Food Energetics Introduction

Estimated read time... 3 minutes

What does an energetically balanced diet look like?  It is slightly different for everyone, as each of us is unique, but the basis of an energetically balanced diet is rooted in foods with neutral, neutral-cool, and neutral-warm energies.  Below is a list of foods and their example energies from my herb coursebook. 

Yin

Neutral

Yang

Grains
Oats
Barley
Millet
Wheat
Buckwheat
Quinoa
Rice
(none)
Beans
Mung
Soy
Tofu
Kidney
Lentils
Black beans
Adzuki
(none)
Vegetables
Summer Squash
Greens
Celery
Cucumber
Tomato
Asparagus
Seaweed
String bean
Carrot
Peas
Potato
Beet
Cabbage family
Winter squash
Onions
Garlic
Fruits
 Apple
Pear
Melons
Bananas
Plum
Papaya
Figs
Blackberries
Raspberries
Cherries
Strawberries
Peach
Protein
Clam
Crab
Oyster
Tuna
Pork
Eggs
Beef
Duck
Cheese
Sardines
Milk
Yogurt
Anchovy
Shrimp
Chicken
Lamb
Butter
Nuts
(none)
Almond
Peanut
Walnut
Pine Nut
VERY Yin/Cold
VERY Yang/Hot
“Extreme” Foods
(Foods to be eaten in small amounts or avoided altogether)
Green Tea
Salt
Sugar Cane
Beer
Honey
White Sugar
Coffee
Alcohol
Tobacco
Wine
Brown Sugar
Malt/Maltose
Molasses
Vinegar
In addition to foods being Yin-Neutral-Yang, they are also “empty” or “full”.
Full ————————————-– Neutral —–——— Neutral-Empty –————–Empty
Meat & Eggs —- Dairy ——— Grains/Legumes –——- Vegetables –————- Fruit/Sugar
As we can see, foods from animals are more Full, while plant-based foods (especially vegetables and fruits) are Neutral-Empty. 
It is not uncommon for a meat eater to crave sugar and fruits to create a seesaw-like balance in the body, or to crave sugar after eating a lot of salt (and vice versa.)  The emptiness and coldness of the sugar balances out the fullness and heat of the meat, and the heaviness of salty foods balances out the lightness of sugary ones.  (Heavy being full, light being empty.) 
What does this all mean?  Well, it does not mean that you can eat as much meat as you want and “balance” it out with fruit and sugar that’s for sure!  That is extreme, and we want something with as little “wobble” in our bodies as possible.  The foods that will cause the least amount of wobble are Neutral, Neutral-Cool, Neutral-Warm in energy and Neutral, Neutral-Empty on the fullness scale. 
Vegetables, grains, legumes/beans are ideal sources of food and energy in our bodies.  To best utilize the energy and nutrition in grains and legumes/beans, soak them overnight in water, then cook.  If you have difficulty digesting beans, soak them for 36 hours prior to cooking – you’ll notice a difference in taste, texture, and your digestive abilities!
When a person has a very Yang constitution, continually eating meat and drinking coffee is going to create more Yang/Heat in the body and throw the person into further imbalance.  By eliminating as much coffee as possible (1 cup a day is typically fine), limiting meat consumption and increasing the intake of vegetables, grains and legumes, the body is provided with a more balanced energy source to create an ideal state of health.  If a person tends to be more Yin, continually eating raw fruits, fruit juices and salads is going to perpetuate the Yin-state, so balancing out the body means eating more grains/legumes, and meat to “warm” the body up.
Water intake is important as well, if you drink too much water you make your body more Yin, but if you don’t drink enough you become more Yang because your body is unable to self-regulate through the elimination of toxins (through urine, and sweat.)  Drinking ice water is common with people who have very Yang-type diets and constitutions, craving hot teas is common for people who are Yin or who eat a predominantly Yin diet.  Try to drink hot water or room temperature water, I bet you’ll notice that you won’t crave the extreme of salty or sweet as much.  Generally eight 8-10oz glasses of water per day is adequate, less if you eat a mostly vegetable/fruit based diet, a little more if you eat a heavy meat diet.  
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