Tips on staying cool & healthy this summer, helping your skin glow, & giving yourself more energy
The weather has finally shifted in Portland. After a long wet spring- the days are finally showing their length and heating up to the high eighties by 5pm. The rivers are cool and clear and abundant with tiny salmon. It's always lush in the Pacific Northwest this time of year, but on a El Nina year like this year, everything feels more lush and potent and healthy.
The city bustles even more in the summer. The population increases and it feels like no one has a job. Restaurants and cafe's are always packed. The ice cream shops have lines around the block. In this town; beer, music, and fancy fried food are kings. (can you guess which of the three actually computes in my mind? Music of course ;)
I live in the city for it's conveniences, but every year I get older, the less they feel like conveniences and the more I get pulled to the wide open spaces, the large skies, the rivers, the lakes, the quiet places where I can place my feet on the dirt and hear the trees rock back and forth.
Now that summer is here and the days are longer we naturally have more energy. We also tend to overbook ourselves. We socialize more, sleep less, spend more time outdoors, and forget to slow down.
Did you know that our bodies need different nutrients in the summer than in the winter?
Did you also know that it's important to drink more water and bring more cooling foods into our diet?
When the temperature rises, our bodies turn on their own A/C. We sweat more and overheat easily because our body is trying to cool us down. This takes up a lot of energy and if your eating heavy inflammatory foods it just makes it harder for your body to cool you down, making you feel sluggish and tired.
Here are some great tips on how to keep cool over the hot months:
Keep your body alkaline by eating MOSTLY green vegetables raw and cooked. SOME fresh fruit, meat, grains & legumes. WITH some natural fats in every meal.
An alkaline diet is essential for keeping weight off, diseases at bay, having more energy and having healthy looking skin. The traditional western diet brings our body's PH to an acidic level. The longer our bodies stay in an acidic PH, the easier it is for disease and cancer to develop. Our bodies become more prone to heart disease, cardiovascular disease, liver inflammation, arthritis, joint pain, and an overall lower functioning immune system. It leaves your body not only prone to disease but makes your chances of getting colds, flu's, and other viral infections easier as well. Eating green vegetables, low sugar fruit like berries and lemons at every meal is essential to looking and feeling well. Meat, grains and legumes will keep your energy up, and healthy fats like cultured dairy, nut oils, nuts, and butter- will let your body absorb all of the nutrients from vegetables, grains, legumes, and will sustain your energy far longer than any carbohydrate.
Alkaline foods and herbs that will naturally help cool the body & fight disease:
Putting a small slice or sprig of these in your water will alkalinize your system & it tastes great!
Eat more of these with every meal:
Lay off processed sugar of all kinds, drink less caffeine, stop eating processed foods, less alcohol, keep carbs at a minimum, and eliminate carbonated drinks
These foods are the main players for inflammation in our body. This is important to do ALWAYS. In the summer months, it is key! Summertime is a time of abundant fruits and vegetables. Our bodies want to eat seasonally and this is the season for fresh, nutrient dense veggies and fruits. If you can take sugar, caffeine, alcohol, soda and simple carbohydrates (pasta, flour, baked goods, pizza, bread, white rice, chips, boxed cereal) completely out of your diet your body will seriously feel amazing!
All of these foods are inflammatories in nature so eating them will make your body work harder, and can raise your blood pressure if your prone to hypertension. The more of this stuff you put in your body the harder your heart, cells, liver and kidneys have to work. If your liver and kidneys can’t keep up with the toxins that are coming into your body- the toxins re-circulate through your blood. If this happens on a daily basis you will start to see signs of inflammation: acne, migraines, headaches, edema, slow circulation, sleep problems, fatigue, psoriasis, excema, gut issues, rashes. These are the first signals your body is giving you to let you know that something is wrong.
Start cooking from scratch
The one thing I tell people when they want to eat healthier but don't know how. I always tell them to start cooking from scratch and to stop eating from containers. Most everything that you find at the store in a box, can, bag, jar. has many unwanted ingredients. Many of these ingredients are known carcinogens, immune suppressants, endocrine disruptors. Many of them are fillers that aren't good for our body to consume on a daily basis. By choosing to eat pre-made packaged food: it's important to be aware of all the extra ingredients that your putting in your body without really asking for them. Some of the most common are the most toxic. Here are a few to be aware of:
Ingredients linked to cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes: high fructose corn syrup, added sugars, palm oil, partially hydrogenated oils/trans fat, bi-products of corn
Known carcinogens: carageenan, Yellow #5, caramel coloring, BHA, Potassium Bromate, bi-prodcuts of soy, artificial sweeteners.
Known immune disruptors: red #40. Blue #2, MSG
Yup- We should all be drinking around a gallon of water (not sparkling water) during the day. This keeps our body hydrated and flushes toxins out of our system.
Some other educational material on diet, health and the toxins in our food:
- When this book came out-it changed my life
- This guy actually worked in the health and food industry and quit out of disgust from what he witnessed.
- Rob Wolf is really looking at nutrition in a very new way. If your curious about the paleo diet start here.
- Want to actually eat carbs and drink caffeine sometimes? A ketogenic diet might be the way to go. This is a great diet.
- A great doc on the food industry
- want to know why sugar is so bad? FED UP - goes deep into americas sugar epidemic.
- A great website and a great documentary on how you can eat a plant based diet