Summer nurtures the “fire” element within our body. This is the time we build the overall strength of blood, chi (body energy), and constitution. Absorbing the bounty of summer encourages normal body temperature, good digestion, good sex drive, clarity and beauty of skin and eyes.
Eat to encourage lightness of spirit and joyous activity. Allow dazzling displays of colorful foods and bountiful floral arrangements to entice and celebrate summer days.
To live in harmony with summer use the early morning hours for deep breathing exercises such as tai chi, yoga, meditation, stretching or gardening. Try to do these activities outdoors. Allow your body to receive all the richness of summer.
Cook less in summer. Use little sea salt and more water. Regularly add a little spicy, pungent or even fiery flavour to your meals. Make summer meals lighter, cooler, greener and crunchier than winter meals.
Incorporate some cooked grains along with plentiful fruits and salads. Use whole grains as your main source of protein, and use cooling preparation methods, flavorings and temperature with accompanying legumes, vegetables and desserts. Allow the choice of grains to reflect the season.
Ideal food choices:
long grain brown basmati rice
cooling fresh salads
sprouts (mung, soy and alfalfa)
Add fruits: (to assist with dispersing heat)
lemons and limes
flower and leaf teas like chrysanthemum, mint and chamomile
Summer heat combined with too much cold food weakens the digestive organs. This coldness causes contraction and holds in sweat and heat. Iced drinks and ice cream actually contract the stomach and stop digestion. Use very cold desserts in moderation.
The flavour of summer is bitter and sharp. Add spicy, pungent or fiery flavours to your food with hot-flavoured spices like red and green hot peppers, cayenne red pepper, fresh (not dried) ginger, horseradish, black pepper. These assist with minimizing body heat. Use little sea salt and more water when cooking to create more moisture in your body. This helps disperse accumulated body heat through healthy sweating. Eat moderate meal sizes to prevent weakness, which comes from consuming too much food at one sitting.
Prepare your foods by sautéing using high heat for a very short time, and steam or simmer foods as quickly as possible. Minerals and oils are sweated out of the body during hot summer days and too much loss causes weakness. Drink some hot liquids and take warm showers to induce sudden sweating that will help cool down the body.
Pauline Wolf, CHHP, Certified Provincial Instructor, is a practicing Colon Hydrotherapist in Campbell River and loves to share her wealth of knowledge of holistic healing.