If you believe in the Chinese theories of yin/yang, cold/hot foods, eating ice cream every evening is–sadly–a really bad idea. Especially at this time of year. Any icy slushy drink cold enough to give you a headache is actually giving the rest of your body a terrible time. When you ingest cold food, according to this theory, you are making your metabolism work overtime to warm it up before digestion can occur. And continual cold dining, day after day, night after night, fatigues the body. A food is “cold” when it is literally frozen OR “cooling” as the body metabolizes it (foods like apples, celergy, corn, oranges, pears, pineapple, watermelon, strawberries, bean sprouts, cucumbers, and spinach are considered “cool”). Come September, it is time for us to warm our bodies for the coming cooler months.
I remember when this was first explained to me, I couldn’t see why a pear was a “cool” food, and a parsnip was “warm,” but when you sit with it, and perhaps remember that your grandmother might have intuitively adhered to this kind of nutritional theory, it makes sense. In autumn, we need fewer salads, and more root vegetables, more ginger, more butter, garlic, and cheese. Most cuisines–French and Italian come to mind–have winter dishes and summer ones. But because we live in a country where almost any food is available any time, we get off our seasonal eating schedules.
Women who dine on crunchy salads daily in an effort to lose or maintain their weight are especially prone to cooling their bodies down too much–and losing their vitality. It is good that we can now allow ourselves to indulge in the warm soups and fattier foods we don’t crave in summer quite so much!