10 Reasons You’re Always Cold

10 Reasons You’re Always Cold & 4 Easy Ways To Re-Stoke Your Fire

Brrr! It’s January,  and dare I say,

it’s unbelievably cold outside? Each day on my walk to

work, I can’t help but notice at least a handful of what I

refer to as ‘true Bostonians’ walking down the street–these

women holding a giant Dunkin’ iced coffee, wearing

cropped pants & ballerina flats with bare feet, despite the

12″ of snow on the ground & bone-chilling wind tunnels.

This astounds me, and this delicate southern flower’s hat

is off to you ladies!

Despite my daily sightings of these bad-ass Bostonian

chicks, I see ten times that amount of people in my practice

suffering from symptoms caused by ‘cold’, such as: cold

hands & feet, gas & bloating, constant runny nose, sinus

issues, poor digestion, low back pain, low energy, foggy

brain, poor circulation, and general lack of pizzazz. In

Chinese Medicine, this is what we call ‘Yang Deficiency’.

Yang, as in ‘Yin & Yang’, and pronounced with an

‘ahhh’, like ‘long’, not an ‘eh’ like dang. Yang is the

root of of our fire: digestive fire, drive, activity, action,

force, sunlight, warmth, excitement and our general

ability to pounce. When the Yang gets smothered by

cold things, many of the symptoms listed above will

start to surface and it’s easy to feel like a wet blanket

as your fire is slowly diminishing. Stoking the Yang back

up, fortunately, doesn’t take much once you know how,

and once you quit doing the things that are killing it. I do

this all day long in my practice, so if you’re ready for

more energy, more drive, warmth, and pounce-a-bility,

call me for help and let’s get to work.

For now, I’ve compiled this list of 10 0f the most

cold-inducing things that may be compromising your

health, and a few home remedies for warming yourself

back up. All of these cold items are particularly hard

on the Spleen, and since we who practice Chinese

Medicine believe that all disease starts in the gut,

it’s important to keep the Spleen happy if you want t

o have strong immunity and age like a martial arts master.

1. ICED COFFEE Iced large coffee 0001

Cold drinks are hard on the digestive fire, especially

when it’s cold outside. I love a big ol’ iced tea in August,

but drinking cold drinks in winter not only slows down

your digestion, often leading to gas, bloating & low

energy, but can also lead to more PMS, muscle pain,

and contributes to infertility struggles and weight gain.

2. FRO-YO FroYo

If there was one food-like product I could nix from

humanity completely, this would definitely be a front

runner. In terms of Chinese Medicine & general health,

the combination of cold, diary (or ‘dairy’), and sugar is

really just asking for trouble. This binds up the digestion

due to the cold temperature + stagnating properties from

food that creates phlegm in the body (dairy, sugar, gluten,

chemicals).  However, the bigger elephant in the room

is that Fro-Yo places shamelessly manipulate with their

marketing. Somehow they have collectively convinced

customers that Fro-Yo is ‘healthy’, and consequence-free,

but unfortunately, it is highly processed and contains a

shocking amount of chemicals all cleverly disguised in t

hese cute & innocent little yogurt cups–with sprinkles,

no less. Don’t believe the hype! Check out this

great investigative report from foodbabe.com.

3. SALAD  Salad

Of course salad, in and of itself, can have so many nutritive

properties–especially when you add wonderful things like

kale, avocado, nuts & seaweed. However, salad, being a

raw food, is also hard on your digestion when eaten

without something warm to help digest it. When food is

cold to start with (like everything on this list), the Spleen

(chiefly in charge of how we digest, and the first thing

to freak out when not treated right) has to expend a lot

of energy to warm up the food prior to digestion, often

running out of fuel before the digestion process has

finished. This is what leads to that 3pm energy slump,

unexplained water weight, low energy, lethargy, sugar

cravings, heaviness in the limbs, and inability to lose

weight. Save the salads for summer, and instead, indulge

yourself at the hot soup bar and warm, bubbly casseroles

for now.

4. JUICING 1442342_fo_juice_bars_JLC

Wow, juicing has become wildly popular! How could it

not, when it looks soooo beautiful, and so many authors,

health coaches & bloggers are saying how amazing it is?

Fresh juice is basically liquid Qi, and that is very intriguing.

With it’s yummy concentrated flavors, it’s like sunshine

in a glass. However, juicing, like all trends, must be taken

with a grain of salt.

Juicing easily damages the digestion for a few main

reasons: Juices are energetically cold and they are full

of sugar, both of which damage the spleen and digestive

fire. Unless you are consistently hot, with fast digestion,

a red tongue, and tend to sweat quite easily, more than

8 oz of juice per day leads to what we call ‘damp’

conditions in Chinese Medicine. This manifests as a

thick coat on the tongue, low energy, heavy limbs, runny

nose, chronic sinus issues, gas & bloating and feeling

cold all the time.

Seasonally speaking, Juicing is fantastic in the SPRING.

And by spring I mean May, not January. Because juicing

is so cooling, doing a juice cleanse when it is still cold

outside will do more damage to your spleen and digestion,

than good. It’s best to wait until it’s warm outside, and

even then, if you still have any of these issues, try drinking

some warming teas like ginger & cinnamon to c

ounterbalance all of the cold & damp.

5. SMOOTHIES Red Mango Frozen Yogurt

Closely related to juicing, is it’s frosty cousin–The

Smoothie. Yet another fallacy pointing to ‘weight loss’,

the smoothie often becomes a vessel for inducing diabetic

episodes in many an innocent soul. Similar to juicing, the

smoothie is also typically full of sugar, the main difference

is that it’s even colder than juice with it’s primary

ingredients being frozen, or the addition of ice–think

blended popsicles. Again, similar to juicing, a little

smoothie is fantastic in Miami in August, but other

than that, please take my advice and give your spleen

a break. For a delicious and much more nutritive,

low-sugar alternative, check out my Favorite Kale Shake

and try this at home.


