Power of Energetics: Enjoyment of Food


This weeks blog topic is about the enjoyment of food. Eating is an expression of who you are. Enjoying food and eating, in general, can create feelings of joy and fulfillment. It is too easy today to just grab some food and eat on the go. We rarely take the time to eat slowly and actually enjoy our food.

The Art of Chewing

It is very important in TCM to chew your food slowly and thoroughly.  It is said that “the stomach has no teeth”, and thus chewing is a necessary component to proper digestion.

Eating and digestion begins with chewing. Food begins getting digested in the mouth via the enzymes amylase and lipase in saliva.  These enzymes help start the break down the food prior to its entry into the stomach.  Chewing grains and other complex carbohydrates turn them into sugars and allows the body to absorb oils, proteins, and minerals better.  Vegetables and grains when chewed until liquid will help release their full nutritional value. Incomplete chewing can leave you feeling heavy and dull and even create gas.  When digestion is efficient the body feels light and balanced.

Get into a new habit of properly chewing your food.  Begin by keeping count how many times you chew per bite.  This brings your attention to chewing and helps you start focusing on chewing.  Then, start chewing 30-50 times per bite, especially at the beginning of a meal.  Eventually, you will get into the habit and not need to count anymore. It really helps you concentrate on chewing if you set down your eating utensil between bites.

Balancing Appetite and Satiety

Habitual overeating is a large issue in society today.  This trend has many causes, from large size portions to eating on the run.  In TCM, you should never eat yourself until full, you should eat until you feel two-thirds full.  Following this rule will help combat that “roll me out the door” fullness, epigastric pain or pressure, gas, nausea, and indigestion.  Health and feeling your best comes from eating an appropriately sized meal that contains a variety of different types foods, a balance of all 5 flavors, and an eating a mixture of both solid meals and liquids meal, such as soup.

The hardest part of not overeating is combating cravings. When we crave certain foods and indulge in that craving, we tend to overeat due to the physical and emotional relief it brings. Specifically the appetite control center of the hypothalamus which recognizes each flavor and has to have a specific amount of food to be eaten to feel satisfied.  To achieve a balanced diet, one should try to overcome these cravings and eat less complex meals. Meals should be balanced between all five flavors, no matter the craving. A balanced meal should have sweet (earth), sour (wood), pungent (lung), salty (kidney), and bitter (heart) flavors represented. It should also be simple, which allows for easier digestion. An example of a simple balanced meal would be a congee cooked with garlic, scallions, leeks, and a bit of added salt (mineralized salt such as Himalayan or black salt work best).

With all this said, do not be too rigid about your diet.  This can result in a negative relationship with the food and can create more issues with food than help.  It is healthier to eat what you want than to overstuff yourself with another food trying to combat the craving.


While waiting for the next installment, please take a look at the foods in our other blogs to see how to choose the most nutritious groceries, how to store them to retain freshness, the nutritional benefits, and of course—the energetics.