3 Chinese-Medicine-Approved Foods to Keep You COOL This Summer

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This is about the time of year where I quickly become your least favorite person… That’s right. I am obliged to talk to you about the impact of cold and raw foods on your digestive system. 

Why now? Well, it’s getting hot out there! When it’s hot, what do we want to eat more of? Definitely ice cream, smoothies, acai bowls, salads... Who’s eating soup these days?! Not many of us, that’s for sure! 

Even more importantly, as we transition into the fall and enter the blissful period of “late summer” in a few weeks, we enter into the season that puts our digestive system at its most vulnerable. If you’ve been with me for a while you know that different seasons make different organ systems more susceptible to stress and imbalance. If you know me really well, then you know that the best way to tackle this is before the organ system gets out of balance. Hence, preventative medicine. 

Therefore, NOW is when we dive headfirst into taking care of our spleen energy and nourish our Earth element so that we don’t find ourselves having increasingly severe digestive issues during this vulnerable time. That means eating warm foods. For a review on why warmer foods are better for our digestive system, refer here.

Okay, but Holly, I’m still hot--what do I do? 

I thought you’d never ask! Today, I am going to highlight cooling foods that you can add into your diet that won’t totally zap your digestive fire, but will still give you the relief from the heat that you need. 

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#1 Mint. 

Mint is my fave! We are talking fresh, delicious mint you’d get in one of those lovely mojito drinks on the beach in Jamaica. 

But wait, NO, NO, NO, those have ice! Don’t worry, there are many different ways we can access the cooling properties of mint without ice. Here are my top uses: 

  • Throw it in a water pitcher and let it sit out on your counter/ room temperature water with some fresh mint sprigs = so dang refreshing, loves! 

  • Add it into a salad or stir fry. I literally just throw it on top. If you’re going the salad route though, remember to either add some roasted veggies or some cooked meat and eat it alongside a warm lemon water or herbal tea. 

  • Use peppermint essential oil on the back of your neck or even take a few wiffs! Bonus: this will also boost your energy with the fresh smell! 

  • Peppermint tea is actually fabulous and has the benefit of still being warm but cooling! Yay for mint! 

#2 Watermelon. 

Watermelon is a fruit, so therefore a little more cold in nature than the mint. (Notice it’s not my number one pick for this list?) Though we don’t want foods that are too cooling, we do want ones that will help us stay comfortable in the heat while not disrupting our digestive processes. 

Watermelon is very cooling, but it is used to calm ‘Summer Heat’ (in other words, intense heat), so it is great on a warm day. Believe it or not, it is actually an herb in our Chinese Materia Medica (basically, the herbal bible for acupuncturists and other practitioners of Chinese medicine). Here are a few ways to work this cooling food into your day: 

  • Eat watermelon at room temperature and later in the day. A good rule of thumb is to always have something warm in the morning--starting your day with a cooked meal and some warm lemon water is ideal. 

  • Combine it with mint and feta in a salad (alongside your tea of course) 

  • Juice it! Because it is already very watery, it makes a delicious juice, especially combined with strawberries and mint (yum!) 

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#3 Cucumber

A cooling veggie, a delicious veggie! Again, colder in nature, so eat mindfully. 

  • Cucumber is great to add to any stir fry (I will normally stir fry everything then add chopped cucumber on top for a little crunch and cooling) 

  • Juice cucumber, ginger and carrots together for a delicious juice. The ginger will balance the cold nature of the other two and give your body a mild cooling effect that is easier on the digestive system. 

  • My new fave is to sub out real chips for cucumber chips and eat it with guacamole! Holy moly, talk about delicious! 

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There you have it, my top 3 cooling foods for these hot summer months. Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy! We are so lucky around here to have lots of local farms--buy local and organic whenever possible! 

To a cool rest of summer,

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