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  • Writer's pictureLisa Liang

Yin and Yang of Our Diets

How do I accommodate my diet according to the treatments and my health concerns?

Have you ever wondered how your diet is classified in the Chinese Medicine perspective? For many years, Chinese culture has thought of food to be therapeutic, even medicinal in many ways. In this particular ancient system of medicine, there is a great emphasis on the relationship between nature and human beings. Chinese medicine practitioners see that the environment and nature have a direct impact on the health condition of a person. 

For example, during the summer when nature is at its peak in hot (yang) weather, Chinese medicine advises us to consume foods that have more cold (yin) properties for the body to balance out the environment it's in.  During the fall and winter, when nature is moving into the cold season, Chinese medicine recommends for you to consume warmer foods with yang properties to warm the body. 

With Chinese Medicine, we're constantly understanding health and lifestyle through the lens of yin and yang. Foods can be classified by yin and yang based on their nature, taste and method of preparation.


If you experience pain and have an inflammatory condition try to avoid the following fire/hot property foods:

  • Drinks: Coffee, Alcohol, Beer, Wine

  • Protein: Beef, lamb, turkey (also known as 火鸡 "fire-chicken" in Chinese)

  • Spicy foods: hot curry, spicy peppers

  • Foods prepared with the following methods: 

  • Grilled to dark charred foods, 

  • Baked: Extremely dry foods, moist is best 

  • Fried Foods: Avoid at all cost (No french fries, onion rings, fried chicken, etc.)

  • Dry, Crunchy, Roasted, and Toasted Foods:  Pizza crust, cereal, granola, crackers, popcorn, chips, pretzels, roasted nuts, and toast (for example: dark toast is not recommended, but lightly toasted bread is ok)


If you're low on energy and your body experiences poor blood circulation, try to avoid the following cold property foods:

Any foods of cold temperature, especially in the morning

  • Yogurt, soy milk, soy products

  • Smoothies

  • Too much fruit, fruit juice, salad (raw vegetables)

  • Raw foods are not recommended 

  • Ice cream, sherbets                                                      

Try incorporating more of these foods in your diet:

  • Ginger

  • Garlic


Neutral Foods to Incorporate

  • Foods cooked on stove top

  • Cooked (steamed/blanched/stir-fried) vegetables

  • Pasta, noodles, rice, quinoa

  • Saucy dishes, stews, soups

  • Stir fried dishes

  • Protein such as eggs, chicken, fish

  • Oatmeal, hot cereal

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