Avoid Winter Juicing!

Like most people, I tend to pick and choose the advice I take, according to what I feel like doing. As an acupuncturist, I know that there are certain ways I need to eat in order to feel my best. It isn't just what you eat; it's how you eat, as well. Digestion is most efficient when we are present, slowing down, chewing slowly, allowing our bodies to enjoy what we are taking in. In this medicine, we also feel it is best to avoid certain foods in certain seasons. In this frigid weather, warm foods are indicated. Cold, wet foods: salads, juice, dairy...all of these add excess cold into the system. When we add this cold into our bodies, all sorts of unpleasant effects can occur, such as sensations of cold and fatigue, loose stools, and excess phlegm. The dampness and chill of the foods we eat settles into the body, leading to all of these symptoms of cold and excess dampness within.

I know all this, but I'm stubborn. I created a fantastic cleanse last year, and I always feel wonderful when I do it for a few days. I decided to cleanse again this week. So I took my trip to Whole Foods and spent $1700.00 for a week's worth of fresh cold-pressed veggie juices, avocado, banana, and kombucha with chia.

Now, I have done this cleanse numerous times, but never when it was 20 degrees outside. I know better, and it isn't a good idea. I started off with a glass of fresh juice and half an avocado, and headed to the gym. All good. Lunch was more juice and a banana...still, all was well.

On my way to work, however, I began to notice a mild headache brewing. It was dull pressure, and I tried to ignore it, but by the time I got to the office it felt like my head weighed 1,000 pounds. After a few hours, my entire face felt full and painful, as if I was getting a sinus infection. I was EXHAUSTED. Just walking across the room seemed like such an effort, and to top it all off I could not get warm. The office was 72 degrees but I couldn't stop shaking, and my hands were like ice.

I was sure I had just come down with a very sudden, unexpected cold...but then I looked at the juice on my desk and wondered. I knew that every single thing I had eaten or drank over the course of the day was contraindicated in this weather, but could my poor choices really affect me that quickly and dramatically? I still had my doubts.

So when I went home last night, I had a boiling hot bowl of chicken broth with cayenne pepper. Within minutes, that feeling of deep cold dissipated; my headache faded away, and my sinus cleared up completely. Wow.

Let my thickheadedness be a lesson to you all: avoid juice cleanses during the cold weather. And if you do begin to experience any of these symptoms I have listed: the fatigue, heavy head, freezing sensations, or sinus issues...take a look at your diet. Are you eating lots of cold foods? Is it possible to add some warmth into your diet? It really can make a huge difference, and quickly!