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Healing With Whole Foods: Asian Traditions and Modern Nutrition

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Used as a reference by students of acupuncture, this is a hefty, truly comprehensive guide to the theory and healing power of Chinese medicine. It's also a primer on nutrition--including facts about green foods, such as spirulina and blue-green algae, and the "regeneration diets" used by cancer patients and arthritics--along with an inspiring cookbook with more than 300 Used as a reference by students of acupuncture, this is a hefty, truly comprehensive guide to the theory and healing power of Chinese medicine. It's also a primer on nutrition--including facts about green foods, such as spirulina and blue-green algae, and the "regeneration diets" used by cancer patients and arthritics--along with an inspiring cookbook with more than 300 mostly vegetarian, nutrient-packed recipes. The information on Chinese medicine is useful for helping to diagnose health imbalances, especially nascent illnesses. It's smartly paired with the whole-foods program because the Chinese have attributed various health-balancing properties to foods, so you can tailor your diet to help alleviate symptoms of illness. For example, Chinese medicine dictates that someone with low energy and a pale complexion (a yin deficiency) would benefit from avoiding bitter foods and increasing "sweet" foods such as soy, black sesame seeds, parsnips, rice, and oats. (Note that the Chinese definition of sweet foods is much different from the American one!) Pitchford says in his dedication that he hopes the reader finds "healing, awareness, and peace" from following his program. The diet is certainly acetic by American standards (no alcohol, caffeine, white flour, fried foods, or sugar, and a minimum of eggs and dairy) but the reasons he gives for avoiding these "negative energy" foods are compelling. From the adrenal damage imparted by coffee to immune dysfunction brought on by excess refined sugar, Pitchford spurs you to rethink every dietary choice and its ultimate influence on your health. Without being alarmist, he adds dietary tips for protecting yourself against the dangers of modern life, including neutralizing damage from water fluoridation (thyroid and immune-system problems may result; fluoride is a carcinogen). There's further reading on food combining, female health, heart disease, pregnancy, fasting, and weight loss. Overall, this is a wonderful book for anyone who's serious about strengthening his or her body from the inside out.


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Used as a reference by students of acupuncture, this is a hefty, truly comprehensive guide to the theory and healing power of Chinese medicine. It's also a primer on nutrition--including facts about green foods, such as spirulina and blue-green algae, and the "regeneration diets" used by cancer patients and arthritics--along with an inspiring cookbook with more than 300 Used as a reference by students of acupuncture, this is a hefty, truly comprehensive guide to the theory and healing power of Chinese medicine. It's also a primer on nutrition--including facts about green foods, such as spirulina and blue-green algae, and the "regeneration diets" used by cancer patients and arthritics--along with an inspiring cookbook with more than 300 mostly vegetarian, nutrient-packed recipes. The information on Chinese medicine is useful for helping to diagnose health imbalances, especially nascent illnesses. It's smartly paired with the whole-foods program because the Chinese have attributed various health-balancing properties to foods, so you can tailor your diet to help alleviate symptoms of illness. For example, Chinese medicine dictates that someone with low energy and a pale complexion (a yin deficiency) would benefit from avoiding bitter foods and increasing "sweet" foods such as soy, black sesame seeds, parsnips, rice, and oats. (Note that the Chinese definition of sweet foods is much different from the American one!) Pitchford says in his dedication that he hopes the reader finds "healing, awareness, and peace" from following his program. The diet is certainly acetic by American standards (no alcohol, caffeine, white flour, fried foods, or sugar, and a minimum of eggs and dairy) but the reasons he gives for avoiding these "negative energy" foods are compelling. From the adrenal damage imparted by coffee to immune dysfunction brought on by excess refined sugar, Pitchford spurs you to rethink every dietary choice and its ultimate influence on your health. Without being alarmist, he adds dietary tips for protecting yourself against the dangers of modern life, including neutralizing damage from water fluoridation (thyroid and immune-system problems may result; fluoride is a carcinogen). There's further reading on food combining, female health, heart disease, pregnancy, fasting, and weight loss. Overall, this is a wonderful book for anyone who's serious about strengthening his or her body from the inside out.

