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Phoebe Blog 2: Why I ditched cold food completely after learning yoga

Phoebe Ng. Follow my journey @Pianista_Phoebe @YogaWithPeachy

For many years, my parents, my Chinese traditional medicine doctor kept telling me stay
away from cold food, I didn’t believe it. I grew up binging sashimi, ice cream and cold drinks.
Since puberty, I began to develop stomach problems from time to time, yet I thought these
were only isolated incidents. As an adult, I continued eating salads, poke bowl, like many
other weight-conscious women in the world.

It was not until recently I began to feel alarmed. Few months ago I was hospitalised for over
a week just because of a very bad stomach flu – while most people can recover from viral
gastroenteritis just by resting for several days.

As I got more into yoga training, I started learning about Ayurveda, an ancient Indian medical
system. In Ayurveda, the five elements that are found in all living things – space, air, fire,
water, and earth – are the building blocks of life. It also divides man into 3 different body
types or doshas, Vata is associated with air and space, Pitta is associated with fire and
water, and Kapha with earth and water. I am petite and tend to have cold hands, stomach
issues and cracky joints, a typical Vata. I have also hit other signs of an imbalanced Vata:

– Feeling worried or overwhelmed
– Insomnia despite feeling tired
– Digestive issues
– Indecisive
– Difficulty to concentrate
– Dry throat, lips, scalp or skin
– Poor circulation

To balance out Vata, Ayurveda suggests eating more warm food and avoid cold food or raw
vegetables. Pretty much the same advice my Traditional Chinese Medicine doctor gave me
for my “Qi deficiency”.

Vata somewhat corresponds with the Chinese concept of qi, yang, and internal wind. I
started to believe it’s time to stop being stubborn and actually take their advice. It was
actually not so bad to embrace Vata-calming lifestyle, most of the suggested food – rice,
wheat, papayas, sweet potatoes, black pepper – are all things I really enjoy.
Now fast forward to a question you probably have – does it work? Well, I am only 3 weeks in
so it would be hard to say for certain. But I did see great improvements. I no longer have
bowel problems (except on the cheat day when I had sashimi). Yoga, especially the more
static style of Hatha, made me more grounded and helped me to concentrate. But cracky
joint and cold hands remained an issue.