We have been fortunate that this year we have so far avoided the excessive heat of the last couple of years. The coolness continued until the farmers bagan to comment. On July 7th we entered the solar term of Minor Heat 小暑(xiǎo shǔ). It is the beginning of the hottest period of the the year. As it turned out, it finally got hot right on schedule. My house, not having air conditioning and getting the sun on the roof most of the day, gets very hot aftr midday. In late afternoon and early evening the cats sprawl on the floor in shady corners. I have fans directed at me as I work. Any physical activity is done in the morning, the afternoon is for writing, working on the computer, reading and running to the shops (they have air conditioning).
This is one of the times I adjust my diet. Since by the time I get up, feed the cats and do the moring chores when this period of heatand high humidity commences, I am dripping with sweat. It’s hardly when I want to cook something. Breakfast becomes a smoothie of fruit juice, plain Indian yogurt, frozen berries, instant meal or protein powder and spices, usually turmeric, nutmeg, ginger and cinnamon. It’s healthy, quick and deliciously cold. Adjusting diet to the seasons is a part of Indian Ayurvedic medicine and also TCM
Sincethe summer heat is very yang, TSM advocates that to avoid excess yang, consuming yin foods is useful. Yang foods are considered “heating” or “warming”. Green leafy vegetables are considered yin and “cooling”. Instinctively, we gravitate to salads and cooling foods in summer heat. Watermelon is a very yin food. Of course there needs to be balance. No matter how hot it gets you can’t stay balanced eating just yin foods. If it’s that hot it’s always a safe bet to drink more water. But it’s not that hard to get balance. Tomatoes, cucumbers and cilantro are yin and garlic, onions and any kind of peppers are yang, so combining them in a gazpacho gives you a nicely balanced summer dish.
So as the hot days build, enjoy summer activities and the chance to spend more ime outside. Balance your yang hamburgers with lettuce and tomato slices, have a a nice salad with your barbecues chicken and eat all the watermelon you want.