Using Chinese Medicine Food Therapy to Promote Healing


The other day a friend messaged me on Facebook and asked how I rotate foods.

I started writing a response, but I selfishly realized it would be nice to have all of the links on one page for easy access in later years, so I moved my thoughts over here.

There are two ways I rotate my foods – one has to do with food sensitivities and the second with following Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) food therapy principles.

For food sensitivities – I have had times when I’ve noticed I’m eating too many peanuts or tortilla chips and I’ll back off or eliminate them for a while and voila, my bloating and brain fog goes away.

Concerning TCM food therapy, I’ve been doing acupuncture long enough to know my own tendencies or weaknesses. I usually tend towards dampness with either heat or cold depending on the season. When I’m feeling stuck it’s often because I haven’t adjusted my diet to reflect the change of seasons.

I have some papers from a book on TCM nutrition that a dietitian gave me that I use to figure out how to tweak my diet: one page is symptom-based (if you feel this, than eat that) and another one just has the foods grouped by their common category. If I wasn’t using this resource then Lotus Acupuncture has a rather comprehensive page.

For a brief overview of what Chinese Medicine is, Crane Medicine has a good write-up.

If you read deeper about TCM then you will read more about meridians and I find it helpful to tweak my yoga moves so that I stretch out and massage the meridians that seem to be out of balance.

I would also suggest that you really have to be in tune with your body and sensitive to its quirks to use TCM food therapy effectively on your own. I know it was much easier for me to understand once I started seeing an acupuncturist regularly. I asked a lot of questions so that now even though I’m not seeing her regularly I’ve been able to manage any symptoms I’m having.

In real life, I use TCM food therapy as a tool when I feel stagnant. If I’m feeling fine, then I don’t reference it every day (I would quickly go crazy!). I do keep the general principles in mind, such as eat warming foods in the winter and cooling foods in the summer.

It’s funny that I’m writing this post now, as today I’ve had my first flare-up of laryngitis and asthma thanks to allergies. For me this comes from dampness and heat, so I’ve started to incorporate cooling foods into my diet and drinking water that has had mint and nettle tea bags soaking in it.