Happy Summer Solstice!
The official first day of summer, June 21st, is fast approaching, and now is a good time to take advantage of our vibrancy and fully flourish. Summer is associated with the fire element, which corresponds with the Heart: joy, passion, and the drive for building community.
During the summer solstice, the outer-fire of the sun is at its maximum, so this is also the best time to strengthen our inner sun: the fire in our core. We are strongest when our inner core is ignited—our health is most balanced, and we feel empowered to process the changes happening in our lives. Cultivating this inner fire helps keep our heat grounded in our center so it doesn’t float to our head causing migraines or insomnia, or over-flush our skin causing eczema or acne. When our Yang energy isn’t stabilized and well circulated, we have heat and stagnation, leading to arthritis, high blood pressure, headaches, among other things, and just in general a feeling of stress. We remain overheated rather than cooled; stressed instead of relaxed; our minds feel restless, scattered, or anxious rather than at peace.
Since summer is the most Yang time of the year, our body is most full of heat and energy. Even us folks here in San Francisco have experienced some unusually warm weather, as California remains in a drought. We will sweat more as the body responds to the influences of the summer season. Sweating is good because it is the body’s natural cooling strategy, and the Yang energy is the motivational force that opens and closes our pores to send the sweat out. Sometimes, however, we sweat too much, which leads to overheating, so during the summer months, we must always replenish the fluids we lose from our activities. There’s no need to drink too many iced beverages though – ice constricts our digestive systems and may lead to indigestion. An excellent alternative to ice-cold drinks is fruit juices to help cool down your system. You could also splash your water with fresh lemon juice or add cucumber, a cooling-agent, to your water.
Some suggestions to help keep your circulation and heart balanced during the summer:
*Socialize: celebrate the joy of summer with others; be outdoors, have fun, go out!
*Swim: the cooling Yin water helps to balance the summer Yang.
*Remain active: ride your bike, take walks or go for a run.
*Be carefree: let your anxieties rest and allow yourself to travel, relax, and be leisurely.
*Complete projects: because you have the most energy this time of the year, the summer months are the best time to complete projects that you’ve started.
*Drink cooling teas like chrysanthemum or green tea.
*Eat melons on hot days; eat more frequent, smaller meals, light soups and light suppers, and reduce intake of dairy products and heavy seasonings.
*Get an acupuncture treatment for balancing the body, mind and spirit and to unleash your core energy.
Here’s a light, refreshing recipe that’s especially good for the summer:
Kelp Noodles Pad Thai
- 1 Bag of Sea Tangle Kelp Noodles
- 1 Red Pepper
- 1 Green Onion
- Bean Sprouts, 2 cups
- Carrots, 2-4 slices
- Sesame Oil, 1/2 tbls
- 1 garlic clove
- Red Chili Pepper Flakes
- Peanut butter,2 tbls
- Thai Sweet Chili Sauce, 1 tbsp
- Hot Sauce, 1 tbsp
- Soy Sauce, 1 tbsp
- 1 lime
- Peanuts, crushed, 10 peanuts
- Cilantro, 1/4 cup
- Fresh Basil, to garnish
Start off by making the sauce. Mix all of the ingredients together.
- Wash and slice all of the vegetables in bite-size pieces.
- Crush the peanuts for the garnish.
- Rinse the kelp noodles under hot water. This helped to “relax” them. Either take your clean scissors and cut them up a bit or use a knife and cut them. They seem to be one long noodle, so for serving into portions, you need to have some separation to the noodles
- Pan fry the vegetables that you have chosen. In this case, it is red pepper with some garlic. But you can use broccoli, asparagus, spinach, or whatever is in season.
- Add in the kelp noodles and start cooking them for about 1 minute.
- Add in the sauce and cook again until the sauce is hot. You can then move this portion of the dish into serving plates.
- Quickly sauté the carrots and bean sprouts. Don’t overcook, this is just to get them warm.
Place bean sprouts and carrots on top of the noodles and then garnish with crushed peanuts, basil, and cilantro.
- Serve and Enjoy!
(Modified from http://www.pinkspantry.com/2013/05/kelp-noodle-phad-thai.html)
Sending good health, and I look forward to seeing you soon!
Sascha, Tree of Qi Acupuncture Clinic