The Secret Way You're Sabotaging Your Health

Secret Way You're Sabotaging Your Health

If you’re like most Americans (especially those of us living in hotter climates), your diet probably consists of cold and raw foods.  You probably have a big fruit smoothie for breakfast, a salad for lunch, snack on raw fruit and vegetables throughout the day, and then maybe a piece of fish or meat along with vegetables for dinner.  If this sounds similar to your diet, it’s my guess that you also suffer from poor digestion, abdominal bloating and gas (especially in the afternoon), and low energy.

So, why do you feel so tired and bloated when your diet seems really healthy?  It all has to do with digestive fire - a very important concept in Chinese nutrition.

Digestion in Chinese medicine is viewed metaphorically like a kettle sitting on a fire. Your stomach is considered to be the pot that holds the ingested foods. Adding cold and raw foods to the pot automatically cools it down, meaning the fire has to work hard to bring the pot back up to proper cooking temperature.  In the meantime, the food in the pot isn’t cooking- it’s just sitting there. Now, imagine this process inside your body - eating cold and raw foods means your stomach has to work extra hard to digest and distribute the nutrients in the food.  And, before your stomach has had a chance to do this, it’s likely you’ve already eaten another cold and raw meal. Which means your abdomen now starts to feel really bloated and uncomfortable. You get tired and cold because your body is focused on sending warmth and circulation to the stomach instead of keeping your hands and feet warm. And this process repeats itself every day.

In Western cultures, we are ingrained with the concept that nothing is healthier than a big raw salad and a bowl of raw fruit.  And to some extent, this is true. Fruit and vegetables are healthy. However, we should aim for foods that are slightly cooked - such as steamed vegetables or baked fruit. Too much raw, cold food undermines your stomach’s ability to extract nutrients from your food.  Food that is lightly prepared helps to ensures that nutrients are preserved and are more readily digested and absorbed.

To learn more about the principles of Chinese nutrition and how you can use food as medicine, schedule a complimentary consultation HERE