Balance in Life, Balance in Food
“You are not the body. You are not the mind. You are not even the soul. You are all three – and more.” from When Everything Changes Change Everything.
We are in a battle for balance in our lives. We constantly get pushed and pulled away from our focus, distracted, and stressed. How in the world are we supposed to create a balance between body, mind, soul, and more?
In order to make sure that we have a balanced life, we need to eat a balanced diet. But what does that mean? We must consider not only what we eat (protein, fruits, vegetables, grains, protein, water, fats) but also the flavors, temperatures, and textures of our foods.
One way to balance our foods is to consider the Yin and Yang properties of each food. Yin foods are expanding, cool, moistening foods such as fruits and vegetables, sweet foods, raw foods, alcohol, and cool foods. Yang foods are animal based, fish, meat, eggs, salty foods, hot foods. If we eat too much of a yin food, we can trigger cravings for yang foods. For instance, if we eat too much salt we may later crave sweets.
It is best to avoid the extreme yin or yang foods. Extreme yin foods include alcohol, sugar, fruit juices, nightshade vegetables, and dairy products. Extreme yang foods include salty cheeses, red meat, eggs, caviar, and sea salt. But feel free to load up on foods that are closely balanced such as nuts, fruits, vegetables, beans, tofu, sea vegetables, whole grains, and fish.
Another way to balance your food is to include all of the Ayurvedic tastes in every meal. In this way, you will help avoid cravings because every flavor has been received by the brain. The six flavors in Ayurveda are
- Sweet – fruits, grains, sugars, dairy
- Salty – salts and sea vegetables
- Sour – sour fruits, yogurt, fermented foods
- Bitter – dark leafy greens, herbs and spices
- Pungent – chili peppers, garlic, herbs and spices
- Astringent – legumes, raw fruits and vegetables, herbs
Try to balance the flavors in your meals by keeping a set of condiments on your dining room table – select from any flavorings, spices, herbs, oils, vinegars, and butters you like and keep a variety available within reach at every meal.
Paying attention to balance in your foods will help you maintain balance in your entire life.
(Beth Anderson is a Certified Holistic Health Coach and a Certified Natural Health Practitioner. She is the founder of Holistic Health Hotspot in Evansville, Indiana and author of The Holistic Diet: Achieve Your Ideal Weight, Be Happy and Healthy for Life. Beth received her training from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. An expert in holistic and alternative health, Beth thoroughly enjoys educating and inspiring people to learn about the truths of food, consumer products, environmental issues, and life choices. She speaks nationally and publishes articles regularly on several internet wellness sites. Beth provides individual and group holistic health coaching and works with companies to provide wellness programs, workshops, and individualized coaching services for employees. You can find Beth on Facebook or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org)