Bland Diet is designed for easier and proper digestion, essential for the better circulation of blood throughout the system. This diet should be adhered to when taking herbs. Relatively healthier individuals may be allowed to eat the foods that are in “Avoid” group in moderation. However, sticking to this diet is critical for the long term success of maintaining good health.
We know that many of our patients feel very restricted by this diet. We also understand that everyone’s health is different and this diet can be adjusted depending on how strong your health is. But if you are critically ill, please take this diet suggestion seriously. For those who are young and relatively healthy, it is ok to stray away from this diet once in a while. But please remember that the main purpose of this diet is to lessen the strain on the digestive system and prepare your body so that the herbs can work efficiently.
Cooking at home or eating out?
You should always prepare your meal at home using only fresh ingredients, ideally all organic. You should avoid eating manufactured, mass produced food as much as possible because additives and preservatives are often used for longer shelf life. They are not only very acidic but also toxic and indigestible. “All Natural” or “Organic” does not mean anything if it is overly processed with many seasonings.
When you cook at home using only fresh ingredients, you can control the amount of the seasoning (very light). And you never need to use preservatives, additives or artificial flavors (like MSG) to make it taste better.
How do I prepare meals?
Use as little seasoning as possible. Avoid most store-bought condiments or sauces because they usually contain artificial flavors or spices that would slow down your digestion. Steaming, sautéeing, stir fry, boiling and poaching (low temperature cooking) are better cooking methods than deep frying, baking, broiling, or grilling (high temperature cooking). The preferred methods retain moisture in your food; the latter tends to dry up the food.4
Salt (Kosher or sea salt, but NO table salt), organic soy sauce can be used as a seasoning. Very very small amount of black pepper can be used, but try to stay away any HOT or exotic spices.
Many of fresh or dried herbs like basil, rosemary, thyme, sage, tarragon and etc. can be used as flavoring.
Garlic and ginger are often used for stir fry to enhance the flavor.
Foods and seasoning that should be avoided by anyone (healthy or ill)
MSG (mono sodium glutamate), any preservatives or additives including artificial colors, modified corn starch, high fructose corn syrup, Benzoate preservatives (BHT, BHA, TBHQ), hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oil (palm, soybean and others), any ingredients that you don’t know or cannot pronounce, any food with trans fat, peanuts (especially peanut butter), nuts in general, artificial sweetener (Aspartame, Saccharin, Sucralose, Phenylalkaline), hot or exotic spices like nutmeg, Chinese five spices, cayenne, cinnamon, etc. Most dietary supplement products that come in tablet, capsule, powder or liquid. Energy Drinks.
*Please note that many spices can cause severe imbalances in the system, unless you live in a tropical climate where you can always perspire to balance the system. People who live in a mild or cold climate should not consume spices.
*Read the label carefully, but don’t trust the label 100%.......there is always something they don’t tell you about. Phrases to watch out for include ‘other natural seasonings and spices’, ‘Natural flavors’ and ‘yeast extract’
*You can get plenty of vitamins and mineral or other nutrients in ‘NATURAL and DIGESTIBLE form’ from fruits, vegetable, whole grains and other foods.
Avoid or consume as little as possible
Refined sugar in any form (cookies, chocolate, candies and etc.) Dairy products: Eggs, milk or any milk products (butter, cream, sour cream, ice cream, cheese and etc.) Energy bars, Coffee, any Alcohol, Soda pop, or any carbonated drinks, potato chips or similar snacks. Artificial sweetener
*We are not asking you to quit all of them or live like a monk unless you are severely ill. Just try to cut down to less than 20% of what you consume now. For example, if you drink 5 cups of coffee a day, drink one cup a day or less instead. Addicted to chocolate or ice cream? Make it a once-a-week special treat. And exercise regularly and feel good about eating sugary treats.
