Thursday, January 16, 2014
Motherly Advice for Colds and Other Damp Conditions
Today I visited my acupuncturist at the Traditional Chinese Medicine Clinic and learned some things we can do for ourselves to help slow the flood of runny nose, teary eyes, barking coughs, and slurpy sniffs that seems to be afflicting many of us at this cold, dark, damp time of year. While I was waiting for my appointment I drew a tropical fish that swims in the salt water aquarium in the waiting room, a soothing reminder to let go of stress and move slowly and gracefully while exercising to keep chi moving and thus reduce the stagnation that gives rise to the dampness that results in the extreme consumption of Kleenex.
I stopped at the grocery on the way home and bought the bitter tasting foods that help move dampness out of our systems, and when I got home I drew them. A cup of warm lemon juice in water or tea is good in the cold mornings, and lemon is a great seasoning for salads and steamed vegetables. The sour lemon helps dispel dampness and also alkalinizes your system. Lemons also have vitamin C. Asparagus is a bitter-tasting vegetable, a mild diuretic, and good at moving sluggish chi or energy. Likewise celery, kale, and Swiss chard are excellent damp- removing foods. And a nice surprise was to learn that bitter dark chocolate, in spite of its sugar, and eaten in small amounts, is good for all of the above. (Happily, Greenlife carries Taza Mexican chocolate, 70% dark, organic, stone ground and nicely gritty.)
Along with the list of things that are good for dispelling the evil dampness was a list of the main foods that create even more dampness and weaken your immune system and that will work against whatever you do to get rid of a tendency to pick up a cold or to get rid of one: iced drinks; sugar; processed foods; dairy products.
This dietary advice won't work instantly to mask symptoms like cold medicines will, but by working them into/out of your diet over the long run, you will improve your own health and immunity to the point where you'll rarely if ever need to take symptom-stopping medicine for a cold or invest in cartons of Kleenex.