Good nutrition is one of the five fundamental methodologies of Chinese Medicine. To optimise your health it is imperative that you take great care with what you put in your mouth. It is quite common for people to be obliviously contributing directly to their pain and discomfort by daily indulgence in exactly the wrong foods.

There are many contrary ideas and much confusion with regard to what constitutes a good diet. Our approach to diet is simple and it coincides not only with the Traditional Chinese Medicine approach but also to several hundreds of thousands of years of human evolution. For all of our human development, up until 5 to 10 thousand years ago, we ate whatever we could hunt or gather: a wide variety of plant and animal foods.

The emphasis was definitely on seasonal selection; without supermarkets and greenhouses there was no choice. So the diet consisted of whatever was available in the local area in the way of roots and fruits, nuts and seeds and lots of leafy green plants. This was supplemented with meats, fish, eggs and poultry, whatever animal proteins could be hunted or trapped … and I think you all know which gender got which job.

It was not until approximately 10 – 12 thousand years ago in the fertile crescent of the Middle East that humans first began to domesticate animals and, a couple of thousand years later, to develop the art of planting grass seeds as crops. This of course lead to some wondrous leaps forward in human evolution. Small, semi-permanent villages grew to become towns; societies began to structure themselves into more specialised work categories; great new civilisations blossomed in Babylon and Egypt and humans embarked on a glorious journey of innovation and mastery of the material word.

All of this came at a substantial cost. The proximity of humans and animals, including the use of animal milks as a food source, gave rise to a massive influx of new diseases. Fortunately for the original Middle Eastern and North African populations, they experienced a relatively gradual adaption of their immune systems to these challenges. By the time of the great European civilisations the human population, though far from healthy, at least had several generations of immunity from a range of animal diseases. However, for the indigenous populations who were suddenly exposed to these animal virus-based diseases in later centuries, this had devastating consequences and significantly contributed to the dominance and plundering of Asia and the Americas by the Europeans.