On a more emotional level, too much worrying and over-thinking can also create dampness in the body! However, with summer vacations and hopefully a more fun schedule of things to do compared to dreary winter days, that part won’t be a contributing factor. If you do feel a bit over-burdened with worry, now would be a good time to find a comfy, quiet spot- maybe under a nice shady tree, and meditate for a few minutes each day to relax.
So what can we do with our diet to help prevent these rather unpleasant symptoms from ruining our summer? Well, there are a few things! Lucky for us, we live in an area with great local farmers markets where you can pick up tons of fresh produce to munch on when you’re hungry. Fruit salads and roasted veggies, make for great dishes to bring to barbeques. And with their high water content, if you eat the healthy food you bring to the party first- you may be too full to indulge in other, more dampening foods later on! Do note that too much fruit can cause dampness due to its high sugar content (so opt for mostly veggies), but it is still a better choice than greasy, fried foods! Another important thing to remember is that cold and/or raw foods can create dampness- so while eating fresh fruits and veggies is good- try roasting or steaming veggies so they are easier on your digestive system.
It’s also a good idea to keep a healthy snack on hand so you are not as tempted to grab food while you’re out from a food truck or ice cream stand. Sunflower or pumpkin seeds, an apple, or celery sticks can be good choices (again just make sure it’s not too much raw food). Also, good quality jerky or hard boiled eggs can be great and give you some protein to keep you fuller longer. During the summer time, try to avoid snacks like yogurt and cheese, as dairy is very dampening (ice cream, unfortunately is everything damp: sweet, cold, and dairy). Also flour-based products (bread, pasta) and processed foods can wreak havoc on our digestive systems, so minimize those too! Some good foods to replace those with include: brown rice, amaranth, barley, adzuki beans, kidney beans, and lentils, as they all help rid the body of dampness. Eating good quality meats and fish can help too. Finally, do your best to limit alcohol and caffeine, as both can both dehydrate you and create dampness. Try sipping on jasmine or green tea instead.
If this sounds like too much to remember, just listen to your body- if your stomach doesn’t feel great after eating something you usually eat all year, it may be just a bit too heavy for right now. Tweak things around until you feel good! Happy Summer!