We enter into the Summer Solstice on June 21st which is the longest day of sunlight of the year. According to Chinese Philosophy, the sun is pure yang – it gives us energy, causes action and creates a hot and dry climate. Summer is nature’s season of growth and maturation; it is when flowers bloom, trees blossom, fruits and vegetables ripen, and grass grows green. It is also when people get outdoors, become more active and enjoy the warm sunny weather.
According to the theory of Five-Elements, summer is related to the Fire element. It represents warmth, light, movement & excitement; it is lively and colorful (mirrored in nature by the green of grass, blue of the sky, yellow of the sun, etc.). Fire’s dominant time on the circadian clock is 11am-1pm, corresponding to the time when the sun is the strongest. The main organs related to Fire in Chinese theory are the Heart and Small Intestine. This is the time of the year when we should be making our hearts work a little harder, exercising & getting our heart rates up to circulate blood through our bodies, creating movement and warmth. The Small Intestine’s job is to absorb nutrients from the food we eat. It is necessary during the Fire season, to keep the intestines clean so they can efficiently absorb all the vitamins & minerals we consume.
In addition to the physical aspects of the fire element, there are also emotional ones. Fire’s emotion is Joy and the sound associated with Fire is laughter. Summer is a time of playfulness, contentment, fun. It is important to bring joy and laughter into your life as much as possible in general, but in particular during the summertime.
The diet that we should consume in the summer is cool, light to balance the heat of the summer months. A diet consisting primarily of raw or lightly steamed organic fresh fruits and vegetables is ideal. Including fresh green salads with seasonal vegetables, fresh fruits, juices or smoothies, some nuts, seeds & whole grains will help you feel lighter, aid in weight loss and keep up your energy. It is important to avoid eating a lot of warming foods such as red meat or fats (whole dairy, eggs & heavy oils). Limit these heating foods as much as possible during the hot summer months to keep your body in balance with the weather.
Eating with the seasons is easy if you shop at Farmers markets. All of the produce is grown locally, so only the fruits and vegetables that are naturally grown in the area during that season are available. For example, in the summertime we can find watermelons which help quench thirst which is important with increased activity in the increasd heat. In Autumn, pears are plentiful which help moisten the lungs to help dry coughs. As we go through the seasons, we should take care to follow nature’s laws to obtain optimum health.