Keeping your cool in summer

May 2000

In summer nature produces foods which are full of water which keep you cool. For example mangoes, water melons, cucumber, spinach, wheat. If you choose non-seasonal foods you are asking for trouble

The mercury in Mumbai touched an all time high in the month of March.  And for 
once, I too felt the heat, the likes of which I only remember experiencing in the dry Delhi summers.  Unless we drenched our mattresses with cold water, we just couldn’t get through the night.

Coming back to Mumbai, that enormously hot week although I felt the heat, others panicked and fretted and fumed.  True I have little fat on my body and so can take the heat better. But if one is not uncomfortable when almost everyone one meets in the city is fretting and fuming, the credit should be given to being in sync with nature.

I never use an air-conditioner. In all my work options if artificial lighting and air-conditioning are essential, I am unable to opt for that job or situation. So as the weather changes from end February or beginning March, my body is gradually adjusting to the changes which are always gradual. Day by day, moment by moment, the body adjusts to each different season.

Moreover, I’m quite comfortable in summer because I never wear synthetics or closed shoes or jewellery that clings to the skin and doesn’t allow the body to breathe.  The feet if kept covered in cold winters, really keep you warm.  But in the summer heat, socks and shoes can make you feel like you are in a furnace.  Even my jute flip-flops with a covered front make me feel uncomfortable once the temperature begins to rise. So rather than grumble or try and find a cold room I kick off my chappals and opt for open mat slippers.    

My body screams if anything that is not 100 percent cotton or hessian touches it.  And I’m not talking of what passes off as cotton. Undergarments being even more necessarily cotton. Often even towels that seem like cotton have a slippery synthetic feel to them. I find it difficult to travel because bedsheets and pillow cases are so often made with some mix of fibres which make getting a good night’s rest difficult. 

The materials used on our furniture, carpets and curtains also contribute to making 
one  feel hot. If people go out of their way to defeat nature’s plans and options, then suffering the heat is inevitable. If you must to keep your hair on the nape of your neck under the blazing sun then no natural solution will help.  You will have to go on believing that only a cold room will do. And your body will feel more uncomfortable with the growing intensity of the summer.

All this may sound like extra fussy advice. It isn’t. It is important to attune your body to nature. Because whether you accept it or not, it is sensitive to what is unnatural. I know that my acute taste buds have been given to me because I was destined to be in the field of nutrition.  So in summer, foods not of that season just don’t go down well. Nature plans only for perfection. Nothing less will do. If you remember this then you will never doubt nature and will not need to be confused about the right fare for that particular season.

In the summer, nature produces foods which are full of water which keep you cool. For example: mangoes, watermelons, cucumber, spinach, wheat.  If you choose to have other non-seasonal foods you are asking for trouble. It is sad also that the chemicals used in the production of many of our foods and their artificial ripening procedures make them so tasteless that this year I haven’t yet been able to enjoy a single mango without tasting the chemicals in it. And alas, much of the organic mango crop has been destroyed this year because of the untimely rains at the end of last year.

You may think that nature made a mistake by calendaring mangoes in the summer since 
they are often blamed for generating extra heat in the body. This is an erroneous belief. On the contrary mangoes can keep you really cool in the summer provided you don’t eat them after your main meals.  My advice is to eat them only on an empty stomach and best all by themselves.  That way you get the best benefits.  If eaten after meals they  get clogged with the other high protein and high starch foods that are busy being worked on by enzymes in the stomach, and will cause all the food to ferment.  All fruits need digestion mainly in the intestine and if eaten with other foods, the delay in the stomach will cause putrefaction and waste of digestive energy. So don’t doubt nature. Follow its laws, respect its rules and be cool this summer.

Some other cool ways to maintain your body temperature are: Swim as often as you can. Taking a shower is also a good way to keep cool.  If too many showers are not possible, at least wash your feet and keep the neck cool to avoid feeling the heat. Cold water and cold drink intakes don’t necessarily keep you cool.  In fact warm drinks whether herbal or otherwise are better coolants.  Coconut water and fresh-lime water are also excellent  coolers.  In fact soft drinks never quench your thirst — their high sugar content can actually make you feel warmer.

So don’t go against nature’s signals. Get in tune with her and then you won’t dread the heat and will actually enjoy it like I do.  In any case try and live in accordance with nature’s laws because this extra heat is nothing but a result of global warming which is caused by all of man’s desires that are not in sync with nature.     

Kavita Mukhi

Kavita Mukhi

She is the mentor of The Farmers’ Store and the founder of The Bandra Farmers Market. She is a pioneer, evangelist and an over all inspiration and motivating force of our business. She is actively involved in steering the company up the organic path and also is the qualitative think tank and procurement authority behind all the products sold at The Farmers’ Store. Learn more about her on the About Us Page!

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