TCM Nutritional Counseling

What is nutritional counseling?

Food is medicine. It can make us sick or make us well. Chinese food therapy or as it is also known The Chinese Medicine diet (TCM) is a 2,000 year-old practice of healing using natural foods (grains, meats, fruits and vegetables) instead of medications to heal the body. This diet is thought to enhance energetic principles to encourage balance, clean burning digestion, slow the aging process, as well as support and promote a functioning body; free of disease, and full of energy. Grains, meats, vegetables and fruits should be used in proper proportions as is fundamental to maintain the functions of the human body. Following a diet is essential and it is not advisable to either starve or overeat. Starvation will cause lack of vital energy and blood and decline of immunity, which may result in diseases, such as malnutrition, anemia, etc. Overeating may cause the intestines and stomach to be impaired, causing symptoms such as, abdominal fullness and distention, anorexia, excessive gastric acid and vomiting and diarrhea. Traditional Chinese Medicine emphasizes that it is necessary for people to keep a regular diet habit and arrange a balanced diet according to one's age, gender, constitution, etc. This viewpoint is also consistent with the balanced diet proposed by experts in modern nutriology.

We will work with you to recommend foods specific to your health condition. Whether your goal is to lose weight, improve digestion, clear up skin or boost energy, patients are surprised at how simple but effective diet changes can be. We ask that you keep a detailed food journal for one week prior to your nutritional counseling appointment.

How does it work?

Traditional Chinese Medicine is typically broken into six concepts or theories:

  • Yin and Yang
  • Five Phases
  • Fundamental Substances
  • Meridians
  • Zang/Fu Organs
  • External Pathogens

In addition to the above theories, different kinds of foods can be used as treatments for various ailments. Before suggesting a therapeutic diet, we consider many factors: the patient’s constitution, nature of the patient’s illness/ type of syndrome, season (Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall) and climate. The proper diet for the patient is based on all of these factors, not just upon the disease alone.

A prescribed diet can be used not only for treating disease, but also for maintaining a person’s good health. Garlic, for example, can be used to treat indigestion, diarrhea, dysentery, and whooping cough. But because garlic kills bacteria, detoxifies poisons, strengthens the stomach and promotes digestion, it has also been known to prevent flu.

Digestion itself is a cooking process. Metabolism is thought of as a flame that resides between the kidneys in the lower abdomen (lower burner). Above that is the Spleen/Stomach duo which represents the pot into which food goes (middle burner). Warming (yang) foods support this cooking process and increase metabolism, while too many cold/raw (yin) foods can douse the digestive fire, leading to water retention, phlegm, sluggishness and weight gain. The Chinese ideal is to eat both yin and yang types of food to keep the body in balance.


Who would benefit?

Anyone who wants to maintain health long-term would benefit from Chinese dietary therapy. Anyone who has a chronic illness could minimize the use of pharmaceuticals by eating for their constitution in harmony with Chinese nutrition principles.

“Let the food be your medicine and medicine be your food.” – Hippocrates