Chinese Nutritional Strategies

"The middle jiao and food has always been of central importance in the Chinese quest for health.  Hopefully all practitioners realise the potential of this area and view the legacy of traditional information available from China with respect and awe; this app is a good avenue to access some of this information."

Peter Torssell
Journal of Chinese Medicine
February 2014


iPhone and iPad users please use this link:

Android users please use this link:

How to use the Chinese Nutritional Strategies app

The three main ways the app can be utilized are: 

1. As a quick reference for individual food qualities

2. To research foods by traditional characteristics

3. To compile and send a list of recommended foods to your patient based on your diagnosis


1. As a quick reference for individual foods:

This is pretty straight forward. Use the "Search" tab to type in a food you are interested in or use the "Browse" tab to look through categories of food you are considering (Beverages, condiments, dairy, etc).

2. To research foods by traditional characteristics:

Use the "Browse" tab and select a characteristic you are interested in:

  • Temperature 

  • Flavor 

  • Action 

  • Indication 

  • Indicated Pattern 

  • Contraindicated Pattern 

For example if you are interested in a list of foods indicated for insomnia then first select the "Browse" tab, select "Indications" then "Insomnia" this will yield: Beef Liver, Beet, Chicken Egg, Hops, Lily Bulb, Longan, Lotus Seed, Mulberry, Oyster, Russian Olive, Spinach, Wheat, and Yogurt.

3. To compile and send a list of recommended foods to your patient based on diagnosis:

Select the "Diagnose" tab then select one or several patterns (a check mark will appear on selected patterns). Then select the "Continue" tab and a list of foods to Seek Out (Indicated by your selected patterns), Moderation (Mixed Indicated and Contraindicated patterns - these will be shown as a "+" for indicated and as a "-" for contraindicated below the foods), and Avoid (Contraindicated by your selected patterns). Select "Edit" below each list if you wish to make any changes to the recommendations.

Select "Settings" to enter Default Notes for the patient (for example:
Eat only cooked foods, Avoid eating late at night, etc) and then enter your Contact Info.
Return to the "Diagnose" tab and then select the "Email" or "Print" tab to send or make a hard copy of the recommendations for the patient.

Seasonal Recommendations:

The seasonal recommendations feature addresses the "When" of prescribing Chinese nutrition. To access this feature, select the "Diagnose" tab, select the appropriate patterns, select the "Continue" tab, select the button in the top right corner and it will reveal the seasonal recommendation options. These options are:

  • Spring

  • Summer

  • Late Summer

  • Fall

  • Winter

  • Auto

  • Off

Select a season you wish to research or select "Auto" and the app will automatically select the current season based on the Chinese solar (agricultural) five season calendar. Not surprisingly, "Off" will disable the seasonal recommendation feature. The seasonal recommendation feature allows the practitioner to emphasize the local growing seasons when dispensing dietary advice. For example, if the practitioner diagnoses urinary bladder damp heat and has the seasonal recommendation feature switched to "Auto" in the winter then foods that treat urinary bladder damp heat but are not in season in the winter (for example watermelon) will be moved from the seek out to the avoid category.

Functional Cooking Methods (iOS only):

This feature allows access to the transformative nature of cooking methods (炮制 Pao Zhi) on the qualities of foods. To access this feature, select the "Diagnose" tab, select the appropriate patterns, select the "Continue" tab, then select the button in the top right corner that looks like a cooking pot, and it will reveal the functional cooking methods. These methods are:

  • Dry frying - increases the Spleen awakening and Stomach strengthening action of the food
  • Salt frying - directs the food's qualities downward to the Kidneys, nourishes Yin, reduces fire
  • Honey frying - increases the food's supplementing and moistening actions
  • Vinegar frying - enhances the food's astringent, analgesic, blood invigorating, and detoxifying actions
  • Wine frying - enhances the food's ability to clear blockage from the channels, expel wind, and alleviate wind 
  • Ginger frying - reduces the tendency of bitter and cold foods to upset the stomach
  • Steaming - neutral effect on a food's thermal nature
  • Baking - gently supplies Yang to a food
  • Roasting - reinforce a food's astringent effects, supplies Yang to a food
  • Boiling - reinforce a food's actions, lessens any toxicity, prolonged boiling (up to 36 hours) develops immense Yang potential in foods
  • Grilling/Broiling - develops a strong Yang effect on the food

Select which method or methods you would like to recommend for each food. Then send the food list via email or print out a hard copy for your patient.

Important note:

The entire data set in the app is designed to be edited and personalized by the user to reflect any dietary traditions or texts the user wishes to emphasize. Simply select the "Edit" tab in the upper right corner of each individual food listing and then select the "Edit" option below each characteristic make any changes and then select "Save" in the upper right corner.

Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions, comments, or feedback.

Toby Daly PhD, LAc



App Store description:

The Chinese Nutritional Strategies (CNS) app is a tool designed to allow practitioners of Chinese medicine convenient and complete access to centuries of nutritional insights.

The heart of the CNS app is the database of more than 300 common foods, along with their temperature, flavor, actions, indications, notes, seasonal recommendations, and differential diagnosis categories. The database is searchable by any of these criteria and sorting through it allows the practitioner to compile a list of recommended foods, and then share those recommendations in electronic or hard copy with the patient.

In addition, all aspects of the database may be altered by the practitioner. For example, this is the data set for watermelon:

Temperature: Cold
Flavor: Sweet

Actions: Enters the heart, stomach and urinary bladder channels, clears heat from heart, stomach and urinary bladder, relieves summer heat, augments yin fluids, drains damp, moistens the intestines

Indications: Thirst, mouth sores, palpitations, overheated during the summer with inability to urinate, edema

Notes: "Nature's Bai Hu Tang" - Chinese medical saying

Wood (Spring): Avoid
Fire (Summer): Moderation
Earth (Late Summer): Seek out
Metal (Fall): Seek out
Water (Winter): Avoid

Lu Qi Deficiency:Contraindicated
Kid Yang Deficiency:Contraindicated
Urinary Bladder Damp Cold:Contraindicated
Urinary Bladder Damp Heat:Indicated
Heart Yang Deficiency:Contraindicated
Heart Fire:Indicated
Spleen Qi Deficiency:Contraindicated
Spleen Yang Deficiency:Contraindicated
Stomach Fire:Indicated
Stomach Qi Deficiency with Cold:Contraindicated
Stomach Food Stagnation:Contraindicated

Any of the above characteristics may be altered and saved to the database. For example, the Chinese dietary tradition that you follow may consider watermelon to have a neutral temperature and be indicated for cough. Simply change these characteristics in the database and any future searches for neutral temperature foods or cough will include watermelon in the results.

An especially unique feature for the CNS app is the seasonal recommendations feature which addresses the "When" of prescribing Chinese nutrition. Again using the watermelon example, if the practitioner diagnoses urinary bladder damp heat and has the seasonal recommendation feature switched on in the winter then watermelon will be moved from the seek out to the avoid category. This seasonal recommendation feature allows the practitioner to emphasize the local climate and growing seasons when dispensing dietary advice.

Questions, feedback, comments? Please email

Developer: Arlo Leach
Compiled, edited, and translated by Toby Daly, PhD, LAc

Toby Daly received his undergraduate degree in Food Science from the California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo. He began studying Chinese medicine in 1997 with Sunim Doam a Korean monk trained in the Saam tradition. He earned his master's degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine in 2001 upon completion of Chinese medical training in San Francisco as well as China. During his four years of training in San Francisco, he interned with the prominent San Francisco acupuncturist Dr. Angela Wu famous for her treatment of infertility with Chinese medicine. He recently completed his PhD in Classical Chinese Medicine with 88th generation Daoist priest Jeffery Yuen.



Doam, Sunim, Saam lineage
Fruehauf, Heiner, PhD, LAc
Jiao, Daniel, DAOM
Wu, Angela C., OMD
Yuen, Jeffrey, PhD

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California Journal Of Oriental Medicine, Volume 21, No.2 By Toby Daly LAc August 2010.

When One of Our Own Gets Cancer: An Interview With Suzanne Friedman DMQ (China) LAc

Dr. Suzanne Friedman is an acupuncturist, herbalist, and doctor of medical qigong therapy. She received her doctorate degree (D.M.Q.) in Medical Qigong Oncology from the Beijing Western District Medical Qigong Science and TCM Research Institute in Beijing, China. Dr. Friedman is the first non-Chinese to be inducted into her teacher's Daoist family lineage as a qigong master. She is the Chair of the Medical Qigong Department at AIMC Berkeley, and the founder and director of the Yangsheng Center for Qigong at the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine in San Francisco.

Suzanne was diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer February 25, 2010. 

Toby: Let's start at the beginning.

How did you first know that something wasn't right?

Suzanne: I knew something wasn't right when I had a cough that wouldn't go away no matter what herbs I took. Normally, herbs work on me within one to two days. This time, when I took herbs they didn't help at all. I had a cough that started in early December which I thought was just the remnants of a cold. Weeks later, and a few formulas later, the cough remained.

