Chinese Dietary Wisdom - Eating for Health and Wellbeing

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Chinese dietary advice for each consitutional type, arranged for everyday use. This revised compact and useful guide has a new section on food types with recipes.

'Experts at curing diseases are inferior to specialists who warn against diseases. Experts in the use of medicines are inferior to those who recommend proper diet.'

On the Treatment of the Aged, Zhi Chen, 11th century CE

It seems extraordinary now, but when I co-founded Infinity Foods (a natural food shop) in the early 1970s, the prevalent scientific opinion was that other than deficiency diseases and poisoning, what a person ate had no impact on their health and well-being. We have come a long way since then, but as in so many aspects of lifestyle, traditional medicine was there first, often more than two thousand years before the light dawned on modern medicine. Chinese medicine and traditional Chinese health culture are no exception and there is a wealth of wisdom garnered from centuries of careful and intelligent observation that can help us and our patients improve our health through diet.

This is a small book but – as befits a publication by Nutshell Press – it presents some of the key ideas of Chinese nutrition in a nutshell. In an age where what we eat preoccupies most people, it is good to see that the authors start with the more fundamental questions of 'when' and 'how' (regularly, calmly, mindfully, more in the early part of the day etc.). In covering 'what' the advice is thoughtful and reasonable (balanced, non-extreme, with variety, naturally, choosing smaller amounts of good quality foods, including fermented foods etc.). There is simple advice on losing weight, on how to get more fruit and vegetables into the diet and how to eat seasonally, and more detailed advice (with some recipes) on food categories such as fruit, nuts and seeds, cereal grains, dairy etc.

It is the second half of the book, however, that will probably determine how it is used. It presents dietary advice and lifestyle tips based on five-phase constitutional tendencies combined with differentiation of patterns, with the advice that this should only be used in consultation with a Chinese medicine practitioner. The wood type, for example, is subdivided into Liver blood deficiency, Liver qi stagnation, Liver fire and Liver blood stagnation. Time will tell how well this approach will work. Hopefully people will buy this book and then be inspired to visit a practitioner for a diagnosis, or else practitioners will recommend (or even give or sell copies) to patients alongside their treatment. Brief, sensible, simple: this deserves to succeed.

Peter Deadman

More Information
Author Greg Lampert and Danny Blyth
Publication Date 1 Mar 2015
Publisher Nutshell Press
Number of Pages 48
Book Format Softcover
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