Food, Our Health and Our F0ur Pillars in Bazi
As a Nutrition health professional, I continue to preach that the best way to maintain optimum health is through good Nutrition; that is to maintain a well- balanced diet, the more variety of vibrantly colorful foods we can include in the diet, the better! Next, good nutrition goes hand in hand with exercise, so incorporating a physical activity regimen that we enjoy doing
(or one that is advised by your doctor if you are ill ) would be beneficial so that we can sustain to do it for a long time. And lastly, being able to propagate and bolster a healthy lifestyle is crucial to help us achieve our goals.
It takes great effort to continuously maintain and improve these three important aspects in our life but we should continue to strive to do so for our good health.
This is also the main goal that professionals aim to achieve in the practice of Complementary, Integrative and Holistic Nutrition which I learned as I expand my knowledge in this field. Delving deeper into the metaphysical aspect to help us maintain and or improve our health is an adjunct knowledge which will aid us to better understand our strengths and weaknesses, or those of our clients whom we counsel.
Here is a list of good articles to read to learn more on this subject:
As one saying preaches that "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" this understanding can endow us with an early awareness to seek the appropriate remedy and a timely and prompt Medical attention.
Again, I wish to emphasize, that the subject matter we will be discussing here is beyond the approaches of conventional treatment. Although it has been helpful to a number of people, these information are not intended to be a substitute for a medical diagnosis by your Medical Physician. ALWAYS SEEK THE ADVICE OF A MEDICAL HEALTH PROFESSIONAL WITH ANY QUESTIONS YOU MAY HAVE WITH A MEDICAL CONDITION AND BEFORE CHANGING YOUR DIET.
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The Chinese Medical Physicians used the Bazi Four Pillars of Destiny and the Five Elements theory to study the relationship between the human physiology, the pathology of organs and the natural enviroment (Wu Zang liu fu 五脏六腑 )
The Five Elements and TCM ( Traditional Chinese Medicine) practitioners analyze the physical symptoms and focuses on the imbalance and their treatment is designed to alleviate the root cause of the disharmony.
Knowing how to interpret our Bazi Four Pillars which exhibits the interaction of our heavenly and earthly elements and their yin and yang relationships can aid us to understand our talents, our basic characteristics, our strengths and weaknesses and even our underlying health levels.
Here is a list of the different Heavenly and Earthly Stems and their corresponding Body Part References:
Jia Wood ~Head, gall bladder, bile duct
Yi Wood~Shoulder, liver, neck
Bing Fire~Forehead, small intestines, shoulder, eyes
Ding Fire~Tongue, teeth, heart
Wu Earth~Face, stomach
Ji Earth~Nose, spleen, abdomen
Geng Metal~Muscle, large intestines, breast
Xin Metal~Chest, lungs, hips, buttocks
Ren Water~Shin, ankles, gall bladder
Gui Water~Feet, kidneys
Zi rat~Bladder, genitals
Chou Ox~Spleen, lower limbs, abdomen
Yin Tiger~Bile duct, gall bladder, limbs, spine, nerves
Mao Rabbit~Liver, reproductive organs, hair fingers
Chen Dragon~Stomach, shoulder, back, chest
Si Snake~Heart, face, throat, teeth
Wu Horse~Small intestines, head
Wei Goat~Spleen, spine, diaphragm
Shen Monkey~Large intestines, veins, lungs, nerves, throat
You Rooster~Lungs, blood, reproductive system
Xu Dog~Stomach legs
Hai Pig~Kidneys, lower limbs
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In both TCM and Chinese cooking, the principle of Yin and Yang is practiced in the diet. Yang foods are warm and dry or spicy; they increase the production of internal heat in the body; hence they have more fat content. Yin foods on the other hand, decreases the body heat, they tend to cool the body hence have more water content and are more moist and succulent.