This went on until January, when I saw my Western doctor who gave me antibiotics, which did nothing. He then gave me Advair (fluticasone and salmeterol) for two weeks, during which I became much worse. Advair is a steroidal inhaler, so the steroids must have depressed my immune system for that two-week period—not good. I coughed so much and for so long that I broke one rib, and then about a week later, I broke another.

I finally got an x-ray and then a CT scan, both of which looked horrible. They thought I might have had a massive fungal infection or some type of co-infection. A bronchoscopy confirmed Stage IV lung cancer. 

Apparently my right lung had collapsed from the cancer (which made it difficult to walk and breathe and 1 could no longer go up steps comfortably without coughing).

They found cancer in the adjacent lymph nodes and left lung.

Toby: That's intense.

Can we back up just a little bit?

When you were still in the just chronic cough stage, did you have any Chinese medical signs that this was serious?

I know that you've trained in the Shen-Hammer pulse reading system; did you have any pulse qualities indicating what might be coming?

Did you have any strong premonitions or did it appear just to be a stubborn cough?

Suzanne: Actually, my pulses did show what appeared to be a massive infection and even co-infections; likely fungal, which is usually very hard to treat. They did show it was serious, but they also were consistent with a bad fungal infection, as were the initial results of my CT scan and x-ray.

Both Eastern and Western possible diagnoses were fungal in nature. It was a tumultuous year filled with change, and so I figured that I was just run down. I had no idea how serious it was until slowly and steadily my ability to walk declined, and I became shorter and shorter of breath.

Toby: Let's go back to the collapsed right lung and cancer in the adjacent nodes and left lung.

What did you do next? How were you emotionally?

Suzanne: After the CT scan showed occlusion of the right lung, my bronchoscopy was the next day. The following day, Friday February 25 at 12:04pm the pulmonologist called and told me I had Stage IV lung cancer. He also told me that he and my primary care doc agreed that I should see a particular oncologist they both respected. He was also kind enough to set up the appointment for me for 2 p.m. that same day.

I went with my partner to the oncologist at 2 p.m. He told us that I had 7-8 months to live if I didn't do chemo, and up to two years if I did.

In other words, my cancer was terminal. He wanted me to come in that Monday for my first chemo. I needed time to think about it, as I did not want to do chemo, especially if it meant such a short survival time in the end.
1 essentially decided that it was likely I was going to die (and given the success rates of conventional treatment for lung cancer, the statistics pointed in that direction).

I left theoncologist's office and called my friend Ed, a Buddhist chaplain, and told him that I was going to die and that I would be needing him. I then called my parents, who were already scheduled to fly out the next day, and told them that I was preparing for my death, and that they too should begin the process.

I wasn't afraid, and I believe I was able to feel quite peaceful in the face of death because of my long-term qigong and meditation practice. However, I was terribly sad at the prospect of leaving my partner, whom I had been with for only about a year.

I decided not to do the chemo, and called two experts in cutting-edge cancer treatment; one local, one not. I had phone consults with both and each agreed that I should get my cancer tested for drug sensitivity by finding a surgeon who was willing to remove a lymph node and break hospital protocol by giving it back to me to mail to a doctor in Long Beach, California.

My pulmonologist told me that I could take up to a week before I started some type of treatment, and not to delay because he was afraid I could get sick and then be unable to get any type of treatment due to the fragility of my lungs. So, I had less than a week to find a surgeon, but I did find one, and we Fed Ex'ed my lymph node to get tested to see which drugs my particular live cancer responded to.

Toby: Not being afraid and feeling peaceful in that situation is a powerful testament to your long-term qigong and meditation practices.

Can you briefly describe your practices?

How did you find the two experts in cutting-edge cancer treatments?

Suzanne: My teacher once told me that the purpose of all meditation is to "learn how to die." What he meant was that we get to a place where we are calm and centered in the face of any adversity or challenge, especially and including our own death. My qigong practice includes standing movement exercises (daoyin) and standing and seated meditations (neidan).

My focus is on both the breath and the visualizations appropriate to each exercise or meditation. The practice can run from 20 to 50 minutes, depending on the morning (and it is almost always morning). I noticed that after my diagnosis, I found myself doing qigong between 3-5pm every day without planning to do so, which made sense.

After the diagnosis I tailored my practice towards healing my lungs, and began to practice two times a day.
I knew of the experts because I've been treating cancer patients for almost ten years. Years earlier I completed a week-long integrative cancer training program with the Center for Mind Body Medicine, and I learned a great deal from that training.

Toby: What did the Fed Ex'ed lymph node tell the oncologist?

Suzanne: It told the oncologist that my live cancer responded best to a combination of Tarceva and Avastin, two non-chemo drugs. Turns out that my cancer was resistant to (in other words, did not respond to) the chemo that the first oncologist wanted to give me. This means that my decision to drop the first oncologist and not do his protocol
very likely saved my life.

