We have recently updated our TCM Food Energetics list — we hope this is helpful to guide you to select foods according to their action on the body when it comes to supporting a balanced Chi (Yin = cooling foods, or Yang = hot foods).
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:
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.
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 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.
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:
|History of blood loss/anemia; pale white gums; dry skin; dandruff; dry cracked paw pads; lack of stamina; weakened immune system.||Colostrum & Whey
Chicken or Duck egg yolk
Dark Leafy Greens
|Stinky greasy dog coat, “Dog smell”, gooey eyes, ear discharges, hot spots, wet/gooey cough.||Apple Cider Vinegar
Pearled Barley (very small amount: soaked, sprouted & over-cooked)