Summer is almost here! Ahh, the warm days, the endless sunshine, hours of dipping in and out of the water… pure bliss. Ok, I realise that this may be a tad premature, considering it’s only just gone August. But this week in Sydney we’ve been blessed with flawlessly sunny days and temperatures in the low 20s!
I do also clearly recall that this is just the teaser, the taste of summer. There will certainly be another cold snap soon. But until then, I’m going to relish in the warmer weather and what that means for my diet.
I always marvel at how my body (and most likely yours does too) tells me what it wants and needs. In the winter, it needs porridge, warming stews and roasts and in the summer I start to crave crunchy veg, zingy flavours and lighter meals. Our bodies our incredibly intelligent and if we listen it’ll sing out, loud and clear, for what it needs.
So it’s no surprise to me that last night I had my first salad craving since last summer. My body has sensed the slight shift in the weather – the days are gradually getting longer (woohoo!) and the bite in the air has eased off.
From an Ayurvedic perspective the warmer months are related to Pitta Dosha. The ‘body-mind’ type related to heat, energy, activity and drive. During this time, to prevent too much build up of Pitta, we tend to crave cooling, refreshing food and drinks to reduce the heat energy. Too much internal heat can lead to a tendency towards aggression, feeding the fiery Pitta in us throughout the summer months. Each person has a different dosha or nature, so you may not need as many cooling foods in the warmer months as others do. Have you ever noticed how so people seem perfectly calm in the heat (possible a Vata who loves the warmer weather – me!) whilst others are so irritated and are constantly seeking the solace of air-conditioned shops? They are probably strong Pittas who need to chill out!
Either way, whether you are one or the other, or somewhere in between, what is important is to transition through the seasons eating local produce and listening to what your body craves. If cold, crunchy salads seem wrong in winter, it’s probably because your body is looking for warming, grounding foods with nourishing spices and oils, and vice versa.
That brings me to the yummy salad that I made last night for dinner. At work I had been thinking about what to eat – summery salad said my body!
I did take into consideration that the temperature is still quite cool at night so I shouldn’t go to fresh and crisp with my salad. In the end, I compromised by creating a delicious butter bean, chicken and paprika salad. The paprika is a nice ‘warming’ spice and I made sure there was plenty of lovely olive oil tossed in to help absorb all the fresh veg whilst keeping the salad a little more grounded.
So if you are craving a delicious, lighter meal whilst the warmer weather continues try this out.
· Chicken (can do this without if you like!)
· Can of organic butter beans
· English Spinach (avoid the one in the bags!)
· Red capsicum
· Red Onion
· Olive Oil
· Juice of one lemon and one lime
· Coconut Oil
1. Marinade the chicken in lemon juice and paprika. Heat coconut oil in a wok.
2. Cook chicken – start on a medium heat and then drop to low so the chicken stays nice and tender
3. Before the chicken has finished cooking chuck in roughly chopped zucchini
4. In another pan gently sweat off the diced up garlic and diced red onion – only a couple of minutes
5. In a separate bowl with a lid/Tupperware container put the rinsed butter beans, 1/4cup olive oil, lemon and lime juice and add the red onion and garlic. Put the lid on and shake everything up quite vigorously
6. In a large salad bowl layer spinach, kale and chopped up red capsicum
7. Toss in the chicken
8. Pour of the beans/oil/red onion mixture
Serve it up! Fresh, light, delicious yet nourishing – will leave you feeling content.
Signing off with an exhale.
Pause. Listen. Live