There is much advice about telling us what to eat. Some of it is the search for the one wonder food that will guarantee us good health. Even if this was successful, who would want to eat just one thing?
So we need to find out what is good for us. We also need a way to do this that we can do ourselves, without relying on the latest finding from the laboratories and researchers (margarine used to be better than butter, now its the reverse).
The simplest way to find out what food is good for us is to keep a food diary. This just means writing down everything you eat and how you feel. But you must put down everything. Every sip of water, every little nibble.
Doing this has two advantages.
- Firstly it is a way of paying attention to what you eat â€“ you will probably find you become much more aware of what you eat and how much of it you eat.
- Secondly it is a way of finding out what you like, what is healthy for you as an individual â€“ once you know this you donâ€™t need to rely on others telling you what to do.
There are traditional health systems which were invented before laboratories and so use our own senses to choose our food.
The one I know best is Traditional Chinese Medicine. There is a vast storehouse of wisdom on healthy eating in this tradition. And there are many books that explain it.
For an encyclopedic reference there is Paul Pitchfordâ€™s â€œHealing With Wholefoods“ which uses both western and eastern approaches.
For a basic introduction there is â€œThe Tao of Healthy Eating“ by Bob Flaws.
For a good book that gives more specific guidance there is â€œFood for the Seasonsâ€ by Lun Wong and Kath Knapsey. All are excellent and readable.
The approach of Traditional Chinese Medicine is that the different tastes effect us in different ways. And so we can adjust our eating according to how we want to be.
- There are foods for strengthening different aspects of body and for adjusting for different conditions.
- There are foods to warm us up, cool us down and so on.
Once we know this we can take control of our own diet and shape it to fit where we are and what is happening for us. It does take some work to learn, but once you know it you have control over your own diet.
With a food diary and Traditional Chinese Medicine we have a sophisticated approach to diet that we shape to suit ourselves. No more searching for that miracle food â€“ just enjoying a wide variety of what is good for us. And, as important as laboratory research is (and it is very important) we donâ€™t need to adjust our diet after every fresh discovery. We will know how to have our own healthy diet.
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