Despite the fact that the human body is intelligently embedded with self-healing algorithms, not all humans are aware enough to understand it, depriving their body from important nutritional needs. Making choices driven by addictions rather than listening to their body needs, eating habits become dangerously harmful for health. The purpose is to understand how to achieve bodily balance based on the ancient knowledge of Qi Gong, following Tao principles of life.
Yin and Yang Foods
Each food contains a blend of Yin and Yang. The proportion between Yin and Yang will dictate the thermal quality of a certain food. For example, a cucumber is a cold while garlic is hot. Ki Train Method regards all food and drinks as a way to balance the energies within the body through nutrition. “Food is Medicine” should be better translated as “Food is Healing”.
Yin is cold and Yang is warm, therefore the more Yin the colder the food is and the more Yang the warmer it is.
Besides the thermal quality, the food flavor plays an important role in understanding how we can balance the energies within our body. The flavors are directly related to the primordial elements.
Salty – Water, Spicy – Metal, Sour – Wood, Bitter – Fire, Sweet – Earth.
For a balanced health, each flavor is equally important.
Feng-Shui of your Plate
In the Western part of the world, the art of Feng Shui has spread much faster than the Traditional Chinese Medicine, Qi Gong, Ba Gua or Tai Chi. Mainly because of its commercial aspect, Feng Shui was easy to sell, especially because of the money component (if you choose to rearrange your home or office according to Feng Shui principles, you will improve your financial situation, your health, relationships – basically your entire life improves). But this is not about Feng Shui in general. It is about the Feng Shui of your food shopping, your fridge and freezer, and ultimately about the food plate you are about to eat next.
The five flavors are the oldest system of food classification in TCM – Traditional Chinese Medicine. Flavors can be divided according to their Yin (Sweet, Acrid) or Yang (Salty, Sour, Bitter) qualities. In addition to their specific Yin/Yang effect, the five flavors each belong to one of the five phases/elements. As a result, each flavor is closely associated with the respective organ network linked to the phase influenced by the flavor.
Sweet– EARTH phase – Spleen/Stomach
Sweet has the strongest supplementing effect on the body. It is warming, harmonizing, relaxing and moistening. As it is written in the ancient manual Nei Jing: “Sweet flavor adds flesh”, which may be interpreted as a cause for obesity. Sweet may be found in many forms, not only in sugar. In fact, it is better to look for it in fresh fruits, honey, vegetables.
(Almond, Apple, Banana, Beef, Butter, Carrot, Cheese, Chicken , Corn, Duck, Fig, Milk, Oats, Honey)
Acrid– METAL phase – Lung/Large Intestine
Spicy food is invigorating. Ginger can be a life saver being a solution for many treatments. People with heat symptoms should avoid acrid flavor. Acrid flavors are beneficial when experiencing emotional strain, such as sadness, melancholy – emotions of the lung)
(Celery, Chili, Garlic, Ginger, Onion, Paprika, Pepper, Radishes, Thyme)
Salty– WATER phase – Kidney/Bladder
Salt is in almost everything, so excess becomes a common factor, maybe one if the reasons of big number of blood pressure problems in the world. The salt in excess dehydrates the body, damages fluids and vascular system, the muscles and bones.
(Duck, Ham, Oyster, Octopus, Pork, Pigeon, Salt, Soy Sauce)
Sour – WOOD phase – Liver/Gallbladder
Sour and cooling foods refresh the body by cooling the emotional heat in the liver and gallbladder. Ki Train Method recommends several detoxing programs, among which is also the gallbladder/liver detox where we use fresh lemon juice and olive oil, after a fasting day. The lemon juice is a perfect example of healing sour flavor food.
(Apple, Grape, Kiwi, Lemon, Mango, Orange, Plum, Pineapple, Sour milk, Tomato)
Bitter – FIRE phase – Heart/ Small Intestine
A flavor which is not to be found often. Usually associated with a taste of medicine, for some reason people have avoided this flavor. Maybe with the exception of coffee and beer, which are widely spread, we rarely find dishes that are bitter by definition. Due to its fire nature, it has a drying effect. Maybe good to remember next time your nose is running, that using more bitter foods will help you.
(Basil, Chicory, Coffee, Dandelion, Lettuce, Parsley, Green Tea)
“De Gustibus Non Est Disputandum“
The title is a famous Latin quote translated in English as: “In matters of taste, there can be no disputes”. Each person has different tastes when it comes to food. In fact, entire countries or regions have different culinary tastes. This came about based on the food offerings in their own region as well as based on different cultural, social and religious beliefs. Different cuisines use unique ingredients resulting in a blend of tastes.
