To live a long and sound life, one should have some knowledge of dietetics, dietary restrictions concerning poisoning and incompatability, and moderation in the quantity of food intake. Overeating, under-nourishment, and inadequate diet cause illness, and shorten life-span. There are two aspects – knowledge of food and knowledge of drink.
Knowledge of food.
All food products are divided into five categories: grains, meat sils and fats, aromatic herbs or vegetables, and assorted cooked dishes.
Grains include those which develop bristling awns and those which are leguminous or podded. The former include rice, millet, Chinese buckwheat, wheat and barley, and the latter comprise peas, Himalayan beans and red beans, Chinese broadbeans, and lentils. Grains are supplemented by sesame, linseed and polygonum.
In general, grains with bristling awns are of cool nature, nutritious, conducive to virility, and capable of curing disorders of wind and of producing an excess imbalance of phlegm. Rice, mild and light in potency, helps against diarrhoea and vomiting. Millet, heavy in potency, helps to heal wounds and fractured bones. Common barley replen-ishes physical vigour, and increases the amount of faeces.
Peas and Himalayan beans among leguminous grains are light and cooling in nature. They help to stop bleeding and vomiting and cure disorders of phlegm combined with fever. Chinese broadbeans are a remedy for coughing, dyspnaea or breathlessness, haemorrhoids, and seminal lithiasis. They increase blood and bile. Himalayan beans cure diseases of wind, increasing the power of phlegm, bile and semen. Lentil is helpful against erysipelas, podagra, and blood disorders.
Black and white sesame seeds are heavy and warming, hence they increase virility, and cure diseases of wind. Linseed is bitter-sweet, oily and helpful for disorders of wind. All varieties of buckwheat are cool, light, and capable of curing wounds, but increase all the three humours.
Meat. Animals are divided into eight groups: gallinaceous birds which dig for food with their claws; birds which dig for food with their beaks; small game animals; big-game animals; predatory wild beasts, birds of prey; domestic animals which are actually a supplement to the eight groups; underground animals; and aquatic creatures. The first three groups of animals inhabit dry areas, while the last two live in dampness, and the others may dwell anywhere. The meat of animals from dry areas is cooling, and owing to its light and rough potency, reduces heat in conjunction with the disorders of wind and phlegm. The meat of creatures from damp or wet regions is oily, heavy and warm. It is helpful against disorders of the stomach, lumbar region, and cold disorders of wind. The meat of animals who live in zones which are both dry and damp possess both warm and cold potencies.
Mutton, for example, is oily, warm, and therefore easily digested. It increases physical vigour helps against disorders of wind and phlegm and stimulates the appetite. Goat meat is heavy cool helps against venereal diseases, smallpox, and burns. Beef is oily and cool and it therefore reduces the heat in conjunction with disorders of wind. Meat of the horse – asiatic wild ass donkey and mule interrupts festering sores and alleviates cold diseases of the kidneys and diseases of serum. Pork is cooling, light and a remedy for ulcers. Buffalo meat improves sleep and produces muscle tissue. Yak meat is oily, warm, relieves cold disorders, and increases blood and bile. Poultry and sparrow flesh increases the amount of semen, while healing ulcers and wounds. Peacock flesh cures eye diseases and loss of voice, while cheese stimulate the appetite, produce dry faeces, and alleviate disorders of phlegm. The buttery sediment or residue from a milk churn counteracts disorders of phlegm and wind.
Oil. Sesame oil is sharp and warm in nature. It cures leanness and obesity, as well as healing disorders of phlegm and wind. Mustard oil depresses wind and generates phlegm and bile. Bone marrow also depresses wind, while invigorating semen and producing phlegm. Fat counteracts ailments of the bones and joints, as well as burns – disorders of wind and diseases of the brain, ears and womb.
By constantly consuming various oils, digestion is stimulated, the internal humours are cleansed, complexion is improved, physical vigour and the senses are strengthened and the lifespan may be prolonged up to one hundred years.
Aromatic herbs and vegetables may grow either in dry or damp places. In the first case they are light and warm in their potencies. In the second case, they are heavy and cool. According to these characteristics, they are used to counteract diseases of cold or heat. Vegetables and herbs may be consumed raw or cooked. Onion improves sleep, stimulates the appetite and cures disorders of phlegm and wind. Garlic is heavy and cool. It counteracts diseases of animalcules and heat in association with wind. New radish is light and warm, improving the digestion. Old radish which is heavy and cool produces phlegm. New and old turnip act respectively in the same way and also protect against poisoning. Rhubarb leaves stimulate the appetite and cure disorders of phlegm. It should be remembered that all greens cause obstruction of the channels and suppress the potencies of medicines.
Assorted Cooked Dishes benefit those who are thirsty or emaciated, while improving digestion, bringing the bodily constituents into balance and softening the channels. Rice dishes are particularly nutritious. Patients are recommended to eat boiled rice, starting with thin gruel and gradually changing to thicker puddings and porridges until dry boiled rice can be digested. Rice puddings increase heat but also alleviate constipation. Thick rice porridge increases the appetite, stops diarrhea and relieves thirst. Savoury rice, which is boiled with peppers and other spices is easily assimilated, but difficult to digest if boiled in milk or meat broth. Parched rice stops diarrhea and helps fractured bones to mend. Immature grain soup alleviates constipation. Cold barley dough however difficult to assimilate strengthens the body. Cooked barley is of course lighter and easier to digest.
Seasons diet recommendation
Recommends that one adhere to a diet that is appropriate to the season of year.
- In early winter one must eat a lot of foods with the tastes of sweet, sour, salty. One also should eat meat soup, oily foods, butter and fatty meat.
- In the spring (late winter) one should eat foods having the tastes of bitter, hot, and astringent such as old barley, roasted meat of land animals living in dry places (goat meat), honey, boiled water (at room temperature), and ginger decoction.
- In early summer eat sweet, light, oily and cool foods (pork). Avoid salty, hot tasting, and sour foods. Only drink alcohol when mixed with cool water or watered down with ice.
- In the monsoon (late summer), eat sweet, salty, and bitter foods as in early winter, as well as foods that are light, warm and oily.
- In the monsoon and winter, take foods that are warm, in spring use rough foods.In early summer and fall, eat cool foods.
All the seasonal recommendations would be adjusted depending on the persons humoral makeup and variations in the particular season. If one is young, in good health, with good digestion, then one should be able to eat improperly once and a while. Food in general should be eaten cooked and warm. Most foods should be eaten fresh. Left over foods are considered stale after 24 hours, even if refrigerated.