When I was introduced to Ayurveda, I learned the importance of biological fire, called agni, that cooks, digests, and metabolizes food into nutrition for cells and tissues. For years now, when I eat in restaurants, I always order water with no ice because as Vasant Lad says, ice is not nice. Why? Coldness is a quality that causes constriction, contraction, and stoppage. When you douse a good, healthy, nourishing meal with ice water, it’s like pouring ice water on a blazing fire. Agni then slows and food remains undigested within the stomach, which causes toxins, called ama, that clog all the flows in the body and cause dis-ease and eventually disease. At this point in time, the body is in an unbalanced state.
There are many reasons why some people don’t want ice in their drink. They paid for a drink, not ice, so they want to get their money’s worth. Others don’t want their drink diluted. In America, it’s common to see ice in drinks, but it’s not in the rest of the world. For example, when I was growing up in India, we never ordered water with ice because we did not know whether that water had been distilled or filtered, and the water in the ice cube could be very polluted and full of bacteria, which can cause gastrointestinal upset. Even in America, where water is deemed clean and safe for the most part, ice may still be something you want to avoid, according to one girl’s science fair project.
Another reason not to put ice in your drink is that it doesn’t actually help you feel cooler because it arrests digestion and stops the sweating process, which is essential for releasing toxins. However, if you drink hot or warm water, this increases the digestive fire. So the next time you’re at a restaurant, ask for water, no ice, please. Your body will thank you.