It has been ages, more than a year actually, since I posted anything and the reasons for that will be talked about later if I get time to post; however, I think it is relevant to begin new postings with some areas of my life that have changed because of what I learned in China. First in this area must be my conception of health and how to stay healthy as aided by the Chinese view of health. We start with a picture:
Taken from Wilkipedia
Everyone knows that this is the Yin (Woman) Yang (Man). Philosophically, it is not set in the static way that we see it, but rather it continues in a constant state of flux, with one side being more and eventually giving way to an overpowering of the other end and back again. This basic idea is fundamental to the Chinese view of health.
The Chinese view of health is one of a constant battle between hot and cold within a persons body. The goal is to maintain perfect balance between hot and cold so that we see the yin yang as pictured above. This task is very difficult to accomplish and people tend to have to much heat, which manifests itself in sniffles or colds. The way that balance is obtained is through diet.
Foods like lamb meat, spicy foods, and sweet foods (there must be a massive list on the web somewhere) tend to increase the heat of a person. To counter act the rise in heat, one must eat foods that help them release that heat. Sour or bitter foods and water are great for that task: grapefruit, bitter melon, bitter melon tea, chrysanthemum tea, are what I would use for this task.If the level of heat is too high, there is terrible tasting medicines you can drink to help flush the heat.
Now, I think that many people would believe this view of health as superstitious and antiquated, but I would like to relate some stories from my personal experience that show that it has some merit. First, a friend of mine went on a trip to Guang Zhou (广州) where the Durian (留连) was extremely cheap, so she consumed nearly two whole melons on her own. She was sick with a dry cough for weeks because Durian is super heat inculcating.
Personally, one day I went out for Korean food and was feeling like eating spicy. I had kim chi soup, kim chi pork, and kim chi fried rice. Before the meal was even finished I had a sore throat from the heat in my body. I had to take medicine for that to keep from getting sick and WHAMMO, what a terrible bathroom experience, but I kept from getting sick and the heat was gone.
If you would like to read more, here is another poster on the same subject.