Adapted from the forthcoming book: Primal Healing—How to Craft Your Optimal Eating Plan Using Primal Principles & Chinese Medicine, by Dana Leigh Lyons, DOM
In Chinese Medicine, eating for health is part of a holistic system for restoring and maintaining balance in the body, mind and spirit. Crucially, this “balance” is not a static, isolated, one-size-fits-all endpoint. It is different for each individual and, for each individual, is ever-shifting, relational and responsive.
Finding balance—in life, wellness and our relationship with food—is first and foremost a process. It unfolds in relationship with one’s body, age, lifestyle and surrounds. Engaging and shaping this process is an ongoing exercise in mindful, patient exploration and experimentation.
Primal-paleo eating, pursued within this holistic, individualized context, is a powerful tool in the pursuit of balance and wellness. For many, it offers an excellent starting point for alleviating health problems or “simply” feeling energetic and good in one’s body and life.
At the Alchemist Clinic, our Alchemist Eating program works within the following Primal Parameters:
- Eat whole, real food. This includes high-quality meat, seafood, eggs, vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds and healthy fats & oils. For some people, it can also include high-quality dairy products.
- Avoid processed foods, grains, legumes, added sugar & artificial sweeteners, and chemically altered fats & oils.
- Whenever possible, choose foods that are organic, local, fresh and in season.
- Though not a “primal principle,” per se, also consider the impact that individual and community food choices have on our planet and its oceans, peoples and other creatures. When possible, choose foods that are produced in sustainable, ethical ways.
Placing these Primal Parameters within the context of the holistic, individual-specific system of Chinese Medicine offers a powerful tool for health and healing. From here, we help clients explore the question:
What does balance mean for you?
The bad news is there isn’t one answer. And the good news is there isn’t one answer. Developing your optimal eating plan takes lots of curiosity and self-compassion. It also requires courage, openness and a willingness to let go of old patterns that aren’t working and don’t serve you. This is rarely easy—at least at first. But it isempowering, creative and—gasp—even fun.
In working with clients to facilitate and guide this journey, the following Guiding Principles provide an important anchor and sense of perspective:
- The body, mind and spirit make up a holistic, interconnected system.
- When there is balance in that system, wellness results; when there is imbalance, disease, discomfort and discontent arise.
- Finding and maintaining whole-body balance is a process, not an endpoint.
- What we eat is a core component of this process and manifesting a healthier, more complete version of ourselves.
- There is no one best diet for all people (or even one person); the optimal eating plan is individual, responsive and relational.
- The primal diet offers a powerful starting point for crafting one’s optimal eating plan.
- Placing primal principles within the context of Chinese Medicine dietetics provides a guide for crafting an individual eating plan and continuously adjusting that plan to align with shifting needs and circumstances.
At the Alchemist Clinic, we can help you leverage these principles to develop an eating plan tailored to your goals and needs.
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