FOUNDATIONS OF HOLISTIC HEALTH
The Effects of Diet on Health & Attitude
PART TWO: UNDERSTANDING FOOD
We have mentioned how Yin illnesses can be caused by excessively Yin foods and how Yang conditions are caused by excessive Yang in the diet. Since all things exist in some form of balance between two forces, there must be some truth to this. And modern commercially raised and processed foods must carry extremes of these energies, since it is the application of extremes that manifest the influences that change things from their natural state to unnatural. The simplest example of this would be the addition of salt and or sugar for flavoring. Salt being a Yang Flavor and sweet being a Yin one.
The influence of these extremes extends into the blood through ingestion and manifests as disturbance in the physiological balance of the organism which is first detected in the mind through subtle or not so subtle feelings of distraction, uneasiness, nervous stimulation or sedation, which sensations are automatically ignored or paliatively eliminated by means such as aspirins, digestive enzymes, acid reducers, tranquilizers, sedatives or stimulants, all of which are the front line of modern medicine and designed to have you believe that there is something wrong with you, and not with the food that you buy and eat.
All these imbalances are natural even though they don't feel particularly good. Nature works with flawless precision. All we need to do is understand and believe this and we can then investigate clearly to establish the relationship between certain things we ingest and our feelings of health.
Given this assumption, would it not then stand to reason that the correction to a Yin condition would be found in Yang foods, and vice versa? Do we not apply alkaline medicines to and 'acid' stomach? But we do not want to be bouncing ourselves back and forth between these extremes like a ping-pong ball. The human blood content is reputed to refresh itself entirely in ten days. If we ate nothing but a single food for ten days, would not our blood, and thereby the state of our entire being, then reflect that? Imagine, if we only knew of a 'perfect' food, or a perfectly balanced diet, and could apply it for as little as ten days, would it not be axiomatic that our organisms would start to establish proper function and we would feel better? And why should we wait 'til we get sick to start searching?
So what is a 'perfect' diet? What is the balancing food? Where do we find what we're looking for in this jungle of worldly things that somehow, we do not want? Is it even possible?
Longevity and wisdom have existed throughout time and are still available to those who are willing to make the sacrifices necessary to obtain them. And although they have been simple, they have never been easy to obtain. But modern life gives us the opportunity to ignore it and live and practice as the ancients did but in modern circumstance with modern conveniences. So before I go about answering the question of the century, let me explain a bit more of the background.
In the Philosophy of Extreme Oriental Science and Medicine, natural foods are classified into three categories - grains, vegetables and fruits. And they are further categorized on the Yin-Yang spectrum. Grains (hard, small and dry) are considered Yang compared to vegetables which are considered Yang compared to Fruits, which are considered most Yin (soft, sweet and wet) of the natural foods. At the extremes of this spectrum we have "extreme" Yang - meats, and "extreme" Yin - Sugars and commercially processed foods, whose Yang qualities are depleted during processing, leaving only a remainder of their Yin qualities. Most modern medicines fall into the extreme Yin category.
So leaving the extremes for a moment, let us investigate the nature of the vegetal world, where the preponderance of nutrition comes from. There are many grains but seven of them stand out as climate dominant. And there are many vegetables, also classifiable into Yin and Yang for the sake of determining the appropriate foods for the appropriate diet for the appropriate physiology needing the appropriate balance or effect. And the same goes for fruits. These classifications are done for the most part according to the individual K/Na ratio of the substance, the higher to Sodium ration to the Potassium, the more Yang and the higher the Potassium ratio to the Sodium, the more Yin.
Let's say for the sake of simplicity, that the K/Na ration of Grains falls in to 1 to 10 range, that the K/Na ration of Vegetable falls in the 10 to 100 range and that the K/Na ration of Fruits falls in to 100 to 1000 range. By this one can see how grains are considered more Yang than vegetables or fruits. This means that grains have 10 parts potassium (Yin) for one part Sodium (Yang). Now this is only representative. To explain it completely requires a lots more complicated research, but this will suffice for an ordinary understanding. We already know the significance of the energies and their place in everything that exists. So now let's see them in foods, then we'll understand their effect upon the human body through the blood and on health and attitude.
If the ideal blood ratio in terms of Ph, or Acid/Alkaline is depicted even approximately as seven to one, then it stands to reason that the foods most approximating this balance would be the most readily assimilable, nutritious and regenerative. Pure water certainly has an alkalizing effect on the blood and the system. So foods with a low K/Na ration (in the 1 to 10 range) would be best as the preponderance of our diets. Obviously in the summer times we'll want more Yin (cooling) foods. An old saying states "Eat rice with vegetables in the winter time, and vegetables with rice in the summer". Correspondingly, meats will be more welcome in the winter time or in cold climates than in the summer or in warmer climates.
All grains and vegetables and fruits have an ideal climate somewhere on the earth and that is where they grow most abundantly. It is considered conducive to health to eat locally grown, climatologically appropriate foods. The locales of various fruits and vegetables are popularly known, but a lesser known and more demonstrable example might be that of grains. Consider seven major grains, typical and representative of their class, for this understanding. Let's look at Buckwheat, Rye, Wheat, Rice, Barley, Oats and Corn. (Did you not know that corn is a grain, not a vegetable?)
Buckwheat (Kasha) grows in the far North in the extreme of cold climates where the people are Yin (large) and require Yang food (Kasha and meats) to stay alive and warm. Corn, on the other hand, provides moisture and sugar, two Yin qualities, for a people who are small and dark, living in the extreme of heat (Yang). And Rice is predominately a central grain, growing best in the moderate climate in between the extremes of heat and cold. A representative classification of these grains according the K/Na theory shows that short grain brown Rice holds the middle ground at seven to one, Buckwheat is more Yang, let us say four to one and Corn more Yin at ten to one. The other grains fit respectively in between. So according to this philosophy, all grains are the naturally best staple food for the human organism.
And look for verification of this to the natural order of things throughout history. Grains are the predominant food. And look, by means of comparison, at their relative absence in the modern American diet, except of course for processed, de mineralized wheat, now use almost exclusively in the commercial bread industry.
An optimal human diet should consist of at least 50 - 60 percents whole grains, 30 percent vegetables and beans, and 10 percent, meats and fish, etc. with an almost religious abstinence from caffeine, alcohol, processed refined sugars and white flours, chocolates candies sweets and sodas. Where in the course of history were these "foods" ever predominant except in the 'modern' world where there is now a proliferation of unknown incurable and 'expensive' diseases? What are we not being told and why?
How far away is your daily diet from this ancient and ordinary standard? How far away is your health from optimal?