Traditional Chinese Medicine focuses on using foods to prevent and treat disease. Knowledge of food energetics can help one build a stronger sense of health and well-being by eating different foods that impose different effects. Like the saying, “you are what you eat.”
The principles of macrobiotics involve creating a yin and yang balance in all aspects of life – including the food combinations we choose to eat.
Eating from your own garden or buying your produce from the local farmers’ market will leave you feeling more connected to your home or local community. When you eat seasonal, locally grown produce, the body is more able to maintain balance from the inside out.
It is beneficial to take advantage of cooling fruits and lighter greens in the summertime, when they are at their peak in harvest. At the same time, heartier vegetables, such as deeply rooted carrots and squashes, grow more abundantly in the wintertime, and are going to add warmth to the body. It’s good to maintain a balance of eating seasonally as well as locally, as much as possible, to stay in harmony with the natural order of things.
Wheat, barley, quinoa
Gas stove cooking
Electric stove cooking
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 Leggett, Daverick. “The Energetics of Food.” Journal of Chinese Medicine. 56 (1998): n. page. Print.
10All fruits and vegetables go through different ripening processes from the time they’re grown. During these processes a natural ethylene gas is emitted from the produce which can spread to other fruits and vegetables. It’s important to store different foods properly to reduce the chances of quick spoiling or flavor transfer.
||away from strong scented foods
||heated bananas will quicken the ripening process
||vegetable crisper, up to 3 days
||refresh in ice water to maintain color
||humid vegetable bin
||will last a week. Savoy and Napa 3-4 days
||coldest part of refrigerator with highest humidity
||will last several months
|Carrots (with tops)
||will last up to 5 days
||humid vegetable bin
||will last about 2 weeks
||store for up to 2 days
||store up to 5 days
||plastic bags with husk
||best eaten immediately
||keep refrigerated, or store in freezer
||remove spoiled grapes or ones with broken skins before storage
||perforated plastic bag, paper bag
||store up to 5 days
||refrigerator, or room temperature
||once ripe, store far away from other fruits
||firm kiwis can be stored up to 6 months; ripe 1-2 weeks
||vegetable drawer of refrigerator
||do not store with melons, apples, pears or ethylene gas emitting fruits
||cool room temperature
||may be placed in paper bag to speed ripening
||ripe mangoes will keep for 2-3 days
||refrigerator or room temperature
||Tightly wrap cut melons
||Can be stored for 3 days
||dry, dark, well-ventilated area. Do not refrigerate.
||cool area, outside refrigerator
||eat within a few days
||sealed plastic bag
||store with ripe bananas
||stored for at least a week
||45-50°F, cool and humid
||Cold, moist surroundings – 32°F with 95% humidity
||clean plastic bags with paper towels
||rinse thoroughly before storing. Will last only 2-3 days.
||extremely perishable. Refrigerate immediately. Eat within 48-72 hours.
||store for 3-5 days
||room temperature, not below 55°F
||Will last 2-3 days when ripe
|Winter Hard Squash
||cool, dark, well-ventilated area
||store up to 1 month
[i][i] “Storing Apples.” The Gardeners Network. N.p., n.d. Web. http://www.gardenersnet.com/fruit/apples/storage.htm
“How to Maximize your Organic Produce.” Organic Authority. N.p., n.d. Web.
The report is due in two hours. Or perhaps you’re in the middle of a mid-term exam. Or you’re making sales calls. Suddenly, bam! Around 10:30 a.m. you hit a wall. All you want to do is look out the window.
Hmmm…what did you eat for breakfast?
I hate to say, “I told you so,” so I’ll turn to Mom, who has said it countless times: Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It’s the meal that’s designed to supply a third of the macro and micro nutrients your body needs to run without a hitch.
So what are you eating each morning to do all these things? A cup of coffee gulped down on the go? A cup of sugary yogurt and a muffin eaten at your desk? Nothing at all?
Your body deserves so much better than that. And so do you!
When you eat a good breakfast, your day goes smoothly. No growling stomachs, low blood sugar shakiness, or wandering attention to keep you from nailing those big goals you’ve made for yourself.
What Breakfast is Right for You?
One of the best—and most fun—ways to find out which foods serve YOU most powerfully is something called the Breakfast Experiment. For one week, eat a different breakfast each day. Record in a notebook what you ate, how you felt immediately after the meal, and how you felt again two hours later.
