Happy New Year, readers! How’s winter working for you? Or are you posted up in New Zealand and South Florida? Here in Northern New Mexico, we’ve been experiencing a sometimes cruel-feeling cold snap for the last week. Many people who live here enjoy the high average of sunny days throughout the year, but recently, even the sun seems cooler.
Many of my close friends and I have a hard time getting and staying warm. When talking with Vapour Co-Founder Krysia about a FABULOUS recipe Vapour shared on social media, she said she wouldn’t be trying it until she felt warmer. It was the onset of winter, and she felt inclined towards hot tea and warm meals. Another friend of mine enjoys huevos rancheros with green chile on cold days.
Is this stuff for real or is it just in our heads? Does drinking tea make the coldest days warmer? And what about us weirdos who have a chill even in the summer?
Dr. Andrew Weil has practical and cautious answers for us frigid folks. He suggests getting a blood test to insure we aren’t experiencing hyperthyroidism or anemia. Once you’re in the clear on those fronts, he advises to get real with yourself on whether or not you’re underweight. Don’t freak out if you are, you don’t have to start eating Big Macs and ice cream like some movie star preparing for the role of a heavy person. Dr. Weil says “gaining a few pounds could help,” and that “Muscles produce up to 25 percent of your body heat. So the more muscle mass you have, the warmer you should be. Focus on building muscle mass (as opposed to gaining fat) to help your body better regulate temperature. If your exercise program doesn't include strength training, be sure to add it in. Schedule a session or two with a personal trainer to learn how to work with free weights or machines in the gym.”
If your blood tests come back normal, chances are your baseline body temperature (the body’s lowest temperature in a 24-hour period) is normal. If you’re not underweight or out of shape being cold all the time might have to do with stress.
Being cold all the time could be created by a pattern of blood vessels in your skin, which is caused by over-activity of the sympathetic nervous system, which is caused by stress. Stress-busters can be folded into your everyday routine with meditation, breathing deeply and practices to help keep you present like yoga and even talking to friends about your problems.
Holistic Health Coach, Heather Nicholds verifies that warming foods are not a myth. Her list of best body warmers includes:
1. Ginger, which also helps to boost our digestive and immune systems.
2. Coconut Oil, which can also be used as a moisturizer to combat loosing body heat through dry skin.
3. Warming Spices such as cinnamon, cumin, paprika, and nutmeg. Nicholds contends that hot spices won’t help, “because spices such as cayenne can make you sweat and cause you to lose heat."
4. Whole Grains “help the thyroid and adrenal glands better regulate the body's temperature during a time when they slow down from the colder weather.”
5. Hot Soups, Nicholds explains that our body temperature is at its peak mid-day and consuming soups can be left ‘til later. Evening soup eating can help keep the body warm throughout the night.
I don’t think Albert Camus was talking about huevos rancheros and ginger when he wrote, “In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer,” but heck, more ginger couldn’t hurt, right?