ANNSHELLAY'S FOOD THERAPY
The food industry excels in convincing us how tasty and nutritious their foods are. Today we are more than anytime before exposed to uncountable food choices of all textures and flavors which are available right away at extremely affordable prices. Lured by eye-catching packaging and irresistible taste many of the processed foods offered on the market became a part of our daily diet. This often leads us to make bad dietary choices and as a consequence - to overeating while not providing our bodies with enough nutrition it requires to function properly. We may be overeating without even realizing it - it’s not only the quantity of the consumed food that matters. It is first and foremost the quality and the type of calories we consume that “shape” our bodies.
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Interestingly, Chinese medicine classifies food according to its energetic effects rather than according to its component parts. Certain foods are viewed as warming and nourishing while others are seen as cooling and eliminating; some foods are useful for building qi while others have blood, yang or yin building properties.
Example: While a breakfast consisting of a banana and yoghurt will always have the same nutritional value in western medicine no matter who is eating it, in traditional Chinese medicine it may be seen as beneficial for those with yin deficiency conditions but detrimental to those with yang deficiency or dampness.
Food in this context either assists or hinders our daily efforts to maintain health or recover from illness, depending on our constitution. It is not just a matter of eating nourishing healthy food but of eating nourishing healthy food that is right for individual body types.
Annshellay’s Food Therapy incorporates chinese medicine dietary guidelines in the food therapy so the food can be prepared and eaten in the most efficient way. While designing your new diet with you, we will take into consideration your underlying constitution, including the strength of your digestive system, your lifestyle and food preferences.
Make an appointment today to discuss with our dietitian how you can benefit from changing your diet for that which is most suitable for you!
A few tips from Annshellay’s Food Therapy
you can benefit from starting today:
1. Eating a suitable Breakfast
The most suitable time for eating breakfast according to the Chinese 24 hour energy clock is between seven to nine am when the Stomach’s energy is at its peak. This is when the body should be hungry and ready to start the day’s digestive process. If a person is not hungry in the morning it implies a weakness in the digestive system often resulting from faulty eating habits such as such as eating large meals late at night or regularly skipping breakfast to save on calories or time.
A sugary breakfast such as processed white toast and jam or cornflakes with milk and sugar is not a nutritionally balanced start to the day. There are however, a variety of breakfasts to suit all types and while bread, fruit, yoghurt, muesli, bacon, eggs, pancakes, or porridges form the mainstay of a western approach to breakfast, soups, congees, stir fried vegetables and rice or noodles with meat or tofu are also regularly eaten as breakfast in other cultures.
Breakfast does not have to be a huge meal, but it should preferably be eaten with an hour of waking. Depending on the underlying energy pattern of the individual and taking into account the seasonal environment (cooler foods such as yogurt and fruit can be consumed in warmer weather, with warmer cooked foods such as porridges chosen in colder weather). Some quick and easy suggestions to choose from include;
- Fruit salad with nuts
- Muesli and yoghurt
- Fruit smoothies ( a drink made by blending yoghurt, milk and fruit together)
- Whole grain bread with hummus, tomato and avocado
- Muesli pre-soaked overnight and eaten with seasonal fruit
- Oat porridges with stewed apple and cinnamon
- Rice porridges with soya milk apricots and almonds
- Scrambled, poached eggs or omelettes with spinach and mushrooms
- Miso soup with tofu
- Noodle soup with vegetables
2. Avoiding eating large meals late at night
A large meal taken late in the evening, before sleeping, strains the digestive system, as at this time the Stomach qi is near to its lowest ebb in the 24 hour cycle. Eating late in this way can lead to food accumulation, manifesting with digestive problems such as feeling bloated and full on waking in the morning. Prolonged late eating can lead to chronic digestive problems
3. Developing regular eating patterns
Irregular eating times and irregular quantities of food are detrimental to an efficient digestive system. While rigid meal times are not required, taking regular meals instead of frequently skipping meals, imposing self starvation or overeating will be rewarded by a more efficient digestive system.
4. Appropriate fluid intake
A small amount of warm liquid (such as green tea), with a meal can promote effective digestion, but more than one to two cups, especially if chilled, has the potential to “swamp” the Stomach and impair digestion.
Ideally the greater part of the fluids consumed in-between meals should be warm or at room temperature as chilled drinks cool and slow down the digestive process.
Wine, in moderation, has warming properties when taken at mealtimes.
5. Enjoyment of eating
It is also important to remember that our bodies are designed to enjoy the food we eat. Our tongues are pre-programmed to recognise and enjoy the different tastes and our sense of smell will stimulate the production of saliva. Sitting down to eat breakfast, having lunch away from the office desk and timing the evening meal so that it does not coincide with the TV news can all enhance our awareness and enjoyment of our food and this will also serve to assist healthy digestion.
6. Diet During pregnancy
During pregnancy women are prone to developing some dampness and heat as a matter of course. This can mean that certain foods women may have previously thought of as healthy, for example dairy foods or orange juice, may contribute to problems by further increasing dampness.
Pregnancy may also be characterised by food cravings. It would be pleasing to assume that these cravings were always directed toward beneficial foods and indeed they sometimes are, but this is not always the case. However, even apparently unhealthy cravings such as a desire for fried take away- foods, can indicate a real dietary need, in this case for more high quality fat in the diet.
If the craving is for very unusual substances such as clay or ashes it is termed ‘pica’ and thought to be due to nutritional deficiency.
Make an appointment today to discuss with our dietitian the best diet for the duration of your pregnancy. We will be happy to guide and assist you with our extensive knowledge and experience.