Here is a list of some food items that falls under the Yin/Yang and Neutral categories:
Fruits: apples, banana, grapes, pineapple, lemons, oranges, strawberries, melons, pomegranate, raspberries, avocado
Vegetables: okra, celery, leeks, mushrooms, bamboo shoots, bean sprouts, cabbage, celery, cucumber, bok choy, soy beans, chickpeas, lima beans, corn, tubers like beets, turnips, artichokes
Meats and Protein: fresh and salt water fishes, shellfish like shrimps, oysters, mussels, white meat like chicken breasts,Tofu and bean curds, almonds; light white cheeses
Carbohydrates and Starches: barley and wheat
Fats & Oils: Olive oil, corn oil, sesame oil, peanut oil and other vegetable oils
Beverages and other items: beer, soy milk, nut milks, herb tea, cold drinks, honey, maple syrup, yogurt, water, salt, soy sauce, umami flavors
Fruits: Dark skinned berries such as blueberries, tart red cherries, blackberries, Kiwifruit, dates, figs. mangosteen
Vegetables: tomatoes, green peppers, kidney beans, onions, chili peppers, potatoes, green leafy vegetables, spring onions, green beans, asparagus, snow peas, broccoli, red and black beans
Meats and Protein: Red meat such as beef, pork, turkey, chicken thighs & legs, lamb, eggs, internal meats, cured meats and deli, deep sea fish, shellfish like crabs and oysters, prawns, smoked fish, ham, lamb, aged yellow cheeses, nuts and nut butters
Carbohydrates and Starches: glutinous rice, taro and yams, quinoa, oats, dry cereals
Spices: paprika, saffron, cloves, black and white peppers, cumin, coriander, garlic, cinnamon, cardamons
Fats and Oils: butter, coconut oil, lard, chocolate
Beverages and others items: coffee, black tea, wine, whiskey, white and brown sugar, milk and dairy products
NEUTRAL FOODS: bread, brown rice, steamed white rice, sweet potatoes, olives, peas, plums, raisins, peaches, cauliflower, carrots
Understanding the Five Element System of Food
Here is a list of the 5 Elements and the organs they govern:
Picture from WOFS
Picture from The Hearty Soul
In the Five Element system, it is important to have a balanced intake of the different food items under the elements for optimum health. Maintaining a balanced intake of the Five Elements of Food can help ensure that we receive enough nutrients from what we eat that supports our corresponding main organs.
Here's a brief list of the body types, foods associated with each element and their corresponding actions on the body:
Water: the element rules the kidneys, bladder, bones, nerves and teeth. that is why the food it includes are mostly from those that these organs process in the body. This includes all salty foods, fresh and salted fish, salted meats including caviar, fish, fish eggs, shellfish, eggs, pork, beans, seaweeds, soy sauce, miso, tamarind, kale, wild rice, walnuts, sesame, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, figs, blueberries, eggplant, root vegetables, all foods that are dark, purple or black in color and of course water!
These foods brings a calming effect to the body and the body type it creates has a tendency towards thickness with a large and round face and a full, wider or chubby body frame. Water element food benefits mostly the thin, dry and nervous people. Foods to avoid are sugars, alcohol, caffeine frozen and an excess intake of raw foods and vegetables. Too much salt can however lead to hypertension, kidney and heart diseases.
Wood: The wood element body type leans toward the slender with an elongated face with thin and long body and fingers. Wood controls the liver, gallbladder , tendons, sinews and ligaments. All sour foods and those with green stalks and sprouts belong under this category. It also includes leafy greens, asparagus, broccoli, celery, olives, and all citrus fruits ( lemons, oranges, grapefruits, pineapple, and sour plums) and sour foods like pickles, kimchi, sauerkraut, vinegar, and yogurt. Also under this list are wild game animals, chicken, internal meats, and sourdough and wheat breads and crackers.
The function of these foods is to obstruct movement and serve as astringents ( to bind and pull tight), that is why they can mostly benefit people who have erratic, changeable, and scattered behaviors. Foods to avoid are alcohol, processed foods, high fat foods and most dairy products.
Fire: The Fire element controls the circulatory system, which includes the heart, the glandular system which includes the small intestines, and the lymphatic and immune systems. The body type belonging to this element tends to have a pointy, chin and nose and an angular top of the head, with a flared waist, and narrow hips and legs that is similar to a torch. It includes all bitter ( dark left greens, arugula, lettuce, watercress, bitter melon, dandelion, rhubarb, paprika) dried foods and hot cooked foods and most foods that are red in color (like tomatoes and red apple) or has the shape of a heart ( apricots and sweet plums, raspberries and strawberries).
