June 24, 2010

Stay Cool as a Cucumber This Summer

With Summer officially here our bodies are craving more cooling foods. Intuitively our bodies want water dense foods in the heat of the summer to cool us off and give us more hydration. But that doesn’t mean you have to eat only raw foods in the Summer. Below are some tips on how to cook seasonally and get the most out of your diet during warmer months.

1. Eat Organic, Local, Seasonal Foods

For the health of the planet and to keep our bodies in balance with our surrounding environment, it’s best to eat as much local, organic, seasonally grown produce as possible. In the Summer this should be easy because no matter where you live you should have access to local (within a 300 mile radius) food via your local natural food store, farmer’s market or CSA.

Foods that support & nourish us in Summer:

  • Grains: corn, amaranth, quinoa, millet, soba noodles
  • Vegetables: asparagus, Brussels sprouts, bitter greens like kale, collards, arugula, mustard, yellow squash & zucchini, sprouts, fresh herbs, beets, mushrooms, cauliflower
  • Beans and Pulses: red lentils, chickpeas, mung beans
  • Fruits: apricot, guava, strawberry and other berries, persimmon, avocado, melons

2. Use Cooling Cooking Methods

Use lighter cooking methods in warmer months like steaming, blanching, water saute, raw or chilled soups, raw salads, and even lightly grilled is good for summer. Intuitively, our bodies do not crave baked foods, oil saute, or longer cooked meals in the Summer because those aren’t balanced for the season. Stock up on water-dense foods like cucumber, summer squash, fruits, lettuce, and greens with half of your plate being vegetables. This will also help your waistline!

3. Stay Hydrated

We’ve all heard this before, but in the warmer months it’s even more important to drink plenty of water and stay away from sugary and caffeinated beverages. Keep in mind that we get a lot of hydration from our food, so eating high-water content food helps our cells stay hydrated.

4. Keep It Simple

Summer is a great time to simplify our diets. There is nothing wrong with having a simple meal of quinoa, steamed greens, and beans, eating a huge raw salad by itself, or having a smoothie for breakfast. The less energy we expend making gourmet meals the more energy we will have to keep going in the heat. Also, you won’t be working up a sweat in the kitchen!

5. Lay Off the Animal Foods

If you aren’t already plant-based (vegan) summer is the best time to take the plunge! Or if you are vegetarian, now is a good time to dump the dairy. Animal foods are known for their warming effects on the body. Animal foods are so much work for our bodies and digestive systems to process, they literally steal our energy away.

And with all that being said, have a blast and wear lots of sunscreen.

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Christy Morgan  |  Contribution: 700