A fundamental principle of Chinese Medicine is Yin and Yang Theory. In Chinese, yin (陰) literally means shade, while yang (陽) means the sun. Yin and Yang, in an essence, are pairs of opposites. Here are some examples*:
If we apply this to our foods and their thermal nature, yin foods will cool us down while yang foods will tend to warm us. Yang is energizing while yin is nourishing by building blood and fluids in our bodies. Yang contains ascending energy while yin contains descending energy.
Yin and Yang Theory can also be used to describe human personality and physiology*:
Warmer body and personality Cooler body and personality
Dry skin/less body fluid Moist skin/more body fluid
Focused mind Serene
Hyperactive mentality Unclear, dreamy
Angry, impatient Fearful, insecure
Loud voice Soft voice
Red Complexion Pale complexion
In general, for someone who possesses a more characteristically yang constitution, both physically and mentally, it is best to avoid or limit foods that tend to warm and heat the body, such as spicy foods, garlic, and cayenne pepper. On the flip side, one with a more yin constitution should eat more warming foods and limit cooling foods such as raw lettuce, cucumber, and celery. The main goal is to maintain a constant balance between yin and yang in order to achieve physical and emotional health. So balance and moderation is key as eating too much of anything, can put you from one extreme to the other.
What you need to know:
- Yin and Yang Theory is used to describe pairs of opposites.
- This principle can be extrapolated to describe food, physical attributes, as well as personality traits.
- Balancing your body’s yin and yang is key to establishing and maintaining health.
Do you think you are more yin or yang?
In health and wellness,
Healing with Whole Foods by Paul Pitchford
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