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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

YANG Within YANG

During the summer months, it is hot, sometimes scorching, the sun is out in full force, everything is in bloom, and people are outside gettin their active on! In TCM we refer to the summer season as the time of the FIRE element. As you remember, there are 5 elements, Earth, Metal, Water, Wood, and Fire. This time of year is considered the most YANG. Winter would be the most YIN.Fire is expansive, it rises (just like actual fire), it spreads rapidly, it can start internal fires so to speak, it is active, masculine, explosive (think of a volcano), quick, rapid, boiling, dry, etc. I love the warmth but sometimes it does get a tad too hot even for me. This extreme heat can lead to irritability in some which can then leave you feeling tired and run down. One of the most functional and simple things we can do to combat the effects of the environment on us to is use food as therapy. The cool thing about TCM and other modalities is that they truly view food as carrying vital energy. One easy way to distinguish an energy-rich, vital food from a not so vital food is simple, ask yourself one question, is it in a package? Most foods in packages that contain a plethora of ingredients (which most you can't even pronounce) are void of any life force, energy, vitality, essential nutrients. According to TCM theory, all foods have different tastes, sour, sweet, pungent, bitter, and salty. It is important to eat a balance of all the tastes. Foods are also either hot or cold, warm or cool. Depending on your personal constitution and the environmental factors that surround you, you can use foods to promote more balance. During the summer months, it makes sense to eat more cooling foods, to soothe the fire. However, at the same time, it is not advised to just eat cold and cool foods, it's all about balance. By eating too many cold and cool foods, you can actually produce dampness in the body which can then lead to heat, specifically damp-heat, especially if you live in humid and hot climates such as the southeast or the like. MOst foods that are cooling, that will essentially balance the Yin and Yang within you are foods that are naturally in season right now! Cooling Produce- -asparagus -watermelon -cucumber -celery -berries -avocado -fennel -figs -lettuce -green beans -summer squash -mint Cooling grains include- -barley -millet -amaranth Cooling protein sources- -almonds (soaked preferably) -beans (such as mung, great northern, etc) -yogurt (Organic Raw if possible) -Fish (they come from the ocean which is very YIN in nature- dark, cold, wet) Cooling Sea Vegetables- -dulce -kombu -nori Sea Vegetables are very great for cooling you off during the summer, they live at the bottom of the sea which is cool, calm and quiet to balance out summer's dry, blazing heat.

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