30 review for Healing With Whole Foods: Asian Traditions and Modern Nutrition

  1. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Kekaula

    I will never be finished with this book. It is a manual for understanding your personal relationship to food and your body. I go to it often

  2. 4 out of 5

    Dawn

    As a friend put it, "he's a real radical." And yes, Paul Pitchford is very extreme in his assessments and directives. No sweets, no dairy or meat, except for the super-debilitated. It can be hard to figure out where you fit into all the information, but, after 2 years of poring over this tome, I find myself mentally referring to it with frequency, as well as looking to it often for recipes and advice. Also, importantly, it is no substitute for (competent) professional guidance, except maybe in As a friend put it, "he's a real radical." And yes, Paul Pitchford is very extreme in his assessments and directives. No sweets, no dairy or meat, except for the super-debilitated. It can be hard to figure out where you fit into all the information, but, after 2 years of poring over this tome, I find myself mentally referring to it with frequency, as well as looking to it often for recipes and advice. Also, importantly, it is no substitute for (competent) professional guidance, except maybe in very standard cases like diabetes. Highly recommended, but only serious candidates need apply.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Heather P

    This was one of my textbooks in grad school and I thoroughly enjoy it. It is full of information that is sure to change your eating habits for the better. It lists different conditions and ways to eat to heal your body. It has a great section on calcium, magnesium, and brown rice that I think is invaluable. If you are concerned about what you eat and how to live healthier then you need to check out this book.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jib

    "Convenient" would be the word I'd use to describe this book. And that's really what it is: any time I need to refer to something on nutrition, I look it up in this book. The Internet is extremely easy to use for research purposes. Many times I'll use Healing with Whole Foods as a "jumping pad," by reading through what Pitchford said about the topic, then using the terminology I pick up from the book to do further research online. An example would be hypoglycemia. I'll read notes from this book "Convenient" would be the word I'd use to describe this book. And that's really what it is: any time I need to refer to something on nutrition, I look it up in this book. The Internet is extremely easy to use for research purposes. Many times I'll use Healing with Whole Foods as a "jumping pad," by reading through what Pitchford said about the topic, then using the terminology I pick up from the book to do further research online. An example would be hypoglycemia. I'll read notes from this book that he's written, then take what I learned from there to kickstart my research online (for example, instead of doing a blind search for "hypoglycemia" on Google, I'll go in with the aim of finding out the role of glucagon in a certain context, or glycogen, or how specific foods affect the condition, so on and so forth). In other words, this book is fantastic for foundational knowledge, and encouraging the development of a very strong foundation via independent research from as many other sources as possible. I don't refer to this book as an authority on anything, but again, as a "jumping pad" that is a *great* aid to me in furthering my own research and experimentation. The principles of food energetics (e.g., warming/cooling/drying/moistening/dispersing/collecting nature of foods, the bitter, sour, sweet, pungent, salty, astringent flavors, etc...) are very useful. The basic concepts of consuming more plant-based foods, chewing your food well, and paying attention to how you prepare and combine foods in order to balance deficiencies/excesses in your body (and how to identify excesses/deficiencies in your body)....these tenets are very helpful, and make a whole lot of sense. An example of how this helps me daily is that I've gotten in the habit of eating raw radishes with heavy, fried meals, when I have them (which isn't too often), in order to help digestion (and I do find that this helps a lot), and I've been getting better at zeroing in on what the problem is when I feel sick, e.g., bad food combinations, overeating, not chewing well enough, or general damp/cold/hot/etc. conditions -- and I can make active moves to remedy that, such as selecting foods with the appropriate qi nature, e.g., if I'm feeling very hot and sluggish (very easy in this humid weather), I might make an effort to eat more celery and cucumbers, eat radishes with meals to help with digestion, avoid overeating, focus on chewing well, and also stay away from warm or hot foods, as well as moistening foods. Nutrition can be a very obsessive compulsive world. Pitchford presents a very balanced view, and addressing foods as 'functional' -- none inherently being 'better' than another food, but actually have its own time and place in life to help us best...this is a very balanced approach, and it's the perfect remedy to all the dieting crazes going on now, which I think can tragically be very harmful to people by locking them into obsessive or compulsive mindsets where they think of foods as "good" or "bad." Nutrition is all about balance. You can overdo anything, and you can under-do anything. Overindulgence can be as bad as neglect; a good lesson here is that over-eating certain foods can incur deficiencies, as minerals can compete for absorption -- the safest route to take is to let yourself relax, and select foods from a very wide spectrum. This book will help you find out what foods may be most appropriate for you in your current situation, and since we're dynamic beings, it will also help you find out what foods will be appropriate for you in any number of situations. Sometimes dairy will be very helpful; other times, it might be wise to avoid it completely. Overall, reading this book can help you re-train your body to get back into a natural relationship with food, and to help you to see foods as having a function and purpose in life -- to give you energy, and to help you along -- and teach you about which foods can best assist you for your current physical condition and individual needs. I thought this was a very un-biased and helpful book, overall, and I highly recommend it. And if you don't agree with something he says, or want to know more about it, you can go online and do some research. This is one thing that's beautiful about the times we're living in now :D (so really, at the very worst, this book is an excellent resource for inspiring research and jumpstarting your understanding of nutrition and the immediate application of this knowledge into your daily life). This one's a win-win all the way around. *Also, the recipes are amazing. Simple techniques like making grain/seed milks are basically like doors opening up a whole new food group. I might be getting a little excited about that, but man, a lot of the ideas in there are pretty unique, and I'm really thrilled to be able to try all these things out (I love my oat yogurt XD)

