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Yin properties of grains/carbohydrates?


Hi everyone,
I was just wondering if someone could help me out with this nutritional/energetic theory:

Grains are generally neutral (or close) in thermal nature and seem to be used a fair bit for their ability to build and support, yin fluids in particular. I’m fairly sure this nourishing yin aspect is present because grains are (I think) the foods closest to Earth, physically and energetically, which is a yin phenomenon - speaking from the Yellow Emperor’s Classic. So being more yin from that perspective and because of the nature of carbohydrates, I’ve assumed that grains and other carbohydrates settle in lower parts of the body (from the lower abdomen down), factoring in my own physical experience after dietary changes.

If it is true that as a more Earthy and therefore yin substance carbohydrates (grains in particular) settle lower in the body as ‘turbid’ matter (yin as opposed to ‘clear’ qi which is yang), does that mean that where they settle could be influenced by their combination with pungent foods like ginger or similar?

Thanks in advance for any thoughts anyone has about this :smile:

Dryness from Soda, or diet?

If I’m understanding your question, I think so, yes… In general the stomach takes food and sends that energy upwards to the spleen and the lungs. Excessive carbs (and other things) that violate the spleens preference for dryness contribute to dampness in the body. Dampness does not rise and spread well, if at all. Adding warming foods that distribute qi can at least combat dampness, potentially fostering improved digestion and assimilation. But as with everything in Chinese Medicine, there is always balance and very few if any hard and fast rules. So a “dry” person will do well to have more yin and qi nourishing foods and will do poorly adding pungent herbs, a “damp” person will need to avoid adding too much heat. While possibly mildly helpful, this heat in a damp person will create more trouble.

If I’m understanding the general idea of your question, it is generally helpful for most people to balance carbs with something that helps the body digest and assimilate them. So, in my mind, at least there is a world of difference between, for example, oatmeal with raisins, bananas and milk, vs. oatmeal with apples, ginger and cinnamon on what the body will get from that and the inherent balance within those meals.

Hopefully, that is somewhat helpful. But please let me know if I’m missing what you asking…


Thanks for your reply,
That answers most of what I’ve been thinking about, though I hadn’t considered dryness and dampness initially. My understanding of the stomach/spleen in food and qi distribution is that the two separate the ‘turbid from the clear’, the turbid being sent ultimately out of the body as waste and the clear being sent to the lungs as qi, hence my assumption of carbs settling lower in the body being the most yin.

In terms of efficient digestibility, according to Paul Pitchford’s Healing with Whole Foods, carbs digest best when eaten alone with non-starchy vegetables, though I would agree that when carbohydrate content of a meal might be over balanced, balancing it with something pungent that stimulates digestion could help (with the person’s constitution in mind).

I think my whole idea was to try and find a solution to too much matter settling in the lower body rather than between the lower and upper body, but considering yin (matter) is lower and yang (energy) is upper could matter settling in the lower body just be natural?

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