I was recently asked this question and strictly speaking a wholefood counsellor is someone who will advise you on how to enrich your diet by including more foods in their unprocessed, whole form, such as: fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, whole grains, fish, and varied amounts of wild and/or organic animal products.
Why would you want to make this change to your diet? I have been treating clients at all ages and stages of life for many years. I love using acupuncture and Chinese herbs to address imbalances and these treatments, as well as many others, work amazingly well. When we start to talk about diet and lifestyle, however, and people begin to make the suggested changes the results become extraordinary. How we nourish ourselves by eating whole foods, or not (by eating too many processed, refined and/or packaged foods), really is at the core of our wellbeing.
Did you know that there is so much more to food than just it’s taste? Whole foods are medicinal in so many ways and unfortunately much of the medicinal nature of food is lost in the processing and much of the nutritional value of food is either refined away or drowned out by the toxicity of additives and preservatives.
Some foods are inherently warming, such as ginger and cinnamon, and some are cooling, like peppermint and watermelon. Including more of the appropriate temperature foods in your diet is often the best way to stay warm in the winter or keep cool in the summer. Regardless of the season if you often feel the need to wear extra layers or if you have the tendency to open all the windows on even the coldest of days then have a look at whether your diet is filled with too many cooling or warming foods.
Some foods, like honey, are moistening and some, like barley, are drying. When you have the sniffles or a chesty cough there are foods, like dairy products, that will aggravate the phlegm in you body so avoid these while you are sick. If you have a dry cough or dry skin then perhaps you may want to add foods that are more moistening into your diet like lemon and honey for your cough or good oils like avocado or oily fish for your skin.
Some foods are grounding and some make you feel a little spacey. Have you ever had a meal and just not wanted to get up after it? Or perhaps you have children and observed their behaviour post party? There is nothing like a food diary where you note down what you eat and how you feel after eating for you to be able to work out the foods that agree with you and those that don’t.
Foods can be classified by their 5 flavours and from a Chinese medicine perspective each flavour affects a different organ. Bitter corresponds with the Heart so include some bitter greens like endives in your salad in summer; Sweet corresponds with the Spleen so sweet vegetables like pumpkin and sweet potato are great when your energy is low; Pungent corresponds with the lungs so spring onions are great if your have chronic lung problems or to support your lungs in autumn before the winter cold and flu season; Salty corresponds with the Kidneys so add a little good quality Celtic sea salt to your soups, casseroles and stews to support your Kidneys through the winter months; and Sour corresponds to the Liver so squeeze some lemon juice over those wonderful spring time greens to help you detox from winter. Do you tend to crave one flavour above the others? Have a look and see how else you can support the organ that corresponds with that flavour. Are there flavours that are missing in your diet? See what part of you is not receiving the nourishment it needs?
If you want to know more have a look at these great workshops that will empower you to take your own and your family’s health back into your own hands. There are workshops on Food (Eat Well, Be Well); Detoxing (Detox to Wellness); and Weight loss (Optimal Body, Optimal Health).
Your feedback and questions are always welcome so please leave a comment below.
For further information on Chinese Medicine contact Tania Grasseschi (Acupuncture, Chinese Herbs, Qigong and Wholefood counselling). Tania is an AHPRA registered practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine located in Botany and Katoomba, NSW.