One question that many people ask when they first take an interest in Tai Chi, Chi Gung (
qigong diet), yoga or any other energetic art, is “what is the best diet for improving the flow of chi throughout the body?”. Generally the same diet principles apply to a “chi diet” as to any other healthy diet. However some people recommend more organic, vegetarian food. Here are some eating and drinking recommendations for those practising internal martial arts and looking to improve their chi through improved diet. If feel that you are suffering from low chi, then read on to learn how to increase QI energy and chi flow.
Which Foods Should You Eat To Boost Energy / Chi / Qi?
So, what is the Chinese diet? The Chinese diet is designed to help you build chi energy and improve qi flow. Building chi energy requires a combination of physical energy manipulation (through arts such as Tai Chi, Qi Ging, Bagua etc.) and following a healthy diet that avoids foods that cause disruptions to chi flow.
Whole grain foods, such as wholemeal bread, brown rice, barley, oats, buckwheat, rye, maize, millet and quino. Other foods made with Wholegrain flour are also recommended, such as pasta, noodles, wholemeal biscuits, cakes, wheat and muesli.
Following with Traditional Chinese Medical theory (see an explanation below), ensure that you eat plenty of fresh locally grown vegetables which are in season, and organically grown if possible. Steaming or stir-frying is best. Vegetarian food such as beans, nuts, seeds, soya bean curd (tofu) are also very good.
If your diet allows meat, then try to ensure you eat mostly organic, free range white meat such as chicken or turkey. Eggs, fish or seafood are also good in moderation for a healthy diet.
There are many milk and dairy alternatives if you are looking for a low fat milk, such as soya, rice and soya yoghurt which can all be consumed. Less popular in the west is seaweed, such as nori and kelp.
Natural soy sauces should be consumed to add flavour to meals, such as tamari or shoyu. Fresh fruit which is local and seasonal including dates, sultanas, raisins, figs, apples and berries. Honey, in moderation, unrefined sugar only if you must.
Reduce Consumption Of These Foods
In addition to the foods you should increase for a healthy “chi diet”, you should also try to reduce your intake of these (although maintain food hygiene and health standards at all times):
- White bread
- White flour
- White rice
- Refined processed and tinned foods
- Chemical additives
- Fruit acids
Red meat should be avoided where possible. Red meat includes beef, pork, veal, lamb, venison, or other large mammals. Some poultry and fish that are high in fat and these should be avoided, such as duck, goose and haddock.
Taoist diet advice recommends limiting eggs in general, although avoiding fried is best. Dairy products should also be avoided, such as full fat milk, cheese, butter, lard, dripping, and other animal fats.
There are many other rules which are really very difficult to apply and keep a well balanced diet, so they are not included here. The general rules however are to buy fresh, organic, locally grown, seasonal whole foods whenever possible. Avoid cold food and cold drinks. Overall, this is the best diet for energy and health.
Some practitioners of Chinese Medicine believe that cold drink can disrupt the flow of chi. Others however believe that traditionally people would avoid cold drinks as they were less likely to have been boiled, and therefore more likely to contain bacteria that could lead to illness.
Likewise, green tea should be drunk warm, not too hot. Other tips include reducing your fluid intake as much as possible, and avoiding drinking heavily before a meal. It is highly recommended that if you suffer from any health problems that you consult your doctor before changing your diet.