Updated: Sep 7
Essential Balance for our dog’s health depends on several things. Like us, to truly be healthy we must consider all three levels of health: mental, physical, and emotional. Maintaining our health requires multiple support systems including healthful eating; mental stimulation; physical outlet; and emotional support.
When one or more of these elements are out of balance, either due to environmental exposure or genetic disposition, we then develop outward signs of illness. Keeping your pet's body, mind, and spirit healthy enables them to enjoy life to the fullest and live a long happy life.
Nutrition plays a huge part in ours and our pets wellness, but did you know that in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), food has hot and cold tendency s which can contribute to your dog’s overall health conditions?
The nutrients/energy in a food “hot” and “cold” has nothing to do with the temperature at which they are served, but rather the metabolic state and cause and effect in the body.
Here’s why: According to TCM, each food has an energetic property of yin or yang. These are thought of as complimentary pairs that are constantly shifting in relationship to one another. Easy ways to think about it: Yin is to yang as night is to day…quiet is too busy…and cold is too hot. It is believed that we absorb yin (cold) or yang (hot) energy from the foods we eat—and that medical conditions are manifestations of these yin-yang imbalances. What this means: We can heal ourselves by correcting our imbalances with the appropriate yin-yang foods
THE HOT AND COLD OF FOOD
The warming and cooling properties of a food have less to do with actual temperature, cooking temperature, spiciness or even individual ingredients—and more to do with the food’s balance and contrast among ingredients and the effect of these on the body when the food is ingested. TCM categorizes foods as cold, cooling, neutral, warming and hot.
STAYING IN BALANCE
The philosophy states that imbalances in the life force (qi) cause illness and unhappiness. Hence, by adjusting your diet you can regain equilibrium.
Using yin-yang foods to gain equilibrium is not an exact science. There is no one percentage or quantity of yin-yang foods to eat. Instead, the patient is told to focus on mainly eating foods that support his yin/yang needs.
Lets talk poop. Some conditions are helped by either hot or cold foods. Take constipation, for example. If your dog has dry, hard stools, then you have yin-deficient constipation and need more moisture/yin foods. If your dog has a yang-deficient constipation with wetter stools, then you may need more yang foods.
Conditions affected by too much heat (yang) in the body: High blood pressure, skin rash, feeling irritable; having dry, itchy skin; having dry mouth; being stressed; being angry; and obsessing about detail, red eyes, restless, allergies, seeks cool places, panting.Yang Behaviors: dragging their owners on leash, Impulsive Control Disorder, obsessive barking, hyper activity, impatience, obsessive licking, scratching.
Consume: Cool or cold foods that promote yin energy.
Yin foods (cooling): Apples, bananas, pears, strawberries, broccoli, cabbage, eggplant, spinach, Swiss chard, celery, soybeans, buckwheat, sesame oil.
Yin foods (cold): Papaya, watermelon, grapefruit, tomatoes, asparagus, cucumbers, summer squash, romaine lettuce, seaweed, barley, tofu.
To become more yin: feed more fresh fruit; drink more water, stretch; take you dog out into nature; listen to relaxing music.
To become less yang: Reduce consumption of baked foods and treats, refocus an obsessive dog; teach your dog patience, stop rushing; engaging in competitive activities.
Conditions arising from too much cold (yin) in the body: Fatigue, depression, muscle ache, cough with clear white phlegm, fluid retention, feeling cold; getting frequent infectious illnesses; having diarrhea; being lethargic; seeks warm places, loves blankets and snuggling. Yin Behaviors: Fearful, timid, shy, trembling, doesn't play or interact, does not engage in life and has a victim mentality.
Consume: Warm or hot foods that promote yang energy.
Conditions that alternatively arise from too much cold or heat in the body: Constipation, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, asthma, headache.
Yang foods (hot): Cayenne pepper, dried ginger, soybean oil, cinnamon, black pepper, chili powder, horseradish, lamb, trout and whole green or red peppers.
Yang foods (warming): Cherries, coconut, lemons, raspberries, cauliflower, mustard greens, garlic, fresh ginger, chestnuts, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, chicken, shrimp, mussels, lobster, turkey, yogurt.
To become more yang: exercise; play competitive sports; wear bright colors; socialize; eat more cooked foods, root vegetables, grains, and fish; make to-do lists and structure the day.
To become less yin, reduce: consumption cold foods, raw fruit, time sitting around; time alone; exposure to a damp, cold climate.
Neutral foods are believed to be nourishing to everyone—and don’t increase the yin or yang balance in the body.