Fire is the element of summer, the most Yang season.
It is during this time when it is best to apply the principle of Yang: expansion, growth, lightness, and (outdoor) activity. It’s a good time to rise early and enjoy time in the sun – in other words, “put your heart into it.”
Summer is also the time when many fruits and vegetables ripen.
Summer foods and your diet
Because fruits and vegetables are light they cool us down and generate body fluids. Eating heavy foods during this season creates sluggishness, especially in the intestines.
Due to the warming nature of Yang, food preparation this time of year should be light and flavorful: use a variety of produce to create a colorful palette on your plate and spice accordingly.
Pungent and slightly fiery spices (e.g., cayenne) are a nice addition to induce sweating, which naturally cools the body.
Sauté, steam, and short-term simmer are best cooking choices this time of year because they use little heat.
Barbecue, a popular way to cook this time of year, can dry out food. If this is your favorite way to cook during summer months make sure you cook foods wrapped in foil or coated in moist sauces to keep food from drying out.
Summer is the season to attend to the Heart/Small Intestine organ system by keeping cool in the heat of the season.
Cooling, fresh foods like:
- fruits (berries, melons, tropical)
- summer squash
- salads (coated lightly with olive oil, vinegar, or lemon juice)
… will keep one’s body temperature cooler.
Drink your beverages hot/warm and take warm showers, to induce sweating. However, it’s important to replenish those fluids lost through sweating with a sufficient intake of water and electrolytes.
Also, the extreme heat of summer, combined with too many cold, raw foods, will weaken Digestive Fire.
While it is popular to eat cold foods like ice cream during the summer months because we think they cool us down, cold foods actually cause contraction and stagnation of digestion — (picture a wet towel being thrown on a small fire).
Fire personality in Chinese Medicine
When it comes to Chinese Medicine here are some personality traits represented by the fire element.
- strong emotions
- highly instinctual
- quick at making decisions
- needs to be on the go
- quick thinking
- present moment
- spark of intuition
- good at initiating but not following through (creating new ideas, not good with the details)
- easily burned out
- no sense of completion
- Superlative – exaggerates things
- speaks in short, picturesque sentences
- speech bursts out like a machine gun
- laughs quickly
- doesn’t bear grudges
- thrives on recognition
- can have big ego
- make themselves center of attention
Fire feels no constraints – they start dancing and they can see themselves at the Bolshoi. They are informed and like to be on the crest of things. Additionally, Fire needs focused recognition as well as plenty of fuel (mental) — you let them know you see them in a consistent way and radiate love in calmness and peace/harmony.
Balance spontaneity with contemplation and wisdom.
They like to dress extravagantly, colorfully and love competition and intensive sports. Action gives them a kick and they must be kept busy (need mental and physical challenges) — likes autonomy.
The lesson is to conserve energy, build strength, practice moderation, and avoid extremes.
Work in areas that provide enjoyment and learn to express feelings/needs and learn when to stop (boundaries for yourself). Turn attention inward, find stillness, peace — balance love with contemplation, wisdom and allow inner fire to radiate outwards for all to see and feel.