Summer Cooling Off Solutions

| August 2, 2016 | 0 Comments

By Violet Green

Mint offers many food and drink benefits.

Mint offers many food and drink benefits.

If you venture out into a clothing store in San Diego in late July or early August looking for “summer clothes,” you’ll be out of luck. The stores will have an abundant supply of long pants (including corduroys), sweaters, long-sleeved shirts, and even jackets or light coats. As a transplant from the East Coast this has always baffled me. The retail market for clothing here cycles at the same time as it does in New England. So, for those of you who have run out of shorts, summer dresses, and swimsuits, you’ll need to make your purchases online – I hear there may even be some good end-of-the-season sales.

At the very same time, the temperature starts increasing here all around San Diego County and can last into, and through, the month of October. I know I can feel the heat building in my body – can you? So, besides going to the ocean or for a dip in a friend’s pool, how do you plan to keep yourself cool for the next couple of months? Of course you’ll want to eat lighter meals and more fresh fruits and veggies – it’s no coincidence that they’re in season right now. But, you also need to keep yourself hydrated. What better way than to cool yourself from within?

In both Western herbal traditions and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the bitter flavor is considered cooling to the body, so ingesting food or herbs that have this effect are a good idea during the heat of the season. Just think about a nice tall glass of ice and lemonade on a hot, hot day…ahhhh, right? If your “go to” summer drink is lemonade, you might want to consider making your own. What’s available in stores, even though it may be organic, is often very high in sugar and that can add a lot of empty calories to your day, and may contribute to weight gain or even increase your risk of diabetes.

How about trying a refreshing, healthful alternative – even something tasty enough to serve at your next picnic or family gathering? I recommend trying some cooling drinks made from easy-to-find herbs. Do you have any mint in your garden? Pick a few leaves, combine them with lime or lemon juice in water, and add some honey to offset the pucker. Or, add some mineral water to make it bubbly. A friend recently suggested a unique combination of hibiscus and chamomile, with a pinch of stevia (leaf). The red hibiscus tea is heart healthy and the sour quenches your thirst, while the chamomile is calming and slightly bitter. In my mind, I associate chamomile with relaxing bed-time teas, so this is a new way for me to include this wonderful herb to balance the fire from within. Chamomile is a favorite nervine herb for many people, since it’s very gentle and is generally regarded as safe for all ages, even babies.

Once you’ve come up with your favorite recipe, try making your new tea into popsicles – no fancy gear needed. Just pour cool tea into paper cups and pop in the freezer. About an hour later, insert wooden sticks into the freezing tea and let freeze fully, overnight is best. When you’re ready, peel off the paper and enjoy!

Category: Health & Fitness, Life Style

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General articles by the Presidio Sentinel and Associated Partners.

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