Holistic Health and Food: Staying Cool by Josh
May 3, 2012 by The Dove
Note: I am not a licensed acupuncturist, herbalist, or medical health professional. This is advice from personal experience, knowledge, and research.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, foods and beverages have inherent thermal properties—either cooling or warming. This can be invaluable knowledge in . As someone who struggled for a long time with unrelenting heat, TCM really changed my quality of life. I can wear layers of clothes now. I can sit in a heated room, and not have to leave as often to cool down. I can drink hot beverages. Most importantly, I know what food and beverage choices to make in the moment to address my temperature.
Here are some quick and dirty guidelines of what to avoid while trying to stay cool:
-Overly processed, “fast” foods, will most always be heating. Of course, there are many other reasons why I would seriously advise against eating these foods, but if you’re trying to stay cool, especially stay away from these foods. This also includes processed sugars, such as candy bars and soda.
-Coffee—very warming. If you want a little boost in the morning, try green tea instead. It’s actually cooling. You can make a green tea latte by brewing two teabags, adding some raw agave nectar or raw honey to sweeten, then a milk alternative like almond, coconut, or rice milk.
-Alcohol—probably the most warming thing you can put in your body. Advertisements have cemented the “cold beer on a hot day” image in our head, but if you’re trying to stay cool, it is the last thing you want to drink.
-Cigarettes—you’re basically inhaling fire. This should be a given.
-Any spices or hot peppers, garlic, onion, mustard but especially ginger. Ginger is seriously warming.
-Red meat and Lamb—go for tofu, fish, or chicken instead.
I’ve just told you what to avoid, now here’s a quick breakdown of foods and drinks that will help cool you down:
-Herbal Tea—even if it’s hot! Peppermint and Dandelion are the most cooling. For a super-cooling tonic, I like making Peppermint-Dandelion iced tea: double the amount of teabags per cup, and steep for at least 20 minutes. Then add plenty of ice, a little raw agave to sweeten, and a little coconut milk.
-Coconut—anything coconut-related is very cooling, unsweetened (this is important) coconut water, milk, or meat. Get a whole coconut, crack it open, drink the water, and eat the meat.
-Greens and Vegetables—most are cooling, and most effectively when eaten raw or lightly steamed. For greens, go for: kale, spinach, chard, and seaweed (but not mustard greens). For vegetables: cucumber, celery, lettuce, cabbage, asparagus, and broccoli. Always choose organic, when possible.
-Fruit—Bananas are one of the most cooling things you can eat. Uncooked avocados are great, and will also help if you’re feeling dried-out. Apples are a great choice as well.
-Grains—especially whole wheat, barley, and millet. Cook up a mixed grain bowl with steamed veggies and tofu.
Just to clarify, these are only guidelines. I’m not saying that you have to give up your favorite foods, beverages, and spices completely. I want you to enjoy your favorite things. Hopefully, this blog has given you a better understanding of how to use food and drink to regulate your body temperature and stay comfortable. I urge you to approach those daily decisions with a mindfulness of your body and how what you eat and drink will affect you.
Lastly, if you’re cold—have some warming food or drink! Eat or drink ginger, use plenty of spices.