Holistic health and living means eating a diet of balance and harmony. To achieve that goal, we must understand what is balance and harmony.
Understanding the concept of “yin” and “yang”
For centuries, Chinese medicine has focused on the importance of balance and harmony, manifested in the concept of “yin” and “yang” (represented as the female and male, respectively, or any two opposing forces in Nature that balance and complement each other, resulting in perfect harmony).
The terms “yin” and “yang” describe the opposite yet complementary energy states in the universe. A balance between the two polarities can help you stay in beneficial energy alignment, which is fundamental to wellness. “Yin” embodies negative electrical charge and contractive energy, while “yang” demonstrates positive electrical charge and expansive energy.
“Yin” is always within “yang”; by the same token, “yang” is always within “yin.” That is to say, all things are both “yin” and “yang” simultaneously, and they therefore are inter-dependent on and interacting with each other for survival.
In Chinese medicine, the balance of “yin” and “yang” is reflected in the Five Elements.
Balancing the Five Elements
This concept of balance and harmony originates from the Five Elements (wood, fire, earth, metal, and water), which not only are fundamental to the cycles of Nature, but also correspond to the different organs of the human body. For example, wood is related to your liver and your eyes; fire is related to your heart and your tongue; earth is related to your stomach and your mouth; metal is related to your lungs and your nose; and water is related to your kidneys and your ears. In addition, each of these elements also corresponds to a specific color in your diet, that is, the foods you eat.
These five elements not only balance but also complement each other to create harmony in the entire human body system.
Therefore, holistic eating means balancing the Five Elements with the foods you eat.
Wood corresponding to green
- Eat green vegetables, from asparagus to dark leafy greens, such as spinach.
- Eat green fruits, such as lime, and melon.
- Eat green seeds, such as pumpkin seeds.
- Eat green-colored beans, such as lentils, and mung beans; and grains, such as rye.
- Eat red vegetables, such as hot red peppers and bell peppers, or beets.
- Eat red fruits, such as red apples, or cherries.
- Eat red nuts, such as pecans.
- Eat red-colored beans, such as red lentils, and red beans; and grains, such as buckwheat.
- Eat orange and yellow vegetables, such as pumpkins, squash, and yams.
- Eat orange and yellow fruits, such as mangoes, oranges, and papaya.
- Eat orange and yellow nuts, such as almonds, and cashews.
- Eat orange and yellow beans, such as chickpeas, and grains, such as corn and millet.
- Eat white vegetables, such as cauliflower, and daikon radish.
- Eat white fruits, such as bananas, and pears.
- Eat white nuts, such as macadamias, and pine nuts.
- Eat white-colored beans, such as soybeans and white beans; and grains, such as barley and rice.
- Eat dark-colored vegetables, such as black mushroom, eggplant, and seaweed.
- Eat dark-colored fruits, such as blackberries, blueberries, and raisins.
- Eat dark-colored nuts, such as black sesame, and walnuts.
- Eat dark-colored beans, such as black beans and navy beans; and grains, such as black wild rice.
Copyright© by Stephen Lau