One of the most important things that we can do for pets is to feed them properly, and while it is not that difficult to achieve a balanced diet, it is a bit more complex when we use food to help achieve optimal health. In Traditional Chinese medicine, foods are looked at much like herbs. Foods can heal. Foods can balance or unbalance the body. All foods have energetic properties, and the foods you feed your pet will affect their constitution, their affect, and can help to alleviate or exasperate personality traits, disease symptoms, and behaviors. Hot natured pets will tend to do better with cooling or neutral foods as cold natured pets will do better with neutral to warming foods. Thus the question of what foods are best to feed my pet is not a “one size fits all” answer. The first thing you need to do is to determine whether your pet is hot or cold natured.
The yin and yang of pets
Some characteristics of a hot natured, yang, animal ….
These animals are often nervous and on edge. They may have a red tongue, pant excessivly and seek cool floors on which to lie. Often you will note that these animals have very poor energy in summer heat, and show signs of excessive thirst. They will avoid warm beds, couches or carpets. These animals tend to get more acute, sudden illnesses with intense symptoms which go as quickly as they came.
Some characteristics of a cold natured, yin, animal ……
These animals will be cool, calm and collected. They may have a pale tongue which is often wet. They may prefer warm places to sleep, or wish to be covered or cuddled for warmth. These animals generally do not like to be out in the winter but will bake themselves in the sun or in front of the fire place until you fear they may combust. Cold natured animals tend to be more slow moving and sleepy and may catch colds frequently.
The temperature of foods
Food also has tendencies toward yin or yang. The temperature or thermal nature of foods does not refer to the temperature at which the food is served, but the way the food makes the body feel once consumed. Cooling foods can cool both the body and the psyche. Conversely warming or hot foods will affect the entire body as well. Foods, like bodies, all have BOTH yin and yang properties, but some have more of one and some more of the other.
Warming foods are often used to aid digestion. They can also improve circulation and may help ease the pain of arthritis if it is worse in cold weather.
Cooling foods will calm the mind and cool the body. They can also be useful when inflammation is a problem.
Neutral foods are the harmonizers of the diet and are often added to balance or temper the more extreme qualities of other foods.
EXAMPLES OF WARMING FOODS
tuna, turkey, salmon, lamb, venison, chicken, chicken liver, shrimp, trout, oats, cabbage, squash, kale, quinoa, dried ginger
EXAMPLES OF COOLING FOODS
clams, duck, egg, tofu, prok, millet, barley, wheat, whole wheat bread, lettuce, celery, broccoli, spinach, tomato, kelp, banana
EXAMPLES OF NEUTRAL FOODS
beef, beef liver, chicken gizzards, rabbit, sardine, string beans, aduki beans, kidney beans, yam, polenta, rice, corn, rye, potato, beet, turnip, carrot, eggs, cod, brown rice
In addition to their thermal properties, foods can moisten or dry, clear excesses or stimulate in cases of deficiency.
FOODS THAT MOISTEN
potato, sardines, tofu, wheat, pork, mussel, citrus, barley, , string beans, dairy
FOODS THAT DRY
lettuce, turnip, asparagus, amaranth, rye, mackerel, celery, garlic
This is only the tip of the iceburg so far as the true qualities of foods go. Before choosing or changing a diet for your pet always consult with your veterinarian for recommendations and understand that each body is different. The simple question…what is the best diet for my pet???…. may not have a simple answer.