If you’re in the Austin area, then you definitely know that we are smack in the middle of summer season. Summers in Austin tend to be incredibly hot and humid. This year has brought warm temperatures and abundant rainfall. My tomatoes, mugwort and jalapeños are loving it, while I am left to sweat continuously until October arrives.Patients often want to know how to best eat along with the season. One of the tenants of TCM philosophy is to live in harmony with your surroundings. What may be appropriate for Austin might not be the best for someone in Arizona. What may be best for a peri-menopausal woman might not be best for a 12 year old boy. While everyone is different, there are some guidelines that apply to most you can follow to make summer a little more bearable!
- Eat with the season! Check out your local farmers markets. What is IN season right now and growing in your area, is likely the best thing you could be eating. Nature is so smart and graciously provides what we need. Okra, cucumber, squash, melons and tomatoes are all beautiful right now.
- Watermelon - there’s a reason it’s so popular in the summer. It’s an amazing fruit that will keep you hydrated, is incredibly affordable and has an energetically cooling property, especially the fruit right by the rind. With high levels of lycopene, it can even help prevent UV-induced sunburns. Keep one in your fridge, sprinkle tajin on it if you’re in Texas, cut it into cubes, or cut it in half and hand everyone a spoon (my favorite way to share watermelon).
- Mung bean is also a great cooling legume. It can be pounded into a juice/soup when boiled, added into recipes you would use lentils for, or even found in grocery stores as a noodle these days.
- Bittermelon can help if you tend to be constitutionally damp (think: feeling heavy, thick tongue coat that you brush off, foggy mind). Check with your practitioner - it’s an extremely cold-natured vegetable that may cause loose stools. If it does, discontinue.
- Feeling low on energy? Schedule an acupuncture appointment. Summer is the most Yang time of the year, and one of the best times to boost your Yang energy with moxa if appropriate for you. As always, check with your local acupuncturist.
Watermelon Gazpacho (serves 6, total prep time 20 minutes)
This super refreshing watermelon gazpacho really hits the spot on hot days and you don't even need to turn on a stove! This recipe from Love and Lemons makes a big batch, so store the leftovers in the fridge for easy lunches all week long.
(image and recipe from www.loveandlemons.com)
Author: Jeanine Donofrio
- 4 heaping cups cubed watermelon (seedless, or remove seeds)
- 1 English cucumber, diced, reserve half
- 3 medium tomatoes, diced, reserve half
- 1 small red bell pepper, diced, reserve half
- ⅓ cup chopped green onions, diced, reserve half
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 small handful basil
- 3 to 4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 1 to 2 teaspoons sea salt, or to taste
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ½ jalapeño pepper (optional)
- diced avocado (optional)
- micro greens for garnish (optional)
- Set aside the reserved half of the chopped cucumber, tomatoes, red pepper and green onions and place the remaining half in a blender. Add the watermelon, garlic, basil, vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper and jalapeño pepper, if using. Blend until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings.
- Pour into a large bowl (or small individual jars, as pictured) and stir in the reserved chopped vegetables.
- Chill for 3 to 4 hours or overnight. Serve with drizzled olive oil.
- Optional: garnish with diced avocado and/or micro greens before serving.