According to Oriental sciences, everything in the universe is made up of a vital life force called chi. Packaged or processed food is devoid of any chi. In a country obsessed with diet and weight loss, it’s interesting to know that several health foods are also packaged, and have lost out on all the life force. Would you consume them anyway?

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has an interesting approach to nutrition, and if you understand it correctly, you may revise your eating patterns and achieve good health.

Chock Full Of Chi
Women’s wellness expert, Dr Christiane Northrup explains that food, like everything else in the universe, is composed of chi. A majority of packaged or processed foods with long shelf lives have little, or no chi left in them. On the other hand, food that is fresh from the garden is brimming with life. If you change your diet from fatty, sugar-laden processed foods to natural fruit and legumes, you could free chi to move throughout your system.

Pack In All Five Flavor Profiles
Mika Ono, author of the book Ancient Wisdom, Modern Kitchen: Recipes from the East for Health, Healing and Long Life says that instead of eliminating entire food groups such as fats or carbs, try to achieve balance. Make sure that your meals have all five tastes—spicy, sweet, sour, bitter, and salty. You can do this by incorporating foods which have these flavors naturally.

Blow Hot, Blow Cold
Are you feeling hot or cold? What’s the weather like outside? Eating according to the temperature is a good guidance system according to TCM. People who suffer from the chills should gravitate towards warming foods such as cinnamon, ginger and walnuts. Those who tend to feel hot are advised to consume more cooling foods like mint, citrus, tofu, milk, lettuce, celery, cucumber and tomato.

Add Some Color
No, we’re not talking about red velvet cake or bright orange chips. Think instead of all the naturally colorful foods that surround you, from purple eggplant, red tomatoes, green spinach, to white garlic and yellow squash. Scientific research reveals that phytochemicals in colored plant foods are linked to their healthful effects. Red tomatoes, peppers and watermelon contain lycopene (linked to cancer prevention), orange and yellow fruits such as squash, carrots and apricots possess beta carotene (which reduces the risk of cancer and heart disease), and white garlic and onions contain a number of sulfides (with anti-bacterial, anti-cancer and immunity-enhancing qualities).

Rethink The Raw Approach
While the return to raw foods has sparked a revolution, TCM advocates eating them in moderation, especially if you are recovering from an illness or childbirth, or have a weak digestive system. This is because cold, raw foods such as salads tax the digestive system. Cooked and warm foods ease the body internally. If you want to eat raw, then combine it with warming ingredients that help digestion such as garlic or a miso-based dressing.

Portion Control
TCM advocates moderation. Eat until you are 70 percent full, instead of filling up too much. Don’t rush through your meal, since eating slowly also allows your body to send satiety messages to the brain when it has had enough.

Whether in the east or the west, food is something we should all consider as a source of nourishment and joy. Keep these tips in mind to activate your chi and optimize your health.

Read More:
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What Is Mind-cleansing Tai Chi Meditation?

Simona is a journalist who has worked with several leading publications in India over the last 17 years, writing on lifestyle topics and the arts, besides interviewing celebrities. She made the switch to public relations and headed the division as PR Manager at ITC Hotels’ flagship property, the ITC Grand Chola, but has since returned to her first love, journalism. Now she writes on food, which she is sincerely passionate about and wellness, which she finds fascinating and full of surprises. When she isn’t writing, she is busy playing the role of co-founder and communications director of The Bicycle Project, a six-year-old charity initiative that empowers tribal children in rural areas, while addressing the issue of urban waste.