Distinguishing Constitution of Foods

What food is to the human body is what fuel is to a wood burning stove.

The digestion process in our body is similar to the combustion of a piece of wood in the wood burning stove. With different wood and combustion methods, we will get different energy produced and waste residues.

In herbal medicine, foods can be divided into several classes according to their characteristics:

Whether the food has a strong smell or a weak smell.

Whether the food has a clear constitution or a turbid constitution.

Food can be clear-thin. It includes most vegetables, fruits, whole grains, simple and non-greasy cooking methods and so on.

Food can be thick-turbid. It includes mostly meat, fried and smoked, heavy flavor, complex cooking methods and so on.

The digestive power of our body is influenced by the energy level of our body, especially the energy that is associated with the stomach. They are similar to the firepower of a stove. Let us see how different foods are digested.

Thick and turbid food

Thick and turbid food is like a large piece of wet and heavy wood. It requires a relatively large firepower to ignite, burn, and function. If the woodstove is relatively old, and the combustion process is incomplete, there will be a lot of smoke, ash, oil and residue. The wood stove needs a better flue and higher air circulation to fully burn the piece of wood.

Thus, if we have a body constitution with a very good digestive system, sufficient stomach-energy, smooth meridians, then our body will be able to absorb the thick and turbid foods. The food we eat will do us good. Thus, before we eat a lot of thick and turbid food, we should ask ourselves whether we are a relatively new and good wood stove.

When we are old, weak, or sick, there is only a small fire in the wood- burning stove. Can it withstand the pressure of a large piece of damp and heavy wood?

Most of the time, when we are weak, we think we need to increase our nutrition, so we eat thick and turbid food. We forget that we do not have sufficient stomach-energy and meridians to digest, absorb and transport the thick and turbid food. The resulting effect is we further damage our digestive and absorptive functions of our body.

The end result is not only no nutrition and nourishment, but also a lot of smoke, ash, and oil produced by insufficient combustion. In herbal medicine, they are called the dampness, the poison, the heat, and the turbidity.

People who have diabetes, hyperlipidemia, and gout have a common physical characteristic, which is the accumulation of dampness, poison, heat, and turbidity in the body and the deficiency of energy. This type of body constitution often also has insufficient kidney-energy, so the power to expel the evils from the body is insufficient. Thus if we forget to control the food we eat and increase stretching exercises, it will become a vicious circle.

Many children and young adults have allergic rhinitis, skin problems, or snoring at night. This is due to the accumulation of dampness, poison, heat, and turbidity on the surface of the body and they do not have sufficient power to get rid of them. If they were to do more stretching exercises, akin to open the flue, increase the air intake, remove the exhaust gas, and adjust the food, it will be better for their health. No medication will be needed. They will improve their health after a month.

As practitioners of life cultivation, most of us will make adjustments to the food we eat depending on our body conditions. However, there is no need to stick to details like which kind of beans (red beans, black beans, mung beans) is better for me. Just grasp the general directions of thick-thin or clear-turbid.

For example, in modern culinary art, we focus on color-sound-aroma-taste-touch of the food. Instead, for practitioners of life cultivation, we inject the concepts of clear-thin-light-less and avoid the orientation of thick-turbid-heavy-more. Great health benefits!

Especially for dinner, at this time, the human body is preparing to slowly shut down, entering the state of charging and recuperating. We should eat less and eat lightly. This is especially true for mental workers. It is a good choice and worth a try.


People need to be slightly hungry for one or two hours a day, which will keep the stomach-energy in good working condition, and elevate clearness and reduce turbidity.

Snoring is due to a lack of stomach-energy. Generally, obese people snore because they generally have a phlegm-dampness constitution. Phlegm-dampness will produce stagnation in the middle-section of our body. Thus night food or overeating are more likely to cause stomach-energy not to drop and lead to snoring.

If your bed partner complains about your snoring, and you are out of your wit on fixing it, try this method. If it is successful for you, do not forget to write to us so that we can save more relationships.


We are practitioners of life cultivation. We are sharing what we learn and practice for wellness. We emphasize syndrome differentiation and conditioning. Any suggestions about diseases cannot replace face-to-face diagnosis and treatment by licensed physicians.

Any remarks about doctors and patients only represent their personal views, and provide practitioners of life cultivation a reference for learning. Please read carefully and do not apply to yourself blindly. We do not assume any legal responsibility arising therefrom.

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: Foods to improve your health.

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