Published November 1, 2014 Do you have cold hands and feet, frequent urination, edema (swelling/inflammation), random periods of diarrhea, or body/muscle/joint/shoulder aches? Maybe you have a congested nose, or you don’t digest food efficiently? I’ve had times where it just feels like my meals are sitting there. Any number of these symptoms are related to “cold” in the body. Life is all about balance. We must make sure we are equally “yin” and “yang”, and we must take special care to preserve our yang when the weather outside is frightful (i.e. fall/winter). No wonder soups and stews are seasonal! When I first came to my TCM doctor Lily, I had very cold hands/feet and was always swollen. She asked what I ate, and I told her, “juicing, smoothies, salads, plenty of raw veggies” – thinking I was doing all the right things. I was also drinking cold water. Big mistake! Although I made my meals fresh at home, I was cooking ahead of time and eating leftovers from the fridge. I soon learned from Lily that leftovers pick up cold yin energy overnight even if reheated. So basically, every single thing I was eating was a cold, yin food. All of my symptoms were a result of being severely yang deficient! You need some heat in your body, otherwise where will your “digestive fire”, libido, and metabolism get their burning power? The way I was eating was lacking balance, causing my muscles to become cold and my digestive fire to dwindle. Eating only raw foods (like I was a few months ago) will create a yang deficiency. Extremes are never ideal in any area of life. The number one thing Lily tells every patient (because almost all Westerners are too yin) is to drink ginger tea. Fresh ginger tea every morning before noon: warms the stomach removes cold from the body reduces joint pain and arthritis strengthens immunity regulates the menstrual cycle reduces PMS improves circulation increases yang Qi & kills parasites. How to make the perfect cup: For each cup of water, use 5-6 slices of fresh ginger with skin. Smash them with a knife to get more juice out, then place them in a small pot with your water to cook for 5 minutes. Add Chinese brown sugar (pictured above) or honey to taste!