Early Summer Seasonal Harmony
By Ellasara Kling
You were born with a natural self-healing ability. Your body is a microcosm that reflects the macrocosm. Think about it; nature has a regenerative capacity, and so do you. Sometimes, this ability may appear to be lost or difficult to access, but the good news is, in most cases, it is never completely gone. TCM helps you recharge this self-healing function. — Master and Dr. Nan Lu.
The Early Summer Season is a time of blooming and the beginning of great natural abundance. The warmer weather, blue, sunny skies, puffy clouds, plants blooming, showing off an array of colors, sun showers with rainbows, and birds singing are all signs that we recognize as “Summer is here!” It brings a sense of happiness with it. Smiling at the “show” is such a natural reaction. Opening our hearts to beauty in Summer is also a natural reaction. Generally, we “feel” healthier, stronger, better in the Summer, even if we are still dealing with an out of balance circumstance. How fortunate we are to participate in this time of natural opening when plants, for example, begin to demonstrate the results of their preparations throughout the previous seasons. It’s expansive and exhilarating. Taking the time to attune to the season, feeling the energy of expansion and its incredible natural beauty is restorative. Self-healing always starts with us attuning to the natural of ourselves. In Summer, the Universe openly encourages us to go as far and deep as we can to restore our balance and harmony, allow our energy to flow freely, and to experience our connection to all things/people.
Please refer to the Five Element chart below highlighting the Heart/Small Intestine/Early Summer. See if you can feel some of the relationships listed in your life. For example, an easy one is the emotion for Early Summer, Joy, as indicated above. What is the result of Joy that is in overabundance or is over exuberant? How does that affect the Heart and Small Intestines, the organ system/meridians of this season? What would balance “look” like? Notice the time of day, which refers to the time “ruled” by the Heart/Small Intestine when they are in their “highest” mode of the day and observe how you feel at this time. By directly observing our feelings/understandings of these relationships in our day-to-day lives, we can develop a deeper connection and understanding of the cycle of flow they represent. It’s Early Summer, keep it light and meaningful!
Eat Seasonal, Buy Local, Think Global, Be Universal!
EARLY SUMMER FOODS:
Some Foods that are harmonious with Early Summer include: apricot, beet, bitter melon, black coffee, broccoli, celery, coffee, cucumber, dark, unsweetened chocolate, escarole, ginger, job’s tears, lettuces such as Boston, chicory, endive & romaine, lemon balm, loquat, lotus root, lotus seed, mulberries, mung bean, okra, peach, peppermint, persimmons, pumpkin, radishes, red lentils, red peppers, red plums, rhubarb, soy beans, spinach, strawberry, summer squashes, tamarind, teas, tomato, water chestnuts, watermelon, Chinese yam, zucchini, and many others.
- 6 carrots – medium size
- 2 TB grapeseed oil
- 1 cup fresh peas
- 3 cups water or light chicken broth
- ½ tsp ground black pepper
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 TB honey
- 1 TB turmeric
- ¼ cup orange juice
- 1 tsp dried finely chopped tangerine rind
*Optional addition: coconut milk – small amount.
Optional garnishes – any of the following work well and each add a distinctively different dimension, nigella (charnushka) seeds, sesame seeds, cilantro, dill leaves, red pepper flakes, grated fresh ginger.
Cut carrots into 2” pieces and toss in oil, place on pan in a 350° oven and roast until completely soft; Let cool.
Place 1 cup of water/broth and the 1 cup of peas in a pan and lightly cook the peas – set aside.
Combine together the orange juice, orange rind, honey salt and pepper and turmeric.
Either in a blender in small batches, with a hand (immersion) blender or food mill – combine the roasted carrots and broth/water together making a smooth puree. Add in the juice mixture to the pureed carrots and put in a pot, bring to a simmer on low to medium heat – stirring often and simmer for 5 minutes. Taste and adjust spices (if there is bitterness from the turmeric, add a bit more salt) add the peas and liquid they were cooked in. Stir well and heat through. If using, add a little coconut milk at this point*, — serve and garnish as you wish.
Makes about 5-6 cups of soup. – makes a good breakfast alternative.
*If you are using coconut milk, a small amount is best so as not to overwhelm the taste of roasted carrots.
