Now that Summer is here, and the weather is getting warmer, we often become more active and participate in a variety of outdoor activities.
An ideal Summer diet according to TCM is light and filled with fresh foods with high water content, and brightly coloured summer fruits and vegetables.
There are certain foods, flavours, cookings styles and ways of eating that will help your body feel wonderful this season. Read on for more.
Each “Organ system” in TCM has a specific flavor that affects it. Foods with a bitter taste stimulate the function of the Heart, which is the TCM Organ associated with Summer. These include green leafy vegetables such as endive, escarole, lettuce and watercress, as well as things like rye, coffee, tea and chocolate. These foods can nourish the heart, but in moderation of course – consumed in excess they can do more harm than good.
Raw fruits, fresh salads, cool soups and lightly cooked meals of grains and vegetables are great this time of year for healthy, vigorous adults. Sprouted vegetables and grains can be mixed in with a variety of dishes to help maintain a cool body temperature.
You can even add a touch of spicy, pungent or fiery flavours. At first, spicy, fiery foods may raise the body temperature, but ultimately they can draw body heat out to the surface where it can be dispersed. For this purpose you can cook with red and green hot peppers, fresh ginger, red pepper, black pepper or cayenne -but don’t overdo it. Keep your summer spice intake to a minimum.
If you are sautéing foods, use high heat for a short period of time. When simmering or steaming foods, do it as quickly as possible so you can retain the fresh tastes.
Consuming heavy foods on hot days can make you feel sluggish and slow down your digestion. Such foods include eggs, grains, seeds, nuts and meats. As a rule of thumb, eat heavier meals in the late afternoon. This type of summer diet can help you feel lighter in the heat of the day, maintain your energy, and aid in weight loss. See our previous blog post TCM Summer Eating Tips for more information on this.
For better digestion and assimilation of nutrients, avoid mixing too many foods together at one sitting. Fruits and juicier foods are best eaten alone or between meals. Summer heat along with too many cold drinks can weaken digestive organs and impair digestion; too much ice cream and iced drinks are best avoided.
Summer invites us to become more active. Make the most of this glorious season by staying hydrated with water, juices & herbal teas, and eating light, locally grown, fresh food. To wrap up – here is a recipe for a cooling, refreshing tea, perfect for a hot summer's day.
You can drink this tea warm or at room temperature. It is the action of the ingredients that make this a cooling drink for your body. It is also helpful during feverish illness. Enjoy!
Source: "Recipes for Self-healing by Daverick Leggett."
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