Boosting NutritionBoosting Nutrition

By Dr. Mao, L.Ac., D.O.M., Ph.D, Dipl. C.H., ABAAP

We can see that healthy eating helps support a robust immune response. As the old adage goes, “We are what we eat,” and that is why our food choices are an important part of living a long, healthy life.

For most of us, eating is a joyful human experience. We eat what we like, and we like what we eat …. but sometimes what and when we eat isn’t the best choice. Too often we skimp on breakfast and lunch, then pull out all the stops on we’re having to eat for dinner. We may consume too many highly processed foods. We might avoid veggies or fish because we’re not quite certain how to prepare them, or we may watch TV or scroll through texts without paying attention to the fact that we are eating a meal.

In the Chinese medical tradition, diet and nutrition have always been considered to be the cornerstone of healing. Ordinary foods that we eat every day and extraordinary foods that contain powerful compounds that are useful for preventing disease and can help us live a long, happy life.

Western tradition focuses on biochemistry; it breaks foods down to units of protein, carbs, and fats. Chinese medicine considers the healing properties of foods; it is better aligned with what Hippocrates, the following father of western medicine said, “Let thy food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food,” highlighting the importance of nutrition to prevent or cure disease.


Overhaul your kitchen. A harmonious kitchen brings positive and nourishing energy to the meals you prepare. To keep energy flowing freely, clear clutter from countertops and repair or replace broken, chipped or cracked items because in Chinese philosophy they trap energy and indicate that something in your life is broken. Healthy growing things are a wonderful presence in the kitchen, so you might want to grow herbs on your windowsill, and make certain that your kitchen is well ventilated to keep energy flowing smoothly.

Embrace fish, fruit, and veggies for most of your meals and save meat for special occasions. Vegetarians and pescatarians generally suffer fewer degenerative diseases and cancers than their carnivorous cousins. If you must eat red meat, choose free-range, grass-fed, and hormone-and-antibiotic-free lean meat. Avoid fatty, processed, or fried foods and carefully control the amount of sugar in your diet.

Less food can mean more years of life. One thing that nearly all centenarians have in common is that they eat less. Sometimes they ate less because they were of modest means and had very little to eat during lean times but in modern times, we can stop eating before we are quite full and when we take the time to savor our food and enjoy it, our brain has time to register the fact that we are replete.

Our diet should follow the seasons, and we should eat locally whenever we can. Mother nature has the perfect plan for providing appropriate foods for each season; produce that ripens in the summer tends to be energetically cooling and winter foods tend to be warming. Also, when we eat locally produced foods, we are not contributing to the depletion of fossil fuels. Search out organic foods to avoid toxic residue and if you consume inorganic produce, wash it before you peel or eat it in order to minimize toxins.

What factors do you believe are affecting your food choices?

What new eating habits are you going to practice this week?

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