• Cool your body with food

    Posted on June 21, 2012 by Elaine in 5 minute meal, Athlete's Corner, Breakfast Idea, Calorie Counter, Thoughts and Musings.

    Photo from gardening.ktsa.com

    The past two days here in NYC has been hot, hot, hot!  A heatwave like this at 95 degrees tends to make people feel lethargic, cranky, and dehydrated.  The best way to stay ahead of the game and function at your best so that your loved ones or coworkers who rely on you can see you at your best, is to:  DRINK TONS OF WATER!

    But drinking water all day long can get boring. Did you know that there are a variety of other drinks and variety of food items to choose from to help make your hot day a bit cooler? (definitely not soda or coffee as both are dehydrating contrary to the popular iced coffee you see everyone carrying around)

    In Chinese medicine, foods are categorized as either hot, warm, or cold, cool. It is this idea of yin and yang to balance one’s Qi, or energy. In the winter you want to eat more “hot” foods, and when I say hot, I don’t mean the temperature but rather the nature and energetics of that particular food item and how it makes your body feel. And in the summertime, you want to nourish your body with cold or cooling foods. Eating with the seasons can help your body function at its optimal rate.

    Here are some suggestions of cool/cold food items for you to choose from as you try and get through a hot day like today.

    Fruits:                        Vegetables:
    - watermelon                  – celery
    - pear                           – cucumber
    - grapefruit                   – zucchini
    - cantaloupe                   – eggplant
    - kiwi                           – asparagus
    - lemon                         – white mushrooms
    - mango                         – water chestnuts
    - tangerines                   – bok choy
    - plum                           – cabbage
    - blueberries                   – snow peas

    Meats/seafood:                  Other:
    - duck                             – tofu
    - crab                             – wheat germ
    - octopus                         – green tea
    - snail                             – royal jelly
    - frog                             – soy sauce
    - mussels                       – white pepper
    - egg whites                     – seaweed

    As you can see, there are so many options to choose from to help cool down your body and fight off the tiredness and grouchiness that is likely to occur on a 95 degree day like today.   Other benefits besides the cooling effect are that these foods are often budget conscious, light, and low in calories.  The trick is to think outside the box and don’t resort to your usual hamburger and fries or pizza for lunch.

    Crab and avocado salad

    Crab and avocado salad

    Instead of grabbing a grilled steak kabob with onions and peppers and seasoned with hot sauce for lunch (which although sounds tempting can leave you feeling hot and tired) from the truck guy around the corner from your office, get a seaweed salad with grilled calamari garnished with tomatoes and cucumbers. Or get an arugula salad with tofu, tomatoes, celery, cucumbers, asparagus, white mushrooms, and zucchini. Wash that down with a royal jelly drink, iced green tea, or water with a slice of lemon. For a snack during the day, grab a fruit salad mixed with watermelon, cantaloupes, pineapples, and mangos. You will feel that your workday isn’t so laborious and will even have enough energy to squeeze in a work-out after work.

    Speaking of working out, a final tip, for all you hardcore athletes out there, yes it is important to continue your exercise regimen. But be smart about it – instead of running outdoors, run at the gym. Maybe trade in your run for a swim in your gym pool and do some laps instead. Finally, when you shower, end it with a cold water shower. It will help to cool down your body and after a long day of trudging around the city in 95 degree weather. It will feel oh so good!! So go ahead and give your hot body some lovin’ by cooling it down with one of the foods mentioned here =).

    Watermelon photo from Cutest Food

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