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Cusps of changing seasons are always sensitive times for health. As the body adjusts to changes in temperature, physiology, and functions, these are usually the times when most people fall ill. This need not be a given at all. By tweaking diet, lifestyle, and daily habits, we can easily support our body in sailing through these changes. The main reason that we must adjust our habits is so that we accept how seasons impact our body’s physiology and therefore support this to avoid negative impact.
The summer months are a great time to pause and try to reset the body. Summer is a time when we need to look at our diet from two perspectives. Remember that digestion weakens. The reason this happens is that the body tries to cool itself internally, in order to balance the scorching heat outside. When our body does this in an attempt to maintain equilibrium, it also weakens the fire. What this means is that our digestion weakens.
In order to support this, it is a great time to do a short food based cleanse, and lighten the load on digestion. It is the best opportunity to focus on the health of the small intestine so that it allows you to fuel the fires to support you in months to come. With the warmer weather you can enjoy more raw foods. Tune into what your body needs while you release what you don’t need.
The core of summer eating is that we can and should enjoy some healthy carbohydrates. While colder seasons are a time for more fats and protein, summer is the time to enjoy energy producing carbohydrates like healthy summer fruit, vegetables, and light grains. If you have not eaten healthy before summer comes, and are susceptible to blood sugar fluctuations, then you might struggle with managing stable blood sugar in summer. If so, avoid the sweeter fruit and enjoy more sweet vegetables instead.
1. Favor foods that are cooling. This should not mean drinking ice cold beverages, which is what most people tend to do. Drinking and eating cold foods can put the fire out in your belly. To make summer work for you, enjoy cooling foods at room temperature. This keeps the fire of digestion burning, avoid ice cold foods. Avoid eating very hot food as well. Room temperature foods work best.
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2. Stay away from tastes that increase heat within. These include foods which are fiery, salty, and sour. Favor foods and tastes that include natural sweet, bitter, and astringent. Bitter foods include leafy greens, arugula, endive, dandelion, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and onion.
3. Stay with more cooling spices in your cooking. These in include cardamom seed, cilantro, coriander, fennel, ginger (used in moderation), hibiscus, mint, parsley, rose petals, saffron and vanilla.
4. Reduce heating oils to cook such as sesame and mustard. Use cooling fats such as ghee, olive oil and coconut oil.
5. Enjoy whole fruits by themselves as a meal. Great summer fruits are grapes, cherries, berries, melons, coconut, pomegranate, mangos, oranges, pineapples, and plums.
6. Animal proteins are best kept in moderation during the summer. There are two reasons for this. The first is the weakening of overall digestion. The second is that these foods themselves generate heat, which your body does not require in the summer. This does not mean you should not enjoy them. Stay with lighter animal protein such as fish.
As I mentioned at the start, the start of summer is a great time for a reset. Lightening heavy to digest foods for a week is very helpful to reset digestion, and to prepare the body to do the inner balancing.
1. Spend 3-7 days on a summer cleanse, prioritising easy to digest and fresh foods. It is a great time to have smoothies. While smoothies too often weaken digestion, using them sporadically on a reset is helpful. By blending greens and tart fruit, you break open the hard cell walls, unlocking the minerals, chlorophyll, and enzymes. This breakdown minimises the toll on the digestive system, while delivering a host of potent nutrients. Drinking green smoothies also makes it super simple to consume a lot more greens than you usually would or could.
2. Cool soups are another great option. You boost your vegetable intake, thereby benefiting your intentions to help heal, repair, and rebuild your body. Because soups contain so much water they typically fill you up fast with fewer calories. They’re perfect for a meal or a snack while cleansing.
3. A large bowl of salad can be a great meal during a cleanse or reset. Dressings made with olive oil, orange juice and lemon are dressings that will make your greens come to life and bring a little comfort to the table. As you likely know, raw leafy greens provide roughage. What that means for you is that your salads will give you great water content and help keep you regular!
If you do find yourself struggling with fruit and the blood sugar fluctuations that it might bring with it if your system is not balanced, make sure that you work with a qualified practitioner so that you can get to the roots. If you do not have insulin resistance or prediabetes, summer is the best time to enjoy all that delicious fruit which nature provides us with such abundance!
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)