When it sizzles in summer, many of us lose our cool. First thing most of us are likely to do is to reach out for the fizzy drinks thinking we can get our effervescence back! But no, we only end up getting the calcium leached from our bones! Well, this is not to preach but get on with what is right for summer.
Certain things like aerated waters are best left in the bottles with the seal intact. Fill yourself up with the safest and natural cooler that is water and see the difference in your skin with a new enviable sheen. Besides your step too will have such a spring that people will think it is summer no more. When you go shopping carry a list that has some of the foods that act as coolants.
Foods to beat the heat
With every mango you eat, drink a glassful of milk. Mango has sugars but no protein. Milk has the latter but not the former. So why not combine them, yeah, a mango milkshake is the best, for it will give your body the best nourishment for the summer.
Make a fresh bowlful everyday at home. Drink it in the form of lassi or as buttermilk but have the yogurt. Have it in raitas or have it plain, but have the yogurt. Even your grandma must have told you it is good for you.
Ghee is fattening. Period. So have a little, a few drops, just a wee bit on your chapattis. It provides a cooling effect to the stomach but believe us, we need to be cool.
You need not just the roasted cumin powder for the panna, raitas and buttermilk. You also need cumin seeds to go in the tempering of summer veggies. Cumin not only cools but also adds its interesting two bits to the cooking.
Rose water is another beauty aid that helps make you lovely in summer. Soak some small cotton wads in rose water and place on eyes before you sleep. You sleep well, of course, but also get dreams of fragrant rose gardens and isn’t that the best way to pep yourself up to face another blistering day! Rose water mixed with talcum powder is a good home remedy for prickly heat and rashes.
While on home remedies, gram flour too is a winner. No, not as food item. Should not eat too much of it in summer as it is difficult to digest, but it is definitely recommended as a substitute for soap once in a while in the summer months. It removes the dirt and grime as it is a natural scrub. Make a paste with some rose water and lemon juice and use as soap. Rinse off well.
Most of us hated this in childhood! But, as adults, we know the benefits of having just a teaspoonful of gulkand a day. It is candied rose petals that can be used to good advantage in recipes too. It is cooling in spite of its sweetness.
We all wait for April, May and June. For it is mango season. Everyone loves the juicy king of the fruits but do you also know that they are enriched with vitamin A that is good for eyesight and also improves formation of healthy epithelium so that you keep away common infections? Now you know. Enjoy the ripe ones as dessert. Pickle the raw ones and better still boil a few raw mangoes, dilute the pulp with aqua, add a pinch or two of roasted cumin powder and black salt to make delicious panna. Cool yourself down with a glass of chilled panna which will give the colas a run for their money.
Oranges and lemons are not costing a penny anymore. Lemons are precious commodity in the summer. They are treasure troves of vitamin C and a must in every home. Either have lemonade or use the juice in your dal and veggies. But lemons are something that take the brunt of the summer heat.
Watermelon and muskmelon:
These sometimes take the back seat as mangoes dominate the fruit basket. But if you make it a point to bring home the melons, rest assured, they get polished off in no time. Watermelons and muskmelons are moisture rich fruits that are a boon in the summer when someone wants to keep the stomach light. A good addition to salads - sweet and savoury - and also as juice and of course, just like that as a dessert.
It is the time to bring home the pethas, laukis and tindas. They are fresh produce with high water content and if made the right way, make lunch and dinner substantial with curd and chapattis.
Having a cucumber is like sipping a glass of chilled water. It is refreshing and cooling. Rich in potassium and sodium, cucumbers are a boon when the weather gets dehydrating. Have them in a sandwich for breakfast, have them cut as batons for mid morning munchies, have them in the raita for lunch…apply some cucumber juice on your face as a natural bleach and toner, place slices of it on your eyes to provide coolness.
Mint or pudina definitely add a new dimension to chutneys. And pudina chutney adds perkiness to your sandwiches and snacks. A few leaves of pudina crushed and added to buttermilk leave a lingering tasty coolness on the palate.
One small word to wind up:
Meat and heat do not go well together. Go slow on the rich gravies and red meats. Have the chicken and fish grilled or in soups. Deep fried stuff like samosas, kachoris and bhajias can go into the cold storage to be brought out during the seasons that follow – that is monsoons and winter. All that grease will do your stomach as also your skin no good plus they are a trifle difficult to digest. Have some cooling drinks like Kokam and Anar Slush and Chocolate Coffee Ambrosia and for a super dessert try something festive like Lemony Fiesta! So your motto for this season should be: Eat right and light because it provides respite!