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The influence of Food on YIN and YANG

Updated on August 10, 2011

It is believed in Chinese medicine,in order to achieve health and bodily harmony, you must balance your intake of cool, bland foods full of yin energy with hot, spicy foods full of yang energy. The concept of yin and yang are fundamental to Chinese thinking. Everything in the universe can be afforded yin and yang qualities; yin is characterized as dark, cold, night and female, while yang is light, hot, day and male. While they are opposites, they indeed compliment each other. When the correct balance of food is eaten, your own yin and yang will remain balanced and energy or chi will flow unimpeded through your body,enhancing well-being and health.

Diet for Balance of Yin and Yang

Generally speaking to maintain balance, your diet should include neutral foods, such as plain rice, in combination with yin and yang foods. One must keep in mind that a yin/yang diet should be tailored to each individuals constitution. If there is an excess of either yin or yang, that will lead to one becoming overweight. On the other hand a deficiency of yin or yang leads to becoming underweight. People with an excess of yin tend to have shortness of breath, move slower, are heavy sleepers and retain fluids. Those with an excess of yang tend to sweat excessively, feel hot, are hyperactive, and tend to overeat and drink excessively. These people should eat more yin foods and less yang foods.

Yin and Yang Foods

Yin foods are cooling, tend to be watery,soft, and dark in color. Aquatic animals and plants such as fish and seaweed are yin foods. Other yin foods are those that grow underground or in the darkness, such as root vegetables or mushrooms. Yin foods include oats, barley, wheat, aubergine, beansprouts, beetroot, cucumber, lettuce, pumpkin,spinach, tofu, tomato, watercress, duck, rabbit, pork, rhubarb, banana, grapefruit, lemon and watermelon.

Yang foods are warming, dry, hard and light in color. They are found growing on or above ground in the presence of light. The exceptions to this is shellfish, which are considered yang because of their shells. Yang foods include cloves, chives, basil, cinnamon, asparagus, celery, shallots, leeks, soya, lamb, chicken, mutton, apricots, cherries, chestnuts and peaches.

Stuffed Mushroom Recipe-Yin/Yang balance

The following stuffed mushroom recipe shows a yin food which has been combined with yang foods(garlic, shallots, and soy suace) to create a perfectly balanced delicious dish. The dish can be served as am appetizer, a vegetable side dish, or a vegetarian main course. Serves four

12-14 large flat mushrooms

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 shallot

2 finely chopped garlic cloves

1 sprig fresh rosemary chopped

1 tablespoon soy sauce

4-5 tablespoons plain breadcrumbs

1 small bunch parsley, chopped fine


Remove the mushroom stalks and set to the side. Scoop out the black gills inside the mushroom caps and throw away. Place the mushrooms, hollow side up in an oiled ovenproof dish or pan. Chop the mushroom stalks to fine and sauté in olive oil for one minute. Add the garlic and shallot just enough to heat through. Stir in the rosemary and soy sauce and simmer until the mushroom stalks release their moisture. Slowly add the breadcrumbs, just enough to absorbed all the liquid. remove pan ffrom heat and add the parsley.

Fill the mushroom caps with the mixture . Bake for only 5 to 10 minutes at 400 degrees (F) or 200 degrees (C). Serves 4


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    • laringo profile image

      laringo 6 years ago from From Berkeley, California.

      I profoundly disagree with your statement. Come back with something positive.

    • profile image

      Danielle 6 years ago

      I'm so sorry to say, but I think your article is flawed severely in saying that yang foods grow closer to the sun and that root vegetables are yin. I'm just a beginner at kearning the yin/yang of foods bur I think you have it backwards.

    • laringo profile image

      laringo 6 years ago from From Berkeley, California.

      Thanks for the comments. Basically if people take into consideration that we should eat to live and not live to eat we would all be better off. Like the old days.

    • agaglia profile image

      agaglia 6 years ago

      This was interesting. Thanks for the information. I was just diagnosed with gluten allergy, so I am looking at food in a different way these days.

    • Alladream74 profile image

      Victor Mavedzenge 6 years ago from Oakland, California

      Had no idea yin and yang was also associate with food.Good hub

    • denise mohan profile image

      denise mohan 7 years ago from California

      Love this...making mushrooms tonight!

    • laringo profile image

      laringo 8 years ago from From Berkeley, California.

      Resolver2009,I'm glad you liked the article and Yin and Yang. I look forward to your readings also.

    • Resolver2009 profile image

      Resolver2009 8 years ago from Bournemouth, UK / Oslo, Norway

      Fascinating read Laringo, I find the concept of Yin & Yang highly interesting. Well written, and I think you have influenced me to try this out tonight.. Mmmmm.. yin (and yang.. =) Btw, have just published the seventh episode of my thriller series Three Minutes to Midnight. Would love it if you checked it out (nearly a book now;D) See you around! //Alex

    • thesirenwakes profile image

      Grace Roselynn 9 years ago

      This sounds really interresting! Im always trying to find new ways to keep my ever growing family healthy! This sounds like a great one to try!!

    • laringo profile image

      laringo 9 years ago from From Berkeley, California.

      Greetings cegainesjr, thanks for stopping by and becoming a fan. How is the acupuncture working for you? I have never personally tried it but members of my family and a co-worker were very pleased with the results. The key is being consistent with treatment. Have a great day!

