The Yin–Yang of Eating
In Chinese thinking, you literally are what you eat. If you eat lots of hot and spicy foods, you are eating more yang than yin. If you eat lots of foods that are grown underground, from the earth, you are eating more yin foods. Neither is bad for you, but you should always strive for some kind of balance with your own personal, internal chi.
If you are feeling a little on the lethargic side, try eating more yang foods to counteract that feeling. If you're a little agitated, a yin food–one that grows outside in the sun and fresh air, like tea–can also work to calm you down. The feng shui art of balance applies to your insides as well as your surroundings!
While you can't arrange your food neatly within the bagua of your stomach, you can control what goes in and why. This takes you back to the practice of mindfulness, of thinking about what you do and putting purpose behind every action. You are literally practicing good feng shui inside your own body if you listen to its cues; if you are mindful without being “stomachful.”
Mixing yin and yang food energies will not only nourish your body, it will also balance and purify the spirit and soul. Rarely will you see someone in China consume very spicy foods without some palate–settling chrysanthemum tea. This is also true of Chinese–Americans, many of whom seek this balance instinctively. No wonder so many Americans suffer from indigestion.
Meandering energy can create distraction for the cook–distraction that can cause disharmony and even safety problems in the kitchen. Rushing chi in a kitchen can make its inhabitants restless and unfocused, leading to kitchen injuries and mishaps.
At Chinese restaurants, the yin–yang food balance is most evident in the sweet and sour chicken and pork dinners. When you get carryout, you'll notice, too, that there is always tea in there to counteract hot oils and mustards. This is mindful eating at its most convenient!