“I have so much extra energy that I don’t know what to do with it!”, a client shared the other day, “It makes me snippy at times.” Having extra energy is a great thing for the body. When you’re not expending it, the body uses any excess energy reserves for healing itself. So, if you feel you have so much energy that it’s making you irritable, you might simply be eating poorly chosen foods for the season.
All traditional healing systems worldwide have recognized the importance of eating according to seasons. Some of the foods are drying, think crackers, others that are moistening, think pears. Likewise, some foods are warming, and others are cooling. What it means is that different foods have varying effects on our bodies when we consume them.
To illustrate how that works, if you touch a piece of plastic then a metal, both with the same surface temperature, the metal will feel cooler. Similarly, certain foods “feel” more cooling to the body than others due to their effect both during and after digestion.
The situation with my client is a perfect example of how foods can have an effect on our emotions. Although we tend to naturally lean toward foods appropriate for the time of year, due to set eating routines, we may not make the necessary adjustments with the change of seasons. In the case of this person, for example, she had continued putting cinnamon in her breakfast oatmeal out of habit. Cinnamon is a warming spice and should be avoided in hot weather. There’s a reason why it smells extra good in the fall and winter months – that’s the time of the year when we instinctively favor it due to its warming quality.
Cooling foods for hot weather
So, what should one eat during summer? A great start is to eat fruit and vegetables that are in season. For instance, you may have noticed that juicy fruits like pears, apples, and strawberries are cooling to the body, and are abundant in summers. Likewise, choose cabbage, kale, cucumbers to cool off that summer heat. Choices in herbs and spices should change from the likes of cinnamon, anise, and caraway to cardamom, cumin, and basil. Sweet citrus fruits are cooling and, if you must, use limes instead of lemons since sour is heating. You can find more seasonal recommendations here and a comprehensive grocery list here.
Other habits to stay cool
Besides eating seasonal foods, another great guideline to follow are your very own taste buds. We have evolved an immaculate sense of taste so we can instinctively know which foods to eat and which ones to avoid. In hot weather, favor sweet and bitter tasting foods over spicy, sour and salty ones. Eat more vegetables than meat, and drink cooling herbal teas like chamomile and peppermint while avoiding coffee and black tea.
Finally, chill-out! Really. Relaxation is the key to help stay cool, literally. Spend time in nature as much as possible. Walk barefoot in grass and earth to get extra grounding. The negatively charged electrons from the earth’s surface travel into your body and offer cellular repair and healing. You can even buy an earthing mat and sleep on it while maintaining maximum skin contact. The mat is made with metallic fiber which connects to the ground pin in a standard electric outlet. The free electrons then travel through this wire from the earth into your body to have a similar effect as walking on the earth. A good online supplier for indoor earthing products is earthing.com.
Additionally, do take time everyday to meditate for at least 20 minutes upon arising and before going to bed. You can learn the practice of mindfulness and reap benefits from using this skill for the rest of your life.