The Dog Days of Summer
The summer heat is here and it can be very depleting to the body. When our body is overheated and dehydrated we feel tired, and even simple activities can be exhausting. We want to help give your body the support it needs so that you enhance your sense of wellness, not deplete it. Have the best summer ever!
The tips below are intended to increase your energy, support exercise in heat, enhance your sense of well being, and help your body thrive!
The Importance of Hydration
Hydration is incredibly important to thrive in the summer heat, and it's more complex than just making sure you drink a ton of water!
Adequate hydration has become more complex because our water doesn't come from a fresh spring. You might be drinking plenty of water, but still not getting hydrated. I recommend you make sure your water has minerals and electrolytes in it. If you use tap water, make sure it is filtered to remove chemicals. When buying water, avoid plastic containers, and choose mineral water instead of simply "bottled" water. Mineral water comes from springs and contains various minerals; it can be flat or carbonated. Gerolsteiner is one of the best options available. Look at the labels and you'll see the difference in mineral water content when compared to drinking or spring water.
You can purchase minerals/electrolytes to mix in your water. My favorites are SpectraMin and ReHydration (available at our little supplement shop). You can also make your own mineral water and electrolyte drink (see recipes on the side bar). Make sure to avoid drinks high in sugar and carbohydrates, like Gatorade or Powerade .
Tips for Summer
Surviving the Summer Sun
It is completely possible to exercise in the hot summer heat, but we have some tips to make sure you stay safe.
1. If possible, choose to exercise in the early morning, late evening, or choose cooler activities like swimming and indoor exercises.
2. Make sure you stay truly hydrated (see our mineral/electrolyte water recipes).
3. Protect your skin from the sun with our natural tips (ask us!), and avoid chemical laden sunscreens.
4. Listen to your body; when you start to feel overheated, take a break and cool down.
For vibrant skin health, minerals help keep your skin hydrated. Using our homemade mineral and electrolyte drinks can ensure you have plenty of minerals in your body.
EFAs (essential fatty acids) are also essential for skin health. Studies show that 5 grams of fish oil twice a day can improve photoprotection, which means protection from UV rays!
Sunscreen has a time and place (if you are going to be in the sun for long periods of time and have no protective clothing on), but most sunscreen has a lot of chemicals in it. Ask us for some more natural ways to protect yourself from sunburns.
Essential Fatty Acids
As mentioned above, fish oil is a great source of EFAs. Just a word of caution: when buying fish oil, be aware that the quality varies greatly. Most fish oils you find at health food stores are rancid due to processing or are from contaminated sources. We have a couple we recommend and trust. Ask us if you want more information.
Think that bananas are your only source of potassium? Not so! Tomatoes are very rich in potassium, as well as other minerals like manganese, magnesium, phosphorous, and copper. They also have vitamins A, C, K, and significant amounts of B6 and folate.
Because of their tough exterior, artichokes can take some careful preparation. But your efforts will reap nutritional rewards -- the veggie is a good source of folate, dietary fiber, and vitamins C and K. Artichokes are also packed with antioxidants!
Homemade Mineral Water
1 tsp sea salt
30 oz water
Homemade Electrolyte Drink
Take your mineral water up a notch for some powerful hydration!
Drink throughout the day!
The types of foods you eat in the summer can directly impact how your body handles the heat. Fresh salads with adequate protein and good fats will keep you hydrated and fueled for the summer.
Artichoke & Tomato Summer Salad
10-ounce package frozen artichoke hearts, thawed (about 2 cups)
3 cups romaine lettuce chopped
3 large red tomatoes, cut into wedges
1 cup pitted kalamata olives, halved
1 bunch chopped fresh basil leaves (about 1 bunch)
Extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
Place a grill pan over medium-high heat or preheat a gas or charcoal grill (this recipe is still delicious if you just saute the artichoke hearts in a saute pan until golden brown). Drizzle the artichoke hearts with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill the artichokes until golden brown at the edges, about 6 minutes total, turning every 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the grill and transfer to a large bowl.
Add the tomatoes, romaine lettuce, olives and basil to the bowl and toss to combine. Add salt and pepper and drizzle balsamic vinegar and olive oil to taste. Toss to combine. Serve with a protein of your choice (scallops, fish, chicken, steak, etc.)
A Note From Elizabete
As you can see, it's fun to use foods and natural remedies as healthy alternatives to commercial products. Sometimes a small thing makes a huge difference; for example, the homemade mineral water really changed my ability to stay hydrated during long hikes on hot days. Talking about heat... hope you are able to enjoy August well enough until September gets here, when we will shift our focus to immune health!