The American fascination with ice water never ceases to amaze me. Even as a child, I could not relate to this bizarre tendency. By the early 1960s, I was asking for “no ice” in my drinks.
Clearly, however, our culture embraces this quirk, to the extreme. At 40 below zero in Jackson Hole, your waitress will bring ice water to your table, and most of those around you will be drinking it. Try to buy unrefrigerated drinking water (or any other drink) in a public place — any time of year.
Yeah, okay, so what’s wrong with ice water?
Any indigenous culture the world over knows that consuming cold food or drink suppresses “digestive fire.” We’re the only culture in the world who does this (although our influence is spreading). Not only does steady consumption of ice water compromise digestive function, it lowers body temperature. This is strange behavior, indeed, for a population with millions experiencing low thyroid function.
None of this is rocket science. It’s really quite simple. From the perspective of Oriental Medicine (or any other system of long tradition), consuming cold food or beverages adversely impacts digestive function. When this function is compromised, fatigue and/or excess weight are just two of the many effects. Are you beginning to get the picture?
Here is an elementary example of overlooking the energetics of what we put in our bodies. So simple. Yet conventional medicine is still scratching its head, wondering why we are seeing the dramatic increase in low thyroid function. The answer is not one dimensional, but here is a significant piece of the puzzle.
If this makes sense to you, here is how you can begin to affect change for yourself, and for the culture at large. First of all, drink only room temperature or heated liquids. Then, when you go into a restaurant — quite often thirsty, as well as hungry — attentive wait staff will be at your table with glasses of ice water before you can blink. Regardless of whether or not this person is your waiter/waitress, quickly (before they’re gone) and politely, say, “Excuse me. I’d like room temperature water, with no ice, and a slice of lemon.” Be pleasant. Be firm. And be sure to say, room temperature. If you don’t, you’ll end up with ice water with the ice removed. People are very habituated, and you have to be explicit and clear.
Later in the meal, someone will come around and refill your glass with ice water. If you’re quick, you can simply cover the glass with your hand before the deed is done, and then explain what you’d like — again. This is a habit I encourage you to develop, if you value the longevity of your vitality. You’ll come to enjoy the ritual as much as you do the water.
The slice of lemon is to provide the illusion that the tap water you’re being served is actually worth drinking. One must generally accept compromises to good health when eating out….
To explore more examples of the energetics of foods, choose from the menu below.