Last updated: Feb 28, 2022
Below you will find our updated TCM Food Energetics list. I hope this is a helpful guide when selecting foods according to their energetic action on the body, and to support and maintain a balanced Chi (Yin = cooling foods, or Yang = hot foods) in your animals.
Keep in mind, how animals being raised for food live before slaughter (confinement operations vs. wild or truly pasture-raised; also, breed: modern commercial vs. heritage breeds); how meals/foods are prepared, and at which temperature they are served will all influence a meal’s energetic influence on the body/Chi of the consumer.
When cooked, a food’s energy is altered from the raw energy to be more warming.
- When a “warm” ingredient is served raw and cold, this will have a cooler influence.
- When a “cool” ingredient is served cooked/heated, it can have a warmer effect.
- The “hottest” forms of cooking involve very high heat such as frying or grilling.
- Steaming, baking/dehydrating, braising and other forms of “slow and low” temperature cooking is a moderate/slightly warming method of preparation.
Chinese Medicine Food Elements/Energy Overview
Examples of Seasonal Proteins & Foods:
Spring/Summer Crab, Haddock, Mussels, Oysters, Scallops, Sardines, Salmon; Eggs (Chicken/Duck/Quail/Goose); Raw Dairy
Fall/Winter Venison; Beef; Clam; Shrimp; Goose; Mutton; Chicken.
Overlapping Seasons Rabbit; Lamb.
Drying Foods (for damp skin, wet stools) Quail; Anchovy; Mackerel; Caraway; Garlic; Pumpkin; Alfalfa; Marjoram; Coriander; Basil; Kohlrabi; Oregano; Turnip; Daikon; Parsley.
Damp/Moistening (for dry skin; constipation) Duck, Pork, Rabbit; Mushrooms; Black Sesame; Turnips; Celery; Cucumber; Green leafy vegetables; Mung beans; Lemon, Pear; Apple; Carrot; Honey (limited/exercise caution with these due to their high glycemic index).
General Thermal Food Values
(for the wild/truly pastured/heritage choices at SFRAW)
How to Choose
Individual animals may have allergic reactions or intolerances to any specific food, so, obviously, if your animal have an issue with any specific proteins, you would need to eliminate those foods from the diet, regardless of the energetic nature of the food.
Barring these types of dietary restrictions, you may want to consider incorporating food energetics into your menu selection for your animals to help them stay in balance throughout the year, and according to their imbalances/tendencies/symptoms at any specific time.
For example, many hot, itchy animals enjoy relief from being plagued by these issues when we eliminate warming/hot foods such as: lamb, bison, salmon, and chicken and focus on feeding cooling/cold foods such as rabbit, duck, pork, and whitefish.
Neutral foods may also be included in such a program, but the majority of the diet should be cooling foods.
Remember, Chi is an energetic lifeforce moving throughout the body that will naturally change in character via seasonal or other influences, such as age, life stressors, diet or other factors. In turn, your animal’s food selections should never become routine, nor be endlessly set in stone. Ideally, the foods that you select for your animal should bring them into a better balance rather quickly, at which time their energetic needs should be reassessed and their dietary needs modified, as needed.
Making adjustments to their menu should be done frequently, or at least seasonally, to maintain balance over time. Adjust your selections according to your animal’s expressions of possible imbalances, with variety being a central aspect to any long-term menu plan.
Key indications that your animal may require a change to their diet, and which foods to feed/avoid, would be as follows:
|signs of imbalance||foods to avoid||foods to include|
|Inflammation and heat coming off the body; hot spots; red, inflamed skin; itching; seeking cool places, panting, thirst, red eyes, panting at night, dry skin, dry cough; restlessness.||Warm-Hot||Cool-Neutral|
|Heat seeking, chilly individuals (i.e. seeks out heat/fires or sleeps under bedcovers); coldness to ears, nose, back and limbs; debilitated constitution; weak/sluggish digestion.||Cooling-Cold||Neutral-Hot|
Choosing to feed a diet that includes foods with specific energetic properties may help animals coping with common problems, including:
|Signs of imbalance:
History of blood loss or anemia;
Pale white gums;
Dry skin; Dandruff; Dry cracked paw pads;
Lack of stamina;
Weakened immune system; frequent infections
|Foods to include:
Signs of Imbalance:
Acute Moist Dermatitis “Hot Spots”;
Stinky greasy dog coat, “Dog smell”;
Wet, productive coughs
|Foods to include: