In Taiwan, anything from PMS to weight gain to acne is remedied by forbidding the consumption of cold foods and drinks. Wait - drinking ice water could be the reason you are gaining weight and breaking out? 😩 Actually, according to Traditional Chinese Medicine, yes! Let’s see why -
What health problems can I alleviate by avoiding cold foods and drinks?
- Lessen PMS symptoms
- Speed up your metabolism and help weight loss
- Decrease skin allergies and inflammation (eczema, acne)
- Lessen frequency of headaches
- Help with high blood pressure
- Help alleviate asthma
Chinese Medicine view on avoiding cold foods and drinks
The reasoning against consuming cold things is strongly grounded in a fundamental concept of Chinese Medicine - that taking in cold energy in the form of food and drinks will slow down the flow of internal life force energy we have, or Qi. Our bodies need to expend precious Qi to warm up cold food and drinks to our internal body temperature. This disrupts the flow of Qi in our body and can lead to a variety of health problems.
For example, when you don’t get enough Qi to your womb/uterus, your next period will be painful because your body is struggling to find the energy, or Qi, to push your blood out. Or if you are struggling with acne - the Qi wasted on processing cold foods could have been used in repairing and healing your skin.
Note - it’s a popular belief that drinking ice water helps with weight loss. The body does indeed expend a few more calories warming up the water. However, it could actually be sabotaging your goals because it will dampen the flow of the Qi in your body and bring your overall metabolism down.
How to make sure you avoid cold foods and drinks
- Ice water is a huge no-no. Make sure you drink room temperature water!
- Lessen intake of ice cream and froyo, especially in the winter when our Qi is used mostly to warm our bodies up!
- Swap out ice cubes in your homemade health shakes and smoothies with a liquid like water, almond milk, etc.
- Instead of an iced coffee, ask the barista to drop a few ice cubes in their hot drip coffee for a more moderate temperature drink.
- If you get a bottled drink from the cooler at the store, let it sit in the room for a while to warm up before you drink.
- If you really can’t give up your froyo or iced coffee habit, drink ginger tea regularly - ginger is considered a powerful herb to ‘remove’ the pathogenic (bad) cold energy in your body
My experience with avoiding cold foods and drinks
When I first came to Asia, I wasn’t used to the tropical summers at all! I always looked to an iced fresh coconut juice or cold bottle of water to save me. However, my PMS symptoms got noticeably worse pretty quickly, and I started breaking out more. My mom had always told me to stay away from cold beverages to avoid cramps. I had never had bad cramps before so I never paid her any mind. But now I was suffering! And I wasn’t keen on taking pain killers. So I decided to give her advice a try. It helped so much! I was a believer from then on.
I know these concepts are a little hard to wrap your head around, so let me know if you have any questions! Here’s to your health 😊❤️