Well…all ice cream, really. I find that the worst offenders

are people who are addicted to Coconut Ice Cream, but all

of it hurts you just the same. Coconut Ice Cream tends to

fall in that same confusing category as Fro-Yo: It’s typically marketed to be healthier than regular ice cream, so we somehow twist this into

thinking we should eat it every day….right? Especially

for those with limited diets, who no longer eat dairy…

the power of the coconut is strong! For now I will urge

you to avoid the frozen section at the store at least until

May. Eating any form of ice cream or sorbet–especially

at night–is why you are freezing cold all the time, have

constant sinus issues, stuffy ears or runny nose, foggy brain,

low energy, and eventually will gain weight from sleeping

on a cold stomach. If you need something sweet after

dinner, try eating 1/2 an apple or perhaps a little chocolate.


By now you have probably read plenty about how

controversial and polarizing Antibiotics are. One thing

you should know is that Antibiotics (ABX) were one of t

he biggest revelations in health care, as we know it. Prior

to their discovery in 1928, many people suffered dearly,

and even died from many conditions that are considered

easily treatable today such as salmonella, tuberculosis,

syphilis, and some forms of meningitis. That being said,

a sore throat or even a sinus infection are not enough

reason to pummel your digestive tract with such severe


Like everything on this list, ABX are very cold and

produce ‘damp’ in the body. On the one hand, this is

good because in fighting bacterial infections, they have

the ability to dramatically cool down inflammation. On

the other hand, they don’t have much regulatory ability,

so they  also tend to cool the digestive tract too much,

especially with repetitive use, and this is why they are a

bit dangerous.

‘ABX Resistance’ is related to what I said earlier about

Chinese Medicine stating that all health starts in the gut.

Repeated ABX use can lead to resistance, often requiring

stronger medicine each time one gets sick. According to

Chinese Medicine principles, this is because we need a

certain degree of healthy digestive fire to support a healthy

immune system. All of the symptoms I am speaking of

in this article (cold limbs, slow digestion, runny nose,

chronic sinus issues, gas & bloating) are all signs of a

weakening digestive system, which ultimately effects

one’s immunity.

If you have never seen a Chinese Herbalist, what are you

waiting for? You will be amazed at how effective Chinese

Herbs are for all respiratory and digestive issues, including

allergies, sinusitis, poor digestion, and just about everything else under the sun. They say that Western Medicine is the Study of What Makes

You Sick, and Chinese Medicine is the Study of What Makes You Healthy. Building up a stronger body, stronger digestion and stronger im

munity is never a bad idea, in my opinion, and this is

where Chinese Medicine excels!

8. TOFU tofu

Tofu’s primary energetic is also cold and produces

damp in the body, which isn’t that surprising if you’ve ever cooked with it. Ever noticed how squishy it is? It’s basically solidified soy milk. However, tofu is also quite versatile, and while bland in flavor by itself, tofu readily

takes on the flavor of whatever it is cooked with. If you

eat Tofu regularly, try adding some hot chili paste and

curry for more warmth, then oven roasting it to dry it out

a bit.

9. SUSHI Sushi

Dear Gentle Readers, please understand I am truly sorry for

this one, but I would rather tell you the whole truth so you

can make educated decisions. Raw fish is very cold.

Combatting this is perhaps why Sushi is often served

with ginger, wasabi, saké, and miso soup–all warming

items. I certainly don’t want to rain on your sushi parade

because it IS one of the most beautiful and artful foods

on earth, just make sure you partake in all of the warming

items available to accompany your meal.


Yep, with a yearly average of 30+ days below freezing

each year, living in Boston (and anywhere above 40*

latitude) automatically predisposes you to being cold,

inside and out. And while one can combat brutal

weather by bundling up and wearing insulated boots,

many of us need an extra boost to fight off the cold.




Make sure to cook all of your vegetables and pass on

the raw foods, salad, juices & smoothies until it’s warm

enough to break a sweat outside. Check out the Diva’s

recipe collection and my Pinterest page for great ideas

& cooking inspiration.

2. KEEP IT SPICY spices

Use more warming spices in your food like Ginger,

Cinnamon, Chiles, Black Pepper, Garlic, Fennel &

Cloves. One easy way to do this is to eat more Indian

food and drink more Chai. Just watch out for refined

sugar in your chai–opt for honey instead, which is also

gently warming.

3. TAKE A GINGER BATH rustic-bath

Taking a warm or hot bath will always beat a hot shower,

especially in winter. And on those days when you can’t

get warmed up, adding some freshly steeped Ginger water

to your bath will change everything. Heat about 4 cups of

water on the stove. Once it has come to a boil, add 1/2 cup

to 1 1/2 cups of freshly grated or chopped Ginger, turn off the heat, and cover it with a lid. Let steep for 3-5 minutes, then strain the Ginger out,

adding the Ginger water to a bathtub full of hot water.

Soak as long as it stays warm enough, and enjoy the

toasty warmth.


Chinese Medicine Practitioners offer the most unique,

effective and affordable solutions to 99% of all health

problems. We are trained to treat each patient as a

‘whole person’, rather than just addressing this or that

symptom in isolation. Because of this approach, you

should expect a steady and consistent improvement of

all aspects of your health, when you check in regularly

with someone who practices Chinese Medicine

(acupuncture, too!). If you live in the Boston area,

schedule an appointment with AJ here.

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