This post is copied from our older, original blog. Original post date 5/12/2011.
By Marcie Bower, Lic.Ac.
When we talk about healthy eating in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), we not only talk about the characteristics of the foods themselves, but also how we eat – the environment we eat in, and the, speed, frequency, and amount of food we eat. All these aspects are important to healthy eating habits!
In TCM, the Spleen energetic system controls digestion. It also is in charge of creating the energy that we need to sustain us throughout the day by efficiently transforming the food that we eat into essential energy. Thus, it is important to eat in ways that nourish the Spleen.
The following are some basic eating guidelines that will improve your digestion, energy levels, and general health:
- Eat warm temperature foods and liquids. Stay away from iced drinks and raw food. The spleen likes warmth! If you do eat a cold or uncooked meal, try to follow it with a cup of warm tea.
- Maintain good, upright posture while eating. Avoid eating with your body curled up, or lying down.
- Pay attention to what you are eating. Savor the flavors in your mouth. By paying attention to the eating process, you will naturally eat slower and will be more in tune with how the food makes your body feel, and when you feel full.
- Make eating your focus. Whenever possible, do not engage in other activities while eating, such as driving, watching TV, or talking on the phone. This splits the focus of your energy. When your energy is completely in tune with the process of eating, your digestive system is that much better prepared for the food you are putting into it.
- Drink adequate amounts of water. We recommend consuming at least 64 fl.oz in small quantities throughout the day. Room temperature water is best (or warm water.) When possible, avoid drinking large amounts of water directly before eating a meal.
- Avoid overeating. Recommended portion sizes from webmd.com are below:
- Meats: deck of cards
- Fish: checkbook
- Peanut butter, hummus: golf ball
- Dry cereal: ~baseball
- Cooked rice, pasta: lightbulb
- Bagel: 6oz can of tuna
- Cheese: 3 stacked dice
Being attentive to your eating environment and style will help your body in more ways than you can imagine!