The Most Essential Part Of A Nourishing Diet {That No One Is Talking About}

The overarching message about food these days seems to be finding the perfect diet that will solve all of your health issues if you just follow it closely enough. You can’t log into any social media platform or even hang out with a group of friends without being bombarded by food messages of all types. Know what I see the most? Guilt. Also pressure, perfectionism, reductivism, and ideals that are nearly impossible to reach & maintain, even if you are a practicing Monk! So if you are feeling overwhelmed, lost in the details, or even defeated, know that you’re not alone. A lot of approaches today are asking too much from food, and it creates a ton of frustration, and blows to your self worth and sense of achievement.

As a Chinese Medicine practitioner, I was trained to look at food differently. We look at food from the perspective of how it affects your body, what types of foods are best for your personal constitution {meaning no 1 diet is good for everyone}, and how to use food as an effective tool in building the foundation of health. We prioritize real food that isn’t branded, marketed by influencers, or pushed on you from a rigid and dogmatic philosophy. None of those things are useful when it comes to cultivating your health.

In Chinese Medicine, Food Doctors go back as far as the West Zhou Dynasty {1122-721 BCE}, which I find so amazingly cool, and I couldn’t be more honored to be a steward of this art, skill, and wisdom in today’s landscape. Particularly because as this was developing in the Zhou Dynasty {roughly 3100 years ago!}, Food Doctors were more highly regarded than Medical Doctors, and I think this concept is just as important and useful today, as it ever was.

A simple fact: If we start with food, so many other things become manageable.

So today I want to help you understand the most important concept underlying all of your food choices, regardless of what type of diet you follow: Qi.

Qi {pronounced chee, and sometimes spelled Chi} is defined many ways, but for today’s purposes, we’re going to use the term Life Force. Good Qi has a vibrance, strength, and aliveness that is remarkable, and with a little direction, it’s easy to see & feel it anytime. As people, we have Qi. It’s our energy, vibrance, and stamina to get through each day, and it’s always better with good food, good rest, and nourishing relationships.

But food has Qi, too. It has to do with it’s general quality and availability of vibrance when we prepare it that makes all the difference. Here’s one example: If you’ve ever had a ripe summer tomato, fresh from the garden that has never been refrigerated, you’ve experienced food with amazing Qi. Same goes for freshly caught fish, wild game, oysters in season, and anything homegrown and served at it’s peak. Also, my personal favorite, organic very ripe peaches at the end of summer. 🤤

Now just to be clear, I’m not saying you need a garden, or farm, or become a hunter to be healthy, but what I am saying is by adjusting your criteria for choosing food, you will get so much more out of your diet every time you eat, and that is exactly what builds the foundation of health, Babe.

How to eat more food with good Qi

In order to get more from your food, the best strategy is to eat food that has more available Qi, and eat it in the format that delivers more Qi to you. Diet has a great effect on every part of your health, including fertility, vision & hearing, bone density, dental health, allergies, immunity, strong digestion, energy, mental clarity, and aging beautifully, well into your 80’s and 90’s. So let’s discuss ways to increase the vitality on your plate so you increase the vitality of your being.

Here are my top 5 ways to increase the amount of Qi in every meal, and lay the groundwork for better health on every level:

1. Eat What Should Actually Be In Season

When we look at nature, and what’s typically available during each season, it has it’s own type of intelligence, and following it solves a lot of problems with your health. What I mean by that is, having everything available in our grocery stores 365 days/year has created a confusing diet approach, and we are seeing it everywhere with so much gas & bloating, infertility, weight & skin issues, fatigue, inflammation, autoimmune conditions, and poor aging. {I could go on, but this is a good start.}

Keep it simple by eating more warm foods when it’s cold out and only eat cold foods when it’s hot out. Example: Eat asparagus & sprouts in spring, watermelon in summer, and soups & stews in winter. Return to the simple laws of nature and don’t get tricked into low vibe, less flavorful foods that are out of season, and thus, have less Qi, than when they are grown & eaten at the right time.

2. Eat High Quality Foods

Whether you’re shopping at a natural grocery store in a city, or you have access to wild caught & home grown foods, opt for the highest quality foods you can find. This doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune. It means to buy organic as much as you can, grow food organically at home if you have space, or talk to people in your family & friend group who garden, hunt, or fish and see if you can buy food from them.

