As the summer months roll by, it’s increasingly important to eat right—needless to say, its time to stay away from fiery foods, and opt for a cooling, soothing diet. Our expert, Punam Chopra, a holistic health counselor and the founder of SpiceBox Organics, will help you choose the right ingredients to get you through the hot summer days.
The Yin and Yang Philosophy
Traditional Chinese Medicine is an ancient science and philosophy that takes into account the four identified flavours –sweet, sour, bitter, and salty, and complements them with the nature of foods—cool, cold, warm, and hot. This philosophy is based on ‘when’ specific foods should be eaten (with the weather playing a major role), as well as advices ‘what’ to be eaten by different body types. The hot and dry weather during summer (along with the humidity in Hong Kong) affects the heart and lungs, and can create havoc. Dry skin, hair, and lips, constipation, red and irritable eyes, and heart palpitations are the usual markers to watch out for.
Today, more and more of us are learning to listen to our body and to reach out to foods that we feel is right for us. The natural trend during the summer is salads, cool drinks, juices, smoothies, less starchy vegetables, and many more.
Here is a list of cooling foods that traditional Chinese medicine recommends for this season. In addition they are filled with numerous health benefits and are extremely rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.
A cooling lentil, which has a wealth of nutrients. Great for making soups, stews, as well as sprouts.
Known for its value in soups and salads, it is also full of antioxidants like Vitamin C and flavonoids.
Best when eaten fresh. I normally like to have tomato slices in the morning with my breakfast. There are a variety of tomatoes to choose from and grocery shopping is usually not complete without it.
A perfect ingredient in salads, juices, smoothies. It quenches your thirst like water, and clears waste and toxins from your system. It is versatile in its use and great for many recipes. I highly recommend cucumber as an everyday food.
Rich in antioxidants and HDL, fresh coconut and coconut water are great cooling foods. Today we have access to coconut oil, coconut flour, coconut flakes, and fresh coconut, which can be easily added to any dish for its cooling effects and taste enhancement.
Higher in Vitamin C per ounce than most fruits! Kiwi fruit helps protect the skin from sun damage and hot weather—a great addition to salads, juices, or on its own.
Papaya or Pawpaw
A tropical fruit that is excellent during the summer for its goodness and healing benefits. It helps with digestion and is filled with a mixture of important antioxidants. It is used often in Chinese medicine.
The effects of green tea are well known. In Chinese medicine, it is used to balance the body with its cooling properties in warm weather and warming properties in cold weather.
Infuse your drinking water jug with fresh mint leaves everyday and enjoy the fresh and cooling benefits of peppermint. It has cooling and cleansing effects for your sinuses, nose, throat, and mucus.
Acts as a natural coolant and helps with lowering body temperature when suffering from heat stoke or fever. High amounts of vitamins and minerals are present like B Carotene that is converted to Vitamin A in the liver. In addition, it also has choline, folacin, niacin and riboflavin.
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DIY: Sprouted Moong Bean Salad Recipe
My personal recommendation for salad and all raw foods is to use organic ingredients.
Ingredients (serves 4):
1 cup Moong or Green Beans (raw)
1 cup chopped cucumber (peeled and deseeded)
1 cup chopped red onion
1 cup chopped or cherry tomatoes
1 cup shredded coconut
2 tablespoons fresh chopped mint leaves
1/2 cup lemon juice
2 – 3 tablespoons cold pressed Olive Oil (you may use your choice of oil as long as it’s cold pressed, and organic)
Salt and Pepper ( to taste)
1 tablespoon Honey
Sprouting makes the beans alive, increasing the nutrition threefold, and makes it easier to digest. The germination process of any lentil enhances its nutrition.
Soak 1 cup of moong beans overnight
Next morning, wash and rinse the beans and place in a bowl.
Take a wet muslin cloth and cover the beans.
Leave them standing for a day.
Check the muslin cloth and keep it wet over the beans.
Check on the beans and make sure they remain moist at all times.
By the second day, some sprouts should show.
By day three, you should see longer sprouts and they are ready to eat. Rinse them and keep in the fridge.
Place the sprouted moong beans, cucumber, onion, tomatoes, shredded coconut and mint in a bowl.
Mix the lemon juice, olive oil, and honey, in a hand blender (or use a salad dressing shaker). Add salt and pepper to taste. Blend or shake to create the dressing
Add the dressing to the salad mix and toss well. Serve as a side or as is. Enjoy!
SpiceBox Organics | 72 Third Street, G/F Shop K, Fook Moon Building, Sai Ying Pun, Hong Kong | Tel: +852 2568 2728
Store Timing: Monday to Saturday 10 am-8 pm; Sunday 12pm-6 pm