Beat the Summer Heat

It is 32 degrees celsius outside and I’m perspiring as i’m writing this.

The harsh heat just puts me off from getting outdoors because it’s not just the heat, it’s humid too. I don’t want to look like a sweating cow with an oily face and limp, flat hair!

So here i am, trying to think of some ways that could provide me (and possibly you if you’re reading this) some relief.

1) Get some ice cream

A few out of the MANY ice creams that i have eaten in Japan

What beats having something cool and creamy sliding down your throat? For just 200-300 yen, you can buy a cone of happiness.

For people who are wary of their sugar or fat intake, opt for healthier options such as sorbets, gelato and soy-based ice creams. Getting some crushed ice is a good idea too.

2) Make your own summer drink

Recently, i have reading about detox drinks that you can DIY at home. It’s really easy!

Well, the idea is to gather all the cooling/ refreshing ingredients that you can get into a flask of water and refrigerate it for normal use.

What i did:

  1. boil a kettle of green tea (for extra polyphenols/antioxidants)
  2. let it cool
  3. then slice half a lemon and cucumber  into thin slices
  4. put sliced lemon and cucumber and green into a flask
  5. refrigerate!
Lemon cucumber green tea

You can also swap the ingredients with other citrus fruits such as oranges, grapefruit, tangerines which are packed with vitamin C. Throw in some mint leaves or cilantro and you’re good to go.
If you do not have green tea, you can change it to black tea, oolong tea or chinese tea because these teas are as good as calorie-free and yet packs a punch of antioxidants. Or,  you can simply use plain water.

Here are some references if you’re really into detox drinks and the like.

3) Make a cooling dessert

Singapore is a really hot and humid place and we have lots of such cooling desserts to expel our internal heat. This is in accordance to Traditional Chinese Medicine which talks about the Yin and Yang systems in our body. By utilizing certain food ingredients and prepared in a certain way, it can effectively aid in detox and cleansing and also bring the body back to the neutrality.

The most simple dessert that i most commonly eat during hot summers is sweet potato green bean soup.It’s really a fool-proof recipe and you do not require any culinary background to do this.

What you need:

  • green beans (also commonly known as mung beans) (1/4 cup)
  • sweet potatoes (any colour, as much as you like)
  • brown sugar/ rock sugar/ sugar

Steps:

  1. Soak the green beans for half an hr (for easier boiling)
  2. Peel and cut sweet potatoes into small pieces
  3. Combine sweet potatoes and green beans in a pot of water and boil until green beans are soft and mushy and the soup turns murky
  4. Sweeten it with sugar to your liking

It should look something like this.

sweet potato green bean soup (photo credit to cavinteo.blogspot.com)

You could also throw in some barley instead of sweet potato. Some people prefer to eat with with some coconut cream on top but i do not usually do that.
This dessert is pretty filling if you use sweet potatoes.

According to TCM, sweet potatoes aid in bowel movement and digestion, increasing energy and boosting immune systems while mung beans can clear toxins and body heat and help with acne skin condition. Try it!

4) Do a cooling mask

I have also just started doing beauty masks at home using what i have in my fridge.

The basic idea of a mask is to make everything in to a paste such that you could apply it onto your face without it dripping.

For me, i have oily skin so i like to use yogurt as a base and add in additional ingredients. For acne sufferers, you might like to try mung bean mask, it really does work! But don’t forget to cleanse your face before applying!

Mung Bean Mask

  1. mung bean flour (2 tbsp)
  2. plain yogurt (1 tbsp)
  3. juice of half a lemon
  4. combine everything together until it forms a white paste that does not drip. If it’s too watery, add more flour.
  5. leave the mixture on your face for at least 30 mins

Do this at least 3 times a week and you should be able to see an improvement in your acne condition. However, if you have any allergies to any of the ingredients stated above, please do not attempt and please consult a professional doctor for advice if condition persists.

Other variants for this summer could be:

  • Avocado – for moisturizing dry skin
  • Honey – for soothing and restoring skin
  • Oatmeal – great exfoliant
  • Papaya – for moisturizing and whitening
  • Cucumber – for soothing and glowing skin
  • Lemon – for brightening, radiant skin
  • Banana – for nourishing skin
  • Strawberry – for brightening, radiant skin
  • Olive oil – for moisturizing skin

You can mix and match these ingredients but just remember you need to make a paste out of it so you need a thickener! Example, you could make cucumber into a paste with the food processor, or by adding oatmeal flour, mung bean flour, yogurt etc. Drizzle some honey or olive oil and it turns moisturizing. If you’re using honey, Manuka honey would be the best choice. Adding a few drops of lemon juice is adding vitamin C to your mask, but be sure to slap on some sunscreen before you head outdoors as vitamin C can make your skin photosensitive!

5) Take a cold shower

I know this could probably sound like DUH, but many people around me loves taking hot showers. When i was in Singapore, my house never had a water heater and all my friends were so shocked to hear that. Even if i come home after midnight, i take cold showers and i RARELY fall sick. My whole family take cold showers too and i think we’re pretty strong in terms of immunity.

You must have seen something like this on tv before if you’re into ancient chinese films:

monk in waterfall training

As if the water isn’t cold?!

According to some research on the internet, a cold shower helps to:

  • Brings blood to the capillaries, therefore increasing circulation throughout the body
  • Cleans the circulatory system
  • Reduces blood pressure on internal organs
  • Provides flushing for the organs and provides a new supply of blood
  • Strengthens the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems
  • Contracts the muscles to eliminate toxins and poisonous wastes
  • Strengthens the mucous membranes, which help resist hay fever, allergies, colds, coughs

(with reference to here)

Some time ago, on Japanese television, the trainer that trains Jpop boy group EXILE revealed that he used cold water therapy for the pop group members in order to help them better recover from their rigorous dance routines during concerts. The members had to plunge themselves half-deep in waters of 10 degrees celsius to help cool down their muscles. I do not know the scientific details on this therapy but I’m sure google will give you some results on this. By doing so, they are less likely to sustain injuries.

Alright, that’s all for now. I hope this post helps.

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