Eating and the Dao
A brief discussion by Lawrence Brown AP1279
Eating in accord with the Dao can help you gain better health and avoid many of the problems that are so prevalent in society today. By simply reversing the meals, avoiding excessive junk foods, and eating a balance of the five flavors and five colors, you can greatly reduce the chance that you will get diabetes, high cholesterol, acid reflux, and many of the other problems that plague people toady. When reversing the meals you should not eat or drink anything except water after about 6pm. If you are getting hungry later on, the hunger is usually a sign you ate too late, too heavy, or too much.
Every organ in your body has a time when it wants to be active and a corresponding time at the opposite end of the 24 hour clock that it needs to rest, just like you do. If you eat a late and/or large meal you do not allow the organs in your body to have the cycles of work and rest they want. They are born to do their jobs, but when you force them to work 24/7 by eating inappropriately, sooner or later they will go out on strike or be forced to take sick days.
Breakfast does not mean take a fast break, it means break your fasting (~12+hours). What happens to food in a warm moist environment? It rots! What is your stomach? It is a warm moist environment. So any food that remains in your stomach at night will just rot. Even wood in the right environment will rot and produce methanol, which is a poison to humans. The rotting also turns much of the food into simple sugars. Since you are not active, the sugar is not being used up very fast. When you are laying down with food in the digestive system, the food is pressing back up into the esophagus, which combines with the gasses from the fermentation process to cause regurgitation, belching or acid reflux.
The spleen, which includes the pancreas, wants to be most active doing its job of transforming and transporting the food you eat during the early hours from approximately 9am to 11am. The stomach wants to be most active from 7am to 9am, so, if you put the largest and heaviest (like meat) meal into the fuel tank in the morning, your body will be best able to handle it. The greatest part of the nutrition and energy in the food will be available for the spleen to process during its most active time, giving you the fuel to get through the journey of the day. The stomach and spleen want to go into their sleep modes at 7pm and 9pm respectively. When there is still food in the stomach it can not rest, so it starts working extra hard, as a result you can feel even hungrier. Eventually the spleen may decide, even though it was born to do it’s job, it must take a vacation. So it then begins over producing insulin trying to catch up with the sugar load and resulting in low blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia). Now the stage is set for typical adult onset diabetes. Your external defenses are down because you did not sleep good, or some other reason, and you catch a flu or cold. The pathogenic factor can go right past the weakened defenses and attack the overworked and tired spleen, which now insists on taking a sick day. The blood sugar skyrockets, so western medicine steps in with some form of artificial method to lower the blood sugar, which by the way does nothing to actually remove the sugar from the body it only makes the sugar precipitate out of the blood. Some time later the spleen says, "Ok, I am ready to work again", but finds everything to apparently be ok, so it becomes a couch potato and Western Medicine gives you a diagnosis of diabetes.
Even the western anatomy and physiology books say the liver has some capacity to regenerate if the negative stimulus is removed. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the liver not only has the capacity to regenerate, but it is also responsible for regeneration of the entire human body. Regeneration is the Liver's primary function. The production of acid and bile for digestion is just supposed to be a resting function/byproduct of the regeneration activity. In a properly functioning body the liver would normally use the little remaining sugar in the blood at night to do this function especially during its peak activity time of 1am to 3am. When there is still food in the stomach, the liver does not get to stop producing acid and therefore can not do a proper job of regenerating the body. At some point, whether because you caught the flu/cold or because of a need to do some serious regeneration, the liver may start over producing acid to try and catch up with the digestive process. This results in things like acid reflux and heart burn (see Acid Reflux & Joint Pain). The liver also tries to take some of the burden off the spleen, by converting some of the excess sugar to cholesterol. The over production of acid can overflow into the blood stream eating holes in the blood vessels, especially the arteries where the pressure is highest. The body uses some of the excess cholesterol to plug these holes so you do not bleed to death internally, causing hardening of the arteries. Hardened arteries can not expand properly and can be one of the causes of high blood pressure.
Do not take vitamins or consume junk foods. Vitamins do not make up for the lack of good nutrition in junk foods. In fact taking vitamins only worsens the problem. Vitamin C is the usual example, but the following goes for all concentrated supplements. There are only two filters for the blood, the kidneys and the liver. Whenever something is absorbed into the blood it can be lost through sweat, bleeding, kidneys, or liver. If you take one-tenth the usual amount of vitamin C your urine immediately turns yellow. The first thing is you are just flushing your money down the drain. Next is that you put a heavy and unnecessary burden on your kidneys. All that excess nutrition can be used to make stones or feed the flies (see Flies in the Living Room). And finally, whenever a large amount of a reactant is placed in a chemical equation, the other reactants for that equation are used up trying to establish a new equilibrium, reducing the amount of the other reactants that are available for other chemical reactions. If you consume oranges all day long, your urine will never change color because Mother Nature put everything you need in the orange with the vitamin C, this includes some fiber to help remove any old nutrition.
Eating a balance of the natural five colors and natural 5 flavors will theoretically provide 100% of the nutrition your body needs. The five colors are green, red, yellow, white, and black. Sour, bitter, sweet, pungent, and salty are the five flavors. This does not include things like red dye #7, ordinary table salt, or distilled vinegar. You should use evaporated sea salt or salt from other natural sources because they contain elements other than sodium and chlorine, like magnesium. The last time I was able to find numbers for the so-called ‘light’ salts they were still higher in sodium than sea salt. Until relatively recently, humans used natural salts and is still what our bodies need for a proper chemical balance. Food should be salted during the cooking process to allow that chemicals to combine before entering the body. This also means eating much less sweet flavor, like refined carbohydrates, and more sour and bitter for most Americans.
So to reduce or eliminate many of your health problems and make our job easier, you should eat like a king for breakfast, a prince for lunch, and a pauper for diner. Eat light easily digested foods for the last meal. Eat and drink nothing but water after about 6pm. And eat a balance of the natural flavors and colors. Of course there are other pathways and mechanisms that can cause these problems, but this is by far the most common cause.