Craving watermelon? Welcome to Summer! Finally the long, hot days of summer have arrived. And while you might find yourself diving through waves and soaking in the rays, do you notice anything about your eating habits? Chances are you don’t crave those warm hearty soups you’d give anything for during the blistery Winter months. As the seasons shift so to does our bodies internal rhythms and digestion. Paying attention to what your body needs each time of year is the easiest way to keep the body in balance and health in check.
In holistic approaches to nutrition like Traditional Chinese Medicine, eating too much of the wrong types of food during a given season can interfere and slow down digestive organs, causing sluggishness. In other words the body is knocked out of it’s natural balanced state. Keep in harmony with the atmosphere of Summer with these key tips:
Lifestyle: Summer is all about growth, lightness, activity, brightness, and creativity. Easily summed up as a yang season. It’s the perfect time to wake up early and enjoy all the sunny days have to offer. Look to the sun for nourishment and life. Work, play, travel, and smile! The beauty outside enlivens even the most boring day.
Eat: Brightly colored fruits and vegetables flourish at this time and should define Summer dishes. Cook lightly with a rainbow of ingredients. Regularly add a a little spicy, pungent, or even fiery flavor. When sauteing, use hight heat for a very short time, and steam or simmer foods as quickly as possible. Use little salt and more water. Cooling fresh foods such as salads, sprouts, fruit, cucumber, and tofu. Common fruits that beat the summer heat best are apples, watermelon, lemons, and limes.
Avoid feeling like a beached whale in your bikini, by limiting heavy foods like meats, eggs, and excesses of nuts, seeds, and grains. Eating less and lightly on hot, bright days is a healthy pattern easily forgotten when we don’t pay attention to our body’s internal workings. A super easy way to eat in season is to hit up the local farmers market. That way you’ll get fruits and veggies that only grow during this time of year from your local soil. Much better for you, the farmers, and the earth.
Drink: Opposite of common thought, it’s suggested to drink hot liquids and take warm showers to induce sudden sweating, which will cool the body. Ice cream screams your name on sweltering days, but isn’t a good choice since Summer heat combined with too much cold food weakens the digestive organs. Coldness causes contraction, interfering with digestion, and holds in sweat and heat. Iced drinks and ice cream actually contract the stomach and stop digestion!
The idea is to disperse the heat by bringing it to the surface of the body to then be sweated out. Try flower and leaf teas like chrysanthemum, mint, and chamomile. Even drinking room temperature lemonade and the teas above are better than the ice cold variety.
All I have to say is time for a mojito!! Well, maybe an iceless mojito…