When we are unbalanced, there are so many factors to sort out; and it is difficult to figure out what to eat! Many of the decisions will be based on what is available. Chinese medicine has revealed the research; it is like peeling an onion, opening new lines of insight, and then, slicing it again!
Having said that, there are so many variables in a diagnosis as to what to eat. Let’s try and sort out a few things today.
Feng shui directly relates with The Five Elements and
principles in Chinese Medicine; it is always about finding the balance.
Our bodies can get out of balance by choosing inappropriate foods; much of this is due to seasonal changes. For example, just because you enjoy yogurt and granola for breakfast doesn’t mean you should eat it all year around. The same goes for creamy soups. Perhaps, you crave warm soup during the winter, and therefore, stock up on your favorites -just in time for the spring equinox! Your body reacts/digests/absorbs differently each season and here is why.
In the summer, your body holds warmth from seasonal sunlight. If your diet is high with rich food choices, it can enhance the fire element; more heat! Your body needs nourishment, and, to balance heat with something cool.
In the winter, we crave ‘comfort foods’ to warm us up and keep our body at a comfortable temperate. Eating without planning doesn’t make sense.
The answer to the question, “What should I eat?” begins with an evaluation of your current state.
We can generalize that one person will benefit from choosing warmer foods for themselves, and another person choosing cool foods. What seems ‘right’ and satisfying at one time, may change throughout the week, month or season. Be also aware, the same savory food that tastes good in moderation may be damaging in excess.
The first step is to determine if you are hot or cold, regardless of season.
HEAT in your body can be characterized with the presence of a higher temperature in your body. In addition to excess sun exposure, you could have excess phlegm, swelling, or restlessness in your body. You may show signs of congestion, constipation, hormonal issues affecting both your head and body. Perhaps you even crave cold water and cold foods.
COLD in your body is characterized by being uncomfortable in a cool environment. Other symptoms of imbalance include lack of thirst, lots of saliva or mucus and poor circulation. You may feel sluggish or have an aversion to activity, craving rich foods and beverages.
Without scanning an entire textbook for you to digest (pun intended) here is a short summary of nourishing foods for the extreme seasons: summer and winter.
To ‘cool off’ in the summer you may wish to include in your meals: watercress, lettuce, bananas, apple, avocado, summer squash, tofu, seaweed, cottage cheese and yogurt. Cucumbers, spinach, asparagus, radishes and tomatoes are all often cultivated in home gardens; interesting that they all ripen just at the right time!
Soft juicy fruits or even dried fruits can cool the body. Always plan for vegetables, grains, nuts and seeds in your diet. Prepare these items to eat raw* or use light cooking methods: steamed, sautéed and baked.
In the summer, you can eat plenty of sushi!
To ‘warm up’ the body it is best to choose ‘comfort foods’. These include dairy products such as milk, cheese, eggs, as well as seafood, poultry and meat. Other foods you may wish to include are sweet potatoes, artichoke, dates, coconut milk, pasta and sweet rice. Also, don’t forget the butter for your toast!
Comfort foods are best prepared baked, fried, roasted or broiled.
Foods that are more neutral can work into every diet in North America: good quality yams, potatoes, celery carrot string beans, squash, turnip, grapes and raisins, currents, berries, beans, milk, cheese, peanuts, honey, maple syrup, and your choice of meat.
The ‘method of preparation’ is also a factor in these suggestions
in order to balance!
Use your logic to include your favorite foods into your hot or cold meals! Eating raw vegetable or lightly-stir-fried can be a delight, served with cool cucumber and yogurt toppings in the hot months.
Preparing these same vegetables in a stew or baked in an oven will produce a heavier meal; one that you will appreciate in the cooler months.
*A note about eating raw foods: Raw fruits and veggies can provide a full, unadulterated serving of your favorite, but be aware. Raw foods are harder to digest. Cooking (even lightly), can break down some of the fibre and make it easier on the body to digest. If you have digestive issues, you may want to consider this; a small salad to digest may be okay, yet a full day of raw foods could bring on other issues.
Bottom line: Eat whatever your body tells you it wants! That is right! Before ordering off the menu or grocery shopping, take a few minutes to do a body scan, and hear WHAT YOUR BODY WANTS FOR DINNER!
There are so many variables in the decision about what to eat. Having sorted your hot or cold menu, the time may come to address other issues such as dampness, congestion, moisture, dryness, tension, and other deficiencies. A Chinese Medicine practitioner will be able to help do the detective work and fine-tune a menu just for YOU! It is important to ENJOY YOUR FOOD!
Eat what your body needs and wants!
Enjoy the rest of the summer!
All the best, Kathryn
Much of the food suggestions in this blog were taken from the book: ‘Between Heaven and Earth’ by Harriet Beinfield and Efrem Korngold.
~Kathryn Wilking is an Author, Home Stager and Feng Shui Consultant. She works with Home Owners and Small Businesses to find balance and harmony in each situation. Kathryn delivers ‘Practical Solutions for Life’ through The ONE-ROOM Rescue™ and unique personality profiling with the Fantastic 5 Elements!
As an active Professional Member of the International Feng Shui Guild, Kathryn is available for private consultations, innovative talks and workshops.
Do you wish for less stress and more control in your life? Receive monthly tips and free insight from Kathryn, with the Art of Balance on the website: www.kathrynwilking.com (Your email is protected.)