Therapuetic Food

The following post is the opening passage of Chapter 25 in Daniel Reid’s book, The Complete Book of Chinese Health and Healing. (1994)

“A truly good physician first finds out the cause of the illness, and, having found that, he first tries to cure it by food. Only when food fails does he prescribe medication.     -Sun Ssu-mo (seventh century AD)

In Chinese medical tradition, diet and nutrition have always formed the first line of defence against disease, and food has always been regarded as a form of medicine. In fact, in the wealthy households and imperial palaces of ancient China, herbal physicians rather than cooks formulated the recipes used to prepare the daily fare, employing precisely the same principles of balance and harmony used in blending herbal prescriptions. The great gourmet recipes of classical Chinese cuisine are therefore potent prescriptions for health and longevity as well as culinary works of art. In Chinese households, the kitchen is also the family clinic.

Perhaps the greatest defect of modern Western medicine is its failure to recognize the vital role nutrition plays in human health. American medical schools do not provide physicians with even the most basic education in nutritional science. Yet the six leading causes of death in the USA today have all been directly linked to dietary factors: heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes, arteriosclerosis, and cirrhosis of the liver.

This has not always been the case. Before the triumph of allopathy and the demise of preventive health care in Western medicine during the early decades of the twentieth century, Western physicians were well aware of the vital importance of diet and nutrition in human health. Dr. Charles Mayo, one of early twentieth-century America’s most renowned physicians, stated: ‘Adequate food is the cradle of normal resistance, the playground of normal immunity, the workshop of good health, and the laboratory of long life.’ “

Grow your vegetables, eat your herbs! -Bigmama

More from this book soon-thoughts on Vegetarianism & Modern Medicine.