Ideas, theories, trends and science around nutrition are continually changing to sell the next fad. One kind of diet will always remain constant - focus on seasonal, local, whole, unprocessed foods, vegetables, fruit and not over eating. Stick to a weekly calorie budget - if you overeat on one day, under eat on another to stay within your calorie range. 

 

Dampness & phlegm most commonly arises out of consuming the standard American diet; foods that are sodium laden, calorically high, low in fiber, and low in nutrient density. Soft drinks, fruit juice, junk food, ice cream, processed carbohydrates, sweets, rich, overly fatty food must be avoided.  Restrict or avoid: wheat - especially processed white wheat, white potatoes, dairy products (small amounts of homemade kefir or yoghurt are permissible), sugary foods, artificial sweeteners, fatty meat (especially pork - sorry bacon), eggs, butter, margarine, vegetable oils,  chocolate, nuts (especially peanuts), seeds, avocado, dried fruit, tropical fruits, salty foods, vinegar, beer, wine, cocktails.

 

Logging your food, and maintaining a weekly caloric budget can also help. A mindfulness eating practice, like setting your fork down between bites can be useful. Embracing a vegetarian diet can be useful. Consider eating only twice a day - or in a time restricted window. Start every meal with an 8 ounce glass of water.

 

Therapeutic foods: Very small amounts of high quality, lean, low-fat protein, including chicken breast, turkey, fish, and wild game. Green vegetables are your friends, especially those high in fiber like celery and cabbage. Sparingly include olive oil, sweet potatoes, yams, berries and high fiber whole grains like brown rice, rye, millet, oats, and fermented (sourdough) breads to help you feel full.  Small amounts of fermented vegetables can help with digestion and add flavor.

 

Bitter, acrid flavors, and warm foods can be consumed more frequently. And adding acrid and moving foods like, mustard, horseradish, radish, garlic, watercress, turnip, black pepper, clove, cardamom, ginger, and coriander to rich and cloying foods can help reduce the damp generating effect. For example, combine your meats with horseradish. These acrid moving foods are especially useful if you are prone to sinus and respiratory issues.

 

Example meal: Korean seaweed soup with vegetable stock, wild rice and a 4 ounce piece of steamed salmon

References:

Maclean, W., Lyttleton, J., Bayley, M., & Taylor, K. (2018). Clinical Handbook of Internal Medicine: The treatment of disease with traditional Chinese medicine. Eastland Press.

Pitchford, P. (2009). Healing with whole foods: Asian traditions and Modern Nutrition. North Atlantic Books.

Wang, Y., Sheir, W., & Ono, M. (2010). Ancient wisdom, modern kitchen: More than 150 recipes from the east for Health, Healing, and long life. Da Capo Lifelong.

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