We’d like to start with some questions:

  • Why Chinese people prefer eating cooked food and drink warm water?
  • Why raw salads, fruit and juices are not among the major foods in a daily Chinese people menu?
  • In your own culture, how many “cooked” and “raw” meals were on the table of your own grandparents each day?

Just think about.

The raw food diet has been popular for quite a while. Many raw food advocates believe that food is best eaten in its natural unprepared state, with all the enzymes intact. However, Chinese dietary therapy considers raw foods too “cold” in nature, which requires too much energy from the body to digest. Overtime, this can weaken the digestive system causing a variety of health problems.

Unity of opposites

In modern philosophy unity of opposites is the central category of dialectics, and it is viewed as a philosophical concept or a scientific concept.

Since ancient times, in Chinese dietary therapy all food items are classified as “heating” or “cooling” because they have different energetic qualities. “Hot” versus “cold” (yin vs. yang) are the two most important oppositions in the traditional Chinese medicine. Food serves to provide a source of balance for the flow of life energy (qi).

The concept of Yin and Yang is a key one in Chinese food therapy. Yin and Yang are emblems of the fundamental duality in the universe, a duality that is ultimately unified. Yin and Yang are complementary, not contradictory. Nor is one regarded as “good” and the other “bad”; they are like day and night, male and female, sweet and sour.

Hot and cold foods should be in balance

All of hot and cold foods should be consumed daily to promote internal balance (yin-yang balance within). Eating too many hot or cold foods will create imbalance in the body, resulting in a number of heath conditions and illnesses.

In general: 1) those who consume too many hot foods may feel overly warm, anxious, constipated; 2) those who consume too many cold foods experience diarrhea, weakness, and depression.

Always remember that yang deficiency is rooted originally in yin deficiency; you cannot completely resolve yang deficiency without resolving yin deficiency.

Effect of raw plan foods on the human’s digestive system

Raw vegetable and fruit have cellulose and other fibrous structures that our stomachs have a hard time breaking it down. Humans are “designed” to eat all types of foods: our stomachs are not the ones that cows and many other “vegetarian” animals have: we don’t have extra stomach’s compartments to help break down and digest all the tough fibrous cellulose contained in plants. Dietary fiber is the indigestible portion of food. It is not a nutrient. It acts by changing the nature of the contents of the gastrointestinal tract and by changing how other nutrients and chemicals are absorbed in our body.
If we are constantly eating foods that our bodies cannot digest, our ability to digest foods in general is weakened. A weakened digestive system can cause bloating, indigestion, constipation or loose stools, weight gain, malnutrition, food allergies and a lowered immune system. Our digestive system is a key element to good health, so it’s important to ensure it is healthy and functioning properly.

Overeating raw vegetables can damage your spleen

Raw foods tend to be “cold” and an overconsumption of them will damage the spleen. (The spleen is an organ in our body that acts primarily as a blood filter. It plays important roles in regard to red blood cells and the immune system; it removes old red blood cells and holds a reserve of blood in case of haemorrhagic shock; and it also recycles iron.) In Chinese medicine the spleen is paired with the stomach and is central in the proper digestion and absorption of food. So, a diet with an overabundance of raw vegetables, juiced vegetables, raw fruits and fruit juices is going to have a negative effect on your health. According to the traditional Chinese medicine, a signal that the digestive system is purging more efficiently due to eating raw food is actually the signal that bowel movements became extremely loose, which is a symptom of spleen damage.

Don’t go to the extremes: raw food is part of your daily menu, not the only meal

Raw foods do have their place in any cuisine, including Chinese. Eat raw salads and cold dishes as part of the meal, not entirely raw meals!

Prefer the foods that have passed the test of time

Frozen pizza, ice cream and juices are relatively new phenomena and have not yet passed the test of time. Better stick to simple cooked grains and cooked seasonal vegetables with a small amount of meat and spices for enjoyment, which will generally keep you out of trouble.

There are three very important postulates in Chinese dietary therapy:

  1. Food has to be eaten in moderation and with pleasure.
  2. There is no one dietary guideline which is good for all individuals.
  3. The strength of our digestive function and how we feel emotionally are intimately linked in the traditional Chinese medicine.

It’s up to you to switch from a raw foods diet to a cooked foods diet or not. But maybe better safe than sorry?

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