~Trivia: Did you know that fresh fruits and vegetables are packed with phytochemicals ( also known as antioxidants) that help us safeguard our organs and fight a disease specific to that particular organ? Moreover, most fruits and vegetables come in the shape of the organ that they protect!
Fire element can be tricky since it also includes some intake of hot foods (peppers, hot chiles, cayenne peppers) to balance the heat in the body. it also include lamb, venison, coffee, tea and carbonated drinks.
The action of these foods is to balance the production of fire or heat in the body and reduce the dryness. They mostly benefit the sluggish and the overweight or obese and manage the overheated or aggressive behavior. Foods to avoid are an overabundance intake of chocolate, salt, wine, beer and hot spices and stimulants.
Earth: The Earth element contains an array of food items that is enjoyed by most people since it includes all sweet and starchy foods, particularly those which are yellow, orange and brown in color ( bananas, plantains, millet, barley, rye, corn, oats, lentils, dried peas and peanuts,), sweet roots and vegetables ( taro, beets, sweet potatoes, yam, winter and summer squash, cucumbers, mushrooms, corn, okra, onions, cabbage), and soft, saccharine fruits (watermelon, sweet cherries, dates, grapes, peaches, papayas, mangoes, coconut and most tropical fruits ). It also includes beef, sugar, milk chocolate, honey, molasses, agave syrup, rice and barley syrup.
The body type under the Earth element are short in stature with a square face, a pear shaped body and rounded buttocks. Earth element governs the digestive and systemic parts of the body which includes the stomach, pancreas, muscles and the spleen. These food items are said to slow down the acute onset of an illness and help neutralize the toxins in the body. Nowadays, I would say that including a probiotic for digestion will benefit the earth element. They are mostly beneficial for the weak and nervous type and they help calm aggression. Foods to avoid are refined carbohydrates, processed foods, too much dairy and iced drinks, and of course an over-intake of sweets since it will also overwork the stomach, pancreas and spleen which process these food items in the body.
Metal: The metal element body type have defined facial features and broad, square shoulders. They are thin in stature, bearing thin lips and eyelids. The element controls the intestinal, respiratory and skin systems, it also assist in the maintenance of the immune system. Recommended foods are those that enhance and diffuse circulation of energy. They are beneficial for the sluggish, lethargic and cold people.
Foods high in minerals like leafy greens, are included in this category. It also include sour and savory foods like raw onions, garlic, ginger, chives, radish, daikon, scallions, cloves, cilantro, parsley, anise mustard greens, cauliflower, turnip, mint, cinnamon, tarragon, marjoram, thyme and rosemary, wasabi, horseradish, mustard, basil ,nutmeg, daikon, cinnamon, mint, cilantro and coriander seeds, parsley, anise, dill, mustard greens, horseradish, mustard, basil, and nutmeg and the latest "umami" flavor flavor in shiitake and porcini mushrooms parmesan cheese and fish sauce.
We should only use small amounts of metal element items to enhance our food since the savory flavor they provide can be strong.
The cooking procedure used also influences the five elements as follows:
Water~ boiling, steaming, poaching, curing, freezing
Wood~ grilling, open wood fire, smoking, pickling, and fermenting
Fire~ deep fat frying, sautéing, toasting, dehydrating, flambeing
Earth~ baking, roasting, stewing, mashing, pureeing, caramelizing, making preserves like jams and jellies
Metal~ garnishing, mincing, julienne, dicing, use of condiments
Most foods can be under more than one element at a time depending on the degree of their ripeness and the way they are prepared or cooked.
The Five Element system also suggests that we eat food according to the seasons so that the meats and produce are fresh and locally raised or grown. ~Water during the Winter season, Wood elements during Spring, Fire during early Summer, Earth during late Summer and Metal during Fall. Moreover, choosing to eat according to the season will give us a wide selection of a variety of foods which also carries the vibrant colors of the different seasons! As we can see, eating our food using the Five Elements System is also eating a variety or colorful foods for good health!
Medical and Holistic Nutrition Therapy: Prescriptions for Nutritional Healing, Integrative Oncology, Natural Medicines Therapeutic Research, Todays Dietitians Magazine, Eat Right.org
Metaphysics: WOFS, The Hearty Soul, The Spruce, The Feng Shui Institute, Feng Shui and 5 Element Living,