Understanding the relationship between the food we eat and our health is extremely important, especially when you love going out to eat. We know that we’re not the only people out there that tend to overindulge on a night out but now that doesn’t have to be the case for any of us. We decided that it was our duty as mavens to visit the bounty of restaurants in Portland, Maine and share our experiences with you. We want to show you delicious options for foods you can eat to not only support your body but also help prevent disease from an eastern dietary therapy standpoint.
Know that we don’t claim to be experts in photographing food and we are not restaurant critics, nor do we want either of those titles. We are just two ladies who love food, dining out, and have an extensive knowledge of eastern dietary therapy. Please enjoy reading about our experiences and use the knowledge you receive to take control of your health!
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), food is classified according to its energetic effects and emphasis is placed on the temperature of the food and its action on the body. Certain foods are cooling while others have the benefit of building Qi (pronounced as Chi), blood, yin or yang. In Chinese medicine systems, food is often thought of as medicine and used to heal the body (FOOD IS MEDICINE).
The Five Flavors of Food According to TCM
Enters and acts on the liver and gallbladder organs.
Sour foods are astringent and are cooling.
Enters and acts on the heart and small intestine organs.
Bitter foods tend to descend qi, drain heat and dry dampness
Enters and acts on the spleen and stomach organs.
Sweet foods can either be neutral and nourishing or warm and nourishing.
(Sweet flavor in Chinese diet are complex carbohydrates like grains, sweet potatoes and fruits, not ice-cream and candy bars).
Enters and acts on the lung and large intestine organs.
It has a yang and dispersing quality.
Enters and acts on the kidneys and urinary bladder organs. It has a cooling and centering quality.
The Five Natures/Temperatures of Foods
In TCM, the nature of the foods also has a direct effect on your body modifying how you cook the food and what foods you cook is dependent on your constitution. The five natures are Cold, Cool, Neutral, Warm and Hot.
Raw – Steamed – Boiled – Stewed – Stir fried – Baked – Deep fried – Roasted
For the Gardner, Qi is the interaction of the soil, sun and the seed. It is the honey bee that pollinates, the rain that falls, and the flower that blooms. It is the process of birth, growth, and ultimately the death of the plant. For the Chef, Qi is the creation of raw ingredients into something beautiful and delicious. The process of of preparing a dish that is visually appealing, but also excites the taste buds. It is the inspiration and driving force behind every stock, reduction, and glaze. It is the passion that food creates for the person experiencing it.
All of these elements come together to to build the Qi in the individual. When we look at a dish, we see the interaction of the ingredients and how they complement one another for your health. We also see where these product came from and the love and passion behind them. When you focus on eating local fresh ingredients that are expertly put together, not only does your soul benefit but so does your body.