Summer is a good time to lighten up the whole family’s diet. Raw foods and salads are great foods for this time. I like to make sprouts so that they are readily available to add to salads or use on their own or on sandwiches. To make sprouts place some seeds (alfalfa seeds or mung beans are easy ones to start with) in a large jar. Add clean, pure, or filtered water and leave to soak for 4-6 hrs (overnight is fine) then drain off all the water and leave in a darkish place, on the side of the sink covered with a tea-towel is fine. Rinse with water 2-3 times daily. After 3-4 days the sprouts can be given more light so the chlorophyll (green part) increases. Then eat and enjoy!
To brighten up an otherwise ordinary looking meal, try decorating the plate with a little pile of sprouts with a nasturtium flower.
Fresh juices are another great addition to the summer diet. They are high in health promoting enzymes, rich in vitamins and minerals and a great source of protective antioxidants. Juicing enables us to capture micronutrients of approximately 1kg of vegetables or fruit in a single glass. The properties of freshly squeezed juices can help protect our families from radiation, smoke inhalation and all forms of pollution, as well as aid in drawing heavy metals out of our systems.
Do try to use organic fruits and vegetables. If this is totally not possible then scrub the skins well, or you can soak in a diluted mix of apple-cider vinegar and water to remove some of the pollutants at least from the skin. Again children tend to enjoy being part of making as well as drinking juices. Our family loves carrot and apple juice with a very small amount of beetroot added, but experiment with the numerous possibilities available.
Let’s move on to another big health consideration, especially relevant in summer, that is skincare. Our skin is the largest eliminative organ of the body. Clogged or inactive skin places a strain on the other organs of elimination, eg the liver and kidneys etc. To open the skin pores try dry skin brushing before showering, or using a loafah or bodymit whilst underwater is also beneficial. In summer the whole family tends to spend more time outdoors so skin protection is also vital, especially these days with our diminishing ozone layer. As well as sun hats and protective clothing other skin protection is also a good idea. Internally antioxidants like juices, St Mary’s thistle herb, grape seed extract, as well as zinc and vitamins E, A and D all protect and enhance skin health. Externally calendula oil or hypericum oil are great or your favourite cold-pressed massage oil, especially after sun.
The hot summer weather can dry us out from the inside too so hydration, ie adequate fluid intake, is also an important health consideration now. Encourage your children to drink lots by having yummy drinks easily available. Juices, herb teas with honey to taste (either warm or cool), or yoghurt drinks are a few options as well as, of course, good old water. Make your own healthy iced treats by freezing these options too. Another of our family favourites in summer is frozen soy milk — the GM-free brands.
Using your imagination and involving your children with drinks and treats in this way steers them away from the junk-food, sugary, health-destroying habits. Refined sugar actually heats the body and also dehydrates our cells as well as affecting blood-sugar levels which in turn adversely affects energy levels and emotional health. As usual, balance is the key here.
Ouch! Summer scrapes and bites
Enjoying the outdoors can also mean increased likelihood of stings, bites, cuts etc. So some simple first aid remedies for these are as follows:
• Mosquito bites For prevention try citronella, or neem in a cold-pressed oil base. Lavender or rosemary essential oil can also help, as can garlic in the diet. Vitamin B complex internally also seems to discourage them. As well as these, there are some great incenses and candles available that will discourage the little blighters! To ease the bites and reduce itching try lavender essential oil, ledum tincture or, my favourite at the moment, dragons blood.
• Tick bites: It’s a good idea to inactivate them first with a strong essential oil such as Tea Tree or lemon, before removing with tweezers. To ease the itch and help the body deal with any poison, ledum tincture and lavender essential oil both work well externally. Homeopathically ledum is used internally as is ixodes (which is actually made from ticks).
Spider bites: Application of ice or cold water to deactivate the poison is the first step. Do see your health professional as soon as possible if any adverse reactions occur. Otherwise ledum tincture or hypericum tincture or oil externally, or dragons blood tincture. Homeopathically apis internally is used.
• Bruises: Use cold application followed by arnica cream externally (only if the skin is not broken) and arnica homeopathic internally. For knocks and scrapes that could bruise, often arnica will help prevent this and rescue remedy is a simple soothing remedy too.
• Inflammation: (things that swell!) Again, applying ice or cold water is the first step. Then raw potato, grated to mush applied externally and held in place with plastic wrap and loosely bandaged (with whatever you have) is the most amazing remedy.
Published in byronchild/Kindred, issue 4, December 02