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Food as Medicine
Episode 417th July 2023 • A Pebble in the Cosmic Pond • Sabine Wilms PhD
00:00:00 00:55:39

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A quote from Sun Simiao (translation by Dr. Wilms):

“When a person’s body is balanced and harmonious, you must merely nurture it well. Do not recklessly take medicinals, because the strength of medicinals assists only partially and causes the persons’ organ Qi to be imbalanced, so that they easily contract external trouble. All things that contain Qi provide food and thereby preserve life. Nevertheless, eating them unawares has the opposite effect. The common people use them daily without awareness, and so they hardly recognize when water and fire draw near... For this reason, food is able to expel evil and secure the internal organs, and to please the spirit and clear the will, by supplying blood and Qi. If you can use food to stabilize chronic illness, release emotions, and chase away disease, you can call yourself an outstanding practitioner. This is the special method of lengthening the years and eating for old age, and the utmost art of nurturing life.”

Inspired by that quote, we look at the following questions:

How can we use food as medicine? How do we nurture essence? What makes food nourishing? How can we help our patients, friends, and family decolonized their experience of embodiment by rediscovering their innate ability to sense what is good or bad for the body, and for their jīng 精 “essence” in particular? What does that mean for immigrants in the US who are craving the taste of home? Lastly, what are some of the dangers of popular diets and fads, in particular the Keto diet and elimination of carbohydrates, or of nutraceutical extracts? What is the difference between a carrot and a carrot, and between losing weight and losing jīng “essence”? What are some of the other magical aspects of flavor or wèi 味 in Chinese, which the Nèijīng already mentions as the key to supplementing jīng Essence?

We have fun as we look at factors ranging from love and fermentation to refrigeration and round-up, and even Mexican Coca-Cola and, of course, German “Gummibärchen.” And as a special bonus, our conversation concludes with Z’ev’s favorite breakfast congee recipe so make sure you listen closely all the way to the end…

For today’s episode of A Pebble in the Cosmic Pond, titled “Food as Medicine,” I am your host, Dr. Sabine Wilms, as usual supported by Leo Lok, our resident Purveyor of Multiple Perspectives among the Seven Fools of the Bamboo Grove. In addition, we are joined by Z’ev Rosenberg who you may be familiar with from Episode 2 of our podcast on the “True Medicine of Yangsheng.”

If this has got you really interested, check out my follow-up conversation with Leo Lok in the Imperial Tutorial episode on "Jing and Wei: Essence and Flavor," exclusively produced for the members of my Imperial Tutor mentorship. Find out more at

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