It has been sweltering, smoldering, hot, humid, and yucky pooh! The weather has been acting like a baby with diaper rash! Cranky! And frankly, so am I.
But even though it’s hot, we have to eat, right? But what? The last thing I want to do is to be in the kitchen using heat to cook or grill in this outdoor heat. I can’t tell whether this weather is making me hot or it’s the biological hot flashes that are at fault. Regardless, my body was craving “Yin” (cold) foods lately than “Yang” (hot) foods with this weather.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), balancing your Chi with food is an integral part of maintaining health, whether they are Yin or Yang. Why do I bring this up? Well, for instance, if you have high blood pressure or have a skin rash or a sore throat, you have excessive Yang and should not eat frozen foods or dairy. But on days like this, all we crave are frozen margaritas and ice cream sundaes, right? Well, put down that ice cream scoop.
On the other hand, if you are deficient in Yang and excessive in Yin, you might feel weak and shouldn’t have foods like seaweed, grapefruit, or broccoli. You should eat chicken and believe it or not, you can eat a big bowl of that ice cream sundae. Read more here (although the site is about honey, it has some great info about Chinese medicine) and here about what are heaty (yang) or cool (yin) foods. But remember, balance is the key…like everything in life.
So considering these Yin and Yang foods for weather like this, plus our personalities, I’ve been eating lots of salads, like Seaweed Salads but also to balance Qi, I’ve been adding some Yang foods like coffee ice cream too. YUM!
Seaweed (Wakame) and Cucumber Salad
Serving Size: 4
1/2 C. dried Wakame*
1 pickling cucumber, thinly sliced
1 scallion – chopped
1 clove garlic minced
1 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp sesame seeds
1 tsp grated or chopped ginger
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 tbsp rice vinegar or white distilled vinegar
Soak dried wakame in cold water for about 10 minutes until they are soft.
Wash wakame under cold water well and drain.
Chop wakame into one-inch pieces. Put them in a medium size glass bowl. Add sliced cucumbers, chopped scallions, garlic, sesame seeds, salt and pepper to taste. Chill for an hour. Mix in vinegar right before serving.
*Wakame (kelp or seaweed) is rich in protein, calcium, iodine, magnesium, iron, and folate. Decreased rates of breast cancers have been reported in Japanese women eating a diet high in kelp. Lignans, which help fight cancer are found in high quantity in wakame (kelp) and may provide protection against certain cancers. Read more about the variety of sea veggies, including kombu in my post on Sea Veggies Primer to get more recipes, including how to make sushi and seaweed soup.