Food for Thought

By Alice Inoue Posted in: Go Ask AliceImprove

In our homes, refrigerators are centers of nourishment. Here are some ideas to consider for achieving balance in the fridge — and your household

QUESTION OF THE WEEK: I know that feng shui applies to the environment, but is there such a thing as “refrigerator feng shui.” Our refrigerator definitely has “bad feng shui,” and I think I need some advice.

The refrigerator is a big part of feng shui. The energy of the food you eat becomes the energy your body uses as fuel, and if your food is stored in an “unhappy,” chaotic environment and you put it in your body, well … you get the idea!

In the same way I’ve heard my favorite chef say, “Happy cooks makes happy food,” I will add to that by saying, “Happy refrigerators store happy food.” Below are some “refrigerator feng shui” guidelines you can follow.

The yin and yang of the kitchen

Feng shui is based on yin and yang, representing the two opposite principles in nature, a fundamental concept in traditional Chinese medicine. Yin is feminine energy, and yang is masculine energy. An example of yin and yang energy is the moon (feminine) and the sun (masculine).

In the kitchen, we can look at the two main appliances — the refrigerator and the stove — as being either “yin” or “yang,” or feminine or masculine.

In feng shui, the refrigerator is considered the feminine element in the home. It represents nurturing, the traditional role of the female. We ask the refrigerator to “hug,” hold and sustain our food, trusting it to provide us with nourishment.

Refrigerator symbolism

A cluttered refrigerator symbolizes inefficient use of your energy where nurturing yourself and others is concerned. You may find that your focus is so tied up in other people’s problems, wants and needs that you lack the time to do the things for yourself.

On the other hand, a refrigerator with nothing in it symbolizes a lack of energy and abundance, and can relate to diminished opportunities to grow or a love life that is lacking in some way.

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Respect for the refrigerator

Keep the refrigerator in the best possible shape to maintain feminine balance in the home. The following is a simple method to clear and organize your refrigerator.

• Step one: Empty it out. Take everything out of your refrigerator.

• Step two: Sort it out. On your kitchen counter, sort everything into the following categories: drinks; dressings, sauces, condiments and miso; eggs and butter; dairy, such as yogurt, milk and cottage cheese; fruits; vegetables; meats; lunch meats and cheese; and leftovers.

• Step three: Toss it out. Toss out anything that is expired, old or stale. When you are unsure of whether or not to keep it, the rule is, “If you wouldn’t eat it today, it is time to throw it away.” Remember, stale food equals stale energy in your life.

• Step four: Clean it up. Using warm soapy water, clean the shelves, walls, bins and doors, and include the outside and the handles too.

• Step five: Put it away. Put everything back in your refrigerator using the following concepts as a guide.

The warmer door is good for condiments. Since the refrigerator door is exposed to warm air the most, store items there that do not spoil quickly in warm air, such as some condiments, sauces and dressings. You can also store those items on the top shelf.

Store items that are used less and have a longer shelf life in the back corner of a designated shelf.

It’s coldest above the crisper. Assuming you will eat them that day or the next at the latest, store your meats where it is coldest, usually on the bottom shelf, otherwise they should be stored in the freezer.

Group like items together. This will help your family find things quickly, cutting down on energy-wasting “open door” time.

Put things in their “right” place. Your refrigerator is made to store certain items in certain places. Use the crisper for vegetables, and put cheese and lunchmeats in the bin designated for those items.

Designate one shelf for leftovers to minimizes the possibility of wasted food.

Finally, before you go grocery shopping, clean out your refrigerator regularly. Get rid of older leftovers, put things back in their proper places, and do a general wipe down.

These habits will allow you to keep your refrigerator organized and feel good when you have a place to put everything. Create a happy refrigerator so you can enjoy happy food.

Alice Inoue is a life guide at Alice Inoue Life Guidance LLC. Visit www.aliceinspired.com for more information.