OPPOSITES ATTRACT: THE YIN AND YANG OF FOOD

February 7th, 2017

 

MANY THOUSANDS of years ago the Chinese developed the concept of yin and yang – a philosophy in which the principle of opposites is used to explain all phenomena. Examples of yin and yang pairs of ‘opposites’ are: hot (yang) and cold (yin), male (yang) and female (yin), light (yang) and dark (yin), and so on.

In the culinary realm, salt (yang) and sugar (yin) are the extreme opposites of each other. Salt is the most yang substance in your diet and sugar is the most yin. You’re probably familiar with the saying that ‘opposites attract’. Well, it’s the same with sugar and salt. Because yang (salt) attracts yin (sugar) for most of us it goes like this: the more salty food we eat, the more sugar we crave (this explains the dessert phenomenon – a salty ‘yang’ dinner often makes us want to eat something sweet ‘yin’ afterwards). Likewise, the more sugar we eat, the more salt we crave. For example, when we have a few drinks (alcohol is very yin being both sweet ‘yin’ and wet ‘yin’) we often feel like munching on something salty like very ‘yang’ salted peanuts, chips, or a hamburger.

This may sound complicated, but if your goal is losing weight all you need to know is that an effective and relatively easy way to reduce your sugar intake is to reduce your salt intake.

Most added salt in our diets comes from processed and packaged foods. What this means is that once you’re following the ‘Slim Rules’ and avoiding overly processed products that come in a box, or a can, or a packet, your salt intake will automatically reduce. As your salt intake reduces so will your desire for sugar. As you eat less sugar your desire for salt will decrease, and so on. Doing this will be help you get out of a ‘vicious circle’ and help you create a virtuous one instead!

Extremely Yin (avoid)

Chemicals & drugs

Alcohol

Sugar

Coffee

Tropical fruit

Sugary sweets and chocolate

Breakfast cereals

Pastries and cakes

Balanced (not too yin, not too yang! Go for it!)

Local fruit

Leafy green vegetables and salads

Root vegetables (eg: carrots, squash, beetroot, etc.)

Beans (eg: lentils, black & brown beans, etc.)

Whole grains (eg: rice, quinoa, etc.)

Whole grain bread

Fish (grilled)

Chicken (grilled)

Extremely Yang (avoid)

Cheese

Red meat

Savoury sauces

Eggs

Soy sauce

Salt

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