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Seasonal Foods and Summer Cooking Techniques

Our nutrition expert, Janella Purcell, tells you how to eat seasonally and watch ‘wellness’ become part of your everyday life.

Summer is usually the warmest season, and with the temperatures and humidity rising due to climate change, we can expect to feel the effects of this seasons even more.

The Seasons and Your Body  

According to ‘Traditional Chinese Medicine’, every season has an organ (2 actually) that is the most sensitive, the physical symptoms associated when they’re put of balance, the 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.

How is this all related? 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.  


               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 suns healing and nourishing energy. As the heart is the organ associated with early summer, it is time to be joyful, happy and playful. Those will healthy hearts are friendly, open, and humble and have clarity.

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.

What Should I Eat in Summer? 

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 sugars 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.

Eat seasonally and watch ‘wellness’ become part of your everyday life.

Janella Purcell

For more information about Janella Purcell go to or


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