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eastern medicine: body types and foods to eat/avoid

by (305)
Updated September 16, 2014 at 7:21 PM
Created April 20, 2011 at 10:35 PM

i tried searching eastern medicine and chinese medicine but did not find anything.

anyhow, here goes.

being of asian descent, i grew up with eastern medicine and regularly seek its remedies and insight. recently i was told by my eastern medicine doctor (emdr) that i had a hot body type. with that, i should focus on cold and neutral foods. wouldnt you know, beef/chicken is a hot food and he said that i should avoid it as it would cause my body to spike in blood pressure as well as temperature. it would also in the long run cause high cholesterol for me. he recommended that i stay with cold and neutral foods such as seafood, pork, vegetables. even before he told me this, (and since being on paleo for a month), i noticed that every time i eat a hot food, i felt a rise in temperature to a point where it was very uncomfortable. i would actually start to sweat.

i can understand my mind playing tricks on me if i had gone to him first and then noticed a body change. but i was pretty shocked that he was spot on as to how the hot foods would affect me.

i want to eat high quality beef for its benefits and taste but i am now concerned by his findings. i dont mind being sweaty but i dont want it to impact my health in a negative way.

now i know paleo eating pre-dates even 5000 years of eastern medicine ;P but has anyone gone to an emdr and found out their body type? has it impacted your paleo lifestyle? any guidance/advice would be appreciated.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad
0 · July 05, 2011 at 6:03 PM

that's the issue, various Chinese and other Asian philosophies classify different foods as yin and yang. There isn't much consistency.

5ef574d7893bc816ec52e04139e9bc09
0 · June 05, 2011 at 3:30 PM

"Heaty/yang foods: rich in sodium Cold/yin foods: rich in potassium" Might just be about electrolyte balance.

06f46afda9ee3ca7f0070a3caa294a91
0 · May 01, 2011 at 6:46 PM

but (for my fam) it's worked on everything from sprained ankles, to fertility, to rheumatoid arthritis. though id like to believe im a critical thinker, there's no way to completely understand what's at work here so i was hoping someone might have more insight into it. In regards to it being a pseudoscience, I guess it depends on which way you look at it. I guess it could be pseudoscience from a western perspective and vice versa.

06f46afda9ee3ca7f0070a3caa294a91
0 · May 01, 2011 at 6:46 PM

i know a lot gets lost in translation.. especially from a language as complex as chinese. But I can only go by what ive been told. i might not understand it 100%, but eastern medicine has never failed my family. also, ive experienced real results so I trust the benefits even though it’s far beyond my comprehension. could it be in my head? possibly.

9f9fa49265e03ddd2bf2bba5477a556b
0 · April 21, 2011 at 4:21 AM

Some of Eastern medicine is pseudoscience. Maybe a lot. Same goes for Western medicine. That said, it doesn't help when terms like "hot" or "cold" foods are used that don't mean "hot" or "cold" in English. In fact, they don't really mean hot or cold in any Chinese dialect. Chris Kresser has written a lot about how bad translations of Chinese words and concepts have lead to a lot of misconceptions about Chinese medicine. We're in 2011 and most of us posting here are in English speaking countries I presume--terms need to be (re)defined to have some scientific clarity. Then we can avoid the woo.

559aa134ff5e6c8bcd608ba8dc505628
0 · April 20, 2011 at 11:31 PM

uh, eastern medicine is not pseudoscience. however, it is useful to use critical thinking skills when working within ANY paradigm.

1da74185531d6d4c7182fb9ee417f97f
0 · April 20, 2011 at 10:44 PM

That's really interesting. I have to admit, my pseudo-science alarm is blasting pretty loudly, but I find that I feel calmer and more satiated when I eat from the "cold" group too. I avoid the pork because I'm concerned about the PUFA's but a big bowl of broth with pork, seafood, veggies, and rice noodles is like, my perfect food.

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8be12378a6d810513f69643e21218998
2
153 · July 05, 2011 at 5:50 PM

As an acupuncturist myself I can affirm that some of Eastern Medicine theory is pseudoscience, and some of it is incredibly useful, just as some of Western Medicine is pseudoscience and some is useful. Just as with Western Medicine, it is also highly subject to the interpretative license and skill of the practitioner.

There was no knowledge of cholesterol when Chinese medicine was developed so I would ascribe that comment to the typical modern-day cholesterol paranoia disguised as the wisdom of Eastern Medicine (though I'm sure he has good intentions). As far as hot/cold, you may have a constitutional type that would respond better to certain foods but sometimes you just have a temporary condition that is hot/cold, which may change eventually. Sometimes lifestyle choices or emotional patterns are more influential than foods so it's not worth stressing about the food properties or cutting out otherwise nutritious foods...

Food has other properties than hot/cold and in my experience it may still be important to include some so called "hot" foods in your diet because of their other benefits (beef for building blood is great for athletes and menstruating women, for example). Or vice versa, for example, according to Eastern Medicine if you have a tendon injury it's best to stay away from shellfish, even though you may be a hot type and shellfish a cooling food.

5672b2d190891342389e764cc4056ca9
0
1304 · April 21, 2011 at 3:18 AM

According to this website http://www.benefits-of-honey.com/heaty.html chicken is heaty, but both pork and beef are neutral foods: they become heaty or cooling according to how you prepare them. Besides, my understanding of Chinese medicine is that you don't necessarily need to avoid certain foods as long as you balance them out: for example, even though chicken is heaty, you can combine it with some cooling food, for example broccoli, to make it more balanced.

I personally don't follow Chinese medicine, so I don't have first-hand experience to share. The distinction between heaty and cooling foods might work, but it's too much hair-splitting for my taste. I don't see anything wrong with trying it for some time, and you can have a lot of fun doing some research online, or even getting some good books on Chinese medicine (BTW, 5000 years ago the Chinese hadn't invented writing yet, how would we know about their medical traditions?)

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad
0 · July 05, 2011 at 6:03 PM

that's the issue, various Chinese and other Asian philosophies classify different foods as yin and yang. There isn't much consistency.

5ef574d7893bc816ec52e04139e9bc09
0 · June 05, 2011 at 3:30 PM

"Heaty/yang foods: rich in sodium Cold/yin foods: rich in potassium" Might just be about electrolyte balance.

99fed9d47aabf634f3aead65fee92841
-2
4 · June 05, 2011 at 3:09 PM

We might not know about their medical traditions because of no written texts (ie, word of mouth), but I think a Chinese person would. Chinese medicine is passed on through generations and generations. Family members do what the fathers did before them. They can just look at you and know what's wrong, what you did. It's really quite amazing, and "science" can't handle that. It's actually encoded in their DNA. Which is why it works so well, particularly with their own race.

That said, I discovered that I must "test" everything on myself, that you cannot eat what someone tells you to eat, you have to listen to the body's wisdom and see what it's telling YOU. If your body is telling you beef is not making you feel good, why eat it? There are other meats to eat, as you have said.

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