This past winter, I went to an oriental medicine clinic when I was in Korea. Quite a lot of people go for a bunch of reasons – mine was my horrible, horrible, chronic allergies. Plus, I had suffered from an awful cold during my stay.
After an examination, the doctor told me that I had too much ‘yin’ in my body: in other words, my body was constantly colder than it was supposed to be. And I couldn’t have agreed more…my hands and feet are always cold, and turns out this is because blood circulation and energy flow around my limbs and face wasn’t as good. But no worries! The good thing about oriental medicine is that you’re not taking prescription drugs for an immediate cure, but rather pursuing a lifestyle change for a healthier body. So if you’re like me and your hands are always freezing, or just looking for some ways to boost your metabolism and immune system, here are five little things I do to spice up my day…And I’ve been feeling pretty energetic lately!
1. Spirulina – You’ve all heard of this at some point or another, right? Spirulina is a blue-green algae that is considered one of the world’s most nutritionally complete superfoods. For me, it was just some green stuff that people at juice bars sometimes put in their drinks…until my aunt offered some to me after a workout when I was visiting her house. Afterwards, I ordered a bottle of Spirulina capsules for myself, and take one with a cold glass of water as soon as I wake up. The energy boost is real; Spirulina has high concentrations of chlorophyll, which is a powerful detoxifying agent. It also has a lot of iron and vitamins, and the amount of antioxidants it has is multiple times larger than the famous blueberry.
2. Aronia berry juice – This one is an antioxidant treasure chest as well; aronia berries are known to have extremely high levels of phytonutrients that are especially good for your eye health. It was also found to be helpful with weight loss, regulating blood pressure, and reducing inflammation in the body. Since I don’t have time to buy fresh aronia berries all the time, I use concentrated, 100% aronia berry juice instead. Every morning, I would somehow incorporate it into my breakfast; squeeze a tablespoon in my oatmeal, or use it as a sweetener on plain Greek yogurt and toss in some nuts as well.
3. Ginger tea – Ginger is the ultimate warming spice. Whereas last year, I was obsessed with drinking green tea whenever possible (I still love my matcha lattes), I’ve been trying to drink ginger tea at home this year. It took some time for me to get used to the tea aspect of ginger, because up until now, I associated anything ginger with sweet tasting goods like snickerdoodles, hahaha. But once I got used to it, it’s become a habit for me to boil up some water and make myself a cup of hot, aromatic lemon ginger tea. I got two boxes for a BOGO sale at Whole Foods, and this tea by Bigelow also has probiotics, which supports healthy digestion. It’s definitely much more scented than green tea or black tea, but I find myself missing the warmth it gives my body!
4. Garlic – I would love me a piece of buttery garlic toast every morning, but unfortunately that’s not a luxury I can enjoy everyday. Garlic is known for its strong and distinct smell; some people love it, others don’t. But regardless of the smell, garlic is a great food that revs up your metabolism and warms up your body. It also strengthens your immune system; my parents used to say that the SARS virus didn’t run rampant in Korea because Korean cuisine has so much garlic in it! Not only that, garlic also helps you obtain better cardiovascular health. Because it’s hard for me to incorporate garlic in my meals, I take a garlic supplement in a pill form that has just organic garlic bulb in it. The smell is still faintly there – I know they have other versions that are odorless, but apparently the smell comes from the sulfur compounds, which are crucial elements of garlic that make it so healthy. 3 pills a day (one with each meal) are recommended, but right now I’m taking one every night after dinner. I think it has significantly warmed up my body, and even in this cold NYC weather, my hands aren’t so cold, considering the fact that they used to physically HURT because they were so cold on a daily basis.
5. DeTox tea – Last one. The Yogi Detox Tea was actually a super spontaneous purchase during grocery shopping, but I don’t regret it at all! Detox tea has cleansing effects for your liver and kidneys, so considering the fact that I have a family history of weak kidneys and kidney stones, I think detox tea was a pretty good choice. Of course, Even though I can’t give up my ultimate favorite Pu-Erh tea and its wonderfully earthy taste (Yerba Mate is becoming a close second these days), teatoxing is definitely worth a try.
It’s been a long winter in New York City… I hope y’all have a great day!