  5. 5 out of 5

    Teren Hanz

    What an insight into Asian food! Anyone who believes in good diet, psyche and spirit this book is for them. It outlines the warning signs of illnesses and makes clear recommendations about foods and herbs that can be used in order not to worsen the illness. I haven't practiced any of the recipes, generally eat right anyway, but a couple of people who have read the book and practiced have actually recovered from their ailment, and some even from very severe conditions. I can, of course believe, What an insight into Asian food! Anyone who believes in good diet, psyche and spirit this book is for them. It outlines the warning signs of illnesses and makes clear recommendations about foods and herbs that can be used in order not to worsen the illness. I haven't practiced any of the recipes, generally eat right anyway, but a couple of people who have read the book and practiced have actually recovered from their ailment, and some even from very severe conditions. I can, of course believe, on a common sense level if the health problem is arrested with right diet the body can heal itself and be stronger again. I would strongly recommend this book for those who are constantly visiting doctors and having medicines for every little problem with their body. You can be healthy again but you need to take charge of what you put inside; they say stomach is the root cause of all illnesses. And if you throw the right stuff in it will it pay you dividend. So start thinking of your poor stomach who is so reliant on you! Ah, it is worth getting an extra copy or two to keep handy for a near and dear one. I got it as a gift! I personally think, the information in the book is worth every penny spent.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Gerbik

    Essentially a vegan adjustment of traditional Chinese medicine, this is a fucking tome (and I haven't read all of it). Nonetheless, it has the scent of total authority. More of a life-long reference than anything else, it is pretty great if you are interested in significantly changing your diet and balancing your constitution. Recipes, self-diagnostic stuff, theory, history, etc. Immense.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Corrina Sysyn

    This is almost a daily read for me. Highly recommend to anyone looking to improve their diet to combat an illness or to improve the quality of their life in general. This might be the best guide to whole foods I've ever owned...and I have quite a few. This one ain't collecting dust on my bookshelf. WE ARE WHAT WE EAT!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Heidi

    This book changed my life. It explains how eating the right foods can heal what ails you, and it explains it in a way that makes total sense. I first read this book in 1995, and i conti ue to use it as a reference to this day.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Stosch

    dont sleep on this. call it my bible.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Rolan Gregg

    a huge and complete book. run, don't walk, to get this one. everyone needs a copy even if you eat Froot Loops.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Maile

    The most useful book I've owned - I don't go a day without referencing it.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Hepburn

