Exercise and Food Therapy
You know that when something becomes a habit, it takes very little effort to maintain it. So how are your health habits looking?
Now that the festive season is over and kids are back in school most people breathe a sigh of relief and settle back into a routine. This is also a good time to dust off your New Year’s resolutions about exercise and diet and turn them into long-term habits.
It doesn’t take much effort to brush your teeth because you have turned it into a habit. That is what you need to do with your eating and exercise as well. You might start by preparing your meals a few times each week. You’ll notice the difference in how you feel, and that will encourage you to do it more often.
The hot weather in February makes it easier to eat cooling foods like green mung beans, watermelon, cucumber and such because your body naturally craves those foods, so this is a great time to turn those natural cravings into the basis of a long-term habit. It is also a great time to swap out sugary sodas, milky drinks, caffeine and alcohol for mint or green tea, and water, or water with mint and lemon.
If you make the change now, while the weather supports your choice, you’ll find it easier to keep up when the weather changes. Even though your body’s needs will also change you’ll be in the habit of eating mindfully and you will have cut out some of the most addictive substances from your lifestyle.
You might even enjoy them more, when things like coffee, sugar, and alcohol are treats rather than everyday necessities.
Many people find themselves feeling hot, heavy, lethargic and generally ‘blah’ in the summer heat, and they attribute that to the simple fact that the weather is hot.
The truth is, those feelings aren’t a result of the heat, but a response to it by a body that is not functioning at its best. We’ve talked about the causes in the Coping with Summer Heat article, now let’s look at some cases and cures.
Aaron usually finds the summer (and hot rooms) very draining. He’s always thought this was because he was a naturally ‘warm’ person. When he came to see us last summer he was lethargic and low-spirited and complained that it didn’t matter how much water he drank, he always felt that way. We identified blockages in his liver and lungs and we’ve been treating these with Chinese herbs and acupuncture, as well as adjusting his diet and making sure he gets enough sleep and exercise. This year he’s feeling much better, and he no longer feels exhausted and nauseated in crowded rooms.
Sarah came to see us after several days at the beach. She didn’t have ‘sunstroke’, but the exposure had thrown her stressed system out of balance. Water helped, but examination revealed that her liver and lungs were also blocked. Just a couple of treatments sorted her out and now she feels more energetic than she has for years!
Did you know that ‘summer heat’ is not just about the weather?
Your internal sensation of heat has only a little to do with the temperature; it’s an internal manifestation of imbalance.
You probably have experienced the sticky, muggy, groggy feeling of heat. You feel heavy, and if you walk into a warm room and it’s just too much! Sometimes this internal heat builds up gradually, at other times it can be acute – like when you suffer from sunstroke – either way, it’s no fun!
“Sugar & alcohol build heat in your system, especially if you don’t consume enough water and cooling foods or get enough sleep!”
These sensations occur when your digestive, lung and liver systems are blocked so your natural cooling systems aren’t working properly. Many people try drinking lots of water when they feel this heat but that can exacerbate the problem in the same way that pouring water down a blocked drain just flushes more residue into the blockage.
It’s really important to give your body time to clear the blockages slowly and retrain all your systems to regulate themselves. They will clear, but you need to take responsibility for the process to speed up healing.
Acupuncture and Chinese herbs certainly are important, but dietary therapy, lifestyle, sleep, and appropriate exercise are also essential in making sure the blockage does not recur.