Summer Wellness Tips
“In the three months of summer there is an abundance of sunshine and rain. The heavenly energy descends, and the earthly energy rises. When these energies merge there is intercourse between heaven and earth. As a result, plants mature and animals, flowers and fruits appear abundant. One should refrain from anger and stay physically active…it is important to be happy and easygoing…so that the energy can flow freely and communicate between the external and internal. In this way illness can be averted in the fall.”– The Yellow Emperor’s Inner Canon of Medicine
The Yellow Emperor’s Inner Canon of Medicine, the “bible” of Chinese medicine is a classical text of Chinese medical instructional and knowledge, from over 2000 years ago! It is understood to have been written during the western Han Dynasty circa 100 B.C. This text is still memorized and used today and it is considered that if one has not read this text, one cannot really understand or practice Chinese Medicine.
Types of medical treatment methods found in the Yellow Emperor’s Inner Canon of Medicine:
- bian stone therapy aka Gua Sha
- moxa and cauterization
- medicinal steaming
- hot medicinal compresses
- medicinal patches
- daoyin exercises (internal martial arts)
- psychological therapy
*Chinese dietetics is a nutritionally-focused practice that takes into consideration the possibility that weather can affect our body and health. And therefore, in different seasons we eat certain foods which can help to combat the changing weather.
For example, in summer, it is very hot and dry, which can cause the body to acquire heat and can dry out our body leading to dry skin, constipation and lack of fluid in the body. Thus, if we eat more cooling and moistening foods, they can help to balance the body from the influences of hot summer.
Five Simple Tips of To Eat for Your Health in the Summer Months According to Chinese Medicine:
- Eat a HUGE variety of fresh vegetables and fruits
When essential minerals and oils are sweated out of the body during hot, summer days, their loss can cause weakness if not replaced by a varied diet. Many vegetables contain precious minerals that our bodies need to function, and the vegetables obtain these minerals from the “mineral-rich” soils in which it grows.Eat local, seasonal fruit and vegetables as they are most suitable for the body during a particular season.
- Cook lightly and regularly add a little spicy, pungent or even fiery flavor, this brings the heat to the surface and allows it to disperse.
Using a small amount of warming, spicy herbs in your cooking helps to keep the internal fire alive
Bitter tasting vegetables, THINK DANDELION GREENS, RADDICHIO, ESCAROLE!! These greens can purge excess fire, helping to balance the heat of summer and helps to clear dampness thus improving appetite.
- Avoid ice-cold foods
I know, I know. Summertime is ALL about ice cream and in Philly, Water Ice RULES! However, Chinese dietitians believe that the cold causes a contraction of the stomach and stops/slows digestion. I am not saying not to eat ice cream, but approaching it as a yummy treat and instead of getting the large, how about trying a small or kids-sized portion instead?
- Avoid heavy foods
Heavy foods cause sluggishness in the body, this can cause heat to become lodged in the interior of the body. What kinds of foods do we mean by heavy foods? Think fettucine alfredo (one of my favs!), think broths vs. stews, think heavily fried foods, fat-rich meats and creamy cheeses (these are better suited for the winter when we want to store fat to stay warm). Think of the foods that cause you to feel incredibly bogged down after you eat them. These are the ones you want to stay away from during the summer, when we want to feel light and energetic! Most of this is quite intuitive.
- Replenish water and salts
Fruits, vegetables, beans, kelp and egg, and of course, WATER!Think Watermelon!
Watermelon is considered to be sweet and cold in nature. Watermelon helps to clears heat, relieves thirst, and induces urination.Think Tomato! Tomato is considered to be slightly cold. Its sweet and sour properties of flavor help to clear heat, promote the production of bodily fluids, nourishes the Yin and cools the Blood. Tomato is quite detoxifying in general, and it supports and encourages digestion and so is used in cases of diminished appetite, indigestion, food retention, anorexia and constipation. Caution: Tomato can be known to upset calcium metabolism and should be avoided in cases of arthritis. Large amounts of tomatoes are weakening for everyone. Dosage: 1-2 large tomatoes twice daily or the equivalent in cherry tomatoes.
Think Cucumber! Think Mung Bean! These two foods have a sweet flavor and a cool nature. They clear heat, quench thirst and relieve edema.
Quick and Delicious Summer Recipe: Cooling and Nourishing Cucumber Sesame Salad
Prep Time: 5 mins | Total Time: 5 mins
Cucumbers may be peeled before slicing if that is your preference. Best served the day it’s made. This cucumber salad is light and the perfect addition to any Asian dish or even at your favorite barbecue. The vinegar of this salad is wonderful to aid in the digestion of meats.
Course: Salad Servings: 5 servings Calories: 53 kcal Author: Good Dinner Mom
- 2 medium cucumbers peeled if desired, sliced very thinly
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar (or you could use seasoned rice vinegar which is already sweetened, and then skip the sweetener/sugar)
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon sugar (or sugar substitute like coconut sugar, stevia, honey, etc.)
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce (or gluten-free tamari)
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
- Crushed red pepper flakes to taste
- Slice cucumbers and place on paper towel to remove some of the moisture
- In a medium bowl, whisk together all other ingredients and add cucumbers. Stir to coat.
- Taste and add more crushed red pepper flakes if desired.
- The salad may be made up to 4 hours ahead of serving but should be served the day it is made.
Gratefully adapted from: https://gooddinnermom.com/cucumber-sesame-salad/