From the sudden growth of Spring, Summer is born. Wood turns into Fire, the utmost of Yang. The rapid growth of Spring slows slightly to a more sustainable rate, the gardens are full of produce and life is ideally a little easier.
It is a good time for emotional growth and development, healing the Heart, moving on from old hurts. We naturally tend to be drawn to the outdoors, social activities, laughter and celebration.
In Chinese Medicine, summer is associated with the energy of the Heart and Small Intestine. The Heart propels the blood through the body and envelops the mind. It is the foundation of the spirit, flooding us with consciousness providing us with the ability to think, perceive and communicate. When our Heart energy is in balance we feel calm and peaceful, we sleep deeply and see our world clearly responding appropriately to situations. Our eyes sparkle, our spirit open to the world. When the Heart is out of balance we can experience obsessive thoughts, worry, depression and mania, our reason is clouded and situations get blown out of proportion.
During Summer it is easy for heat of affect the Heart and Small Intestine resulting in insomnia, irritability and digestive complaints. You can help cool your body’s internal temperature buy putting some cucumber in the water you drink – add some mint and lemon if you want to get fancy. Watermelon is excellent at cooling the body while keeping the fluids up, as are cooling cups of chrysanthemum and goji berry or peppermint tea.
During the hot summer months we are are naturally drawn to eating more raw food which is great if you have a robust digestive system or have been diagnosed with heat in the Stomach. Unfortunately for many of us with a weaker digestive system too much raw food is not a good idea, it can leave us feeling bloated, gassy and generally uncomfortable. We recommend lightly steaming, stir frying or grilling your veggies reducing the raw salad to a small side rather than the main affair. If you are hanging out for some fresh greens herbs, cress and bitter greens like rocket can generally be tolerated however if you feel bloated after a meal it usually means you have eaten something that your body is struggling to digest. Whole grain salads with room temperature veggies can be a good option, or if you’re looking for something a little different, or try this: Jamie Oliver 5 Spice Duck Salad
Looking for something to do with all that stone fruit? Try this:
Roasted Peaches and Nectarine
- Halve as many peaches and/or nectarines as you have
- Place on a greased baking dish, cut side up, with a small dob of butter in each hollow.
- Cut a vanilla pod into small pieces and scatter over fruit (optional)
- Bake at 180degC for 30mins or until they are starting to caramelise on top.
- Serve warm with a dollop of natural yoghurt, a drizzle of honey and a scatter of roasted almond flakes.
Keeping with the belief that staying in harmony with the seasons will prevent disease here are a few things that you can do:
- Wake a little earlier, make the most of the morning sun and exercise before the temperatures soar.
- Rest at midday, the hours between 11am and 1pm are when the Heart energy peaks, its a great time for a siesta.
- Its OK to stay up a little later in summer, especially if you are having a midday rest, just make sure your room is cool and dark to aid a comfortable sleep.
- Stress, irritability and anger can be difficult to control during the hotter months, if you are having trouble please seek help. Avoiding stressful situations while committing to regular meditation and acupuncture is a great way to stay calm.
- Eat well. Avoid greasy, sugary spice foods. Choose instead fresh foods that nourish the yin and fluids. Some good examples are as follows.
Fruits: Watermelon, Apricot, Cantaloupe, Lemon, Peach, Orange.
Vegetables: Asparagus, Sprouts, Bamboo, Bok choy, Broccoli, Chinese cabbage, Corn, Cucumber, White mushroom, Snow peas, Spinach, Summer squash, Watercress, Seaweed, Mung means, Cilantro, Mint, Dill
Meats: Fish and duck
And finally, love the ones you’re with.
Happy Summer Solstice x