Finally, I know how to explain “yeet hay” (熱氣) to my English friends!
For those of you who have not come across the term “yeet hay”, please read my previous article here on what is yeet hay and why it is difficult to explain:
For those of you who already know what yeet hay is and struggle to explain it to your western friends, or to even convince them that it exists, without talking about yinyang and Qi energy, here’s your answer – in western science, the equipment to yeet hay is “acidosis” and more generally is explained by talking about the difference between “acidic and alkaline foods”.
Acidic and alkaline – pH levels in the human body
You pH level is the measure of exactly how acidic or alkaline we are. A pH of 0 is completely acidic, and a pH of 14 completely alkaline. A pH of 7 is neutral. Human beings have a natural pH level of approximately 7.4. Our bodies are naturally slightly alkaline. Human blood stays in a very narrow pH range right around (7.35 – 7.45). An imbalance in your pH levels can lead to illness and health concerns.
Acidic v Alkaline Foods
Recent medical studies show that foods, once metabolised in our bodies will turn into either “acid ash” or “alkaline ash”. This is to say once we eat the food, it will either be “acidic” or “alkaline”. This is important as some “acidic” foods such as oranges will become alkaline once it is metabolised in our body. Acidic/Alkaline theorists believe that eating too much acidic/alkaline foods can effect the pH levels of our blood.
The pH level of most of the food in our modern everyday lives are “acidic” – meat, poultry, cheese, bread etc. There is no suggestion that eating too much meat will make you ill, but what this suggests is that over a long sustained period too much “acidic” foods will cause a pH imbalance in your body and make you unwell. Advocates of the Alkaline diets therefore recommend eating more Alkaline foods to “balance out” your diet and accordingly your pH levels.
Conversely, we should note that having too much alkaline foods will also cause a pH imbalance. However, for the majority of us, our normal diet is more likely to be acidic than alkaline. Therefore, having “extra” akaline food just serves as a “balance” and is a good thing for the majority of us.
So, what does this have to do with “yeet hay”?
Simply: Too much acidic foods = acidosis = “yeet hay”
Don’t believe me? Here are some of the symptoms of having an acid high diet – lack of energy, tendency to get infections, headaches, conjunctivitis, inflammation of the corneas and eyelids, mouth ulcers. cracks at the corners of the lips, recurring infections of throat and tonsils.
Sounds familiar? Yep, they are the same symptoms that the Chinese traditional associate with “yeet hay” (熱氣/火气大).
Also, as far as I can tell all traditionally “yeet hay” or “hot” foods are “acidic” – fried foods, pizza, burgers, essentially all junk food.
All “liáng” (涼) or “cooling” foods are alkaline – greens, carrots, beansprouts, pears, watermelon etc
The only difference is that rather than talking about a semi-mystical notion of balance of Qi energy, we talk about the pH balance of our blood levels.
So there you have it! Next time some asks you what is yeet hay, you know how to answer!