Simple Chinese Medicine—A Beginner’s Guide to Natural Healing & Well Being by Dr. Aihan Khun, emphasizes the need for a healthy balanced diet the Chinese Way. The following are some of my recommendations to stay healthy along with a few of my favorite recipes. More information on the importance of food healing, healthy diet, and exercises for healing, can be found in this book. The book also explains in detail the differences in Chinese medicine and Western medicine.

In Chinese healing, preference is for a healthy and balanced diet rather than a macrobiotic diet. A Chinese healthy diet is slightly different from the macrobiotic diet. The macrobiotic diet excludes meat, whereas the Chinese healthy diet allows for small portions of a variety of meats. The Chinese healthy diet focuses on a balanced diet. The diet is based on eating whole foods, foods from natural sources (not chemically preserved), a variety of foods, ideal food portions (in moderation), and food in balance with one’s body constitution. Eating food in harmony with nature and body constitution can help you avoid many health problems.

Eat whole foods

Eat foods as close to their natural form as possible. Eating primarily plant-based foods (low fat, no chemical additives) is always better. Unprocessed food is better than processed foods. This might be common sense to many people, but unfortunately, many people do not follow common sense, including me sometimes. We get accustomed to processed foods, fast foods, and refined foods; although these kinds of foods make our life easier, they have les nutritional value. We understand that the chemicals in the food could interfere with our body’s normal chemical functions, but we often ignore this for the sake of convenience. The additives used in foods to preserve them can cause health problems if consumed in large quantities.

Too much food

Among the population at large, people eat too much food: 30 percent more food than necessary and 50 percent more in some people. The consequences are lethargy, weight, heart, high cholesterols, and elevated blood pressure problems, elevated blood sugar, fatty liver, PMA, fibromyalgia, lung problems, and so on. Some people succumb to stress eating, in which they use food to comfort and calm them. It is certainly the wrong way to deal with stress, because stress becomes even higher once other health issues develop.

Arrange three meals wisely

Breakfast: Breakfast should be a small portion of something healthy. In the morning, your digestive system is not completely awake yet, so you do not need to eat a large portion, unless the meal is late morning brunch. Since you need various nutrients, you should change the menu for breakfast each day. For instance, you might have oatmeal one morning, an apple or other fruits plus some nuts the next morning, whole grain toast on the third , an egg on the fourth day, a bagel on the fifth day, cereal on the sixth day, and an omelet on the seventh day. This way, you include all of the nutrition the body needs.

Lunch: You should really enjoy your meal at lunchtime. You can eat pretty much anything, but adults should have low-fat foods. Lunch is during the day, when you are active, so you have much more opportunity to burn calories. For this reason, lunch should be your most important and enjoyable meal. Unfortunately, many people do the opposite and eat a very light lunch.

Dinner: For most Americans, dinner is the most important/largest meal of the day. Nevertheless, this is the daily meal that requires the most attention in order to maintain good health and weight. At dinner time, you should eat a well-balanced meal in moderate portions. Your dinner should be low in fat and low in sweets. After diner, you should not have dessert except perhaps a piece of fruit. Eating cake, pastry, or other heavy sweets for dessert is unhealthy in many ways. Many people eat a large dinner and eat small portions during their other meals. Over time, you will most likely develop ailments.

Burn more calories

Spicy foods help to burn calories. Power walking or other fast-paced exercise also helps to burn calories. Some people do not like to sweat; however, sweating from a workout is beneficial because it means that you actually have had an effective workout, your metabolism is fast, and you are losing water through your skin. I love hiking, and if I hike two days in a row, my weight drops between 3 and 5 pounds.

Avoid drinking soft drinks

Research shows that drinking soft drinks causes weight gain. Most soft drinks contain a significant amount of sugar. In general, we consume more sugar than we need even without soft drinks, such as sugar in coffee, pastry, meals, tea, bread, snacks and at meals, etc.., which is partly the cause of weight problems. No matter how well you eat, you will not lose weight if you drink soda on a regular basis.

Recipes for healthy eating, Asian Style

If you are a meat eater, you should eat meat in small portions and cook meat in different ways. Cooking meat in this sauce can reduce fat, balance the organs, and add additional flavor. It is one of the most delicious ways to prepare meals.
Chinese Meat Sauce (Chicken or Beef)

2 pounds meat (chicken or beef)
1 dried orange peel
3 star anise
1 cinnamon bark (stick)
5 green onions (white head)
1 teaspoon fennel
3 dried red hot peppers
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon chopped ginger
1 whole garlic
½ teaspoon salt

Wash the meat, put meat in a pot with water, add all of the above ingredients, and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to low and let simmer for 50 minutes to one hour. Remove the meat, cut it to desired size and discard the soup. This way you do not consume the chemicals in the meat. The various spices not only make the meat more flavorful, but also balance the organs.

After cooking the meat, you can either cut and eat it, or cut it into small pieces and marinate with soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, hot pepper sauce, and garlic. You can also cut the meat and mix with salad.

Spareribs and Bean Sprout Soup
½ pound spareribs
9 cups water
2 pieces of ginger
¼ pound bean sprouts
1 small tomato
1 teaspoon salt
1 piece scallion, chopped

Put spareribs, water, ginger, small tomato, and salt together and boil for 40 minutes. Add bean sprouts and boil 15 minutes more. Sprinkle scallion on afterwards.

Spicy Rice and Vegetable Salad with Dressing

Sesame Chili Dressing
½ cup wine vinegar
½ cup soy sauce (preferably tamari)
¼ cup Asian-style sesame oil
¼ cup hot chili oil, or to taste
¼ cup freshly squeezed lime juice

In a jar with a cover, combine ingredients. Cover and shake to blend well.

Spicy Rice and Vegetable Salad
2 cups long-grain white rice
6 green onions
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1 sweet red pepper, diced
1 to 2 teaspoons minced fresh chili pepper, or to taste
½ cup chopped fresh mint
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/3 cup chopped unsalted peanuts
2 cups fresh bean sprouts

Garnish with cilantro sprigs. Serve at room temperature. Cook 2 cups rice in 3 cups water. Fluff with a fork, transfer to a large mixing bowl, and cool slightly. Gently toss the warm rice with about one-third of the dressing. Fluff frequently until the rice cools completely.

Add green onions, carrots, sweet pepper, chili pepper, mint, and cilantro, and toss with the remaining dressing. Place in a serving dish and sprinkle with peanuts, surround with bean sprouts, and garnish with cilantro sprigs.