“The earth laughs in flowers.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson
Summer is a time of lush growth and maturation. Under the warmth of the sun, the buds of spring open to flowers which produce fruit.
This opening up and reaching toward the sun is happening in us. Have you noticed a desire to reach out and connect to others? Move or exercise out of doors? Lighten up in all ways—clothes, food, and mood/spirit?
Summer is a time of activity, expansion, and development. If I have planted seeds and tended them in the spring, my activity in the summer will bring expansion and growth of these plans to fruition. And summer is the time to enjoy this process.
In Chinese medicine, Summer corresponds to the Fire element, the element that provides light and warmth. Fire infuses us with enthusiasm, vitality, and energy.
The Fire element expresses itself as joy and shows up as laughter and enthusiasm. This is the season of maximum expansion, and so we expand outward to reach out to connect to others and to work in partnership with those in our lives. It encourages us to be spontaneous and passionate, to lighten up and explore the adventures of life.
The organ systems that correspond to the summer are the Heart and the Small Intestine. In addition to regulating blood circulation, the Heart Official is the Emperor or Empress of the kingdom of each individual. The Heart sees an individual’s true nature and empowers a person to follow his purpose in life. A well-functioning heart allows us to respond freely and spontaneously to each new situation in our lives. The Small Intestine is the sorter of the pure from the impure. It separates what we take in on all levels—physically, mentally, and emotionally/spiritually. It separates out and assimilates what we need and passes the rest onto the large intestine for disposal.
Fire has two other officials, the Pericardium (or Heart Protector) and the Triple Energizer (or Triple Heater). These officials are more functions than actual organs. The Pericardium Official opens and closes the gate to the Heart, letting in what the Small Intestine decrees worthy and keeping out what could damage the Heart. The Triple Energizer is responsible for spreading the Heart’s warmth throughout the bodily kingdom. Physically it keeps the body temperature in its appropriate range and on another level it allows communication and outreach, spreading this warmth to others.
Suggestions for living in harmony with the summer season
- Play. Borrow a child if necessary to give yourself permission to play tag, catch lightening bugs and put them in a jar, or any other activity which reminds your heart to sing.
- Laugh often. If you find yourself thinking “One day we’ll laugh about this,” why not laugh now?
- Spend time with people you love. Rent a really funny video and invite friends over to watch it with you. Have a crab feast. Go to a ballgame with friends or family and really cheer and holler.Go on a trip with your college room mate.
- Buy a pack of 10 postcards and send them out just to say hi.
- Relish the little joys – watch the fireflies at twilight, smell the roses,
- What are you doing when you catch yourself smiling? Do more of it.
- Live your passion – go on that ecology walk, volunteer at the homeless shelter, do whatever you are excited about.
- Get physical – get into your body and get out of your head. Go for a hike, dance, swim, get your circulation going.
- When it’s hot outside, eat foods to cool you down such as cucumbers and watermelon (see list of seasonal foods).
- Stay hydrated; drink plenty of cool (NOT cold) spring water.
- Change you diet: In the summer we need a diet to help us stay cool and light. Eat mostly fruits and vegetables, higher water content foods. These fresh, local foods are plentiful right now. Cut back on dairy products and meat. Eat your heavier meals in the cooler part of the day so as not to overwork your digestive system.
Fresh Produce to Eat in Early Summer
|Peas – all varieties
Fresh Produce to Eat in Summer
Cabbage Lime SpinachCarrotsMelonsSummer SquashChardMintthymeCherriesOnionsTomatoesCornOrangesZucchiniCucumber
|Peppers – sweet and hot
I am getting my first green beans from the farm. Here are 2 recipes to get you started using this great abundance.
Green Beans with Walnuts
- 1 lb. green beans, halved
- 4 Tablespoons soy sauce
- 1/4 cup toasted walnut pieces
In sauce pan, bring water to boil. And beans, cover and cook about 2 minutes until tender crisp. Drain. Pour soy sauce over green beans. Sprinkle with walnuts.
Roasted New Potato and Green Bean Salad
- 1 lb. new potatoes, quartered or halved depending on size
- olive oil
- 1 lb. green beans, halved
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup chopped flat parsley
- sea salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toss potatoes with olive oil; bake 35 minutes. Add green beans and garlic to baking dish. Add more olive oil and toss ’til vegetables are lightly coated. Bake about 30 minutes more, stirring once, until potatoes are soft and green beans are tender. Sprinkle with parsley, salt, and pepper; toss to blend seasonings. Serve at room temperature.
Happy Independence Day! I got my first local tomatoes, so here’s a cooling summer salad recipe which I am making for today.
- 1 cup quinoa
- 1 1/4 cups water
- 1 bunch flat parsley, chopped
- 1 handful fresh mint, chopped
- 6 Tablespoons lemon juice
- 5 Tablespoons olive oil
- sea salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cucumber diced
- the green parts of 3 green onions, chopped
- 3 tomatoes, seeded and diced
In a small bowl, cover quinoa with water and soak 6 or more hours. Rinse thoroughly. Put water and quinoa in saucepan and bring water to a simmer. Reduce heat to low. Cover and cook 30-35 minutes, until all water is absorbed. Let sit 5-10 min. Fluff with fork.
Meanwhile, chop herbs and vegetables. Place herbs in large bowl with lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Pour hot quinoa over them; stir to combine. Stir in vegetables. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Add more lemon juice or seasoning if necessary.
Below is my husband’s new favorite summer recipe and one more. Enjoy!
Avacodo and Tomato Gazpacho
from Daverick Leggett’s Recipes for Self-Healing
- 6 tomatoes
- 1/2 cucumber
- 1-2 cloves garlic
- 4 Tablespoons lime juice
- 2 avocados
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh mint
- 1 Tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 cup unsweetened corn
- 3 drops tabasco sauce
- 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 Tablespoons sesame seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 lb. green beans
- 1/3 lb. carrots
- 2 1/2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 1/4 cup toasted walnuts
(Middle Eastern Bread and Tomato Salad)
- 2 rounds whole wheat pita
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil
- 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- ¼ cup chopped fresh mint
- ¼ cup chopped flat leaf parsley
- 1 cucumber, sliced
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
Brush both sides of pita with olive oil. Toast about 10 minutes until crisp. Set aside.
Mix remaining olive oil, lemon juice, mint, parsley, salt and pepper. Pour over cucumber and tomatoes.
Break pita into pieces; add to bowl. Toss and serve immediately.
adapted from Carol Reggia
- 2 cans black eyed peas
- 8 oz. fresh corn, blanched or use frozen corn
- chopped: plum/Roma tomatoes, sweet bell peppers, and scallions
- apple cider vinegar based vinaigrette
Combine all ingredients. Let sit in refrigerator at least an hour before serving.