Summer is finally here! Here are some healthy eating tips to help you make the most of the season.
Since the weather is wonderfully warm, Chinese medicine says you need light, cooling foods to help keep you balanced. Juicy peaches, sweet watermelons, tomatoes hot off the vine…The right foods are easy to find. One trip through your garden or a walk through a farmer’s market and you’ll have the perfect summer meal. But unfortunately, they don't tend to be the foods that we crave when we've been working and playing hard. Often, craving calories in the form of a burger, BBQ, or ice cream, beats craving fresh food like cucumber and salad. And afterward you probably feel full, bloated and hot.
Fortunately there is a solution. It is possible to eat well, have energy and avoid feeling bloated. The trick is in the timing. With an easy tweak to your natural summer diet, you’ll feel fantastic. Read on to learn how.
Keep your "Fire" balanced in Summer
It should come as no surprise that TCM practitioners recommend eating lots of fruits and vegetables in the summer. In fact, we recommend eating fruits and vegetables all year, but in the summer they are especially important. Summer is a yang season and is associated with the fire element. Fire governs the heart and small intestine. When fire is balanced within the body, the heart governs and circulates the blood properly and the intestines properly digest food. Emotionally you are balanced, sensitive and enthusiastic. You feel happy and healthy.
There are a few simple guidelines to keep fire balanced.
The best timing for Summer meals
If you focus on yin and bitter foods, your diet is cooling and light. But what happens when you need more energy than a slice of watermelon provides? This is when the timing of your meals matters.
If you need or enjoy a heavier meal, the best time to eat it is mid to late afternoon. “Picnic time” is the best time to fuel up. Avoid eating a big meal early or late in the day. A healthy summer eating plan starts with a breakfast of fruit, green smoothies or unsweetened yogurt; a salad for lunch; a heavy meal later in the afternoon; and end your day with more fresh seasonal fruit and veggies.
By eating mostly fresh, light, wet foods and including a heavy meal only in the afternoon, you will help your fire burn bright but not out of control. You’ll feel light, cool and energized. Your heart, circulation and digestion will be strong. You won’t feel bloated or full.
Traditional Chinese Medicine uses nutrition as a tool to maintain health and promote healing. Eating a yin diet with your heavy meal in the late afternoon is good general advice, but your constitution may need a slightly different routine. The proportion of yin food matters and varies from person to person. To get the best summer eating tips, contact me and together we’ll make a plan that’s perfect for you.
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