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Sunday, July 7, 2013

Yin-Yang Balance

Little Boy has been very sceptical of the time-tested Chinese notions of heaty and cooling foods. He listened to me with great interest at this novel way of perceiving medical diagnosis. Since I am no expert, I suppose I wasn't convincing enough. This was an area that The Husband knew more than I, and even he didn't know much.

The Husband recounted that he has a tendancy towards heatiness. In his teens, he was prone to breakouts and nose bleeds. High blood pressure is known to run in his family. I went through puberty with nary a pimple to speak of, so what less nosebleeds. Despite Singapore's hot tropical weather, I used to perspire very little. I always had warm dry skin no matter that everyone around me was sweating like swine. (Actually, pigs can't sweat. Hee!) Over the years, doctors tell me that I tend towards low blood pressure instead. I suppose then that I have a tendancy towards being cool?

I like fruits, salads, vegetables and soups. According to Chinese pharmacology and food therapy, these are highly cooling foods. This diet has protected The Husband's health. He has normal blood pressure despite a genetic disposition to high blood pressure. He hasn't had a nosebleed in years. This diet has wrought havoc with my health. Over the years, it has cooled my body down to such an extent that I have poor circulation and possibly hypothyroidism &/or adrenal fatigue.

I've become a sort of reptile you know. The Husband is perspiring but when he touches my skin, I am cold and clammy. If I don't heal myself, I'll have to do like lizards and snakes... bask in the hot sun to warm my blood. I might even grow scales.

Hmmm... maybe that's how the legend of Madame White Snake started. Once upon a long time ago, a lady ate too much fruit, turned cold and had to bask in the sun. She met a scholar whilst sinuously enjoying the sun atop a rock. Blah... blah... blah... married the scholar... blah blah blah... grew scales... blah blah blah... grew fangs.... blah blah blah... wreaked havoc under heaven.

In this last week, I have changed our diet. For one thing, I'm eating confinement food from Chilli Padi every lunch. I've been loading up on home made Cognac Chicken, Pig's Trotters in Vinegar, Black Bean Chicken Soup, Stirfried Liver in Rice Wine. Little Boy is a Curious Gourmet. He wants to try everything and he LIKES it all. Being the teenager he is, he can eat a LOT of what he likes.

Result: He was doubled up all afternoon on the sofa with very painful constipation. He couldn't errr... you know... go. The junk was errr... stuck. I gave him the coolest thing I could think of - Chrysanthemum and American Ginseng tea. After 2 large mugs of this brew, he went to the bathroom to clear his bowels.

The Husband hates confinement food. There are pig innards and pig's trotters that he hates. Since there was nothing else to eat, he downed whatever was on the table this past week. Grumpily. Today, The Husband and I drove over to Hong Wen Mutton Soup to eat the highly heating concoction. It was mostly for me to reverse my reptile transformation.

Hong Wen Mutton Soup
Beauty World Centre, 4th flr food court

On the drive back... lo and behold... 2 pimples had popped up around The Husband's mouth. I decided that I had better feed The Husband salads and cooling soups before he develops nosebleeds and high blood pressure. I'll have to cook different dishes for us from now on.

Little Boy laughed. This all sounded like hogwash to him. "Heaty? Cooling? Yin deficiency? Yang deficiency? It has NO resemblance to real life, Mommy!" said he.

Hogwash it all you like but hey... it's not much more hogwash than people who drink alkaline water hoping to alkalinize their bodies, or people who drink vinegar to chase away coughs, or people who eat yoghurt to beat a candida infection.  Try drinking 10 cups of coffee and see what happens to you. Foods... herbs etc... do have an impact on our bodies. So, why wouldn't food therapy improve health?

There is something in confinement food that helps my blood circulation and helps me metabolize, and dry heats Little Boy so much that he had painful constipation. I don't know what it is but no more will I forget my Chinese roots. I will watch what I eat from the lenses of Yin-Yang philosophy and try my best to learn more.

It's quite interesting. I have so much to learn. I am IMMENSELY grateful to all the Mommies who have emailed or Facebooked me to give me tips on what to do and what not to do. You'll be surprised at how ignorant Petunia is about food therapy.


Rachel Tan said...

Hmm. Redefining what a balanced diet means. Looks like we gotta combine knowledge from East and West - somehow we need to ensure we're getting all the vitamins, minerals, yet be mindful of the heaty-cooling spectrum. Some foods like rice are neutral in Chinese medicine, but we know that's refined starch and we can actually do without it.

Blur Ting said...

YK is exactly like your son. He doesn't believe in such things but I do. And I know about heaty food. If I eat chocolate, I'll get ulcers the next day. If I eat peanut, I will surely wake up the next morning with a very fiery breath! The western doctor may call it allergy but we call it heaty.

Open Kitchen Concept said...

Heheh actually me too. I never understand how people fall sick because they ate something too heating or too cooling. I don't seem to get any of that. But then, maybe it's because I do have hypothyroid and that's why heaty food don't affect me!

Petunia Lee said...

OKC - Exactly! I could down 2 whole durians or a whole bar of black chocolate and NOTHING happened to me. No pimple. Just feel fat. R

ight now, I am eating so much heaty foods of every sort I can think of and NOTHING... no break out... no constipation... no sore throat. Just a slow feeling of warmth after every meal that goes away after 2 hours. Boy... I must be of "ice" inside now!

Malar said...

I use to wonder too on why eating hot or cold food cause sick to some people! We should go back to ancient herb treatment!