5 Recipes to Cool the Summer Heat – Traditional Chinese Medicine
Have you been feeling a bit grumpy, exhausted and irritable lately? What about your sleep? With the summer heat, it can upset your body’s balance and cause us to feel off-centered.
When the mercury rises, you probably want to reach for cold beer, ice-cream and frozen desserts. Sadly, in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) theory, those are bad choices as when you ingest any food that is cooler than your actual body temperature, your body has to create more heat to warm up the food in order to digest it. This added heat will increase your body temperature.
In TCM, foods and herbs have different properties that can either cool down or warm up your body temperature. One way to cool down is to eat foods that induce urination as this clears heat from your body.
Below are 5 easy recipes to help you cool down this summer.
Properties: Cool, Sweet
Benefits: Heart, Bladder and Stomach
If you are thirsty, feeling low energy, suffering from headaches or dizziness when the weather is hot, watermelon can help.
In Chinese Medicine, watermelon is used to prevent or recover from heat exhaustion. It hydrates your body and helps to induce urination, this helps to clear heat from your body.
Caution: If you have a weak digestion, excessive or uncontrolled urination, lower your consumption of watermelon.
Recipe – Watermelon ice cubes
Cut watermelon into cubes and freeze it. When you are ready to consume, put a couple in your water and you get a sweet & refreshing treat.
Properties: Cooling, Sweet and Salty
Benefits: Spleen, Stomach and digestion
Barley is versatile, you can add it to soups or salads and it is very easy to digest. It can help to reduce water retention. Remember to soak your barley before cooking to help with digestion and quicken the cooking process.
Recipe – Lemon Barley Drink
1C Pearl Barley (soak overnight)4L Water3 Pandan LeavesSugar/Honey to tasteHalf a lemon
Rinse the pearl barley well.Add pearl barley and pandan leaves into a big pot with water.Bring it to a boil for 5-10 minutes then turn it down and simmer for 75 minutes. Add more water during the cooking process as the water evaporates.In the last 10 minute, add honey or sugar.Add lemon juice last and enjoy it warm or slightly cool with a few ice cubes.
Properties: Slightly Cool, Sweet and Sour.
Benefits: Helps with digestion, treats excess heat and is a diuretic.
Pick a pineapple that is ripe, sweet and not acidic.
Caution: Avoid if you have peptic ulcers or skin discharges.
Recipe – Pineapple fried rice
1½C Pineapples cut into small cubes½C Red pepper, diced½C Green pepper, diced½C Carrot, diced½ onion, diced2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped3 cups of cooked white/brown basmati rice (Rice is cooling in TCM)Salt and pepper to taste1 Tbsp Sesame seed oil (optional)2 Tbsp Olive oil
Heat olive oil in pan, fry onion till soften. Then add garlic and fry till lightly browned.Add in all the vegetables, saute until they slightly soften.Add in the rice and pineapple last, mix all the ingredients together. Salt and pepper to taste.Turn off the heat and add sesame seed oil.
Properties: Cooling and Sweet.
Benefits: Heart, Spleen, Stomach and Large Intestine. It is used as a diuretic and can moisten the lungs and quenches thirst.
On a hot and dry day, cucumber juice is cooling and hydrates the body.
Caution: Avoid cucumber if you have diarrhea.
Beauty tip: When my eyes are red and itchy, I placed thinly sliced cucumber on my eyes as it is very calming.
Recipe – Gado Gado
What is Gado Gado?
It is also known as lotek. Gado Gado is an Indonesian salad served with a peanut sauce dressing. It is full of vegetables and the freshness of the vegetables combined with peanut sauce does something wonderful to your taste buds.
4 large potatoes, cooked and cut into cubes4 large hard boiled eggs, cut into wedges2 large handful of bean sprouts1C long green beans, cut into half½ white cabbage, shredded2 ripe tomatoes & 1 cucumber (diced and cut into small pieces)½ bunch of fresh coriander (chopped)4 Fried tofu, cut into small piecesPeanut sauce (You can make this from scratch or buy it from the supermarket)Lontong (rice cake with log shape), cut into 1 cm thick (I leave this out if I don’t have time to make it)
Lightly boiled, blanched or steam the green beans and cabbage till slightly soft but still crunchy, then let cool.Add all the ingredients into a big bowl, mix well and serve with peanut sauce dressing.Add the coriander as a garnish
Properties: Cooling, Sweet and Sour
Benefits: Reduces heat, moisten dryness and cool heat. It also helps with digestion.
Enjoy an apple when it is hot out or put some apples in your salad.