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Gong Xi Fa Cai (Happy New Year)

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The end of this month will see Chinese New Year being celebrated throughout the world so I thought this would be a good time to talk about Chinese food. Chinese food is steeped in a rich history of cultural, religious and philosophical traditions. As the Chinese believe in the concept of Yin and Yang, and that life is about a balance of extremes, so the food is meant to be a delicate equilibrium between flavors, textures, and healing properties. As Eileen Yin-Fei Lo notes in her book, The Chinese Kitchen, “What we Chinese eat to nourish ourselves we also eat to contribute to our interior balance and well-being. Food in China is to a great degree medicine.” In effect, so much of Chinese cuisine is based on balancing yin and yang, and the five elements.

As much of Chinese culture and philosophy is broken down into Yin and Yang, so too is Chinese food. Foods are classified as being yin or yang, depending on whether or they heat or cool the body. Yin foods have a cooling effect on the body while yang foods have a warming effect. People need different types of food at different times and when they consume too much of one type or another, they develop imbalances and, subsequently, illnesses.

At yet another level, the Chinese view the universe as made up of five principal elements: Fire, Earth, Metal, Water, and Wood. Each of these elements influences the other, and every living thing falls under one element. Foods can also be categorized as being “Earth” foods or “Metal” foods, etc… We need a combination of all these and, when we consume too much or too little of one type of food, we create imbalance. These elements also correspond to parts of our body, therefore, excess or deficiency of certain foods can weaken the corresponding organs.

Traditional Chinese cuisine views food as a key to maintaining health and vitality. Foods can help us achieve a state of balance and increase our qi (life-force). Therefore, to maintain a state of balance, it is important to eat a varied diet, rich in whole, seasonal foods.

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Quote of the Month

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“Make happy those who are near, and those who are far will come.”

—Chinese Proverb

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Upcoming Events Headline

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11 Jan 2012

Healthy Eating 101


18 Jan 2012

Healthy Snacks for You and Your Kids

Hands-on Cooking Class

1 Feb 2012

Digestion and
Your Health


Did you know that since the 1970s, the obesity rate in the U.S. has soared among adults and children, and that the majority of us… Read More

Time: 10 am–12 pm
Fee: $35/person, limit 8 people.
Click here to RSVP

The New Year is here and it’s time to turn over a new leaf! Join me for a hands-on cooking class where you’ll learn how to make some… Read More

Time: 10 am–1 pm
Fee: $75/person.
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Join me for a guided tour of our fascinating gastrointestinal system, where 80% of our immune system resides, and learn why… Read More

Time: 10 am–12 pm
Fee: $35/person.
Click here to RSVP

All events are located in Singapore unless otherwise noted. For more information
and a complete listing of upcoming events, visit

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I am the mother of four daughters and a Certified Health Counselor, as well as a passionate advocate of organic and local food and a healthy lifestyle. I decided to become a health counselor to fulfill my passion of working with children and parents to improve their health and family life. Learn more about me at

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In this issue:

Yin and Yang

A very general breakdown of Yin, Yang and neutral foods is as follows:

Yin Foods
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Seafood
Yang Foods
  • Beef
  • Lamb
  • Eggs
Neutral Foods
  • Rice
  • Noodles
  • Whole Grain

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for more recipes

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