Summer is the most yang season, so it's energy is expansive, bright, and active. To align the body with the summer season is to engage with the yang brightness of the sun, and enjoy outdoor activities. Enjoy gardens, fun activities, and connection with others.
What to Cook and How to Cook it
The most important thing for every season is to appreciate and consume seasonal foods. In the summer, brightly colored vegetables and fruits are abundant so focus on variety.
Minerals can be lost during sweat, so it is important to replace them. Foods high in minerals include bananas, mangos, spirulina, and lentils. Some less refined specialty salts can also have a high amount of trace minerals.
Cooking techniques supportive of yang energy include quick sautéing at high temperature, or a quick steam or simmer. Grilling with fire can also embrace the energy of the season.
Flavor and Temperature
Cooling foods can help us stay comfortable on hot days. Cooling foods include apples, watermelon, citrus, mung beans, salads, fruit, and cucumber. Some great herbal teas include mint, chrysanthemum, and chamomile.
Dispersing or pungent foods can also be helpful. Dispersing, pungent foods like hot peppers, fresh ginger, and horseradish can help bring our body's heat closer to the surface to be cooled. Use this technique in moderation though, as excess sweating can deplete the yang in the body. Consider some bitter leafy greens to protect the fire organs (Heart and Small Intestine).
Cold foods like ice-cream are actually not the best, as cold causes contraction and can slow down digestion. This process actually might keep your circulation more internal, making cooling off more difficult. Chinese Medical theory always discourages iced beverages because of their negative effect on digestion.