When it comes to your health, you do have a choice.
Salad Isn’t Good for You?
By Margaret Thompson-Choi, L.Ac., Dipl. OM
Nutrition is a big part of prevention and therapy in Oriental Medicine. The saying “You are what you eat” applies to Oriental Medical theory very well. We divide foods into categories based on how they affect the body (not necessarily how they taste or feel in the mouth): cool/cold, warm/hot, as well as bitter, salty, pungent, sour, and sweet. Each of these flavors also affects corresponding organs in the body. For example, a little sweet helps digestive processes go better, but large doses of highly refined sugar can damage it, as seen in Type 2 diabetes. Some foods are obviously cool like cucumber and watermelon or hot, like chili peppers. But according to Oriental nutrition, avocado and mangoes are also warming and should be avoided by people who have heat conditions according to Oriental Medicine pattern diagnosis. And what about salad? Isn’t that supposed to be the ultimate health food? Not for some people with cold conditions according to Oriental Medicine diagnosis. The stomach is like a boiling pot of water according to OM theory. The steam it produces goes to the body as energy for life processes (People with low energy often say they’re “running out of steam”). If a person eats a lot of cold, raw foods or icy drinks and ice cream, if they already have a lukewarm pot, (people who have lower metabolisms and gain weight easily even if they eat the same amount others do) adding cold foods and drinks will just impair the metabolic process more. Oriental nutritionists would advise those who have lower metabolisms or “cold” type bodies to steam vegetables and avoid drinking or eating cold foods. Try telling that to the restaurant server next time before he fills your glass with ice.
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