Sin City to Sick City, Healing When You Feel Like Crap

Sin City = Sick City in my book. Time to get healthy.

Sin City = Sick City in my book. Time to get healthy.

Not only is Vegas Sin City, but it’s also Sick City in my case.

The smoke, air conditioning, windowless rooms (no I don’t do that kind of work), the stress of the work itself, shaking hands with lots of potentially sick people, and the travel to get there.

In my experience, Vegas has pretty much been a magnet for illness. (Let’s hope the Vegas tourism board doesn’t read this!)

Four days in Vegas for work two weeks ago left me with a pretty nasty flu last week. Fever, chills, coughing, sneezing, headache, congestion. My symptoms reminded me of those Nyquil commercials from my childhood.

That old adage about feeding a fever, starving a cold? It doesn’t hold true at all in Ayurveda. Well, it’s half true anyway. When you’re sick, you should almost always fast or at least eat light.

I blogged a few months ago on tips to heal a cold, now here’s an explanation of why we get sick and an easy recipe to make when your immune system is compromised.

The reason we get sick can best be explained with an analogy (this, courtesy of Ayurvedic practitioner and one of my very brilliant teachers Mahesh Sabade).

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How You Eat is Just as Important as What You Eat

eating-contestYeah, you read right. Sure most of us have every intention of eating right.

Yet you could eat a healthy diet, eat  the right quantity, and exactly what’s right for your body, but that all goes out the window if you were to, say, wolf down that very healthy meal while walking down the street and talking on your phone.

Hey, I’m not judging. I’ll be the first to tell you that I’m not perfect and have eaten burritos while driving, sandwiches while walking, and scarfed down bowls of piping hot soup while on conference calls (thankfully there’s a mute button).

During my 20s, I had lots of shame around eating, staying thin, and often felt horrible if I ate anything containing carbs or fat. I relentlessly counted calories and subsisted on salads, raw veggies, low-fat, fat-free, and aspartame-filled junk masquerading as food.

As a result of all the shame, mixed with raw veggies, constant snacking, weird toxic food-like substances, and rarely sitting down to eat, my digestion was jacked up something fierce. And so was my health. I was anemic, bloated, moody, had water retention horrible skin, miserable anxiety, and every meal gave me indigestion.

Thanks to lots of Ayurvedic wisdom and counseling, my eating patterns have shifted and my digestion and overall health have improved. But even if you don’t change your diet, you can make a huge impact on your health by only changing how you eat.

In Ayurveda good agni (literally digestive fire) is the key to good health. So here are a few tips for making sure your agni stays strong:

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8 Tips for Healthy Digestion

hot waterNow that you’ve learned about the dangers of ice water, there are plenty of ways to benefit from water through proper consumption.

According to Ayurvedic text Bhavaprakasa, warm water stimulates hunger, helps digestion, is good for the throat, cleanses the urinary bladder, relieves hiccups, flatulence, relieves cough, relieves runny nose, and pain. Warm water also removed ama, a sticky, disease-causing substance left behind in the body when food isn’t digested properly.

The first step to proper water consumption is to drink water according to the season. Just as you (hopefully) wouldn’t go outside in shorts and a t-shirt in a snowstorm, drinking ice water in winter is your body’s equivalent. In the coldest depths of winter, drink hot water that has been boiled. In the summer, water that has been boiled and cooled to room temperature water is best. In the fall and spring, consume warm water.

Water that has been boiled and then cooled is not going to increase the moisture inside the body.  There’s a certain level of moisture that’s healthy, but excess water leads to edema and can even cause kidney ailments when left unchecked.

If you work, boil water your water for the day in the morning, then take your water with you in a glass or stainless steel container. In restaurants, you’ll find that many are willing to bring hot water (or water sans ice) if you ask.

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