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Staying in balance this holiday season can be a problem for the healthiest people. Workouts get skipped to attend after work parties. Pounds are gained due to chocolates and party platters left in the staffroom. Alcohol consumption increases with every invite that pours in.  Digestion, sleep and physical wellbeing can all take a turn for the worse if we don’t care for ourselves and pay attention to what we are eating and drinking.

You Are What You Eat and Drink

Food and beverages contain energy – that’s why we consume them. They power our bodies and help us stay hydrated. In Chinese medicine food is classified as either hot or cold. When cold foods are eaten, the energy and fluids of the body are directed inward and lower so that the exterior and upper portions of the body cool first. Think of how you feel after you drink a cold smoothie for breakfast – your body temperature plummets and you likely have the chills.

Warm foods push the deep energy and blood up and out to the surface of the body. Hot spicy foods can cause your face to turn red and break out into a sweat. Alcohol warms the body in the same way. How food is cooked – like roasting, barbequing, deep-frying also adds heat. So what does all this have to do with the holiday season and staying in balance?

If you’re a person who already runs on the hot side:

  • You wear shorts in the winter
  • You prefer to drink icy cold water
  • You always complain of being too hot especially in the summer
  • Your face is red and your tongue is even redder

Then you are definitely a person with a hot constitution.

Consuming tons of Swedish meatballs, scarfing back caramel chocolates, chicken wings and wine is going to put a lot of heat into your already hot body. When this happens you can expect to have vivid, scary dreams, restless sleeps and wakeup feeling worse than when you went to bed. Quite simply, heat rises and disturbs the mind. You should avoid red meat and opt of the shrimp and crab cakes, sushi over pastries.

Conversely, if you run on the cool side you might want to avoid the sushi platters veggies trays and fruit kabobs. These cold raw foods may lead to some stomach upset (bloating and diarrhea) because of your already cold constitution.

How do you know if you run on the cool side?

  • You wear sweaters in the summertime
  • Your hands and feet are always cold
  • You love warm beverages
  • You’re pale

You may want to have a glass of wine or a gingersnap it will help warm you up.

You can use the following chart to help guide your food and beverage choices this holiday season.

Hot Drinks & Food                                                                         Cold Drinks & Food

Alcohol – gin, scotch, rum Green Tea/Matcha
Pop – coke, ginger ale, coffee, hot chocolate Perrier/ Club Soda
Red meat   – meat balls, sausages Sushi, shrimp, clams, crab, oysters
Deep fried foods – potato chips, Tofu/Soy– vegetable trays, bitter greens
Cakes, cookies, chocolates, sugar Fruit Platter, jello,
Cinnamon, ginger, cloves, cardamom, black peppercorns Peppermint, cilantro, dandelion, white peppercorns

If you wake up and find your digestion is completely out of wack, give your gut a rest and opt for soups – easy to digest and ginger tea. It helps settle the most upset stomachs.

In good health,

Julie