Hey, everyone! I was thinking I would do a follow-up to last
week's blog about diet and cleansing.
In TCM, there are many foods you can eat throughout the year to
support your body and each organ system in its season. In TCM,
every food has a particular nature or "flavor" associated with it,
such as plum = sour, and carrots = sweet, and so on. They may also
have a temperature associated with them such as warm, hot, cool, or
cold. In each season, an individual would want to eat foods that
would support or nourish the organ system of the season.
For example, Summer belongs to the Heart and the Heart's flavor
is bitter. It would greatly benefit an individual to eat more
bitter foods. Eating light meals and "very little to no" cold foods
would be best. Since Summer is such a yang part of the year when
everything is in blooming and in motion, we don't want to hamper
our systems with cold food that would "put the fire out."
Many of the patients in clinic ask what they should eat. I try
to inform them that in TCM we believe one should not eat cold, raw
foods, dairy, or too much spicy food, and to minimize alcohol
consumption to one glass of red wine a day and remove coffee from
the diet. If you think of your digestive system as a pot of boiling
water just think what will happen when you consume cold foods; it's
going to steam and eventually could kill the digestive "fire." This
can lead to many bowel problems such as IBS, diarrhea, gas,
bloating, and even constipation. It really makes sense when you
think of it like that. The other foods I have listed may cause damp
or heat and these can cause imbalance in the body as well.
TCM, along with all the other natural health programs here at
National, believe the body should be balanced. If the body is not
in balance, a person is going to feel sick or have other symptoms
that disrupt their daily life. Fatigues, allergies,
gastrointestinal problems, headaches, can all be symptoms of a body
out of balance. One way to help your body ease back into balance is
with a cleanse.
By cleansing, one is "giving their body a break." With a whole
body detox, the major organ systems being cleansed are liver, GI
tract, gall bladder, kidney, bladder, lungs, skin, and lymph - and
even the mind. There are many detoxes out there, but it is best to
discuss which one is best for you with a doctor. Also, once you
start a cleanse, you should always follow through with the whole
program. The Liver goes through two phases in detoxification.
During Phase 1, enzymes called cytochrome 450 help detox many
substances such as caffeine, alcohol, or environmental toxins. The
enzymes cause a reaction in the liver that makes these substances
more water-soluble. In Phase 2, the substances from Phase 1 are
acted upon by more liver enzymes, which convert them into
water-soluble compounds that can be easily eliminated through the
urine, stool or sweat. If one does not follow through with the full
program, the toxins may not be flushed out of the body and cause
One must also include many vitamins and antioxidants, as well as
plenty of water, in the diet to support the body's functioning.
Including light exercise or meditation helps the body become more
efficient at eliminating toxins, and sweating always adds to the
removal whether it be from exercising or a sauna.
Eat to good health!