Nutrition forms the foundation of our health. Therefore we focus on educating and advising our patients on dietary choices. Our philosophy includes principles from Chinese and Ayurvedic (East Indian) medicine, and modern western nutritional science. In the Asian systems we are able to see individuals as belonging to constitutional or archetypal patterns.
In Chinese medicine we have the five elements: fire, earth, metal, water, and wood. In Ayurvedic medicine we have the three doshas, or body humors: kapha, pitta, and vata, which are themselves comprised of five elements. Each of us contains all five elements and the three doshas in varying degrees of predominance. Each element relates to a group of physiological functions as well as vulnerabilities to particular diseases. In a healthy state, we manifest specific physical and psychological strengths. When we become imbalanced by physiological or environmental factors, we tend to manifest symptoms and diseases that are associated with our constitution.
The liver and gallbladder are associated with the wood element. A person with wood predominating, for example, has certain personality traits, emotional tendencies, and physical strengths and weaknesses. While wood types have mental acuity and above average muscular strength and coordination, they can be prone to liver and gallbladder disease, anger or depression, migraine headaches, and numerous other physical maladies. In a healthy state, they have dynamic personalities, but internal or environmental imbalances can push them toward aggression.
Specific foods for the liver include small amounts of sour foods and bitter greens. While sour is the taste associated with the liver, in actuality, hot diseases, which are treated with bitter foods and herbs, easily affect the liver.
Just as we all are an admixture of all five elements, our diets need to contain a broad range of foods to nourish and balance us. The physio-energetic constitution inherently benefits from certain food groups but the diet as a whole does not exclude other healthy foods related to the other elements.
Both the Asian and modern Western nutritional philosophies maintain concepts such as eating high quality oils, fats, and proteins; minimizing or avoiding wheat, gluten, and dairy products; avoiding refined sugar and avoiding excess fructose as found in honey and fruits; drinking adequate amounts of water, and avoiding soda, both regular and diet; restricting caffeine, with a preference for green or herbal teas.
Herbs offer a variety of benefits including providing vital nutrients. While they are not a key source for vitamins per se they do provide a wide range of substances that are characterized as nutritious. The majority of herbs used in the Chinese and western traditions include important nutrients. Adaptogenic herbs, such as ginseng, contain the building blocks for hormones including the adrenals which are essential to reduce the physiological effects of stress.
While the need for vitamin and mineral supplements may be open to debate, leaders in the field of modern biochemical nutrition cite reduced nutrients in our food sources as well as increased environmental, biological, and social stressors today as evidence of our requiring extra nutritional support to maintain optimal health and prevent disease.
We take a conservative position in this regard. We do not ascribe to the high dosage supplementation espoused by the orthomolecular philosophy, and focus on foods and herbs for our nutrients. As the same time, we enter into discussions regarding each patient’s health situation and their possible benefitting from supplements in addition to quality foods and herbs. B-complex and vitamin C in a multiple vitamin protect us from physiological stress.