It is entirely different to the Western way of counting calories and dividing our foods into groups of carbohydrates, proteins and fats. It is instead very practical and useful in altering states and conditions, and even in treating and resolving illnesses in your body.
Once you understand the Chinese method, you can start to see why there are many flaws in current Western nutritional theories ...
The Western approach is nearly always to break foods down into smaller and smaller isolated chemicals, which are then categorized into similar groups. When you do this many elements start to appear to have the same qualities. However on the bigger level, the problem with this is quite clear.
A few examples should illustrate it ...
Another simple example would be a chilli pepper versus a carrot in the vegetable group. Again there is obviously a very strong and noticeable difference on your system between eating a plate of carrots compared to a plate of chilli peppers, which may make you perspire and feel like you are on fire.
This Western system of categorization of proteins, carbohydrates and fats is simply inadequate, not particularly useful and can even mislead the general public.
Even nutritionists have witnessed its inefficiency over the last decade or so regarding fats. When I was growing up the advice was clear that all fats were bad for you. Now this has radically changed into good fats such as omega oils, which are now recommended for you, and bad fats which are still as bad as ever.
Another issue is encountered through the advice that individuals always require X amount of this and Y amount of that each and every day, (such as vitamin and mineral requirements, calorie intake, intake of meats, dairy, fruit and vegetables and so forth, often seen in national dietary guidelines and pyramid food charts.)
On the contrary, we change all the time. We grow older, work at varying degrees of intensities, and of course our environment constantly changes throughout the seasons in the year, from cold winters to hot summers.
We are simply dealing with ever fluctuating variables in human beings as opposed to consistent and unaltered states in machines. When you experiment on a machine you will get the same results every single time. With living creatures this is not so. They are all different, constantly changing and therefore need different foods (and other background factors) to keep their own personal systems in a state of healthy balance.
This is the reason why pharmaceutical drugs work well in some people and at the same time can produce serious and sometimes even deadly side effects in others.
General Chinese and many other Asian medicines teach you how to spot when your system is going out of alignment.
For example, if your body is cooling down too much, there will be insufficient power to keep organs working and processing substances, which may lead to a lack of nutrients being created and delivered to your brain causing it to slump and become depressed. Alternately, if the opposite condition was in play, a build up of excessive heat in your mind, then this could cause over activity producing anxiety, restlessness and insomnia.
When the body is in balance, everything is working properly, there is enough energy and enough nutrients and raw materials to rebuild and feed cells in the body, keeping everything healthy and in good order.
There are many states we can alter in ourselves through ordinary foods in our diets. We can easily cause reactions to moisten, dry, heat, cool, detoxify, tighten, loosen, relax, stimulate, power up our bodies and so on.
For instance the idea of foods causing your system to become hot or cold over a period of time isn’t heard of in Western Nutritional advice, yet it is a major factor in Chinese Dietary therapy. When I talk of hot and cold here I am not referring to getting cold from eating ice cream or hot from consuming heated food, but to the reaction caused in the body when the food mingles with the different parts inside you. For example, whiskey served in a cold glass with an ice cube will still cause a hot sensation to spread across your chest after you have consumed it.
Once you become aware of the simple methods and characteristics that will clearly show you how a food will interact with and alter your body, then your food becomes a very useful and important tool in helping you to avoid or treat illness and to increase your well being.
Over time I will teach you through this blog many of the methods used to understand and utilize the power of your food.