What is Health? In ancient Chinese tradition, Yang Shen translates as “nourishing life” and represents the concept of optimizing health and promoting longevity. It incorporates both body and mind practices such as: meditation, physical movement, sleep hygiene, community, a clean environment, living in step with nature and of course, good dietary practices. The fact is, one cannot create a healthy life based on food alone. Although diet is a critical component, to be truly well, all aspects of one’s life should be in balance.
What is the best dietary approach? A Qing Dan diet is plant based and forms one of the cornerstones of a nourishing lifestyle. Qing Dan can be translated as clean and simple and it consists of mainly cooked, and easy to digest foods, with varying, but modest, amounts of animal products. It also makes use of condiments, herbs and fermented products to enhance digestion, promote absorption of nutrients and to maintain a well balanced inner microbial environment. Beyond the specific foods that constitute a clean and simple diet, practices such as mindful eating, intermittent fasting, eating in accordance with the seasons and consuming local foods are all part of the practice.
What foods are good for me? In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) the term “healthy” as related to food, is not based on the conventional western model where for example, raw vegetables may be considered healthy and animal fat is unhealthy. Instead, each food has its own function and impact on the body without a good or bad label. A substance may be considered to be either very appropriate, modestly appropriate or inappropriate according to the person’s constitution and, or specific condition. We should also consider the season. Certain foods like watermelon for example, are deemed very appropriate in the warm summer months and inappropriate in the cold season. In fact with the exception of highly processed products, which are not even considered as food, we cannot say there are “bad or good” foods. There are only substances that will either help, hinder or play a neutral role in promoting our health.
How do I know what to eat? You can learn about Yang Shen practices and Qing Dan dietary principles by finding resources on the subject and learning. Easton Health is committed to empowering you with information that will build your knowledge and skills. Once you understand the basic concepts, it’s easy to create a Yang Shen lifestyle. Keep checking in for more articles, blogs & videos that are dedicated to supporting your journey toward wellness and optimal health!