Distinguishing Inherent Natures of Foods

As practitioners of life cultivation, we pay attention to the inherent nature of the foods we eat. We are especially concerned whether the food is inherently cold, hot or neutral. We make a list of the cold and hot properties of common vegetables, fruits, meat, and common herbs so that we know what we eat.

Why should we pay attention to whether our food is inherently hot or cold?

According to herbal medicine, our body constitution can be divided into cold and hot, and food can also be divided into cold and hot. Eating the right food can nourish the body. Eating the wrong food will make the body more unbalanced and even cause illness.

People with a cold body constitution are prone to stomach pain and diarrhea if they eat too much cold food. People with a hot body constitution are prone to be angry, suffer from constipation and acne if they eat too much hot food.

Huang Zhiyuan, a herbal medicine doctor, likened the former to adding insult to injury, and the latter to adding fuel to the fire.

01 Our body constitution

If we want to choose the right food, we must first understand our own body constitution. How do we know which type of body constitution we are?

We can simply judge our body constitution based on the following symptoms:

01 Cold body constitution

  • Has cold hands and feet
  • Is afraid of coldness and wind
  • Is rarely thirsty, thus does not like to drink water or likes to drink hot drinks
  • Has pale face and lips
  • Has pale discharge
  • Has clear urine
  • Has long urination
  • Has shapeless stools
  • Does not like to move
  • Get tired easily

02 Hot body constitution

  • Has relatively high body temperature
  • Does not like hot weather
  • Has a dry mouth
  • Like cool breeze
  • Like cold drinks
  • Has red complexion, often with acne or boils
  • Has yellowish and stinky urine
  • Has foul-smelling stool
  • Has easy constipation
  • Is active
  • Is easily irritable and angry

03 Neutral body constitution

  • Is properly balanced, not too cold, not to hot

To distinguish between cold body constitution and hot body constitution, we should not only look at one of the symptoms, but analyze them as a whole. Moreover, our body constitution will change with changes in the environment and diet. If we are not sure, we should consult our physician.

If we have a cold body constitution, we should eat hot food for recuperation. If we have a hot body constitution, we should eat cold food to recuperate. Foods with the same nature as our body constitution should be eaten less. If we have a neutral body constitution, we can eat all kinds of food in moderation. There are also some foods that are neither cold nor hot, and are mild in nature, which can be eaten by people of any body constitution. If we eat our foods that way, our body can achieve balance and will remain healthy.

02 Inherent nature of food

Once we understand our body constitution, the next step is to find out the inherent nature of food that we commonly eat. Then we will eat according to our body constitution. Our body will be in balance, and we will get rid of the little feeling of uncomforting.

To find out the inherent nature of food, we may look them up in books or the Internet. We will record them in our notebook and refer to them often until we memorize them.

If we do not want to work to that extent, we may follow the following guidelines. They are only guidelines, not absolute principles. Under normal circumstances, it can be distinguished from the food’s color, taste, growth environment and other aspects.

01 Greenish in color, cold in nature

Green plants are close to the ground and absorb ground moisture, so they are colder in nature. This includes mung beans and green vegetables.

02 Reddish in color, warm in nature

Plants with reddish color, such as pepper, jujube, pomegranate, etc., grow close to the ground, but the fruit can absorb more sunlight, so their nature is warmer.

03 Bitter and sour taste, cold in nature

Bitter and sour foods are cold in nature. They include bitter gourd, bitter herbs, taro, plums, papaya, etc.

04 Sweet and spicy taste, heat in nature

Foods with pungent and sweet flavors, such as garlic, persimmon, pomegranate, etc. are hot due to the longer exposure to sunlight.

05 Aquatic plants, cold in nature

Foods such as lotus root, kelp, seaweed, etc. which grow in water are cold in nature.

06 Land plants, hot in nature

Foods that grow in the soil, such as peanuts, potatoes, yams, ginger, etc., are buried in the soil for a long time and have less water, so they are hot in nature.

07 Shady plants, cold in nature

Foods that face north in the shade absorb heavy moisture and rarely see sunlight, so they are colder in nature. They include mushrooms and fungus.

08 Sunny plants, hot in nature

Foods that grow in the air or facing the sun, such as sunflowers, chestnuts, etc., are hot in nature because they receive sufficient light.

Mind you. When we classify foods with an inherent cold or hot nature, they are relative terms. One food may be colder or hotter than the other food. The best guide is to write down the reaction after we eat certain food if the reaction is very strong.

What about meat? Does meat have an inherent cold or hot nature?

Call to Action

Folks, that is all for now. If you think this article may be beneficial to your friends and loved-ones, feel free to forward this article to them. Life cultivation is mostly for older people with declining body health. If you are young and energetic, this may not be your cup of tea. However, if you have family members or friends who are middle-aged or older, they may want to practice life cultivation to maintain a life without pain or medication.

This is an extract of the full treatise published in the Mustang BodyWorks Series, a paid-subscription. You may buy this full treatise on Mustang Dietary Technique.

Stay tuned for the next episode: Distinguishing effects of foods.

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