This is a quick one on the thermal nature of foods we eat. This is an overlooked concept in health and nutrition that probably should get more credit than it does. Most people are familiar with the concept on Yin and Yang. Yin is basically cool, feminine, receptive, nurturing, etc. Yang is basically warm, masculine, energetic, etc. Our society seems to favor YANG over all else and so we lose sight of our yin nature. My brother likes watching old movies and one thing I always notice is the “YIN” moments. In today’s movies all we have is action, action, action! It’s completely unrealistic. I like action as much as the next guy but what about the contemplation? He had me watch “Dances with Wolves” a while back and it amazed me how much “downtime” there was in the movie. Moments where the man was just thinking, reading, or journaling. The true nature of the world is to be at peace and relaxing most of the time. Anyway, back to the food.
So we can use the thermal nature of foods to balance ourselves out as well. Some people eat far too yin. Some too yang. Let’s compare.
What are YIN FOODS? Primarily things like sugars, fruit, cold stuff, raw food, juices, and some vegetables such as nightshades. Most vegetables are more yang.
What are YANG FOODS? In general the most yang foods come from animals. Starting from most yang to least yang you may have things like wild game meats followed by things like beef and lamb followed by things like chicken/turkey followed by fish. Root vegetables are fairly yang. Especially things like turnips, parsnips, etc. Sweet potatoes are a bit more yin. Eggs are quite yang as well.
What about SEASONINGS? Seasonings have a huge impact on the yin/yang point of foods. Using things such as cinnamon, black pepper, sea salt, ginger, garlic, cayenne, cloves, etc will help make food that is much more YANG. More Yin spices could include herbs usually found fresh such as parsley, basil, etc.
What about COOKING? You caught me. The cooking process itself actually has a lot to do with this as well. Cooking ADDS HEAT to food. How we cook it also changes the process. Life is so complicated I know =) So what about cooking? Slow cooking, roasting, steaming, etc will add some yang but not overtly These are gentle methods that most people have used for thousands of years to heat the food without destroying it. High-heat methods such as broiling, frying, etc will add even more yang to the food.
Where is your BALANCE POINT? There is no right or wrong answer here. Personally, I have been eating far too yin for a little while as it had been summer here. Currently I require more yang foods and protein to do the work I am attempting. It’s safe to say that most American’s require more yin foods but not always. Things like fresh fruits and vegetables, fresh pressed juices, etc.
Ok, so what about the junk? Junk foods are in both categories as well. Yin Junk would include almost all sugars, pasteurized fruit juices, soda pop, candy, etc. Yang Junk would include fried foods, especially fried fats, roasted nuts, pasteurized butters/cheeses, etc.
So the point here is to locate where you are on the continuum and modify your habits accordingly. Eating more yang in the winter naturally makes sense. Eating more yin in the summer naturally makes sense. Don’t get called into any dogma or religion on eating. Eating a bunch of fruit juice and blueberries all winter may not be the best thing. Look through the continuum and see what resonates with your body. Ignore your mind =) Eat healthy food how it feels right with you. Hope you enjoyed.