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The Hazards of Cold and Raw Foods

October 19, 2010

According to Chinese dietary therapy, often too much cold and raw foods can damage our digestive systems.  Our bodies are typically 97-98 degrees.  Anything that you place in your body that is less than this, the body first must work harder to heat it up to then make it usable to the system.  Think about Chinese food; real Chinese food, not a Chinese buffet.  How many dishes are cold or raw?  Practically none.  The Chinese know that cold or raw foods are additionally taxing to the system so they are used very sparingly.

Like all things, remember that there are pros and cons to eating foods that are both hot and cold or raw in temperature.  From cold food you will receive the benefits of the enzymes found in raw vegetables that are often destroyed as a result of being cooked at too high a temperature.  However, in our Western culture, there is an imbalance in the temperature of foods we consume and, very often, we are overeating cold and raw food. Think of the common western breakfast – cereal with cold milk.  Think of a typical lunch -you are probably thinking of a cold sandwich.  For many, dinner is the only meal that is hot, and even then it is accompanied by a cold salad or a glass of ice water. 

Balance is the key to health and happiness in Oriental Medicine. I am not an advocate for completely eliminating cold or raw foods.  I am suggesting that there is a healthy balance.  For clients who have digestive disorders, I frequently suggest they significantly decrease their intake of raw and cold foods.  Often during their treatments I will use various forms of heat on their abdomens to add heat to help balance out the effects of eating so many raw and cold foods.  I also suggest that if you do eat cold or raw foods, you follow it up with something hot, like tea. This will help to balance out the temperatures and decrease the unnecessary extra work the digestive system has to do to warm up the cold foods in our systems to make them usable to our bodies.

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