- Day one: Scrambled eggs or tofu
- Day two: Bean soup or a bean salad
- Day three: Oatmeal
- Day four: Boxed breakfast cereal
- Day five: Muffin and coffee
- Day six: Fresh fruit
- Day seven: Fresh vegetables
Feel free to repeat the experiment for another seven days with different foods each morning. Which breakfasts made you feel energized? Which ones didn’t? After the experiment, try adding in more of the foods that made you feel great!
Food coloring…sigh…this is one of those food topics that infuriates me! Did you know that some countries actually ban the use of food colorings in foods because of the dangerous side effects associated with them? So why is it that food manufacturers like Kraft are willing to make safer, naturally dyed versions of their products but still serve Americans the more toxic counterpart that contains food dyes. It all comes down to the almighty dollar. If they can save a buck by offering us the less expensive, more toxic version of their products, then who gets hurt, right? Our children do, that’s who.
Recent studies have linked food dyes to a host of potential health problems, including cancer in animals and A.D.D. in children. In animal testing dyes have been linked to diseases like tumors of the bladder, kidneys, testes and immune system. Although the FDA has admitted that Red 40 and Yellow 5 dyes trigger hyperactivity and behavioral problems in some children, they are still allowed! Why? These provide no nutritional benefit and can only harm our growing children’s bodies!
These brightly colored foods have a strong visual appeal to our easily influenced children, making them a preferred choice when given the option. Offering our children dyed food like substances instead of healthy, nutritious whole foods is part of the reason why our society is in such an epidemic of disease and malnutrition. Spend your money wisely. Read labels. Every dollar you spend on a product containing food dyes is a dollar you are using to support the use of these dangerous, toxic products in our food supply.
I am a big supporter of eating locally produced food that is in season. Our bodies were designed to consume certain foods in certain seasons. When it’s cold outside, our bodies don’t crave cooling foods like watermelon or pineapple. We crave warm, earthy foods like sweet potato, dense protein and fats. As spring approaches, I wanted to talk a bit about what some of the best foods to consume are if you are trying to eat “in season.”
Spring is a great time to focus on eating your leafy greens! Foods like swiss chard, spinach, romaine lettuce, parsley and basil. Enjoy them in salads, green juices or as side dishes! Greens are one of my all time favorite foods. Artichokes, asparagus, garlic, lemons, peas and strawberries are also great foods to enjoy in the spring.
By feeding your body the foods that are most appropriate for your season and locale, you are giving your body the nourishment it needs to thrive optimally in your particular climate. Our bodies are truly amazing – when we listen to them and fuel them with what they need to thrive, it is incredible what they can achieve.
Digestion initially begins in the mouth. As you start to chew your food, digestive enzymes found in saliva begin to break it down, preparing for nutrient absorption. It’s importantly to chew your food thoroughly to achieve maximum absorption of all your vitamins and minerals.
How to Chew Properly
To get into the habit of chewing foods thoroughly, try counting the chews in each bite, aiming for 30 to 50 times. Try putting your utensils down between bites to help you better concentrate on chewing.
- Chew every mouthful of food at least 30 times each, until the food becomes liquid.
- Chewing breaks down food and makes it easier on the stomach and small intestine.
- Saliva assists in the digestion of carbohydrates.
If under pressure at meals, take deep breaths, chew, and let the simple act of chewing relax you. Taking the time to chew will help you to enjoy the whole spectrum of tastes and aromas that make up the meal.
Good Chewing Suggestions
- Wash hands
- Shower or wash face to help relax.
- Turn off the television, radio, telephone.
- Do not read.
- Find a clean quiet place to eat.
- Light a candle or play soft music.
- Stretch, breathe.
- Align your posture and breathe.
During your meal
- Place a bite of food in your mouth.
- Put your utensil down.
- Place your hands together while chewing.
- Begin chewing and deep breathing.
- Concentrate on what you’re doing.
- Look at your food or something attractive, or close your eyes partially or fully.
- Say thanks.
- Sit and talk after your meal.
- Take a light stroll.
So next time you think about gobbling your food on the go, think twice. Sit down, enjoy a nice meal and most importantly – CHEW YOUR FOOD!