Chinese Medicine is the oldest continuously used scholarly medical tradition in the world. It is a classical tradition, meaning that innovations are added to the tradition rather than uprooting what came before. Innovations are added like new branches on a grand tree, and are presented as commentaries to the classic texts. As new ideas or new foods were introduced, debate was eloquent and robust. Profound and precise methods were developed and tested first by clinicians (often spiritual adepts of very high accomplishment and clarity) and eventually on countless patients over many centuries.
Illness can to bring our lives to a halt; anything that impedes going forward smoothly with one’s life is a type of illness: lethargy, anxiety, ‘learning disabilities’, compulsions, pain and of course, generally recognized illnesses. Classical Chinese Medicine offers sophisticated insights into the interrelation of physical, mental/emotional health and illness along with multiple strategies for clearing impediments. Although famous for acupuncture, herbs and martial arts, dietary focus is integral to classical Chinese Medicine (although never an obsession). The foundation of basic health maintenance or recovery from illness always relies on healthy digestion and a dynamically appropriate diet.
Although there have been important dietary books written in the Chinese medical tradition since early times, both the specific information and the knowledge needed to use that information have been very hard to come by. The book I am completing bridges this gap for the home cook using the familiar foods of a modern market, something I feel is not only possible but urgently needed. With a solid understanding of how food works, we can clear the fog of conflicting and often convoluted food recommendations all around us.