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Yin and Yang In The Diet

We can adjust our pets diet, and yours too, based on the yin and yang of food, especially when combined with the knowledge of the five elements.

This information is really only for those who are interested. The information on this page can help you tweak the food you are feeding your dog or cat and, admittedly, it''s really cerebral — that is, intellectual in nature. Sometimes, people can become too cerebral for their own good. So I encourage you to become aware of this information but don''t let it control you, instead let it guide you when necessary.


Yin and Yang Spectrum

How food is fed can affect its yin and yang quality. When we feed our pets their wholesome raw meat diet, the meat is always raw. This is the natural state that our carnivore friends expect their food to be in. But there may be instances when, a quick stir–fry is necessary.

Let''s first examine the yin and yang spectrum in terms of cooking.

Yin (cold)
⇑ Raw
| Marinated
| Blanched
| Steamed
| Poached
| Boiled
| Pressure Cooked — neutral
| Stir–Fried
| Shallow Fried
| Deep Fried
| Baked
| Barbecued
⇓ Roasted
Yang (hot)

As we can see from the chart above, raw meat is pure yin energy while roasted is pure yang energy.

In terms of health, a cold (yin) body leads to problems such as diarrhea while a hot (yang) body leads to problems like constipation. This is a very simple example that shows the how yin and yang have opposite affects. Ultimately, we want a balance of yin and yang in the body.

Our pets, being natural carnivores, are meant to eat raw meat. Thus their body is naturally designed to adapt to the coolness or yin energy of the raw meat. I suspect, the fact that our pets produce 15 times more hydrochloric acid in their stomach, that the strength of the acid helps to combat the coolness — but I am only guessing — the reality is that Mother Nature has it all figured out anyway and in fact, the fat our pets naturally eat may offset the coolness of the meat since fat has yang energy. But when we begin to feed commercial pet food, which is cooked, we can begin to see how the yang energy begins to increase substantially.

Dry food would be under the category of baked while cooked meats, depending on how they are cooked, would be anywhere from stir–fry to baked. Either way, when you feed cooked meats, our pets are getting excess yang energy that they are not meant to get.

Many of the problems that plague our pets begin, as a result, of a dirty colon. One of the keys to a healthy colon is to have moisture in the colon. But when you eat foods that are high in yang energy or when your lifestyle is full of yang energy, then the heat of the yang energy begins to burn up all of the moisture in the body, including the moisture in the colon. When the moisture in the colon begins to go away, constipation begins to happen. In humans, a sore throat is connected to constipation, according to Chinese herbal medicine. As a result, in Chinese herbal medicine, the method to curing a sore throat is to treat the constipation — a sore throat is the sign of excess yang energy as is tooth pain, mouth ulcers (canker sores), dry skin, etc. Of course, this is all very general talk but you are beginning to see how things are connected, from a Chinese herbal medicine point of view.

Now if you consider that the number reason why pets go to the vets is due to skin and coat problems, we can begin to see how the excess yang energy of commercial pet food and cooked meat diets is affecting our pets.

The study of Chinese herbal medicine is really complex and there is no way I could fully explain everything here — plus, to be honest, Chinese herbal medicine is so deep in knowledge that I too am still learning. But I still apply this knowledge to the health our pets in a very basic and often helpful way.


To Cook or Not To Cook — That Is The Question

While 99% of our pets do exceptionally well on a raw meat diet, I have noticed situations in which our pets have health problems that just plague them. Usually, this happens with older pets or pets that have a really weak vitality — or to use a Chinese term, pets with low chi — the vital force behind every living being.

In some situations, I have found as an example, pets that suffer from arthritic type of condition do a little better when the vegetables, if the person is feeding vegetables, are slightly cooked — stir–fried — to remove the coolness of the raw vegetables. Remember, raw contains maximum yin energy and so by cooking the vegetables we remove that yin energy and add a little yang energy — warmth. Additionally, I add small amounts of ginger, a food that has yang energy. I add the stir–fried vegetables and ginger combination to the raw meat. The cooking of the vegetables plus the ginger help to reduce the amount of yin energy the pet gets as the ginger not only helps to add yang energy to combat the yin energy of the vegetables, but the raw meat too.

In some situations, the pet needs this sort of combination all year while others only need this combination during the winter or cooler months.

In other situations, the pet needs the meat to be quickly stir–fried to remove some of the yin energy from the raw meat while adding some yang energy. But as mentioned, 99% of pets do quite well with just a raw meat diet.

In situations where the pet is constipated then I begin feeding vegetables, which have more yin energy such as carrots, dandelion leaves, bamboo shoots, cabbage — to name a few yin energy vegetables. The cooling affect of foods with yin energy helps to bring moisture to the bowels.


Stools Provide The Clues

While it''s not the most pleasant story to talk about, the reality is that we can begin to determine if our pets have too much yin or yang energy by examining their stools.

Pets who are constipated, have some straining, small pebble like stools along with pets whose stools are excessively dry, all show signs of excess yang energy in their body.

Pets who have loose bowel movements and those pets that have diarrhea have too much yin energy.

Based on our observations, we can begin to determine what can be done to help them. It should be noted though that during the period of detoxification, a dog or cat could experience constipation and/or loose bowel movements. During detoxification, the body will usually begin to balance itself and rectify the constipation or loose stools.

Watching stools, during the periods of normal health help us simply determine the balance of yin and yang in the body. We might find, as an example, that our pets have slight straining — indicating that there is excess yang (hot) energy in the body. We can then observe and perhaps we realize that we are storing their food in plastic containers, which is the root of the problem since plastic has fire properties — or perhaps, we notice that there is too much red around our pet creating too much heat. We may also notice that our pets are around too much stainless steel in the kitchen — or perhaps you are feeding your pets food in a stainless steel dish, which also has yang energy.

If our pets have loose stools or soft stools, then perhaps we should consider removing the vegetables from the diet, which have earth energy and generally speaking, most vegetables have yin properties. By removing the vegetables and/or by slightly cooking the vegetables, as mentioned above, we can then balance the yin and yang in the body.


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