As the summer continues, and the heat rises, I am discovering new ways to stay cool.
With a recent trip to the 30A area, during that very hot couple of weeks in North Florida, and after eating a rich (and delicious) meal and drinking wine, in outside seating; I found myself overheated, uncomfortable and agitated.
Can you relate? There is no escaping that awful feeling in the moment. Feeling heavy and out of sorts, I decided something had to change. It was time to enact a new summer diet and lifestyle ASAP. One that would leave me feeling light, cool, and hydrated instead of full, hot, and flustered.
Food and drink can heat up a body, especially rich foods, loaded sauces, meats, bread, heavy grains, and alcohol.
Add a hot climate and overheated body to that and it can take a major toll, not only on one’s physical health but on mental health as well. When your body doesn’t feel well it can affect motivation, and outlook; life can look grim and uninviting.
Try these tips for turning your summer around to feeling cool, calm and collected.
A recipe for summer living
Here is The Kitchen Goddess’s new and improved recipe for summer living at its best:
- Rehydrate your body when you first wake up. Drink 16 oz. of water with a squeeze of lemon added. Drink this, before anything else, including your morning coffee.
- Make fruits and vegetables the biggest part of your diet. Let your plate reflect that by making 70% of your plate vegetables.
- Eat 100% plant based or a mostly plant-based diet. Eat lentils, beans, quinoa, nuts, seeds, and avocado. Reduce or eliminate meat and most dairy products in the summer.
- Drink cooling and hydrating beverages throughout the day, like water, coconut water, herbal teas, fresh pressed vegetable, and fruit juices, kombucha, and water with lemon, lime, cucumber, or mint.
- Eliminate or decrease alcohol for the summer; it will heat you up like nothing else. There are many new and exciting non-alcoholic cocktails and beer on the market today.
- Consider going on a vegan keto diet. Yes, vegan keto is possible. You will feel less full and more satisfied.
- Eat minimally and light amounts and types of foods. Eat salads, and smoothies with mixed greens, fruit, and vegetables. For added protein use protein powder, chia, flax, and hemp seeds in smoothies
- Embrace intermittent fasting, which will help you feel less full. Try eating in a 6-8 hour period and fasting the rest of the time. Drink plenty of fluids (listed above) during your fasting window
- Exercise indoors or early in the morning only, if exercising outdoors. Do not overexercise. Drink water while exercising
- Take cold showers throughout the day, if needed, or buy a blow-up pool and take regular dunks.
Add more water
Get cool from the inside out by adjusting your diet. It is easier than you think, and the rewards will pay off immediately. And if you do nothing else, drink more water!
Most of us are a bit dehydrated to begin with and adding a few more glasses of water a day can do wonders for cooling a body and contributing to feelings of well-being.
Here is an example of a 100% plant-based meal that can keep you cool in the summer while also being satisfying and nutritious.
Sauté thinly sliced cabbage, grated squash and zucchini then top with tomato sauce and finely chopped cashews and nutritional yeast. Add a side of quinoa or lentils, a green salad with avocado, and nuts and a bowl of fresh pineapple for dessert.
Remember to consult a nutritionist and your doctor when changing your diet to ensure your unique nutrient needs are being met.
Try this summer salad; it is filling, satiating, and cooling without being heavy.
Butternut Squash and Arugula Salad
Recipe by The Kitchen Goddess
1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed into bite-sized pieces
1 cup red cabbage thinly sliced
1-2 cups fresh arugula, chopped
1/4 to 1/2 cup pistachios or pumpkin seeds, roughly chopped
1/4 cup or a generous pour of extra virgin olive oil
Umeboshi vinegar, a few dashes (optional)
2 Tbsp. Balsamic vinegar or to taste (I like espresso or fig infused but any will do)
Sea salt to taste
Steam bite-sized butternut squash pieces until just tender (do not overcook). Place in a bowl with sliced cabbage and chopped arugula. Add dressing ingredients and nuts or seeds, and toss. Add salt to taste and adjust seasonings. Eat at room temperature or refrigerate and serve cool.
Jill Welch is a natural foods educator and chef with more than 25 years of experience in helping people improve their diet and lifestyle. For more information, visit at TheKitchenGoddess.com.
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