I want to share with you some of the additional techniques to creating the life you want that I’m passionate about. One of them is by regulating the foods we eat.
Anyone who knows me, knows I share the Malaysian love of all things culinary.
In fact I would go as far as to say that as a Chinese person born in Malaysia, raised in Canada and now resident in England, I’ve been blessed. It’s shown me how everyone, the world over, is connected to food. Dinner is a great coming together for so many people, a backbone of family life and a simply daily treasure we can all love.
I love the European ideal of fresh, local and sustainable produce of the highest quality, I love the variety and technique of Chinese chefs, the flavour explosion of Asian spices, the tradition of Mediterranean foods and the innovation of new world chefs. Food is a blessing for sure.
One request that comes often on Feng Shui consultations is that the client has low energy and wants to feel more energy and often better libido. Feng Shui sometimes is a direct answer – if you are sleeping or cooking in a bad position, it robs the Qi and leaves you feeling lethargic or enervated. However in all cases, you can build on the foundation of Feng Shui by looking at the balance of food in your diet.
Last weekend I sat in on a couple of seminars in Kensington by the wonderful Dr Brian Clements of The Hippocrates Health Institute. For those of you who don’t know, it’s a world-leading health centre in the USA that treats people with serious health issues like cancer and diabetes using natural means. One of their core practices is that of eating a diet of raw and living food.
Raw food isn’t something that comes naturally to Chinese! There are very few dishes in our cuisine that use uncooked ingredients. We don’t tend to serve salads like Westerners do and when I first encountered this concept of raw food I found it very challenging.
Yet at the same time, it was so obviously sensible – humans aren’t born with ovens or woks built in and yet we’d survived on this planet for thousands and thousands of years prior to their introduction. Of course we are not only capable of surviving eating only uncooked food, we’re evolved to eat that way.
I’m not a 100% raw foodist by any means but over the years I’ve increased my intake of uncooked fruit and vegetables and have a thriving organic, permaculture garden at my home. My experience is that as the amount of cooked foods decreases my energy levels go up. I’d find it hard to be completely raw – after all, us Chinese are ‘rice pots‘ – but I do find that if I eat below 50% of my diet as raw foods, then my health suffers.
I spoke with Dr Clements on this. He told me about studies that have shown the reduction in immune system function as cooked food intake increases. It seems that if 80% of the diet is raw, the body copes well but once more than 25% of the diet is cooked the immune system rapidly diminishes in function. By the time you’re eating half your diet cooked, your immune system function is already compromised.
I spent some time trying to reconcile this with Traditional Chinese Medicine. TCM is often misquoted as stating that ALL raw foods are cooling, something which simply isn’t so. We need to look within raw foods to see which are the cooling ones as there are plenty which warm. My breakdown of raw foods is more like this:
- Sweet fruit (like bananas, mangoes, dates)
- Nuts and seeds
- Root vegetables
- Sprouts (especially pea and sunflower sprouts)
- Dehydrated foods
- Citrus fruit
- Melons, cucumbers and other vine fruit
- Green leafy vegetables
When I started to balance myself according to this I found that I could either eat from both groups and have a balance or eat masses of the cooling foods with a little cooked food like a baked potato or some rice and I would still feel warm either way.
The more important part of TCM theory is that of Wu Xing or Five Elements. This equates to the Five Flavours as well as the colours of the foods that nourish us. Eating a little to support each of the Ten Stems together with larger quantities of the foods that support the elements we need to balance is a far better use of TCM than the superficial warming/cooling view.
The extra raw food in the diet brings masses of Qi into the body and really helps the body expel Bing Qi or sickness energy, as well as having a natural balancing effect on the body’s Yin and Yang energies. In fact there’s lots of information to support this. Raw food is the basis of a cleansing diet and helps the body restore it’s hormonal balance. I highly recommend that you start introducing more raw food into your diet.
- Avoiding tapping into bad energies is a fundamental of Feng Shui so please don’t poison yourself with too much cooked food.
- Another of our fundamental principles of Feng Shui is to capture and store energy. All life on Earth depends upon plants’ ability to do this, so eating them in their original state transfers the maximum amount of this solar energy into you, not to mention recharges the body with minerals and enzymes it can use.
When we look at the underlying principles of Feng Shui and raw food, they’re very aligned. So let’s do like the Vietnamese chefs do and get inventive with salads! By adding a big bowl of leaves and herbs to every dinner, you’ll soon start to see the change from eating a diet of cooked, dead food (excess Yin) to eating one full of living energy (Yang). Try it for 30 days and see!