My teacher once explained to me, that of the 4 pillars of Chinese medicine, nutrition and qi gong are the most highly regarded. This is because, if practiced correctly they do not require a practitioner to administer a treatment. They truly are the basis of self cultivation. And this is why I love spending so much time with people refining their nutritional understanding.
I was lucky to spend some very precious time at Thich Nhat Hahn’s retreat center in Plum Village. The tradition here is that each meal is taken in complete silence. And after enough time is spent practicing, the entire concept of eating and nutrition changes. At first, I found this very difficult. But one day, as I was walking to a lecture, one of the monks waved and stopped me. I was eating an apple at the time, and he was bending over, intent on showing me a flower he had just picked.
Most of the monks at Plum Village are from Vietnam, and my friend was no different. He spoke no English, but in a very clear way, he helped me to see how much time and energy had gone into making that flower. I instantly thought of the apple I was unconsciously chewing at, and it became obvious how this also had come from a seed, endured countless rains, grew into a tree, flowered, and many years later produced a fruit for me to enjoy.
And so it is true that there are many different foods that are good for many different people, at many different times in the year. And it is not only a primary goal of mine, to help people understand the qualities of these relationships, but to understand that a solid nutritional program is built not only on what we eat, but how we eat.