What does the yin and yang diet consist of?
The yin and yang diet is based on the principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Yin and yang are two opposing forces, yet complementary, present in all aspects of nature. Yin represents femininity, coldness, expansion and darkness, whilst yang represents masculinity, heat, contraction and luminosity. It’s important to understand the polarity between these natural forces to apply them in our day-to-day life. When both of them are in balance, we are able to achieve an optimal state of health and are free of illness.
Therefore, in Traditional Chinese Medicine based nutrition, the aim is to always find balance between the yin and the yang and adapting the diet depending on each individual’s needs, the season and locality. Why are these three factors so important? Because a person who lives in a tropical warm climate shouldn’t follow the same diet as someone who lives in a continental climate with distinct seasons. The same goes for someone who suffers from certain ailments and someone who is completely healthy. Therefore, it’s important to adapt our diet to these factors, always aiming to find the balance between the yin and the yang.
What are the main benefits of following a balanced diet with yin and yang foods?
A diet based on the yin-yang principles can provide us the following benefits:
- More energy and vitality
- A healthy digestive tract
- Strengthened immune system
- Emotional stability
- Less acidity in the body
- Weight-loss or weight-gain depending on what the body needs
- Mental clarity
- Less stress
How can we achieve a balance between yin and yang foods?
The equilibrium between yin and yang foods can be achieved by having a good balance of the two.
First of all, we have to identify what foods fit into the central column of the yin and yang diet. If we spread all the yin and yang foods out, at the centre of it all, we would find whole grains, vegetables, legumes, seaweed, soups and a small quantity of condiments and fish.
In the extreme ends of the central column, we would find alcohol, sugar, dairy, eggs and meat. These are the foods we would avoid or keep to a minimum.
Once we’ve identified the foods that belong to the central column and the extremities, we should create a diet that is based on the central foods and where we also must take into account the other factors we’ve mentioned.
In summer, we should include more yin foods in our diet and in winter, our diet should be rich in yang foods. Everyone is aware that in summer, generally speaking, we should eat more vegetables and fruits, and in winter, we should eat more cereals, cooked vegetables and fish. This way, we give our body what it needs to function better. If you eat salads in winter, these will produce a yin effect in our organism, making us feel cold, tired and malnourished. Therefore, we must eat foods that heat the body from the inside, and as a result, we will avoid getting sick and feeling lethargic.
Is the balance of the yin and yang foods the same for everybody? What factors influence whether we should eat more yin or yang foods?
A diet based on the yin and yang principles must be personalised. These are the factors that need to be taken into account:
- The constitution and physical condition of the person
- The level of physical activity
- The climate where one lives
- The season
- The specific ailments or health alterations of each person
- Personal goals
What yin and yang foods are more beneficial in summer?
The most beneficial yin foods in summer are:
- Vegetables, consumed in the form of salads, steamed or lightly sautéed.
- Cereals such as corn
- Seasonal fruits
- More water and herbal teas
- Green juices or smoothies
- Warm or cold soups like gazpacho
The most beneficial yang foods in summer are:
- Soups with seaweed
- Foods rich in minerals
- Sea salt
- Avoid eating foods of animal origin
When we adapt our diet to each season, our organism will adjust to the conditions that each season brings. In the case of summer, you will notice that you won’t be as hot and you will loose a few kilos, in the case that you have excess, as a result of the lower calorie intake in the diet.
Are you up for trying the yin and yang diet?