This means that your body is a phenomenal healing machine if given the opportunity – eating a wholesome diet, exercising regularly, sleeping well and engaging in stress relief practices. If your body needs extra help then we seek out professional help who can figure out what’s wrong. But in many cases, disease is manifesting because we’re not providing the body with adequate means to support health.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), there are four primary methods of treating children’s diseases:
Here we will focus on dietary therapy.
The most commonly encountered pediatric complaints that can be treated include:
In Chinese medicine, there are not good or bad foods; there are appropriate and inappropriate foods for each individual. Not everyone is meant to eat one specific diet-we all have our unique needs.
Certainly non-foods such as sodas, candy, and other “junk” foods are bad for you but for the purpose of this talk I will be only considering unprocessed food such as fruits, vegetables, dairy, grains, meats, spices and herbs. Our body was not meant to eat foods that don’t expire!
Ultimately, wholesome healthy food should be the first line of defense at healing and preventing disease. The food we feed fuel ourselves with will determine how we prevent and recover from illness. There are simple ways we can address health especially with kids who rebound fairly quickly.
Food can be your medicine!
“All disease begin in the gut.” The Father of Medicine (Hippocrates, 460-370BC)
According to western conventional medicine, the gut houses 70% of the immune system.
It is the Chinese medical understanding that the Spleen and Stomach are the organs of digestion and assimilation.
An immature digestion combined with an inappropriate diet accounts for the most commonly encountered pediatric complaints including: colic, ear infections, diarrhea, constipation, eczema, cough, common cold, swollen glands, hyperactivity, allergies and asthma.
Just like we teach children about the world (science, math, art, writing, etc) they need our guidance about what to eat. No one child can eat whatever they want and still remain entirely healthy. My 6 year old daughter is a perfect example! Unless, I’m with her to supervise that she’s eaten her healthy food, she’ll default to eating sugary, salty, greasy, processed foods. I’ll pack her a healthy lunch and I see all the fruits and vegetables, come back still sealed neatly in her lunchbox. It’s our personal challenge. So, that day we’ll have a brief talk about the importance of eating healthy food and we make a deal that she will eat all her healthy dinner.
Regardless of the condition, most children’s diseases should surround regulating and strengthening the digestion. Focusing on a child’s gut health is the utmost importance for their health. There, of course, other lifestyle factors that attribute to disease which include: stress, lack of exercise and chronic exposure to toxins but today I will concentrate on food choices.
However, you may need to identify and address food allergies. Gluten, soy, dairy, eggs, wheat and yeast are the usual suspects when food allergies are concerned and one reason may be that these foods have been genetically tampered with the most.
Of course TCM takes into account the seasons when offering nutritional guidelines. Winter is a time for hearty and warm foods like stews including root vegetables, meats and spices like ginger, chili pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, scallions; summer is a time for cooling foods like citrus, tofu, milk, lettuce, celery, mint, cucumber and tomato.
Cook lighter meals using methods like steaming and stir-frying.
Our bodies are as dynamic as the seasons so we must try to eat accordingly.
Balancing flavors and the color of foods support overall health our body by nourishing the different systems with nutrients they needs to function optimally.
As children grow, limiting sweets and dairy foods is very important for a child’s health. These inappropriate foods would include but are not limited to: flavored yogurt, juice, fruit snacks and ice cream (to name a few) which are usually a child’s first choice when asking for a snack. The sweet flavor and often cold temperature of these foods hamper digestion.
Instead opt for warm applesauce sprinkled with cinnamon for a snack and rather than a cold sandwich for lunch offer soup. As most moms agree making up a lunch box can be challenging but store soup in a thermos and having fruits and vegetable available will make a difference.
Interested in Chinese dietary therapy for your children? Please setup an appointment with our licensed acupuncturist by calling us at (571)529-6699.