I found a doctor here in San Francisco who was willing to give me these two drugs, even though Tarceva isn't approved in this country as a first-line treatment medicine. A couple of days before I got the results, I was informed that I was EGFR positive, which means that I have a genetic mutation that makes Tarceva work 100 times better, so I was hoping to do the Tarceva even before the lymph node results, and the results confirmed my decision.

Meanwhile, I got a pulse reading from Brian LaForgia and herbs based on that reading from KW Botanicals, and they were starting to help me get my energy back.

Toby: That is amazingly fortunate.

What did your pulse reading show at this stage?

What herbs were in your formula?

Suzanne: My pulse showed massive heat in my lungs, especially the right lung (which had collapsed). The formula contained and still contains true Tibetan cordyceps, various other mushrooms, and luo bu ma as the chief ingredients.

Toby: How did you deal with the collapsing lung?

How did you respond to your herbal formula and the Tarceva and Avastin combination?

Suzanne: I didn't know my lung had collapsed, although I was acutely aware of the fact that I could walk less and less comfortably without coughing or losing my breath. My ability to go up and down steps was also impeded. Still, looking back, because I couldn't have imagined that it was more than a serious infection, I wasn't even worried about it, as I figured I'd start to feel better "any day now." 

The herbs had already started to give me some energy back before I went on the pharmaceuticals. My oncologist told me that if I responded as well as my cells did to the meds, I should feel 50% better in two weeks, which would have been phenomenal.
I actually felt 50% better in days, and about 85% better in two weeks. It was amazing. 

Avastin 's side-effects are high blood pressure and nosebleeds, both of which I have avoided due to my herbal formula. Tarceva's side-effects are a rash and diarrhea. I had strong Spleen qi before this, so I've been able to maintain my digestive strength. However, I got the most intense rash imaginable on my face, back and chest. I essentially turned purple with thousands of whiteheads all over Not pretty. 

The good news is that a study from a few years back showed that the worse the Tarceva rash, the better the prognosis. I kept focusing on that and staying away from mirrors during that time. The rash stayed bad for months, but now I am left with what looks like a sunburn.

Toby: Aside from the rash, how are you doing now?

Suzanne: Well, my energy has been amazing, likely due to the mushrooms in my formula and my very low carb diet, along with daily exercise and qigong two times a day.
My herbs have also effectively prevented the other side effects from the meds, such as high blood pressure, nosebleeds and diarrhea. That means my vitals are good and my digestion remains strong. 

However, I believe the most important thing is my outlook or attitude, which can help or hinder healing, and I have been in a state of gratitude, humility and appreciation for a long while now.

Toby: I know you had a scan 2 months ago.

What were the doctors expecting?

What were the results?

Suzanne: My doctor knew that my chemosensitivity results showed that my cancer would respond exceptionally well to the medicines, so he said that if all went that well, then the absolute best I could hope for was between 40-50% of the cancer gone.
However, that didn't take into account the Chinese medicine (qigong, herbs, acupuncture, diet, lifestyle) that I was also doing. 

The scan results actually showed 70% of the cancer gone. My doctor told me that there is no Western cancer medicine that could have gotten such great results.

Toby: What are you doing at this stage to support your healing?

Suzanne: I spend all day every day with a focus on healing. I closed my clinic so that healing could become my full-time job. Every day consists of qigong twice a day, meditation, exercise, eating well, taking herbs and supplements, playing the shakuhachi (Japanese bamboo flute-great for the lungs), and being surrounded by loving, supportive people. 

Essentially, I do something if it helps with healing, and I abstain from anything that I feel takes me further from healing.
In addition, I have received weekly acupuncture and medical qigong therapy treatments since my diagnosis, both of which have been amazing and invaluable.

Toby: Thanks for taking the time to tell your story.

Anything else you want to add?

Suzanne: Just that everyone's cancer journey is unique. What works for one person won't work for everyone. I've found that the key is to trust and follow your intuition and never compromise your integrity. 

Western medicine has much to offer, just as Chinese medicine does. When used together properly, they are able to enhance each other. How lucky we are to have access to both!

On September 28, 2010, Suzanne wrote the following in an email to friends and supporters: "I just got the results of my PET scan, and they show that all of the stuff that appeared on the CT scan is actually dead tissue.
My doc said it was a PERFECT scan, and that I am in remission!

Suzanne was interviewed by Toby Daly, a fellow ACTCM alumni who is now pursuing a PhD in classical Chinese medicine at the American University of Complementary Medicine.
He maintains a private practice in Cloverdale, California.