Below this introduction to the flavors, Sharla Chao-Zi Cooper welcomes us into the midst of the upsurges of spring by using the metaphorical and empirical science of traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). TCM sees spring and summer as Yang seasons signified by increasing light, warmth, and growth, with the overall energetic directional flow being upward and outward (expansive). [For a more complete explanation of the flavors in the context of Chinese medicine, please refer to my book, Healing with Whole Foods: Asian Traditions and Modern Nutrition.]
Furthermore, the ancient Chinese felt that in order to achieve the best health attributes, one creates and mirrors the current season internally. One way to create internal spring and summer is by eating foods of appropriate flavors that create those seasonal energetics within us. For example, the rising expanding Yang flavors are sweet and pungent. So, making sure these are amply represented, starting in the early spring diet, is thought to be a prudent health choice. As spring turns into the torrid heat of summer, then one wisely adds the most Yang, fiery flavors, such as hot peppers.
So what are the sweet flavors? Most staple foods in planetary diets are considered sweet.