Yin, Yang and a Balanced Diet

Christmas and the New Year celebrations are over for another year and despite the best of intentions I have managed to gain a few pounds in weight. Although I eat a healthy and balanced for much of the year I always find that if I spend time with family and friends for any length of time then I just can’t help but indulge. This year we spent several days with various friends as we did a tour around the UK catching up with people we hadn’t seen for a while. It was great to see people but it did mean that every day brought with it another celebratory meal to enjoy.

As my clothes were starting to feel a little tight even before 2012 disappeared in to the memory bank, I thought I would resist getting on the scales until well in to January when I had given my body the opportunity to lose the excess weight. Against my better judgment however I jumped on the scales when I returned home to discover that I had managed to gain 5lbs over the two week period. Not horrendous by any stretch of the imagination, but with a lot to do this year I really didn’t want to start the year feeling sluggish and uncomfortable in my clothes. With the need to give my body a bit of a boost and the desire to shift the excess pounds I am therefore embarking on a few days of dieting to lose the 5lbs and with any luck I may well lose a few extra pounds as well.

As a rule I am not a fan of crash diets. I don’t think they do the body any good at all especially as most of them mean that in some way you are restricting your body of certain foods. If you eat a healthy diet for most of the year then you shouldn’t ever have to crash diet. There are times though when a few days of dieting can work wonders especially if you want to kick start a healthy eating plan, or if you have over indulged (like I have) and with only a few pounds to lose want to get down to normal weight relatively quickly.

If I need to lose a few pounds quickly I cut out what I class as extreme yin and extreme yang foods for just a few days. The healthy eating plan that I follow for much of the year follows the principles of yin and yang which means that I eat a balanced diet most of the time. Yin and Yang are the two opposing forces of energy which are everywhere around us in the universe and so it should come as no surprise that the food that we eat can also be divided in to food that is yin and food that is yang. A healthy diet is one that includes a balance of yin food and yang food and is not focused on one more than the other.

There are some relatively easy principles that you can follow when you are trying to determine whether food is yin or yang. Whether food is filled with yin energy or yang energy really depends on three things, the taste, how it has been produced and how it has been cooked. Yin food on the whole is mild flavored and/or sweet where yang food is strong and/or spicy. Yin food includes most vegetables and fruit, bread, pasta and rice. Yang food on the other hand includes most processed foods, dairy products and meat. Yin food is food that is eaten raw, poached or steamed, yang food is food that is roasted, baked or fried. There are of course exceptions which are too numerous to go in to in a blog post, for example tangy citrus fruit is yang whilst other fruits are yin, fish is yin whilst all other meat is yang. However a diet that strikes a balance between food which is yin and food which is yang is on the whole a healthy balanced diet and providing you exercise portion control it is unlikely that you will gain weight.

If you want to lose weight however you need to think about the amount of yin and yang energy in your food. Eating too much food that is yin will make you feel sluggish and tired, whilst too much yang food can make you feel frazzled and irritable. To lose weight your body needs to be calm and flow in perfect harmony with the universe. Some foods are low yin such as vegetables , fruit and fish whilst others are high yin such as bread or pasta. Low yang foods are white meats and milk and cream whereas foods that contain high yang are citrus fruit and spices. At the real extremes of yin are alcohol, caffeine and refined sugars (contained in white bread, cakes and pastries) whilst the extreme yang foods are red meat and cheese. These are the foods that you should avoid if you want to lose weight and are the ones that I will be cutting out for the next few days. I expect to feel healthier and slimmer as a result.

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