Good evening, dear friends 😀
Wow, the weather has been really hot and terribly humid for a week now and the heat is making most people sweat buckets even when they are not doing anything active. Just the other day, I was telling my kids that I can even feel a film of perpiration on my eye bags!! 🙄 😆 Two weeks ago, whenever we met up with friends or some acquaintances at the market, our greeting usually went like this – “Wow, the prices of foodstuff keep going up and up!” 😯 ……..but these days, we merely greet each other with a tired, “Wah, it is really hot these days lah ….” 😥 😆
This type of weather can easily cause our body to build up heatiness and depending on the level of heatiness, we would experience symptoms ranging from tension headaches, sore gums, even toothaches, dry lips (despite drinking litres of water daily), restless sleep, irritability, low grade fever, etc. They are even different classifications of heatiness in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) ….. like “moist heatiness” (eating curries often lead to this), “dry heatiness” (can lead to dry coughs, sore throats) , “bone heatiness” (causes us to get sprains and backaches easily), and “heatiness that reach the heart” (this is the one that causes us to have vivid dreams or nightmares when we sleep, our sleep is often restless, and we wake up the next day even more tired).
The simple cooling remedy for the “heatiness that reach the heart” is the Tai Bok Choy Soup. Because my family were finding that the heat got to us and we didn’t really sleep well, I had made this soup for dinner tonight. And guess what? My husband is already very sound asleep in bed at 9pm, when his usual bedtime is hardly before midnight! 😆
I am going to list below some simple cooling remedies that we can follow to prevent a buildup of heatiness in our body –
1) Cucumbers – I always serve slices of raw cucumber whenever I have deep fried or baked foods because cucumbers are cooling in properties, and the process of baking and frying in oil are considered heaty. Cucumbers are also known to counter carcinogens in meats, especially in barbequed meats…..ever wondered why Satay is served with chunks of cucumbers? I remember when I was a kid, we didn’t have much money to buy all those type of herbs to make cooling drinks and my mom would just ask me to dip some cucumber slices in some sea salt and take that as a cooling remedy.
2) A cold beer with salt – Have a mug of really cold beer with a good pinch of salt in it. Beer is generally regarded as cooling (whisky is heaty, but good for improving blood circulation. My healer lady friend has recommened a little whisky each night before bedtime is good for health!), and if you add some salt into it, it is even better!
3) Coca Cola with a good pinch of salt – This is especially good if you have a scratchy and dry throat with the occasionally dry cough……down a really cold can of salted Coca Cola and feel the relief in your body! Sometimes when we are too heaty, we even get grumpy and we just feel under the weather. This is surely one remedy that you will enjoy (well….other than the beer above! 🙄 )
4) Mangosteens – I mentioned mangosteens because I had just finished eating some really juicy, and sweet mangosteens! 😆 Mangosteens are also known as the “Queen of Fruits”, just as the Durian is known as the “King of Fruits”. Just as durians are considered very, very heaty…..mangosteens are considered very cooling.
5) Watermelons – Another juicy, sweet fruit that I love – best eaten on a really hot day! Not only does it taste great but it packs a lot of antioxidants as well. Watermelons also quench the inflammation that leads to conditions like asthma, atherosclerosis, colon cancer and arthritis. Also a good source of Vitamins A and C.
6) Bittergourd – Generally in TCM, bitterness is a sign of cooling properties and the rule of thumb is, the more bitter the taste, the more cooling it is! I love eating bittergourd and whenever I cook them, I don’t rub salt into them to remove the bitter taste, so that I can retain most of its cooling nature. Earlier, I have posted a really simple Japanese recipe for bittergourd, called “Okinawa Bittergourd Stirfry.” You can substitute with other meats like bacon, ham or even chicken slices.
7) Ginseng Root Drink – Known as “Pow Sum” or “Yeong Sum”, the ginseng root is generally boiled in water for a few minutes to allow the flavours to come out, then add in some salt and let the drink cool completely before consuming. It is of utmost importance to drink this cool or else the heat in your body will all rush up, thus causing the heaty symptoms (e.g. sore gums, headaches) to be even worse and you start wondering how come the ginseng drink didn’t work for you. Some old ladies even recommended putting the pot of ginseng root drink on the floor to cool down, and it is believed that the “earth energy” works together with the ginseng root to calm down our heatiness. Note – Korean ginseng is considered as very heaty!
8 ) Mung Beans or Green Beans – This is usually boiled with some sugar, pandan leaves (for good aroma), and water for about an hour and is served as a sweet soup or sweet dessert known as “Tong Sui.” Not only is this very cooling but it is also a very good detoxifying food. My healer lady recommends that we have this once a week and she told me acne-prone second daughter to take this regularly to help with her acne problem.
9) Dried Chrysanthemum Flowers – This is made into a flower tea where you can add sugar or honey for flavour, or just drink it plain. This drink is very good for dispelling heat and wind symptoms, refreshes the liver and clears the eyes (sometimes, we get “gunky” eyes due to heatiness as well.)
10) Chinese Cabbage or Napa or Savoy Cabbage – This vegetable is very cooling, and especially when it is pickled or fermented, the cooling properties are enhanced (best not to consume too much then). I like to make either rice vermicelli soup with this or just a simple Chinese stirfry as a vegetable accompaniment to a meal.
Okay, I will stop here with this list for now and if I can remember more, I will post a Part 2 later. As in anything, moderation is the key and do not go overboard in consuming lots of the above at a go…otherwise, you may end up with a too “cooling” body and end up with coughs and colds. In TCM, balancing of the Yin and Yang in our body is very important but it is a very fragile balance which will take an expert Chinese physician to diagnose.
Good night from KL! 😀
P.S. I apologise for the lack of pictures in this post as the “Image Loading” feature in WordPress seems to have gone crazy on me again. 🙄