Shhhh. The secret’s out! The Ch’ang Ming diet has found its way out of China and Dr.Yeung will spill the beans on all its fantastic benefits.
Given the choice, would you give your precious first child cheap processed fast food everyday or organic fresh home cooked meals? This is a common question that I pose to clients when I approach the subject of diet. So much effort is put into giving your children the best start in life and yet that same approach is not always applied to yourself. The Daoist Ch’ang Ming diet is a set of guidelines to help give you and your family the best chance of getting the most out of food.
As a doctor, I see businesswomen running multi-national organisations that struggle to find the time to eat regular meals and often ‘eat on the go’. Unfortunately by the time they feel they need to see a health professional, they have already been struggling with depression, lack of sleep, low energy levels and have commonly been suffering with extreme fatigue for a while.
As a Lishi coach, I see improvements in clients’ physical fitness and mental resilience developed through guided meditations and better coping strategies that lead to newly ignited zests for life, yet sometimes the improvements are still hindered through limited energy levels. As I talk more to these clients I find a common cause that threads through all their lives. I often wonder why some have a self destructive side that says ‘I’ve worked hard. I’ll treat myself to some fast food and pudding!'
So I can’t enjoy food?
Not at all. Life is to be enjoyed and lavish tasting food can be part of it. Balanced and in moderation is the key. The Ch’ang Ming diet is a set of guidelines, not stringent rules. Those ‘naughty foods’ are fine so long as they are occasional and not part of your regular diet.
So what is the Ch’ang Ming diet?
It’s a diet that has been followed for thousands of years by Chinese Daoist health art practitioners and at its most basic gives guidance on what foods to eat and how to eat them so that you get the most out of your food. It includes avoiding processed foods, sugars and stimulants and it recommends steaming foods, eating regular meals before 7pm and eating whole fresh food.
Lifestyle changes are for life. If treated like other fad diets you are often setting yourself up to fail. Lots of small changes over time allow the body to acclimatise to them and gives you a much better shot at making sure that the changes you make will last forever.
Listen to your body
Really get in touch with your body. If you can it would be useful to keep a food diary too. I find patients get real benefits from doing so. Make a note of what you’ve eaten and note how you feel during each day. You’ll soon start to notice what makes you feel better and what makes you feel worse. Often you’ll know already but there can be some denial about it. Keeping a diary can really highlight this for you. As you begin to practise the Ch’ang Ming diet you’ll find that the closer you follow the guidelines, the better you feel as a person – and then the choice is yours as to how to proceed.
Try this simple recipe
Stir Fry Tofu & Veg
100 g (8 ozs) tofu, (½” cubes)
100 g (4 ozs) mushrooms,sliced
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
3 teaspoons tamari
1 onion, sliced
Sprig of rosemary
1. Heat the oil in a wok or large frying pan and when hot, add the diced tofu. Cook until brown, stirring occasionally. When done, remove tofu and put aside.
2. While the tofu is cooking, wash and cut the carrots into strips. Once you have removed the tofu, add oil and fry the carrots for 3-5 minutes stirring often.
3. Add the onions and mushrooms to the wok and stir for few minutes more.
4. Add the garlic to the wok, with the leaves from a sprig of rosemary.
5. Keep stirring the vegetables until cooked (about 10 minutes).
6. Add tamari and the cooked tofu and cook for a further 2 – 3 minutes.
7. Serve with brown rice
I’m feeling better, anything else I can do?
So you’ve tried the recipe, you’re mindfully paying more attention to how your meals affect how you feel throughout the day, you’re prepared to make the changes at a pace that suits you and your life. We have to admit, food really is an essential part of our make up. It’s still only part of a holistic approach. When you add in physical and mental disciplines like Lishi, Tai Chi, Yoga, Meditation and Chi Gong, you’ll soon be flying and bouncing out of bed with a smile on your face.