Traditional Chinese nutritional therapy offers seven certified habits of healthy eating, habits that anyone can integrate into their daily life starting NOW. For over two and a half millennia, through trial-and-error, traditional Chinese nutritional therapy has evolved, been refined, and has been used by countless numbers of people despite the fact the some of its principles or habits may contravene with what we’ve been told or learnt. Simply speaking, what doesn’t work was discarded a long time ago and what works is still in use today. You don’t need to eat Chinese food or even be Chinese in order to implement all or some of these habits in order to derive their numerous benefits to health.
The Seven Habits of Healthy Eating
1. In general, consume cooked foods: In Chinese nutritional therapy, your meals should mainly be eaten warm and/or cooked. When eaten in excess, raw fruits and vegetables can weaken and cool the digestive system resulting in such issues lack of energy, watery stools, and bloating. In Chinese nutrition, cooking is deemed as a type of pre-digestion process which makes digestion easier to occur. On the other hand, raw cold foods need a lot of digestive power in order to break food down. Proper cooking methods include stir-frying and steaming as they lightly and quickly cook while still maintaining nutrients.
2. Eat regularly and at fixed times: Your body responds to and likes regularity and this not just during mealtimes, but in working and sleeping too. If you are not sure about this, notice what it does to your sleeping, eating, and bowel habits next time you take a long trip. For optimum vitality and health, you need to maintain and establish regular sleep times, meal times, and bowel movements.
3. Don’t overeat: Be gentle to your bowels and digestive organs and don’t eat when you’re 70 to – 75% percent full. The intestines and abdomen get impaired when one over eats and this can result in weight gain, gas, putrefaction, constipation, sluggishness, bloating, indigestion, and other problems.
4. Eat slowly, chew thoroughly: Your mouth is where digestion begins and by eating slowly and thoroughly your chewing food before ingestion guarantees effortless and total digestion. Also, avoid eating when angry since it can significantly impair digestion – skip the meal completely or wait till you calm down.
5. Take a slow leisurely walk after meals: In China, whenever a customer leaves a restaurant, the staff will thank him for coming then say, “man shou”, which means, “walk slowly”. Ten to twenty minutes after a meal, talking a leisurely and stroll can promote nutrient absorption and facilitate digestion. Rubbing your stomach in slow circles with one palm on the other, around your umbilicus, towards your colon, can also aid digestion. This is also an ideal way to prevent or even treat digestive disorders. Do this while taking a leisurely slow walk or while standing still.
6. Perform the Ab Lift: Another great way to lose weight is exercising prior to breakfast. Since you haven’t eaten for ten or more hours, you use the fat stored in your body for energy. Before breakfast and before every meal, one highly recommended exercise is the Abdominal Lift. It only takes a couple of minutes and it’s so easy to do. The Ab Lift basically involves using the muscles of your stomach to lift your abdomen upwards and towards your spine, holding the spine for a few seconds then carefully releasing it. To help with ingestion, absorption, and elimination, this exercise can also be done an hour after meals.
7. Avoid cold drinks: Drinking cold drinks especially drinks with ice, more so when you’re eating, can be very bad for digestion. During digestion, heat is required to break down the food and fluids you consume. Essentially, cold has contracting and slowing qualities; hence, extremely cold foods such as ice cream and cold drinks, tend to impede and slow digestion resulting in stomach discomfort and pain, and digestive issues. Drink green tea or warm water instead. Hot or warm water helps wash out toxins while green tea help prepare your digestive system for food. Before eating, drinking a cup of green tea for ten to twenty minutes can be especially helpful after eating fried and heavy foods such as meat. After meals, drinking green tea can benefit digestion.
Amy-SuiQun Lui, L.Ac.
Asian Health Center
27059 Grand Army of the Republic Hwy
Cleveland, OH 44143
Tel: (440) 833-0983