4 Recipes to Tame the Summer Heat

By: Teresa Mupas

Ayurveda considers summer a pitta season. It's a season fueled by heat, activity, and long, sun-filled days. In order to keep yourself cool, it's best to avoid foods with qualities like summer: hot, heavy, and spicy. If you have a tendency to eat spicier foods, for example, try not to eat it on a very hot day. Or, if you must have spice, wait until the sun sets and the air is cooler. The spice heats you on the inside while you're already likely dehydrated from the heat outside. It can lead to indigestion or heartburn.

It's best to stay with a diet of seasonal fruits and vegetables. And even better to eat the ones that contain lots of water to cool you down inside. Eat things like watermelon, berries, cantaloupe, strawberries, kiwi, mangoes, tomatoes, zucchini, celery, avocado, and coconut.

Here are a few quick and simple recipes that will help you stay cool using seasonal vegetables:

Cucumber Salad
A staple in our family's Filipino and other Southeast Asian households, the cucumber is refreshing while the vinegar gives tang.


Ingredients (Serves 2)
2 or 3 cucumbers, peeled and sliced
1.5 cups apple cider vinegar
1 pinch of salt
1 pinch of pepper
1 pinch of sugar


Peel and slice the cucumbers into small circles. Pour the vinegar into a serving bowl. Add the cucumber and coat each slice in vinegar. Season with salt, pepper, and sugar to taste.


Mango Smoothie


Take advantage while mangoes are in season with this smoothie, good for a morning boost or for the afternoon heat.

Ingredients (Serves 1)
2 mangoes, peeled and diced
1 cup coconut milk
1 teaspoon of honey to taste

After peeling and dicing the mango, place in a blender and add half a cup of coconut milk.  Blend until smooth. If the consistency is too thick for your liking, add more coconut milk. Blend and add like this until you have a consistency you like (I like mine a little thicker, so I add less coconut milk). Add honey to taste. Sometimes you'll need to add more, depending on the ripeness of the mangoes.


Tomato-Watermelon Salad


The idea of this salad is just to bring together the delights of everything in-season. Great for picnics on the beach (though keep it in a cooler) or a nice complement to your lunch.


Ingredients (Serves 2)
2 or 3 tomatoes, cored and cubed (Any kind will do. Green or red, the more color, the better!) 1 cup watermelon, cubed
1 cucumber, peeled and cubed
1 avocado, pitted and cubed
mixed fresh herbs, chopped (Any kind will do, but try to stay in-season: basil, chives, cilantro, oregano, rosemary, mint)
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
Preparation


After cubing the tomatoes, watermelon, cucumbers, avocado, mix in a bowl with the herbs. In a separate bowl, mix the olive oil and vinegar, salt and pepper. Whisk the dressing. Coat the fruit and vegetable mixture in the dressing, tossing and incorporating to taste.
Enjoy!