    Paul Pitchford, the author of this book, studied Chinese medicine for a long time, so he spends a lot on ink writing about Yin-Yang theory. The interesting part in this section was about qi (chi), which is called prana in India and ki in Japan. This book also suggests dietary treatment of several diseases in Part IV, so you can use it as reference. The final chapter of this book was the most fascinating for me. It introduces "Sattva," which means "the path of equilibrium and essence." In Sattvic Paul Pitchford, the author of this book, studied Chinese medicine for a long time, so he spends a lot on ink writing about Yin-Yang theory. The interesting part in this section was about qi (chi), which is called prana in India and ki in Japan. This book also suggests dietary treatment of several diseases in Part IV, so you can use it as reference. The final chapter of this book was the most fascinating for me. It introduces "Sattva," which means "the path of equilibrium and essence." In Sattvic lifestyle, activities such as yoga and t'ai chi are practiced. Regarding diet, Sattvic food is simple, and Sattvic individual avoids overeating. Finally, Sattvic person has a clear and focused mind. Well, I will spend rest of my life as a Sattvic person!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jamie

    an epic overview of east meets west nutrition from a chinese medicine perspective [no ayerveda here]. i'm not sure i'll finish this 700+ page reference, but it has been easier to use it as such since reading some of the deeper diagnostic discussions early on in the book. because i temper my hippie eating food habits [currently being dubbed the 'priviledged peasant' diet] with lots of butter and bacon, i'm not sure i can be a proponent of this book with full integrity. but if you walk the middle an epic overview of east meets west nutrition from a chinese medicine perspective [no ayerveda here]. i'm not sure i'll finish this 700+ page reference, but it has been easier to use it as such since reading some of the deeper diagnostic discussions early on in the book. because i temper my hippie eating food habits [currently being dubbed the 'priviledged peasant' diet] with lots of butter and bacon, i'm not sure i can be a proponent of this book with full integrity. but if you walk the middle path, like me, you'll find yourself somewhere between cool/hot, damp/dry, internal/external, and so forth...

  14. 4 out of 5

    Mimi

    always reading this book. just a great resource on nutrition, definitely for those interested in chinese/asian nutrition theory and health. for most asians, especially in ayurvedic thought, the gut is the source of all the bodies ailments and this book speaks to that. he talks about foods that most people don't eat, sea vegetables, dark greens, grains like millet and amaranth. it has helped me to learn and incoporate a lot of foods i wasn't raised with into my eating.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jenalyn

    Asian healing can be at best confusing. However in what little research I have done they are spot on about many things, especially the links between personality and constitution. I reference this book almost once a day. Especially when trying to figure out how to pair food. Should I drink water with this meal? Should I serve this hot or cold for the best nutiritional intake?

  16. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    Wow. This book drops some serious knowlege on its reader. It reads like a textbook and has so much information that I had to take copious amounts of notes. No health platitudes just straight information. Excellent.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Katie Fitzgerald

    One of my favorite books of all time. Very informative and great to reference when changing diet or looking to alternative ways to stay healthy.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Frank

    I wish he would update it. This came out 5 years ago. A lot has been found out since then. I'm amazed this book is still in one piece. The bible of health, I'm always referencing this book.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Melinda

    this book is unbelievable any quiestion you have can be answered and change your life empower you to realize that you can heal any ailment you just gotta learn how and take action

  20. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Bacon

    This is THE authoritative tome on whole foods coupled with Traditional Chinese Medicine. It is information-dense reference material, while still being highly readable. Yes it is on my nightstand.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Carol Ann

    Still my go-to for so many reasons. I got this book years ago, and I still consult it on a regular basis.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jubz

    This is the ultimate reference in nutrition, diet, and health. This will give you the knowledge you need to diagnose and treat your many deficiencies and excesses with a whole food diet.

