Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Are You More Yin or Yang? By Deborah Giam Teacher: Knight Shadow


Are You More Yin or Yang

By Deborah Giam

We’re constantly told that everything in our life needs balance - play vs. work, exercising vs. relaxing, veggies vs. chocolate and so on.

But how important is that balance? As much as we’d all love to indulge in one thing more than another - usually something that’s more pleasurable and doesn’t require much effort - that sadly isn’t the way life works, and indeed it’s also not the way our body works.

It all comes down to one thing - balance. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioners believe that our body is created with two opposing sides - the Yin and the Yang or rather, the cold and the hot. When both sides are balanced, your body is a happy mix of energy. If that balance is out of whack, your body will be off track.

Where does the balance come from?
It’s thought that food makes the man, and in this case it could be true. Food gives us more than a wonderful culinary experience; it also provides our bodies with the strength to heal and to correct the balance of Yin and Yang.

An imbalance in Yin and Yang energies creates a number of problems, including pain, insomnia, tumors, blood loss and a whole host of irritating and often frustrating ailments.

But with the right foods (either rich in cooling or heating elements) this imbalance can be corrected preventing illness, lessening pain and giving you a much longer, healthier life.

Now, when we’re talking about Yin and Yang foods (or cold and hot foods), it’s not about the temperature of the food, but rather the effect the food has on the body.

Cold foods provide less energy, and help to balance the hot foods. Hot foods, on the other hand, are high in calories and energy and can be used to treat general weakness.

How do you balance everything?
When you’re suffering and shivering in cold conditions, you’ll probably be more likely to eat foods that are warm in flavor (and temperature) - think of all those wonderful soupy dishes you crave on a cold day. You’re also more likely to avoid cold and raw foods.

So just what will warm you up? Anything with a spice like nutmeg, mustard, peppers, ginger, curry and black peppers are considered hot.

Warmer foods are coffee, chicken, cuttlefish, garlic, green onions, guava, organ meats, rosemary, seeds and nuts, and of course, wine. In hot climates, such as in Singapore or during the Shanghai summer, you are likely to want cooler foods to ward off anxiety, hemorrhoids, fever, and even insomnia.

Head towards foods like bamboo shoots, clams, crabs, grapefruit, kelp, watermelons, most green leafy vegetables, pears, and generally most fruits, to keep cool when things heat up. There are neutral foods too, that you can eat in any condition and any climate.

Just add healthy doses of apricots, beets, black fungus, Chinese cabbage, carp, chicken eggs, corn, figs, lotus and papayas to your diet to keep things varied and interesting.

Knowing Your Yin/Yang Body Type

It’s believed that each person is categorized into different body types. Your body’s metabolism and organ functions will determine how it reacts with the environment.

1. The Yin or Cold Type: These people tend to be frailer and feel cold easily. They’re the ones you’ll spot drinking hot soups and steaming mugs of coffee or hot chocolate.

Notice the quiet, fair-skinned person in the corner? They’re likely to be the Yin type. If you get the chance (although I’m not sure how), you’ll also find that their tongue appears pink and bulky with a whitish coating.

2. Yang or Hot Type: That hot-tempered insomniac you know; he could be a Yang type. They’re often sturdily built and feel warm.

They’ll pick a nice cold drink anytime and have a slightly reddish complexion. If there’s a change in temperatures (usually when it starts getting hot), they’ll be the first to feel it. If you look at their tongues, it’ll appear red with a yellowish coating.

3. Phlegm or Damp Type: Sweet foods are what attract the damp type the most, and they tend to feel tired and sleepy during the day while snoring down the house at night.

Armed with low metabolic rates, they’re more prone to being overweight or bloated due to water retention. They may look fat, but really they’re just lethargic. Their tongue looks moist and bulky, often with a greasy coating.

4. Dry type: If you’ve got a friend that drinks like there’s no tomorrow because they are always thirsty, they could be the dry type.

Watch out for the one who always has a cough, is skinny like a stick and doesn‘t put on weight easily.

Because of the dryness they feel, they tend to have itchier skins, nose or eyes and constipation, and will be the first to get affected by low levels of humidity.

With all of this information, you should know one size doesn’t fit all. Some people can be a mix of a few different types not fit neatly into a category.

When you’re planning your diet, consider talking to your doctor or your TCM practitioner for their best advice, so you’ll be able to get the right balance for your health.

About the Author

Son Light Angel

Author & Editor

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