Along with the principle
of “yin” and “yang”, a holistic philosophy of maintaining
balance in life, the Chinese patient may consider food as
having hot “yang” or cold “yin” properties. This has no relationship
to the actual temperature of the food. They may prefer “hot”
food to “cold” food like salad when having a cold “yin” illness.
Cooking methods may include stir-frying, barbecuing, deep-frying,
boiling, and steaming. Ginger, garlic and soy sauce are used
in cooking. Rice is the most important food and may be eaten
at every meal, including a porridge at breakfast. Noodles
are also eaten. Pork is the preferred meat; soy bean curd
(tofu) may be used in place of meat. Calcium is obtained through
calcium-enriched soy milk and tofu, and small fish (bones
eaten). Vegetables (mostly cooked) and fruits make up a large
part of their food intake. Iced tea or ice water may not be
accepted; the patient may prefer hot tea, or hot boiled water.
The patient may not be aware that sodium is in many Chinese
sauces and condiments. Other sources of sodium may be in salted
fish or preserved meats, and salted vegetables. Milk, butter
and cheese are not generally used due to lactose intolerance.
There may be also a misconception that being “fat” is better
than being thin. Thinness may be associated with poor health.