Season of Abundance
This season is a great time for you to concentrate on rebuilding the energy consumed during the winter and spring months. As summer activities can sometimes appropriate your relaxation and meditative time, make sure to find a balance between action and being, between social events and time to be in your garden, or relax in your hammock, and allow the earth to nourish you and recharge your battery pack.
Foods for Summer
- Increase foods with yin qualities (wet, cooling) — fruits are the most yin followed by vegetables.
- Reduce yang foods which are the more concentrated, heating ones such as proteins (meat and fish, nuts, seeds, beans), fats (dairy products, eggs) and complex carbohydrates (whole grains).
- So during the summer eat lots of fresh fruits and juices, multicoloured salads and vegetables, some seeds, nuts and grains and fewer dairy products and meat.
- Fresh fruits and juices such as apples, watermelon, bananas, strawberries, pears, peaches, plums and citrus fruits such as lemons and limes.
- Fresh vegetables such as cabbage, carrots, celery, avocado, seaweeds, spinach, cucumber, tomatoes, summer squash, broccoli, corn, Chinese yam, bitter gourd, pumpkin.
- Sprouts especially mung, soy and alfalfa. Beans such as mung beans.
- Aim for a rainbow of colours on your plate and an abundant variety of foods.
- Cook lightly and regularly add a little spicy, pungent or even fiery flavour such as red and green hot peppers, cayenne red pepper, fresh ginger, horseradish, black pepper, peppermint and coriander.
- Steam or simmer foods as quickly as possible.
- Use little salt and more water.
- To be more comfortable, drink hot liquids and take warm showers to induce sudden sweating and to cool the body.
- Drink flower and leaf teas including chrysanthemum, mint and chamomile.
- Avoid iced drinks and ice cream as they cause the stomach to contract thereby interfering with digestion.
- On hotter days, avoid heavy foods such as meats, eggs and too many nuts, seeds and grains as these cause sluggishness.
- Try to drink eight glasses of water a day, more if you will be out in the sun, and refrain from adding too much ice. Drinking ice-cold water may seem particularly tempting on a hot day, but it causes your body to have to use more energy to match the liquid within your body to your body’s natural temperature. Your body is already harboring too much energy from the heat and activity of the season. Take it easy on your body and help keep it balanced by trying to drink water without ice.
A fire deficiency is often characterized by a lack of activity. In this case, it’s important to eat heating foods like peppers, ginger, citrus, butter, meats, corn, cherries and basmati rice.
Too much Energy
When fire is in excess, it often results in overexcitement, too much involvement and being overcommitted. It is suggested to eat bitter foods like romaine lettuce, dandelion greens, almonds and scallions, and cooling foods like cucumber, sprouts, watermelon, apples, lemons and limes. Avoid heavy foods like meats, eggs and oils.
Five Food RulesHere are some tips on eating wisely:
- Chew your food very well. This makes it easier for your enzymes to break food down into the energy needed to keep the body going.
- When eating, stop when you are seven tenths full emphases the importance of moderation. Stop eating before you are completely full. This enhances the digestion and won't overload the liver and kidneys' ability to process waste products.
- Eat in a quiet, non-stressful environment. Make the dinner hour a special time with no television, phone calls or other loud distractions. Sit down to eat and make a rule to discuss only pleasant topics.
- Finish your last meal of the day at least three hours before bedtime. This prevents stress on the liver along with digestive problems like heartburn and acid reflux.
- Eat a diet of primarily lightly cooked foods, especially if you have weak digestion. Cooking allows easier assimilation of nutrients.
Summer is the best time to do vigorous exercise if the weather is not too hot, avoiding the peak hours of the summer heat 10am to 2pm (so best done in the early morning) — at least 1 hour a day to include 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise that promotes sweating (eg running, swimming, tennis, cycling), 15 minutes of mild exercise (walking,) and 15 minutes of stretching.
Also, while doing daily activities, such as working outdoors or exercising, take breaks in the shade every hour to cool down your body.