Summer Wellbeing: Avoid That Salad Daze
We talk about sages here in Chinese medicine because much of advice about good living comes from the accumulated wisdom of physicians who lived many centuries ago. Most of that wisdom revolves around the cycles of life and the cycles of the seasons.
You likely have heard about eating with the seasons. This is solid advice. Summer foods –vegetables and fruits – tend to be refreshing and full of water, perfect for hot, dry summer weather (and still pretty good for the hot humid summers we have in this area).
We Americans, of course, have the winning ticket to the food lottery. And since we can have food on demand, we tend to consume sizable and repeated quantities of iced tea, frappuccinos, frozen yogurt, fruits freezing cold right out of the fridge, ice cream, smoothies, frozen daiquiris... ah, the endless possibilities of things cold and sweet to counter the swelte!
Cold and sweet, as a food habit, is generally a bummer for your body. Here's why: It alters your internal "weather." Your natural internal state is meant to be comfortably warm.
All that cold stuff you like goes into the cooking pot called your stomach. Too much cold and the stomach says, forget it! and attempts to send it out – rising to your head to give you a headache.
Over the long term the habit of cold drinks and food may slow your digestive function such that you feel bloated and over-full after eating. As a result you eat lightly to avoid that heavy, post-business-lunch feeling that makes you long to lie down for a nap. Eating lightly usually means a salad – which is made of cold lettuce, cold tomatoes, cold chicken and, with luck, room temperature dressing.
at combo of cold and sweet will create a soggy internal environment.
Or the combo can create a cool internal environment that makes it hard to get pregnant, contributes to painful periods, and is the basis for a variety of miscellaneous digestive discomforts.
You don't have to give up your goodies. Just modify them:
- Drink beverages at room temperature
- Skip the ice in your smoothies. Better yet, have smoothies with no added sugar.
- Eat salads, fruits, vegetables at room temperature
- If you must have ice, use one or two cubes, not a full glass of it
- Ice cream is the kiss of death. Eat at your own risk. (Kidding, but not by a lot.)
- Fresh ginger can counter-act some of the effects of cold but in summer must be used moderately.
There's a maxim in Chinese medicine that all illness enters through the mouth. And another, from my teacher Dr. Shen, who insisted that all health is about proper lifestyle.
So in summer, avoid a salad daze. Have it at room temperature. Or skip all together.
If you've eased up on all that cold and sweet stuff, but your belly still bothers you, your head feels like it's in a bucket of water, or, ladies, you're dreading your next period, you clearly need extra help. Acupuncture can reset your system and clear out the unhappy effects of long-term, not-so-great food habits. Give me call or shoot me an email. You can have a summer you actually enjoy!