Plant Based Athletes & TCM


Veganism, Chinese medicine, and athletics.  Huh?  You probably haven’t heard those in combination ever. They could be considered strange bedfellows. In fact, some of you vegans and vegetarians reading this have probably been told by an acupuncturist that you have to eat meat.  We’re actually taught in school that everyone needs to eat animal products. Everyone.  If you or someone you know was told this, you can ignore it.  Most acupuncturists receive about 40 hours of nutritional training as part of their formal education.  That’s a lot more than MDs, but not nearly enough. I’ve heard from many patients that their previous acupuncturists who were stumped on how to help them say, “If you just ate meat, your problem would go away.’  Even people with cancer!  I personally was told by a respected acupuncturist to eat meat for an issue I’d had since I was a small child.  She said my vegetarianism was the cause of my problem.  It was a problem that started when I was eating animal products every single day, if not every meal.  Hmmm….  I still haven’t figure out her logic.


There are some acupuncturists and herbalists out there who understand and promote plant based nutrition. More and more are questioning what we learn in school. Seek them out.  Some acupuncturists, myself included, offer phone consultations for herbs and nutrition to people all over the word.  You can ask when setting up your first appointment how they feel about veganism.


The beauty of Chinese medicine is that there are no negative side effects.  Chinese herbs are completely safe when taken properly and most of them are vegan.  Most of the herbs that aren’t veg are illegal anyway. Double check with a qualified practitioner before taking anything.  Chinese nutrition is very unique as it takes in to account your physical and emotional history to give you optimum results.  Some fine tuning to your already healthy diet might be all you need to have incredible results.


I can tell you that Chinese medicine and veganism are a really great fit.  Especially, if you’re an athlete.   A plant based diet gives you all the nutrients you need.  Meat stays stuck in belly.  Thus, slowing you down. Animal products cause inflammation making you more prone to injury and slow down recovery time.  We all know shining examples of how well it works.  Many of them have been or will be featured in this magazine.  A great resource for Chinese nutrition that’s mostly plant based is “Healing With Whole Foods” by Paul Pritchard.


Some of the benefits of Chinese medicine and nutrition


Quicken recovery time

Increase endurance

Prevent injuries and illness

Reduce stress

Aid in digestion leading to better absorption of nutrients and increased strength

Increase lung capacity

Any other underlying health issues that can affect performance


I have countless examples of athletes who’ve benefited from this ancient medicine.  Here are two.


Many years ago I treated a well known yoga instructor in LA.  For 25 years he had shoulder pain from a car accident.  The pain made several poses difficult, if not impossible.  With just 3 acupuncture treatments, he was and still is completely pain free.  Something he’d lived with for decades is gone.


In 2010, a professional basket player was referred to me due to several injuries that kept coming back.  He’d already had 2 surgeries that didn’t help much and wanted to try something more holistic and longer lasting.  He also had issues with his digestion and stress from the pressure of his job.  After a few slight modifications in his diet, weekly acupuncture for 2 months, and Chinese herbs, he was pain free.  He now has no more stomach issues and handles his stress and anger way better than even he though possible.  He still sees me weekly to prevent injury and keep his cool.


I’ve seen couch potatoes to body builders and Olympic athletes.  Chinese medicine and plant-based nutrition have improved their quality of life.  And eating more vegetables is never a bad thing.  I guarantee it.


Live natural.  Live well.



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