Thursday, April 14, 2011

You'll Make Biscuits and I'll Make Tea

Spring Break! Yay! I wanted to post earlier, but I’ve been really busy even though I don’t have school. I have to catch up on life! J

So I thought I’d do a slightly different style of post today since I have the time. Now, I know I moan and groan about school and tests and all that jazz, but the truth is I honestly LOVE what I’m studying. I’ve talked a bit about it on this blog before, but just to clarify I’m going to grad school to become an Acupuncturist and practitioner of Oriental Medicine. So that means I’m learning how to manipulate the body’s “energy” via the insertion of thin needles at specific points and supplement that with herbal prescriptions. It involves a lot of study because not only do we have to know the traditional Chinese theories, we also have to be familiar with the modern, “western” diagnoses, meds, and anatomy.

A part of the traditional Chinese way of thinking is that “food is medicine”. There are literally hundreds of herbs that are used in formulas, just like Western pharmaceuticals (although they usually don’t have all of the side affects and other bad stuff). But, aside from all the herbs, every food is considered to have certain qualities, both benefits and detriments, that contribute to our overall well being. So basically every food is considered an “herb”.

Everything is given certain properties called temperatures and tastes. The temperatures (cold, cool, warm, hot, neutral) don’t have anything to do with the actual physical feeling of the food (although it can correlate), rather it refers to the foods’ affect on the body. For example, most meat and grains are considered warm and easy to digest and therefore good for people who tend to run cold. For “hot” people, though, this can be trouble. Raw fruits and vegetables and dairy products are cold and take a bit more work for the body to use. Great for people with warm constitutions, but not so great with cold people. (This is also why TCM doesn’t normally condone complete vegetarianism - it can be hard on the digestion and create cold problems)
The tastes of foods (sour, sweet, bitter, salty, spicy, bland) also play an important role in determining what that food can do.

Here are a couple of websites if any of you are interested learning more:

Because of the many properties that each food has, there are really now “good” or “bad” foods. Yes, certain health conditions require more of one kind and less of another and people’s constitutions determine what is “best” for them, but really everything can be enjoyed in moderation. In fact, a “perfect” meal for the Chinese includes a little bit of every taste and temperature.

Personally, I enjoy learning about all of this, but of course I don’t follow it to a tee. I would die if I couldn’t eat my daily yogurt (TCM doesn’t really like dairy products - too cold!) and sometimes I want piles and piles of hot ginger and cinnamon on my oatmeal. However, one thing I’ve found is that I feel a lot better when I cook vegetables rather than eat them raw. And I eat lots of soup and oatmeal because I end to run cold. I also love how this approach is not focused at all on calories or fat or carbs or any of that. They didn’t think of food as necessarily causing weight gain; it simply nourishes our the bodies. Basically, just eat everything in moderation, leaning more toward what your constitution thrives on. And it’s not a one size-fits-all plan either - everyone is different and needs different amounts of everything.

So this post was super long, but I hope it was interesting! If you have any questions or thoughts I’d love to hear them.
I hope you all are having a wonderful week!


  1. hey girl, just started following, read through a few posts- your blog is sweet and fun. have a lovely friday :]

  2. This is amazing! Can I come to you someday to receive an acupuncture?? I have always wanted one done because I have heard so many positive benefits from having one done. And needles doesn't scare me! After all, I have 2 can tell that needles don't bother me ;)

    Anyway, I think this is a really fascinating topic. I do believe that we all have energies and our energies can be greatly affected by what we eat, and things we do or even by people we interact with.

    A good example: Have you ever noticed that when you interact with a negative person for a few hours and you come home utterly exhausted? Yep, that's a form of using up energy by dealing with a negative person. Now turn it around; spend a few hours interacting with a positive person and you feel great!

    The links you shared are super interesting. Now I am curious whether I am "warm", or "cold" person. I am probably a "hot" person because I'm always eating spicy food! ;)

  3. This is really interesting! I've heard of things similar to this, like eating according to your blood type, but this sounds more accurate than the blood type diet. I'm really curious as to if I'm "warm" or "cold". I don't eat a lot of dairy, but I love Greek yogurt and froyo and couldn't live without them! I actually prefer raw vegetables to cooked and they don't seem to have a negative effect on me.

    I agree, those pandas are very adorable! I don't think I would eat them either!

  4. I agree with the other commenters - interesting stuff! I've learned through my health journeys how much food can affect our bodies. That's why I avoid some foods and eat more of others - it makes me feel better. But I'm like you - I can't just "cut out" a certain food. It's not worth it to me mentally. A life without butter and yogurt is not my cup of tea (a bit of a pun intended there).

    Thank you for taking the time to share all of this information!

  5. This was really interesting... I'd honestly never heard any of it before! I like how it's not focused on weight gain or weight loss, but rather on keeping our bodies healthy and in balance.

    Hope you're well my lovely.

  6. Very interesting! I like it :)
    If only we focused on how healthy food is & what it does for your body instead of stupid calories :P
    Anyway, I hope you are doing wonderful darling :) Thanks for the sweet comment on my blog.
    Your kind words always mean so much to me.

  7. Thanks so much for this post!!! So interesting and I love the traditional Chinese way of thinking of food as medicine! That's amazing that you're going to grad school to become an Accupuncturist and practitioner of Oriental Medicine. Keep us updated on that. :-) I've always wanted to try accupuncture, as many friends and family members found it very helpful.
    I also want to thank you for your supportive comments on my blog! They mean so much to me. <3

  8. This is really neat!! I enjoyed reading your post!!!

    What you're studying sounds very interesting - my sister and mom are studying to be naturopathic doctors but hearing about food from your perspective is very refreshing since they constantly are listing foods and good and bad. Keep up the great work!! :)