One of the challenges of preparing bento for myself is that my appetite and the kinds of food I feel like eating depend on the yin/yang levels of my body at the time of the meal.
The first lesson I learnt about imbalance in my bento was when I packed a lunch box that comprised just claypot chicken rice and okonomiyaki. Despite the high proportion of vegetables in the okonomiyaki, when I looked at the lunch, I just wished I had more fresh vegetables and fruit.
So the other day, I packed this lunch:
Can you spot the problem here? Even the friend I was lunching with noticed: too yin (or 凉 liang2, in Mandarin)! The lotus root was the thing that caught her eye, but there’s also the raw fruit and cold chicken sandwich.
Most days when I pack a bento, I’m rushing around with a million things to do – a pretty yang & stressed out state, so it’s no wonder I only feel like room temperature finger foods and raw fruit/fresh veg. So I packed this box on that basis, but I forgot to take into consideration the fact that:
a) it wasn’t a day when I had a million tasks to complete, but a leisurely get-together with a friend;
b) it’s monsoon season in Singapore now so the weather is cool, breezy and very rainy – so hot foods are more suitable. As this article on practising macrobiotics in the tropics reminds us, it’s all about balancing the overall yin/yang with respect to one’s constitution, environmental conditions and foods.
In the end, I didn’t finish the raw stuff and lotus root. The chicken sandwich wasn’t enough to fill me up and I had to go home soon after to tuck into some hot soup and cooked food!