Create a more balanced life with food

Proper nutrition is the key to reducing stress, finding your balance, regaining your energy and stamina, and losing the unwanted fluff.

by Jean Ekobo — 

Yes, you can regain your health by changing your diet. Proper nutrition is the key to reducing stress, finding your balance, regaining your energy and stamina, and losing the unwanted fluff.

French chefs are taught all the tricks of the trade to please their patrons’ taste buds by using butter, cream, herbs and spices, varied and creative techniques, and an infinity of sauces. Yet in culinary schools in France, there are no courses on nutrition or health-conscious eating beyond knowing how to counterbalance rich sauces with steamed vegetables.

As a result, Mediterranean cuisine from Provence is always preferred over Parisian food when one is health conscious. If you look at different culinary specialties according to their countries of origin, it is interesting to note that it is the Chinese who master the art of pleasing the palate as well as nourishing the body.

Did you know that the Chinese mastered the art of healing the body with proper nutrition about 3,000 years ago? They found that specific colors and precise tastes feed particular organs and saw everything in existence as consisting of five main elements — wood, fire, earth, water and metal. Each element corresponds with particular body systems, organs, colors and emotions, as well as foods and flavors.

An area of disharmony in the body often presents as discomfort or dis-ease. The body can be returned to health by returning that area to balance by eating the appropriate foods.

What did you eat for your respiratory or immune system today? Or to feed your kidneys or your pancreas? Though these are questions we usually cannot answer, there is knowledge to be found in the ancient Chinese philosophy of the five elements.

To feed your heart and small intestine, eat red (like the fire element) foods and foods that tastes bitter. To feed your pancreas and stomach, choose yellow or brown (like earth) sweet fruits or vegetables. Metal is the element of the lungs and large intestine; it is nourished by the color white and spicy foods. For the circulatory system, the element is water, with blue or black colors and a salty taste. Finally, the wood element, affecting the liver and gallbladder, prefers the color green and a sour taste.

An understanding of the five elements and how they relate to each other is only one aspect of creating a menu that will heal from the inside out. We have a few options for utilizing this “science” of nourishing our systems. Organic foods free of pesticides and artificial fertilizers are good, but are often grown in nutrient-depleted soils. Raw foods provide beneficial enzymes, but such diets may not provide the proper balance of nutrients to support the body. “Organic” or “raw” labels lead us to believe we are eating healthy, yet from the big-picture perspective, it is not enough.

The Chinese differentiate three types of herbs: poisonous, medicinal and food. They actually use the word “herbs” to refer to the parts of the plants we know as roots, flowers, fruits and vegetable. A food-grade herb is not the same as the medicinal herbs commonly associated with Chinese medicine. Food-grade herbs are nutrient-rich, whole foods that contain amino acids, fatty acids, complex carbohydrates, very important enzymes, and a proper balance of vitamins and minerals.

It is possible to rely on highly concentrated nutritional foods in the proper balance to return to and maintain health. In fact, the Chinese mastered this process thousands of years ago. The solution to many health issues may rest in concentrated, live herb food. After all, when a French chef trained in the art of cooking promotes concepts of health and wellness, it is food for thought.


Chef Jean Ekobo came from Paris to the United States and created French Ambiance Catering. Working as a personal chef for Muhammad Ali, he became more health conscious. He now caters Valleywide and gives free consultations on achieving wellness and health with whole food. 602-881-0438, or

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 26, Number 6, December 2007/January 2008.


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