    • cegainesjr profile image

      cegainesjr 9 years ago from No Mans Land

      Interesting hub! I am an acupuncture patient for both Crohn's disease and a bad back; I believe in Chinese medicine as well.


    • laringo profile image

      laringo 9 years ago from From Berkeley, California.

      Hi sukkran, yes it is one of my favorite things to read, write and live by. Thanks for the comments.

    • sukkran profile image

      Mohideen Basha 9 years ago from TRICHY, TAMIL NADU, INDIA.

      hi, laringo. it is really a wonderful subject. nice work

    • laringo profile image

      laringo 9 years ago from From Berkeley, California.

      Hello Denny, Thanks for stopping by and also for the kind words rendered. I see we have some things in common and that's a good thing. Thank you also for blogging this Hub to your site. Have a great day everyday!

    • Denny Lyon profile image

      Denny Lyon 9 years ago from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA

      Excellent hub on a subject dear to my heart since I lived in Taiwan as a kid and learned so much from the local people about food, health, herbs and spiritual balance!  I'm also blogging this on over to my healing blog for others to enjoy:

      Joining your fan club too so I can stay apprised of your newest hubs as they come online and blog some of those as well.  Always looking for nonjudgmental writers who are easy on the reader's emotions in their healing process, thanks for being one of them!

    • laringo profile image

      laringo 9 years ago from From Berkeley, California.

      Yxhuang, Mixed-up dishes with Asian influence is good. I"ll be over for dinner soon. Thanks for sharing your comments.

    • profile image

      yxhuang 9 years ago

      My Chinese cooking sort of mixed-up with Korean and Japanese due to my husband is Korean Chinese and I happened to work at Japanese restaurants while studying in college. I learn various Asian style of cooking mostly in the U.S. from friends and family around me. I guess I can call many of my Chinese Dishes "American style" since they are invented in the U.S. with helps of many Asian immigrants. "Melting Pot" sure tastes great!

    • laringo profile image

      laringo 9 years ago from From Berkeley, California.

      Thank you very much Yshuang. I would love for you to publish a Hub on the Chinese food you cook at home for your family. Are there some recipes that are not "mainstream", American style Chinese Dishes that you make?

    • profile image

      yxhuang 9 years ago

      Very informative, laringo. I have not done this much studied about Chinese food like you do although I am cooking Chinese food for my family everyday. Always nice to learn something from viewers who are non-Asian but being an expert to certain field. Great writing!

    • laringo profile image

      laringo 9 years ago from From Berkeley, California.

      C.S. Alexis, thanks for reading my Hub and good words. I'm glad you got something out of this Hub.

    • C.S.Alexis profile image

      C.S.Alexis 9 years ago from NW Indiana

      Thank for shedding some light on a subject I knew about but did not know such details. Great share.

    • profile image

      laringo 9 years ago

      Hi Louie Jerome...what you are saying is exactly my same sentiments as I expressed to Melissa G about the foods I eat and how my senses led me there. Life and all of it's aspects are so connected but sometimes it takes a while before we realize that. I guess we never stop learning, and I love that!

    • Louie Jerome profile image

      Louie Jerome 9 years ago from UK

      Very interesting hub. It amazed me how much I knew through my inner senses about yin and yang foods, but didn't realise! (If you know what I mean??)

    • profile image

      laringo 9 years ago

      Hi Melissa G, the first thing I thought whenI saw your comment was, How does she know my name?", then I saw when I answered Vitaeb's comment I gave my first now, oops I blew my cover now. I'm just joking, I love my name. Anyway yes I am a fairly healthy person and I before I studied about Yin, Yang and food,I already was eating those combinations. Knock on wood, I never get sick and feel good for my age. If more people studied up on this aspect of Yin and Yang, they may find themselves better off mentally and physically.

    • Melissa G profile image

      Melissa G 9 years ago from Tempe, AZ

      Letitia, great hub about a very interesting topic! I've read a lot about yin and yang over the years, but never about their association with food. I'll need to give that recipe a try, those sound fantastic!


    • laringo profile image

      laringo 9 years ago from From Berkeley, California.

      Hi vitaeb, I think you meant Letitia for the Hub and recipe, but that's quite alright. I love your recipe also. This is exactly the foods I love to eat. I think the more colorful a plate, the better tasting it is and healthy for you. I am going to copy your recipe and make it in the next day or so. Bon Appetit!!

    • vitaeb profile image

      vitaeb 9 years ago from Shenandoah Valley, Virginia

      You've brightened my day with this yin-yang hub, Krisclem. Today, I'm making a stir fry for lunch, with sauteed tofu and toasted sesame seeds, brown basamti rice, red and green bell peppers, yellow squash, zuchinni, mushrooms, celery, onions, fresh ginger, fresh red hot peppers, all sauteed with sesame and olive oils, and with chopped cilantro sprinkled over all when served. I'm just guessing - and hoping - that this dish will be balanced in the yin/yang fashion. Come on over and have a bite with us!

    • laringo profile image

      laringo 9 years ago from From Berkeley, California.

      Thank you Krisclem. Following the Yin Yang principles in diet is really quite simple. The mushrooms are fantastic!

    • krisclem profile image

      krisclem 9 years ago from San Diego, CA

      Nice hub! Great descriptions of Chinese Medicine as it relates to food and how to use it in your life. I like the addition of the recipe. Looks delicious. I'll try this one next time I need a quick appetizer or side dish. Thanks!


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