It’s easy for the heat and activity of Summer to deplete vital moisture, minerals and oils. Staying hydrated keeps us cool, comfortable and supple enough to handle all this movement gracefully. Juicy vegetables such as cucumber, tomato and celery are good options. Many fruits, grapes, apples, berries, citrus and peaches, offer fluids in addition to nutrition. The most hydrating fruit is, of course, watermelon, which builds body fluids and cools heat in the Heart and Stomach.
Earth loves routine and rhythm. It’s good to eat at regular times, sleep at regular times, and move regularly throughout the week. Remember to turn inward, away from the heat of activity, this protects fire energy from burnout and calms the rush of hyperactive mind chatter. Try meditation, prayer or silent contemplation, or practice yoga and tai chi daily. Things that bring peace and a sense of rested confidence, such as seated meditation and breathing exercises can be used to restore harmony.
The color of Summer is red, while the color of Late Summer is yellow – the color of the early fall harvest. Green brings peace and harmony to the heart. Experiment with these colors; bring out a red or yellow throw rug or table cloth, try adding something green to your wardrobe, or make an arrangement of bright sunflowers.
Late in summer, start preparing for the crisp, dry and contemplative nature of autumn by bringing your awareness to the rewards of summer’s activity. Begin with an appreciation of the bounty of the harvest, gather with friends to reminisce and relax. Limit cooling foods such as tomato, spinach, tofu, chard millet, ice cream; allow cold foods to warm up to room temperature or warmer before eating; avoid excessive raw vegetables and fruits (especially citrus); as well as too many very sweet foods, liquids, and dairy products. Large meals and rich foods should be avoided as well.
By anticipating the cycles of nature and applying these principles in our life, it is possible to maintain a harmonious balance from season to season and year to year. In so doing, our energy flows smoothly and we are able to sustain a healthy physical, mental and emotional state despite daily stresses.
Kale Salad for “Burning Bright”
A heart healthy recipe
· 2 tablespoons olive oil
· 2 tablespoons lemon juice
· 1 teaspoon chili powder
· 1/2 teaspoon salt
· 2 bunches kale, stems and tough ribs removed, leaves very finely chopped
In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, chili powder and salt. Add the kale, toss to combine, and serve.
- Recipe from www.wholefoodsmarket.com
Quinoa with Snow Peas for "Mother Earth";
A recipe for stomach and spleen
· 1 medium onion diced
· 1 cup quinoa rinsed and drained
· 2 cloves garlic minced
· 1 tsp ginger minced
· 1 tsp sesame seeds
· 1 3/4 cup water or broth
· 1 cup snow or sugar snap peas (about 8 ounces) stems removed and cut on the diagonal
· Salt and pepper, to taste
· 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
· 2 tsp toasted sesame seeds
1. Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté for a minute.
2. Add the quinoa, garlic, ginger and sesame seeds and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes until quinoa is dry.
3. Add the water or broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to simmer and cover the pan, simmering for 12 minutes.
4. Remove from the heat and quickly remove the lid, adding the snow peas on top of the quinoa and replace lid. Let sit, undisturbed for 5 minutes. Then remove the lid and check to see if the quinoa is done. Each grain seed will have a little ring.
5. Add salt and pepper to taste, along with the sesame oil. Top the mixture with the toasted sesame seeds and serve hot or warm.
- Recipe from http://www.circulon.com
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, summer has two seasons. The first half is the full expression of spring’s careful budding – it is warm, charismatic, outgoing, lively, creative. Summer is full blown yang energy, extroverted and zealous. Summer is the time to implement the plans for the future which were germinated in winter and sprouted in spring.
Falling in the middle of the Chinese year is Late Summer. Late summer is the transition between the ascending, active, expansive yang of spring and summer and the contracting, descending, receptive yin principles of autumn and winter. It is a relaxed, tranquil and flourishing time. It is a time for soaking up the sunshine, sharing joy and laughter and the celebration of the harvest. It is connection: to self, others and the earth. It’s a time to harmonize body, mind and spirit.
Early in Summer, the Fire element leads to clarity of thoughts and feelings; it offers an abundance of energy and inspiration; allows for rapid growth and great connections with family, friends, community. A strong Fire connection burns steady, bright, evenly; it is in charge of good mental health and proper discernment in character and action. Joy and happiness are the emotions of the heart. Thus, as the heart opens to the tongue, speech is reflective of these emotions. This time of the year can be almost frenetic with activities, get-togethers, vacations and projects – so much day light in which to express our heart’s desire to be “in action.”
In balance, Summer’s energy is glorious. However, as summer progresses, this balance is more easily upset as yin and fluid reserves are used up. These cooling, moistening elements are crucial to the regulation and movement of the Heart fire. A bevy of excess heat symptoms can emerge such as canker sores, heat rashes, hot flashes, impulsiveness, irritability, insomnia, forgetfulness, mania or melancholy, heart palpitations, anxiety, angina.
The Heart, its protector the Pericardium, and the Small Intestine meridians protect, nurture and contain Heart fire. Perhaps more than in any other season, it is easy to overspend in Summer. The momentum of extroverted energy can make it hard to regulate spending and saving. Adequate rest, quiet time, and moisture are crucial to maintaining balance. Food should be light, green, naturally bitter (spinach, kale, arugula, broccoli, celery, rhubarb)and sprinkled with cooling herbs such as chamomile, basil, dill dandelion and rose.
Mid way through Summer, the Earth element arrives to offer the unconditional support of the mother earth image. Just in time to prevent summer burnout. Nurturing, agreeable, fertile and grounded; she is the Peacemaker. The energy of late summer feeds body, mind and spirit equally. This becomes the foundation of a secure and nourished spirit. Feelings of peace, security and satisfaction prevail; there is a confidence in being able to handle whatever life dishes out. The Peacemaker teaches how to care for self and others with sympathy, concern, and love. In this way, the earth element encourages balanced living.
A person with a healthy expression of the earth element will be well liked, amiable, supportive of others and attentive to their needs, but also understanding of not over functioning in this role. They like gathering with friends, family and acquaintances. Good in social settings, they have the ability to make others feel included.
The organ systems of the Earth Element relate to nourishment. The stomach and spleen are responsible for processing, transforming and moving food, information and experiences – anything that needs to be processed, absorbed or integrated needs the help of the spleen and stomach. Over-mothering, codependence, and overindulgence are common characteristics of the Earth element out of balance, as are issues with digestion or absorption. Ulcers, weight or eating disorders, fatigue, forgetfulness, muscular problems, and obstinacy are all symptoms of imbalance.
Foods that nourish the earth element include: bamboo shoots and tips, celery, whole grains, root vegetables and squash, peas, sweet potato, ginger, Chinese red dates, peanuts, pineapple, black and red beans and daikon radishes.
These seasonal newsletters give you insight on the effects of energy movement throughout the year and throughout your body.