic concept of balance and how the thermal nature and flavors of foods and herbs influence the body as a whole. TCM relies on whole food recommendations to address issues instead of breaking the nutrients into smaller parts.
For example, if someone is experiencing an excess of phlegm in the body then a simple TCM dietary approach would be to reduce foods that can increase phlegm such as dairy, alcohol, fatty foods, raw foods, sugar, etc. At the same time, foods would be added into the diet that can help to reduce phlegm such as millet, soy beans, pears, mung beans, grapes, seaweed, etc. This is a simple approach that can be easily incorporated into any diet.
In ancient times, foods were chosen and prepared for the healing qualities they would impart. Many herbs are classified as "food-grade herbs" because they can be used in daily cooking to improve vigor, enhance longevity, support digestion and be used to help improve specific ailments.