Hey beautiful people, today I want to do a follow on Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and talk about yin and yang foods as I found the whole concept very beneficial when it comes to getting my body balanced. It also helped me understand why for years my digestion has been sluggish and lazy! It might be a bit confusing to start with but once you get the idea it will make sense and feel more in touch with your body and the signals it gives you. 🙂
In the west food is classified in terms of its chemical composition, the calories, carbohydrates, proteins, fats, and other nutrients that it contains. However in TCM, a balance of yin (cool) and yang (hot) foods is essential for good health.
In Chinese medicine practitioners believe that food can strengthen, energize and HEAL the body. This is achieved by eating a balanced diet which includes yin and yang foods and eating according to each season. TCM practitioners also believe that certain disorders are due to an imbalance of yin & yang in the body.
Yin and yang are said to be energetic qualities that shape everything in the universe, including our health. The Chinese symbol for yin is the shaded side of a hill. In contrast, yang is the sunny side of the hill. Yin and yang are complementary qualities and essential to each other.
In short and simple terms:
- Yin = signifies femininity, coolness, dampness, and darkness.
- Yin = cools foods that moisten the body
- Yin foods (cool) usually low in calories and high in potassium. They’re recommended in hot weather.
- Yang = warm & drying foods
- Yang = signifies masculinity, warmth, dryness, and light.
- Yang foods (hot) usually higher in calories and sodium. They’re recommended in colder months to help warm your body.
The characteristics of these foods have less to do with the actual temperature of moisten level, but instead it is the energetic properties and how each food effects the body.
However you also have to take your current state into consideration when choosing what to eat. For example its summer right now, however my stomach is cold & requires warm and/or hot despite the weather. So in this case I am focusing on having warm temperature food and drinks and AVOIDING COLD and ice cold drinks and food! My weakness, as I love drinking cold water all year round and 1st thing in the morning! which has unfortunately affected my kidneys and liver and made my digestion sluggish! 🙂
Common yin foods include:
- Soy products: tofu & soybean sprouts
- certain meats, such as crab and duck
- Fruit: such as watermelon
- Vegetables: such as watercress, cucumbers, carrots, and cabbage
- Cold drinks and water
Common yang foods include:
- Foods that are high in fat, protein, calories, and sodium
- Certain meats, such as chicken, pork, and beef
- Warm spices, such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger
- Eggs, glutinous rice, sesame oil, bamboo, and mushrooms
- Alcoholic beverages
Possible states on imbalances:
- Excess Of Yin
- Excess of Yang
- Deficiency in Yin
- Deficiency in Yang
I am going to keep it basic and simple in this post so in simple terms..
Someone who is yang deficient is someone who isn’t very active, drinks cold foods and drinks often, exposed to cold weather – in summer tends to turn the AC on and exposed to it directly. Yang deficiency is also connected to emotional patters such as depression and apathy.
Yang becomes deficient through inactivity and so in order to get yang moving the body needs to be moved. Therefore regular exercise is Key here.
This also is related to slow and sluggish digestion due to coldness in the stomach area, therefore abdomen and lower back needs to always be covered and warm. Adding warming spices like ginger, cinnamon, clove, cardamom, black pepper and fennel will assist in that too.
Also stimulant tent to stress the body and its ability to generate yang, so if possible avoid caffeine if you are yang deficient.
More Signs of yang deficiency:
- Low core energy
- Low sexual energy
- Muscles Pains or weakness
- Loss of strenght
- A drop of energy in the after noon around 3pm
- Anxiety & panic atacks & fear
- Cold feet & hands
- General Coldness of body
Tips for those who are yang deficient:
- Yang deficient = avoid raw foods, salad, cold foods, ice beverages, stop eating tons of water
- Eat hot foods = sweet potato, have warm foods 1st thing in the morning (soup, sweet potato)
- Use turmeric & cinnamon to warm up
- Eat yang food: animal protein, apples. basil, carrots, chive, chestnut, grapes, grapefruit, mushrooms, pineapple, rice, salt, walnut
- Don’t Skip meals: digestive fire is at its peak 7-11am, so have a good breakfast!
- Keep the body warm!
- Get enough rest
- Get enough exercise but know your limit: those with hypothyroid o chronic fatigue don’t do running or high intensity exercise as it will leave you feeling worse.
These individuals are go go go people! They never switch off their minds or their bodies! Thus replenishing the yin requires rest & deep nourishment.
Those people need to make sure that they make time everyday or at least few times a week to just rest and relax and switch off. Meditation, praying, walking and listening to music could assist in this.
However, too much time in front of the TV or computer will make things worse so limit or avoid these all together few times a week!
Limit your exposure to AC, central heating as well as electromagnetic radiation as these will also deplete the Yin.
Avoid coffee, alcohol & spicy food or at least limit those.
Foods such as asparagus, dark colored fruits, fish, eggs and dairy products are considered yin-tonifying foods.
& here you have it guys,
an intro into yin and yang food, deficiencies and what you can do to help – I’ve included a useful link below if you want to read more about it 🙂
Lots of love,