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.
Paul Pitchford is a teacher and nutrition researcher. In his healing work with individuals, he develops rejuvenative plans based on awareness and dietary practices. His early training, following ancient traditional practice, was primarily through apprenticeships and private instructions with masters of meditation and East Asian medicine. For more than three decades, he has applied the unifying wisdom of Far Eastern thought to the major dietary therapies available in the West to create a new vision of health and nutrition.
"Healing with Whole Foods contains a wealth of information on health, diet, alternative medicine, natural food presentation, and recipes, researched by an expert in the field. Readers will learn how to apply Chinese medicine and the five-element theory to a contemporary diet; treat illness and nervous disorders through diet; and make the transition to whole vegetable foods. The most detailed source book yet published on preparing food and eating consciously, Healing with Whole Foods includes complete sections on Ayurvedic principles of food-combining; the treatment of disease conditions through meals; transition from animal products to whole vegetable foods; micro-algae; selection of waters and salts; the extremely complex varieties of oils, sugars, and condiments; vitamins and minerals; fasting and purification; food for children, food presentation and proportions; vibrational cooking; the physiology of nourishment; color diagnosis and therapy; consciousness in diet changes; plus descriptions of the nature and uses of various grains, legumes, miso, tempeh, tofu, seaweeds, nuts and seeds, sprouts, and fruits. Also featured are sections on chutneys, relishes, pickles, different milks, rejuvelac, yogurt, salads, and desserts."—Midwest Book Review
From Part I, Chapter 2: The Principle of ExtremesWhen the excessive principle reaches its limit, the extreme yin or yang transforms into its opposite. This is known as the “Principle of Extremes.” This principle is readily observed in warm-blooded animals, when a fever is produced in response to an exposure to cold, or when chills result from an excess of summer heat.Other examples: 1. Extreme activity, such as hard physical work, necessitates rest. 2. If activity is very fierce and yang (such as in war), death (which is very yin) can be the result. 3. People frequently become more child-like with extreme age. Also, with advancing years, a person gradually exhibits less physical strength but, if healthy, greater wisdom. This represents the loss of bodily attachment to earth and the shifting of focus toward heaven, an example of extreme yin changing to extreme yang. 4. As internal heat and blood pressure become higher (yang), a stroke resulting in paralysis (yin) becomes more likely. 5. Extremely energizing substances such as cocaine cause utter debility later. One also is eventually weakened by stimulants such as caffeine and refined sugar.6. In meditation, proper concentration on a single object ultimately results in universal awareness.The process by which phenomena change into their opposites may be described graphically with spirals, a very common pattern in the universe. These cycles of change are progressively quicker while contracting, slower while expanding. Such cycles are balanced by opposing cycles. For instance, when the national economy slows toward stagnation, cycles of emotional anxiety become ever more intense. Another pair of spirals illustrates the way in which metabolic cycles in the body take longer to fully repeat with age, with a simultaneously greater need for nutrients. For this reason, we need less quantity but more nutritionally concentrated food as we grow older.