Yin/Yang Constitiution and Food

Estimated read time... 2 minutes

My name is Pamela Shaw, I’m an apprentice-herbalist and also attending East West School of Herbology to become a certified professional herbalist. My studies focus on Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Ayurveda, and Western herbalism methods of assessment and treatment to help bring the body back to health and balance. This week we’ll be talking about eating for our constitution, constitutional imbalances, and how to utilize food and common herbs to help bring us back to a state of health.
Each of us tends to be more Yin or Yang with our personalities and body types (hereafter called constitutions.) What is Yin? What is Yang? Yin and Yang are on a continuum, no one thing or person is purely Yin or Yang and there is always a little Yin in Yang, and a little Yang in Yin. Yin is cold, wet, heavy, interior, receptive/passive, condensing, inward, descending, dark – like winter. Yang is hot, bright, light, exterior, aggressive, extroverted, assertive, outward, ascending, developing – like summer. Yin foods tend to be vegetables, sour, bitter and salty; Yang foods tend to be animal, spicy and sweet.
On the continuum below, consider how you are when you are healthy (ie not sick with a cold/flu, how you have always been despite weight/lifestyle changes, jobs, etc.) Circle what is most appropriate for yourself, you will most likely see a pattern form in one area, keeping in mind that there will be a few exceptions.
              Yang ——— Balanced/Neutral ——– Yin
Aggressive – Outgoing – Joyful – Sad – Anxious – Fearful – Depressed
Body Type
Large and Muscular – Normal Build – Soft – Flabby – Thin – Emaciated
Erect – Stiff – Relaxed – Hunched Over – Limp
Very Animated – Moderately Active – Little Movement – Still
Heavy/Loud – Loud/Sighing – Breathe Heavily/Mouth – Shallow/Light Breath – Soft/Intermittent Sighs
Loud – Rough – High-Pitched – Regulated and Moderate – Soft – Murmuring – Almost Inaudible
Skin Cast
Red – Yellow – Green – White
Sclera/White of Eye
Red – Yellow – Green – White
Lip Color
Red – Yellow – Green – White
Lip Moisture
Cracked – Dry – Moist – Overly Wet
Yellow/Thick – White/Thick – Thin – Clear
Smell of Breath
Strong – Mild – Faint
Body Odor
Strong – Mild – Faint
Thick – Yellow – Strong Odor – Thin/Clear – No Odor
Hard and Dark – Strong Smelling – Medium Color and Well-Formed – Soft – Light Color – Loose – Liquid
Now that you know where you fall on the Yin/Yang continuum – a little Yin, a little Yang, a lot Yin, a lot Yang, mostly Balanced, etc. – let’s figure out what needs to be done to maintain balance and what this has to do with food!
Next up: What does an energetically balanced diet look like?