He that takes medicine and neglects diet, wastes the time of his doctor.
-Ancient Chinese Proverb
A significant part of my therapeutic approach comes from Chinese Medicinal Herbs and Food-Mood Counseling.
Food is the first medicine. Ideally, we should be getting all of our nutrition from our food, but in today's world that may be difficult. The one thing that most Nutritionists will agree on is the necessity of eating whole foods -- those that are minimally processed. The key question to ask yourself is: Did my food look this way when it came out of the ground or from the animal?
If the answer is yes, then that is more than likely a whole food. Whole foods are inherently simpler and easier for the body to process with fewer additives, preservatives, and chemicals and still retain more of their original nutritional value. Through working with me, you can begin to understand healthier and simpler food choices.
For most of my patients, as part of their course of treatment with acupuncture and herbs, I help them clarify their relationship with their food in order to better understand how their choices may be adversely affecting their health. Yet given how essential this service is, I am happy to offer it unto itself to anyone interested. Here is how it would work:
Before your first visit you would complete a 5-7 day Food-Mood
Journal where you would write
• What you eat;
• When you eat;
• How you felt before you ate or Why you chose what you ate;
• and How you felt after you ate.
You would then come in for your Initial Visit where we would go through your medical history and analyze your Journal. I would offer you very specific feedback about how your food habits may be contributing to your health issues, and then offer constructive suggestions about how to make adjustments that are attainable with noticeable results.
I would then see you at one to two week intervals depending on your individual needs. At each visit we will discuss your latest Journal and you will walk away with an evolving understanding and greater clarity about how to eat better and feel better, most of all. Over time, as you grow more empowered and are embracing this new found health, we will space out our visits as needed.
This is NOT a diet! Diets are an external imposition of a rigid program that seldom have lasting results. Instead, I want to meet you where you are at and help you make reasonable changes. I will share with you the latest research about food and disease and we will work together to let your personal experience dictate your course of change.
Take a look at the Testimonial "Adam, Los Angeles" gave. He has been a tremendous success story of how simply working with food can change one's life!
The What: Basic Food Guidelines
A large part of my focus with my patients is
in prioritizing education around food, as food
is the first to hurt and the first to help, and
it is often the thing you have the most control
over. Here are some basic food guidelines I tell all my patients about:
1. ZERO coffee: you can have all the tea you
want. While there is a great deal of research indicating coffee's various health benefits, I have only gotten feedback from my patients indicating how much better they feel being OFF coffee. Coffee is highly acidic and inflammatory
and can contribute to indigestion, all cardio-vascular
conditions, and colon and bladder cancer.
2. ZERO dairy: cow milk is for cows, goat
milk is for goats, and human milk is for
humans. And we all stop drinking it after we are
infants. Dairy is replete with loads bacteria
and viruses, hormone residues, and the list goes
on. And with all the milk substitutes to choose
from, there is never a better time to stop using
3. MINIMAL sugar: no more than 2 pieces of fruit
per day. Sugar is inflammatory and feeds all infections
including those that occur in your gut. Stevia
and Xylitol are OK.
4. It is best to cook your vegetables, especially
leafy greens which are very hard to clean. Cooking
kills all bacteria, which can upset the delicate
balance in your gut, even those that are present
on unclean raw fruits and veggies.
5. Eat plenty of fiber. Constipation is defined
as having one or fewer dry hard bowel movements
6. Eat small frequent meals. Stable blood sugar
stems cravings and over-eating.
7. Always choose organic when possible.
8. Vary your protein choices and limit the quantity
to 4-6 ounces at a time (the size of your palm).
Legumes are a very good source of veggie protein.
9. Drink more water—8-10 glasses a day.
10. Chew your food more thoroughly—20-30
times. Digestion begins in the mouth with your
saliva coating the broken down food.
11. Take time during the day to enjoy some deep
"So what DO I eat?" Such a common question from my patients! Take a look at my Pinterest page for my steadily expanding list of tazsty recipes that are super easy to make and will please even the most discerning palates, like kids!
The second part to good nutrition is whether or not you are able to absorb those essential nutrients. And this comes down to the all important health of your digestive system. Yes, we are born with genetic tendencies toward health or disease, but it is though food and our ability to digest and assimilate nutrients that we get the necessary fuel to maintain our health. With the proper evaluation and guidance, you can learn to better understand what are healthy foods for you and your inner ecosystem. And we can also work on creating greater awareness about not simply what you eat, but why you eat, how you eat, and when you eat. All of these questions are essential to answer if you are to create a more intimate relationship with your food and your body.
If food is the first medicine, then acupuncture would be the second.