You’re feeling so hot that you couldn’t imagine eating a big meal so for breakfast you go to your local juice shop and get in that green juice (so healthy, am I right?). You’re wearing shorts, a t-shirt and thongs to work. You get into the office and the air con is blasting so now you’re cold. Lunch time comes around and you want to go sit in the sun and defrost. When you walk outside you’re hit with that hot humid air so you order a salad for lunch. Back into the cold office, your stomach starts to hurt, you find yourself having loose stools.
Why does this always happen when you eat “healthy”?
Driving home you pop that aircon back on in the car knowing you don’t have great aircon at home. Your night is spent tossing and turning uncomfortably from the heat and sipping on ice water. The next morning you wake feeling like you have the flu! What the ?
It’s the middle of summer how is this possible? Sound familiar?
In clinic, you’ll often hear your practitioner talking about “Wind, Cold and Damp invasion”. Climate changes often result in an invasion of external pathogens, these pathogens can enter your body and combine with or turn into heat. Often people will fall sick or notice symptoms with the change of season. The particular pattern above is a cold invasion during summer.
It’s confusing because the season is summer and you’re constantly feeling hot BUT your environments are often air conned, the food you’re putting in your body is cold in nature and raw making the stomach and spleen have to work over time to break them down, coupled with the fact you’re guzzling down iced beverages to help cool you down. It doesn’t help if you’re a Melbourne resident experiencing that famous “4 seasons in one day”.
As unlikely as it may seem, a cold invasion is common complaint during summer.
It’s funny to think Summer time is when we see a lot of cold invasions. Those cold environments and dietary choices can show up immediately on those who are immunodeficient (lacking Wei Qi) but more often or not they become precursors for winter.
But how can we avoid this? Believe it or not your diet and lifestyle can hugely put these invasions at bay.
Foods to avoid:
Raw fruits, raw vegetables and cold drinks.
This seems counterintuitive with the advice we often hear from the western perspective as these foods contain vital vitamins and minerals. However, it is just the fact they’re raw that is the issue not the food themselves. Cooking these changes their nature. Try stewing, steaming or boiling. Avoid ice at all costs. Alcohol is warm in nature so best to avoid. Any foods processed, fried or in high sugar content.
For those who simply couldn’t imagine making these changes cold turkey there are some tips to ease into it. If you are going to eat for example salads make sure they aren’t straight from the fridge give them time to come back to room temperature. Follow all cold foods with warming foods/drinks. Such as a tea or soup or add warm/hot spices.
Best foods during summer:
Remember the stomach can be likened to a soup. Warm meals consisting of similar consistency are those most nourishing and gentle on the stomach. Warm drinks help to cool the body. Teas, coffees or even warm water.
Chrysanthemum tea is a favourite in the clinic on hot days, because even though it’s a warm liquid it has cooling properties to clear the heat and disperse wind. Other great cooling teas include, green tea, dandelion root, elderflower, lemon balm and peppermint to name a few.
If you know you’re going into a cold or air conned environment make sure to dress accordingly. A simple scarf around the neck will help dramatically as this is often a weak spot that pathogens use to invade. Avoid drafts/windy areas. Sleep with a very light blanket or sheet, this acts as a barrier against invasion.
Of course there are many other factors that can contribute to your resistance against seasonal change. The way you’ve treated your body in the past season, eating habits, drugs, emotions and overwork and your hereditary disposition can all weaken your ability to ward off illness and bounce back. However making these easy dietary and lifestyle changes during summer will help prevent illness during the winter.