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6. The Basic Healthy Diet

To sum up the traditional wisdom of Chinese dietary theory, humans should mostly eat vegetables and grains with small amounts of everything else. We should mostly eat cooked and warm food which is not too sweet, not too greasy or oily, and not too damp. In addition, we should eat moderately and chew well. It is healthy to drink a cup of warm water or a warm beverage with meals. This facilitates the formation of that 100° soup. But it is unhealthy to drink or eat chilled, cold and frozen drinks and foods with meals.


In general, I would emphasize that most Americans do not eat enough vegetables. Grains, like meat and dairy products, are highly nutritious but heavy and more difficult to digest. If overeaten they can cause accumulation of dampness and phlegm. In Asia, Daoists and Buddhists interested in longevity emphasized vegetables over grains and even modern Chinese books on geriatrics recommend that more vegetables should be consumed.


Amongst the grains, rice holds an especially healthy place. Because it promotes diuresis, it tends to leech off excess dampness. Basmati, brown or jasmine rice are recommended. Other grains, in comparison, tend to produce dampness, as a by-product of their being so nutritious. This ability of rice to help eliminate dampness through diuresis becomes more important the more other dampening foods one eats.


Eating mostly cooked grains and vegetables with only a small amount of animal protein and fats and oils is referred to as a Qing Dan diet, which literally means pure and bland diet.


Lastly, whatever you eat try to get “organic” as much as possible!

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