Also find your local farmer’s market and use it as much as you can. Food grown on a small scale, grown locally, and organically will always have more available Qi than storebought food, because most food in the store is grown in another state {or country}, picked prematurely, and then shipped thousands of miles before it reaches your store. On the one hand, this is a bit of a marvel for getting food from places that grow it to places that are more densely populated, but on the other hand, commerce often cancels out quality, so start learning how to find more local sources for high vibe food, and you will notice a huge difference in both flavor and abundance of life force available in everything you buy and eat.

3. Avoid Processed Food

Processed foods are most of the foods from the ‘middle’ of the grocery store, such as granola bars, pre-made salad dressing, meal kits in boxes, sauces with colors or preservatives, and many of the treats in the freezer section–savory and sweet. An easy way to categorize this is anything with ingredients that Confucius wouldn’t recognize as food {LOL}.

Because of food safety laws for producing things on a large scale, food has to be prepared & preserved in ways that ultimately kill any Qi the food had to begin with. What this means is that even though it may have spices, flavorings & additives to taste good, the available life force is almost nothing because it has been over-cooked, over-seasoned, or laden with chemicals to give it ‘shelf life’.

That doesn’t mean that all prepared things are bad. It means you should read the ingredients and add simply prepared foods to food with Qi for a decent dose of life force on your plate.

One example is spaghetti sauce. You can find many that have good quality ingredients with olive oil {not canola} and no additives, preservatives, or chemical flavorings, but on it’s own, it doesn’t have much available Qi. Add it to some organic or pastured ground beef and eat that with zucchini noodles, and you have a meal with abundant Qi! But if you just have it with regular or gluten-free pasta, which is also very low in life force, it’s just a meal of blah, rather than a meal of vibrance. A few key shifts can improve any meal you prepare.

4. Organic Matters. Budget it in as often as you can

The US uses over 1 Billion pounds of pesticides per year. 1 Billion pounds of gut-killing, skin-irritating, allergy-causing, fertility reducing chemicals every year–and they are in everything from cheerios to yogurt to corn and oats, and you better believe they are in a LOT of the foods in your pantry, refrigerator, and most of the foods from your favorite restaurants.

On the one hand, organic may seem bougie and out of reach if you’ve been on a tight food budget. But on the other hand, what is your long-term health worth? Buying more food that’s organic will help you avoid the insane amount of chemicals, gmo’s, and poor quality foods that simply erode your health. The more effort you can put into better quality, organic food, the better your health will be in the long run, and it will ultimately save you money on healthcare expenses, plus increase your quality of life–which is worth everything.

5. Cook more at home, and have more control over your food quality

A big part of how I work with people to recover their health & vibrancy it teaching them how to cook more at home. I know it can seem like a chore if you’re not used to it, but when you realize that home-cooked food has endless amounts of life-force, flavor, and all ingredients have been sourced by you, so you can trust what you’re consuming, it’s an easy choice.

Now don’t get me wrong, I worked in the restaurant industry for 25 years, and I KNOW how amazing a great meal cooked by a trained Chef can be. But the reality is, most restaurants can’t afford to use high quality ingredients, like local produce, wild-caught & pastured animal products, and safe, healthy fats without GMO’s and omega 6’s. So go out when you need to, and when you want to, but I want to encourage you to keep learning simple go-to meals you can make at home, and start paying attention to how much better you feel with home-cooked, high-vibe, organic, thoughtful meals cooked in your own magical kitchen.

In fact, get your friends on board and share more meals through potluck dinners, cooking shares, and recipe exchanges and it will benefit everyone involved!

A Healthy Summary & Shout Out To Qi Building Kitchens Everywhere

This is the actual grass roots of real healthcare. Many of us grew up thinking we could take medication or get a surgery and the problems would be solved, but we’re learning every day that this isn’t true, and with every difficult symptom, we can’t deny the preciousness of this one sweet life, and how much it means to give it everything and nourish health at the core, so we have fewer problems to contend with.

Make sure you’re signed up to my email list {below!} to get more tips, strategies, and skills for navigating a healthier & more vibrant life as much as you can with simple things you can do every day.

XO, AJ

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