I, like the rest of the world, dislike the word ‘diet’; too loaded, and too meaningless. I use it, to describe an alteration in our way of eating, but I needed a better way to communicate and illustrate that idea to my kids. What I came up with was differentiating between Green Dragon food and Red Dragon food.
Red Dragon food feeds and strengthens the Red Dragon: inflammation, tiredness, anxiety, upset stomach, poor digestion. The Red Dragon is always with us, but feeding it makes it stronger. Grains, dairy, sugars, processed foods all feed the Red Dragon.
Green Dragon food feeds and nourishes the Green Dragon: good sleep, good digestion, strong body, strong mind, plenty of energy. A strong Green Dragon keeps the Red Dragon in check. The Green Dragon needs meats and fish, plenty of vegetables and some fruit, fermented foods, fats from healthy animals and nuts and seeds.
It’s an imagery that works for the kids because it is vivid and clear. It incorporates the idea of balance, not just exclusion. We still eat some Red Dragon foods, but maintain balance by eating mostly Green Dragon foods. We can choose how we feel by what we eat, because what we eat nourishes either the Green Dragon or the Red Dragon.