Yin Yang Yum, foods to balance by

Kathy Krugerbalance, yinyang1 Comment

Asian sweet and sour chicken_edited-1

When it comes to eating, balance is very good. A balanced diet, of the food group variety, for our good health – a balance of flavours, for the yum factor. And if you’re a contestant on a cooking show or just out to impress, your meal has to look balanced on the plate.  Because we don’t just dish up dinner anymore, we ‘plate up’, apparently.

While I’ve blogged before about finding a recipe for balance, without having to be a masterchef, there is actually quite a bit to the concept of creating yin yang balance in our diets and in individual meals.

Prefacing this post by saying I’m not an expert, I’ve been experimenting with some recipes and researching the basics.

Achieving balance between foods that are yin and those that are yang fits within Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), which promotes a balance of yin and yang for good health and wellbeing and to treat disease.  

Basically yin and yang each have different energetic qualities of ‘Qi’ or ‘Ch’i’, that influence everything in our universe, including our health. ‘Qi’ needs to flow freely through our bodies for us to enjoy good health and imbalances of yin and yang energy will block the flow of ‘Qi’.

Some conditions are considered yin – such as arthritis, which is worse in the cold, while a red rash or high blood pressure would indicate an excess of yang. Disease presents itself as an excess of either yin or yang, and specific foods are often prescribed, along with herbal tonics, acupuncture and other treatments, to rebalance the patient’s body.

Foods follow yin and yang characteristics – some are considered more yin and are identified as being cold or cool and moist. This doesn’t mean they can’t be cooked or heated, it just means they have a cooling effect on the body and also promote dampness.  Not surprisingly watermelon and cucumber are two foods that are considered to be very yin. Others are considered yang – including hot and drying foods such as onion and chilli. Again, not surprises. Yin foods tend to be sweet and salty, yang foods tend to be sour and spicy. But as the list below shows, sometimes the categories foods fall under aren’t as obvious.

Cooking methods also are considered more yin and yang – steaming, poaching and boiling (which all use moisture) are considered yin methods, while roasting and frying, especially deep frying on high heat, are yang methods.

Highly refined foods are said to have ‘dead energy’ in them, while foods that are very yin or very yang are also to be avoided in favour of foods that offer a balance of yin and yang energy (neutral foods). Yin and yang foods also come in acidic and alkaline types, and it’s also recommended that this is taken into account in an overall balanced meal and diet.

The Feng Shui Institute recommends that for a healthy and well balanced diet, meals should contain three parts yang and two parts yin.

Chinese cooking aims for a balance between yin and yang, hot and cold, sweet and sour, moist and dry – a lot of thought goes into a Chinese banquet along with the soy sauce (yin BTW)!

The photo above is my Asian (Vietnamese style) Sweet & Sour Ginger Chilli Chicken with mint, brocolini, mushrooms and snowpeas.

Yin-and-yang-food

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo credit

 

 

I’ve come across a number of different food lists: Here is a very comprehensive one:

COLD
COOL
WARM
HOT
VEGETABLES:Asparagus
Bean Sprouts
Bok Choi
Cauliflower
Celery
ChineseCabbage
Cucumber
Eggplant
Seaweed
Snow peas
Turnip
Water chestnuts
White mushroom
ZucchiniFRUITS:Banana
Blueberry
Cantaloupe
Cranberry
Grapefruit
Kiwi
Lemon
Mango
Mulberry
Persimmon
Plum
Pineapple
Rhubarb
Tangerine
Tomato
WatermelonGRAINS:
Wheat germ

MEAT:
Clam
Crab
Octopus

SPICES:
Salt
White pepper.

MISC:
Soy sauce
Sugar cane
Tofu

VEGETABLES:Alfalfa sprouts Artichoke
Bamboo shoots
Bitter Gourd
Mushroom
Broccoli
Cabbage
Carrot
Cooked Lettuce
Cooked Onion
Corn
Daikon radish
Endive lettuce
Lotus root
Mushrooms
Potato
Snow Pea
Soybean Sprouts
Spinach
Tomato

FRUITS:
Apple
Avocado
Black currant
Cherries
Fig
Lemon
Oranges
Pear
Prunes
Strawberries
Tangerine

GRAINS:

Amaranth
Barley
Buckwheat
Millet
Wheat
Wild rice

SEEDS:

Lima beans
Mung bean
Soybean

MEAT:

Duck egg
Duck
Eggs
Frog
Oysters
Pork
Rabbit SPICES:Cilantro leaf (coriander)
Marjoram
Mint
Peppermint
Tamarind

MISC:
Beer
Cheese
Green tea
Milk
Miso soup
Oolong Tea
Peppermint
Sesame oil
Yogurt

VEGETABLES:Bell pepper (capsicum)
Chive
Cooked Tomato
Fennel
Green bean
Green Pepper
Leek
Mustard green
Onion
Oyster mushroom.
Parsley
Parsnip
Pumpkin
Squash
Sweet potato
Watercress

FRUITS:Blackberry
Coconut
Dates
Grapes
Kumquat
Litchi
Longan
Nectarines
Pomegranates
Quince
Raspberry

GRAINS:

Oats
Quinoa
Safflower
Sweet/glutinous rice

SEEDS:

Black bean
Chestnut
Lotus seed
Pine nut
Walnut

MEAT:

Anchovy
Beef
Butter
Capers
Chicken
Eel
Fresh water fish
Ham
Lobster
Mussels
Pig tripe
Sheep & goat
Sheep’s milk
Shrimp
Turkey
Venison

SPICES:

Anise
Basil
Bay leaf
Caraway
Carob
Clove
Coriander
Cumin
Dill seed
Fennel
Fenugreek
Fresh ginger
Jasmine
Nutmeg
Rosemary
Sage
Spearmint
Thyme

SWEETENERS:

Amasake
Brown sugar
Malt sugar
Molasses

MISC:

Black tea
Coffee
Goats milk
Plum vinegar
Rice vinegar
Wine
Vinegar
VEGETABLES:Garlic
Green onion
Raw onions
Red pepperMEAT:Deep-fried or grilled meat.
Grass fish.
Sparrow meat.SPICES:
Black pepper
Cayenne pepper
Chili pepper
Horseradish/wasabi
Mustard

MISC:
Chocolate
Cocoa

Here are a range of links you might want to explore for more information:

http://pathtoperfecthealth.com/nutrition/yin-yang/

http://www.yinyanghouse.com/practitioner_members/general-lifestyle/yin-and-yang-our-diets

https://www.acufinder.com/Acupuncture+Information/Detail/Yin-Yang+Balance+and+Food+Choice

http://reallifespirituality.com/yin-yang/

Happy cooking, and healthy, balanced and tasty eating – that’s Yin Yang Yum!

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