Informant: I’m not supposed to eat cold stuff when I’m one my period. Cause it, like, freezes or whatever. I’m not sure, but like apparently it freezes the flow and it makes you be in pain.
Interviewer: And that’s something your mom tells you.
Informer: Yeah that’s right, my mom tells me that.
Interviewer: Do you know, independently, if that’s, like, true? If there’s scientific merit to that?
Informant: I’m not sure. I’ve never looked it up. Maybe I should have but I didn’t. I just do it. I mean in college, I’ll eat ice cream and stuff and I haven’t felt anything that different because of it but that’s something that my mom would tell me. I’ve asked her why and she just told me that if something was cold it would stop the flow or “freeze” it and that would be bad.
My informant is a friend and fellow student at USC. She was raised in the LA area but her family is ethnically Chinese and immigrated from Vietnam so she has multiple East Asian influences in her life.
I had set up a Zoom call with my friend because she said she had some examples of folklore that she could share with me. This sample was shared during that call
Apparently, this is similar to a Chinese old wives’ tale wherein you can eat all the cold things you want for three months but in the next three months you have to intake only warm things. Doing some research, this is a commonly held belief with some sources debunking it, some speaking in favor of it. Personal accounts speak to the accuracy on both sides.
Interestingly, browsing forums such as Quora, the respondents commonly say that the idea is a Chinese one and that they would hear it all the time in China. I suppose it makes sense in a certain way and if it’s been a belief that’s been held for a decently long amount of time before we had a better understanding of how the body works (any cold drink will become body temperature in your stomach very quickly), then I can see how it would continue to be propagated. What Chinese influence is present in this belief I can not say.