I was in high school when my mother’s breast cancer came back. The second time, there were no Western doctors. Instead, my mother went back to her Asian roots, and one day, both my mother and father packed their bags and flew to Boston to work with Michio Kushi and his school of Macrobiotics.
That was the first time I discovered something other than Western medicine to heal. It had a profound effect on me. My mother moved from HER2, stage three breast cancer, to complete remission through the simple use of food and lived another forty years. It was magic. I wanted to learn the hidden magic of food.
The hidden magic of food would come, but not for a long time. I read books and frequented whole food grocery stores. Nothing made sense. The books lacked the why, and without the why I was never able to eat to improve my health.
And then, when I was ready, the opportunity presented itself.
My acupuncturist told me about the school she went to for Chinese Medicine (Chinese Medicine has five pillars: acupuncture, herbs, nutrition, Qi Gong, Tuina.).
Sometimes, I know with absolute certainty the path I need to follow. That was one of those times. I knew I had to go to that school. I knew I would finally learn the hidden magic of food that had captured my heart as a young girl when food healed my mother of stage three breast cancer.
The education gave me the why. Finally, I understood the difference between Qi, Blood, and Yin or the importance of temperature and flavor. That understanding enabled me to start selecting foods for changes in my health.
I was exhausted. I ate foods to increase energy or Qi. I ate Pork, green peppers, basmati rice which helps improve Qi. When I was feeling sluggish or had brain fog, I chose foods like chicken because it helps remove the fog. I added onions and garlic because they get things moving. I found foods that helped strengthen my stomach.
And then I realized if I knew what foods did, that was the why I had been searching for in my youth. When I learned what foods did in the body, I could mix food for my conditions. It wasn’t like I ate many things. If I looked at my eating habits, thirty foods made up eighty percent of my diet. So, I pulled apart my diet and learned what influence these foods had on my body.
I was feeling cold. Lamb is hot and creates warmth in the body. Add cinnamon or ginger because both of these herbs increase heat in the body. But there is a difference. Ginger has the added benefit of helping with nausea and upset stomach. In Chinese Medicine, they say ginger removes toxins from the body. Michio Kushi prescribed mom a ginger and carrot compress daily on her cancer to help remove the lump from her body.
Today, as I get older, I find it’s harder to follow diets, and my health has become more finicky. It’s easy to throw myself out of balance, and I have to gently nudge myself back in balance. Any massive movements that I tolerated in my youth cause more harm than good today. Food is that gentle nudge.
Chinese Medicine taught me the why of foods. Although I needed all the theory and education to find the why, once I had the why, that was all I needed to start using Chinese Dietetics in my everyday life.
To learn more about Chinese Dietetics, check out my Youtube playlist, “Chinese Medicine, How to Eat For Your Health.” Or, you can contact the office to schedule time to work with me and understand how you can modify your current eating habits to support your health, call 360-841-7558.