My parents have always taught me about being a ‘hot base’ (熱底) or ‘cool base’ (涼底) [someone correct me if I’m using the wrong word for ‘dai’ aka 底…that’s the word I’m assuming it is from the sound alone]. My mom, brother, and I are all 熱, while my dad is 涼. I didn’t buy into it as a kid, but now that I’m older, I’ve become more and more aware of how it fits with my own body’s needs.
Fast food in general – and American fast food in particular – is considered highly 熱 due to being deep friend, baked, or containing more meat than veggies. I love going out for a McDonald’s breakfast (memories of my mom taking me and my brother there for Sunday breakfast before church), or having an In-N-Out meal. The Jack-in-the-Box sourdough burger was my high school favorite (but I can’t handle the grease anymore…the last time I had it, I got nauseous WAY too quickly). Speaking of Quickly, I also love their teas and fried chicken.
So earlier this year in January, I spent an entire month without eating any fast food. It wasn’t too much of a stretch for my lifestyle – in the fall, I would grab some McDonald’s sometimes when I had a late class. Otherwise, it was homemade packed lunches of sandwiches, salads, or dinner leftovers. My breakfasts never varies (eggs, tea, toast, fruit, oatmeal with chia, in any combination), and I usually made dinner at home. I did miss the occasional shake and fries, but not too much.
How did I feel afterwards? Can I say better? No. But I did develop a higher sensitivity and awareness of how I feel after I eat certain foods. Loads of greens and veggies => clearer skin, clearer head, more energy. Loads of meat and sugar => breakouts and a general fuzzy-headed feeling like when I wake up after sleeping in the heat for a long time.
My fast food fast did not deter me from eating fast food. Not at all. Just last weekend, I indulged in a burger and animal fries from In-N-Out for lunch after my IISME orientation. But I also had piles of bok chou and plain rice noodles later that day for dinner, with a large bowl of green bean soup (the chinese green bean aka mung bean, not the french green beans, although that would be cooling too).
And that’s it, isn’t it? To have a balance for your individual body needs. I need to eat more 涼 foods as an overall rule, and have 熱 foods only on occasions when I’ve built up enough of a buffer for my body to handle it.