A healthy diet for you may differ from my ideal diet, however there are some parameters from which to choose the best foods to support your health. Once you understand the first two principles of our True Nature Healthy Eating Plan, you can then apply the third principle of learning how to choose the best foods for your personal needs.
Your True Nature healthy diet will include those foods that best support you based on your constitution, current condition, past dietary history, the region you live, and what best supports your dream.
Here is a list of foods that are not part of a healthy diet:
In the Churchill Livingston book, Chinese Dietary Therapy, with Liu Jilin as the main editor, and Gordon Peck as the subject editor, a balanced, healthy diet is defined as follows:
"A balanced diet means that the kinds of foods we consume and the nutrients these foods contain should be comprehensive, adequate in amount and proportion, so that the nutrients supplied by our diet will meet the needs of the body."
This is further explained that the daily diet, consisting of various foods, requires that, "the types and amounts of foods should be present in appropriate proportions."
The Huang Di Nei Jing, translated as The Yellow Emperor's Classic of Medicine, is an early Chinese medical text written over 2,000 years ago, compiled during the Qin (221 - 207 BC) and Han (206 BC - 210 AD) dynasties from the clinical experiences and epidemiological observations of the imperial herbalists and practitioners of the time.
Central to the teachings of the Nei Jing was the importance of prevention of illness, with recommendations about how and what to eat to nourish both the body and the mind. When one followed the recommendations, they could expect to live a long, healthy life.
Christoph Wilhelm Hufeland (1762-1836), son of the court physician of the grand duchess in Weimar Germany was himself an eminent physician who wrote many articles and books, and was interested in Chinese alchemy and the art of longevity. One of his books, entitled Makrobiotik order Die Kunst, or The Art of Prolonging LIfe, is considered the first written record of the term 'macrobiotic' which translates to 'great' or 'long life.'
Several early macrobiotic teachers had cured themselves of debilitating illnesses, including tuberculosis, by applying the principles taught in this classic early text of Chinese medicine. Since one of the recommendations in the Nei Jing was to eat "the five cereals" these foods became foundational foods in macrobiotic diets.
The fundamental teachings of macrobiotics include eating and living in harmony with nature, or as George Oshawa would say, "the natural Order of the Universe."
While many in the West continue to teach macrobiotics as a grain-based diet, we apply the principles of Chinese medicine and macrobiotics when customizing meal plans for individuals in our TYTN Health Coaching. We use these principles as a guidance system towards choosing the best foods and lifestyle practices to live a long and healthy life, as appropriate for each person.
Grains and beans need not be the central foundational foods for all people, however, the macrobiotic principles can still apply.
In The Yellow Emperor's Classic Medicine, or Nei Jing, the dietary recommendations are as follows:
Keep in mind that the foods listed were regionally available, and considered part of a healthy diet during that time period in China.
Each individual food can sometimes be representative of a category of foods, such as cereals also including seeds and beans. Also, 'marrow' refers to a vegetable similar to a squash.
If a client at our clinic indicates a strong craving or aversion to a particular flavor, such as sweet, sour, or salty, we consider this as part of the entire pattern being presented. For example, if someone really loves or really detests the sour flavor, and tends to often feel frustrated, or get easily irritated, we would consider the liver gall bladder paired organ system to be part of the pattern of imbalance, contingent on other symptoms, and emotions being presented.
Over eating the sour flavor can be injurious to the liver, just as over or under eating any particular flavor over time can lead to an imbalance, hence eating a healthy diet includes striking a balance of the five flavors at each meal.
A meal or dish with a balance of the five flavors creates an alchemical explosion of flavor, or at least a satisfaction that allows us to feel good eating less.
The energetic quality of a particular food can be enhanced, altered, or inhibited, depending on what other foods or herbs were combined together. For example, vegetables which are very cooling can be warmed up by preparing them with some ginger, or other warming spices.
Long before there was any knowledge of the various nutrients within foods, it was observed that foods have components that work in tandem with other foods, and it was the right balance, and 'appropriate amounts' of foods and wild plants or herbs that constituted an enjoyable, healthy diet that nourished both body and mind.
Enjoyment of the aroma and taste was also important, for it indicated the freshness and quality of the food was good, and the foods were prepared with a balance of all the flavors.
A few examples of recommendations made a couple thousand years ago in the classic Chinese medical texts, before there was any knowledge of Vitamin A, iodine, or iron included the following:
This illustrates how foods that some may consider 'bad' or 'toxic' to the diet, others used therapeutically to prevent conditions common at the time, which are still used today in Chinese food therapy. Pork nourishes the yin, especially the yin of the liver. The liver yin is the source of liver blood, which nourishes the eyes, tendons, and supports reproductive functions in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).
Are there any alternative perspectives on what constitutes a healthy diet that co-existed at the time the Nei Jing was put together, or even prior to this time period?
What about the health of populations that existed prior to the agricultural revolution, when humans were hunter-gatherers?
Does knowing what humans ate some 10,000+ years ago really help us to understand what is most optimal for modern humans to be consuming?
