October 27, 2011

Yin and Yang.

You may think I’m talking about the ancient Chinese symbol…

…the one that was popular back in the 80’s and that my awesome uncle (I love you Dason) may, or may not, have tattooed on his shoulder-blade in teal blue and purple ink…well, I’m not. I’m talking about a different kind of Yin and Yang, the kind related to a dirty little word we lovingly refer to as sugar. With Halloween right around the corner, what could be better to rant about? Answer: A lot. But let’s stick to sugar for now. Do you ever feel like your head is up in the clouds? Maybe a bit spacey, anxious, worried forgetful or insecure? How about agitated, aggressive, angry or tight? These feelings or shifts in mood could be due to a sugar imbalance in your body. Picture a spectrum (or just skip ahead and look below…cheater) with Yin on one end and Yang on the other. Consuming foods that fall on the Yin end of the spectrum promote more expansive properties in the body while consuming foods that fall into the Yang end of the spectrum promote more contractive qualities in the body. When you have too much of one, say too much Yin or expansive sugary foods, you will most likely start to crave the other. In the case of too much Yin you would begin to crave more prominent Yang or contractive salty foods to balance you out.

Here’s the kicker…if you are constantly going from extreme Yin to extreme Yang and back again, you will be in a perpetual state of imbalance and unrest. We’ve all been there…after indulging in a nice and salty piece of Little Star deep dish pizza (for all my SF friends) or Sugar Fish sushi with salty soy sauce (Ode to LA) you start to crave something sweet and immediately make a break for Sweet Rose Creamery. Now maybe you’re not even hungry at this point, but your body is still whispering to you or perhaps yelling at you “SUGAR!”

It’s like you’re 5 years old again and sitting across from your best friend Megan on the teeter-totter. You want to go up so you push with all your might and enjoy the sweet sensation of floating 3 feet high off the dusty playground floor, but then Megan wants to go up as well, so she pushes with all her might, and you slowly descend back to the saw-chips and dog pee. That, or Megan stays low and traps you up high. The first few seconds might be fun, but then you realize you’re stuck and start to cry for your mom to get you down. How can we stop this madness, you ask? Easy.

Sit in the middle of the teeter-totter.

Now, I know you’re thinking…”But if I sit in the middle, I won’t be able to feel those fun high moments at the top of the teeter-totter.” This is true, but you also will not be able to feel the lows when you hit rock bottom. Let’s be honest, we are not actually talking about a teeter-totter here. We are talking about sugar highs and lows. Or goal is to create a steady, balanced diet that wont propel us into super high highs and super low lows. So here it is, the key to all you are seeking:

Ok, ok…here it is for real: In conclusion, find your happy place in the middle of the teeter-totter. Eat a balanced diet of leafy greens, whole grains, beans, fruits and root veggies. Try to steer clear of the far ends of the spectrum like eggs, salt, coffee, alcohol and sugar. If you slip up and have a plate full of doughnuts with a large glass of coffee, know that when you start craving chips and guacamole there’s a reason for it and see if instead you can feed your craving with a more balanced diet from the center of the Yin/Yang spectrum.
Now get out there, eat well, and find your Halloween costume!



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Caley Alyssa

As a D-1 collegiate athlete with a background in nutrition and anatomy, and an internship with a naturopathic center for healing, Caley Alyssa found herself wanting to help people achieve healthier, happier lives. She quickly came to realize that she wanted to promote preventative and therapeutic methods encouraging active, energetic lifestyles rather than focusing on treatment centered around prescription drugs and the increasingly paramount “band-aid” mindset. In 2006, Caley moved to San Francisco and began to study yoga completing her 200 hour training with Yoga Tree with Janet Stone, Darren Main and Elise Lorimer. From there she went onto study with Shiva Rea and obtained a certification to work with children and at risk youth. In 2010, Caley’s quest to bring health and happiness to others lead her to enroll with the Institute of Integrative Nutrition in New York to become a Holistic Health Coach, registered with the American Drugless Practitioners. Caley now lives in Los Angeles with her husband. She designs and leads seasonal cleanses for individuals, yoga studios and corporate businesses sharing her lifelong journey of finding balance, wellness and happiness in all aspects of life!