- ½ cup water
- 4 cups of watermelon (include some of the rind)
- 2 TB fresh ginger root
- tiny pinch of salt
Place all of the he ingredients in a blender and juice. You can add more water if you like to make it more “liquid”, but do not add ice. The addition of a tiny pinch of salt will enhance the sweetness of the watermelon. This is so refreshing and delightful on hot days. Watermelon can also aid in balancing weight.
Mung Bean Sprouts and Chinese Chives with Yellow flowers
- 4 cups uncooked mung bean sprouts
- 2 cups yellow flowered Chinese Chives
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup oil for stir-frying
- 1-1/2 TB minced fresh ginger
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
Wash and drain the mung bean sprouts and chives.
Cut the chives into 4” pieces
In a small bowl, lightly beat the eggs with the salt Heat a wok or heavy skillet and coat bottom with 1-1/2 TB oil
Add the eggs and so that they cover the bottom of the pan like a pancake.
Turn them over gently and the cut into thin strips and set aside on a platter Add 2 TB oil and add the minced ginger when the oil is hot.
Add the mung bean sprouts and stir-fry for about 1 minute then add the rest of the ingredients. Stir-fry for about another 1 – 2 minutes, until the chives just begin to be limp
Transfer to a platter and top with the strips of egg.
Chives are an aid to digestion, blood circulation and have antiseptic properties. Mung beans are cooling and an incredible aid to reducing inflammation.
- 1 bitter melon
- 1 large red bell pepper
- 1 cup mushrooms
- 3 cloves garlic, diced
- 1 TB diced ginger
- 1 TB walnut oil
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 2 tablespoon Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoons water
- Finishing oil
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil (optional)
Mix together the sauce ingredients
Slice the bitter melon and bell pepper very thinly. Slice the mushrooms thinly also. To prepare the bitter melon, cut it in half and remove the seeds, Some people blanch the bitter melon by submerging it briefly in boiling water (about 2 minutes). Note: The main purpose of blanching is to reduce the bitter taste.
Heat the wok and add oil Heat the oil and add the garlic and ginger – stir-fry briefly on high heat until aromatic. Add the bitter melon and bell pepper, and stir-fry on medium heat for about 2 minutes. Add the sauce ingredients and mushrooms, stir-fry on medium-high heat for 1 – 2 more minutes. Drizzle with sesame oil and serve
Bitter melon is a very popular gourd used widely in home cooking for its ability to clear heat from the body in general, the Liver in specific and to remove toxins.
Multi-flavor Sauce (This sauce is hot/pungent/sweet/salty and versatile)
- 3 TB mushroom or dark soy sauce
- 2 TB hot water
- 2 tsp crushed rock sugar
- 7 scallion whites only cut into very fine almost translucent rings
- 2” piece of ginger minced very fine
- 2 red chili peppers – seeded and chopped very fine
- 4 TB oil (peanut oil is good because it can take high heat)
Combine everything except the oil in a bowl and stir, melting the sugar.
Heat the oil in a skillet or wok from which you can easily and safely pour v. hot oil until it is shimmering, but not smoking
When you reach this point of shimmering, carefully pour the oil over the other ingredients. When it is no longer sizzling, stir it and let stand for a couple of minutes to give the flavors a chance to blend before serving as a sauce for your vegetables.
Chrysanthemum flowers are so refreshing, naturally sweet and cooling. They are also easily available and inexpensive. These flowers can cool summer heat and leave you feeling refreshed. Add a red date, 2 pieces of hawthorne berry, a few goji berries, a couple of green tea leaves to your brew and pour into a tall, clear glass and you have a refreshing tea that pretty to look at and has hidden treasures for your stomach, liver, lung, heart functions.
Red dates are said to calm the mind and make your skin glow. Chrysanthemums are cooling and refreshing especially on a hot, humid day. Red date is excellent for your stomach, green tea’s essence is cool. Hawthorne berry is, among many other medicinal uses, a digestive aid. This tea is so pretty poured into a tall clear glass that it naturally relaxes you to look at it. (Always drink it warm – no ice).
Wishing you good health!
Remember to smile from your heart at all things.
The information in this article is based on the theories and principles of Chinese Medicine/Five Element Theory. Ellasara, a practitioner of Wu Ming Qigong, has been studying with Master and Dr. Nan Lu for many years and participated in numerous special classes through TCM World Foundation and the Tao of Healing in New York City. For comments, questions, consultations, email@example.com