Eating for Sumer Health
Article written by Daniel Max, Holistic Health Counselor, Yoga Instructor, Shiatsu Practitioner, owner of
Sense of Self
Summer is nature’s season of growth and maturity with an abundance of fruits and vegetables ripening in the sun. Nature’s energy is effervescent, making it the season for us to engage in outdoor recreation and soak up solar power. We must learn to flow with the rhythms of the seasons. Otherwise tension is created and disease can be born.
Since summer is more hot and active, we need a diet that is more cool and light. It is no coincidence that nature provides us with an abundance of locally grown fruits and vegetables. A diet of primarily raw fruits and vegetables (ideally organic) will help us feel lighter, aid in weight loss and keep our energy strong. Enjoy multicolored salads and vegetables, fresh fruits and juices, some seeds, nuts, and grains, and fewer dairy and meat products.
If you are feeling sluggish or low energy during summer, your meals might be too heavy for this time of year. You might be choosing too many foods of density or perhaps eating too many heavy foods at night. Try having your heaviest meal in the middle to late afternoon to provide better digestion and more restful night’s sleep.
Summer is not the time to overburden the liver, the main detoxifier of the body, with fried foods, processed and chemical foods, alcohol, or too much caffeine.
While barbeques might take a center role in our social gatherings this time of year, they do not have to translate as abuse to the body. Offer to bring a big salad or some home made guacamole to be sure you have something nourishing to eat. You can create a more conscious and meaningful experience by enjoying friend’s company when you are not channeling your energy through too much alcohol or excessive amounts of hot dogs or chips. If you are reliant on alcohol to enhance your feeling of connection or pleasure, you are affirming the disconnect with every sip.
Balancing The Fire Element in You:
In Chinese medicine, the summer is governed by the fire element. As individuals, we are all different in the way that we are governed by the different elements.
People with increased fire may be hot types, full of energy, with red complexions, usually very busy, love to talk and socialize, and may find it hard to slow down or connect to feelings. With summer heat adding to their already excessive fire, a cooling diet of primarily fruits, vegetables, fresh juices and water will be most balancing.
For people with a weak fire, a more warming and cooked food diet will be beneficial. Spices like cayenne, ginger, or curry will add some fire as well as heat building whole grains such as buckwheat and millet.
One of the tools to assess the state of the fire element in your body is by looking at your tongue. The tongue should be moist and pink. If it is red, the heart energy might be too strong. If the tongue is pale, it may be a sign of weakness in circulation of oxygen and nutrients via the bloodstream. A coated tongue usually indicates poor digestive functioning.
Summer is a time to recharge the batteries with solar power. Drinking water should be a primary focus as well as keeping the body loose through movement and stretching.
This is a time to shine from the inside out.
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