Chinese medicine is very conscious of how humans live in relation to their world.
The ancient texts talk at some length of how to live well in response to the world around us, including us as part of the natural environment. Changes in seasons, emotions, work situations, relationships are all considered. Each has an impact on us and the choices we make to maintain the best possible quality of life.
Our lives move through their own seasons. Some we anticipate, others may come about in unexpected ways. Menopause is a change of season in the lives of women that we can count on one way or the other. Menopause can be triggered earlier than usual after cancer treatment, and for some, years later it is a natural course of a woman’s life.
To help understand how this change is seen from a Traditional Chinese Medical (TCM) perspective a brief explanation of Yin and Yang is helpful. Often described as the more feminine principal, Yin is quiet, cool, moistening, descending. Yang is known as the more masculine of the two. Hot, active, ascending, energetic in its attributes.
From a functional perspective, Yin holds and contains Yang.
When the two are in balance, our bodies thermostat sits at a comfortable setting. When Yin is unable to hold yang in check hot flushes can occur. Sleep can be disturbed and restless. Emotions can be unpredictable leaving women feeling erratic and somewhat unhinged.
Yin can be consumed in times of high stress, overwork and overdoing things in general. Fortunately, there are ways to restore Yin, returning the body to balance. Clearing the heat will also help to make things more comfortable.
Using food as a therapeutic tool to clear heat can have a positive effect.
While it may feel like all you want to do is eat cold foods to subdue the heat, a more balanced approach will bring longer-term benefits. Crunching on ice may be appealing, similarly eating watermelon and cucumber could feel like the right thing to do. Both these foods are deemed to be cold in Chinese medicine dietary theory. However all this cold can mean your digestive system has a difficult job in extracting all the goodness from your food and will struggle to convert it into beneficial and cooling yin. The appetite may well become subdued further reducing the opportunity to nourish.
Avoiding hot foods such as chilly and garlic, curries and spiced foods will help.
Adding Yin nourishing foods that are easy to digest such as spinach, tomatoes, corn, beetroot, cabbage. Apples, pears, citrus, blackberries, strawberries, bananas grapes.
Butter, tofu, soy milk, pork are some examples of foods that will support the recovery of Yin. Chinese medical dietary theory recommends foods are cooked and therefore easy to access. You are giving your body the best chance of restoration of an even temperature, good sleep and a calm state of being.
About Philippa Youngs
Philippa Youngs has been educated and trained by some of the world’s most experienced Chinese Medicine Practitioners, Acupuncturists and Myotherapists at Australia’s prestigious universities. Philippa Youngs has spent decades honing her craft with a passion for helping families achieve their goals and support women’s health.