Indian summer is THE SEASON in the Bay Area. Park sitting, jumping in rivers, lakes, and even possibly the ocean, attending outdoor festivals, and standing in the Bi-rite ice cream line is most likely in your future. It’s a time when you should be feeling energetic, light, free and maybe even a little wild.
However…have you noticed lately that you are?
- Craving more sweets
- Nauseous or lost your appetite
- Gaining weight
- Retaining fluids
- Feeling weaker in general
If so, that’s because late summer corresponds with the Earth element according to Chinese medicine, and the Earth element governs our digestive system. Therefore, late summer is the time that disharmonies in the digestive system typically arise. Chinese medicine names the Spleen as the yin/solid organ responsible for proper digestion. Disharmony in the Spleen can create any of the symptoms mentioned above.
And now that the weather is warmer, you’re probably consuming more salads, iced beverages, cold treats (ice cream, popsicles), and higher quantities of fruit. These all create extra stress on the Spleen.
While there is still room for a little of that goodness in your diet, it’s important to make a few adjustments to maintain balance and restore digestive harmony. Nourish and protect your Spleen, and you will feel like that wild summer child you were meant to be.
The following are some of my favorites ways to nurture my summer taste buds without adding extra stress on my digestion:
Replace some of those raw salads with grilled vegetables. Corn, summer squashes, and radishes are yummy to grill and great choices for the Spleen. Eating corn in moderation can reduce water retention, and squash can nourish the spleen in cases of deficiency. Radishes are more cleansing, and are a great choice when your spleen has been weighed down by a recent binge on dairy or greasy foods. (Have you forgotten about those fried mozzarella sticks you ate last weekend?).
Enjoy a cup of warm herbal mint tea. Mint tea is a hot beverage that can actually cool down your body. Mint can also reduce gas and bloating (hello bikini!), and has the added benefit of cooling that hot temper of yours (or maybe you should make a cup for your partner).
Make lemon based soups. Lemony foods are light and refreshing, and perfect for the summer palate. Make a summer soup that will be easy to digest, and also make you and your Spleen happy. Here, and here are links to a couple of my favorites.
Add a slice of ginger to your smoothie. Smoothies are the latest health food fad, and for a good reason. You can pack tons of greens and fruits into one easy, satisfying drink. However, these are usually cold, and can contain a high amount of sugar that could injure your Spleen. Remedy this by adding a slice of ginger, and eliminating the ice.
Now you’re ready to take full advantage of the season! Please note that these changes can help mild disharmonies of the Spleen. However, if you suspect you have a more serious case of improper digestion, a Double Happiness Health practitioner can help get you on a personalized diet and herbal plan