This summer has been hot, hot, hot, and it’s not over yet!
Many of us try to eat healthy year-round, but it can be a bigger challenge in the summer. We are out of the house more, taking vacations and weekends away, going to outdoor venues and fairs, barbecues with friends, and other activities laden with foods that may negatively impact your overall health.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), it has long been believed that our environment has an effect on us, as much as we in turn impact everything surrounding us. To maintain harmony within ourselves, we must take external factors into account such as the air we breathe, the food we eat, and the seasons themselves and their influence on and within us. The balance of yin and yang in each person runs parallel to seasonal changes, and can be affected and molded by those choices, particularly by eating foods that are most appropriate for the season.
Spring, Summer, and Indian summer are considered yang seasons, while fall and winter are yin seasons. Spring is a time of renewal, and when it begins, we feel the need to break out of our winter coats, shed the extra pounds, start new projects, new jobs, and new romances. The sap rising in the trees reflects our inner need for new beginnings. Next we enter the most yang time of summer, where seasonal life grows to it’s fullest as plants grow to fruition. It is a time of outward, outgoing energy, but with it comes heat and humidity. We need yang heat for growth, but it can take a toll on our bodies if we do not balance it with cooling, moistening yin foods.
Here are some examples of great foods to include in your diet in the summer months:
Watermelon (including the white flesh in between the rind and the sweet red fruit), cantaloupe, grapes, oranges, lemon, peaches, celery, strawberries
Fish and seafoods, seaweeds, cress, sprouts, mung beans, cucumber, white mushrooms, corn, asparagus, squash, spinach, dill, mint, cilantro, cabbage.
Barley, pearl barley, millet, buckwheat, egg whites
Avoid liquor, greasy, and excessively sweetened foods during this time, as they tend to create problems with maintaining inner balance, particularly in hot weather.
– Kim Schwartz Finkelstein