It’s not known who said that, but it’s sure true. Here we are, already halfway through August. Autumn does not officially begin until September 22, but if you’re like me, summer just “feels” over once we’re past Labor Day and the kids are back in school.
I love how Paul Pitchford talks about the season in his book, “Healing with Whole Foods: Oriental Traditions and Modern Tradition” (North Atlantic Books):
“Summer is a period of luxurious growth. To be in harmony with the atmosphere of summer, awaken early in the morning and reach to the sun for nourishment to flourish as the gardens go. Work, play, travel, be joyful, and grow into selfless service. The bounty of the outside world enters and enlivens us.”
The book also offers great advice for healthful summer eating:
- Use plenty of brightly colored summer fruits and veggies. Cook lightly and regularly add a little spicy, pungent or even fiery flavor. Use little salt and more water.
- Summer heat combined with too much cold food weakens the digestive organs. Iced drinks and ice cream actually contract the stomach and stop digestion – they are best avoided.
- Eating less and lightly on hot, bright days is a natural, healthful practice.
- On the hottest days, serve more cooling fresh foods: salads, sprouts (especially mung, soy, alfalfa), fruit, cucumber, tofu, flower and leaf teas like chrysanthemum, mint, chamomile.
- Fruit to beat summer heat: apples, watermelon, lemons, limes.
- Hot-flavored spices bring body heat to the surface to be dispersed. With heat on the surface, one’s body mirrors the summer climate and therefore will be less affected by it. Red and green hot peppers, cayenne red pepper, fresh (not dried) ginger, horseradish, black pepper are all ideal for this purpose — in moderation.
- Conversely, avoid heavy foods on hot days like meats, eggs, and an excess of nuts, seeds and grains.
Here in Michigan, we’re in the heart of blueberry season. Whether you pick them yourself – or pick them up at the supermarket – blueberries are hard to beat as an antioxidant superfood. Here’s a quick and easy way to enjoy them from “Healing with Whole Foods.”
(By the way, if you do have the yen for berry picking, this website will point you in the right direction) http://www.pickyourown.org/MI.htm.
Julie Silver, MSW, Dipl. Ac. is president and founder of Michigan Associates of Acupuncture and Integrative Medicine, Inc., and a NCCAOM board-certified acupuncturist.