Chaga: Reversing the Modern Condition

Reversing the Modern Condition:

The modern person typically is defined by one or more of these qualities: Uneasy, anxious, with an abundance of energy that is only available on the surface; often lacking deeper energy. The mind of the modern person is erratic, unstable, and does not tend toward introspection. Physically, the modern person has joint problems, muscle weakness, and bone frailty. All of these conditions point to a deeper phenomenon which Traditional Chinese Medicine calls “Deficient Yin”. If you’re experiencing one or a combination of these symptoms, you are likely experiencing a yin deficiency. Be encouraged though because the short-term fix is easy (add Chaga into your diet), and the long-term fix will be made clear by the conclusion of this reading!

The yin principle can be described as serene, soft, complacent, introspective, restorative, nourishing, feeling, and is indicative of depth/meaning.

The yang principle can be described as outgoing, strong, focused, aggressive, urgent, heat, thought, and is indicative of surface/action.

It’s clear that one should strive for a balance of the Yin/Yang (Otherwise known as Tao, or “The Way”). We need the deep, nourishing, wisdom-containing yin energy to be present as our foundation just as much as we need the outgoing, focused, active expression, of yang energy to express this foundation within us. While there are many variations of imbalance that can arise (Excess Yang, Excess Yin, Deficient Yang, Deficient Yin, Excess, Deficiency) we will focus on the condition that affects the modern person most commonly, “deficient yin”.

What happens when we have deficient yin? Not only does yang becomes our dominating principal, but we lack the yin energy that inspires depth and meaning in our mind. This leads us to erratic, meaningless, and anxious expression, keeping us on the surface feeling an uncomfortable desire for something more. That uncomfortable, persistent desire for something undefinable, is your call for a balance for blissful yin energy. A deficiency in yin also leads to improper nourishment of the body’s more sensitive “yin tissues”, such as the joints, deeper stabilization muscles, and the blood. Without proper yin balance, these tissues are subject to excessive heat from the yang energy, causing inflammation and degeneration, resulting in, most commonly, joint pain/degeneration, loss of balance, loss of strength, and lack of energy. Unfortunately, this is our common condition. However, balance can always be restored!

Restoring yin for the modern person is as easy as adding yin nourishing foods to the body. One of the best yin nourishing tonics is…you guessed it, Chaga! We like including this one first because it’s fairly easy to begin implementing and seeing real change in the body/mind as a result. However, once one feels the effect of this simple change, often times a new awareness begins within themselves. An encouraging wondering thought/feeling occurs, “I wonder what other changes I could make to feel a greater sense of well-being”. If this sounds like you, here are a few more considerations to play with incorporating to your lifestyle.

  • Reduce the amount of coffee and alcohol in the diet
  • Begin swapping a percentage of animal meat, dairy, and eggs, for vegetables, fruits, and grains
  • Practice yin activities such as listening and the cultivation of less aggressive attitudes
  • Add small amounts of organic almonds, sesame seeds, and sunflower seeds as they nourish the lungs (breath being important in the production of yin energy)
  • Use the cooking methods: Steaming, Simmering, and incorporate Raw foods
  • Avoid the cooking methods: Baking, Deep-Frying, and Pressure Cooking
  • Replace enriched/refined foods for Whole Foods such as Fruits, Vegetables, Legumes, Grains, Herbs, and “Superfoods”

Some indications here may be more accessible than others. It helps to go in with the attitude of “I’m going to experiment with this for X amount of days to see how it makes me feel”. Often times this attitude leads to the right change being made for the individual.

Lastly, included is a list of Yin nourishing foods to experiment with in your diet, taken from the text “Healing With Whole Foods” by Paul Pritchford.



Legumes & Grains

Other Products








All Citrus





Button Mushroom


Swiss Chard



Summer Squash


Bok Choy



Sweet Corn


Soy Milk

Soy Sprouts



Mung Beans

Mung Bean Sprouts

Alfalfa Sprouts






Kelp & other seaweeds


Wheat Grass

Barley Grass


Dandelion Greens

Dandelion Root



Red Clover

Lemon Balm