Summer brings an abundant variety of foods and our diets should reflect this. Farmer markets are great places to find the vegetables and fruits that Mother Earth is birthing for the season.
On the hottest days, we need to practice mindfulness in terms of types and quantity of foods that we choose to consume. Paul Pitchford in his wonderful book “Healing with whole Foods” suggests that we “create a cool atmosphere (picnics, patio meals) and serve more cooling fresh foods such as salads, sprouts (especially mung beans, soy and alfalfa), fruit, cucumber, tofu and flower and leaf herbal teas such as mint, chrysanthemum and chamomile”. Common fruitswhich cool summer heat are: apples, watermelon, lemons, and limes. Mung bean soup or tea makes for a delicious summer-heat remedy. As usual, pay attention to food sensitivities and sugar balance, especially when it comes to grains and fruits.
You may also want to add some spices to your food. I know this sounds strange, especially during summertime! Yet, think about the ways in which we can mirror nature. At first, the effect of hot-flavored spices is to increase warmth, but ultimately they bring the heat out to the surface of your body to be dispersed. With heat on the surface, one’s body mirrors the summer climate and therefore will be less affected by it. However and like with everything else in life, we always need to exercise balance; if too many dispersing foods are taken, then weakness and loss of Yang (through lots of sweat!) will result, and the ability to stay warm and vital in the cooler season is lost.
Some of the spices recommended for the season are: fresh (not dried) ginger, cayenne red pepper, horseradish and black pepper. Foods that are best to avoid are those that cause sluggishness and make us feel heavy. Such foods include meats, an excess of nuts, seeds, and grains.
Remember to drink plenty of water and to add some electrolytes to your water bottle so that we make sure that you keep your body well hydrated and your energy levels stable in the hottest days.
To your Health!