Balance: The Yin and Yang of Foods

Typically, the term balanced diet describes a meal plan that offers a calculation of macronutrients and micronutrients. Assessing food with the ancient concept of yin and yang is another way to balance food as living energy. Because yin-yang energy is present in every substance, the food your baby eats has yin and yang properties that affect his balance, which influences his physical and mental growth and development, and how he feels along the way.

The yin-yang spectrum of foods compares a range of foods and how they are relative to each other in terms of yin and yang. Extremes are on the ends of the spectrum. Eating extreme foods on one side of the spectrum creates an attraction to an extreme food on the other side. For example, salty chips pair well with a cool drink, and animal foods balance sugar. Imagine a pendulum swinging back and forth from extreme yang foods to extreme yin foods. You can slow that pendulum to a more moderate swing by giving your baby foods that are toward the center of the spectrum—primarily grains and vegetables. Eating balanced foods is less stressful on your child’s body because it does not overcompensate for extremes.

Grains, beans, sea vegetables, and vegetables are in the center range of the yin-yang spectrum of foods. Eating these foods on a daily basis helps create a steady, even, and balanced diet. Eating foods outside of the center creates a wider swing in the pendulum—yang animal foods stimulate the taste for yin sweets, which then creates an attraction for yang foods again. Yin and yang flows back and forth and are not static. One element is relative to another: vegetables are more yin compared to grains, but more yang compared to fruits. Because children are inherently yang and are growing, they generally need more yin food to expand and develop.

Listed in the chart are balanced foods toward the middle for daily use, foods on a wider spectrum for occasional use, and extreme foods to avoid.

You can use the knowledge of yin and yang to influence your baby’s condition and help him return to balance when he gets out of balance. For instance, if your child has an overly yin condition, such as lethargy, whininess, or diarrhea, reducing yin foods, such as fruit, juice, or sugar, can help him come back toward the center. Feeding him more cooked whole grains and yang vegetables, such as root vegetables, can also help him become more centered.

If your child shows signs of an excessively yang condition, such as hyperactivity, irritability, or constipation, you can reduce salt and animal food in his diet for a relaxing effect. Feeding him more yin vegetables, such as leafy green vegetables and fruits, can help him return to the center. Other factors, such as changing seasons, food preparations, and cooking methods also play a part in determining the yin-yang balance of food.

Indicators of Yin and Yang


The concept of yin and yang does not mean that one is good and the other is bad. There are no specific rules for using the principles of yin and yang. You can experiment and try different foods to observe their effect. If you listen to your child’s preferences while considering these principles, then you can follow his lead and discover how the pendulum goes back and forth.

You can moderate the swing of his pendulum by offering him higher quality foods that are nearer the center of the spectrum to satisfy him. For example, if he craves ice cream, then offer him fruit; if he craves salty chips, offer him foods that have less sodium, such as tamari or miso. He craves what he needs and you can be the moderator to help him maintain a centered balance.

Trial and observation, with these principles in mind, will help you develop your own intuition of how it works. Knowledge and understanding of this principle of attraction can help you be a guide for your child. These recommendations are based on my experiences using these principles for myself, as a parent, and as a grandmother.

Grow Healthy. Grow Happy. Guide
By Grow Healthy. Grow Happy. The Whole Baby Guide. ™

A comprehensive and accessible resource for natural baby care. Nurture your baby with nature's principles for a radiant life. Grow Healthy. Grow Happy. The Whole Baby Guide is a complete resource for parents to give their babies a healthy beginning for the first three years.

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