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The Balancing Act

The Balancing Act

The Balancing Act

Our bodies are acting at all times to achieve balance – homeostasis. And whether we consciously realize it or not, we are also on a constant quest to achieve this balance (homeostasis) in our lives. To help, we will use foods that are relatively expansive or contractive.

“Contractive” means what the word implies: drawing in or constricting. Great examples can be found throughout nature in the turning of the seasons. Fall is a contractive time when flowers, trees, and animals (including humans) “pull in” for the winter. Foods become heavier and warmer (more cooked and less raw). In general, acidifying foods such as meat and dairy are contractive.

“Expansive” means just that: opening out. Spring is expansive, as everything in nature “opens out.” Even people come out of their houses into the open air. Our clothes become lighter, and so does our food! In general, alkalizing foods – fruits and vegetables – are expansive foods that promote a loose, laid-back outlook. Indeed, there are a few foods which are neither highly expansive nor highly contractive. Those foods are considered close to “neutral,” and they put the least amount of stress on the body because there is not so much of a balancing act needed.

Have you ever noticed how you sometimes crave something sweet after a meal? The “sweet tooth” you feel will be less with a vegetable meal than with a protein meal, and the greater the protein content, the greater the contractive properties. Add salt, and you increase the contractive properties even more. The expansive qualities of sugar help to offset the contractive properties of protein.

Because your body’s passion is balance, so it will achieve that level of balance, even if the foods you eat are either mostly contractive or expansive. Those balancing results may show up in your personality. A predominantly contractive personality expresses itself through quick temper, explosiveness, or aggression. If not outright physical aggression, it may be masked as constant nervousness, physical over-activity, or verbal over-activity. Contractive personalities are always busy, always over-scheduled, often flying off the handle. These are the “foot tappers.” 
A predominantly expansive personality is casual, laid-back, unable to concentrate, not “grounded,” and minimally motivated. Despite their “laid-backness” and expansive personalities, people tend to be worriers. They don’t fidget. Some overzealous vegetarians can become so expansive they appear to be on “cloud nine” – barely in touch with reality.

We typically don’t limit our diets exclusively to only contractive or only expansive foods. Most meals contain some of both. Consequently, most of us don’t exhibit the dramatic personality types of extreme aggression or extreme “spaciness.”  An imbalance of highly contractive or highly expansive foods means a highly stressed body. It’s not that vegetables and nuts are the answer to all of life’s problems. However, giving your body vegetables is essential to provide it with the nutrients it needs to keep your internal environment a neat place for your cells to live. And you need to balance that intake with slightly contractive selections in order to allow your body balance and, thus, the least amount of stress.