In fact some of the early Taoists (Daoists) did believe that the five cereals should be strictly avoided for optimal health and a longer life span. According to Kenneth Cohen who discusses the qigong diet in his book, The Way of Qi Gong, The Art & Science of Chinese Energy Healing, many ancient Daoists emphatically warn against eating the five cereals, sometimes referred to as the five grains. He writes,
"According to Daoist mythology, the three dan tians, at the third eye, heart, and abdomen are infested by three worms. These three worms live on the impure breaths (qi) created by immoral behavior, putrid food, and the "Five Cereals" which are the basis of Chinese cuisine..." He continues, "According to a Daoist text, "The Five Cereals are scissors that cut off life, they rot the internal organs, they shorten life. If a grain enters your mouth, do not hope for Life Eternal! If you desire not to die, may your intestines be free of it!""
As for the third principle in TYTN Diet Plan, if you were presented with a bounty of natural foods readily found in nature and eaten as is, or by processing with minimal tools, and simply adding it to a fire or heat source, such as fresh or dried fruits, greens, vegetables, meats including fish and seafood, eggs, or whole cooked grains and beans, which foods would you be most drawn to? (We're not talking chocolate cake or corn chips, but honey, maple syrup, and birch sap were all consumed in many traditional diets.)
Of all those foods listed, the whole grains and beans would have been the most difficult to obtain, and would have required the most processing to render them edible, unless still in their fresh/raw vs. dried state. Pretty much most cultures world wide consumed whatever types of fruits; greens and wild plants, vegetables, and herbs; nuts and seeds, and fish or animal flesh foods were available.
The European Neanderthal ancestors would have eaten a diet consisting largely of all the above foods, minus the whole grains and beans. According to the article, Did Neanderthals eat their vegetables? published in MIT News, Scientists from MIT and the University of Laguna in Spain examined human fecal remains found in El Salt in Southern Spain, an area known to have been inhabited by Neanderthals dating back 50,000 years.
According to their examination of both the fecal samples and the soils, they concluded that, "while Neanderthals had a most meat-based diet, they may also have consumed a fairly regular portion of plants, such as tubers, berries, and nuts. According to Ainira Sistiaga, a graduate student of the uNiversity of Laguna who led the analysis, "We believe Neanderthals probably ate what was available in different situations, seasons, and climates."
That's a pretty macrobiotic approach to eating healthy diet ~ choosing foods according to one's constitution, the region, the season, and current condition.
Those of European and Asian descent share in DNA with Neanderthals, hence what is appropriate for these populations may differ than those of African descent, who do not share ancestry with Neanderthals. Our European ancestors living in colder northern climates were better adapted to animal foods and a hunter-gatherer diet, rather than an agrarian, grain and bean-based diet. Eating animal foods meant survival during cold winters.
The TYTN Healthy Diet Plan is based on macrobiotic principles and primarily centers around what could be 'hunted' and 'gathered' or foraged throughout the year, such as a variety of berries and other fruits, tubers, wild plants, greens, and herbs, vegetables, nuts, seeds, fish, and other animal flesh foods.
Getting back to imagining which of the above listed foods you most desired, despite whatever you have learned about what you 'should' or 'should not' eat, you may be surprised about your choices.
Are the foods you would choose ~ if you had no idea of what was scientifically proven to be good for you or not, and you abandoned all ideologies about which foods should be eaten or avoided ~ the same foods you are actually eating?
Once you learn how to trust your true nature, and become more in tune with the right profile of foods, including the appropriate balance of the five flavors, and the three main macronutrients ~ proteins, carbohydrates, and fats ~ then your tastes will spontaneously guide you to the best choices for optimal health.
But before you can really trust yourself to choose the healthiest diet, there may be some faulty programing about which foods are best to eat, and which foods should be avoided that may need re-wiring. We all have been indoctrinated with various beliefs about what is considered a healthy diet. Sometimes we have to unlearn, or cleanse our minds and our bodies to come to peace with our food choices, and finally have a healthy relationship with food.
In summary, the TYTN Healthy Diet Plan (click here for details) will vary from person to person, contingent upon one's condition, the season, and geographic location.
Foundational foods ~ animal flesh foods vs. grains and beans ~ are chosen accordingly, with the remaining foods chosen to best complement the foundational foods. The secondary food choices provide supplementary nutrition and balance to the foundational foods.
The right combination of foods and herbs, with the right balance of flavors will provide the greatest capacity for health. Our diets should energize us, help us feel strong mentally and physically, keep us sharp and focused, and above all be enjoyable!
Each person will need to experiment to determine the right amounts, and appropriate combinations of foods. For any healthy diet, the choices should focus on the best quality available. Wild game that is hunted will be more nutritious than conventional beef, however, these choices will depend on budget and availability. Always do your best, without guilt.
Animal foods should be chosen based on what will provide the greatest balance. Beef and pork are more neutral in nature, while poultry is very warming. Eating chicken all the time to 'avoid red meat' may create excess heat in the system. When making choices, begin to pay attention to how you feel after eating.
As always, eating plenty of fresh vegetables, greens, and fruits is always good advice, however, here again, eating a lot of imported tropical fruits when living in a temperate climate may not be ideal. Eating a lot of imported food is more taxing to environmental and ecological resources as well. It's best to eat those foods that grow in your own, or a similar bioregion. They will have cultivated the energy to withstand the very climate you live in that will be transferred to you when you consume these foods.
When you align with your true nature, you harmonize and experience greater flow in all areas of your life. Learning to trust your self builds confidence. Eating the best diet for you is also a liberating and rewarding experience.
Ready to Learn To Trust YourSelf? Coaching is available by phone/e-mail from anywhere. Live video options may also be made available, such as Skype.
Questions? Contact our office at 602-954-8016. Or fill out the contact form at the bottom of this page.