  23. 4 out of 5

    S'hi

    An absolute wealth of information, experience and understanding, Healing With Whole Foods is offered as a reference volume for practitioners in a variety of fields dealing with both energetic and physical patterns of health in their clients. I personally came across the volume in support of my studies in holistic kinesiology and Chinese medicine, and found it particularly useful for the combinations of symptoms presenting outside the understanding of traditional western medicine. One of the An absolute wealth of information, experience and understanding, Healing With Whole Foods is offered as a reference volume for practitioners in a variety of fields dealing with both energetic and physical patterns of health in their clients. I personally came across the volume in support of my studies in holistic kinesiology and Chinese medicine, and found it particularly useful for the combinations of symptoms presenting outside the understanding of traditional western medicine. One of the discoveries I made through my occasional dips into this book, without a specific ‘case’ to consider, was the sense that people tend to have elemental types in their personalities. By that I mean, the tendency to express themselves in particular preferences for activities and foods also shows as particular symptoms and ‘dis-eases’. This fits nicely in the Chinese description of balancing energies, which I have not found in any western explanations. While we might refer in the west to work-life balance, it is along a continuum which tends to place everything in opposition and create strife. The circular flow of life in the Chinese model shows what arises as each element lets go of itself. While there is a forward and backward motion and checking mechanism, these are proportional, and that is where the balance is measured. Always it is an awareness of not going too far, nor holding back too much. The combination of scientific explanations with descriptive pictures of how energy works and moves is a living example of just such ‘balance’ in the whole approach Paul Pitchford offers. This then fits with the Chinese conceptions of heat and cold, the English (though not necessarily confined to it) aspects of passion and rationality. While some distance is required to make observations of one sort, reading of pulses requires a ‘hands-on’ approach for sensing what cannot be seen. This suggests an imbalance in the use of the senses within the western framework not allowing a full diagnosis to be implemented. I find it beguiling that allopathic doctors learn so little about nutrition in their many years of study. In a society which has conquered the world and increased the variety of foods available in a single market place, it seems counter-productive to have hooned that variety down to a narrow definition of a ‘balanced meal’ consisting of the same cycle of half a dozen vegetables and a meat foundation. Here the science sits alongside recipes and preparation methods. Explanations are given about types of proteins available rather than assuming meat as the only, or even the best, source. Different angles of approach allow clients and their practitioners to determine the needs of specific cases, and experiment within a frame of knowledge and its variants. While there is still much to learn, Pitchford proves that it is not by discarding what has been learnt or even believed before, but by embracing it more fully and bringing it to daily use. A phenomenal achievement, and well-worthy of its purpose as a constant companion and reference.

  24. 5 out of 5

    TT

    Paul Pitchfords book is a very dense resource. Don't be intimidated by its size. It would take the better part of a life time to master what's in here. What I love about this book is that it is NOT about a diet style or fad. Instead, this book simply (and in great detail) explains how foods react in our bodies, what nutrients are in certain foods and how certain constitutions do better or worse with certain foods. In this book you learn about foods and how they work in the body, then you make Paul Pitchfords book is a very dense resource. Don't be intimidated by its size. It would take the better part of a life time to master what's in here. What I love about this book is that it is NOT about a diet style or fad. Instead, this book simply (and in great detail) explains how foods react in our bodies, what nutrients are in certain foods and how certain constitutions do better or worse with certain foods. In this book you learn about foods and how they work in the body, then you make your own decisions on how you want to approach what you eat. It is a fascinating read and wonderful to have around to reference often. Much of the information I find valuable to send to you in the blog comes from Pitchfords book. ~ Tennyson

  25. 5 out of 5

    Susanne Walker

    There's a time and place for western medicine. But not before you first educate yourself on what is possible and begin to take responsibility for your own healing.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Lily

    I haven't read this one cover to cover but it's great reference book. It's centered around eastern medicine and creating balance with what your eat. I'm working on my yin at the moment.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Doris Raines

    I LOVE THIS BOOK.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Rebekah

    My Nutritional Bible

  29. 5 out of 5

    Charis Branson

    Great resource and fascinating read!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Nsharil

    A text book to have handy for all complementary health providers and healers. I learned so much from this book and still keep it close by for reference. Paul Pitchford approach is more towards Traditional Chinese Medicine, and supported by other ancient healing views like Ayurveda as well as a firm grounding in nutrition. The only gripe I have about this book (1 star off) is that it can be quite difficult to navigate through such a comprehensive, and hence a very thick text book to search for A text book to have handy for all complementary health providers and healers. I learned so much from this book and still keep it close by for reference. Paul Pitchford approach is more towards Traditional Chinese Medicine, and supported by other ancient healing views like Ayurveda as well as a firm grounding in nutrition. The only gripe I have about this book (1 star off) is that it can be quite difficult to navigate through such a comprehensive, and hence a very thick text book to search for exactly what you need in that moment. Best to keep both version, hard copy and soft copy so that you can make use of the word-search function on the latter when you need to search for something more specific.

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