Sunday, July 15, 2012

Cleansing Vs. Building Foods

In 5-element nutrition consulting we see a lot of people who want to change their health, know that eating better is a way to do that, but find it really difficult to "give up" the food they love.

I know how attached we are to the food we eat, and most people, including me, won't change their habits unless there is a huge motivating factor - like a severe medical diagnosis (diabetes, heart attack) or an emotionally passionate reason (new romantic love, high school reunion).

Pasta is a Building food. Balance it out
by adding a mixed green salad
and cutting the portion size of the pasta.

Here's an easy 5-element nutrition tip to consider:  Foods are either building (Yin) or cleansing (Yang).

Building foods add to your body, make it larger.  These are most foods that are NOT fruits and vegetables. If you exercise a lot that might translate into muscle.  If you don't exercise a lot, we all know that it turns into the "other muscle", fat.  Building foods in moderation are great for someone who needs to put on weight.  BTW, regardless of what congress mandates, pizza is not a vegetable.

Cleansing foods clean your internal organs and make your body lighter. These are mainly fruits and vegetables. Which is better - cooked or raw? From a 5-element nutrition point of view, it depends on what you need, and we suggest both are important.

  • Cooked is going to be on the milder side of cleansing, better for someone who tends towards being weak, deficient, feels cold, or has frequent colds/flu.
  • Raw is going to be on the harsher side of cleansing, better for someone who tends towards being robust, loud, feels warm or hot, has high blood pressure from stress, and may tend to get gall or kidney stones.
The ultimate goal is to find an appropriate BALANCE between cleansing and building foods. An appropriate balance is different for each person, so it depends on what you need in order to reach your ultimate weight goals.

If you want to lose weight, or you love pasta and don't want to "give it up", start by realizing that pasta is a building food. Balance it with a cleansing food of equal or greater proportion and decrease the serving size of pasta you would normally have eaten. Cleansing foods are the only realistic way to lose weight, and you can use them in a way to still enjoy the food you love.

This is going to be the same for all other building foods. If you have pizza, maybe have just 1 or 2 slices and eat a raw carrot with each slice. Yes, that is a whole beautiful raw carrot with each slice.

Steak? Have a nice juicy piece no bigger than the size of your palm, cover it with a medicinal mushroom saute and fill the rest of the plate with lettuce and chopped raw veggies like radishes, broccoli, green peppers, topped with hemp oil and balsamic vinegar & fresh ground black pepper.

This is a good place to start, by adding some balance. Once you get used to doing this and enjoy it - which you will because your body and blood will love more balance - then take the next step and refine what you're eating a little more.  We like lasting changes that are enjoyable, not quick or extreme diets that you can't wait to end.

"Everything in Moderation, Everything in Balance"
~Taoist principle

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