THE temperatures and humidity are rising and we can expect to feel this season’s personality even more, so as we get ready for the Christmas and New Year festivities, there are some things you should know.

According to traditional Chinese Medicine, every season the human body has an organ (two actually) that is the most sensitive – there are physical symptoms associated when they’re out of balance, emotions attached to this, the flavour, element, sense organ and sound. It’s so interesting when you really look at what’s going around you, how you feel and then looking at what you’re eating.

Often some of your discomfort and complaints about your body can be reduced, simply by eating correctly for the season. And as things heat up, it’s going to be even more important to be aware of your environment and work with it, not against it by buying food grown thousands of miles away.

How is this all related? See below for starters.


Early Summer

Late Summer





Heart + Small Intestine

Spleen + Stomach

Sense Organ







Blood Vessels








So how does this relate to you? The object of summer is to get outside more than you did in the cooler months, where you were likely to be going to bed a bit earlier, stayed indoors more and ate bigger, heavier meals.

Summer is about growth and creativity. We naturally wake earlier to absorb the sun’s healing and nourishing energy. As the heart is the organ associated with early summer, it is time to be joyful, happy and playful. Those with healthy hearts are friendly, open, and humble and have clarity. Perfect for the festivities for us antipodeans.

The warmer months are the time to eat lighter foods, so put your slow cooker away, clean your oven and pull out your wok and salad bowls.

Use a higher temperature to cook for a shorter time with less water – think stir-frying, steaming and salads instead of baking, stewing and roasting.

In early summer, eat foods with a bitter flavour like rocket, endive, radicchio, rye and chamomile. And later in summer include more sweet foods. This means complex sweeteners, never simple sugars like white, raw, palm or brown sugar of course.

Complex sugars are whole grains, legumes, lentils, nuts and seeds and fruit and veggies. Of course some are sweeter than others, so include things like beetroot, carrot, sweet potato, corn and peas. And when it comes to actual sweeteners, try raw honey, raw agave, maple syrup, rice syrup, coconut nectar and coconut sugar.

In contrast to winter, when dark foods and clothes are recommended, now is the time to get colourful – both in the foods we eat and the colours we chose to wear. Avoid cold food and drinks like iced drinks and ice cream. These foods are contracting, thereby holding in sweat, toxins and heat. Heavy foods make us sluggish in summer so avoid too much meat, fatty foods, big meals, eating late at night and over-eating.

Practice mindfulness in each season to be aware of what your body, mind and spirit needs, and watch ‘wellness’ be a part of your everyday life.

Janella Purcell – Naturopath + Nutritionist and practices from her clinics in Surry Hills, Sydney and in Bangalow, Northern NSW.

‘Women’s Health and Wellbeing’ in Bangalow. She tweets under @janellapurcell


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