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Cold Drinks and Your Health

This post is a supplement to A Journey with ABET.

This article was written by Cory Croymans-Plaghki


Cold drinks and your health

According to the principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), taking cold drinks is the worst thing to do for your digestion and for your health. Why ?

  1. Because it will cool down your stomach and spleen (and pancreas) which are located just behind your stomach.

  2. What is the effect of cold on a warm body?

  3. What is your body temperature?

  4. And what is the temperature of ice or an ice-cold drink?

Let’s see what cold can or cannot do for your body.

  1. When stomach and spleen are cold, the blood vessels around these organs shrink and they do not get enough power to pre-digest your food and drinks.

This un-predigested food will proceed to the Small Intestine (SI), which has to work over-time, requiring more energy and making the food stay too long in the SI.

This putrified food mass will move too slowly to the Large Intestine (LI) where it will also stay too long.

This may lead to irritation of the intestinal lining and cause gas (wind), and result in asthma or LI lesions which may look like cancerous growths.

  1. In TCM [Traditional Chinese Medicine], the spleen(and Pancreas) are located behind your stomach and responsible for :

– making Blood and Insulin (to regulate your blood sugar)

– for extracting the nutrients from your food

– for transforming these nutrients into energy and for

– transporting this energy to your lungs, where it is mixed with the air you breathe, to become your Vital Life Force (VLF).

The lungs will send this VLF to your heart to be mixed with your blood and supply the necessary energy (+oxygen), to nourish and clean your organs, your skin, etc.  Whatever Vital Life Force is left over, is sent down to the kidneys to store as spare energy in your Kidney savings account.

If the Spleen cannot work well because you take cold drinks, or MSG loaded foods, or too much alcohol, sweets or raw food:

– you may feel tired, bloated (especially after eating) and have

– difficulty to concentrate and remember things   (especially short term)

– you may more easily feel depressed and anxious;

– you may have eye and sleeping problems and feel dead-tired when you wake up.

– You may notice undigested food in your stool or experience early morning (explosive) diarrheas, muscle strains and sprains and you may notice that small wounds do not heal well.

When the spleen is too weak to move the Qi and blood throughout the body, it can also not make enough Blood (together with the bone marrow) and you become anemic, get skin problems, chronic fatigue, anemia, menstrual disorders, infertility and more.

If your spleen cannot make enough energy, your body will borrow working energy from your Kidney savings account and when the capital in your savings account is getting lower, you may get an account deficit which results in Kidney problems which actually originated in the Spleen and your cold drinks. Usually, you will first notice pain in the joints (knees, shoulders, fingers, ankles), the lower back or muscles.

-If the Spleen cannot work well, this will affect your eyes which are the windows of your Liver where the Blood is stored.

-If your Spleen cannot work well, you may get Diabetes because together with the pancreas, it cannot make enough insulin to remove sugar from your blood.

-If your Spleen does not work well, this may result in Insomnia, waking up tired, confused thinking, lack of decision making, and experience muscle weakness.

-If you eat a lot of fried or deepfried food and take cold drinks, those oils will harden (coagulate) in your stomach and make food more difficult to digest before moving to the Small Intestine. They will therefore stay there too long and cause heat, lesions and gas.

-If you take meat and cold drinks, it gets even worse as meat takes more time to digest than vegetables and it will often be fried with oil which becomes hard and more difficult to process

-If you take sweetened cold drinks, the spleen and pancreas have to work over-time again to remove the extra sugar from your blood even though the spleen is already weakened by the cold drinks you took.

-If on top of all that, you take soda-based sweetened cold drinks, they contain diuretics (deplete your body fluids) and often caffeine (like airplane fuel for your own little diesel engine). This is where those “highs” come from…

-If you take ice-cold alcohol (like beer or wine), this will heat up and dry your blood, make it thicker and therefore more difficult to move around your body (à stroke)..

Lastly, taking food with MSG (Mono Sodium Glutamate or Pong Churot or Lotdee in Thai) which is widely used in restaurants and food processing worldwide, this will weaken your Spleen tremendously.

Now, go back to the beginning of this article and see again what a weakened spleen cannot do for your body…  Instead of helping to digest the food and absorb its nutrients, your body will spend energy to regulate your temperature. Taking cold drinks after food will create mucus and lower your immune system.

Pay attention to what and where you eat, and order your food without MSG and without cold drinks. You will get used to it…

MSG is added to many foods (especially processed foods), to drinks (even coffee), to sauces and those stock cubes (Knorr, Liebig, Lotdee in Thailand) to increase flavor and make you come back for more. It is also disguised in different, natural sounding names (like papaya or natural food extracts).

And all this just because you like to take cold drinks?

Are they really worth it?

How much pleasure do they really give you (in your mouth)? For how many seconds? How much trouble and pain can this really cause you for months and years?

If you can just make this small adjustment of not taking cold drinks, you will find that your quality of life will improve considerably with better sleep, more energy, better concentration and memory. And frankly speaking, if I can do it in this hot weather in Chiangmai (Thailand), so can you.

Lastly, if you start to take your drinks “not cold”, you will actually discover the real taste of what you are drinking and learn to savour it more. You will notice that some drinking waters are heavily chlorinated (similar to swimming pool water) and … last but not least, you can enjoy your glass of wine more because you can taste it better.

The least you can do, is to wait a few minutes after you have taken your cold drink out of the fridge.

Don’t take my word for it.

Just try it out and see how you feel.

It will not cost you anything, except for saying “no” to yourself when the waiter brings you a cold drink. The least you can do is wait a few minutes to let it reach room temperature after you have removed the ice cubes…

What are the benefits of warm water?   We are talking about room temperature water or even warmer water :

  1. Faster and increased hydration

  2. Natural digestive enzymes are stimulated and therefore better digestion.

  3. Food breaks down more easily

  4. Your bowel movement is better (warm water with lemon in the early morning is great for this)

  5. Purifies your blood

  6. Increase your body’s natural detoxification processes via your skin, kidneys and lymphatic system.

Once you get into the habit of drinking water at room temperature or even warmer, you will notice a dramatic improvement in your digestions and the way your body feels while eating and after meals.

Some people also reported reduced sugar carvings.

So the next time you eat, ask the server to bring you warmer drinks.

Have a great and healthy day.

by Cory Croymans-Plaghki

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