Do you know WHAT you’re eating? Do you know WHY you’re eating?
There is one important key to keep in mind when learning the nutrition basics: We need to eat food for the Qi, the vital force, it contains. It’s not really about the calories, or fat, or vitamins- that information doesn’t tell the whole story. When you choose foods based on how Vital they are, you will make the right choice.
We get our Qi, our energy, from the food we eat and the air we breathe. (Your Qi is the force in your body that is accessed during acupuncture treatments to bring you better health.) Long gone are the days when all of our food choices were nutritious. Today, some people base their diets around food that should hardly even be described as food at all. These overly processed foods that flood our marketplaces, relying on chemical flavor additives to be at all edible, are not nutritious. It doesn’t matter how many synthetic vitamins they add to the ingredients. Besides leading to weight gain, these foods poison us and deplete us. Moreover, our food choices determine not only our own health, but the health of people around the globe, and the earth itself.
I’d like to provide some helpful, unbiased resources to shed light on this matter, for knowledge is truly power. But first I would like to share with you the very basics.
Think about the Qi, or life force, of the food before you eat it. This will give you the best information on the health of that food. Fresh fruits and vegetables with wonderful smells and beautiful colors are easy to spot. Foods that stale in a few days, like fresh breads, are real live foods that aren’t pumped up with preservative. This is actually a good thing. Sometimes you need to think a bit more deeply, like when it comes to meat. Factory farming of animals leads to sickly, distressed, abused animals. That is not good Qi, and this brings me to my second tip…
Only eat organic meat! It’s more expensive, so just eat less. The best meat and poultry can be found at farmer’s markets and local markets.. This is the best thing you can do for the environment, and for yourself.
For produce, follow the rules of the Dirty Dozen when deciding between organic or not. (Listed at the bottom of this post)
Read food labels. If there is a long list with many unpronounceable words, put the item down! Also, always choose foods and beverages without high fructose corn syrup. It’s even in bread, so be sure to read all the labels before you make a purchase.
Eat whole grains. I don’t mean packaged foods that say “whole grain.” I mean actually cooking up a pot of rice, or quinoa, or adding some barley to your soup. Whatever extra money you pay buying some organics, you can make back up by cooking your own grains and beans and eating less processed grain foods. As a side note, not everyone digests grains well. If you notice heartburn, indigestion, gas, bloating, or pain after eating grains, try eating them in separate meals from proteins like meat. If they still bother you, try cutting them out of your diet and substituting them with sweet potatoes, regular potatoes, or winter squash.
Bring your own snacks. Don’t go to a vending machine. Try these snack ideas: dry roasted almonds, hummus and baby carrots, and apple with peanut butter.
Don’t drink soda, diet or regular. Both are linked to weight gain and have other negative side effects. Try naturally flavored sparkling water, or add juice to mineral water. Iced tea is also great. Try making your own herbal iced tea with Celestial Seasonings Country Peach
The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan
Food Matters: A Guide to Conscious Eating by Mark Bittman (this is also includes a practical guide to easily transforming your diet)
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver (fun and informative)
Make an acupuncture appointment. Acupuncture aligns the body and mind, which facilitates making healthy choices and lessens cravings.
Find some great recipe websites and blogs, like Elana’s Pantry and 101 Cookbooks.
Visit a Farmer’s Markets. Try some new foods and begin experimenting. There are many around Denver and Boulder.
Get your friends involved and have a healthy potluck, or do a soup exchange. For the soup exchange, ask everyone to make a big batch of soup, and put into 3 cup or quart containers. Everyone goes home with the same amount of soup that she brought, but different types. These can be stored in the freezer. This is a great way to eat healthy when your short on time, spend time with friends, and share favorite recipes.
As part of your acupuncture treatment, we will discuss healing foods according to Eastern Nutrition concepts.
Try to stay light-hearted about these changes, and enjoy it. A healthy lifestyle is a journey, not a destination.
Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead
Many people start on a healthy living lifestyle and become very passionate about it. These wonderful pioneers have written books and blogs, and have created websites and movies that can inspire us and help us move us along. Once you open your eyes to your need for fresh, vibrant foods, a whole new world opens up around you that you’ve never realized was there. Best of all, when your motivation to make the extra effort to eat well starts to wane, there is always another book, blog, article, etc, to get you back on track.
Visit the Environmental Working Groups website for information about clean eating, safe sun protection, and non-toxic cleaning products.
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Clean 15 (Low Pesticide)
Dirty Dozen + (Buy Organic)