I often get asked, what kinds of Chinese medicine foods should I be eating? Well, that’s a pretty loaded question!
The short answer is, it depends — this changes based on season, your body constitution (how much hot or cold energy do you have), and your general state of well-being at that very moment.
As Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners, we often love to ask questions to find patterns, someone suffering from poor sleep and chronic indigestion and suffers from heavy periods is a type of pattern. Another person who may have cold hands and feet, foggy brain, and IBS is another pattern. We as practitioners, then categorize these patterns in hot, warm, cold, and cool — think energetic properties instead of actual temperature (to touch).
Before I break down Chinese Medicine hot and cold foods, it’s important to remember we are always a combination of these energies and they transform into each other, so one can never be completely hot or completely cold. If your body tends to run hot, it is simply the dominating energy — which represents a combination of how you were born, and other diet and lifestyle factors that you’ve picked up over the years.
What are possible signs of a heat conditions?
And so on.
What are possible signs of a cold pattern?
Of course there are many more possible body patterns we would want to consider but this is just to give some general examples. And as always, please consult a Chinese medicine practitioner to understand your hot / cold patterns, self-diagnosis can be dangerous and not conclusive!
If you identify with more of the hot condition types
Avoid fried foods, greasy oily foods, bbq, garlic, scallions, (fried) onions, pepper, ginger, kimchi, anything spicy.
Balance with cold energy foods:
For cold condition types
Avoid cold iced foods, raw foods (salads, juices) , soy products, dairy product, and try to avoid the foods recommended for Hot conditions
Balance with Hot energy foods:
There is also a category of neutral foods — yes foods that you can eat which have no effect at all! A few of these foods include adzuki bean, garbanzo beans, kidney beans, rice, artichokes, carrots, figs, grapes, plums, pineapples, almonds, cashews, hemp seeds, to name a few.
My final bits of advice:
While the foods mentioned above can help balance your bodies hot and cold energies, it’s important to incorporate these ingredients slowly and and take time to let your body respond. Also, once your hot conditions have cooled down, you may want to think about eating less cool foods (as to not over cool the body). The same applies for cold body types seeking balance with hot.
It's always important to understand the root cause of your imbalances and seeking proper care and guidance is the first step. If you are interested in a session with me to learn more about your constitution and how to create a Chinese medicine diet that's best for you, get in touch!
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My earliest memories of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) began in the living room of my childhood home, where my dad, Dr. Sun, held his first Acupuncture space. At a young age, I saw the myriad of herbs he would pull together for his patients. Our basement was an apothecary, our kitchen filled with my pieces from my Operator set, and the living room served patients. After immigrating to New York City from Shanghai in the 1970s, my parents, like many other immigrants of New York, left everything they ever knew, to build a brand new life from scratch.
As a first generation American-born-Chinese kid growing up in NYC, it was hard to understand why my parents didn't pack me Capri-suns and Fig Newtons in my lunchbox. Instead of letting me wear short-shorts and slurp Ralph's Italian ices all Summer long, I was taught to always drinking warm water no matter what, make sure my feet were never freezing cold, and to listen to my body and treat it well.
While having practiced Chinese Medicine for a lifetime with my dad, it wasn't until a few years ago that I truly started to feel like I wanted to step into this world and be a champion of this beautiful, complex, and deeply connected world of ancient healing and wisdom. My friends and family were all beginning to seek holistic and alternative forms of health, and they would come to me and I would send them to my dad.
My turning point came when I saw the wellness industry seem to explode with all sorts of Qi Balancing, Yin Boosting, He Shou Wu touting products for this-that-and the other. Appalled by the lack of direction consumers face today in navigating "what wellness products should I take and why", I felt the need to step up and bring clear and medically supported guidance in navigating the natural way to being well.
I am making a step towards building a lineage of Traditional Healers and continuing the legacy that my dad, Dr. Sun, has created. This is inspired by a life long learning of my own culture and heritage that came thousands of years before me. And together we will learn, appreciate, and share the wisdom of Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Welcome to a world of inspiration: here to teach you how to listen to your body, feed it what it needs, and give you the tools to understand how to rebalance the yin to your yang with everyday foods.
Modern Chinese Wellness, from my family to yours.