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Creating Perfect-ease

by William Klenk

Disease or dis-ease is an unnatural and unwanted condition many people experience. It occurs when we are lacking a free and even flow of energy in the body. This imbalance can be caused by psychological or physical stress. I would like to address the physical stress created by the consumption of inappropriate food.

Understanding the opposite and complementary energies of yin and yang will enable you to make better food choices. This ancient Chinese yin yang theory is used today to achieve an elevated ease-state by minimizing extreme yin and yang foods and cooking styles. Basically, yin energy or force is expansive and yang is contractive.

The following chart is a generalization intended to give you a quick orientation of yin and yang foods and the relativity between them. Each category could be broken down further. For example, among root vegetables, burdock is very yang, carrots are yang, parsnips are a little less yang then carrots and daikon radish is relatively yin compared to them.






hard/dry baked flour products

traditional sourdough bread

grains beans

whole grain noodles

brown rice white rice

white noodles

root vegetables

sea vegetables

round vegetables

leafy vegetables

night shades

unrefined sea salt

table salt miso


grain sweeteners

northern fruit

maple syrup

spices white sugar

tropical fruit drugs

vegetable oil honey

artificial sweeteners


chestnuts nuts

tropical nuts chocolate

twig tea

roasted barley tea

beer wine

herbal tea

hard alcohol


eggs hard cheese

chicken red meat

white fish

red meat fish

soft cheese

butter milk

ice cream



grilling roasting

oil sauté frying

pressure cooking

steaming soups

water sauté boiling

blanching raw


· These items should be avoided for optimal health

· Best if minimized or used occasionally

A good analogy to exemplify this concept is to think of a see-saw. In elementary school I quickly realized that my friend and I could balance (make horizontal) the seesaw if the heavier person moved closer to the middle (fulcrum) and the lighter person moved further out. Years later I learned this was Archimedes’ Law of the Lever. Accordingly very yin or very yang foods are placed on the ends of the seesaw and have a greater effect on balance. The other categories have less effect on balance because they would be placed closer to the middle of the seesaw. So, the “weight” of the extreme foods has a greater impact on our balance or ease and should be minimized or used in small amounts.

We don’t stay in perfect horizontal balance but swing back and forth. The goal is to keep the swings within a comfortable range avoiding the painful big swings (when the seesaw hits the ground). For example, if one was to eat eggs on a regular basis our condition may become too yang. Our natural response or craving would be to counter-balance our condition by eating extremely yin foods potentially creating big yin/yang swings or a state of dis-ease.

Having a good understanding of the alchemic powers of cooking one can manipulate yin and yang, steering yourself toward your desired ease state. The last row in the chart shows the energetic relationship between the different cooking styles. It is always helpful to know your constitution and condition in terms of yin and yang so you can decipher what direction you need to go in.

The problem is that everyone tends to perpetuate their overall condition unconsciously. Yang people love yang food and yang activity. Yin people love yin food and yin activity. When we understand yin and yang and our condition we start to become conscious of our choices and the outcome. In essence I am referring to the law of cause and effect. Causality exists whether you are conscious or unconscious of your choices and the outcome they produce.

It is empowering to understand the consequences of your food choices in order to create that perfect-ease state. For example you may often order a salad when you eat out without understanding its energetic effect. You may order it because you think it is the healthiest thing on the menu but its effect is to disperse your energy and internal heat which is OK if you are feeling too yang (tight and contracted) or if it is a hot summer day. However, if you are feeling cold and it is fall or winter it might be a bad choice. Fall and winter is a time to gather energy and eat well-cooked warming foods.

Prefect-ease is a state in which we are comfortable in our bodies and have no pain, no anxiety or panic. We don’t need drugs to control pain or anxiety. It is a state in which we have lots of energy, sleep well and wake quickly and totally refreshed with our mind clear and sharp. Perfect-ease is having strength and endurance yet being relaxed and calm. When our body/mind is in equilibrium and the seesaw moves moderately up and down but never touches the ground we are experiencing perfect-ease.

William Klenk is a graduate of the Kushi Institute in Becket, MA and has been a macrobiotic cook and teacher for over 27 years. He lives in Stockbridge, MA and gives cooking classes for individuals and groups, shiatsu massage, life style consultations and ginger compresses. In addition, he teaches Introduction to Nine Star Ki, Five Energy Transformations, Understanding Yin and Yang, The Energetic Qualities In Food (The Doctrine of Signatures), and Oriental Diagnosis. He can be reached at 617-620-0968 (cell) or email him at wfk858@hotmail.com His web-page can be found at http://www.9starki.com/will.htm

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