How we have been raised and how we built our life eating habits makes it difficult for many of us to change the way we look at food. But would you jeopardize your health just to keep going with your eating habits, even if you find out that they are harmful for your health? Ki Train Method is about UNLEARNING and being open to change your habits at any time, with the sole purpose of personal wellbeing and perfect health.
Food Addiction vs Craving
How do we differentiate between addiction and craving? Before we make a direct connection with the food choices we make, let us take a look at the dictionary to define the words. Addiction is a brain disorder characterized by compulsive engagement in rewarding stimuli despite adverse consequences. On the other hand, craving is a noun that comes from the verb to crave, which comes from the Old English word “crafian”, which means to demand, to beg. When we talk about a craving, it is almost like the body and not the mind is demanding something.
An Addiction is connected to the Mind; a Craving is connected to the Body.
“Every form of addiction is bad, no matter whether the narcotic be alcohol, morphine or idealism.”
Carl Gustav Jung
Chocolate, coffee, sweets or alcohol are just some of the existing food addictions among people all over the world. They are brain stimulants. The “feel good now” state becomes more important than the consequences the body might suffer.
How do we know the difference between an addiction and a craving of certain food? If you can avoid eating/drinking it for more than 30 days, you are probably not addicted. If are in doubt, try out this test and see what happens.
Listen to Your Body
Craving is how your body communicates to you a certain nutritional need. The human body is very intelligently programmed to take what it needs. The only problem is that we cannot always hear the voice of the body, because there is too much noise going on produced by the habits of eating. Do you crave something salty? Or perhaps something sweet? Is your body trying to tell you something else?
Perhaps craving for milk translates into a need of calcium? The body knows what it needs, if you could just start actively listening better.
Food Shopping Hungry?
Especially if you want to start eating healthier, it is for your best interest to form the habit of not shopping if you are hungry. Being hungry and food shopping in the same time will make you buy things based on your hunger impulse instead of rational decisions to eat what you need. If you make it a habit of not going food shopping hungry, you will not only eat healthier but you will also give your wallet the chance for healing, as you will not spend on unnecessary ingredients, just because you are hungry.
Each ingredient, according to its intrinsic properties, represents one or more
Primordial Elements. Cooking ingredients will influence not only our chemical body components but also the overall energy. General preventive nutrition can focus on only the thermal nature or flavor of foods. Nutritional therapy designed to heal illness, however, needs to be based on a firm diagnosis and consider all four criteria (thermal nature, flavor, organ network, and direction).
General preventive nutrition is available to all of us. We just need to educate ourselves about the type of ingredients and their qualities.
What to Avoid
The food industry has evolved into a major business. In order to be able to transport and store food all over the world, companies have started to look for ways to preserve certain items for a long period of time. The noble thoughts from start have turned into transforming some of the foods into poison for the body. Many products in the supermarket are harmful for us, and yet, their business is based on our lack of awareness. It is pretty much the same in politics, where elected presidents are blamed for the way they run a country, instead of blaming the people who elected them in the first place. It goes the same with the food choices. Education about food ingredients is vital if you want to maintain excellent levels of health, a detoxified body and slow down the aging.
The final conclusion is that it would be better to stay away from any food that has to be preserved on a supermarket shelf and instead prefer fresh food, fresh ingredients, fresh herbs, fresh fruits, fresh meat. If you love yourself enough, you will consider this as a habit of life from now on, living, cooking and eating using fresh mainly ingredients.
Dining out is part of experiencing life, however, if you didn’t know, restaurants main purpose is to make money and unless the chef is appreciating healthy ingredients without being pressured about the food cost issues, most of the restaurants will use ingredients that are not the best for your health. Nevertheless, may apply the same rule I mentioned in the previous paragraph, by choosing items on the menu that you have a clear picture about the ingredients and way of preparation. Eating out every day will give you minimum control over the food (and the used ingredients) you eat. Moderation is the key to perfect health.
Part of living and practicing the Ki Train Method, I habitually fast almost daily, with the purpose of saving energy from daily unnecessary digestion processes. When there is an imbalance between the elements, no matter what has caused it, the body reacts immediately to restore the balance. Fasting helps restoring the balance, as the body tends to use up the existing excesses in the body.
Listen to Your Intuition
Intuition is a priceless treasure unfortunately still underrated. Understanding your inner voice requires daily practice of active listening skills. Trust is needed in every relationship, including the relationship we build with our body. Nature has inspired humans since the beginning of times on this planet. All living beings are in tuned with their bodies. A dog will eat when hungry and will fast when sick. Animals practice moderation. Famous Benjamin Franklin came up with a wise phrase, which is most appropriate way to close this chapter: “Eat to live, don’t live to eat!”