As an acupuncturist, I see the world through the eyes of the paradigm that we learn in acupuncture school. I am not classically trained, but from what I understand in classical acupuncture, there is the theory that in the beginning there is the Tao. Within the Tao is everything. All of our opposites are included in the Tao: heaven and earth, male and female, yin and yang. Additionally, within all males there is some female energy. Within earth there is heavenly energy. Within yang there is yin. Nothing is ever completely just one thing. There is always a little kernel of it’s opposite within the first.
Foods also tend to be yin foods or yang foods. Some foods are very warming. Others are cooling. At the most basic level, this is how herbal medicine is categorized. Of course, as you mix herbs and foods, things become very complex. Yin and Yang are not the only opposites that are encompassed by the Tao.
Learning more about traditional diets, via the Weston A Price Foundation, I have found that within my own body, that saturated fats tend to boost yang energy. This is the warming energy of the body. It is the energy that keeps us moving, gives us the motivation and warms our bodies. Traditional acupuncturist will often recommend a bit of meat products to those who are yang deficient, usually in a soup or stew with vegetables to help boost yang. I used to think it was the meat but as I eat and consider the nuances of food a bit more, I believe the saturated fats tend to be yang.
Marrow, however, tends to be yin. Marrow is a very earthy thing within the body. It is deep and it doesn’t move much. In the thought process that like builds like, marrow is yin. Gelatin is often a yin substance as well.
Consider broth. I heard a lot about broth as a sacred food at this year’s Weston A Price Conference. Good broth, as they say, can almost raise the dead. Broth is cooked from the bones and feet and anything else that is tossed into the pot. This gives it a great mix of saturated fat (required to gel and make the yin tonic gelatin) as well as marrow from the bones.
Traditional acupuncturists always recommended eating soups and stews. In the Western World, we are taught that this is because the water catches the vitamins from the food so that they are not lost. Additionally the food is cooked and easy to digest. Instead, I think it is because the ancients knew the importance of broth and added it to as much of their cooking as they could. Broth doesn’t just tonify the yin or the yang. It builds both. Someone who is very ill often needs both to be built up. Another advantage of broth is that those things that build yin are often hard to digest, but broth is not.
Bone broth is now my number one most recommended food. So many patients have deficient yin or yang (or both), particularly with the poor eating habits in today’s world. Broth can be such a great help.
This post is part of Fight Back Friday at Food Renegade.