Our Summer Body

…And how we can feel great this season

Each season, our bodies require a distinct type of nurturing suited to that season.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) follows the Principle of the Five Elements to help us know how to connect our bodies to the cycle of nature and to reap the benefits (see my Spring blog for a deeper explanation)

7 Ways to Feel Great this Summer
  1. Eat Cooling foods

    Summer is the TCM element of Fire, generating lots of yang energy, so it is beneficial to balance that heat with cooling yin foods. Enjoy seasonal fresh fruit such as crisp watermelon and eat plenty of fresh green salads and raw foods.

  2. Add some Bitter Tastes to your Plate

    Bitter is the taste of summer in TCM. This is because foods with a bitter taste are ‘descending’ opposing the ‘ascending’ heat of the fire element, and they stimulate our small intestine, improving digestion. Add celery to your salad or some asparagus, chicory lettuce, broccoli, snow/snap peas or olives. Coffee is also bitter (yay). Balance is the key with bitter foods, however. They are best consumed in moderation alongside other fresh fruits and vegetables.

  3. Drink plenty of water

    Warm weather means we have a greater tendency to become dehydrated. Keeping a bottle of water always with you is a good reminder to keep up your water intake. Tip: using an insulated metal water bottle keeps your water cold and refreshing during the heat of summer.

  4. Make the most of the summer light

    Rise early to make the most of the yang energy of the daylight. If possible, plan your day with least activity between 1pm and 3pm to give yourself a rest (in an ideal world, a nap) and your intestine the time it needs for optimal digestion.

  5. Rejoice in what you love

    The heart, mind, and spirit are ruled by the fire element. The heart is the ‘seat’ of the mind and therefore, being conscious of what brings you love and joy will help you to have a balanced emotional state throughout summer. Take time to reflect on the small things that make you happy such as the first sip of your coffee or the cool breeze from the aircon when you escape the summer heat. Rejoice in all that you love from morning to night.

  6. Use your yang energy in nature

    Summer is the ideal time for socializing, nurturing creative projects, and making time for exercise outside. Organise a late afternoon picnic by the river or go for an early morning stroll before the rest of the household gets up. Being outside at this time of the year really nurtures your spirit.

  7. Yintang – The Third Eye Point

    The Chinese translation for the acupuncture point, Yintang, is hall of impression. This point between the eyes is considered the entrance or passageway to the mind. Emotionally, the fire element of summer is associated with the mind and its stability. Yintang is used to calm the mind and increase focus, soothe emotions and promote sleep.

Watermelon and lime mocktail recipe

This is the perfect drink for a very hot day, maybe instead of a beer after you have mowed the lawn?

watermelon and lime mocktail

  • 1 watermelon
  • 2 limes
  • 1 tbsp runny honey
  • 500ml (17fl oz) chilled soda water
  • 10 mint leaves, plus a few mint sprigs for garnish
  1. Halve the watermelon and cut the flesh into chunks, discarding any seeds and the rind – you’ll need about 450g (15 1/2oz) flesh in total. Transfer to the freezer, in a suitable container, and leave for an hour to get really cold.
  2. Slice 2 thin round slices from each of the limes and set aside for garnish, then squeeze the juice from the remaining limes into a blender.
  3. After an hour, remove the watermelon from the freezer and add to a blender, along with the honey, soda water and the mint leaves.
  4. Blend until smooth, adding a splash more soda water if you prefer a thinner consistency, then stir and pour into a jug.
  5. Garnish with the reserved lime slices and the mint sprigs. Serve in tall glasses.

Note: The watermelon and mint are already cooling so I wouldn’t advise you to add more ice.