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Why I’m Taking a Break From Raw Salads (For Now!)

  • Published on: 05 June, 2014
  • Last update: 10 August, 2017
It’s important to eat your greens, every single day! But, did you know that it’s not always the best choice to eat raw greens, such as your classic salad? Tonight I’m having a steamy warm salad of:
– baby kale
– spinach
– chard
– collard
– & mustard greens.

Sauté your cooking greens for no more than a minute on medium-high heat in coconut oil (vegan) or grass-fed butter (vegetarian/paleo). I topped them with avocado, a pinch of lime, salt, and my new sprouted sea salt & vinegar almonds (recipe coming tomorrow!)

When I first went to my amazing Chinese doctor, Lily, my body was very COLD or YIN. As a woman, I naturally tend toward the yin element (whereas men represent and are generally very yang).

What caused my overload of yin?
Too much yin is referred to as “yang deficiency.” Yang represents the energy that is responsible for warming and activating bodily functions. When this energy is depleted your body begins to slow down, displaying signs of under activity and sensations of coldness. This can be caused by:

  •  Long exposure to cold from not wearing enough clothing (GUILTY, I always dress improperly for the weather or forget a coat)
  • Consuming too many ‘cold’ type food or drinks. (Guilty again with my juices, smoothies, ice cream, salt, tomatoes, and strawberries!) These are either cold or icy cold to the touch, or raw, or inappropriately cold to the season, or foods with a cooling or cold-increasing effect on the body.
  • Physical OR mental work that is too much for your constitution. The exertion or load may be too heavy, or have gone on for too long: overwork. (Ever since I got the Gardasil vaccine I’ve been overloaded with heavy metals and exercise has been really straining me! And I always overwork myself mentally.)
  • Not giving yourself enough recovery time from even normal levels of physical activity is another way to overwork.
  • Mentally, in impressionable people, bullying may harm Yang.
  • Fear, prolonged, may damage Yang.

Becoming too cold and developing this yang deficiency is not good. Think of the word cold – frigidity, no movement, low life energy, etc. You need some heat in your body, otherwise where will your “digestive fire” and metabolism get their burning power? I was eating a lot of raw salad, drinking cold pressed juices, and my water intake was always colder than room temperature. Here I thought I was doing good things for my body, and had always thought about doing a “fully raw” diet. Oh, no no! Not after Lily introduced me to the concept of balance in all things. Eating only raw foods will create a yang deficiency, just like eating only cooked foods will create a yin deficiency. Extremes are never ideal.

“Salad?!” she asked. “In China, no one eats salad. We cook our greens, and eat them in soups. Raw greens are too cooling to the body and can halt digestion (which you need heat to carry out).” That would explain why I felt stagnant digestion after my big bowls of greens. This would also explain why sometimes after eating too many salad greens I would get diarrhea. Diarrhea is always a symptom of too much cold (yin), and constipation is a symptom of too much heat (yang). In general, cooling foods tend towards the green end of the spectrum – lettuce, cucumbers, and watercress are some of the coolest.

Now, I’m not saying to cut salad out of your diet forever. I’m saying, know your body and eat for YOUR needs. If your body is very YANG, then you need more cooling foods until you correct your imbalance. If your body is very YIN, then you should definitely take a break from raw salad and raw foods for a while. Eat more soups, cooked foods, and sweet potato. Drink HOT water, never cold! Have ginger tea every morning before 11 AM. When you correct your imbalance, you can start eating FOR balance, but until then, continue to eat for your needs! Figure out what you are by checking out the symptoms below…

Symptoms of too much YANG (yin deficiency):
Red tongue with little or no coat
    Dry throat
Heat in the “five palms” (palms, soles, and sternum; sometimes called “five hearts”)
Night sweats
Overheat easily
Easily angered
Talks a lot/very fast
Dry eyes
Noises in your ears: this is called ‘tinnitus’
Tiredness leading quickly to exhaustion, though when you start doing something, or after a good         sleep, you may think you have plenty of energy
Insomnia (either you can’t get to sleep, or more likely you wake in the night for no obvious reason)
Lack of genital lubricating fluids

Symptoms of too much YIN (yang deficiency):
Feeling cold
Diarrhea-loose stools
Aversion to cold
No thirst
Lack of circulation
Low blood pressure
Poor appetite
Can’t taste foods
Clear vaginal discharges
Clear urine
Clear phlegm from sinuses or lungs
No sweating
Sleep allot
White coat on tongue
Pale, frigid appearance
Achy pain in joints or muscles
Cold extremities
Poor digestion
Tendencies toward stagnation
Stillness, weakness
Limp posture
Soft, low voice
Soft sighs
Pale lips, wet
Faint body odor
Light loose stool

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