Foods you may have (OK) or Not recommended (NO)
Seafood and fish
OK: Fresh white meat fish: perch, rock fish, black cod, ling cod, trout, red snapper halibut and etc. Seaweed, kelp,
NO: Crab, shrimp, lobsters, oyster, scallops, clams and other shellfish, tuna, salmon, cat fish, crawfish, eel. Farm raised fish.
*Shellfish must be avoided at any cost if you have skin conditions
*You may occasionally have salmon if you don’t have any skin conditions. Note: Most salmon at Costco has color added, yes they dye the salmon to make it look prettier.
*It is hard to find good quality fresh fish these days. Vacuum packed frozen fish fillet are widely available now, and recommended over non-frozen fish because fish are sliced and frozen almost immediately to maintain the freshness.
*Any fish or shellfish caught near the coast line, especially near metropolitan area, may have a high concentration of contaminants.
Meat and poultry
OK: High quality fresh pork or free range chicken (ideally from organically raised pig or chicken) in moderate amounts.
NO: Beef, veal, lamb, turkey, duck, squab, quail and wild games, or liver or other organs of animals.
*Always check the date and buy the freshest meat. Never buy cheap ‘Family Value Pack’ meat because they simply repackage the old unsold meat.
*Eat organic meat or natural meat (no growth hormone or antibiotics).
*Most ham, bacon or other deli meat contains Sodium Nitrate (Nitrite), a preservative which may be damaging to the body. Look for ones that do not contain Sodium Nitrate or other additives.
OK: Carrots, zucchini, green beans, bok choy, choy sum, nappa cabbage, celery, sweet potatoes, potatoes, beet greens, peas, summer squash, bean sprouts, winter melon, fuzzy melon, bitter melon, watercress, water chestnuts, mustard green, lettuce (iceberg, romaine, red leaf, green leaf and etc.)
Moderately: Mushrooms, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes, turnips, radish, parsnips, daikon radish, cucumber, bell peppers, spinach, Mung beans, black eye peas, Chinese red beans, lotus seeds,
NO: Chard, rhubarb, eggplant, winter squash, asparagus, artichokes, brussel sprouts, lima beans, lentils and dry beans, okra, bamboo shoots.
*Most of the vegetables are acceptable as long as organic, however some of the vegetables above in the ‘NO’ list may cause some irritations. (Consult the herbalist.)
OK: Apple, oranges, figs, prunes, apricot, papaya, grapes, pears, blueberries, raspberries…
NO: Guava, mango, coconut, star fruits, durian, pineapple and most of the tropical fruits.
* Depending on your health condition, you may be refrained from eating some of the common fruits like bananas, cherries, strawberries, cantaloupe, honeydew, peaches, and citrus fruits. Please consult the herbalist.
Rice and Bread
OK: Haiga rice(most recommended), any long and short grain white rice. Bread made with only salt, water and yeast, wheat flour or other grains (no nuts or seeds),
NO: Brown rice, bread made with dough conditioners, sugar and other preservatives and additives.
*Haiga rice is one of the Japanese rice. Unlike regular white rice, the germ is never removed during milling process. Therefore, most of the nutrients still remain intact and very easy to digest also. Brown rice should be avoided because it tends to be hard to digest.
OK: Green teas (Japanese or Chinese), water, fresh squeezed orange, apple, vegetable juice and soy milk in moderation. Fresh juice of allowed fruits and vegetables
NO: Beer, wine, hard liquor, or any alcohol beverage, soda pop, energy drinks, sports drinks, or any drinks with artificial flavor or added sugar.
*Coffee is very acidic to the system and it should be avoided if possible. If you must, limit it to 1 or 2 cups of coffee a day (8-12oz per cup). Again, it is NOT recommended to add sugar, artificial sweetener, milk or whip cream.
Remember that you are eating seasonally, so in warmer seasons you may have more fruits and vegetables, while in colder seasons, more grains. The key to your intake of food is the word BALANCE. If your diet is properly balanced and prepared correctly, you will benefit from your own care.